Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/81

This page needs to be proofread.


First Shot of the War was Fired in the Air. 73

[From the Richmond, Va., News-Leader, August 14, 1893.]

FIRST SHOT OF THE WAR WAS FIRED IN THE AIR.

W. H. QIBBES, OF SOUTH CAROLINA, AIDS IN ESTABLISHING THE FACT OF WHO FIRED IT.

Correspondent Seems to Show that His Father, Major Gibbes, Pulled the Lanyard Order to Fire was Given by Captain James.

An interesting correspondence on the subject of the first gun fired on Fort Sumter has been handed to the State. Mr. W. H. Gibbes, the son of the late Major Wade Hampton Gibbes, writes Colonel Wade Hampton Manning, historian of Camp Hampton, as follows:

" Enclosed you will find letter written to Colonel J. P. Thomas by Mr. D. A. Thomas, of Gaffney, who was present during the bom- bardment of Fort Sumter.

"This bit of contemporaneous evidence comes from a gentleman who is now local editor of the Gaffney Ledger and father of the sheriff of Cherokee county.

" In reviewing the life of my father I consider the chance that led him to pull the lanyard of the first gun that blazed at Sumter one of the least noteworthy features. Every other service that he performed during the war when facing the foe, and when in danger from him, was more creditable and more honorable to him than this act of opening the bombardment upon a quiescent enemy.

" But since you want the ' truth of history,' accept the evidence from all sides, and be kind enough to have it published as conspicu- ously as that formerly adduced. Since my childhood my father has, told me the facts in the case.

' ' Captain James himself gave Lieutenant Gibbes the order to fire the signal gun, and the captain was not even at the battery in person whence it was fired, but probably at a battery below on the beach nearer the fort. At Lieutenant Gibbes' battery the signal gun was aimed to burst a shell high in the air; another gun was carefully aimed at the forf and the wires were laid ready to explode a mine under an old house in the way. As nearly as possible these things were done simultaneously.

1 ' Now, which of the shots fired at the fort from the three separate