We have learned from our history books that the first shots fired in our Civil War occurred on April 12, 1861 at 4:30am at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. We also have been taught that the newly formed Confederates States of America fired the first shots in an attempt to take Fort Sumter from the Union Army.
There is no doubt that this incident happened as recorded; however, there is other evidence that indicates that this is not the actual first shots fired in this great war. Also, it appears that actual war was never declared by President Abraham Lincoln. Since the north never recognized the Confederacy as a foreign government, but only as a “belligerent foreign power,” there was no formal declaration of war in 1861.
There are many historians that certify that the very first shots of this conflict were fired by Southern Cadets from The Citadel (South Carolina Military Academy) in an attempt to prevent the Union force inside Fort Sumter from receiving supplies. Also President James Buchanan was still president, and it was he who ordered Union forces to resupply the fort. History recounts that on January 9, 1861 the Union ship, Star of the West, was driven away by guns manned by cadets from the Citadel. The cadets fired across the bow of the ship from nearby Morris Island as she entered the harbor. The ship was hit three times, and its captain abandoned the mission.
There are other sources that claim the first shots of the war, but many historians agree that these young cadets were the first to actually make the first major effort to defend the Confederacy by not allowing Union forces to receive necessary supplies.
Each time a new article is published for the "The Civil War History Examiner," a trivia question will be asked. The answers will come from as many reliable sources as I can find; however, I do not consider myself to be an expert, and my answers and articles are taken from research, but I can only list it as conjecture on my part, because I was not there. Please feel free to state your opinion about the articles and trivia, and please send me your own observations on the information I present. Your comments can be sent to me by clicking on the first box to the right of the headline at the top of this page.
Trivia question: Was President Abraham Lincoln narrowly elected in 1860 and did he carry his home county. True or False?