This Historic Hike In South Carolina Will Lead You To A Haunting Civil War Memorial
South Carolina has a multitude of historic forts, and locations of
previous forts, that one can visit and walk in the footsteps of the men who served their cause throughout history. From famous Civil War forts like Fort Sumter to historic battlefields such as the one found in Camden, the historic sites in South Carolina are honored for their significance in the history of our state and our country.
But there is one historic fort that is underrated and not as well known as the other bigger and more battle-centric locations of the past.
The fort, Fort Howell, is located on Hilton Head and is unique in so many ways it deserves to be in the spotlight. It's also very worthy of a visit.
And while a hike through Fort Howell doesn't exactly deliver a brick and mortar fort, the grounds do still have evidence of the earthen fort once placed here.
But that's not what makes this fort a bit haunting...
It's the painted metal sculptures from a local artist that represent the men who served at Fort Howell.
And we'll get to those, but first, a little background about this unique fort.
You see, the slaves in the Hilton Head area were the first to be freed during the Civil War. And this was their home so they built themselves a community called Mitchelville.
But the federal troops soon figured out that the newly freed slaves were vulnerable and needed some protection. So Fort Howell was constructed with a two-fold mission: protect Mitchelville, and guard the surrounding area from attack.
Now back to those unique, yet haunting, sculptures at Fort Howell.
As you hike around the grounds of Fort Howell, these sculptures tell several stories about the people who once occupied the fort. The one above is a metal sculpture representing Harriett Tubman, a former slave, scout, spy and nurse who came to Fort Howell during the war. (Tubman was also at Fort Johnson outside Charleston for a short period.)
On that note, you'll also find a marker declaring Fort Howell a site of the Underground Railroad.
There are many of the metal sculptures throughout the fort, making the haunting hike also an educational journey into the past.
Each one has a marker to explain whom the figure is meant to represent.
And while there are no legendary tales of ghosts or even haunted happenings at Fort Howell, this hike inspires a haunted notion of another kind. The kind where the visual reminders of the people who lived, worked and maybe even died here touch your very soul and inspire you to take a step back in time.
Fort Howell is a historic fort that had a primary function of guarding the first freed slave settlement during the Civil War. That settlement was called Mitchelville.
Today, the fort is maintained by the Hilton Head Island Land Trust.
Fort Howell is located at 160 Beach City Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC 29926, near the airport. The hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Admission is free.
To visit another historic Civil War location in South Carolina, check out
this previous article.
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