That is the question Al Mackey asks at https://studycivilwar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/who-owned-fort-sumter/
That would depend on how you stand on the value and integrity of a binding contract. Mackey gives us some background on the fort(s0 in Charleston harbor, which I will not revisit because I think most people already know the history.
Mackey also gives us South Carolina’s Statues at large which turns over land around Charleston Harbor to the Federal government for building forts for the purpose of PROTECTING CHARLESTON This was part of the plan to build forts on the coastal areas to at least Ship Island, Mississippi for the DEFENSE OF THE UNITED STATES
Mackey goes on to post history of the transaction, which does nothing but confuse the issue. I am going right to the heart of the matter.
Note this agreement between South Carolina and The United States.—
Note the part of this agreement that says the work will be completed in three years. Mackey says nothing in the doc refers to Sumter, holy cow this is an educator and he doesn’t see the line that says “other forts?” No matter if the document as Mackey says does not refer to Sumter as Mackey says —
Nothing in the area covered by the statute pertains to Fort Sumter. Further, the statute was written in 1805, long before building Fort Sumter was ever contemplated, and 1808, which is three years after the statute as delineated within, was also long before Fort Sumter was ever contemplated
Then it just doesn’t. Mackey just admitted he is doing nothing but using smoke and mirrors to try and put the wool over our head.
Mackey then trying to confuse the issue moves to another resolution that covers FORT SUMTER Let us take a look shall we—
HUMMM I see the description of the fort and the same agreements still in place. So what has changed??? Look up just above Castle Pinckney, what date do you see? 1901!!!! Hardly a resolution authorizing the building of Fort Sumter. Mackey’s resolution is a farce!!!!!
Well it is no matter, regardless of who owned Fort Sumter, the fact of the matter is there was a gentleman’s agreement and orders that Maj. Anderson would not do anything to upset the South Carolina commissioners and add fuel to the hostilities. History shows us that order and agreement was not honored.
It is that simple.