Tuesday morning at White Point Garden was nothing like it was 150 years ago — except for the crowds.

Several hundred people gathered along the railings at the High Battery to commemorate the exact moment the Confederacy fired the first shot at Fort Sumter in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861.

Instead of re-enacting the moment with cannons and fireworks, organizers opted for a quieter touch.

Lit in red, then blue, Fort Sumter emitted a single 7,000-watt beam of light that stretched into the sky. Shortly after 4:30 a.m., it was joined by a second beam, symbolic of the split between North and South.

Under the bandstand, a brass ensemble played a series of hymns as people listened under the live oaks, softly applauding during the breaks.

The concert is just the first of a series of lectures, demonstrations and other events planned in Charleston today to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the American Civil War.

At 6:45 a.m., a 10-inch mortar will be fired from a cannon at Fort Johnson, with additional firing immediately after for about 45 minutes and again from 7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Check back with postandcourier.com for more on this story and complete coverage throughout the day.