I enjoyed a relaxing Sunday earlier this week and discovered one of my old favorite movies was on. How the West was Won. While Deborah Reynolds and Gregory Peck carried much of the story one of my three heroes was there, John Wayne. My Father and Joshua Chamberlin are the other two. This day in 1861the American Civil War began when Confederates fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The fort had been the source of tension between the Union and Confederacy for several months. After South Carolina seceded, the state demanded the fort be turned over, but Union officials refused. A supply ship, the “Star of the West,” tried to reach Fort Sumter on January 9, but the shore batteries opened fire and drove it away. For both sides, Sumter was a symbol of sovereignty.
The Union could not allow it to fall to the Confederates, although throughout the Deep South other federal installations had been seized. For South Carolinians, secession meant little if the Yankees still held the stronghold. The issue hung in the air when Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office on March 4, stating in his inauguration address: “You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.” Lincoln did not try to send reinforcements, but he did send in food. This way, Lincoln could characterize the operation as a humanitarian mission, bringing, in his words, “food for hungry men.” He sent word to the Confederates in Charleston of his intentions on April 6.
The Confederate Congress at Montgomery, Alabama, had decided on February 15 that Sumter and other forts must be acquired “either by negotiation or force.” Negotiation, it seemed, had failed. The Confederates demanded surrender of the fort, but Major Robert Anderson, commander of Fort Sumter, refused. At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, the Confederate guns opened fire. For thirty-three hours, the shore batteries lobbed 4,000 shells in the direction of the fort. Finally, the garrison inside the battered fort raised the white flag.
No one on either side had been killed, although two Union soldiers died when the departing soldiers fired a gun salute, and some cartridges exploded prematurely. It was a nearly bloodless beginning to America’s bloodiest war.
I walked Gettysburg. It was amazing as well as heart breaking. If you have the opportunity visit that site. Little Round Top was my focus. A terrific read is “Killer Angels” which won a Pulitzer.
This is a re-reminder that The Department of Oklahoma in OKC has Legion 100th Anniversary coins for sale at $15 each. Reach out to a Legionnaire you know and get on board with us as we serve the community as patriots! Also, please participate in our rifle raffle. Carl Blue has set up opportunities at the NAPPA Store (Thanks to the Breedloves) and The Hominy Pawn Shop.
Next Legion Meeting will be Thursday April 19th, 7:00 PM. We conducted the election of officers and all remained to stand their watch once again. We are blessed to have the crew we have. Salute troops, you make us proud. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in March are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy with always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things must be postponed (like freezing weather). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.