Bombardment of Fort Sumter


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, April 27, 1861

The April 27, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly features a biography and picture of President Abraham Lincoln, and an incredible description of Mr. Lincoln's declaration of war on the south.  The issue also contains fabulous illustrations of the Battle of Fort Sumter.  Newspaper thumbnails will take you to a large, readable version of that page.


Civil War Volunteers

Abraham Lincoln's Declaration of War

The Call for Volunteers

Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln Biography and Picture


General P.G.T. Beauregard

Slave Cartoon

Slavery Cartoon

Inside Fort Sumter During the Bombardment

Inside Fort Sumter During the Bombardment

Map of Charleston Harbor

Map of Charleston Harbor

Attack on Fort Sumter

Attack on Fort Sumter



VOL. V.—No. 226.]



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1861, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


WE devote most of our space this week to illustrations of this memorable event. On pages 264 and 265 will be found a general picture of the BOMBARDMENT, SEEN FROM FORT JOHNSON. On page 260 we give a picture of the INTERIOR OF FORT SUMTER during the terrible rain of shot and shell from the Confederate batteries; and on page 261 an accurate MAP OF THE HARBOR OF CHARLESTON, showing the relative position of Sumter and of the batteries by which it was surrounded. We now subjoin, by way of record, a brief account of the transaction.

On 8th April Lieutenant Talbot and Mr. Chew, messengers from the President, informed General Beauregard that the Government would supply Major Anderson with provisions—which were denied him by the South Carolinians—peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must. General Beauregard referred the message to his Government at Montgomery, and was ordered to reduce the fort. He summoned Major Anderson to surrender on 11th. The reply was:

"I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication, demanding the evacuation of this fort, and to say, in reply thereto, that it is a demand with which I regret that my sense of honor and my obligations to my Government prevent my compliance."

Accordingly at 4:27 A.M. on 12th fire was opened from Fort Moultrie on Fort Sumter. To this Major Anderson replied with three of his barbette guns, after which the batteries on Mount Pleasant, Cummings's Point, and the Floating Battery opened a

brisk fire of shot and shell. Major Anderson did not reply, except at long intervals, until between seven and eight o'clock, when he brought into action the two tiers of guns looking toward Fort Moultrie and Stevens's iron battery. The fire continued brisk all day. At 7 P.M. a heavy rain-storm caused a cessation of hostilities till 11 P.M. Major Anderson appears to have employed the interval in repairing damages. At or about 11 P.M. the fire recommenced, and a shell was thrown into Fort Sumter from each battery every twenty minutes (luring the night. With daybreak the heavy bombardment recommenced from all the batteries ; the fire was returned from Fort Sumter with vigor until about 8 A.M., when Fort Sumter was perceived to be on fire. Major Anderson's fighting then slackened, but the fire of the besiegers increased in intensity. At about 10 A.M. Major Anderson lowered his flag to half-mast in token of distress ; perhaps as a signal to the United States vessels which were lying at anchor outside the bar, unable to get into the harbor so as to participate in the conflict. About half past ten one or two explosions took place in the fort ; it has since been ascertained that these proceeded from the heating of piles of shells. Meanwhile the fire progressed rapidly ; the whole roof of the barracks was a sheet of flame, and flames and smoke issued thickly from the casemates. At or about eleven Major Anderson ceased firing, and devoted his whole attention to putting out the fire. At about noon some of his men were noticed on the wharf of the fort handing in buckets of water ; the besiegers' fire, which had never slackened, was at once directed upon them. In a few minutes afterward Major Anderson hauled down his flag. A boat then put off, containing ex-Governor Manning,  Major D. R. Jones,

 and Colonel Charles Allston, to arrange the terms of surrender, which were the same as those offered on the 11th. These were official. They stated that all proper facilities would be afforded for the removal of Major Anderson and his command, together with the company arms and property, and all private property, to any post in the United States he might elect. Major Anderson stated that he surrendered his sword to General Beauregard as the representative of the Confederate Government. General Beauregard said he would not receive it from so brave a man.

The correspondent of the Press telegraphs on 14th:

" The last act in the drama of Fort Sumter has been concluded. Major Anderson has evacuated, and, with his command, departed by the steamer Isabel from the harbor. He saluted his flag, and the company, then forming on the parade-ground, marched out upon the wharf, with drum and fife playing 'Yankee Doodle.'

" During the salute a pile of cartridges burst in one of the casemates, killing two men and wounding four others. One was buried in the fort with military honors. The other will be buried by the soldiers of South Carolina.

"The scene in the city after the raising of the flag of truce and the surrender is indescribable; the people were perfectly wild. Men on horseback rode through the streets proclaiming the news, amidst the greatest enthusiasm.

"On the arrival of the officers from the fort they were marched through the streets, followed by an immense crowd, hurrahing, shouting, and yelling with excitement.

" The number of soldiers in the fort was about seventy, besides twenty-five workmen, who assisted at the guns. His stock of provisions was almost exhausted, however. He would have been starved out in two more days.

"The entrance to the fort is mined, and the officers were told to be careful, even after the surrender, on account of the heat, lest it should explode.

"Several fire companies were immediately sent down to Fort Sumter to put out the fire, and any amount of assistance was offered.

" The fort is burned into a mere shell; not a particle of wood-work can be found. The guns on one side of the parapet are entirely dismounted, others split, while the gun. carriages are knocked into splinters.

"The flames have destroyed everything. Both officers and soldiers were obliged to lie on their faces in the case-mates to prevent suffocation.


WE publish herewith, from a sketch by our special artist in Washington, a picture of the SWEARING IN OF THE VOLUNTEERS called out by the President for the defense of the Federal Capital. The Washington Star describes the scene thus :

"As we went to press yesterday the volunteer companies were responding to the call of the war Department for volunteers to defend the city of Washington from assault. In the case of some of the companies a portion of the members declined to take the oath required by the Department of all soldiers mustered into the United States service, and the deficit in the ranks of said companies thereby brought them below the standard requirement as to numbers, and they were not received by the Government,

"The following is the form of the oath administered to the volunteers who were mustered into the service of the United States yesterday. It is nothing more than the usual army oath. It was administered by General Thomas, of the District of Columbia Militia.:

" I, - -, do solemnly swear that I will bear true allegiance to the United States of America; that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all enemies or (Next Page)


General Thomas Swearing In Volunteers in Civil War

We acquired this leaf for the purpose of digitally preserving it for your research and enjoyment.  If you would like to acquire the original 140+ year old Harper's Weekly leaf we used to create this page, it is available for a price of $175.  Your purchase allows us to continue to archive more original material. For more information, contact



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