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NPS History E-Library

Civil War Series

Five Flags Over Fort Sumter


The guns of Fort Sumter remained silent for nearly two years. The Union army established outposts on the Carolina coast throughout the rest of 1861, and by the summer of 1862 their forces had begun to threaten Charleston from the south, but until the spring of 1863 the harbor lay unmolested.

On April 6, 1863, a fleet of Federal ironclad monitors crossed the bar into the main ship channel. Under the direction of Admiral Samuel F. Du Pont, nine of them steamed toward Fort Sumter early on the afternoon of April 7, their hulls awash in the water so their turrets appeared to float independently. Those turrets housed twenty-three guns that threw projectiles as large as fifteen inches in diameter.

Ignoring gunfire from Fort Moultrie and other batteries on Sullivan's Island, the ironclads began battering at Sumter, which was defended by about 550 men of the First Smith Carolina Artillery, under Colonel Alfred Rhett. When Rhett saw them coming, he ordered the new Confederate garrison flag—a large white sheet with the crossed bars of the battle flag as the union—run up the main pole at the northern salient; at the western gorge angle he sent up South Carolina's palmetto flag, and from the eastern gorge angle fluttered his regimental banner.

At a distance of about three-quarters of a mile the fleet began a slow barrage of the fort, which replied at a much faster rate from thirty-seven guns and seven mortars. In the entire engagement the ironclads threw a total of only 139 rounds, of which 55 struck Sumter. The fort returned 831 rounds, while surrounding batteries added another 1,378.



The deadliest fire came from Sumter, however. The double-turreted ironclad Keokuk ran in closer that any of her sister ships, coming head-on and using only the 11-inch Dahlgren gun in the forward turret, and this vessel suffered the worst of any. Commander Alexander C. Rhind reported that the Keokuk was struck ninety times and pierced nineteen times. This ship finally pulled away, riddled and sinking, while Sumter's guns turned on the Nahant, which also steamed away disabled.

Three more ironclads were seriously damaged before Du Pont signaled a retreat, and the Keokuk sank the next day, so close to Morris Island that Confederates were able to salvage the two Dahlgren guns and put them in battery against the Union navy. Only one man inside Sumter was seriously wounded, a soldier in Fort Moultrie was killed when the flagstaff was shot down and struck him, and a quartermaster on the Nahant died from his wounds. The accidental explosion of artillery cartridges again caused the greatest loss of life, killing three Confederates in Battery Wagner, a new fortification built as an outpost to Fort Sumter on Morris Island, to keep the enemy from reaching Cummings Point.

The naval bombardment of April did some damage, despite its overall failure. One hole had been breached on the seaward face, and ten yards or more of the parapet wall had been cracked and loosened. Over the spring and summer the garrison strengthened the fort with sandbags, especially along the gorge wall and in the casemates that faced Morris Island. The upper magazines were emptied of powder and partly filled with sand, to protect those below it.


On July 10 the Federals moved a brigade of infantry against Wagner and launched an unsuccessful attack the next day. A week later the Union commander, Brigadier General Quincy Gillmore, tried again with a larger force, including the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts, the first black troops employed against Charleston. That assault also failed, with more than 1,500 Union casualties.

On August 17 these guns opened a deliberate fire on Sumter that continued for a solid week.

Unable to reach the vantage of Cummings Point, Gillmore instead dug successive trench lines as close to Wagner as he could, bringing in huge Parrott rifles that could reach beyond Wagner to strike the fort. On August 17 these guns opened a deliberate fire on Sumter that continued for a solid week.

Over five thousand rounds were fired at Sumter during the August barrage, almost half of which struck the bastion. Three of the garrison had been killed and forty-four wounded, plus five slaves who were working on the fortifications. The entire wall around the barbette tier was leveled, and all those big guns were exposed to the full view of Union telescopes. Nearly 150 tons of metal shattered the casemates on all sides. When the bombardment stopped on August 23, Fort Sumter had fallen silent. The parade was littered with rubble from the crumbling walls, and only three guns remained serviceable. two of which sat on the exposed parapet and could not be manned safely.

Over the next few days the big guns were pulled out of Sumter for use in other batteries around the harbor. The garrison was diminished accordingly, to about three hundred infantry. Major Stephen Elliott, Jr., replaced Colonel Rhett in command on the night of September 4. Fort Sumter had been reduced to a mere symbol again, but this time for the other flag. Elliott's principal duty consisted of raising the Confederate banner each morning and defending the remains of the fort so the ceremony could continue.

