Civil War

Visit the plantation homes of the Senator who coined the phrase, “Cotton is King” and South Carolina’s “secession governor,” William Henry Gist who led the way to Civil War. Tour the sites of Civil War battles in South Carolina, including the ground where the Confederacy made its last stand against Sherman’s march across the South. From the first talk of secession and the first shots fired to one of the most decisive battles of the War’s end, South Carolina played an important role in American Civil War history.


The First Shots

The first shots of the Civil War were fired in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861.

Two days later the federal garrison in Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate forces. Union troops occupied the Sea Islands in the Beaufort area in November beginning the move toward freedom for a few of the state's slaves.
South Carolina Civil War Site
There were few Civil War Battles in South Carolina until 1865, but one-fifth of South Carolina's white males of fighting age were sacrificed to the Confederate cause, and General William Tecumseh Sherman's march through the state at the war's end left a trail of destruction. Poverty would mark the state for generations to come.


Rivers Bridge - Sherman's March Across the Carolinas

In the Battle of Rivers Bridge at what is now the Rivers Bridge State Historic Site, Confederate troops made a desperate attempt to stop General William T. Sherman’s march across the Carolinas. After this bloody South Carolina Civil War battle on the banks of the Salkehatchie River, Union forces moved northward and captured the state capital. In a few months the Confederacy crumbled and the Civil War was over.

Other state park sites with South Carolina Civil War History include:

Landsford Canal State Park
A broad river, rich history and rare, hardy wildflowers come together at Landsford Canal State Park.

Stretched along the Catawba River along the South Carolina fall line, the park is...
Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site
Redcliffe Virtual Tour

“Cotton is King!”

Those words resounded through Congress and then the nation in a fiery speech by South Carolina Sen. James Henry Hammond in the years leading...
Rivers Bridge State Historic Site
Site of one of the Confederacy’s last stands against General William T. Sherman’s sweep across the South, the still-intact earthen fortifications at Rivers Bridge State Historic Site bear silent witness...

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