Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Was the First Shot of the War Fired at Fort Sumter?

From the April 13th Chicago Tribune.

A raid by Southern sympathizers on Fort Barrancas in today's Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida was likely the result of an ill-planned, drunken misadventure that ended with a blank shot being fired on January 8, 1861.

Civil War historian Dale Cox considers this the first shot of the war, coming a few hours before the steamer Star of the West was fired on in Charleston Harbor. Fifty US soldiers under Lt. Adam J. Slemmer were stationed at Fort Barrancas, guarding Pensacola Bay.

With Confederate sentiment seething in the area, he had ordered the fort's drawbridge raised. Around midnight, a guard heard footsteps and challenged. One of the people lurking in the darkness fired a blank. Slemmer made no comment about shots being fired that night. In 1865, R.L. Sweetman, one of the unknowns that night, wrote that a blank shot was fired that night at the fort.

So, Was It? --Old B-R'er

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