April 12, 2008

The Begining and the End: April 12th 1861 and 1865

April 12th, 1861 - Confederates, commanded by General P.G. Beauregard, fire on Fort Sumter from Fort Johnston. The Civil War begins.
The following account is taken from the April 20th, 1861 edition of the Harper's Weekly. Found on Son-of-the-south.net.
Beginning of the War

On Friday, 12th, at 27 minutes past 4 A. M., General Beauregard, in accordance with instructions received on Wednesday from the Secretary of War of the
Southern Confederacy, opened fire upon Fort Sumter. Forts Johnson and Moultrie, the iron battery at Cumming's Point, and the Stevens Floating Battery, kept up an active cannonade during the entire day, and probably during the past night. The damage done to Fort Sumter is stated by the Confederate authorities to have been considerable. Guns had been dismounted, and a part of the parapet swept away.
Major Anderson had replied vigorously to the fire which had been opened upon him, but the Charleston dispatches represent the injury inflicted by him to have been but small. The utmost bravery had been exhibited on both sides, and a large portion of the Charleston population, including five thousand ladies, were assembled upon the Battery to witness the conflict.
Down to our latest advices, the battle had been carried on solely by the batteries of the revolutionists and Fort Sumter. The Harriet Lane, Captain Faunce, the Pawnee, and another United States vessel, were said to be off the harbor, but had taken no part in the conflict. The Harriet Lane is said to have received a shot through her wheel-house.
The opinion prevailed in Charleston that an attempt would be made during the night to reinforce Fort Sumter by means of small boats from the three vessels seen in the offing.
No one had been killed by the fire of Major Anderson, and the casualties among the Confederate troops in the batteries were inconsiderable. There is, of course, no account of the loss, if any, among the garrison of Fort Sumter.

April 12th, 1865 - The Army of Northern Virgina formally surrenders to the Army of the Potomac. This account is taken from "The Passing of the Armies", by General Joshua L. Chamberlain, the commander who oversaw the ceremony.

It was now the morning of the 12th of April. I had been ordered to have my lines formed for the ceremony at sunrise. It was a chill gray morning, depressing to the senses. But our hearts made warmth. ...We formed along the principal street, from the bluff bank of the stream to near the Court House on the left - to face the last line of battle, and receive the last remnant of the arms and colors of that great army which ours had been created to confront for all that death can do for life. We were remnants also...
Instructions had been given; and when the head of each division column comes opposite our group, our bugle sounds the signal and instantly our whole line from right to left... gives the soldier's salutation, from the "order arms" to the old "carry" - the marching salute.
...As each successive division masks our own, it halts, the men face inward towards us across the road, twelve feet away; then carefully "dress" their line.... The field and staff take their positions in the intervals of regiments; generals in read of their commands. They fix bayonets, stack arms; then, hesitatingly, remove cartridge-boxes and lay them down. Lastly, - reluctantly, with agony of expression, - they tenderly fold their flags, battle-worn and torn, blood-stained, heart holding colors, and lay them down...
And only the Flag of the Union greets the sky!


  1. I think I read some were that it was raining like two days before they surenderd their guns. I like the paintings :)

  2. I didn't realize that these were on the same day, that's pretty neat!


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