On April 12, 1861, the long-simmering tensions between the American North and South exploded as Southern troops in the seceding state of South Carolina fired on the Federal forces at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. The battle of Fort Sumter marked the outbreak of Civil War in the United States. The attack provoked outrage in the North, consolidated support for the newly inaugurated President Lincoln, and fueled the onset of the war that would consume and reshape the country.
In this concise narrative, Wesley Moody explores the long history of tensions that lead to the events at Fort Sumter, the details of the crisis and battle, the impact of Fort Sumter on the unfolding Civil War, and the battle's place in historical memory. Supplemented by primary documents including newspaper coverage, first-person accounts, letters, and government documents, and supported by a companion website, this book provides students with a nuanced understanding of both the long-term and immediate origins of the American Civil War.
"As America continues to struggle with the social and racial legacies of its civil war, Wesley Moody takes the reader back to that war’s origins in an accessible and insightful analysis of the background to, and eventual fall of Fort Sumter in 1861. Expertly locating the microhistory of the stand-off in Charleston Harbor in the wider narrative of a nation dedicated to liberty that clung, at terrible cost, to slavery, Moody relocates Fort Sumter as central to the Civil War story: the ultimate symbol of that conflict’s causes, its costs, and its continuing significance for the nation."
Susan-Mary Grant, author of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
"In The Battle of Fort Sumter, Wesley Moody brings life to the historical players: planters, politicians, enslaved people, and Confederate and Union wives and children of the era. With an extraordinary number of sources and notes, Moody provides full transcripts of documents for the reader to analyze. Set alongside the secondary text, the reader will find primary sources, including fully captioned and contextualized images, as well as letters and government documents of importance. Moody provides a useful and concise description of the evolution of political parties, from politicians with personalities, to proto-party organizations, and then how the divisions turned from political party split, to a North/South divide."
Maggi M. Morehouse, author of Civil War America: A Social and Cultural History with Primary Sources
1. Origins of Civil War
2. The Capital of Secession
3. Anderson’s Bold Move
4. Securing Sumter and the Birth of the Confederacy
5. Lincoln, Fox and War
6. The Fall of Fort Sumter