First shots of Civil War marked at Fort Sumter

The State (Columbia, S.C.)April 12, 2011 

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Several hundred people strolled up to the bandstand at the Battery early today, solemnly listening to a brass ensemble play a 25-minute program of hymns.

The plaintive sound of the music rolled across White Point Garden to the walkway along the harbor’s edge, where several hundred more awaited the ceremonial parting of the light beam shining from Fort Sumter. The music began on time; the light didn’t split until about 13 minutes later. There was no explanation for the delay, but organizers at the Battery suspected technical problems.

The beams angled in different directions, signifying the directions taken by the Union and the Confederacy after the first shot was fired at 4:30 a.m. April 12, 1861.

Fred Kiger, who lectures on the Civil War at the University of North Carolina, was choked up at the morning event.

“All my life, I’ve studied this history,” Kiger said. “Now, to be here to have some semblance of the weather and the sights and the moment … it’s very close to a religious moment.”

Kiger appreciated the tasteful nature of the commemoration, starting with a concert at the Battery Monday night through the light ceremony.

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