On April 12, 1861 secessionists began to fire on the Union forces at Fort Sumter. Today, the attack on Fort Sumter is widely considered to be the start of the Civil War, but how was it thought of at the time? In this lesson, students read two newspaper articles from April 13, 1861, both from the website Chronicling America, which make different claims about the attack. Students engage in sourcing and contextualization as they investigate the different perspectives of each newspaper’s account.
Image: Photograph of Fort Sumter after the bombardment, between 1861-1865. From the Library of Congress.