|Fort Sumpter. Source.|
Following South Carolina’s secession, a delegation was sent to Washington, DC to demand that President Buchanan order the United States troops to hand over the Federal held property in what they considered to be the sovereign state of South Carolina. The main problem was with the forts in Charleston Harbor. There were far too few men stationed in them, around 80 in Fort Moultrie and the rest were virtually empty. Moultrie was indefensible because it was intended to fight off attackers from the sea, and on the land side the sand dunes had been allowed to build up to the top of the wall. On the night of December 26th, Major Robert Anderson moved his troops in boats to the stronger Fort Sumter, on an island on the other side of the Harbor. They moved very quietly for fear of the groups of state militia which patrolled the area, the transfer was undetected until the next morning.
South Carolina considered that the Federal troops were foreigners invading their state and demanded their surrender, but Anderson refused. They were low on food and supplies, but they were determined not to surrender and hold out as long as possible.
|Major Anderson, commander of the fort|