Fort Sumter: Who attacked Who?

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.
  • Steamship Star of the West, with reinforcements for Major Anderson, approaching Fort Sumter.jpgJanuary 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.

1860s, 1960s:
Same question.
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.

Artwork depicting a battle scene with a stone fort at center surrounded by water. The fort is on fire and shells explode in the air above it.

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?

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