|1862-06-14||James Island, S.C.|
|James Island, S.C.|
June 14th 1862
This Saturday Afternoon finds me trying to write a fiew lines to you though I may not have time to finish it until tomorrow. I have been out on picket since the fight but we did not see any Rebels. I say we did not though some of the boys saw some and fired at them but did no harm as we could find out. The night we went out the 77th Regt were attacked by the Rebels and 3 of their men wounded and one of the 6th Connecticut was killed by his own men I think through carelessness. The Rebels are throwing shells over among us every day. They have wounded one or two though none of our boys, that is of our Regt have been hurt. Our men will soon be ready to receive the cowardly Rebels with their own mettle. We are only 5 miles from Charleston City and it sounds quite natural to hear the cars whistle and I hope ere long to take a ride on them toward the North Land but I have to go and get my crackers.
Well I have drawn my crackers for one days rations and here I am again but whether I shall write a very interesting letter I leave for you to judge when you get it and have time to read it through. I not know but you will have to keep it until I get home to read it for you. The boys all seem to be very eger to get into another skirmish but I fear we shall not get off so well for a good beginning generally makes a bad beginning though I am in hopes it will always be our lot to come out without a mark. I do not think there has been much sharper firing or many more shots fired by so fiew men since the war began. The head officers some of whom have been in the military service for many years say it was the sharpest firing they ever saw for the space of time and number of men in the engagement. The boys of Old Tioga County sustain the name they bear and I hope they will continue to deserve as well as bear the name. Our men are getting ready to meet the Rebels in the way they will not wish to meet us. I do not know how many troops the Rebels have on the Island but some estimate their force to be around 20,000 or 25,000 men and say the Island is covered with batteries some of which are bombproof, but our men have guns that can penetrate any battery the Rebels have or can erect on this Island.
I have just returned from bathing in the Salt Water and thought as I had a little liesure I would write a little more tonight. The Rebels are shelling one of our batteries and our fellows are returning the fire and I think probably tomorrow our boys will give the Secesh all they have bargained for. They intend driving them off the Island as soon as they can get force enough to hold what we gain. The leading officers tell us if we can hold our position for I3 days longer we can take Charleston without any trouble for we are drawing the Rebel force from Savanna and our troops can easily take that City and then advance on toward Charleston thereby taking the Rebels unaware and cut off their retreat, also the troops from Genl McClellan will form a junction at or near the place. We all anticipate some hard fighting before we get to the Mother of all traitor Cities. It was the first battle ground and will probably be the last and one of the hardest for it is probable that the Rebels will make a last grand struggle before giving up the contest for which they have so long been struggling and against their own interest, but I suppose they won't consider it in that light. There have been several deserterrs come into camp of late. They all say that there are many Rebel Soldiers that would be glad to get into our camp and join the Union Army, but they are afraid of our pickets. One came into camp today from the Rebel Camp, so I have been told, that said he was from the State of NC and gave his name as Charles Hastler, but he may be only acting as a spy. If such should be the case he had better not get caught as such for if he does he will suffer the fate of all such.
Well evening and here I am again scribbling. You may wonder at my making so many beginnings and endings in my letter, but when one sits down here to write they do not know when they will be called out for something or other. No one knows what. It may be to meet the enemy and it may be for police duty or else guard duty, but it matters but little what only so that we do our duty to our Country and our Maker, but I fear that I as well as many others come far short of the last named duty and the most escential duty of all. Since I commenced this letter I have seen George Russle. He came into our tent. He read a letter from Uncle Nell's folks the last mail. They were all well. Aunt Hall is teaching yet. Uncle Oat's people were well. The little ones had had the whooping cough but were getting better. Major Kilbourn is with us again. He said the people of Old Tioga were well as usual and one good thing I like to hear, that is the lumber, he said, brought a good price. I was glad to hear from that quarter for I hope you will get your pay from the logs you got in if you have not got it yet. You did not write how your cattle got along this spring or how the colts got along. You cannot write anything of this sort but what it will be interesting for I have been away from home and civilized society that anything of home scenes is interesting to a soldier boy. I would like to be up there to help you hoe corn for I suppose it is about time you commence your hoeing. I do not know but I have written enough of this kind for once. You may tell Mrs. Barnhart that when I get that can of preserves eat up I will try to fill it with seashells and send them home, but I will wait until I get the box to come through. I don't think we shall get home until fall if the war should close in one month, but when the war closes I think we shall go home as soon as they can get us discharged for the Colonel has considerable influence with the Governer and the Governer wants him to take command of Camp Curtin when the Soldiers begin to come back. Our Col is now acting as Brigadier Genl. We hate to lose him as Col. He was proud of the boys when he found out how they came out in the fight, but my sheet is full and I must bid you good by once more.
This from your Affectionate Son.
Direct as usual until we get into Charleston City.