Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The Man Who Fired The First Shot
Edmund Ruffin was born January 5th 1794 in Price George County, Virginia. He was educated at home with a private tutor until he entered the College of William & Mary in 1810. He was dismissed form the school in 1812 as he showed more interest in outside activities then school work. He saw military service in the War of 1812. Ruffin became a farmer and edited the “Farmers Register”. He was interested in bogs and swamps and ways to improve the for agriculture.
In the 1859 Ruffin made a point of attending the execution of John Brown, obtaining some of the pikes Brown had used to arm slaves to send to southern Governors. Ruffin left Virginia as sectional hostilities grew, and moved to South Carolina. It is claimed that Ruffin fired the first cannon shot on Fort Sumter in April 1861, he was one the first to enter the Fort after it fell into Confederate hands. He was present at the Battle of First Manassas, but was to old to fight.
In 1865 following General Robert E Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Ruffin wrote in his diary, “I here declare my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connection with the Yankees and to the Yankee race. Would that I could impress these sentiments, in their full force, on every living Southerner and bequeath them to every one yet to be born! May such sentiments be held universally in the outraged and down-trodden South, though in silence and stillness, until the now far-distant day shall arrive for just retribution for Yankee usurpation, oppression and atrocious outrages, and for deliverance and vengeance for the now ruined, subjugated and enslaved Southern States! And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will be near my latest breath, I here repeat and would willingly proclaim my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule--to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, and the perfidious, malignant and vile Yankee race.” On June 18th 1865, shortly after writing these words Ruffin draped himself in the Confederate flag and shot himself in the head.