Fort Sumter is on an island guarding Charleston Harbor.
Lincoln received a message from the commander of Fort Sumter, a U.S. fort on an island guarding Charleston Harbor. The message warned that the fort was low on supplies and the confederates demanded it's surrender.
Lincoln responded in a message to Governor Francis Pickens of South Carolina that he was sending an unarmed group to the fort with supplies.He promised Union forces would not "throw in men , arms, or ammunition" unless they were fired upon.
Jefferson Davis ordered his forces to attack fort Sumter before the Union supplies could arrive. Confederate guns opened fire April 12, 1861. Union captain Abner Doubleday witnessed the attack from inside the fort.
Meanwhile , high seas kept Union ships from getting to the fort. The Union couldn't fight back, so they surrendered the fort on April 14. Despite heavy bombardment, no one had died.
After the loss of Fort Sumter Lincoln issued a call for troops, and volunteers quickly signed up.
Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas voted to join the confederacy.
The Civil War had begun.