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[502] 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 Chesnut 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. Captain 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 A. M., nearly all the batteries in harbor were firing on Sumter. Mr. Edmund Ruffin (who was much beloved and respected) was at the iron battery on Morris Island. I always understood he fired the first gun from the iron battery, but one thing is certain-he never fired the first gun against Fort Sumter. George S. James did. Nor did he fire the second gun. He may have fired the third gun, or first gun from the iron battery on Morris Island.

Yours respectfully,

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