On April 12, 1861, the Civil War officially began with the first shot fired at Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina. How much do you know about the first battle in the War Between the States?
Who Were the Commanders for Each Side? Everybody knows about Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, the final commanders of the Union and Confederate armies, respectively. But do you know who was in charge at the very beginning of the war? At the battle of Fort Sumter, the Northern Army was led by Commander Robert Anderson, an exotic name if ever there was one. The South actually had themselves a cool-sounding leader though, in General Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard. Southern sympathizer or not, you have to admit that’s an awesome name to say over and over again, for no good reason at all.
Which Side Won the Battle?
As you well know, since the United States is still around and the Confederacy isn’t, the South lost the war. These kinds of things tend to happen when your opponent has literally twice as many soldiers as you do.
But what many might not remember is that the losers drew first blood. The Confederate States of America started the Battle of Fort Sumter by firing upon it, and actually won the thing. After 36 hours of fighting, the North retreated and gave the fort up to the South. This is proof positive that, sometimes, first impressions don’t matter one bit. Having almost six times as many men as the other side probably didn’t hurt much either. If they had thought to do that every battle, they might have actually won this thing.
How Many Men Fought On Each Side? That’s right, the Southern forces at Sumter were six times larger than Northern squad. Even though the Confederates were famous for being greatly outnumbered during the war, they absolutely weren’t on this day. They had over 500 men that day (exact numbers are unknown), while the Union had to make do with just 85 soldiers. Clearly, instead of making do, they made doo-doo.
How Many Soldiers Died During the Battle?
We’ve already established that, in a war where Side A trounced Side B, Side B actually gained the first point on the scoreboard. In a related story, one of the bloodiest, most fatal wars in American history saw exactly ZERO deaths its first battle. That’s right, not a single person died during battle at Fort Sumter.
Afterwards, on the other hand…
Two Soldiers Died During the Surrender Ceremonies of the Battle. How Did They Die?
The South allowed the North to hold a 100-cannon salute in honor of their lost fort. Unfortunately, something horrible happened at cannon 47. Soldier Daniel Hough was in charge of firing the cannon, which went off prematurely and exploded. Hough died instantly, while another soldier (Edward Galloway) suffered catastrophic wounds and died five days later.