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.
- 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.
This illustration depicts the bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12th & 13th of 1861. Image Source: Library of Congress.
- 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
- Major Robert Anderson
- Captain Abner Doubleday
Principal Confederate Commander
- Brigadier General P. G. T. Beauregard
- Captain George S. James
- Colonel Louis Wigfall
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
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, 1860 — Abraham 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.
If you would like to learn more about the Battle of Fort Sumter, take a look at the following resources: