The Battle of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, resulting in a single casualty, signaled the start of the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history.
Illustration by Currier & Ives, courtesy Library of Congress

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  • On April 12, 1861, forces from the Confederate States of America attacked the United States military garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Less than two days later, the fort surrendered. Only one (U.S.) soldier lost his life. The battle, however, started the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history.
    Seven states, including South Carolina, had seceded from the U.S. months earlier. Attempts by President James Buchanan to supply U.S. troops at Fort Sumter had failed. When new President Abraham Lincoln (in office just over a month) told South Carolina’s governor that he, too, would try to supply U.S. troops at the fort, South Carolina demanded all U.S. troops evacuate Fort Sumter immediately. U.S. troops did not evacuate, but, met with overwhelming force, surrendered on April 14. 
    The Confederate victory at the Battle of Fort Sumter resulted in enormous support for military action from both the North and South. President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to “suppress the rebellion,” while four more states joined the Confederacy.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Civil War Noun

    (1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).

    Confederate Adjective

    having to do with the Confederate States of America (south) during the Civil War.

    demand Noun

    quantity of a product that consumers are willing to buy at a particular price.

    enormous Adjective

    very large.

    evacuate Verb

    to leave or remove from a dangerous place.

    fort Noun

    military outpost, area, or set of buildings.

    garrison Noun

    military post, or the soldiers who are stationed there.

    governor Noun

    elected or appointed leader of a state or area.

    immediately Adverb

    at once or quickly.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    overwhelm Verb

    to completely overpower.

    rebellion Noun

    organized resistance to an authority.

    secede Verb

    to withdraw from part of a union or alliance.

    suppress Verb

    to end, prohibit, or not allow certain activities.

    surrender Verb

    to give up.

    troop Noun

    a soldier.