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695[civilwarwest] Reference Found!

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  • Chris Huff
    Mar 20, 2000
      Dear Folks,
      I found the reference to the first shot Dr. McMurry was talking about. It's at O.R. Series I, Volume #1 [S#1], Chapter IV ,page 337, Operations in Florida #3, Reports of Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, First U.S. Artillery, of the transfer of his command from Barrancas Barracks to Fort Pickens and subsequent events (to Feb.5, 1861) in Pensacola Harbor.
      Poor Lieutenant Slemmer was left to defend Fort Pickens with 82 men against 800 volunteers from the seceding states. The steamer Wyandotte had sailed five miles out and left him even though it's captain had agreed to stay and help Slemmer. On the night of the 13th of January, 1861 a party of ten men was discovered snooping around the fort. They fired one shot at the sentinels stationed on the glacis outside the walls. The sergeant in command returned the shot and the ten fled in disorder. So much for the first shot.
      This doesn't seem like much and this little paragraph does little to convey the tension that was building in Pensacola at the time. Lieutenant Slemmer was stuck in an unimaginable situation surrounded by hostile forces with no help at all from a balky Commodore who was supposed to be sending the steamer Wyandotte (Slemmer's only source of reinforcement) on it's way to Vera Cruz. Slemmer's reports are well written and revealing.  I can't help but admire the guy and his entries in the O.R. are well worth the read as at this point the plot is as good as any novel I have ever read and the protagonist worthy of all the reader's interest and sympathy.
      One little problem arises, though. This shot on the 13th is preceded by the shot fired by the cadets of the Citadel at the Star of the West on January 9th if Citadel lore can be believed. 
      Oh my, always one more mystery. Life is never dull.
      Chris Huff
      Atlanta, GA
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