The bombardment of Fort Sumter changed the political situation as if by magic. There was no longer room for doubt, hesitation, concession, or compromise. Without awaiting the arrival of the ships that were bringing provisions to Anderson's starving garrison, the hostile Charleston batteries had opened their fire on the fort by the formal order of the Confederate government, and peaceable secession was, without provocation, changed to active war. The rebels gained possession of Charleston harbor; but their mode of obtaining it awakened the patriotism of the American people to a stern determination that the insult to the national authority and flag should be redressed, and the unrighteous experiment of a rival government founded on slavery as its corner-stone should never succeed. Under the conflict thus begun the long-tolerated barbarous institution itself was destined ignobly to perish.