The Battle of Fort Sumter

The Battle of Fort Sumter

Table of Contents
Introduction
1. The beginning of the Civil War: why it all started
2. The Description of the Battle of Fort Sumter
3. The Outcome of the Battle
Conclusion
Bibliography
Introduction
The 19th century in the USA was the period of time when certain very important events took place on the territory of the country, and determined its further development. At that time the country was virtually divided into two parts: the Southern part, on which the institution of slavery was prospering and the Northern part, which was very much democratically-oriented and stood for freeing the slaves and abolishing slavery. The differences of interests varied within different states were the most important reason of the beginning of the Civil War in the United States, because the Northerners wanted to abolish slavery, while the Southerners preferred the idea of its preservation and further development of slavery along with the goal to gain independency from the rest of the country. Because the majority of slave owners lived in the South, the southern states did not support the idea of abolishing slavery as they were concerned that they might lose all their privileges and degrade to the level of slaves. The conflict between the states was slowly heating up until the Civil War broke in the United States. It did not happen in an instant, as usually there are a lot of reasons, motives and causes that lead up to the beginning of war. The Civil War in the USA started with the first shots near Charleston, South Carolina, where on April 12th the troops opened fire on Fort Sumter. These shots marked the beginning of the American Civil War. It was the war between the North and the South. In both men and material resources the North was much stronger than the South, but both parties bore significant loses as a result of war.
The main purpose of the current study is to speak about the Battle of Fort Sumter as the beginning of the Civil War in the USA. Events that led to this battle and the impact of the Battle of Fort Sumter will be analyzed further in the study.
1. The beginning of the Civil War: why it all started
As it was already mentioned such differences in interests of South and North resulted into beginning of the Civil war that lasted for four years in the USA. The conflict started to arouse since the adoption of Missouri Compromise (1820), which touched the matter of prohibition or extension of slavery on the West territories of the country. Since 1830th people who opposed slavery (so-called abolitionists) counted enough in quantity to start the movement against slavery as it was not common in the northern states. Until 1850s, which was the year of another “Compromise”, nobody would have ever expected for the war to begin. However, things changed when Abraham Lincoln won the elections and became the President, after which South Carolina decided to leave the Union, wishing to stay no longer under the rule of the new President. At that time “an understanding had been established between the authorities in Washington and the members of Congress from South Carolina, that the forts would not be attacked, or seized as an act of war, until proper negotiations for their cession to the State had been made and had failed; provided that they were not reinforced, and their military status should remain as it was at the time of this understanding, viz., on December 9, 1860” [6]. Unfinished Fort Sumter was under control of Major Anderson, who foreseeing the danger of future attacks decided to evacuate women and children from the fort, which didn’t even have a garrison at that time. Major Anderson notified Lincoln about the shortage of food supply at the fort and was told that the fort would be provided with everything necessary. However, the answer did not prevent the beginning of war. Anderson was ordered to evacuate from the fort, but he refused causing a lot of indignation from the side of Governor Pickens, who declared Anderson the enemy of the Union. On the 12th of April the troops opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. These shots marked the beginning of the American Civil War. It was the war between the North and the South. At that time the Northern states of the country were called the Union, and the Southern states were called the Confederate States of America (or the Confederacy) which included 11 states, such as: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee. The Northern parts of the USA had a population of 22 million of people, while the CSA had only nine million, and approximately four million of them were slaves. The North not only had more men to fight than the South, but it could also keep them better supplied with weapons, clothing, food and other essential goods which they needed. However, the North faced a great challenge. The only way it could win the war was to invade the South and occupy its land. The South had no such a problem. All it had to do was to hold out until the people of the North grew tired of fighting.
The Southerners denied that they were fighting mainly to preserve slavery; they revealed their real goal which was to become independent from the North. But the ideas of the South failed.
2. The Description of the Battle of Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter became the cause of the war, as both the Union and the Confederacy wished to control it. Trying to drive the Union out of Fort Sumter the Confederacy took every possible measure to peacefully make the Northerners surrender the fort. But the Union did not want to surrender, and instead offered to Major Anderson to evacuate, who in his turn disagreed, creating causes for the first battle of the Civil War. The battle started at 4:30 AM on April 12th with the heavy bombarding and lasted until the 14th of April. “The bombardment had lasted thirty-six hours, and over 3,000 shot and shell had been hurled at the fort” [5]. None of the parties bore losses during this battle, however, after such a long battle Anderson had to surrender and leave the fort. “Finally, when shot and shell and flame and lack of food had rendered the garrison helpless, he agreed to evacuate the fort, the garrison departing with company arms and property and all private property, and the privilege of saluting and retaining the old flag” [5]. Though no one’s blood was shed during the battle and the fort was not a strategic target to seize, “action made manifest the belligerent spirit in both the North and the South” [4].
3. The Outcome of the Battle
The significance of the Battle of Fort Sumter lies not in the fact that this battle took place, but in the fact that this battle started the cruelest and the bloodiest war in the U.S. history. As it has been mentioned above, no soldiers were killed during the 34-hours bombarding at the Fort Sumter, which started as a result of Major Anderson’s refusal to surrender the fort. He was warned, but he took no notice of it continuing to stay at the Fort Sumter, which was not an important target. However, the Battle of Fort Sumter did start the Civil War, and was followed by many bloody battles subsequently. After the first battle the Southerners were not really considered as the lost party, however, the same cannot be said after the end of the Civil War. The Battle of Fort Sumter “began the war which lasted until April, 1865, when the Southern Confederacy, as completely ruined and exhausted by fire and sword as Fort Sumter in April, 1861, gave up the hopeless contest and reluctantly accepted the inevitable” [6]. The imminence of destruction for the Confederacy was predetermined in the beginning of the war, when it became clear that the Union possessed much more men and military resources than the Confederacy.
Conclusion
On April 9th, 1865, the Southern army was trapped, and the CSA lost the war. The outcome of the Civil War is very important, as it put an end to slavery, and in 1865 it was abolished everywhere on the territory of the United States by the 13th Amendment of the Constitution. Four million slaves received their freedom as a result of the abolishing of slavery. Another important outcome of the war is that from the end of the Civil War and up to now the USA remained a united country and no more states desire to be independent. The humanity in a whole gained a lot from the events of the war. The slavery was abolished and forbidden in future. Millions of people got their freedom and happiness and could not be exploited any more. Americans paid a significant cost for such a result, because thousands of them were killed while military conflicts were taking place on the territory of the country. However, this sacrifice was not in vain, as it brought a lot of positive results that are valued by not only Americans but world as a whole. And the Battle of Fort Sumter serves as a good example showing that something that seems to be not very significant brings significant consequences.


Bibliography
1. Adams, E.D. 1913. The Power of Ideals in American History. Yale University Press.
2. Everett, G., Brown,J. 1992. One Man against Slavery. New York: Rizzoli.
3. McPherson, J.M. 1988. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Oxford University Press.
4. e. FORT SUMTER. Encyclopedia article; The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2004.
5. c. The Battle of Fort Sumter. http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/battle-fort-sumter.htm (accessed November 7th, 2006).
6. a. The War Begins: Fort Sumter. Confederate Military History, Volume 5, Chapter I
http://www.civilwarhome.com/CMHsumter.htm (accessed November 7th, 2006).