Civil War 150th Anniversary Marked This Week

Elizabeth Field

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War was being celebrated nationally last week. From California to North Carolina, many state organizations planned events to observe this momentous occasion.

In the state of Connecticut, the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission and a collaboration of over 60 museums, libraries, historical societies, state, local, and private organizations planned numerous events in order to commemorate the anniversary. On Tuesday April 12, twelve cannons fired from the north lawn of the state capitol in Hartford, marking the beginning of the Civil War with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter. Central Connecticut State University, along with the Association for the study of Connecticut History, played host to a series of events including a weekend-long observance and activities.

However, no event in Connecticut drew as much attention as the one occurring at the Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston, South Carolina. The opening salvo of the American Civil war was commemorated in the harbor with a full re-enactment of the war.

Events in Charleston began Monday evening with a late night concert on Charleston’s Battery. Tuesday followed with a pre-dawn candlelight concert and then the recreation of the first cannon shot fired from James Island. A cannon was fired every 15 minutes throughout the day with a bombardment taking place Tuesday evening.

Reece Sexton, publisher of the Civil War Courier newspaper, expected to see over 12,000 reenacters participating. “The 150th cycle is going to be great. It’s going to bring us some new re-enactors, and it’s going to bring us a lot of attention and publicity.” States Sexton stated that he expects an even larger turn out in 2013, when the Gettysburg anniversary could draw as many as 25,000 re-enactors and 100,000 spectators to Pennsylvania.