11-14 April – Charleston, SC -Thursday to Sunday. A South Carolina delegation of three men delivered a demand for surrender to Major Robert Anderson at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The message was from Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard and stated that they intended to take “possession of a fortification commanding the entrance of one of their harbors . . . necessary to its defense and security.” They let Anderson know that they would not fire upon his position if he advised them of the time of the evacuation of the Union troops stationed there.
Anderson replied that he also would not fire except in response., but that he would evacuate on 15 April if he did not receive supplies coming from the Federal government. The Confederates were aware that a supply ship was en route and deemed the answer unsatisfactory. At 0430 on Friday a signal shot opened a barrage from the other batteries in rotation. Anderson had a garrison of 85 officers and men as well as over forty laborers who worked in the fort. They began to return fire at 0700.
On Saturday, after thirty-four hours of bombardment, a rash of fires and destruction, and some minor injuries, Fort Sumter capitulated. The formal surrender ceremony occurred on Sunday at which time was the only fatality. When the colors changed and the fifty-gun salute concluded, there was an accidental explosion in a pile of ammunition that killed a Union private and injured several others.
Major Anderson, a Kentuckian, remarked that “Our Southern brethren have done grievously wrong. . . . They must be punished and brought back, but this necessity breaks my heart.”
South Carolina Governor Francis W. Pickens addressed a crowd, “We have met them and we have conquered.”
A Mortal Blow to the Confederacy: The Fall of New Orleans, 1862
I am excited to announce that my new book, A Mortal Blow to the Confederacy: The Fall of New Orleans, 1862, has just been released! It is the latest in the Emerging Civil War Series by publisher Savas Beatie.
As noted in the forward by Gerald J. Prokopowicz, a professor of history at East Carolina University and host of the Civil War Talk Radio podcast, “With this book, Mark joins the ranks of Emerging Civil War Series authors at Savas Beatie, which is producing a series that excels at bringing forward new voices in Civil War scholarship. As a New Orleanian, and a professional trained history, Dr. Mark Bielski is ideally qualified to tell the story of what happened to the Crescent City in the first full year of the Civil War.”