New Yorker Was First Casualty of the Civil War
Irish Native Who Enlisted in New York Dies During Fort Sumter Surrender Ceremony: April 14 1861
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (04/11/2011)(readMedia)-- Nobody died during the 36-hour bombardment of Fort Sumter that started the Civil War 150 years ago on April 12, 1861. But an Irish native who joined the Army after moving to New York City died during the surrender of the fort.
Private Daniel Hough, who was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1825 and immigrated to the United States and joined the United States Army in 1849, died when a cannon exploded prematurely while firing a salute to the United States flag following the surrender to Confederate forces.
Hough was a private in the 1st United States Artillery Regiment, serving under the command of Maj. Robert Anderson in December 1860 when South Carolina succeeded from the Union.
The entire federal garrison of 80 Soldiers was stationed at Fort Moultrie, on the eastern side of Charleston Harbor. Anderson was afraid the South Carolinians would storm his fort and capture his men to be held as hostages. So on the night of Dec. 26, 1860, Anderson and his men boarded boats and snuck out to Fort Sumter situated in the middle of the harbor where it would be impossible to be taken by surprise.
Eventually though, Anderson ran low on supplies. He would have been forced to surrender anyway, but Confederates fears that the fort would be resupplied by the Union ship Baltic, opened fire anyway.
Hough , the other Soldiers, and some civilian workmen who supported the Union sat through the bombardment that began at 4:30 a.m. on April 12 without injury. But on the morning of April 14, Anderson, who had almost been out of supplies, decided he had no choice but to surrender and evacuate the fort.
The deal he worked out with Texas Senator Louis Wigfall, allowed him to evacuate his garrison to a Union ship sitting outside the harbor after firing a salute to the United States and then lowering the American flag.
Abner Doubleday , then a Captain in the Army and later a general in the Civil War, described what happened next in a document written after the Civil War:
"After the surrender we were allowed to salute our flag with a hundred guns before marching out, but it was very dangerous and difficult to do so; for, owing to the recent conflagration, there were fire and sparks all around the cannon, and it was not easy to find a safe place of deposit for the cartridges," Doubleday wrote.
"It happened that some flakes of fire had entered the muzzle of one of the guns after it was sponged. Of course, when the gunner attempted to ram the cartridge down it exploded prematurely, killing Private Daniel Hough instantly, and setting fire to a pile of cartridges underneath, which also exploded, seriously wounding five men. Fifty guns were fired in the salute."
"With banners flying and with drums beating "Yankee Doodle," we marched on board the transport that was to take us to the steamship Baltic, which drew too much water to pass the bar and was anchored outside. We were soon on our way to New York," he recalled.
Private Edward Gallway was one of the five soldiers injured in the explosion, which occurred when the 47th gun of the 50 gun salute was being fired. He died of his wounds on April 19.
Hough was buried in Fort Sumter before the garrison left, but the location of his grave was lost. During the Civil War his mother, sister and his brother tried to have his body removed to New York City where they lived.
More than 500,000 New Yorkers served in the Army and Navy during the four years of the Civil War and 53,114 New Yorkers died. Throughout the period of the Civil War Sesquicentennial observance, the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs will be producing short articles about New York's Civil War experience researched by the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs.
For more information go the NewYork State Miltiary Museum Civil War Timeline Website at http://dmna.state.ny.us/civilwar