The First Battles: April 1861 to February 1862

Fort Sumter

When did the Civil War truly begin?

At 4:20 A.M. on April 12, 1861. The Confederate batteries surrounding Fort Sumter commenced a bombardment, inaugurating the Civil War.

Of course, some argue for other deadlines and commencements. Some say that the war was inevitable after the execution of John Brown, while others assert that Lincoln’s election was the dividing line. Regardless of where one draws the line of inevitability, however, the war itself commenced with those guns firing early on the morning of April 12, 1861.


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