Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War
Other monuments

First Shot Marker at Gettysburg

The First Shot Marker for the Battle of Gettysburg is on Chambersburg Pike (US 30) at Knoxlyn Road, three miles west of Gettysburg. The monument is on the north side of U.S. 30 next to a private residence. (39.850964° N, 77.280727° W; map)


There are several claims as to which Union soldier fired the first shot at the Battle of Gettysburg. Three men from the 8th Illinois Cavalry felt their claim was strong enough to erect their own monument.

 

Lieutenant (later Captain) Marcellus Jones' Company E of the 8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment was picketing the Chambersburg Pike at this location on the morning of July 1 when he saw a strong force of Confederate infantry begin to cross Marsh Creek about a half mile to the west. Jones borrowed a carbine from Sergeant Levi S. Shafer and fired a single shot at a mounted officer, who might have been Colonel Birkett Fry of the 13th Alabama Infantry Regiment. Jones apparently missed.

 

In 1886, Jones, Shafer and Riddler had the five-foot limestone shaft hewn in a Naperville quarry and brought it the 600 miles to Gettysburg, erecting it on land purchased from the owner of the house which still stands behind it.

 

From the front (south) side of the monument:

 

First
shot
Gettysburg
July 1st 1863
7:30 a.m

From the west side:

By
Capt.
Jones,
Lieut
Riddler,
Sergt.
Shafer

From the east side:

Fired
by
Cap.
Jones
with
Sergt.
Shafer's
carbine.
Co. E
8th Ills.
Cavalry.

From the north side:

Erected
1886

 

Jones' first shot claim ignited a controversy that raged for years, primarily with the 9th New York Cavalry.


Front of the First shot marker at Gettysburg
(above) Front view of the First Shot Marker at Gettysburg
(below) Left, or west side of the marker
West side of the First shot market at Gettysburg
(below) Right, or east side of the marker East side of the First Shot Marker at Gettysburg
(below) Rear of the marker, showing Knoxlyn Road intersecting with U.S. 30. Knoxlyn Road is the safest place to park to view the monument due to traffic on the busy highway and its location on a hill.
Rear view of the First Shot Marker at Gettysburg
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