Friday, December 16, 2011

Opening Action of War: The Star of the West Fired Upon

From the Jan. 9th NJ Today.

The commander of the Star of the West, the vessel sent by Lincoln to relieve the beleaguered garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in the months leading up to the war, Captain John McGowan, is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, New Jersey. The state's Sesquicentennial Committee hopes to restore his tombstone.

Cadet troops from Charleston's Citadel manned the guns that fired on the Star of the West. They were under the command of Major P.F. Stevens who credited Cadet George Edward Haynesworth for firing the first shot.

Stevens (1830-1910) is buried at Charleston, South Carolina's Magnolia Cemetery. Cadet Haynesworth (1841-1887) went on to become a judge in Sumter, SC, and was killed by gunfire in his court room. He is buried at the Sumter Cemetery.

Other persons with Civil War connections buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, NJ, are Stephen Crane (1871-1900) who wrote the book "The Red Badge of Courage" and two Medal of Honor winners: Rufus King and James Drake.

King won his Medal of Honor for action at White Oak Swamp Bridge, Virginia in 1862. Drake got his for bravery at Bermuda Hundred, Va., in 1864.

New Jersey's Evergreen Cemetery at Hillside. --Old B-R'er

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