January 9, 1861 – The unarmed vessel, Star of the West, arrives to reinforce the Federal garrison of soldiers at Ft. Sumter in Charleston harbor and is fired upon by southerners. The reinforcements are never delivered.
The First Shot of the Civil War
The January 26, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly featured the following illustration, showing the First Shot of the Civil War. The first shot was fired on January 10, 1861. It was fired by the South Carolinians on Morris Island. They fired on the Union Ship “Star of the West” as it attempted to reinforce Major Anderson at Fort Sumter.
WE publish on page 52 a fine illustration of the firing on the Star of the West from the Morris Island Battery, Harbor of Charleston, on 10th January, 1861. The event was mentioned in our last Number ; and it is only necessary to say here that she was on her way to Fort Sumter with men and supplies for the reinforcement of Major Anderson. The captain of the Star of the West, by name M'Gowan, gives the following account of the event:
“When we arrived about two miles from Fort Moultrie —fort Sumter being about the same distance—a masked battery on Morris Island, where there was a red Palmetto flag flying, opened fire upon us—distance, about five-eighths of a mile.