Forgotten Forts Series - Fort Palmetto (SC)

NFB22

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Joined
Jun 21, 2012
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Louisville, KY
Fort Palmetto was a Confederate earthwork battery located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina during the Civil War. Early in the war when Robert E. Lee was sent south to help organize the defenses of the Georgia and Carolina coasts, he recognized that a Union force could land to the northeast of Charleston at Bull's Bay and by doing so, could attack the rear of Confederate positions on the eastern side of Charleston Harbor as well as the nearby Sullivan's Island which was heavily fortified.

Lee proposed a defensive line which eventually would become known as the Christ Church Line. The defensive line, which extended for around 2.5 miles, ran from the Boone Hall Plantation to the southeast where it was anchored by Fort Palmetto. The battery measured 160 feet long and was protected by a parapet that measured 15 feet tall. It mounted 3 guns, a 9 inch Dahlgren and two 32 pounders. The emplacements were separated by two earthwork magazines/bombproofs.

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Remains of Fort Palmetto with one of the markers located at the park detailing it's history

Fort Palmetto's armament and location, along what is now known as Gray Bay, allowed for it to deter any Union forces from entering the waterway at nearby Dewees Inlet and attacking Confederate positions located on Sullivan's Island and the mainland from the rear. The fort was garrisoned by a company of South Carolina troops for much of the war and it wasn't until General P.G.T. Beauregard ordered the evacuation of Charleston, that Fort Palmetto and the rest of the Christ Church Line would be abandoned. A few days later, Union troops occupied the deserted fort.

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Recreation of Fort Palmetto from one of the historic markers located at Fort Palmetto Park

Today, Fort Palmetto is the site of the Fort Palmetto Park which is maintained by the town of Mount Pleasant. The park features a 1.5 trail which features multiple historical markers and an observation tower. Surviving earthworks exist on the site and can be viewed by visitors.

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Entrance to Fort Palmetto Park
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
I lived in Mt. Pleasant for nearly a year in the mid-1990s and never knew it was there.
From what I was able to find, there was no big effort to preserve this particular area of the Christ Church Line until the 2000s. That said, I'm glad they did because the earthworks are in pretty good shape considering their location and the toll the elements have taken on them in the last 150+ years.
 

bdtex

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Fort Palmetto was a Confederate earthwork battery located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina during the Civil War. Early in the war when Robert E. Lee was sent south to help organize the defenses of the Georgia and Carolina coasts, he recognized that a Union force could land to the northeast of Charleston at Bull's Bay and by doing so, could attack the rear of Confederate positions on the eastern side of Charleston Harbor as well as the nearby Sullivan's Island which was heavily fortified.
Nice find and thanks for posting.
 

A. Roy

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Sep 2, 2019
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina
Today, Fort Palmetto is the site of the Fort Palmetto Park which is maintained by the town of Mount Pleasant. The park features a 1.5 trail which features multiple historical markers and an observation tower. Surviving earthworks exist on the site and can be viewed by visitors.

Great writeup! My kids have been pushing for a get-together in coastal SC, so the presence of this site might move the needle for me to lend my approval!

Roy B.
 
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