For the Union assailants, Sumter remained just as great a symbol. As soon as the Confederates abandoned Battery Wagner (and Battery Gregg, at the tip of Cummings Point) on the night of September 6 and 7, the commanders of both the land and naval forces independently planned boat assaults on the fort. General Gillmore gave up his own plans when he learned that Admiral John Dahlgren had issued orders to the captains of his numerous ships, which bobbed at anchor just outside the harbor; on the night of September 8 some four hundred sailors and marines rowed toward the battered northeastern and southeastern faces of Sumter, supposing they would meet nothing more than "a corporal's guard."



Major Elliott had been expecting them. A hundred of his men were awake on the ramparts at midnight, under arms and with improvised hand grenades lying nearby, and the remaining two hundred were rousted from their beds in time to meet the assault. The attackers landed just after 1:00 A.M. Elliott's garrison, composed at that time of the Charleston Battalion, let fly with musketry, hand-thrown shells, bricks, and pieces of stone, while the gun boat Chicora and batteries on Sullivan's Island and in Fort Johnson pitched in to drive the boats away. Two-thirds of the amphibious force escaped, but nearly two dozen of them were killed or wounded and more than a hundred were captured on the face of the fort, where they had taken cover in the nibble. No Confederates were injured.

The trophies included five Union flags, one of which was a tattered old garrison flag which survivors claimed to have been the one Major Anderson had taken home with him in 1861. No Union reports mention losing the original Sumter flag, however, and Anderson reportedly still retained the old banner that he had first carried into Sumter from Fort Moultrie.

Even as the prisoners were being ferried back to Charleston, George Cook entered the fort again with his photographic apparatus. This time he captured the destruction wrought by weeks of Union bombardment, and at one point he climbed the parapet to secure an image of the ironclads that lay off the fort, lobbing shells at him. Inside, he set his camera up on the parade and tripped his shutter just as a shell from the Weehawken exploded on the parade ground.

Monitors like the Weehawken, which fired eighty-two rounds at Sumter on September 8, were collaborating with the army in an effort to pound the fort into submission, if it could not be recaptured. With Federal forces in firm control of Morris Island, Fort Sumter was now subjected to intense hammering by heavy-caliber rifled guns. At first the fire came slowly, at a rate of about a hundred rounds per day from the land batteries, but late in October Gillmore drastically increased the pressure, doubling his volume of fire on October 26 quadrupling that on October 27 and 28, and from October 30 until November 1 the Federals pounded the silent fort with more than a thousand shells and solid shot each day, missing very seldom.

For the rest of November the intensity of the barrage barely subsided, and now the shelling began to inflict significant casualties inside Sumter.

For the rest of November the intensity of the barrage barely subsided, and now the shelling began to inflict significant casualties inside Sumter. Elliott's first man fell at his post on October 29. Six more men were wounded that day and three the next. At 3:00 A.M. on October 31 one round struck an iron girder that attached the old barracks to the outside wall causing the barracks to collapse; troops lay under arms there, as they usually did when a night assault was anticipated, and thirteen of them were buried alive. Two Georgia privates were killed by a mortar shell later that same day, and four were seriously wounded. A man was killed by a mortar shell on November 2, and seven were wounded over the next three days. On November 6 a mortar shell exploded inside a casemate, wounding fifteen men, of whom three died.

The list of killed and wounded grew steadily though more slowly thereafter. Troops were relieved weekly, and only a few officers like Elliott remained inside the fort constantly. By the middle of November the Confederate flag billowed above what appeared to be a hastily constructed earthwork.

Another flotilla of boats moved toward Sumter after the moon set in the wee hours of November 20, 1863. A handful of barges filled with soldiers came with in three hundred yards of the fort, merely to test the strength of the garrison. After a few moments' exchange of musketry, the barges returned to James Island, bringing back two wounded men and an estimate that Sumter still had two hundred defenders, despite the endless shelling.

Slaves were brought in to rebuild the walls with sandbags and gabions (woven barrels filled with earth), but they and the officers who supervised them suffered from the exposed nature of their work. Four of the blacks were killed by shells or debris between November 21 and 25, while another lost a leg and one was wounded in the shoulder. A South Carolina captain whose services Major Elliott had specifically requested was mortally injured on the afternoon of November 24 while brazenly inspecting the infantry obstructions near the foot of the seaward wall.




