American history’s bloodiest four years began on this day in 1861 when Confederate General Pierre Beauregard ordered his shore batteries to open fire on Fort Sumter at Charleston Bay in South Carolina. In a thirty-four hour period 50 Confederate mortars and guns fired over 4,000 shells at the under supplied fort. The new president of the United States, President Abraham Lincoln, sent out a call two days latter asking for 75,000 volunteers to squash the Southern insurrection.
There had been an ongoing conflict between the South and the North, starting as early as 1858, over the slavery issue with the South advocating a unified separation from the United States. A large majority of the slavery states threatened secession publicly if Lincoln and his Republican party won the presidency in the1860 election.
South Carolina quickly initiated secession proceedings following Lincoln’s victory over the divided Democrats. The South Carolina legislature passed their Ordnance of Secession on December 20, declaring, "The Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved." After their secession the state didn’t waste any time in the taking of arsenals, forts and any other locations in the South Carolina. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana followed South Carolina in the next six weeks.
In February 1861, delegates from these states convened for the purpose of establishing a unified government. Mississippi's Jefferson Davis was the first president of the Confederate States of America. Texas had joined the CSA by the time President Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4th, 1861. Four years after the rebel attack on Fort Sumter on April 12th, 1861 the Union had defeated the Confederacy and 620,000 Confederate and Union soldiers dead with thousands more wounded.