Southern forces attack Fort Sumter

Over the next few days, Beau-regard tried to convince Anderson to surrender. But Anderson, who had been one of Beauregard's instructors at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York, refused to give in. The Confederate assault on Fort Sumter was launched early in the morning of April 12, 1861. All day long, Confederate guns under Beaure-gard's command rained fire on the fort held by the rebel commander's former teacher. As the onslaught continued, pockets of flame and smoke erupted around the outpost, a sight that delighted the many Charleston citizens watching the battle unfold from their rooftops. Anderson and his men put up a brave defense in hopes of holding their foes off until help arrived, but rough seas and indecision slowed Fox's fleet, and they were never able to lend a hand. Finally, after enduring more than thirty-four hours of cannonfire, the Union troops

100 Gun Salute Fort Sumter
The Confederate flag flies following the South's victory over the North at Fort Sumter on April 4, 1861. (Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.)

ran out of ammunition. No longer able to defend the fort, Anderson was forced to surrender on April 13. The defeat saddened Anderson, although he took comfort in the knowledge that none of his men had been killed in the assault.

One day later, Anderson and his troops assembled to evacuate the fort as Fox's fleet watched helplessly from just outside the harbor. Beaure-gard had agreed to let the Union soldiers give the tattered American flag that they had defended a 100-gun salute before lowering it and leaving the fort. Midway through the salute, however, one of the cannons exploded. Private Daniel Hough died in the explosion, and Private Edward Galloway died a few days later from injuries suffered in the accident. Hough and Galloway thus became the first casualties in a war that would ultimately claim more than 620,000 American lives.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment