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Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter

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Formerly attributed to Mathew B. Brady (American, born Ireland, 1823?–1896 New York)

Named after revolutionary hero General Thomas Sumter, Fort Sumter was unfinished when the Civil War began. On December 26, 1860, six days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson secretly relocated 127 men of the 1st U.S. Artillery to Fort Sumter thinking that it provides a stronger defense against South Carolina militia attacks. For a few months, South Carolina 's calls for evacuation of Fort Sumter were ignored by Union. On Friday, April 12, 1861, at 4:30 a.m., Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort, firing for 34 straight hours. After two hours, the Union started firing back slowly to conserve ammunition. During the fire, one Confederate soldier and two Union soldiers died. The next day the fort was surrendered. The Fort Sumter Union Flag became a popular patriotic symbol. Efforts to retake the fort began on April 7, 1863. After bombardment, the Union navy's started poorly planned boat assault: 8 Union sailors were killed, 19 wounded, and 105 captured. The Confederates did not suffer any casualties. The bombardment of the fort proceeded with a varying degree of intensity until the end of the war but the fort never surrendered. Sherman's advance forced the Confederates to evacuate Charleston and abandon Fort Sumter. The Union formally took possession of Fort Sumter on February 22, 1865. Fort Sumter was in ruins. After the war, the U.S. Army restored the fort and used it as a military installation until 1948 when the fort became a National Monument.



1861 - 1864


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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