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Fort Sumter

On December 26, 1860, six days after South Carolina seceded, U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson abandoned the indefensible Fort Moultrie and secretly relocated his two companies (85 men) of the 1st U.S. Artillery to Fort Sumter. Over the next few months, repeated calls for Union surrender from Confederate Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard were ignored, and Union attempts to resupply and reinforce the garrison were rebuffed. On April 12, 1861, at 4:30 a.m., Confederate batteries opened fire, which lasted for 36 hours, on the fort. The garrison returned fire, but it was ineffective. On April 13, the fort surrendered and was evacuated. Accounts, such as in the famous diary of Mary Chesnut, describe Charleston residents along what is now known as The Battery, sitting on balconies and drinking salutes to the start of the hostilities.