Skip to comments.April 12, 1861 The War Between The States Begins!
Posted on 04/12/2007 9:34:54 AM PDT by TexConfederate1861
On March 5, 1861, the day after his inauguration as president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln received a message from Maj. Robert Anderson, commander of the U.S. troops holding Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The message stated that there was less than a six week supply of food left in the fort.
Attempts by the Confederate government to settle its differences with the Union were spurned by Lincoln, and the Confederacy felt it could no longer tolerate the presense of a foreign force in its territory. Believing a conflict to be inevitable, Lincoln ingeniously devised a plan that would cause the Confederates to fire the first shot and thus, he hoped, inspire the states that had not yet seceded to unite in the effort to restore the Union.
On April 8, Lincoln notified Gov. Francis Pickens of South Carolina that he would attempt to resupply the fort. The Confederate commander at Charleston, Gen.P.G.T. Beauregard, was ordered by the Confederate government to demand the evacuation of the fort and if refused, to force its evacuation. On April 11, General Beauregard delivered the ultimatum to Anderson, who replied, "Gentlemen, if you do not batter the fort to pieces about us, we shall be starved out in a few days." On direction of the Confederate government in Montgomery, Beauregard notified Anderson that if he would state the time of his evacuation, the Southern forces would hold their fire. Anderson replied that he would evacuate by noon on April 15 unless he received other instructions or additional supplies from his government. (The supply ships were expected before that time.) Told that his answer was unacceptable and that Beauregard would open fire in one hour, Anderson shook the hands of the messengers and said in parting, "If we do not meet again in this world, I hope we may meet in the better one." At 4:30 A.M. on April 12, 1861, 43 Confederate guns in a ring around Fort Sumter began the bombardment that initiated the bloodiest war in American history.
In her Charleston hotel room, diarist Mary Chesnet heard the opening shot. "I sprang out of bed." she wrote. "And on my knees--prostrate--I prayed as I never prayed before." The shelling of Fort Sumter from the batteries ringing the harbor awakened Charleston's residents, who rushed out into the predawn darkness to watch the shells arc over the water and burst inside the fort. Mary Chesnut went to the roof of her hotel, where the men were cheering the batteries and the women were praying and crying. Her husband, Col. James Chesnut, had delivered Beauregard's message to the fort. "I knew my husband was rowing around in a boat somewhere in that dark bay," she wrote, "and who could tell what each volley accomplished of death and destruction?"
Inside the fort, no effort was made to return the fire for more than two hours. The fort's supply of ammunition was ill-suited for the task at hand, and because there were no fuses for their explosive shells, only solid shot could be used against the Rebel batteries. The fort's biggest guns, heavy Columbiads and eight-inch howitzers, were on the top tier of the fort and there were no masonry casemates to protect the gunners, so Anderson opted to use only the casemated guns on the lower tier. About 7:00 A.M., Capt. Abner Doubleday, the fort's second in command, was given the honor of firing the first shot in defense of the fort. The firing continued all day, the federals firing slowly to conserve ammunition. At night the fire from the fort stopped, but the confederates still lobbed an occasional shell in Sumter.
Although they had been confined inside Fort Sumter for more than three months, unsupplied and poorly nourished, the men of the Union garrison vigorously defended their post from the Confederate bombardment that began on the morning of April 12, 1861. Several times, red-hod cannonballs had lodged in the fort's wooden barracks and started fires. But each time, the Yankee soldiers, with a little help from an evening rainstorm, had extinguished the flames. The Union garrison managed to return fire all day long, but because of a shortage of cloth gunpowder cartridges, they used just six of their cannon and fired slowly.
The men got little sleep that night as the Confederate fire continued, and guards kept a sharp lookout for a Confederate attack or relief boats. Union supply ships just outside the harbor had been spotted by the garrison, and the men were disappointed that the ships made no attempt to come to their relief.
After another breakfast of rice and salt pork on the morning of April 13, the exhausted Union garrison again began returning cannon fire, but only one round every 10 minutes. Soon the barracks again caught fire from the Rebel hot shot, and despite the men's efforts to douse the flames, by 10:00 A.M. the barracks were burning out of control. Shortly thereafter, every wooden structure in the fort was ablaze, and a magazine containing 300 pounds of gunpowder was in danger of exploding. "We came very near being stifled with the dense livid smoke from the burning buildings," recalled one officer. "The men lay prostrate on the ground, with wet hankerchiefs over their mouths and eyes, gasping for breath."
The Confederate gunners saw the smoke and were well aware of the wild uproar they were causing in the island fort. They openly showed their admiration for the bravery of the Union garrison by cheering and applauding when, after a prolonged stillness, the garrison sent a solid shot screaming in their direction.
"The crasing of the shot, the bursting of the shells, the falling of the walls, and the roar of the flames, made a pandemonium of the fort," wrote Capt. Abner Doubleday on the afternoon of April 13, 1861. He was one of the Union garrison inside Fort Sumter in the middle of South Carolina's Charleston harbor. The fort's large flag staff was hit by fire from the surrounding Confederate batteries, and the colors fell to the ground. Lt. Norman J. Hall braved shot and shell to race across the parade ground to retrieve the flag. Then he and two others found a substitute flagpole and raised the Stars and Stripes once more above the fort.
Once the flag came down, Gen. P.G.T. Beaugregard, who commanded the Confederate forces, sent three of his aides to offer the fort's commander, Union Maj. Robert Anderson, assistance in extinguishing the fires. Before they arrived they saw the garrison's flag raised again, and then it was replaced with a white flag. Arriving at the fort, Beaugregard's aides were informed that the garrison had just surrendered to Louis T. Wigfall, a former U.S. senator from Texas. Wigfall, completely unauthorized, had rowed out to the fort from Morris Island, where he was serving as a volunteer aide, and received the surrender of the fort. The terms were soon worked out, and Fort Sumter, after having braved 33 hours of bombardment, its food and ammunition nearly exhausted, fell on April 13, 1861, to the curshing fire power of the Rebels. Miraculously, no one on either side had been killed or seriously wounded.
