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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

Fort Sumter and a Ghosts of Charleston Walking Tour

Updated: May 12, 2022

Day 4 - Fort Sumter and the Aiken-Rhett House Tours

Our first stop on day 4 was the Port of Charleston to catch a ferry to Fort Sumter, the location of the first shots fired of the US Civil War. The weather was cloudier and a bit cooler but the sun came out and warmed things up by the end of our tour.

Here's a photo of the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1944, at Patriot's Point in Mount Pleasant. I took this photo from the ferry to Fort Sumter.

Here is the Park Ranger explaining the history of Fort Sumter and the start of the Civil War.

Welcome to Fort Sumter. I was surprised by how small it was. I learned that after the War of 1812 with the British and the bombardment of Fort McHenry, the US government built a dozen or so forts in critical, east coast harbors to protect the entrance to the ports.

Since we were the first tour of the day, the Park Rangers conducted a flag raising ceremony at Fort Sumter. Here's our flag being raised.

After Fort Sumter, we walked about a mile to Hannibal's Soul Kitchen a famous Charleston restaurant featuring authentic soul food. There's a simple menu with a few entrees and specialty dishes. Shelly had ribs and a side dish of red rice, and Kate and I had crab and shrimp rice. Shelly enjoyed her meal, especially the red rice, and the crab and shrimp rice was to die for. It was one of the tastiest meals I have ever had! So if you're in Charleston, make your way to Hannibal's.

On our way back to our Airbnb, we walked to and toured the Aiken-Rhett House, a well-preserved Antebellum house. Built in 1820 by merchant John Robinson, the Aiken-Rhett House is nationally significant as one of the best-preserved townhouse complexes in the nation. Vastly expanded by Governor and Mrs. William Aiken, Jr. in the 1830s and again in the 1850s, the house and its outbuildings include a kitchen, the original slave quarters, carriage block and back lot. The house and its surviving furnishings offer a compelling portrait of urban life in antebellum Charleston, as well as a Southern politician, slaveholder and industrialist. The house spent 142 years in the Aiken family's hands before being sold to the Charleston Museum and opened as a museum house in 1975.

We walked back to Airbnb and napped for a couple hours. I was exhausted, and we all needed a break before our Ghosts of Charleston Walking Tour in the evening.

Day 4 - Ghosts of Charleston Walking Tour

In the evening, we took a Ghosts of Charleston Walking Tour that began at Buxton Books in the French Quarter. It began at the The Circular Congregational Church and ended at the Unitarian Church Cemetery. The tour guide was energetic and passionate, and told stories about tragic events that resulted in ghosts and hauntings at various sites. I like the tour better after reflecting on it than I did at the time of the tour. My legs were tired, and some of the stories were a bit long, but I liked walking down "bloody alley" and hearing the stories about the duels, the ghost at St. Philip's Episcopal Church cemetery, and the Unitarian Crunch Cemetery.

We headed back to our Airbnb and got a great night's sleep. We walked over 7 miles this day, and my legs were really tired and sore. We reviewed our itinerary of our final day of touring tomorrow.

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