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The Bombing of Fort Sumter


 Design of Newspaper


 Teacher Notes



In 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union and prepared to seize the United States forts in the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina. Major Robert Anderson (1805-1871) directed the harbor defenses. He made his headquarters in Fort Moultrie. He realized that South Carolina troops would soon attack Fort Moultrie and that it would be difficult to defend his position. He moved his headquarters and his sixty-one soldiers to Fort Sumter, an island in Charleston harbor.

On April 12, 1861, Pierre Beauregard, the Confederate general, demanded the surrender of the fort. Anderson refused. At 4:30 a.m. forty-three Confederate guns in a ring around Fort Sumter began the bombardment that initiated the bloodiest war in American history. Although the bombardment lasted 34 hours, there were no casualties. On April 14, Union troops evacuated the fort. The Confederates permitted Anderson and his command to leave with their weapons and their flag.

Web sites for information:

American Civil (simple facts)

Great picture and story:

More pics and story:

Causes for the war / Northern, Southern reaction

"Bonnie Blue Flag": This song from the south can teach you about the south's feelings about secession.


Directions: Your task is to write a front page Headline story about the outbreak of the Civil War. Your main objective is to focus on the causes of the war. Again, write for the South or write for the North.


1. TITLE OF HEADLINE STORY: Give a headline that expresses your point of view, e.g........

2. DATELINE, BUG (Where and when did the story happen; the "bug" is your initial)

Charleston, S.C., April 14, 1861 (your initial)

3. Lead Paragraph: This paragraph gives a summary of what happened.
Make the lead paragraph a real attention getter so that people will want to read more.



For the North........


Charleston, S.C., April 14, 1861 (initial) Southern rebel forces fired upon federal troops in Fort Sumter and forced the surrender of the fort into rebel hands. The South is ready to use violence to establish their independence from the Union.


For the South.......


Charleston, S.C., April 14, 1861 (initial) The people of Charleston rejoiced as Southern troops bombarded federal troops in Fort Sumter and forced their surrender of the fort. This victory sends a clear message to Abraham Lincoln that the South stands firm in its declaration of independence.


4. Paragraph Two: Give details about the story....

Tell who: .......Leader for the North - Major Robert Anderson
.........................Leader for the South - General P.G.T. Beauregard

What: Union fortification, Fort Sumter, was attacked and taken
by the Confederacy.
When: April 12 and 13, 1861
(bombing began at 4:30 a.m. and lasted thirty-four hours)
Where: In Charleston, South Carolina harbor.

5. Paragraph Three and Four:

Explain two reasons why the Civil War began.
Use your worksheet, "Causes for the War".
You could write about the tariff laws, States' rights, or slavery.

6. Paragraph Five:

Wrap it up. Describe the feelings of the North or the South about secession and the beginning of war. You could state that the South wants to break away from the United States and become their own country in much the same way as the U.S. did in the Revolutionarly War. Remember, this is a factual article so show your bias in a subtle way.


1. Write in black ink or type
2. Write on one side only
3. Be neat.
4. Write in the "third person" (e.g. the North, the South, or they)...
Do not use the "first person" (e.g. "I" or "we")

Date due:

Points Possible:

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