Friday, April 8, 2011

Preparations to Attack Fort Sumter

Map of the Forts in Charleston Harbor
Since being appointed Confederate commander in Charleston on March 1 to drive the Northern troops out of Fort Sumter, Major General P. G. T. Beauregard was making preparations to launch the attack. When Beauregard had attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, Major Robert Anderson, the commander of the fort, was actually his artillery instructor. After graduation Beauregard became his assistant. Later on Beauregard was an engineer and one of the foremost US military officers. Just before coming South he had been appointed superintendent of West Point.

When he arrived in Charleston, Beauregard began to prepare for the possibility of having to attack the fort. He trained the South Carolina militia, 6000 of which were available, but they were very inexperienced. Additionally he gathered a large strength of artillery, numbering almost 50 guns of various sizes. The position of Fort Sumter was unfavorable for the Northern defenders. Aside from their lack of provisions, although they had 60 cannons, they did not have nearly enough men to man them and the guns were pointed seaward, and not toward the coastal positions.

Fort Sumter


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