Aerial view of Fort Sumter
off Charleston, South Carolina
. The first shots of the American Civil War were fired at this sea fort on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery fired on the Union garrison. The cannon fire continued all day, watched by many civilians in a celebratory spirit. Sumter was one of a number of forts planned after the War of 1812, combining high walls and heavy masonry. Work started in 1829, but was incomplete by 1860, when South Carolina seceded from the Union. Photo by Carol Highsmith, 2017.