13
Apr
09

On This Day, April 13: Fort Sumter Surrenders

April 13, 1861

Fort Sumter surrenders

After a thirty-three hour bombardment by Confederate cannon, Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor surrenders. The first engagement of the war ended in Rebel victory.

The surrender concluded a standoff that began with South Carolina’s secession from the Union on December 20, 1860. When President Lincoln sent word to Charleston in early April that he planned to send food to the beleaguered garrison, the Confederates took action. They opened fire on Sumter in the predawn of April 12. Over the next day, nearly 4,000 rounds were hurled toward the black silhouette of Fort Sumter.

Inside Sumter was its commander, Major Robert Anderson, 9 officers, 68 enlisted men, 8 musicians, and 43 construction workers who were still putting the finishing touches on the fort. Captain Abner Doubleday, the man often inaccurately credited with inventing the game of baseball, returned fire nearly two hours after the barrage began. By the morning of April 13, the garrison in Sumter was in dire straits. The soldiers had sustained only minor injuries, but they could not hold out much longer. The fort was badly damaged, and the Confederate’s shots were becoming more precise. Around noon, the flagstaff was shot away. Louis Wigfall, a former U.S. senator from Texas, rowed out without permission to see if the garrison was trying to surrender. Anderson decided that further resistance was futile, and he ran a white flag up a makeshift flagpole.

The first engagement of the war was over, and the only casualty had been a Confederate horse. The Union force was allowed to leave for the north; before leaving, the soldiers fired a 100-gun salute. During the salute, one soldier was killed and another mortally wounded by a prematurely exploding cartridge. The Civil War had officially begun.

“Fort Sumter surrenders,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2171 [accessed Apr 13, 2009]

On This Day

1598 – King Henry IV of France signed the Edict of Nantes which granted political rights to French Protestant Huguenots.

1775 – Lord North extended the New England Restraining Act to South, Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. The act prohibited trade with any country other than Britain and Ireland.

1829 – The English Parliament granted freedom of religion to Catholics.

1919 – British forces killed hundreds of Indian nationalists in the Amritsar Massacre.

1941 – German troops captured Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

1945 – Vienna fell to Soviet troops.

1954 – Hank Aaron debuted with the Milwaukee Braves.

1970 – An oxygen tank exploded on Apollo 13, preventing a planned moon landing.

1990 – The Soviet Union accepted responsibility for the World War II murders of thousands of imprisoned Polish officers in the Katyn Forest. The Soviets had previously blamed the massacre on the Nazis.

April 13, 1939

USS Astoria attempts pre-war reconnaissance

On this day, the USS Astoria arrives in Japan under the command of Richard Kelly Turner in an attempt to photograph the Japanese battleships Yamato and Musashi.

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Turner, whose motto was “If you don’t have losses, you’re not doing enough,” saw the cruiser Astoria through many assignments, from assessing Japanese naval strength before U.S. entry in the war, to returning the ashes of a Japanese ambassador to Japan, to the amphibious assault at Guadalcanal. The Astoria was unfortunately sunk, along with the Quincy and the Vincennes, during Operation Watchtower, the landing of 16,000 troops on Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, in August 1942.

“USS <I>Astoria</I> attempts pre-war reconnaissance,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6417 [accessed Apr 13, 2009]

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1 Response to “On This Day, April 13: Fort Sumter Surrenders”


  1. June 19, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Finally the Saville report has exonerated the civilians murdered on Bloody Sunday. Our nationalist heroes have referred to the massacre as “our Amritsar massacre”

    Irish nationalist solidarity with the Sikhs
    United Ireland
    Free Punjab, Return the Koh-i-noor


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