A Sullivan’s Island man has been indicted on charges related to vandalism at a prominent Civil War site in the Charleston harbor.
Federal prosecutors said 21-year-old Noah Sigalas was indicted Tuesday on charges of defacing an archaeological resource and government property at Fort Sumter National Monument. A release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Sigalas visited Fort Sumter in March when he pulled on a support pole which was stabilizing part of a casemate wall along the north flank of the historic structure, causing more than $1,000 in damage.
Fort Sumter’s Chief Ranger for Visitor and Resource Protection Ben Byrnes said the damage was particularly significant, given the damaged bricks were more than 150 years old. “Seeing those unique and original bricks when you visit Fort Sumter is a powerful and humbling experience. These are not cast concrete blocks that are easily replaced,” he said in the release. “There is no machine to make ‘new’ handmade bricks from prior to 1860. Destroying any part of Fort Sumter brick is like literally erasing a page from the history of the United States.”
If convicted, Sigalas faces more than 10 years in prison and nearly $300,000 in fines.
Fort Sumter is famous for being the site of the Civil War’s first shots, when South Carolina militia opened fire on the federal fort shortly after the state seceded in 1861. The federal troops surrendered after a day of bombardment. No one was killed in the battle, although two members of the fort’s garrison died in an explosion during a 100-gun salute after the surrender.