inhabitants made their way slowly back toward their homes, and very soon the gathering thunder-storm burst over the city.
Patiently, firmly, almost silently, the little band in Fort Sumter awaited the passage of that pregnant hour.
Each man could hear his own heart beat as the expiring moments brought him nearer to inevitable but unknown perils.
Suddenly the dull booming of a gun at a signal-battery on James Island, near Fort Johnson, was heard,
That signal-gun was fired by Lieutenant H. S. Farley. and a fiery shell, sent from its broad throat, went flying through the black night and exploded immediately over Fort Sumter.
It was a malignant shooting star, coursing through the heavens like those, in appearance, which in the olden time affrighted the nations.
It was one of fearful portent, and was the forerunner of terrible calamities.
Then, no man was wise enough to interpret its full augury.
The sound of that mortar on James Island was the signal for battle.