Where the American Civil War Began
Decades of growing strife between North and South erupted in civil war on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on this Federal fort in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later. Union forces would try for nearly four years to take it back.
Charleston, victorious over the Royal Navy in 1776 and scene of the largest patriot defeat in 1780, played a key role in the American Revolution.
Charleston’s appetite for revolution continued in the 1800s as the city blazed a path to secession to safeguard slavery. The Confederacy fired on the US garrison of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, opening the Civil War, which redefined American freedom.
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