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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/82

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74 Southern Historical Society Papers.

mortar batteries by Captain James, Mr. Ruffin or Lieutenant Gibbes' battery was the second shot no man may certainly say.

"The official statement of General Beauregard, as quoted by Mr. G. G. Alexander, of Camden, that ' Captain George S. James, com- manding at Fort Johnson, had the honor of firing the first shell at Fort Sumter ' proves so much that it completely disestablishes the position now taken by the friends of Captain James; for the first shell was not fired at Fort Sumter, but into the air.

" It seems hard even for military men to understand military lan- guage. Beauregard gave the order to James and his report means simply that Captain James was his lieutenant, and not necessarily the direct actor in effecting his purposes.

' ' As a matter of interest I enclose some articles from the Prov- idence Journal upon the same subject, and I also invite attention to the statement of Major J. J. Lucas, who fully corroborates the signed statement of Major Gibbes that he fired the signal gun at Sumter."

The letter from Mr. D. A. Thomas to Colonel John P. Thomas follows as an enclosure:

"I have read with interest the several controversies about who fired the first gun at Fort Sumter when the Confederates, under General Beauregard, attacked it on the morning of the i2th of April, 1 86 1, and have noted with pleasure your commendable effort to es- tablish the fact that it was Major Wade Hampton Gibbes who fired said first shot, and to secure to him and his descendants the honor which I never doubted he was entitled to.

" At the time that shot was fired I was serving in Company E, Captain J. M. Gadberry, Colonel Maxey Gregg's First regiment, South Carolina volunteers, on Morris Island, and was on picket at Light House inlet on this island when the shot was fired. About 2 o'clock on the morning of the i2th of April Colonel Gregg, accom- panied by Colonel A. C. Haskell, visited my post. Colonel Gregg mentioned the importance of the post and gave me some specific instructions, and turned to leave, when Colonel Haskell held back and told me that our batteries would open on Fort Sumter about 4 o'clock. I watched and saw the flash and heard the report of what many call the first gun of the war. Of course, from my position on Morris Island, and the gun being fired from James Island, I know nothing of my own knowledge as to who fired it. But I do know