Fort Sumter, the battle that started the Civil War. Who started the fight, and why? And where is that fort, anyhow?
Where is Fort Sumter?
An island fortress with cannons overlooking Charleston Harbor – a place where two rivers meet the Atlantic Ocean. Excellent for shipping = Excellent for blocking shipping.
When did Fort Sumter take up arms?
- Dec 20, 1860: S. Carolina seceded from the Union .
- Dec 26, 1860: Major Robert Anderson moved his small command of Federal soldiers from a weak position to the stronger island fort.
- Six more states seceded. S. Carolina, first state in a newly independent Confederacy, demanded that all Union forces leave.
- January 9, 1861: President James Buchanan sent an unarmed merchant ship to resupply the fort. S. Carolina fired on the ship from the shore.
- President Buchanan, with only 2 months left to his presidency, didn’t acknowledge the opening shots of the American Civil War. Maybe the new president could fix things.
- Meanwhile, Gen. Beauregard of S Carolina tightened the siege on the fort.
Different North/South Civil War.
What if they they gave a war
and nobody came?
- March 1861: President Lincoln sworn into office.
- Lincoln notified Gov of S Carolina that he is sending supply ships.
- Governor insisted that Lincoln evacuate the Fort, on Confederate territory.
- Major Anderson refused to leave.
- April 12, 1861, 4.30 AM: Confederates bombarded the fort from artillery batteries surrounding the harbor.
- April 13: Major Anderson surrendered after 34 hours of fighting.
- Irony: No one died during the fighting, but at the surrender ceremony, a canon exploded and killed 2 Union soldiers.
- Lincoln called for soldiers.
- 4 more states seceded.
The Civil Was ON, DUDES.
Tightly Focused Research Question: What would newspapers in Philadelphia be reporting during these months, and how much of that would filter down to a school kid?
All this research for maybe two pages of story, maybe a chapter. Who knows?