Thursday, April 12

Holding down the forts

Since I wasn't blogging at this time last year, I thought I'd catch you up on two important events in the Civil War that occurred on April 12.
First, the Civil War began on April 12, 1861 with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, S.C.

On April 10, 1861, Confederate Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard demanded the surrender of the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Garrison commander Robert Anderson refused. On April 12, Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort, which was unable to reply effectively.

Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter at 2:30 p.m. on April 13, evacuating the garrison the next day. Amazingly, there were no casualties during the bombardment, but one Union artillerist was killed and three wounded (one mortally) when a cannon exploded prematurely while firing a 100-gun salute during the April 14 evacuation.

On April 15, Lincoln called for 75,000 troops from the states to recapture the fort and other federal property.

Fort Sumter created an overwhelming demand for war and hundreds of thousands of young men in both the North and South rushed to enlist.

Three years later the Battle of Fort Pillow, also known as the Fort Pillow Massacre, was fought on April 12, 1864, at Fort Pillow in Henning, Tenn.

Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest was accused of war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow for allowing forces under his command to massacre hundreds of surrendered black Union Army and white Southern Unionist prisoners.

Forrest later served as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

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