Fort Sumter: The Battle of "Firsts"

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GrantVSLee

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Here's a bit of trivia on the first battle of the Civil War.
  • The first shot of the war was fired by the Confederacy. It was a cannon fired by Southern diarist Edmund Ruffin.
  • The first Union shot of the war was fired by Captain Abner Doubleday, a fiery South-hating Unionist.
  • The man who was nearly the first death of the war was Roger A. Pryor of Virginia, a member of the party sent to negotiate the Union garrison's surrender. While waiting for reply, Pryor--overcome by thirst--found a stray bottle of an unknown liquid. Without thinking, Pryor took a drink--of what turned out to be iodine. Fortunately, a Federal doctor saw the event and pumped Pryor's stomach of the poison.
  • The first "house divided" scenario of the war was the relationship between the two opposite commanders, Union Major Robert Anderson and Confederate General Pierre Beauregard. The elder Anderson had been Beauregard's artillery instructor at West Point. Beauregard was polite to his former teacher and even sent him gifts.
  • The first flag of truce waved in the war was tied to the end of a sword. This "flag" was a small handkerchief, and naturally was impossible to see from a distance.
  • The first Confederate death of the war was...a horse.
  • The first Union deat of the war occured...after the battle. Major Anderson was allowed to fire a 100-gun salute to signal the lowering of the Stars and Stripes from Fort Sumter. The very last gun misfired, causing an explosion that killed one and seriously wounded all the others.
Know any other "firsts" at Fort Sumter? Post them here!
 

gary

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First use of mine as a defensive measure by Capt. John G. Foster (Union) who had a mine placed beneath the wharf to destroy an assault. See page 29 of E. Milby Burton's The Siege of Charleston.
 
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Carronade

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The first Union deat of the war occured...after the battle. Major Anderson was allowed to fire a 100-gun salute to signal the lowering of the Stars and Stripes from Fort Sumter. The very last gun misfired, causing an explosion that killed one and seriously wounded all the others.
IIRC the mishap occurred as the 47th shot was being fired. The gun did not misfire, but a spark detonated some of the charges stacked nearby. Several men suffered injuries, two of whom died; "all the others" would refer to the rest of the gun crew, not the whole garrison. Major Anderson then cut the salute short at 50 guns.
 
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Chris Pelkey

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Technically, this happened at Ft. Moultrie but...

My Great, Great Uncle, General Edward Winslow Hincks is considered the very first volunteer of the Civil War. On the 18th of December, 1860, he wrote to General Anderson, then stationed at Fort Moultrie, the following letter, which shows him to have been the first volunteer of the war:
"Boston, December 18,1860. "Major Anderson, U. S. A., Commanding Fort Moultrie: "Major— In case of attack upon your command by the State (or would-be nation) of South Carolina, will you be at liberty to accept volunteers to aid in the defence of Fort Moultrie? "I am confident that a large body of volunteers from this vicinity can be put afloat at short notice to aid in the defence of the post entrusted to your command, if necessity shall demand and the authorities permit it. "Indeed, the men who have repeatedly responded to the call of the authorities to protect the officers of the law in their work of securing to the owners, from whom it had escaped, the chattel property of the South, will never hesitate to respond to a call to aid a meritorious officer of our Federal Republic, who is engaged, not only in protecting our national property, but in defending the honor of our country aud the lives of our countrymen. "I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant to command, "Edward W. Hinks, "1st Lieut. and Adjt. 8th Regt. Mass. Vol. Mil."
"Fort Moultrie, S. C., December 21, 1860. "Lieutenant Ed. W. Hinks, Adjt. 8th Regt. Mass. Vol. Miltia: "Sir— I thank you, not only for myself, but for the brave little band that are under me, for your very welcome letter of the 18th last, asking whether, in case I am attacked, I would be at liberty to accept voluuteer aid in the defence of Fort Moultrie. "When I inform you that my garrison consists of only sixty effective men; that we are in a very indifferent work, the walls of which are only about fourteen feet high, and that we have within one hundred and sixty yards of our walls sand-hills which command our work, and afford admirable sites for batteries and the finest cover for sharpshooters; and that, besides this, there are numerous houses, some of them within pistol-shot, you will at once see that if attacked by a force headed by any one but a simpleton, there is scarce a possibility of our being able to hold out long enough to enable our friends to come to our succor. "Come what may, I shall ever bear in grateful remembrance your gallant, your humane offer. "I am, very sincerely yours,
"Robert Anderson,
"Major 1st Artillery, U. S. A."
 
