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      Visitation hits record level where Civil War began

      Spectators gathered along the banks of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers last April to watch the ceremonial first shell launched across the sky in Charleston, commemorating the Civil War. (File/WCIV)

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- They've made more history at one of America's most famous historic sites.

      A record 328,000 people took the ferry to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor last year to see where the Civil War began. That's up almost 16 percent from 2010.

      And the trend continues. So far this year, visitation to the fort is up more than 11 percent over the first three months of last year. Easter time is the busiest time of year at the fort.

      Dawn Davis, the chief ranger at the Fort Sumter National Monument, says the war's 150th anniversary has a lot to do it. She says the fort has always drawn Civil War buffs but now people just curious about the war are coming.

      And, she says, many more school children are visiting Sumter.

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