The generous terms of surrender allowed Anderson to run up his flag for a hunderd-gun salute before he and his men evacuated the fort the next day. The salute began at 2:00 P.M. on April 14, but was cut short to 50 guns after an accidental explosion killed one of the gunners and mortally wounded another. Carrying their tattered banner, the men marched out of the fort and boarded a boat that ferried them to the Union ships outside the harbor. They were greeted as heroes on their return to the North.
In Memory of the Gallant Southern Soldiers who died defending their Constitutional Rights!
All Confederates were Democrats:
The roles were reversed in 1861.
The Republicans were Liberals in that time period.
So your point is what?
The roles were reversed in 1861.
The Republicans were Liberals in that time period.
So your point is what?
As in the movie? :)
Southern Shot and Steel ping
Defending the U.S. Constitution has always been the core mission of the Republican Party, from 1854 to today, against traitors during the Civil War and during the War on Terror.
Thanks for the ping SB
NO - as in
1 a : praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent : RENOWN b : worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving
2 a : something that secures praise or renown
3 a (1) : great beauty and splendor :
4 a : a state of great gratification or exaltation
b : a height of prosperity or achievement
And now they are Republicans.
God bless the United States of America and our great Constitution.
fyi, that is your REPUTATION on FR.
laughing AT you.
Not so. And I will thank you to keep your ugly comments about my ancestors to yourself. Defending one’s right to property and self-government isn’t treason.
Rather twisted logic, who were the traitors during the Revolutionary war. One mans traitor is another mans hero.
Absolutely. Anderson was a brave son of the South as well.
I agree. Thanks!
the blood of a MILLION Americans is on the hands of lincoln & his merry band of thieves/south-HATERS/thugs & on the hands of NOBODY else.
Meanwhile, Davis ingeniously devised a plan that would cause unseceded slave states to spring to the defense of their southern brothers.
Each plan was about 50% effective. There were eight unseceded slave states on April 12, 1865. Four promptly seceded. Four eventually remained in the Union. One slave state, Virginia, itself split in two.
Is this “Grand Old Partisan” reborn?
Looks awfully suspicious......:)
All right!! Someone who knows the truth.
I am not sure exactly when the parties switched positions or who is responsible. I have argued that FDR did it, but other FReepers have made convincing arguments for various other times and individuals.
SHHHHH!! We are trying to teach our prozac nation not to question the media and Washington. We can’t have the truth spoken. People might actually find out how we have been rewriting history over the years.
O, I’m a good old Rebel,
Now that’s just what I am,
For this “Fair Land of Freedom”
I do not care at all;
I’m glad I fit against it —
I only wish we’d won,
And I don’t want no pardon
For anything I done.
I hates the Constitution,
This Great Republic too,
I hates the Freedman’s Buro,
In uniforms of blue;
I hates the nasty eagle,
With all his brags and fuss,
The lyin’, thievin’ Yankees,
I hates ‘em wuss and wuss.
I hates the Yankee nation
And everything they do,
I hates the Declaration
Of Independence too;
I hates the glorious Union —
‘Tis dripping with our blood —
I hates their striped banner,
I fit it all I could.
I followed old mass’ Robert
For four year, near about,
Got wounded in three places
And starved at Pint Lookout;
I cotch the rheumatism
A campin’ in the snow,
But I killed a chance of Yankees,
I’d like to kill some mo’.
Three hundred thousand Yankees
Is stiff in Southern dust;
We got three hundred thousand
Before they conquered us;
They died of Southern fever
And Southern steel and shot,
I wish they was three million
Instead of what we got.
I can’t take up my musket
And fight ‘em now no more,
But I ain’t going to love ‘em,
Now that is sarten sure;
And I don’t want no pardon
For what I was and am,
I won’t be reconstructed
And I don’t care a damn.
And what is your idea of the truth?
And Ike had a picture of our beloved General Lee on his desk.
Hey 54th North Carolina, whose got your battle flag?
That would be the Gen. Lee Lincoln wanted to command the Union!!
Still beating on that dead horse, I see.
I was stationed in Charleston. I know it well. :)
I suppose there were some members of the Constitutional Unionist party among the Confederates.
Really? Explain NAFTA. Explain the millions of illegals flooded into this country at the behest of our republican president. Explain the continued use of the phrase "jobs Americans won't do" as an excuse to let lawbreakers take American jobs.Explain to me why the President is allowing 17,000 Mexican truckers to enter this country and haul loads that will not be subject to any of the trucking laws that our current truckers are.
Neither party is interested in the Constitution.Their interested in one thing: Power. And I fear the only thing that will save this country is a repeat of history: Hopefully those that still believe in the Constitution will win this time.
3rd S.C. Cav...not 54th N.C.
Be nice now, Mister MassafreakinChoosets.
Google is celebrating not Fort Sumter, but the flight of the Soviet satellite Vostok I, which took place on this date in 1961.
We wouldn’t want anyone today to know Patton, one of our greatest generals, was proud of a Confederate. Our legislative powers that be probably shudder at the thought.
Whew...strong words, indeed! Still, Lincoln never lifted a scalp of his enemy and old Gen. Watie, well... Deo vendice!
I’m proud of Gen. Patton and Gen Lee. They both proved themselves to be brave and honorable. I pray we have men in our ranks just like them.
I agree. We just don’t want to masses to know. They might revolt.