Today in Military History: Jan., 9, 1861, shots fired on Union ship

Steamship Star of the West, Library of Congress.

On January 9, 1861, three months before the start of the Civil War, the first shots are exchanged between North and South when Confederate forces fire on the Union merchant steamer Star of the West as it tries to deliver supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C.  The 1,172-ton ship abandoned the resupply mission.