Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter is located on the South side of Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. Construction of the fort started in 1829 by the United States, just recently formed, to safeguard the South Carolina coastline. The fort was named after a distinguished South Carolinian Revolutionary War hero. Fort Sumter was constructed in the form of many other historical forts of the 1800\'s. It had four perpendicular walls that were 170-190 feet in length. These barriers were a towering fifty feet above the water and were five feet thick. The walls of the fort were made of island sea shells and granite. The fort had three gray colored tiers. The first tier was the gorge or ravine. It was used for security against enemies who were on foot. A sally port pierced the center of the gorge, opening onto a wharf. The second tier held the officers\' lodges and the soldiers living quarters. The third tier was the zone where the mounted guns and cannons were located. Fort Sumter was built to hold 650 soldiers and had room to accommodate 135 mounted guns and cannons. But by December 1860 the fort was only ninety percent completed, with only fifteen cannons mounted and ready to fire.
Major Robert Anderson was a Kentucky career soldier who was stationed with his men at Fort Moultrie. He decided to move his eighty- five men to Fort Sumter because it was farther from the shore than Fort Moultrie. Anderson\'s men had an abundant amount of shot, shells, and powder. But they had very few friction primers, cartridge bags, or musket casings. Food was also very scarce in the fort. The men mainly ate grains and drank water. The men at Fort Sumter were running low on supplies. Because the Confederates had blocked off all routes , Union ships could not come down the shore to bring reinforcements that would help the men at the fort. On January 9, 1861, the ship Star of the West came to bring supplies, food, and 200 reinforcements to Fort Sumter. When men at the fort saw this they were filled with great hope. The ship retreated as soon as they were fired at by Confederate soldiers.
The battle at Fort Sumter began on April 12, 1861, early in the morning. Weeks prior to the battle, General Scott had advised President Lincoln to evacuate armed forces from Fort Sumter. Many feel that Lincoln waited too long to act upon his suggestion. The men of Fort Sumter were attacked by over 6000 South Carolinian Confederate militiamen. The leader of the Confederates was Brigadier General Beauregard. He gave Major Anderson until 4:00 A.M., on April 12, 1861, to surrender. Anderson, however, refused to give up the fort to Confederate control. Captain George S. James ordered the first shots to be fired. The first shot was discharged by Congressmen Pryor of Virginia, a very esteemed southerner. The Union men defended the fort for thirty- four hours, but on April 13, 1861, Fort Sumter fell to the Confederacy. After the battle, the fort was damaged, but not demolished. The soldiers\' quarters were burned unfavorably and the main gates were ruined by cannon\'s fire, but nothing was beyond reconstruction. The gorge was dreadfully injured and the depositories were left in flaring flame. Fort Sumter was possessed by the Confederates from 1861-1865. Seven million pounds of metal were shot at Fort Sumter during the battle. Close to 46,000 shells were fired at the fort by the Confederate soldiers. Surprisingly during the whole battle not a single man was killed or severely injured by a soldier from the other side. One Union artillerist was killed and three were wounded when a cannon exploded in the battle for reasons unknown. This happened when firing a warning shot during the evacuation of Union troops. In 1863 the Union made a serious effort to retain the fort from Confederate control. It took two years, however, for them to be successful. On February 17, 1865, the Union regained domination of Fort Sumter. When the Civil War ended, Fort Sumter presented a very desolate appearance. Fort Sumter held many heroes and proved to be a significant event in the Civil War because it was the first meeting of the North and South. Fort Sumter was made