Trivia Question 1-30-19 Mortar Shot

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WJC

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#22
The first shot made on the attack on Fort Sumter was a signal mortar shot. Who fired it and from what fort was it fired?
credit: @SWMODave
Lt. Henry S. Farley (1840-1863) fired the signal from a mortar at Fort Johnson on James Island. <David Detzer, Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War (New York: Harcourt, 2001), pp. 268-270.>
 

luinrina

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#27
The first shot was fired at 4:30 a.m. from Fort Johnson.

As to who fired it: Edmund Ruffin claims to have fired the first shot (his diary, Tulane University), but others say it was Lt. Henry S. Farley (The State, ThoughtCo). Wikipedia and Know We Know Em say Lt. Farley fired it, acting upon the command of Capt. George S. James. Finally, this CWT post says that most historians agree that Capt. George S. James fired the first shot. I'm inclined to say that Capt. George S. James gave the order and Lt. Henry S. Farley executed it.
 
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#33
The signal mortar shot was fired from Ft. Johnson, however I'm finding conflicting information as to who it was that fired the shot - it almost sounds like it's not quite settled. According to http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/sumter.htm, after Roger Pryor declined firing the shot, CPT James would not allow anyone else and fired it himself, but according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fort_Sumter, CPT James ordered Lt. Henry S. Farley to fire the shot. In a third article talking about a ceremonial canon shot commemorating the 150th anniversary, https://www.thestate.com/news/special-reports/article14392631.html mentions that who actually fired the first shot is still debated but for their purposes, they recognized Lt. Henry Farley.

Edit - You documented your sources well, kasey00. You get credit for a correct answer.

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

hoosier
 
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Zella

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#36
Though Edmund Ruffin for a long time was credited with firing the first shot, it's now the general consensus that either George S. James or someone under his command fired it (after Roger Pryor turned down the chance). I found numerous sources that said either James fired the shot himself or that he gave the order but Henry S Farley actually carried it out.

So . . . depending on one's definition of who fired it, it could reasonably be either James or Farley.

There at least seems to be no dispute that the shot was fired from Ft Johnson.

Source 1
https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/george-s-james
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/sumter.htm
http://www.tnsuvcw.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Haversack2011_03.pdf
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63470385/henry-saxon-farley
https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/civil_war_series/14/sec3.htm
 
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