Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/69

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First Confederate Martyr.

port, when we entered the boat and proceeded to Fort Johnson, then in command of Captain George S. James, who met us on the wharf. We delivered to him, as per your instructions, the order to fire the signal gun. Captain James seeing General Pryor in the boat, said to him: 'Mr. Pryor, I have always been a great admirer of yours, and now offer you the honor of firing the first shot at Fort Sumter.'

"General Pryor felt flattered, but, with many thanks, declined the honor. I asked him why he did not accept it. His reply was that it would not do for him to fire that shot, as his State had not yet seceded."

"Captain James then said: 'I will not give that privilege to any other man.'"

When Judge Pryor was asked about the matter yesterday he said:

"I haven't bothered about the thing; it's too old and the war's been over too long. Since you mention the circumstance, though, I believe the facts are as General Beauregard and Colonel Chisholm state them. However, I am too much engrossed with the present and future to talk about ancient history of that kind."



It is somewhat remarkable that North Carolina, which was the last State to leave the Union, should have furnished the first soldier to the grim monster who during the next four long and weary years was to claim such a host of victims. Secession was not popular in North Carolina; the State was so thoroughly for the Union that in February, 1861, after seven of the States to the South had seceded, and after delegates from those States had visited North Carolina to induce her to secede, her people refused to call even a convention to consider the question of secession. It was not until President Lincoln called on North Carolina for her quota of troops to crush the seceding States that her determination changed. It then became evident that North Carolina must fight for her Southern sisters, or against them. The dispatch in which the Governor answered the call of President Lincoln voiced the sentiment of the whole people.