Battle of Fort Sumter Timeline (April 12th - 14th, 1861)


The Battle of Fort Sumter marked the official start of the American Civil War - the first shots of the conflict were fired there.

Fort Sumter had been built as a defensive position looking towards the Atlantic for British warships. It was located strategically at the mouth of Charleston Harbor to which all manner of shipping passed through on a given day. It held ranged firepower against the Charleston city shoreline and could also reach out to incoming warships miles away. When South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of 1860, this opened the Fort up to new ownership - the Confederates bombarded it beginning on April 12th and claimed it by April 14th. The first shots of the Civil War had been fired and the South drew first-blood.

The Fort was under Southern ownership until the end of the war for it was not until February of 1865 that the Confederates evacuated the battered structure under pressure from General Sherman's advancing forces. The flag of the United States of America was raised once more over the Fort on April 14th, 1865.

There are a total of [ 16 ] Battle of Fort Sumter Timeline (April 12th - 14th, 1861) events in the CivilWarTimeline.net database. Entries are listed below by date-of-occurrence ascending (first-to-last). Other leading and trailing events are also included for perspective.


Civil War battle map
Union flag
COMMAND(S):
Robert Anderson
ARMY FORCE(S):
1st United States Artillery
STRENGTH:
85 men
CASUALTIES*:
0 men (0.0%)


* Includes killed, wounded, and missing.
Confederate flag
CONFEDERATE VICTORY
COMMAND(S):
P.G.T. Beauregard
ARMY FORCE(S):
Provisional Forces
STRENGTH:
3,250 men
CASUALTIES*:
0 men (0.0%)


* Includes killed, wounded, and missing.
FORCE STRENGTH
Blue Union soldier cap
Grey Confederate soldier cap


Day-by-Day Timeline of Events


December 26, 1860

U.S. Major Robert Anderson evacuates Fort Moultrie and his garrison relocates to Fort Sumter.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
December 27, 1860

Confederate troops take over Fort Moultrie as well as Fort Johnson and Fort Pinkney in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 9, 1861

The steamer "Star of the West", laden with supplies and en route to Fort Sumter in Charleston (South Carolina), is fired upon by land-based cannons.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 12, 1861

Star of the West, a steamer having delivered supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, returns to New York with her battle-damaged hull resulting from a Confederate attack.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 6, 1861

President Lincoln notifies the government of South Carolina that general supplies will be sent to Fort Sumter at Charleston Harbor - he gives his assurances that any strengthening of the position will only be made if the Fort is in danger of attack.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 11, 1861

Event person portrait
General P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate officer, calls for Fort Sumter to surrender. Commanding Union Major Robert Anderson refuses his demand.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 12, 1861

With the refusal by Union forces at Fort Sumter to surrender their post, Confederate forces begin their ranged bombardment of the island.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 12, 1861

At 4:30AM, a gun from Fort Johnson fires a star shell that detonates above Fort Sumter. This is the signal for the surrounding gun batteries to begin shelling the Union-held fort.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 13, 1861

At 2:30AM, Major Robert Anderson surrenders Fort Sumter to the Confederacy.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 14, 1861

Having surrendered, Union forces abandon Fort Sumter.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 24, 1861

Event person portrait
USS Niagra, having arrived from Japan, is dispatched to the Charleston Harbor (South Carolina) area near Fort Sumter.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 29, 1861

Confederate President Jefferson Davis calls a special session of congress to address recent developments - including the capture of Fort Sumter by South Carolinian forces.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date


April 7, 1863

Union ironclads engage the defenses at Fort Sumter but do not manage to break the will of the defenders.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 8, 1863

USS Keokuk is lost following its previous day's participation in the engagement at Fort Sumter.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
September 8, 1863

A night time Union naval attack fails to retake Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The attack is directed by Admiral John Dahlgren.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 14, 1865

The United States Flag once again flies over the walls of Fort Sumter - where the first shots of the war were fired.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
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