The Civil War Begins – April 12, 1861


Bombardment of Fort Sumter (1861) by Currier & Ives.

From – On this day April 12, 1861, the bloodiest four years in American history began when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay.  During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection… Four years after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.”

The men of Lowell, Massachusetts answered the call for volunteers under the leadership of Benjamin Butler. On April 19, the Union’s Sixth Massachusetts Regiment while traveling through Baltimore on the road to Washington, D. C. encountered an angry mob of Southern sympathizers.  Luther Ladd, Addison Whitney and Charles Taylor of  Lowell along with Sumner Needham of  Lawrence lost their lives in the “Baltimore Riot of 1861”  – the first deaths in the American Civil War.

Massachusetts Militia Passing Through Baltimore, an 1861 engraving of the Baltimore riot

4 Responses to The Civil War Begins – April 12, 1861

  1. STEVE says:

    Where is Charles Taylor buried? Was it two or three of the first four casualties
    in the Civil War were from Lowell?

  2. Marie says:

    His actual burial place is under dispute! Some cite local newpaper stories about an Lowell burial others say he is buried elsewhere probably in Baltimore. This a good topic for discussion and for some more research. Taylor was from Boston but was apparently marching with Ladd and Whitney from Lowell and Needham of Lawrence.

  3. EileenL says:

    Ladd and Whitney are buried in Monument Square. Taylor probably in Baltimore. Sumner Needham is buried in Lawrence.

    Taylor signed up with the Lowell City Guards in Boston. His background is still a mystery.