One of the deadliest explosions at Fort Sumter came, like so many in this war, from accidental causes. Most of the powder had been removed from the fort, save for about 150 pounds of small-arms ammunition, and that remainder was stored in the lower western magazine, along with other supplies. On the morning of December 11 Captain Edward Frost, the acting commissary of the post, was using the interior of the magazine to distribute rations when, probably, a spark from his lantern ignited some loose powder. No one ever determined what actually caused the explosion, but it rocked the artificial little island like an earthquake.

Most of the garrison, and particularly the officer's, had just gone to sleep after another watchful night. Elliott arose from his sleeping chamber in one of the lower casemates on the northwest flank and made his way to the magazine, which still lay perfectly dark in the winter morning light. He and the officer behind him soon found themselves tripping over dead bodies. Once these had been dragged away, they reentered the magazine, where an intense fire consumed what remained of the fort's provisions. Somewhere in there, never to be recovered, were the remains of Captain Frost and the men who had been helping him dole out the rations.

Eleven men were killed, including Frost. Another forty-one were wounded, among them Elliott, who was struck in the head by a piece of shell when the Union artillery took advantage of the confusion. A hundred men, ammunition, and provisions were sent over from Fort Johnson after nightfall, but once the crisis passed Elliott asked to have his garrison reduced to the two hundred who occupied the fort before the explosion.

Fort Sumter no longer played a practical role in the defense of Charleston Harbor. After August 1863 Fort Moultrie, the other batteries on Sullivan's Island, and Fort Johnson would have been more instrumental in stopping any naval incursion into Charleston, although they had been auxiliary to the keystone of Sumter in the original design of the U.S. Army engineers. To augment the defense of the city, South Carolinians depended on a wide assortment of inventive naval weapons, from submersible mines to low-profile rams and the first practical submarine.

Mines had been suspended all over the harbor. Admiral Du Pont's flagship, the New Ironsides, lay directly over one for two hours during the ironclad incursion of April 1863, but it failed to detonate. The ironclad Patapsco succumbed to another mine on the night of January 15, 1865, drowning sixty-two of its crew in five fathoms of water only seven hundred yards from Fort Sumter.

On October 5, 1863, the New Ironsides was rocked, but not sunk, by the explosion of a spar-mounted torpedo that was rammed into its side by a little cigar-shaped steamer called the David. With a four-man crew, the David was almost entirely submerged. The explosion doused the ram's fires: it appeared to be going down with its intended victim, so her commander and one sailor abandoned ship and were picked up by the Federals, but the David's engineer and pilot got the cumbersome contraption moving again and brought it back to the city.

The first true submarine, however, glided past Fort Sumter one night in the middle of December 1863, towed by the David. This was the H. L. Hunley, named for her builder, Horace L. Hunley. The submarine consisted of a couple of boilers, joined at the ends and tapered fore and aft. Estimates of its length ranged from twenty to thirty-five feet or more; it was judged to be about five feet high and nearly as wide. The Hunley's propulsion, when not under tow, consisted of a propeller turned by a hand crank.

Though this was the first submarine to successfully destroy an enemy vessel, the Hunley killed far more Confederates than Federals. Built at a Mobile machine shop, the craft was transported to Charleston by rail, in two sections. There it was put under the command of Lieutenant John A. Payne, of the Confederate States Navy. By the autumn of 1863 the vessel had sunk at least twice during trial runs, drowning several volunteers, and Lieutenant Payne was finally relieved of that duty. The builder then arrived from Mobile with Lieutenant George F. Dixon of the Twenty-first Alabama Infantry and another seven-man crew. In an attempt to demonstrate the correct use of his submarine, Hunley and his seven men also drowned in a test dive on October 15, 1863.




The Hunley was dragged up from nine fathoms again and the bodies were pulled from the hatches. Lieutenant Dixon found still more volunteers among the Charleston garrison, and with this crew he successfully submerged and raised the vessel on several occasions. In December Dixon was directed to proceed out of the harbor to do what damage he could to the Union blockading fleet. Instead he nearly exploded his own ship and the tow vessel when the Hunley's torpedo, suspended from a prow-mounted spar, became fouled with the David's propeller. The naval commander thereafter refused to tow the Hunley, which was under the direction of the army.

