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The Art of Mort Künstler / The American Spirit / The Civil War

Here you will find a pictorial chronicle of the drama and excitement of American History. These paintings give the viewer an insight into the tumultuous life of this young nation that mere words cannot achieve.

First Shot at Fort Sumter - SOLD

Historical Information

Determined to defend slavery and states' rights as fundamental to its way of life against the threat of hostile legislation from a victorious Republican party, South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860. Ten other southern states followed. Meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, in March of 1861, the newly seceded states declared their independence and drew up a Constitution. "Physically speaking," said President Lincoln in in his Inaugural Address, "we cannot separate." South Carolina rejected this argument and, determined to repossess her own "territory," demanded the evacuation of federal forces on Sumter Island in Charleston Harbor.

When Lincoln responded by sending an expedition to reinforce the fort, General Beauregard, in command at Charleston, decided to rally southern support by precipitating war. At 4:30 on the morning of April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries fired the first guns of what was to be a four-year war. The Union commander, Major Anderson, responded as best he could, but in vain: by the next morning the fort was afire and Anderson lowered the flag. The next day the garrison marched out with colors flying and drums beating.

Four years later to the day, General Anderson presided over the raising of Old Glory. "I thank God," he said, "that I have lived to see this day." And as he began to hoist the ragged and shell-torn flag, the wind caught it and shook its folds out above the Fort, and every soldier instinctively saluted.

Date Created: 2004

Medium: gouache

Image Size: 12" x 12"

Signature Location: lower right


All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.