Apr 12, 1861 CE: Battle of Fort Sumter

Apr 12, 1861 CE: Battle of Fort Sumter

On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces attacked the military garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, starting the United States Civil War.


4 - 11


Social Studies, U.S. History

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On April 12, 1861, forces from the Confederate States of America attacked the United States military garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Less than two days later, the fort surrendered. No one was killed. The battle, however, started the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history. Seven states, including South Carolina, had seceded from the U.S. months earlier. Attempts by President James Buchanan to supply U.S. troops at Fort Sumter had failed. When new President Abraham Lincoln (in office just over a month) told South Carolina’s governor that he, too, would try to supply U.S. troops at the fort, South Carolina demanded all U.S. troops evacuate Fort Sumter immediately. U.S. troops did not evacuate, but, met with overwhelming force, surrendered on April 13. The Confederate victory at the Battle of Fort Sumter resulted in enormous support for military action from both the North and South. President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion, while four more states joined the Confederacy.

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National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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