For most people, the Civil War officially began when the Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in April 1861. However, several months prior to that, in January, a Confederate battery on Morris Island fired upon the ship Star of the West which had been hired by the US Government to resupply Fort Sumter. After several rounds struck the ship, it turned about and fled back out to sea.
To me, this was all trivia that I had picked up somewhere in my Civil War reading. However, it wasn’t until yesterday, as I was playing around on the Civil War Preservation Trust website, that I learned a bit more. It turns out that the men who fired at the Star of the West were students from the South Carolina Military Academy (today known as the Citadel), and over their battery they flew an unusual red flag.