On January 9, 1861, cadets from The Citadel were manning a shore battery at Cummings Point on the main shipping channel entering Charleston harbor. At daybreak, a ship, the Star of the West, appeared on the horizon steaming for Fort Sumter.
Since the end of December, the Fort’s commander, Major Robert Anderson had moved troops from areas around Charleston into Ft. Sumter. With supplies running low, Buchanan secretly dispatched the Star of the West to deliver much needed troops and supplies for the garrison.
Cadets immediately fired on the ship and after about 10 minutes, the Star of the West turned about and headed back to its starting point. This action was the first in which State troops fired upon ships of the United States. The failed relief of the Fort would set up the final push by South Carolina to rid the State of Federal troops in April 1861.
So what was the second great thing that happened? Glad you asked. Because 48 years later my Grandmother was born in Charleston, SC. January 9, 1909on a street that is now covered by the Gaillard Auditorium. Somewhere on Anson Street between Calhoun and St. George Streets. Today she is celebrating her 102 year young birthday. I can’t imagine a world without her in it.