The first shots of the Civil War were fired on 12 April 1861, from Confederate batteries on Fort Johnson.
This ended a stand-off that had been in place since 26 December 1860 when US Army Major Robert Anderson had, upon learning that South Carolina had seceded from the Union, evacuated his men from nearby, indefensible Fort Moultrie, to Fort Sumter.
Fort Sumter National Monument
Fort Sumter National Monument encompasses three sites in Charleston: the original Fort Sumter, the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, and the Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island. Access to Fort Sumter itself is by a 30 minute ferry ride from the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center or Patriot's Point.
The Visitor Education Center's museum features exhibits about the disagreements between the North and South that led to the incidents at Fort Sumter. The museum at Fort Sumter focuses on the activities at the fort, including its construction and role during the Civil War.
April 12, 2011 marked the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. There was a commemoration of the events by thousands of Civil War re-enactors with encampments in the area. A United States stamp of Fort Sumter, and first day cover, was issued that day.
The Civil War Day By Day: An Almanac 1861-1865. E.B. Long with Barbara Long, De Capo, 1971