Castle Pinckney

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Castle Pinckney (1810-1890) - First established as a Second System fortification in 1810 as Castle Pinckney on the site of earlier Fort Pinckney. Named after Colonel Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Revolutionary War hero and statesman. Abandoned in 1890.

Castle Pinckney from the Fort Sumter Boat
Castle Pinckney Information Sign at Fort Sumter
Castle Pinckney


Part of the Harbor Defense of Charleston.

Built on Shutes Folly Island in Charleston Harbor 1809-1810. The fort was located at the site of an earlier log and earthworks fortification named Fort Pinckney (1798-1804). The earlier fort was destroyed by a hurricane 8 Sep 1804 shortly after it was completed.

The new masonry fort was constructed as one of three castle type forts, it was started in 1809 and completed in 1810. Initially served as the only protection for the port of Charleston until Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter were built.

U.S. Civil War

On 27 Dec 1860 South Carolina forces seized Castle Pinckney from Federal troops and garrisoned it with Confederate troops. The fort was used to confine Union prisoners and store supplies. The fort remained in Confederate hands until 18 Feb 1865 when Union troops re-garrisoned the fort.

After the war, the fort was in caretaker status and used for storage. The fort deteriorated and was in such bad condition by 1890 that it was sealed and filled with sand and a harbor lighthouse was built on the structure. Some small improvements were made before the Spanish-American War but the post was never armed for that conflict. The lighthouse was abandoned in 1917.

Castle Pinckney was declared a National Monument in 1924 but on 29 Mar 1956, that status was revoked. In 1970 it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Current Status

Castle Pinckney in 2018 Taken from Charleston.

The property is currently owned by South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA). Not accessible except by private boat with permission, deteriorating. The guns were originally abandoned in place so some may still be on the site.

In 2011 the State Ports Authority board agreed to give what remains of the brick fortress to the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1269, for a token payment of $10. A flag now files over the fort site (2018).

Location: Castle Pinckney, Shutes Folly Island, Charleston County, South Carolina.

Maps & Images

Lat: 32.77364 Long: -79.911



Visited: 22 Feb 2018, 23 Jan 2010 Area Visit

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