Fort Sumter National Monument, South Carolina

After the secession of the southern states in late 1860 and early 1861, the federal government retained possession of several forts in the territories of the seceded states. The new president, Abraham Lincoln, considered retaining possession of these forts to be a concrete way to assert continuing federal sovereignty over the states that had declared their secession. The forts also became the issue that led to the actual outbreak of war. Unwilling to tolerate the challenge, forces of the new Confederacy opened fire against Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861. After 34 hours of fighting, the Union garrison surrendered the fort. From 1863 to 1865, the Confederates themselves withstood a 22 month siege by Union forces at Fort Sumter. During that siege, most of the fort was reduced to brick rubble. Fort Sumter became a national monument in 1948, and has been reconstructed to its 1861 appearance.

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