April 1861

Confederates fired upon Fort Sumter, and both sides mobilized for war. A vital state seceded from the Union along with one of the most promising military commanders. Civil unrest occurred in various cities as the Lincoln administration exceeded its constitutional limits in an effort to restore order. The war had begun.

Some Thoughts for the President’s Consideration

William H. Seward sends a bold memo to President Lincoln offering unsolicited advice and suggesting that Seward head the administration behind the scenes.

Determining to Re-Enforce Fort Pickens

President Abraham Lincoln orders the reinforcement of Fort Pickens at Pensacola, but mix-ups in orders make it more difficult than intended.

The War Policy Prevails

The South Carolinians receive word that President Lincoln will attempt to resupply Fort Sumter, and President Jefferson Davis makes a fateful decision.

Demanding the Evacuation of Fort Sumter

Confederates demand the surrender of Fort Sumter, putting North and South on the brink of war.

The Reinforcement of Fort Pickens

Federals break an unofficial truce by reinforcing Fort Pickens, a vital installation near Pensacola, Florida.

The Bombardment of Fort Sumter

Confederates open fire on the Federal garrison at Fort Sumter, touching off the most horrific conflict in American history.

We Will Conquer or Perish

The bombardment of Fort Sumter ends when Major Robert Anderson agrees to surrender his Federal garrison and evacuate.

The Surrender of Fort Sumter

Major Robert Anderson’s Federal garrison formally surrenders and evacuates Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The war has begun.

To Redress Wrongs Already Long Enough Endured

President Lincoln issues a proclamation calling on 75,000 volunteers to join their state militias to help force the Confederate states back into the Union.

An Electric Shock Throughout the Land

The fall of Fort Sumter and Abraham Lincoln’s militia proclamation spark mass mobilizations in both North and South.

The Virginia Secession

Virginians react to President Lincoln’s militia proclamation by voting to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy.

The Very Best Soldier Goes South

Colonel Robert E. Lee resigns from the U.S. Army to follow his home state of Virginia out of the Union.

The Streets Became a Battleground

The first blood of the war is drawn when Federal troops traveling through Baltimore fire on a jeering mob, sparking mass unrest.

President Lincoln’s Blockade Proclamation

President Abraham Lincoln issues an order imposing a naval blockade on ports in the Confederate states.

Federals Abandon a Vital Naval Base

Virginia militia seize the Gosport Navy Yard at Norfolk after Federals abandon the vital naval base with controversial haste.

Destroying What I Cannot Defend

Virginians seize the important military arsenal at Harpers Ferry after retreating Federals fail to destroy it completely.

The Old Dominion Mobilizes

Virginians mobilize to defend their state against an impending Federal invasion from Washington.

Washington in Isolation

President Lincoln’s call for troops is enthusiastically answered, but getting them to Washington is another matter.

Tentative Neutrality in Kentucky and Delaware

Both Kentucky and Delaware try to stay neutral in the conflict, but Kentucky’s position greatly overshadows tiny Delaware’s.

Protecting the Peaceful Inhabitants of Missouri

The governor of Missouri asks Jefferson Davis to send him arms while Federals work in secret to secure the vital St. Louis arsenal.

Revolutionary Furor in Full Sway

The mid-South states of North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas reject President Lincoln’s call for volunteers and take steps toward joining the Confederacy.

Keep Your Rowdies in Baltimore

Maryland legislators reject secession as President Lincoln controversially suspends the writ of habeas corpus in areas surrounding the state.

All We Ask is to be Let Alone

Jefferson Davis delivers a message to the Confederate Congress condemning the Lincoln administration’s declaration of war against the Confederacy.

Last Updated: 5/5/2021

Leave a Reply