The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.

Bombardment of Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter before bombardment
Henry Fenn. "Sunset View of Fort Sumter Before the Bombardment." From Horace Greeley's . 1865-66. 4 1/2 x 7. Wood engraving by Orr. Very good condition. $35

Bombardment of Fort Sumter
"Bombardment of Ft. Sumter." From John S. C Abbott's The History of the Civil War in America. New York: Henry Bill, 1866. 4 1/2 x 7 1/2. Engraving.

A fine engraving from John S.C. Abbott's history of the Civil War, issued just after the conflict ended. NA

Bombardment of Fort Sumter
"Bombardment of Fort Sumter By the Batteries of the Confederate States, April 13, 1861." From Harper's Weekly. New York: April 27, 1861. 13 1/2 x 20. Wood engraving. With stain and short tears in lower margin.

A dramatic image of a scene from the battery in Charleston, probably drawn from life. Fort Sumter is shown under attack but returning fire. Issued just two weeks after the event, this print is the earliest image of the first action of the Civil War. NA

Bombardment of Sumter
"The House-Tops in Charleston During the Bombardment of Sumter." From Harper's Weekly. New York: May 4, 1861. Cover illustration, 9 1/4 x 10 7/8.

An evocative image of the citizens of Charleston watching the bombardment of Fort Sumter from their roof-tops. The Charleston Mercury called this a "Splendid Pyrotechnic Exhibition," and many of those in Charleston felt the same way. Others, however, realized that this was just the beginning of a national tragedy. In this print, many are shown cheering the attack, but others (all women!) are shown weeping. NA

Bombardment Fort Sumter
"The Interior of Fort Sumter During the Bombardment." From Harper's Weekly. New York: April 27, 1861. 9 1/4 x 13 3/4. Wood engraving.

A dramatic depiction of the effects of the bombardment of Fort Sumter issued just two weeks after the event. The image has the appearance of accuracy and it may be that it was based on a first-hand sketch or at least first-hand observation. Major Anderson and his troops sailed from Charleston to New York City, arriving on April 18. Thus there would have been time for the publisher of Harper's Weekly to have based the image on a report or drawing by a member of Anderson's garrison.

Certainly, Harper's was concerned to offer as accurate images as was possible. As they reported in the issue from which this image came, "Almost all of the illustrations of the Southern Forts have been made from drawings by United States Officers," further broadcasting an appeal for other first-hand images, "the proprietors of Harper's Weekly take this opportunity of informing Officers in the Army and Navy serving in the South that they will be glad to receive sketches of Forts and Scenes of Interest at the present crisis, and to pay liberally for such as they may use. Any officer in either service can obtain the Weekly gratuitously for six months by sending his address to this office." $45

Map Charleston Harbor
"Map of Charleston Harbor, Showing Fort Sumter and the Confederate Batteries." From Harper's Weekly. New York: April 27, 1861. Full page, 9 1/4 x 14. Wood engraving.

The public in the North was anxious to read about the dramatic events in Charleston Harbor and so illustrated newspapers, like Harper's Weekly, published reports and images as soon as they could. This map shows the situation of Fort Sumter relative to the surrounding Confederate batteries. $25


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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. April 15, 2016