The Citadel


By: Staff Editor, Charleston Harbor Tours
October 10, 2007

The Citadel was originally intended to be an arsenal and guard house for the protection of the city of Charleston.  It wasn’t until 1842, thirteen years after the building was finished, that the Citadel was converted into an educational institution in response to Governor John P. Richardson’s request that the performance of the city’s guards be enhanced by a required educational program.

A similar facility created in Columbia, South Carolina, became known as the Arsenal, and in 1845 was designated as the educational institution for first year cadets. Cadets did their proceeding three years of schooling at the Citadel in Charleston. The Arsenal and the Citadel became known collectively as the South Carolina Military Academy, and won itself a reputation for having high academic standards and superior discipline.

During the Civil War, the cadets from the Arsenal and Citadel became known as the “Battalion of State Cadets”.  Although they both remained academies, the cadets also actively fought in the war, participating in battles when the governor called them to service.  In 1865, Union troops occupied the Citadel and it was forced to cease operations. The Arsenal was burned and never reopened thereafter.

In 1882 the Citadel triumphantly reopened as a military college. In 1910 it was given the official name of “The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina”.  Charleston bestowed 176 acres of land on the Ashley River in Charleston for a new campus for the school. The Citadel still stands in this location today. The beautiful campus has 24 buildings and educates an average of 1900 cadets.


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