This Day in History: The Civil War Begins April 12, 1861 Union-held Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay, SC, is attacked by Confederate shore batteries under the command of General P.G.T.
After being battered for 34 straight hours, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort.
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteer soldiers two days later.
He had been in office for barely more than a month.
A slave state, South Carolina had issued an "Ordinance of Secession" earlier in December, dissolving its ties with the Union.
The following four years of war between the North and South would be the bloodiest in American history, resulting in the deaths of more than 620,000 Confederate and Union soldiers.