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From Wartime Ruin to National Monument

When the Civil War ended, Fort Sumter presented a very desolate appearance. Only on the left flank, left face and right face could any of the original scarp wall be seen. The right flank wall and the gorge wall, which had taken the brunt of the federal bombardments were now irregular mounds of earth, sand and debris forming steep slopes down to the water's edge. The fort bore little resemblance to the impressive work that had stood there at the time of the Confederate bombardment in 1861.

During the decade following the war, the Army attempted to put Fort Sumter back into shape as a military installation. The horizontal irregularity of the damaged or destroyed walls was given some semblance of uniformity by leveling jagged p portions and rebuilding others. A new sally port was cut through the left flank; storage magazines and cisterns were constructed. and gun emplacements were located. Eleven of the original first tier gunrooms at the salient and along the right were reclaimed and armed with 10 pounder Parrott guns.

From 1876 to 1897 Fort Sumter was not garrisoned and served mainly as a lighthouse station. During this period maintenance of the area was so poor that the gun platforms were allowed to rot, guns to rust and the area to erode . The impending Spanish-American War , however, prompted renewed activity that resulted in the construction of Battery Huger in 1898 and the installation of two long range 12-inch rifles the following year. Fortunately, the war
ended quickly and the guns were never fired in anger.

During World War I, a small garrison manned the rifles at Battery Huger. For the next 20 years, however, although maintained by the Army, the fort was not used as a military establishment. But it did become a destination for tourists until World War II brought about the fort's reactivation. The battery Huger rifles were removed about 1943 and two 90-mm antiaircraft guns were located along the fort's right flank. Fort Sumter became a national monument in 1948.