The bombardment of Fort Sumter. April 12, 1861 – Confederate forces began firing at Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, starting the American Civil War.
Location: Charleston County, Campaign: Operations in Charleston Harbor (April 1861) Date(s): April 12-14, 1861. Principal Commanders: Maj. Robert Anderson [US]; Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS] Forces Engaged: Regiments: 580 total (US 80; CS est. 500) Estimated Casualties: None
Description: On April 10, 1861, Brig. Gen. Beauregard, in command of the provisional Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina, demanded the surrender of the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Garrison commander Anderson refused. On April 12, Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort, which was unable to reply effectively.
At 2:30 pm, April 13, Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter, evacuating the garrison on the following day. The bombardment of Fort Sumter was the opening engagement of the American Civil War. Although there were no casualties during the bombardment, one Union artillerist was killed and three wounded (one mortally) when a cannon exploded prematurely while firing a salute during the evacuation on April 14.
"The bombardment of Fort Sumter," engraving by unknown artist, 1863. Courtesy of the United States National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
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