Fort Sumter – The war began when Fort Sumter was taken by the Confederates
The Confederates fought to surmount and terrorise (Fort Sumter) the fort.
Abraham Lincoln's election as President of the United States in November 1860 brought to a head the issue of slavery.
In response to Lincoln's success, seven Southern States seceded from (left) the Union. They preferred to try to set up their own government rather than lose their slaves who, by this time, formed a significant percentage of the Southern States' population and were considered vital to the economic success of the South's vast plantations and other agricultural interests.
The first state to secede from the Union was South Carolina, on December 20, 1860.
By February 1861, another six states had joined the new Confederate States of America (others followed later).
These seven Confederate states demanded that United States property be handed over to them, including military sites. The Lincoln administration refused, although it tried not to provoke armed conflict over the issue.
When a Union ship was sent to resupply the military garrison of Fort Sumter in the harbour at Charleston, South Carolina, the ship – the Star of the West – was turned away by Confederate guns.
Subsequent talks failed to resolve the issue. On April 2, 1861, in the early hours, the Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter. The following day, the garrison commander surrendered the fort.
The firing on Fort Sumter marked the start of the American Civil War.
The war resulted in victory for the Union, but not before more than 620,000 lives had been lost.
Interesting fact: There was a second battle of Fort Sumter, when Union forces tried to retake it in September 1863. The attempt failed, but the fort was largely reduced to rubble. It remained in Confederate hands until the Union's General Sherman marched through the South in February 1865.