In February 1864 the ill-fated submarine was docked off Battery Marshall, on the extreme eastern end of Sullivan's Island. On the evening of February 17 Lieutenant Dixon and eight men crawled into the cramped compartment and turned south-southeast, where, two miles away, lay the USS Housatonic. At 8:45 that night the Hunley slammed into the eleven-gun steam sloop, exploding its torpedo under the stern quarter. The Housatonic broke apart and sank almost immediately, taking down five officers and men. The rest of the Union crew was rescued by boats from other vessels.

The Hunley was never heard from again. Within a few days, the Confederates in Charleston determined that the hunter had gone down with its prey. (In May 1995 the remains of the makeshift submarine were discovered in the waters off Charleston, and a committee of historians and underwater archaeologists are determining the feasibility of raising the wreck.)

While such daring efforts annoyed the Union fleet, soldiers and slaves inside the remains of Fort Sumter worked daily to repair the walls and prepare for the amphibious assault they anticipated almost every night. Except for the lower portions of the sides facing Charleston, Sumter's brick walls had all been disintegrated or covered with debris, both inside and outside, by 1864. The masonry fragments and sandy filling had been shoveled back into place and backed by gabions: to supply the materials, the defenders had dug four or five feet deep into the parade. The endless bombardments and natural erosion steadily ate away at the remaining berm, however, and the quartermaster boats from Charleston were soon asked to bring out a thousand filled sandbags at night to buttress the parapet.


The fort's walls had shrunk to half their original height, and now they sloped gradually rather than towering upright, rendering the place much more vulnerable to investment by an armed enemy. To counter these disadvantages, each night the garrison set out infantry obstructions called fraise, consisting of portable sections of sharpened stakes fastened into the earthen slope. These cumbersome forerunners of concertina wire were meant to slow any attackers long enough for those inside the fort to level another volley or two at them before they reached the interior.

Once they had gained the interior, any assailants would have faced barricades, constructed of logs and sandbags, behind which lay light artillery to trace the line of riflemen. If the attacking force proved too strong for the Confederates, they could retreat into the casemates and bombproofs behind those barricades while the rest of the batteries around the harbor smothered the fort in heavy ordnance.

Thus protected, the fort sat defiantly in plain sight of the Federals, if somewhat lower on the horizon. At dusk each evening a single gun barked a little salute to the Confederate flag as it was lowered from the staff that Union shells had so frequently snapped. At noon on April 13, 1864, Colonel Elliott fired that gun thirteen times, in recognition of the capture of the fort three years earlier. The display inspired a flurry of retaliatory projectiles from the enemy, one of which killed a soldier in the signal detachment.



In May, Colonel Elliott left Sumter to serve in Virginia. He was replaced by Captain John C. Mitchel, of the First South Carolina Artillery. Not long after Mitchel took over, the Union commander was replaced by someone who had known Fort Sumter intimately: John G. Foster, now a major general commanding the entire Federal Department of the South.

Foster visited Morris Island early in June. He decided the fort was still defensible and should be demolished entirely. After a boat assault on Fort Johnson failed, Foster ordered the Sumter barrage resumed on July 7. It continued for eight weeks, during which nearly fifteen thousand projectiles fell on, in, or near the fort. Foster intended to maintain so constant a fire that repair would be impossible; but the Confederates did much of their work at night. The Federals also aimed at the log booms that protected the base of the fort from boat attacks, intending to launch explosive-laden barges against the bastion, but two such torpedo craft exploded without doing any damage at all.

Captain Mitchel was among the first of a dozen men—soldiers and slaves—who were killed in this bombardment. At 1:00 o'clock on the afternoon of July 20 he was standing on the southwestern angle of the fort (the highest elevation that remained), inspecting the Union batteries with a telescope. A piece of shell pierced him below the hip, and he died four hours later.

Mitchel was replaced by Captain Thomas A. Huguenin, of the First South Carolina Infantry, who arrived that evening. He found the garrison in fair morale, despite the 174 rifle and mortar rounds that had slammed into the fort since dawn. Besides Captain Mitchel, one slave was killed that day and seven wounded, as well as a South Carolina private.

Until this barrage subsided, early in September, ten more men were killed and thirty-seven wounded, the vast majority of them slaves. The blacks' construction duties exposed them dangerously, and they suffered disporportionately compared to the white soldiers.

