Naperville Native Marcellus Jones
Fired First Shots at Gettysburg
|This information was contributed by Jim Bauer and his sister (who still lives in Naperville). It appeared in a recent newspaper article by Michael Killian, Tribune National Correspondent..
"Gettysburg, Pa. After years of effort, the National Park Service has acquired one of the most significant pieces of the original Gettysburg battlefield: the spot from which the first shot in that greatest of Civil War battles was fired.
"The shooter was a soldier from Naperville, Ill. Lt. (Later Capt.) Marcellus Jones of the 8th Illinois Cavalry, considered one of the elite units of the war:
"Jones also fired the second shot of the battle. Both shots apparently missed their target: a confederate officer at the head of an advancing Rebel column, according to Gettysburg National Military Park historian Scott Hartwigs.
"The ensuing battle resulted in 51,000 killed, wounded or missing and ended in a Confederate defeat from which the South never recovered.
"Located 1.25 miles from the present Military Park boundary and about 2 miles from the center of Gettysburg, the house and grounds where that 1863 action took place belonged to an elderly man named Ephraim Wisler...........
**** ( Paragraph deleted that pertained to the Society in charge of the restoration ) ****
........."The house is on a hill with a long view up the Chambersburg Pike, a road down which the Confederates made their main advance in 1863. The 8th Illinois Cavalry, then part of Maj. Gen. John Bufords division, slowed the progress of Gen. Robert E. Lees assault and bought time for the remainder of the Union Army.
"Jones served with the 8th Illinois for the rest of the war and returned to the Whisler house in 1886 to place a monument made of Naperville granite at the edge of the property. It honored Jones for firing the shot, along with Sgt. Levi Shaffer, who lent him the gun he used.
"Whisler became a casualty of the battle. Frightened by a Confederate artillery shell that landed on the nearby road, he took to his bed and died a month later.
"Latschar said plans call for restoring the house and grounds to their 1863 state and making them an informative adjunct to the battlefield tour