The Battery (Charleston)

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Two ten-inch Columbiads at the South Battery guard Charleston Harbor (1863)
Closeup of Columbiad at South Battery (1863)

The Battery is a landmark defensive seawall and promenade in Charleston, South Carolina, famous for its stately antebellum homes. It stretches along the lower shores of the Charleston peninsula, bordered by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, which meet here to form Charleston harbor. Historically, it has been understood to extend from the beginning of the seawall at the site of the former Omar Shrine Temple (40-44 East Bay Street) to the intersection of what is now Murray Boulevard and King Street. The higher part of the promenade, paralleling East Battery, as the street is known south of Water Street, to the intersection of Murray Boulevard, is known as High Battery. Fort Sumter is visible from the Cooper River side (High Battery) and the point, as is Castle Pinckney, the World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10), Fort Moultrie, and Sullivan's Island.

Fort Broughton (ca. 1735) and Fort Wilkins (during the American Revolution and War of 1812) occupied White or Oyster Point, so named because of the piles of bleached oyster shells on the point at the tip of the peninsula. In the 18th century, rocks and heavy materials were used to fortify the shore of the Cooper River on the eastern side of the peninsula. In 1838, this area of the Battery, known as High Battery, became a promenade. First used as a public park in 1837, the area now known as White Point Garden became a place for artillery during the American Civil War.

White Point Garden (often incorrectly referred to as "White Point Gardens") boasts many large southern live oak trees, a bandstand (1907), a few memorials, and pieces of artillery, some of which were used during the United States Civil War. A monument commemorates the hanging near that site of pirate captain Stede Bonnet and his crew in 1718, as well as the 1719 hanging of Richard Worley's pirates. The monument states that 29 of Bonnet's crew were executed close by. Although 29 of Bonnet's crew were sentenced to death, the evidence suggests that only 22 were actually hanged.[1]

In popular speech and in a number of unofficial guidebooks and Web sites, The Battery and White Point Garden are sometimes referred to as "Battery Park," but the park and seawall promenade are not regarded by the City of Charleston as a single entity, and the term "Battery Park" is not an official designation.

The Battery in ruins from shellfire, April, 1865
A historic home on the Battery.

See also

Media related to Battery Park (Charleston) at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ Thomas Bayley Howell & William Cobbett, A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemanors, Vol. XV, London, 1816, p. 1290.