Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/120

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112 Southern Historical X',,-;, />/ />fi/>,rs.

fire the first gun at Fort Sumter, but that Captain George S. James, of South Carolina, afterward killed when a lieutenant-colonel at Boonesboro, Md., did fire it.

The writer was a captain of a South Carolina army at the time, and an aide-de-camp on the staff of General Beauregard. He now has before him a diary written at the time, and there can be no mis- take as to the fact.

The summon for the surrender or evacuation was carried by Colonel Chestnut, of South Carolina, and Captain S. D. Lee. They arrived at Sumter at 2:20 P. M., April nth.

Major Anderson declined to surrender, but remarked "he would be starved out in a few days if he was not knocked to pieces by General Beauregard's batteries." This remark was repeated to General Beauregard, who informed President Davis. The result was, a second message was sent to Major Anderson by the same offi- cers, accompanied by Roger A. Pryor, of Virginia, and Colonel Chisholm, of South Carolina. The messengers arrived at Sumter at 12:25 A. M., April I2th. Major Anderson was informed that if he would say that he would surrender on April isth, and in the meantime would not fire on General Beauregard's batteries, unless he was fired on, he would be allowed that time; also that he would not be allowed to receive provisions from the United States authori- ties. The Major declined to accede to this arrangement, saying he would not open fire unless a hostile act was committed against his fort or his flag, but that if he could be supplied with provisions before the 15th of April he would receive them, and in that event he would not surrender. This reply being unsatisfactory, Colonel James Chestnut and Captain S. D. Lee gave the Major a written communication, dated " Fort Sumter, S. C., April 12, 1861, 3:20 A. M.," informing him, by authority of General Beauregard, that the batteries of General Beauregard would open fire on the fort in one hour from that time.

The party, as designated, then proceeded in their boats to Fort Johnson, on James Island, and delivered the order to Captain George S. James, commanding the mortar battery, to open fire on Fort Sumter. At 4:30 A. M. the first gun was fired at Fort Sumter, and at 4:40 the second gun was fired from the same battery. Cap- tain James offered the honor of firing the first shot to Roger A. Pryor, of Virginia. He declined, saying he could not fire the first gun. Another officer then offered to take Pryor' s place. James replied: " No! I will fire it myself." And he did fire it. At 4:45