The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936 Page: 17
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The "Harriet Lane"
board. The distinguished Orientals, in their gorgeous robes,
walked about the quarterdeck, much diverted by the surprising
physical properties of pieces of rubber, which they had never before
seen. In the same year the young Prince of Wales, later Edward
VII, came aboard with a party. As the prince escorted Miss
Harriet Lane, the strip of crimson carpet laid down the wharf to
the ship was found to be too narrow for both, and he insisted on
her walking on the carpet, while he went alongside on the planking.
Later the Lane conveyed the prince up the Hudson River from
New York, and much dining and wining took place ashore and
aboard. Captain Faunce, a bearded, severe, bluff seaman, enter-
tained his guest in a way which won the heart of the prince,
though it is told that the captain objected to smoking, and the
heir to the throne of England was debarred from lighting his cigar
in the cabin of the Harriet Lane. A recent biographer has told
that Queen Victoria was similarly strict about tobacco; perhaps the
prince felt at home !
With the first rumblings of the War between the States, it was
determined to send a force to the relief of Fort Sumter, at Charles-
ton, S. C., and the Harriet Lane was in the expedition. The ships
were separated in a gale, and the Lane arrived a day earlier than
the rest. The pilot boat Palmetto carried ashore the news of the
arrival, and it seems likely that the first gun fired on Fort Sumter
was provoked by the presence of the Lane; it was the first gun
of the great war.
Lying at the rendezvous off the bar, Captain Faunce observed a
steamer approaching, and as she had no colors flying, the Lane
fired a 32-pound shot from the bow gun, as an order to halt. This
shot, at 11 :20 a. m., April 12, 1861, was the first of the conflict to
be fired from the deck of a Federal vessel.
The stranger proved to be a merchant steamer from New York,
the Nashville, with passengers and freight, and was allowed to pro-
ceed to Charleston; she was later taken over by the Confederate
government, used as a cruiser, then as a ram, and was lost in battle.
The relieving force was unable to help Fort Sumter; the Lane
made one attempt and was driven back. After the evacuation the
expedition returned to New York. The Lane later convoyed the
frigate Constitution, still afloat as a museum piece, from Annapolis
to New York, arriving April 25, 1861.
The Lane took part in the bombardment of the forts at Hatteras
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936, periodical, 1936; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101095/m1/25/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.