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Castle Pinckney 

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Prison Photos

Inside Castle Pinckney      Castle Pinckney

"Not a Death Camp"

Castle Pinckney, located on the small island of Shutes Folly in Charleston Harbor, SC was named for the Revolutionary War hero, Charles C. Pinckney.


A brick and mortar fortress originally built by the Federal Government in 1797 to protect Charleston, it was later to become a Civil War Prison.


When South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, South Carolina Confederate militia took control of Castle Pinckney.   Being the first Federal Fort taken by Confederates, It was then used to protect Charleston Harbor from Union attacks and for a short time, it held Union Civil War prisoners.


Castle Pinckney was one of the Civil War's first POW camps and one of the few not remembered as a "death camp"  The first prisoners were captured at the 1st Battle of Bull Run.  Make shift barracks were created for the prisoners.  Notwithstanding the fact that it WAS a prison, Castle Pinckney inmates experienced comfortable and clean conditions.  There are no existing records of prison escapes from Castle Pinckney and prison life within it's walls was relatively peaceful.


After the prisoners were removed, the small fort standing on this tiny island stood guard against attacks on Charleston by Federal ships.  Earth embankments created and used during the Civil War, can still be seen around the historic fort.  


Castle Pinckney was declared as a National Monument in 1924.  Visitors can see the island and fort by boat but cannot land on the island.  Due to irresponsible relic seekers, It has become a protected monument where only qualified researchers are allowed to visit.  


Newspaper article On Sept 25, 1997: Castle Pinckney to receive dredge spoil.
Castle Pinckney in Charleston Harbor may be used as a spoil site for harbor dredging. It is hoped that surrounding the fort with dredge spoil will protect it from erosion. Environmentalist apparently hope to turn the surrounding island into a bird sanctuary.  

Many efforts to preserve the island and fort (such as above) have been made.  Funding has been an issue in developing the plans made by many and Castle Pinckney has long been in danger.  The Port Authority, who has control of the island has constructed a breakwater to protect this National Monument.

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