The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

While On the Subject of Fort Sumter

Which will be getting more and more in the news as April 12th approaches, here is an interesting from Phil Gast's Civil War Picket Blog at

"First cannonball fired at Fort Sumter sits outside Georgia courthouse. Or does it?"

At 4:30 am, April 12, 1861, 66-year-old firebrand Edmund Ruffin of Virginia fired what is considered to be the first shot of the war at Fort Sumter.

Captain G.B. Cuthbert of the Palmetto Guards wrote, "The first shell from Columbiad No. 1, fired by the venerable Ruffin, burst directly upon the parapet of the southwest angle of the fort." Sumter surrendered 34 hours later.

P.W. Alexander, a correspondent from Thomaston, Georgia was there and went out to the fort right away with the intention of finding Ruffin's shot. He reported back to the Thomaston Times, "The big 10-inch ball fell within Fort Sumter without doing any damage." He recovered it and sent it to his friend B.B. White.

Around 800,000 visitors a year go out to Fort Sumter. Far fewer than that go to the Upson County Courthouse in Georgia in Thomaston, some 300 miles from Charleston and 60 miles south of Atlanta to see this supposed trophy of Sumter.

However, the captain reported that it exploded. If it did, and being the first shot, many were watching it, it would be hard to find the shell in tact. Regardless, however, the shot was fired in that opening battle of the war.

Very Interesting. --Old B-R'er

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