A small Fortress located in Charleston Harbor (South Carolina), Pinckney was built in 1810 – along with many noted Harbor Forts within Charleston Harbor. Constructed during America's “rush” to built as many Coastal Defense points as possible, Pinckney took on an almost “Medieval” appearance, hence it's title as “Castle”. An original wood and stone structure occupied the location in 1797. By The War of 1812, Pinckney was bristling with Coastal guns and garrisoned with 200 men. They waited for a British invasion that never came. Deemed too costly to maintain, by 1816 the “Castle” sat ungarrisoned and in great disrepair. It was primarily used to store gunpowder and munitions for Forts Sumter and Moultrie.
At the start of hostilities during The War Between The States, Castle Pinckney was taken by Rebel Forces and stocked with 28 Cannon (mostly large caliber, heavy Coastal guns). Pinckney served as one of the “first” Prisons used by The Confederates for captured Union soldiers. After the first major land battle of The War (Bull Run, Virginia) – some 150 “Yankee” soldiers were incarcerated there. In the “beginning”, The Rebels were much kinder to their prisoners. The Union soldiers were allowed to roam the “Castle” during the day (and were only locked away at night). However, by the end of 1861 – Castle Pinckney as a Military Prison ceased. Prisoners were remove to the soon to be “infamous” Libby Prison (in Virginia).Pinckney (unlike other Civil War Harbor Forts), - was not “rendered” (destroyed). It survived until after The War.
Modernized for The Spanish-American War (1890s), it was not pressed into service.Plans were initiated to build a Lighthouse (and even an “Old Soldier's Home”) - at The Castle. All plans fell through. Made into a National Monument in 1924, (and still in Army hands) – The Military gave up all right to The Castle in 1956. Due to high maintenance (in part to the battering climate of The Atlantic), The Federal Government sold Castle Pinckney to the local Sons of Confederate Veterans Post in 2011. The Organization now maintains The Castle. Castle Pinckney is one of the few National Historic Parks ran and maintained by Private sources and funds.