Henry S. Farley fired the first mortar round upon Fort Sumter from Fort Johnson, signaling the start of the American Civil War today in 1861. Now WE Know em

Sumter

Henry Saxon Farley was born February 11, 1840 in Laurensville, South Carolina.

Henry went on to attend West Point Military Academy and was notable as the first
member of the academy to resign his commission to return to his native SC in
November of 1860 in support of the Cause for Southern Independence.

First Shot of the American Civil War

Fort Johnson was a Confederate fortification located on James Island, South Carolina overlooking the Charleston Harbor.

At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861, Confederate Lt. Henry S. Farley (acting upon the command of Capt. George S. James) fired a single 10-inch mortar round upon Fort Sumter from the east battery of Fort Johnson, signaling the start of the American Civil War.

East Battery of Confederate Fort Johnson, where Lt. Henry Farley fired the first shot of the American Civil War.

East Battery of Confederate Fort Johnson, where Lt. Henry Farley fired the first shot of the American Civil War.

The shell exploded over Fort Sumter as a signal to open the general bombardment from guns and mortars at Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, the floating battery, and Cummings Point.

Reportedly, Capt. James had offered the first shot to Roger Pryor, a noted Virginia secessionist, who declined, saying, “I could not fire the first gun of the war.”

Henry Farley was killed at the Battle of Brandy Station from a cannon ball shot which severed his leg as he sat atop his horse.

By the end of the war, some 110,000 Union soldiers and 94,000 Confederates would die in battle. Another 250,000 and 164,000 respectively would die because of disease and other causes.

In total, experts estimate somewhere between 618,000 and 700,000 Americans died during the “War Between the States.”

Now WE know em

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