The southern states were enraged that Lincoln was elected president, and fearing that he would somehow interfere with slavery, they began to secede from the Union. Some army and navy posts gave up or joined the southern cause. The commander of Fort Sumter, in the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina, refused to surrender and local militia and students from The Citadel began firing cannons at the fort. The fort signaled that it would surrender, but the final volleys by the South Carolina militia set the fort on fire, killing one soldier and hurting many others. When the president, Congress, and the newspapers got word of the fighting, the president gave the order to put down the rebellion by force. All of this happened on April 12 and 13, 1861.
No need to "over-use" that "undeclared war..." term. If folks go by that term, people will begin to have troubles defining the American Civil War (aka US Civil War); for, much to the chagrin of Civil War buffs...the Civil War wasn't a declared war either. And by the way, the Civil War was officially called the "War of the Rebellion" (NOT the Civil War). One more note: there hasn't been a US declared war since WWII! So who won the Vietnam War? North Vietnam won the war!
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