The First Shot

Chapter 5 – This poem, “The First Shot” focuses on Lieutenant Marcellus Jones of 8th Illinois Cavalry of Company E. He fired the first shot of the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1st, 1863. In 1886 a memorial was placed at the location where Jones fired the first shot of the battle. Jones was there as the memorial was established. This monument remains on the north side of US Route 30 (Chambersburg Pike or Cashtown Road) at the intersection of Knoxlyn Road.

First Shot Gettysburg First Shot Marker, Gettysburg, PA.

Written by Christopher Rudolph © 2015

Chapter 5 – The First Shot – Day 1


It was just after dawn

The rain began to blow

Blurs in the mist

Dark figures row upon row


Lieutenant Marcellus Jones

8th Illinois Cavalry of Company E

One of Buford’s Officers

Vigilant picket sentry


Sees flags unfurled flying

Advancing swirling death

Of General A.P. Hill’s Third Corps

Led by General Heth


He froze for a moment

What seemed like eternity

His carbine aiming

On a fence rail steadily


Cold rain misting vision

Cleared his eyes

Squeezed the trigger

Along with the sunrise


Go to Chapter 6

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