The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when the first shot was fired upon Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, S.C. The state was the first to secede from the United States just a few months prior.
It wasn't until July 21, 1861, that the first major battle took place in Manassas, Va. at the Battle of Bull Run. While many people believed the war would be decided during this battle, it was only the first of many battles in a war that would span four more years. The Civil War officially ended on April 9, 1865, with the surrender of the Confederacy taking place at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.