Clipped From The Des Moines Register
DISPUTES VIRELA'S FIRST SHOT CLAIM Commander of Sixth Artillery Gives Another Version of Opening of Hostilities. NEW YORK, Sept. 10. The story of tho first shot fired by the AmeVican expeditionary force in the war with Germany a shell sent screeching into tho German lines about as dawn was breaking on Oct. 23, 1917 la contained In a letter scut to The Associated Press by the commander of the Indiana battery battery which performed this impor-lan't impor-lan't impor-lan't action. Sergt. Alex Arch of South Bend, Ind., a sergeant in this unit, Battery C of tho Sixth field arollerv, is the veteran soldier soldier 'ho, according to this letter, yanked the lanvanl of the pioneer gun to speak for the United States on the soil of France. Claimed by Another. Newspaper correspondents who Inspected the gun on the day it. was fire weie petailited at the time to say iu their cablegrams only that Ibis sergeant was from South Head. The honor of firing this first, shot had been claimed by another member member of the same battery. Capt. lnuus R. McClendon, in command of Battery C, in writing of this event, expresses his conviction that the people of tho United Stales should have available an authoritative authoritative account, both because of the significance of the deed and because because in his opinion credit should go to the man to whom the officers of IJaltery C say it is duo Sergt. Alex Arch. "Sergt. Alex Arch of South Bend is the man who pulled the lanyatl and sent the first American shot, into the hostile lines on the morning morning of Oct. 2S, 1917, at five minutes minutes past 6," Captain McClendon says. "I was present during all the firing of that morning. How It Was Done. "In 'the gun drill of tho 75 field pieces the gunner, a corporal, lays I he gun for direction only; cannoneer cannoneer No, I'sets off -the -the range, and a I. the command of the chief of section fires the piece The chief of section merely repeals tho command 'fire.' which Is ordinarily given by the lietcnant who acts as battery executive officer. "On thisj parilcular morning Arch had a special gun crew made up of the other sergeants, who ivere in command of gun sections in the battery, all of whom were anxious to have a hand In tho Job Arch himself set off the ranee and acted as No. 1. pulling the lanyard at my command 'fire'." Twenty-four Twenty-four Twenty-four Kinds I'lred, Twenty-four Twenty-four Twenty-four shots were fired that morning, Captain McClendon continued, and added : "The firing of tho, first ''.ot. was an event, which our division commander considered worthy of special mention and record, and ordered shell cases of tho first eight si: : eut lo Ids headquarters Willi a icwr to their preservation. I.aler the commander in chief of tho American expeditionary forces ordered tho gun which fired the first, shot to be withdrawn from service and I understood that it had been, or would be sent, to the stales to be kept as a relic of the great, war."