The election of Abraham Lincoln in November, 1860 brought to a head the issue of slavery in the United States. Seven southern states seceeded from the Union rather than continue negotiation and compromise with a government they felt would be hostile to their rights as states. The first to secede was South Carolina on December 20, 1860. By February 1861, six more states had joined the new Confederate States of America. With their secession declarations came the demands that all United States property be turned over to those states, including miltiary property. The new Lincoln administration sought not to provoke armed conflict, but refused to surrender Federal installations to the Confederates. Instead, Lincoln chose to resupply Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor and other forts when required. One attempt to resupply Sumter took place in January but the ship was turned away by Rebel guns. Negotiations continued in Charleston with Confederate Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard, in command of the Confederate forces there and Maj. Robert Anderson, the Sumter garrison commander. The talks failed to resolve tensions, forcing Beauregard to action. Early in the morning of April 12, 1861, Confederate guns around the harbor opened fire on Fort Sumter. At 2:30pm on April 13th, Major Robert Anderson, garrison commander, surrendered the fort and was evacuated the next day. The Union would not recapture Fort Sumter for nearly four years.