The Cannons Roar: Fort Sumter and the Start of the Civil War—An Oral History

Pegasus. Apr. 2023. 416p. ISBN 9781639363391. $29.95. HIST
When Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) was elected president of the United States in 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Other Southern states quickly followed and seized federal property in their states. Major Robert Anderson (1805–71), U.S. Army commander of Fort Sumter, located in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor, refused to surrender. That provoked a standoff between federal officials and Confederate and South Carolina authorities. On April 12, 1861, over a 24-hour period, Confederate batteries bombarded the fort, which initiated the Civil War. Former journalist Chadwick (American history, Rutgers Univ.; The First American Army) weaves together quotes from newspapers, letters, and diaries to give an in-depth and firsthand look at the crisis leading up to the attack on Fort Sumter and the attack itself. The varied and divergent views of many different witnesses, Black and white, are fully represented here. The feelings of gloom, uncertainty, and fear that hung over the nation are expertly portrayed. Chadwick’s combined use of lesser-known and better-known sources provides a fresh new look at this pivotal moment in U.S. history.
VERDICT Readers interested in Civil War and American history should find something new in this title to enjoy.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing