Civil War Attractions in Sumter, SC

By Kevin Litwin on May 20, 2011 at 8:56 pm EST

Sumter is a great tourism destination if you are a military buff. After all, both the city and county bear the name of Gen. Thomas Sumter, a patriotic hero nicknamed the “Fighting Gamecock” of the American Revolutionary War. Sumter is also known in Civil War history as the home of Potter’s Raid, which involved a series of battles and skirmishes from April 8-21, 1865. Making these events especially noteworthy is that the Civil War had officially ended on April 9, 1865, but word of that news hadn’t reached Sumter yet.  Many Civil War tours begin at the Sumter Convention & Visitors Bureau on West Liberty Street, where a variety of maps and guides are available. Some of the interesting Civil War sites in the county are:  Town of Manning  After arriving by sea at Georgetown, Union raiders led by Brigadier Gen. Edward Potter marched inland toward Sumter in April 1865, and first reached the town of Manning. The raiders burned warehouses, barns and cotton, and today there is a Manning archives building and old city library that detail the events.  Battle of Dingle’s Mill  At Dingle’s Mill, Potter’s large army of Union troops were held off for several hours by 154 Confederate troops who used rifles and two old cannons. The defenders were eventually outflanked and driven back, but many Union soldiers lost their lives. Two replica cannons and an information kiosk are at Dingle’s Mill today.  Sumter Cemetery  A number of Confederate veterans are buried there, including three lieutenants who were awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor for their efforts fighting the Union army during Potter’s Raid. Also buried there is Citadel cadet George “Tuck” Haynsworth, considered to be the man to fire the first shot in the Civil War. He fired on the USS Star of the West in an attempt to resupply Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in January 1861.  Yankee Camp Site  The site is located on West Calhoun Street in Sumter, and is where a federal military garrison occupied Sumter during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. The Freedmen’s Bureau for the Sumter area was also located here, and handled all matters concerning the freed slaves. Read about more history in Sumter, SC

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