Friday, March 9, 2012

Edmund Ruffin who is credited with firing the first shot of the American Civil War

Edmund Ruffin (January 5, 1794 – June 17, 1865) was a farmer and slaveholder, a Confederate soldier, and an 1850s political activist. He advocated states' rights, secession, and slavery and was described by opponents as one of the Fire-Eaters. He was an ardent supporter of the Confederacy and a longstanding enemy of the North. He argued for secession for many years before the Civil War. In 1859 he attended the execution of John Brown at Charles Town, purchasing a number of the pikes with which Brown had planned to arm slaves as part of his abortive slave revolt, which started and finished at Harper's Ferry earlier that year. Ruffin sent one to the governors of all the slave-holding states as proof of violent Northern enmity against the South and slavery.  He was in South Carolina during the period immediately before its secession during the election of 1860 (according to Swanberg, because his fellow Virginians found him too extreme), writing to his son, "The time since I have been here has been the happiest of my life." Because of his strong secessionist views and the widely held belief that he fired the first shot of the Battle of Fort Sumter, Ruffin is credited as "firing the first shot of the Civil War."

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