| American History Stories, Volume IV|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of the great conflict from the time Lincoln became president and the southern states seceded, through the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, until the close of the war. Includes poems, songs, and illustrations commemorating the events. Ages 8-12 |
 During the last months of Buchanan's administration,
Major Robert Anderson, who held command over the forts
in Charleston harbor, had asked over and over again for men
and provisions for these forts. He had shown the President
plainly that he could not much
longer hold them against the
"seceding" States, unless help
were given; but still no help had
come. When Lincoln became
President, Anderson asked
again. Lincoln replied that
help should at once be sent.
The leaders of the "Confederates" or "Seceders"—you
must remember both these
names, for they both mean the Southern people—the leaders of
these Southerners, hearing of
this, went to Major Anderson and ordered him to surrender
the fort to them it once.
Anderson, of course, refused. He knew only too well
that he had no men, guns or powder with which to hold the
fort, if the Confederates saw fit to fire upon it; still, loyal
Unionist that he was, he determined to hold out to the very
 last. "It shall not be said that the Stars and Stripes are
hauled down without a struggle," said he.
He had only eighty men, but he thought he could hold
out as long as the provisions lasted, and so this little band
prepared for action.
There were three more forts in the harbor, all in Confederate
hands, and beside this, they had built two great rafts
upon which they had fixed cannons. These they floated
round in front of the fort, and on Friday, April 12, 1861,
the Confederates opened fire from these five points, all upon
 the one little fort with its eighty men. The "Civil War" had begun.
Down came the rain of shot and shell, around the fort,
across the fort, into the fort. The wooden barracks inside
took fire again and again; and on the second day, they were
burned to the ground. It was a hot time for the brave little
garrison. The air was so hot, and the smoke was so choking
and so blinding, that they could work only with their
faces covered with wet cloths. Every hour the fort grew
to look more and more like a great ruin.
FORT SUMTER AFTER THE FIRING
It was plain enough that Major Anderson must surrender.
All this time, however, the Stars and Stripes had been kept
flying from above the fort. Even when they had been torn
down by the flying balls from the enemy, some man had
always been ready to nail them up again. But now the
white flag of surrender had to be shown. The firing ceased,
and the Confederates came over to the fort in boats to make
terms with Major Anderson. It was agreed, after long
discussion, that Anderson and his men should be allowed to
march out with flying colors, should be allowed to salute
the dear old flag with fifty guns, and then should march
away in peace.
This was done; and as soon as they had gone, General
 Beauregard, the Confederate leader, marched into the ruined
fort, tore down the "Stars and Stripes,"
and ran up the South Carolina State flag in its place.
THE SOUTH CAROLINA FLAG
This is a brief story of the bombarding of "Fort Sumter." Not
a single life was lost on either
side; but if millions upon millions
of lives had been lost, there
could not have been greater excitement
throughout the country. Ask your fathers and
your mothers, or your grandfathers and your grandmothers,
to tell you about it. It was less than thirty years ago, and
anywhere you can find men and women who remember
those early times of the Civil War.
They were exciting days indeed! The different political
parties of the North, forgetting all differences, all ill feelings,
all quarrels, now joined hands and hearts in this terrible
time. There was but one cry in the hearts of all—"Save
the Union! Save the Union!" Nothing more was to be
heard about Democrats or Republicans, tariff or no
tariff,—Unionists or Confederates were the words now on every lip.
No longer was it Republicans against Democrats, but the
North against the South, the South against the North.
And now, President Lincoln sent forth a call for help—for
men to go against the South. Seventy-five thousand
 men, he asked for, to help him "to preserve the Union."
From every city, and town, and village, answers came. It
seemed as if every man in the country was ready. Rich
men and poor men marched away together side by side;
willing to bear all the hardships of the soldiers' lot.
The women, too, were as alive as the men. It seemed as
if the Revolutionary spirit had revived again in them. No
too rich or too poor, too high or too low, too strong
or too weak, not to do something for the Union soldier.
Little children, too, caught the spirit of the times. When
they saw their fathers and their big brothers march away,
their little hearts were full of tears, I fear, but they were all
the readier to work for the soldiers because their own dear
ones had gone away with them.
In the South the same feeling of loyalty to what they believed
was right was shown among the men and women
there. Remember they loved their States as truly as the
Northerners loved the Union.
When the news that Fort Sumter had fallen into their
hands was heard throughout the South, men and women
were wild with joy. Songs were sung, verses were written,
public meetings were held, and the South was boiling over
Such was the excitement in the North and in the South
after the taking of Fort Sumter by the Confederates. Let
us see now what next was done.
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