On April 12, 1861, Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, at the time occupied by a Union garrison. After a 34 hour bombardment, the commander of the fort, Major Robert Anderson, surrendered to Confederates led by General Pierre Beauregard. Although there were no casualties, this battle marked the start of the Civil War.
Shortly after this battle, 4 additional states joined the Confederacy, bringing the total to 11. Meanwhile, also in response to the battle, President Lincoln declares a state of insurrection and calls for 75,000 volunteers to enlist for service.
If you’re interested in the Civil War, you could watch the Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary online (you will need to log in with your last name and Colleague ID if you’re off campus) or listen to a podcast from one of the recent library events on the Civil War.