Battle of Fort Sumter Online Exhibit

The Steamship Star of the West

illustration of steamship "Star of the West"

Caption: The steamship Star of the West.

Source: Illustration of Harper's Weekly, January 19, 1861, page 40.

The Star of the West carried provisions and additional soldiers intended to support Major Anderson at Fort Sumter. However, when she tried to enter Charleston Harbor she was fired on and forced to retreat. This description of the incident accompanied the above illustration in Harper's Weekly:

On Wednesday morning, January 9, 1861, the first shots were fired. At daybreak on that morning the steamship Star of the West, with 250 United States troops on board, attempted to enter the harbor of Charleston for the purpose of communicating with Fort Sumter. The people of Charleston had been warned of her coming and of her errand by telegraph. They determined to prevent her reaching Fort Sumter. Accordingly, as soon as she came within range, batteries on Morris Island and at Fort Moultrie opened on her. The first shot was fired across her bows; whereupon she increased her speed, and hoisted the stars and stripes. Other shots were then fired in rapid succession from Morris Island, two or more of which hulled the steamer, and compelled her to put about and go to sea.

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Last Updated: April 2, 2012