Lunch at Ft. Sumter (or How Pizza Started the Civil War)

Dr. Taint Wellsworth, contributor

Professor of Historical Anecdotes Knob College of Heating and Cooling Online

Transcribed by Derek Luna


New information obtained from the Historical Society of South Carolina has shed light on events leading up to the Civil War. Historians have long pointed to states’ rights and the ever-growing issue of slavery as hotbeds of tensions between the Union and Confederacy, but minutes obtained from the negotiations at Ft. Sumter point to a disagreement as old as time itself that may have finally pushed tensions over the edge.


General Beauregard, from the Confederate forces stationed in Charleston, had demanded that Ft. Sumter be returned to Confederate control. Several attempts made by the fort’s Union commander, Major Robert Anderson, to resupply the fort had been thwarted by rebel troops, and negotiations had stalled.  


“Tensions having reached a boiling point, the two sides agreed to a short break for supper, hoping that a breaking of bread would bring them closer to a resolution,” the minutes read. Major Robert Anderson then arranged for pizza to be delivered to the negotiations, with strange experimental toppings ranging from artichoke hearts, goat cheese, spinach, and bean sprouts. When the pizzas arrived, Confederate general Beauregard was infuriated by the sight of what he deemed unconventional toppings.


“That’s just the type of shit a carpetbagging, city-loving yankee would put on a pizza! What’s wrong with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese? This is total bullshit!” Screamed Beauregard.  Major Anderson tried to assure the general that these toppings were all the rage in New York, and he should give them a try, holding out a slice of vegan pie with locally sourced soy. “It’s good for you too!” implored Anderson.  Beauregard was having none of it: “I’m okay with veggies, ya know, olives and peppers and onions, but this is shit I wouldn’t eat ever, much less on a fucking pizza… Are those clams? What the fuck are you thinking?”


The local news reports agree with the minutes discovered from the meeting, indicating that Beauregard was overheard screaming as he was leaving the negotiations, “I’ll be outside having MY lunch… a half a pack of cigarettes! Enjoy your stupid yankee bullshit pizza!” The Confederate general then went back to his troops and angrily discussed the pizza matter well into the night. The next morning would be April 12, 1861, and the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Of course the road to war had been paved in the months and years before this incident, but perhaps if Major Anderson had just ordered Chinese, things could have gone differently.  

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