CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The course of American history was forever changed off our coast. The battle between the Confederacy and the Union began with a single shot -- fired from Fort Johnson, aimed at Fort Sumter.
Later, Fort Sumter would become the most fired upon 2.5 acres of land in American history.
The U.S. government built the fort to protect the country from a sea invasion. Little did the government know that it would later be used against it.
Rick Hatcher is a Fort Sumter historian working with the National Parks Service. He said the fort was considered a construction site in 1860 when South Carolina seceded from the Union. He said 10 percent was still under construction when the war began.
Hatcher said Charleston held the most important sea port on Southern Atlantic coast. Control of Fort Sumter meant control of the port -- a port needed for the trade of cotton, rice and indigo.
Union troops led by Major Robert Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter after being pratically starved out. Confederate forces were able to gain control of surrounding areas including but not limited to Fort Moultrie.
With Fort Sumter surrounded, a bombardment began, with the first shot fired from Fort Johnson.
According to Hatcher, the fort was in a ring of fire, with cannon blasts coming from all sides.
Anderson surrendered the fort 34 hours later and the Confederates remained in control until February of 1865.