Trivia Question 1-30-19 Mortar Shot

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#6
Who fired it: Lt. Henry S. Farley
From where was it fired: east battery of Fort Johnson

"Henry S. Farley fired the first mortar round upon Fort Sumter from Fort Johnson, signaling the start of the American Civil War today in 1861.
[…]
At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861, Confederate Lt. Henry S. Farley (acting upon the command of Capt. George S. James) fired a single 10-inch mortar round upon Fort Sumter from the east battery of Fort Johnson, signaling the start of the American Civil War."

https://nowweknowem.wordpress.com/2...rican-civil-war-today-in-1861-now-we-know-em/
 

SWMODave

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#9
Credit for question

Legend has it that Captain George James had offered the first shot to Roger Pryor, a secessionist Congressman from Virginia, who refused to start the war - and moved to New York after it ended.

The answer, Lt Henry Farley, died at Brandy Station, when his leg was severed by a canon shot.


This should be released on Friday - so have a great weekend!! :smile:
 

ErnieMac

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#11
The first shot was fired by Company C, 1st South Carolina Artillery Regiment commanded by Captain George S. James which was stationed on Johnston Island. Some attribute James with actually firing the shot, others state he gave the order, but the the lanyard was actually pulled by Lieutenant Henry S. Farley. I will opt for Lieutenant Farley actually firing the shot.
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Journals/SCHGM/12/3/The_First_Shot_on_Fort_Sumter*.html

Edit - The question asked for the name of the fort, not the island. The fort was Fort Johnson, which was actually located on James Island, not Johnston or Johnson Island.

hoosier
 
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#12
...At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861, Lt. Henry S. Farley, acting upon the command of Capt. George S. James fired a single 10-inch mortar round from Fort Johnson. (James had offered the first shot to Roger Pryor, a noted Virginia secessionist, who declined, saying, "I could not fire the first gun of the war.") The shell exploded over Fort Sumter as a signal to open the general bombardment from 43 guns and mortars at Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, the floating battery, and Cummings Point...
 
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#15
Edmund Ruffin

Edit - Sorry, Eagle65, Edmund Ruffin is not the correct answer to this question. Ruffin fired the first shot from a cannon after the signal shot was fired from a mortar, but the question asked who fired the signal shot.

Welcome to the trivia game and to CivilWarTalk. Hope you'll come back and play again.

hoosier
 
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DBF

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#16
The Fort: Johnson located on the NE point of James Island, Charleston, SC

There appears to be some confusion as to who really fired the shot and I found sources to support 2 men - though most sources seems to lean to the following:
Under orders from Captain George S. James; Lieutenant Henry Saxton Farley of the 1st South Carolina Artillery wrote to Dr. Lebby in 1893:
“The circumstances attending the firing of the first gun at Sumter are quite fresh in my memory. Captain James stood on my right, with watch in hand, and at the designated moment gave me the order to fire. I pulled the lanyard, having already carefully inserted a friction tube, and discharged a thirteen-inch mortar shell, which was the right of battery. In one of the issues of a Charleston evening paper, which appeared shortly after the reduction of Fort Sumter, you will find it stated that Lieutenant Farley fired the first gun, and Lieutenant Gibbes the second.” - Source #1.
1. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Journals/SCHGM/12/3/The_First_Shot_on_Fort_Sumter*.html
2. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63470385/henry-saxon-farley

I found this article that claimed there is some “historical debate over who actually pulled the lanyard”, (my source below #1 gives the credit to Captain George S. James the correction given by none other than Captain Stephen D. Lee of Beauregard's staff who corrected "an error which has almost passed into historical fact . . . Edmund Ruffin, of Virginia, did not fire the first gun at Fort Sumter, but that Captain George S. James, of South Carolina . . . did fire it.”)
However, during a re-enactment of the 150th Anniversary, April 12, 2011, “the re-enactment organizers gave the honor to Lt. Henry Saxon Farley, whose descendants attended Tuesday’s event.”#2
1. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/civil_war_series/14/sec3.htm
2. https://www.thestate.com/news/special-reports/article14392631.html

My last source stated that if Captain James gave the order (and everyone seems to agree on this), then Lieutenant Henry Farley fired the shot as James would not give himself an order and I agree with this.
American Civil War: Facts and Fictions, by James R. Hedtke, Pages 35-38.
 
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#18
A signal mortar shell was fired from Fort Johnson over Fort Sumter. Firing from surrounding batteries soon followed, starting the battle. A Virginia secessionist, Edmund Ruffin, claimed to have fired the "first shot" of the battle and the Civil War.

Edit - Ruffin's diary, cited in post # 27, says that he fired the first cannon shot, but he did so after the signal shot fired from a mortar, which was the subject of this question.

hoosier
 
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