Clipped From The Indianapolis Star
Captain of Hoosier Battery Ends Dispute Over First Shot Officer Who Gave Command to Fire Says Sergt. Alex Arch of South Bend Sent Shell on its Way. NEW YORK, Sept, 10. The story expeditionary forces In the war with Germany a shell sent screeching into tho German lines about as dawn was breaking on Oct. 23, 1917, Is contained In a letter sent to the Associated Press by tho commander of tho Indiana battery which performed this important action In American history. Alex Arch of South Bond, Ind., a sergoant In this unt, Battery C of tho Sixth Field Artillery, la tho veteran soldier who, according to this letter, yanked tho lanyard of tho pioneer gun to speak for tho United Stutos on tho soil of France. Newspaper correspondents, who In- In- spected the gun on the day it was fired wero permitted at the time to.-say to.-say to.-say In tholr cablegrams only that this sergeant was red headed and was from South Bend. Tho honor of firing this flrst Bhot had been claimed by another member member of this same' battery. Capt. Idus R. McLondon, in command of 'Battery C, in writing of this event, expresses his conviction conviction that tho people of tho United States should have an available and authoritative authoritative account, both because of the significance of tho deed and because, In his opinion, credit should go to tho man to whom tho o file era of Battery C say It Is due S org t. Alex Arch. Gives Arch Credit. "Sergt,-Alox "Sergt,-Alox "Sergt,-Alox Arch of South Bend, Ind., Is -the -the man who pulled tho lanyard and sent tho first American shot into tho hostile lines on the morning of Oct. 23, 1017, at 6:0G o'clock," Capt. McLenqpn says, "I was prcse.pt during all tho firing of that morning. f In the gun-drill gun-drill gun-drill of the "75" field pieces, the gunner, a corporal, lays the gun for direction only, cannoneer No. 1 sets off tho range and, at tho command of the .chief ofilcer of section, fires the pieces. Tho chief of section merely repeats the command "fire," which is ordinarily given by the lieutenant who acts aa battery executive ofilcer. "On this particular morning, Arch of the flrst shot fired by tho American had a special gun crow made up of tho outer sergeants, who weru in uui.mi"ii of gun sections tn tho battery, all or whom wore anxious to have i hand in the Job. Arch himself set off tho range and acted at No. 1, pulling tho lanyard at my command 'Ktro.' " Twenty-four Twenty-four Twenty-four shots wero fired tlmjf morning, Capt. McLendon continued, nnd added : ' "Tho firing of tho flrst shot was an event which our division commander, Gen. , considered worthy of special mention and record, and orderod tho shell cubos of the first eight shot sent to his headntifirters with a view to their preservation. Later the commander commander In chief of tho American cxpo-ditionnry cxpo-ditionnry cxpo-ditionnry force ordered the gun which fired the flrst shot to bo withdrawn from servlco and J understood that It has been, or will- will- bo sent to tho statoa to bo kept as a relic of tho great war. Wants Record Straight. "Tho question of who fired this flrst shot is not a personal affair at all. It Is somotiiing which . concerns not only this battery, but tlio Sixth Field Artillery Artillery and tho First Field ' Artillery Brigade as a whole. Tho men of this brigade aro proud of having been tho first to fight. And wo havo not Htoppcd fighting and do not expect to stop until tho last shot of tho war Is fired." Regarding Arch, Capt. McMondon's letter, dated Aug. V2, anyn that "ho Is still living and still fighting tho Hun nnd his fellow soldiers who helped In firing tho first chot are still living nnd fighting, and the old buttery Is still in the game and going strong."