On this day in 1861, the Civil War began. Confederate general Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (was he married to Carla Bruni at some point?) ordered that Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor be fired upon. Commanding the fort was Major Robert Anderson, a Kentucky slaveholder and Beauregard’s old professor at West Point. And — according to legend, anyway — firing the actual first shot was Edmund Ruffin, an elderly Virginia farmer and firebrand. Oh, and if memory serves, the American Civil War Center at Tredegar claims that the actual cannonball was manufactured in Richmond (under the auspices of the indomitable Joseph Reid Anderson).
So there you go.
IMAGE: Edmund Ruffin ready for war