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Civil War
Itinerary

Tour Civil War Charleston and Savannah in Three Days

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A Civil War itinerary for touring Civil War Charleston and Savannah in three days

In three days, you will be able to cover the area very well. You can chose to spend as much or as little time as you like at the various sites, you can also skip or add sites to fit your interests and needs. If you make it to all of the stops, you will travel in two states, and cover events from the very beginning of the war until its close in 1865. 

Before you go:

 

Stop #1: Fort Sumter National Monument

Time: 1.5 hours

Details: http://www.nps.gov/fosu/planyourvisit/index.htm

Confederate forces fired on the Union garrison at Fort Sumter in the early hours of April 12, 1861, thus marking the start of the Civil War. 

What to do:

Start at the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center:

  • Purchase your tickets for the boat ride to Fort Sumter.
  • Tour the exhibits, which detail the causes of the Civil War.
  • Stop by the gift shop and bookstore.

Tour the Fort: 

  • Visitors are invited to listen to a ten minute ranger talk before beginning a self-guided tour. Visits to the fort last approximately an hour.
  • Browse the museum exhibits on the island. 
  • Stop in the Fort’s bookstore.

 

Stop #2: Fort Moultrie

Time: 1 hour

Details: https://www.nps.gov/fosu/learn/historyculture/fort_moultrie.htm

This fort, in use from the Revolutionary War to World War II, was occupied by Maj. Robert Anderson and his Union troops before they moved to Fort Sumter in 1860. Confederates used Fort Moultrie in April 1861 to shell Fort Sumter, and also occupied Fort Moultrie to defend Charleston from a Union naval siege from 1863 to 1865. 

What to do:

  • Tour the Visitor Center exhibits, watch the 22 minute orientation film, and browse the bookstore.
  • Find out what ranger programs are offered that day.
  • Take a self-guided tour of the fort. 

 

Stop #3: Historic Charleston

Time: 2-3 hours

Details: http://www.charleston-sc.gov/index.aspx?NID=161

Walk the streets of this charming, well-preserved Southern city. 

What to do: 

  • Stop by the Charleston Visitor Center to pick up maps and information on walking tours.

  • Walk along the Charleston Battery. View the position of defensive Confederate cannon and admire the beautiful houses, several of which suffered damage from Union shelling during the Civil War.

 

Stop #4: HL Hunley

Time: 1.5 hours

Details: http://hunley.org/

Visit the remains of this preserved submarine that was used by Confederates to try and disrupt the Union siege of Charleston Harbor. 

What to do:

  • Tour the museum exhibits.
  • See the remains of the submarine and learn about the fascinating preservation efforts.

Insider tip: If you have time, visit River’s Bridge State Historic Site

 

Stop #5: Drayton Hall

Time: 1-2 hours

Details: http://www.draytonhall.org/visit/ 

Drayton Hall, founded in 1738, is one of the oldest extant plantation houses in America. The hall is one of the earliest examples of Palladian architecture in America. Careful preservation work on the estate has helped to ensure that visitors can the changes the plantation has undergone over more than 250 years, offering a unique experience.

What to do:

 

Stop #6: Fort McAllister

Time: 1.5 hours

Details: http://gastateparks.org/fortmcallister

With the capture of this fort in 1864, Sherman guaranteed an open supply line for his troops in their eventually successful quest to capture Savannah. 

What to do:

  • Explore the earthworks, cannons, barracks, and other defenses.
  • Check out the artifacts and exhibits located in the museum. 

 

Stop #7: Fort Pulaski

Time: 1 hour

Details: https://www.nps.gov/fopu/index.htm

Union forces captured this fort in April 1862, ensuring Union control over this vital Southern port and keeping Savannah from exporting cotton and other military and civilian goods. 

What to do:

  • Explore the fort’s grounds and interpretive markers.
  • Check out the indoor exhibits on Civil War military technology. 

 

Stop #8: Fort James Jackson

Time: 1 hour

Details: http://www.chsgeorgia.org/OFJ

Features exhibits and artifacts from Savannah’s Civil War history, including weaponry from the CSS Georgia. 

What to do:

  • Explore the fort and grounds. 

 

Stop #9: Historic Savannah 

Time: 2-3 hours

Details: http://www.visit-historic-savannah.com/

Explore the beautiful historic structures of Savannah, many of which date from the antebellum era.

What to do:

 

Stop #10: Green-Meldrim House/Sherman's Headquarters

Time: 30 minutes

Details: http://www.stjohnssav.org/green-meldrim-house/http://www.stjohnssav.org/green-meldrim-house/

This mansion served as Sherman’s headquarters during the winter of 1864-65. 

What to do:

  • Tour the house and grounds. 

 

Stop #11: Savannah History Museum

Time: 1 hour

Details: http://www.chsgeorgia.org/shm

Features exhibits and artifacts from Savannah’s Civil War history, including weaponry from the CSS Georgia. 

What to do:

  • Explore the exhibits and artifacts.