Secessionville Historical District
Backstory and Context
The Secessionville Historical District is an area of James Island in Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina, set aside to commemorate the antebellum Town of Secessionville and the area's role in the Civil War.
The Town of Secessionville was created prior to the war by wealthy Charleston residents as a summer retreat. It was dubbed "Secessionville" almost jokingly to emphasize the town's part-year residents' attempts to isolate themselves from the remainder of Charleston.
The Union's first attempt to capture Charleston, SC, was rebuffed by Confederate forces at the Battle of Secessionville. Union troops landed on James Island several weeks prior to the battle, fighting multiple skirmishes, until making a focused attack on June 16, 1862, on an encampment named Tower Battery. The battery was later renamed Fort Lamar in honor of the Confederate commander of the battery, Colonel T.G. Lamar. During the battle 6.600 Union soldiers attacked 2,000 Confederates. The Union sustained 685 casualties to the Confederate's 204. The Union forces abandoned their hopes of taking Charleston through James Island and later focused on Morris Island, but never succeeded. An annual reenactment of the battle takes place at Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens.
The Secessionville Historical District includes the remains of Fort Lamar, the battlefield and several large houses which were owned by wealthy James Island plantation owners.