On this day 150 years ago, at 4:30 am on April 12, 1861, Confederate Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire with an artillery barrage on Fort Sumter, commanded by Union Major Robert Anderson, starting the American Civil War.
The Civil War involved over 3 million American soldiers, of which more than 640,000 died over the four years of war. More American soldiers were killed in the Civil War than in all of America’s other wars – combined.
For the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, PBS has been playing Ken Burns epic Civil War series.
As I watch it, for the umpteenth time in the 20 years since it came out, I’m still amazed that it happened here, how it unfolded and how it almost tore our country apart.
Sitting here writing this post, minutes before the anniversary of that first shot, I’m astounded by what an incredible story the Civil War is.
The plot, the setting and theme are there. You’re presented with a vast cast of characters that you can’t help but care about. You root for the main protagonists (Lincoln and Grant) and even find empathy for the main antagonists (Davis and Lee). There are lots of amazing sub-plots, continuous conflicts, trials and triumphs. The plot points are in place as is the reversal of fortune at the mid-point – all leading to the dramatic climax. At then end is a touching epilogue of what became of the characters that survived the war and what it meant to our country.
One hell of an epic story.
An interesting fact: When Confederate Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard was a cadet at West Point; Union Major Robert Anderson was his artillery instructor.
Beauregard was such an accomplished artilleryman; Anderson kept him on as an assistant instructor. Anderson, the former instructor, would later surrendered Fort Sumter to his former student, G.T. Beauregard.
Its 4:30 am – the Civil War has begun…