Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The First Casualty of the Civil War?

It is often difficult to determine the first casualty of a war. What date do you use to begin your discussion? In order to count as the first, is it necessary that the person died due to wounds inflicted in battle? What about freak accidents? How about non-soldiers who were "worked to death" as a consequence of the war? (Enslaved people come to mind when discussing this particular war.) Well, if we use the Battle of Fort Sumter as the beginning point of the Civil War, then we can at least say with certainty that Private Daniel Hough was the first soldier to die at Fort Sumter.

From the Fort Sumter National Monument's website:

How many men were killed at Fort Sumter? One Union soldier was killed and another Union soldier was mortally wounded during the surrender ceremony. Fifty two Confederate soldiers were killed there during the remainder of the war. While a number of slaves were killed while working at the fort, unfortunately the exact number is unknown.

Were any men buried at Fort Sumter? We don’t know for certain, but it is generally believed that the first soldier to die at Fort Sumter, Pvt. Daniel Hough, was buried on the parade ground. It is unknown if he is still buried there, or was perhaps relocated during the course of the Civil War (if he was ever buried there at all). It’s interesting to note that Hough died an accidental death when a cannon discharged while he was loading it. This occurred the day after the battle ended, during a surrender ceremony.

For more information, go to the Fort Sumter National Monument's website.

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