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Battle of Gloucester Point, VA May 7, 1861, US Civil War

The Battle of Gloucester Point, Virginia was the first reported exchange of fire in the American Civil War, following the surrender of Fort Sumter. As Lincoln extended the Union blockade to include Virginia, the rebels (notionally Confederates) tried to deny Union access to the local estuaries. On May 7, 1861, Lieutenant Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr. commanding the USS Yankee was ordered to reconnoitre the new fortifications at Gloucester Point opposite Yorktown. Shots were exchanged, causing no casualties, Selfridge claiming that his guns were too small to damage the battery, commanded by Lieutenant John Thompson Brown, credited with firing the first cannon shot of the war in Virginia.