Until this barrage subsided, early in September, ten more men were killed and thirty-seven wounded, the vast majority of them slaves. The blacks' construction duties exposed them dangerously, and they suffered disproportionately compared to the white soldiers. On September 4 the Confederate garrison numbered 195 officers and men, excluding Captain Huguenin and his staff, while the black labor force amounted to 120. Although they constituted less than 40 percent of the garrison, the slaves absorbed 71 percent of the casualties between July 20 and September 16. Only one of the dozen men killed during that period was white. The last blood was drawn inside Fort Sumter on September 16, when a relatively light total of thirty rounds hit the fort. One shell seems to have done all the damage, severely wounding Private J. C. Ray, of the Thirty-Second Georgia, in the leg. Captain Huguenin's report for September 16 also notes "two Negroes killed" and three wounded, none of whom was identified by name.

Partly because of a shortage of ammunition, Union guns let up on Fort Sumter after September, instead turning their attention to other targets. Confederates inside Sumter began returning fire about that time, albeit with nothing heavier than telescopic sharpshooters' rifles. The commander on Morris Island complained of their sniping as early as September 27, and the sharpshooters continued to harass Federal soldiers until the end of the year.



They did minimal damage, however. Like the single guns Major Anderson had fired during the last hours of the 1861 bombardment, the sharpshooters struck little more than a note of defiance.

Captain Huguenin spent 212 days in Fort Sumter, but the movement of William T. Sherman's Union army through South Carolina finally forced him out. On February 17, 1865—the anniversary of the night the H. L. Hunley sank the Housatonic—the Confederate garrison quietly slipped out of the fort and made its way to the mainland, to join Joseph Johnston's army for the final struggle in North Carolina.


By the time Major Robert Anderson, the officers, men of Batteries E and H, and the band of the First U.S. Artillery arrived at Fort Hamilton in New York Harbor on April 19, 1861, they had become heroes. Not long afterward the officers and men who had endured so much together inside Fort Sumter were reassigned to fight for the preservation of the Union. The band, however, spent the duration of the war on garrison duty in the North.

In June 1861, Batteries F and H were assigned to General Robert Patterson's forces, near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and later that year both units moved to Washington, D.C. There they were issued field cannon and, in 1862, were assigned to the Army of the Potomac. During this time Battery E was combined with Battery G and the two units served through the rest of the war as Battery E-G.

During the Peninsula campaign both Batteries E-G and H saw combat—Battery H in the May 5 battle of Williamsburg, Battery E-G in the June 30 battle of Glendale. Although both batteries were on the field at Malvern Hill on July 1, apparently neither saw any action.

At the end of the campaign both units were withdrawn. Battery E-G was assigned to General John Pope's command and was under enemy fire on August 30 during the second Manassas campaign, while Battery H was assigned to the defenses of the nations capital.

Following the battle of second Manassas, General Robert E. Lee moved his army north into Maryland. Both batteries moved with the Union army and at Antietam, Battery E-G was briefly engaged; Battery H saw no action. By early December the armies faced each other at Fredericksburg, Virginia, where in the December 13 battle, although both batteries were again on the field, only Battery E-G saw limited action.

In May 1863 at Chancellorsville, two of Battery E-G's guns fired briefly on General "Stonewall" Jackson's column as it marched around the Federal right to launch one of the war's greatest attacks. Later that day the battery was ordered to the left end of the Union line, where it experienced no further action. Battery H, stationed in the vicinity of the Chancellor House, formed part of the Federal line that finally stopped Jackson's May 2 flank attack. It was also involved in the fighting the next day.

After the battle, Battery E-G was converted to horse artillery and began serving with the cavalry. During the Gettysburg campaign the unit was engaged in several actions leading up to and after the battle. On July 3, Battery E-G participated in the cavalry battle that took place behind the Union army during Pickett's charge. Battery H, which had been held in reserve until July 2, was called into line on Cemetery Hill. There it dueled with Confederate guns and was intermittently under enemy fire during the rest of the battle.

After Gettysburg neither battery saw combat until 1864. In April of that year Battery H was consolidated with Battery I, First U.S. Artillery, and became Battery H-I. When fighting was renewed in May 1864, both Batteries E-G and H-I were with the Army of the Potomac but did not participate in the battles of the Wilderness or Spotsylvania Court House. Later that month and in June, however, Battery E-G saw action in the fighting along the North Anna River.

