The Fort Sumter block was given that name in the Chicago Tribune's quilt column in the 1930s.
"His interview with Colonel Anderson [Federal commander at the Fort] had been deeply interesting, but Mr. Chesnut was not inclined to be communicative. He wanted his dinner. He felt for
Andersonand had telegraphed to President [Jefferson] Davis for instructions—what answer to give , etc. He has now gone back to Anderson with additional instructions…. Fort Sumter
Colonel James Chesnut, Jr. during the War
I do not pretend to go to sleep. How can I? If
does not accept terms at four, the orders are, he shall be fired upon. I count four, St. Michael's bells chime out and I begin to hope. At half-past four the heavy booming of a cannon. I sprang out of bed, and on my knees prostrate I prayed as I never prayed before. Anderson
There was a sound of stir all over the house, pattering of feet in the corridors. All seemed hurrying one way. I put on my double-gown and a shawl and went, too. It was to the housetop. The shells were bursting. In the dark I heard a man say, 'Waste of ammunition.' I knew my husband was rowing about in a boat somewhere in that dark bay, and that the shells were roofing it over, bursting toward the fort."
Mary watched the battle from the
roof of her house in Charleston,
a scene pictured in Harper's Weekly, May 4, 1861
Fort Sumter guarded Charleston's harbor. This map adapted from Wikipedia shows the bombardment that Mary Chesnut witnessed. The Fort (the red star) was fired upon from points on land north, east and west.
The Fort before the shelling.
Picture from Harper's Weekly, April, 1861.
The quilt block, named by the fictional Nancy Cabot who wrote the quilt column for the Chicago Tribune in the 1930s, seems to symbolize the Fort in the harbor. The central nine-patch can stand for the building. The blue triangles around it can stand for the water in the harbor.
In actuality the Fort is a five-sided structure.
The red shapes in the corners can symbolize the lines of fire from the shore.
Cutting an 8" Finished Block
A - Cut 4 red rectangles 3-1/2" x 2-1/2". You'll trim the outside points at 45 degree angles when you've finished piecing the block.
B - Cut 2 blue squares 3-7/8". Cut each into 4 triangles with two cuts. You need 8 triangles.
C - Cut 4 light squares 1-1/2".
D - Cut 4 dark rectangles 1-1/2" x 4-1/4".
E - Cut 1 medium square 4-1/4".
The block has two variations, found as number 2423 or 2461 in BlockBase. Another name is Four Points.
An account of the the week's news
in the Chicago Tribune, April, 1861
Mary's portrait from her book
Witness the War from Mary Chesnut's point of view by downloading her diary or adding this site to your favorites:
You can check it every week to get her perspective as a Confederate government insider who is perceptive enough to foresee the horrors ahead.
LAST MINUTE UPDATE
Fort Sumter by "Sewprimitive"
"Sewprimitive" posted this block early this morning on the Flickr group. She copied the pictures above onto fabric and created the Fort Sumter block out of the period graphics. Very clever!