Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Currier & Ives, 1861

Fort Sumter

On April 12, 1861, six weeks after Lincoln took office, the Civil War began when Confederate forces bombarded Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Two days later, U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson formally surrendered the facility to Confederate authorities. The confiscation of federal property and the capture of a valuable shipping harbor woke many Northerners to the seriousness of southern intentions.