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Charleston Civil War Tour

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Charleston Civil War Tour

Join Free Tours by Foot as we bring to life the stories of Charlestonians who lived through four years of hellish conflict, from secession and beyond.

This page provides details of our Charleston Civil War Walking Tour, including tips on directions, times and sights covered.

Tour Description

Known as the 'Cradle of Secession', Charleston was the epicenter of the break-up of the Union.  With the secession convention of 1860, South Carolina became the first state to remove itself from the union.

Exerting its self-proclaimed state's right to withdraw from a government it deemed tyrannical and overbearing, the new southern republic proclaimed its independence and its right to maintain that property it most coveted: slaves.

Join Free Tours by Foot as we bring to life the stories of Charlestonians who lived through four years of hellish conflict, from secession and the first shots fired until surrender, and examine the causes and consequences of this great national tragedy.

Charleston Civil War

Some of the sights and topics we cover on the Charleston Civil War Tour:

  • The beautiful Charleston Waterfront park, and its panoramic view of Ft. Sumter, and in the distance to the other forts that participated in the opening shots of April 12th, 1861.
  • St. Andrew's Hall, known as Secession Hall, where South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession was debated and ratified.
  • The historic Dock Street Theatre, where John Wilkes Booth's father performed Shakespeare to rave reviews before the war.
  • The law office of James Louis Petigru noted barrister and a staunch unionist.....perhaps the only unionist in Charleston during the war!
  • St. Michael's Church, a favorite target of Union artillery, and a valuable watchtower for Confederates.
  • The Mills House Hotel, home to General Robert E. Lee the night of the Great Fire of 1861.
  • The Old Slave Mart, the location of slave auctions from late 1850 through the end of the period.
  • The German Fire Company Headquarters, whose members formed the famous German Artillery Company during the war.
  • the gravesite of John C. Calhoun, statesman, and founder of the secessionist movement.
  • Charleston's Old Exchange Building, which during the Civil War was the post office.
  • and much more!

Tour information

Charleston city regulations allow only 20 participants (including children) per tour guide.  This is a hard cap.  Reservations are required and must be an accurate number of persons, regardless of age.

Where:  Tour meets at the SE corner of Church Street and Linguard Street, next to Tommy Condon's Restaurant.  MAP Look for your guide in orange!

Tour ends at the intersection of Broad and Meeting Streets (map).

Duration: Approximately 2 hours. Approximately 1.5 miles (2k) in distance.

When: This tour is only available as a private option. Please email us if you're interested in a private tour.

GPS Enabled Self Guided Tour of Charleston

Can't make one of our guided tours? No problem, we have recorded some of our best tour guides giving their tours and put them on a GPS enabled app.  We have partnered with Atlantis Audio Tours to provide you with a convenient way to experience our tours.  Each tour offers an off-line option to view the map and hear the audio of each walk so that you don't need to have GPS maps running with the app.

  1. Purchase an Audio Tour
  2. Receive a confirmation email with all the details.
  3. Enjoy the tour(s).

Even if you don't download any tours, you will still have access to valuable information on sightseeing.

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