THE CIVIL WAR
Fort Sumter—One fort that did not automatically surrender to the
Confederates (as most other federal forts in the South did) was located just
off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. Realizing that the fort could not
hold out indefinitely against southern aggression, the commander of Ft.
Sumter asked Lincoln for reinforcements. Lincoln realized that to reinforce
the fort would be to appear as "invading" the South and initiating the war.
Instead, he sent unarmed supply ships to Fort Sumter. Confederates realized
that the supplies would enable Union soldiers to remain in place,
commanding the best Southern port forever. They therefore decided to
attack the fort before the supplies arrived (April 12-13, 1861). The
bombardment, returned by the North, lasted 48 hours. Amazingly, there were
no deaths on either side. Eventually, the fort surrendered when all its walls
were down and the ammunition ran out.
Now President Lincoln required that ALL states left in the Union must
contribute soldiers to put down the rebellion. This had the negative effect of
forcing reluctant secessionist states, like Virginia, out of the Union because
they could never take arms against a sister southern state. The Confederacy
was now complete with 11 states (South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida,
Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas—
the western part of Virginia fought for separation from the rest of the state in
order to stay in the Union—West Virginia).
In addition to a population advantage (22 million to 9), the Union enjoyed
81% of all of the nation’s industrial capacity, 61% of all railroad track, and
80% of the banking and capital. Most of the food producing states remained