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Details of Vicksburg's "First Shot"

From the Feb. 1, 1861 New York Times

"The Vicksburg Sun of Jan. 16 gives full particulars of the recent attempt to obstruct the navigation of the Mississippi, by locating a battery on the river bank to bring to all vessels which might pass down. Rumors that the Silver Wave was to convey a quantity of ammunition from Pittsburgh to Southern forts for the United States Government seem to have prompted the movement. The Sun says:

"On Sunday, the 13th, a large crowd gathered at Fort Harwood, expecting to witness the issue, the Silver Wave being hourly expected. A number of boats passed up and down, but the anxiously awaited Silver Wave was not among the number.

In the evening, about 9 o'clock, the A.O. Tylor, Capt. COLLIER, very narrowly escaped being shot into. As she veered around the bend, near the battery, a blank cartridge was fired across her bow, when -- or soon after -- she whistled and gave signals for rounding to. She, however, did not come to at the battery, but bore off to the starboard, near the Louisiana side, with a view, we suppose, of gaining good advantage for rounding to at the wharf boat below. The steamer Louisianian had preceded the Tylor a short time, and was lying near the upper end of the battery when the Tylor was challenged with the blank cartridge. As previously stated she failed to recognize the challenge to round to, and proceeded down the river on the opposite side of the river. This movement was looked upon with suspicion, (all the other boats having come to at the battery,) and before the Tylor had given any reliable evidence of touching at the wharf-boat, the command was given to fire into her. The match was applied -- the upper portion of the priming powder (which we learn had just been put on) flashed, but the powder in the touch-hole failed to burn, it having become moist or wet from the rain.

The Louisianian at this time was swinging out to make the wharf-boat below, and by the time the ordnance was reprimed and ready to fire, she (the Louisianian) was on a line intervening between the battery and the Tylor. These facts we have from Gen. GAINES, and they are reliable. That the Louisianian intervened as she did, should be regarded as a providential intervention, for which one and all should be grateful. But for this happy occurrence, beyond a doubt the Tylor would have been fired into, the disastrous results of which the reader can well depict. There were seven lady passengers, twelve or fifteen gentlemen, and a few children, on board of the Tylor."

David Upton