Fort Sumter is a coastal fort located along the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. Fort Sumter was named after Thomas Sumter, a general and Revolutionary war patriot. The fort was one of the many coast forts built in the southern part of the United States. The construction of Fort Sumter started in 1827, and remained unfinished until 1861, when the Civil war started. The Confederates who occupied Fort Sumter built a sand bar, which continues to dawn the entrance to the harbor of Charleston. The fort has five brick sides, each 170 to 190 feet long, with walls standing 50 feet tall and with a thickness of about 5 feet. The capacity of the fort is for 650 army men and 135 guns. The first shots that sparked the beginning of the American civil war were directed to this fort, resulting in the famous 'Battle of Fort Sumter.' It was April 12, 1861 when the Confederates opened fire at the fort for 34 straight hours. The following day, the Union troops surrendered and turned the fort's command to the Confederates. The Union troops attempted to reclaim Fort Sumter in April 7, 1863, but to no avail. The U.S. Army restored the fort after the war. It then served as a lighthouse from 1867 to 1876.