OSWEGO – On Jan. 9, 1861 Confederate forces fired on the Union supply ship Star of the West, preventing the resupply of Major Robert Anderson and his garrison at Fort Sumter.
The North did nothing and no additional shots were fired.
Three months later, on April 12, 1861, Confederate forces under direct orders from Jefferson Davis fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
Five days later, Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers from the loyal states to suppress the rebellion.
As a result, four additional Southern slave states seceded and four years of bloody civil war ensued.
The American Civil War resulted in the deaths of more than 600,000 Americans.
Civil War historian and Oswego native Thomas J. Ebert will speak on just exactly who started the Civil War in a lecture Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. inside the barracks of old Fort Ontario.
He will briefly make the case for and against five possible culprits in the initiation of this conflict: the Founding Fathers, Stephen A. Douglas, John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Confederacy as represented by Jefferson Davis.
The audience will be asked to express their opinion in a vote at the end of the talk.
Admission to the program is free and open to the public.
Ebert is a native of Oswego who resides in California.
He holds master’s degrees in history and library science and is a major contributor to the book “Freedom’s Delay: Emancipation in America 1775-1865,” by Dr. Allen Carden, published by the University of Tennessee Press.
Ebert is currently co-authoring, with Dr. Carden, a biography of John G. Nicolay, Lincoln’s private secretary (chief of staff) and biographer.
Ebert has presented well-received local talks on Oswego’s 147th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment and on conducting Civil War genealogical research.
He has also compiled an Ebert-McGrath family genealogy; a three-volume documentary history of Oswego’s 147th New York Infantry Regiment, and an annotated brief history of the 184th New York Infantry Regiment.
Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located at the north end of East Fourth Street in the city of Oswego.
Those with accessibility issues should contact Paul Lear at (315) 343-4711 or [email protected] to make arrangements.