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Chris Pelkey

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My Great, Great Grandfather was on board the Star of the West when she went to Ft. Sumter to resupply the Crew, there. She was fired upon by cadets from the Citadel Military Academy and never did land to complete the resupply action. These aren't technically considered the first shots of the Civil War for some reason, though. Later in April of 1861, He was onboard the same ship when it was taken by Earl Van Dorn in Matagorda, Texas where he was held as a POW until around July. He escaped and made it back to Boston where he joined his brother's Massachusetts 19th Vol. Infantry Regiment on August 3, 1861 as the commissary Sargent.
 

Carronade

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Technically, this happened at Ft. Moultrie but...

My Great, Great Uncle, General Edward Winslow Hincks is considered the very first volunteer of the Civil War. On the 18th of December, 1860, he wrote to General Anderson, then stationed at Fort Moultrie, the following letter, which shows him to have been the first volunteer of the war:
"Boston, December 18,1860. "Major Anderson, U. S. A., Commanding Fort Moultrie: "Major— In case of attack upon your command by the State (or would-be nation) of South Carolina, will you be at liberty to accept volunteers to aid in the defence of Fort Moultrie? "I am confident that a large body of volunteers from this vicinity can be put afloat at short notice to aid in the defence of the post entrusted to your command, if necessity shall demand and the authorities permit it. "Indeed, the men who have repeatedly responded to the call of the authorities to protect the officers of the law in their work of securing to the owners, from whom it had escaped, the chattel property of the South, will never hesitate to respond to a call to aid a meritorious officer of our Federal Republic, who is engaged, not only in protecting our national property, but in defending the honor of our country aud the lives of our countrymen. "I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant to command, "Edward W. Hinks, "1st Lieut. and Adjt. 8th Regt. Mass. Vol. Mil."
"Fort Moultrie, S. C., December 21, 1860. "Lieutenant Ed. W. Hinks, Adjt. 8th Regt. Mass. Vol. Miltia: "Sir— I thank you, not only for myself, but for the brave little band that are under me, for your very welcome letter of the 18th last, asking whether, in case I am attacked, I would be at liberty to accept voluuteer aid in the defence of Fort Moultrie. "When I inform you that my garrison consists of only sixty effective men; that we are in a very indifferent work, the walls of which are only about fourteen feet high, and that we have within one hundred and sixty yards of our walls sand-hills which command our work, and afford admirable sites for batteries and the finest cover for sharpshooters; and that, besides this, there are numerous houses, some of them within pistol-shot, you will at once see that if attacked by a force headed by any one but a simpleton, there is scarce a possibility of our being able to hold out long enough to enable our friends to come to our succor. "Come what may, I shall ever bear in grateful remembrance your gallant, your humane offer. "I am, very sincerely yours,
"Robert Anderson,
"Major 1st Artillery, U. S. A."
Impressive mail service! Three days - Mr. Hinks' letter must have gotten onto a ship heading right for Charleston.

Anderson's reply makes clear why he didn't keep his garrison in Fort Moultrie.
 

gary

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My Great, Great Grandfather was on board the Star of the West when she went to Ft. Sumter to resupply the Crew, there. She was fired upon by cadets from the Citadel Military Academy and never did land to complete the resupply action. These aren't technically considered the first shots of the Civil War for some reason, though. Later in April of 1861, He was onboard the same ship when it was taken by Earl Van Dorn in Matagorda, Texas where he was held as a POW until around July. He escaped and made it back to Boston where he joined his brother's Massachusetts 19th Vol. Infantry Regiment on August 3, 1861 as the commissary Sargent.
Was he still the commissary sergeant when the 19th did an amphibious assault across the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg? Any letters/diaries/journals?
 
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