The Battery designates, jointly and separately, the sea wall and park at the southern tip of the Charleston peninsula. In 1670 the first Carolina colonists noted an expanse of sand and bleached oyster shells at the confluence of the Cooper and Ashley Rivers. Their term “Oyster point” originally described the peninsula in general, but after Charleston was relocated to the eastern shore of the peninsula in 1680, the terms “Oyster Point” and “White Point” were used to refer specifically to its southernmost tip.
Although it lay outside the walled boundaries of the early city, White Point represented an important defensive site. Broughton’s Battery (later called Fort Wilkins) was erected on this site in 1737 and served through the 1780s. In the 1750s an earthwork sea wall was built along the Cooper River to Broughton’s Battery and a short distance along the Ashley River. The fort was demolished about 1789, but the sea walls were progressively strengthened. By the time the existing stone and masonry sea wall was completed in 1820, the wall and promenading grounds at the tip of the peninsula were commonly known as “the Battery.” The northern and western boundaries of the point were later enclosed, and in 1837 White Point Garden was designated a municipal park.
During the Civil War the park was transformed into two earthwork forts: Battery Ramsay to the east and the King Street Battery to the west. After the war, these fortifications were removed and the area was again configured as a park. Today, White Point Gardens includes several cannons, memorial tablets, and statues that pay tribute to significant events and people in local history. A memorial bandstand erected in 1907 provides a central focus to the grounds. These features, along with the fine views and promenade afforded by the sea walls, have long made the Battery a popular destination for both locals and visitors.
Ripley, Warren. The Battery, Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston, S.C.: News and Courier, 1977.