Fort Sumter




Imagine that you are standing in a fort 170 ft. by 190 ft. long with brick walls five feet thick. It is 90% complete with only fifteen cannons mounted and ready. You are standing inside the premises of Fort Sumter, located in Charleston, South Carolina. Suddenly, out of nowhere a mortar shell is fired your way from the neighboring Fort Johnson. Sixty-eight Yankee soldiers commanded by Major Robert Anderson found themselves in this very situation 143 years ago on April 12th, 1861.


The gun that fired the first shot of the Civil War belonged to Edmund Ruffin, a Virginian secessionist. Firing of numerous Confederate guns soon followed, starting the battle. For the next 34 hours, confederate soldiers kept shooting shell after shell towards Fort Sumter’s way.


What motivated this notorious gunshot? The previous month Confederate authorities peacefully requested for Union soldiers to evacuate Fort Sumter. Lincoln’s administration refused to surrender the garrison. It was at this point that the president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, decided to take action. He assigned General Beauregard to seize Fort Sumter.


At 4:30 A.M. Beauregard asked for the last time for the Union to surrender. They declined and the Confederacy showered Fort Sumter with an array of gunshots. At 2:30 pm, on April 13th without any casualties the Union surrendered Fort Sumter.


This may be one of the most vital words used to describe what took place during the Civil War. Fort Sumter was the gateway to the most bloodiest war ever in the history of the United States. It was that fatal shot fired on the morning of April 12th, 1861 that verified the battle over state’s rights and slavery.