Fort Sumter


Lincoln’s Path to War

In today’s parlance, the concept of secession not only connotes insurrection but even treason. However, in 1789, when the Constitution became the governing law of the United States, the right of secession was a hotly debated subject. Even during the two-year period of the document’s drafting and ratification, the seeds of secession were sown when some states demanded an amendment…
John Marquardt
July 17, 2023

Rethinking Fort Sumter

Many prevailing assumptions about the War to Prevent Southern Independence are questionable summary judgments more akin to propaganda than careful understanding. This is certainly true of the Confederate firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861.  It is assumed that “firing on the flag” was a justification for all patriots to rush to the defense of America and inaugurate a war…
Clyde Wilson
June 26, 2023

Lincoln and Fort Sumter

From The Journal of Southern History Vol. 3, No. 3 (Aug., 1937), pp. 259-288 When the Confederate batteries around Charleston Harbor opened fire on Fort Sumter in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, they signaled the beginning of the most calamitous tragedy in the history of the American people. Because the Confederate authorities ordered the attack it is…
Charles W. Ramsdell
April 27, 2023

A Better Light

Once, a mother watching her child searching diligently for something and seeing that she was having no success in her search, asked the tot where she had lost the missing item. The child replied, “I lost it over there,” pointing to the other side of the room. Somewhat confused, the mother said, “But if you lost it over there, why…
Valerie Protopapas
January 12, 2023

The War of Secession

A line from Shakespeare asked, “What’s in a name?” In the case of the great American conflict of 1861, the name by which it has become generally known is, of course, the "Civil War." This term was, however, only occasionally used during the war, such as Lincoln’s reference in his 1863 Gettysburg Address that the country was “engaged in a…
John Marquardt
April 12, 2022

The “First Shot” Revisited

We have been told that the first shot fired in the "Civil War” was fired by the Confederacy at Fort Sumter in response to the Lincoln government’s attempt to rearm and re-supply that federal installation. The Sumter matter is important as after all the debate over the causes of the War are exhausted, there is always that one charge made…
Valerie Protopapas
April 12, 2021

The Pickens Plot

When the Pacific phase of World War Two began in December of 1941, Great Britain’s main bastion of power in Southeast Asia was its eighty-five thousand man army behind the fortifications at Singapore, the so-called Gibraltar of the Pacific. The problem was, however, that all the island’s massive protective firepower faced the Straits of Singapore rather than the Malay Peninsula…
John Marquardt
April 23, 2018

A Bloodless Victory

Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, is known as the place where the “Civil War” began. The South is normally portrayed as the aggressor, the side which fired the “first shot,” and is thus given the blame for starting the war. The whole truth is, however, that the governments of South Carolina and the Confederate States of America made repeated…
Karen Stokes
April 16, 2018
Review Posts

Ft. Sumter: The First Act of Aggression

Too often a narrative is passed from one person to the next until it becomes accepted as fact or “common knowledge.” In the society that we live in critical analysis is rarely applied, and so a notion that if scrutinized would be exposed as silly (or worse), instead becomes “fact.” Such is the case with the situation at Ft. Sumter…
Carl Jones
June 23, 2014