PGT Beauregard, Portrait

On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces under the command of General P. G. T. Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Habor.

Battle of Fort Sumter Facts, Details, and Timeline

April 12–13, 1861

Facts about the Battle of Fort Sumter, including dates, casualties, participants, who won, and more interesting details you might not know. This fact sheet provides a quick overview of the battle and is for kids doing research and students preparing for the AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam.

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Definition

The Battle of Fort Sumter was fought between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America from April 12 to April 13, 1861, during the American Civil War.

Quick Facts

  • Date Started: The Battle of Fort Sumter started on Friday, April 12, 1861.
  • Date Ended: The fighting ended on Saturday, April 13, 1861.
  • Location: The battle took place in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
  • Civil War Campaign: The Battle of Fort Sumter was part of the Operations in Charleston Harbor.
  • Who Won: The Confederate States of America won the Battle of Fort Sumter.

Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Illustration

This illustration depicts the bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12th & 13th of 1861. Image Source: Library of Congress.

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Interesting Facts

  • The Battle of Fort Sumter was the first engagement of the American Civil War.
  • During the battle, Confederate forces fired over 3,000 artillery rounds at Fort Sumter.
  • Over the course of the two days, Union forces fired about 1,000 artillery rounds of Confederate batteries around Charleston Harbor.
  • The Battle of Fort Sumter started at 4:30 a.m., April 12, 1861, when South Carolina Artillery batteries, under the command of Captain George S. James, fired a mortar shot over Fort Sumter from the beach near Fort Johnson. It was a signal for Confederate batteries on shore and floating in the harbor to open fire.
  • At 7 a.m. on April 12, 1861, Captain Abner Doubleday, who was second in command to Anderson, fired the first Union artillery shot.

Commanders and Forces Involved

Principal Union Commander

Principal Confederate Commander

Union Forces Engaged

  • 2 companies of the U.S. 1st Artillery, plus the regimental band

Confederate Forces Engaged

  • Provisional Forces of the Confederate States

Casualties and Statistics

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 84

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 6,000

Estimated Union Casualties

  • None during the bombardment.
  • Private Daniel Hough was killed instantly during the surrender ceremony when a cannon misfired.
  • Private Edward Galloway was mortally wounded in the same accident.

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • None

Results of the Battle of Fort Sumter

  • During the surrender ceremony following the Battle of Fort Sumter, a cannon misfired, instantly killing Private Daniel Hough and mortally wounding Private Edward Galloway, making them the first casualties of the American Civil War.
  • After the Union forces left Fort Sumter, the Confederates had control of Charleston Harbor.
  • The Confederates held Fort Sumter throughout most of the war until Major General William T. Sherman captured Charleston in February 1865.
  • On April 14, 1865, Brevet Major-General Robert Anderson returned to Fort Sumter to ceremoniously raise the stars and stripes over the stronghold he had been forced to evacuate earlier (four years to the day).
  • On the same day Anderson returned to Fort Sumter, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln in Washington, DC.

Timeline of the Battle of Fort Sumter

This list shows the main battles and events that took place before and after the Battle of Fort Sumter, and how it fits into the chronological order of the Operations in Charleston Harbor.

  • November 6, 1860Abraham Lincon was elected 16th President of the United States.
  • December 20, 1860 — South Carolina seceded from the Union.
  • February 8, 1861 — States that seceded from the Union formed the Confederate States of America.
  • April 12–13, 1861 — Civil War began with the Battle of Fort Sumter.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about the Battle of Fort Sumter, take a look at the following resources:

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Fort Sumter Facts, Details, and Timeline
  • Coverage April 12–13, 1861
  • Author
  • Keywords Battle of Fort Sumter, Civil War Facts for Kids, Social Studies Resources, APUSH Study Material
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 9, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 21, 2022
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