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150 Years Ago: Sunday, April 14, 1861

The day after Major Anderson’s (USA) surrender, a hundred gun salute was a part of the generous terms offered by Brigadier General Beauregard (CSA). The salute, along with the raising of the U.S. flag, would take place exactly 24 hours after the surrender at 2pm. Beauregard, likely due to his friendship with Anderson, showed great respect for Anderson and his men, and allowed them to leave with dignity and at their own pace. In the middle of the ceremony there was an accidental cannon explosion, which caused the first official fatalities of the Civil War.  Private Daniel Hough was killed instantly. Four were wounded, with one – Private Edward Gallway – dying at Gibbes Hospital in Charleston on April 19. The salute was cut short to just 50 guns.

Beauregard showed great concern over the injured soldiers. Since they were on enemy territory the Union troops were not allowed to take the soldiers with them. But Beauregard promised Anderson the injured soldiers would receive the best of care. In regards to Private Hough, Beauregard issued an order to his military personnel who would now occupy the Fort: “The commanding general directs that the commanding officer of the garrison of Fort Sumter will bury the unfortunate soldier who has been accidentally killed by explosion of misplaced powder while saluting his flag. He will be buried with all the honors of war in the parade of the fort.

As soon as U.S. troops took down their flag, the victorious Confederacy raised their new flag inside Fort Sumter. This was the first official Confederate flag design, with seven stars (one to represent each Confederate State) and three bars. Commonly referred to as the “Stars and Bars” and was designed to “not abandon” the old U.S. flag design at the request of many citizens. It’s use was approved on March 4, 1861, a little more than a month prior to the first battle.

Fort Sumter, April 14, 1861

Fort Sumter, Confederate Flag is Hoisted to Celebrate Victory (Source: National Archives)

Anderson and his command boarded a ship and headed to New York. With him, he brought the damaged U.S. flag that had once flown inside the Fort.

In Washington D.C., President Lincoln met with his cabinet and military officers and drafted a proclamation calling for a militia to suppress the rebellion. This was a call for 75,000 troops from the various states still in the Union, including states that had been debating whether or not to secede. Most states rallied around the cause after the surrender of Fort Sumter. For four states, this would be the issue that eventually pushed them over the edge and into the Confederacy. The new militia would serve just ninety days, and a special meeting of Congress was set for July 4 at noon to determine what special actions needed to be taken for this “extraordinary occasion.”

The ninety day time frame, in hindsight, was extremely short. But at the time most experienced political and military leaders on both sides felt that defeat of the opposition would easily occur within that time frame.

Daily Civil War Calendar

April 2011

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