Handbook of Civil War Texas
At 4:30 on the morning of April 12, 1861—one hundred and fifty years ago this spring (2011)—Confederate States of America artillery opened fire on United States troops in Fort Sumter, South Carolina, beginning the American Civil War. Texans, who had voted overwhelmingly in February 1861 to secede from the Union and then watched their state join the Confederacy in March, thus became involved in a four-year conflict that would take the lives of many and leave none untouched. Texas escaped much of the terrible destruction of the war for a simple reason—United States troops never managed to invade and occupy the state's interior. In sum, the Civil War exacted a huge price, primarily in terms of lives lost and ruined in the Confederate Army and in the privations of those left at home. However, the conflict had two vitally positive results for Texas: It freed the state's more than 200,000 enslaved people, and it destroyed the curse of the ‘Peculiar Institution’ for the entire society of the Lone Star State.