The engagement at the North Anna marked Battery E-G's last action. It's numbers greatly reduced by hard campaigning, the unit was ordered to Washington, "dismounted," and spent the rest of the war on garrison around the city.

Moving with Federal cavalry in June 1864, Battery H-I fought at Cold Harbor, Bottoms Bridge, and in the battle of Trevillan's Station. The battery also participated in various actions during the siege of Petersburg, and at war's end the unit was ordered to Washington, D.C.

From Fort Sumter in April 1861 to the fall of Petersburg, in April 1865, Battery E and/or Battery H, First U.S. Artillery participated in some of the Civil War's most significant battles and campaigns.

In September 1865, both Batteries E-G and H-I were restored to their status as independent units, and Battery H was "dismounted." Batteries F and H were assigned, respectively, to Fort Stevens and Fort Slocum in the defenses of the nation's capital. January 1866 saw both batteries stationed in the defenses of New York Harbor. back to the routine of peacetime garrison duty.

From Fort Sumter in April 1861 to the fall of Petersburg, Virginia, in April 1865, Battery E and/or Battery H, First U.S. Artillery, participated in some of the Civil War's most significant battles and campaigns. From manning the heavy guns of Fort Sumter, to moving with the Army of the Potomac as mounted or horse artillery, and then back to garrison duty, both units proudly served their branch of service, the army, and nation.

—Richard W. Hatcher III

Early on the morning of February 18 Lieutenant Colonel Augustus G. Bennett, of the Twenty-first U.S. Colored Infantry, sent a boat toward Sumter upon learning that the enemy might have evacuated. Just short of the fort, his boat encountered some Confederate bandsmen from Fort Moultrie whom the Confederates had forgotten to notify, and they confirmed that Charleston was undefended. Bennett sent a Pennsylvania major, John A. Hennessy, to raise the new thirty-five-star U.S. flag on Fort Sumter, and at 9:00 A.M. Hennessy ran the flag up the staff on the southeast angle of the battered parapet.

Major General Robert Anderson was at his home, 32 West Ninth Street, in New York City, when a telegram arrived inviting him to Washington to meet the secretary of war. It was the secretary's wish that the general would proceed to Charleston Harbor to raise his treasured old garrison flag over Fort Sumter once again, in a ceremony scheduled for the fourth anniversary of his departure from that place. Anderson replied that he would be delighted, his fragile health notwithstanding. He asked for an invitation for his old sergeant, Peter Hart, who had resurrected the banner when Confederate fire shot it down, and the War Department obliged him.

When Anderson arrived in Charleston he found another telegram waiting for him. General Sherman, then pursuing the enemy's last major army in North Carolina, congratulated Anderson on his return to the city where they had last bid each other good-bye, as a captain and a lieutenant, early in the Mexican War. On the evening of April 13 Charleston learned that Robert E. Lee had surrendered his army, which gave the following day's ceremony an even more jubilant tone.


The engineers had buried an immense flagpole in the center of Sumter's blasted parade, around which they built a platform with plank seating. A bower bedecked in bunting and evergreen boughs stood nearby. A couple of hundred dignitaries, soldiers, sailors, and citizens circled around the guest of honor, who was accompanied by Peter Hart and some of the other men who played a part in the drama of four years before. Among those men was Chaplain Harris, who had attended the first flag-raising inside Fort Sumter on that cold, grim day after Christmas.

The crowd remembered his speech as conciliatory toward the conquered South and filled with sentiments of national brotherhood.

Harris opened the ceremony with a prayer. Reverend Richard Storrs followed with a benediction, and at the stroke of noon General Anderson pulled his flag up the halyards. Guns spoke from all over the harbor, including the stout ram parts of ruined Sumter, while the crowd cheered long and hard.

Then came the renowned Henry Ward Beecher, fervent abolitionist and spellbinding speaker. The crowd remembered his speech as conciliatory toward the conquered South and filled with sentiments of national brotherhood. He closed with a blessing for President Abraham Lincoln, whom he congratulated upon living to see the glorious reunification of his country.


Less than twenty-four hours after the ironic conclusion to Beecher's speech, the president would be dead. Fort Sumter might have been transformed from a symbol of rebellion into one of reunion, but Lincoln's assassination assured that reconciliation would have to wait for another generation.

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