Aboard the steamer “Bianville”

 

June,                                                    Sunday 1,                                                        1862

 

“June came in like a lamb.” Weather clear and cloudy alternately and intensely hot. We lay off “Hilton Head” all day aboard the “Bianville.” She started out in the morning but only to our disappointment cast anchor at “Hilton Head.” All were anxious for a fight myself among the rest; hence our impatience at the apparent tardiness in not sailing. We were crowded very much and the accommodations were very poor. We were not supplied with water as were required or should have been.  “Bianville” had about 100 secesh passengers aboard--a rough looking set of men – Though were very well treated, a Secesh wounded at Fort Pulaski was brought aboard – I never spent a Lord’s Day with so little liberty – was moved to and fro all day finding no place on the boat I could call my own. I begun to appreciate the privileges enjoyed at home of worshiping Jehovah [?] he commands.

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Aboard the “Bianville” – “Hale” James Island

 

June,                                                    Monday 2,                                                       1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately intensely hot June weather in every respect – Companies M and H left the “Bianville” going aboard another boat. Our boat raised anchor and set sailing in the morning. We remained aboard the “Bianville” until about 2 p.m. when we got aboard a regular gun boat “Hale” of lighter draught.  The “Hale” landed us about 5 or 6 p.m. on James Island. Sergeant Jas Montford of “Westmiddleton” Pa., was the first man to put his foot on the island. We landed at old abandoned fort or earth works of the Secesh.  Two magazines were left uninjured, a military bridge across a Bay on Connor falls letters and relics were left in abundance – I found a letter of late date sharing the works had not long been abandoned – saying they intended to fall back to a stronger position if the Yankees came to attack them they would be prepared to secure us. I shared it to Captain F and C. L. A. I also found a live kitten among the ruins.  Found letters dated May 15th. “Charleston Mercury” dated May 27th telegraph to “Charleston” Sentinels. Had square houses with geap windows- found a new testament of Bible that had been used for Bum – Hilanders were thrown out on Picket – George and I went out Ύ of a mile for water.

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James Island

 

June,                                                    Tuesday 3,                                                       1862

 

Weather very cloudy warm wet and disagreeable.  Rain was heavy about 11 a.m. and in the afternoon rain fell in turrents.  About 5 p.m. 40 men from Company A and F started out skirmishing and to find the Enemy at 4 a.m. Capt. Kline was ranking officer Lieut. Pentecost commanded A – We arrived at the outer picket post when the pickets and some of 28th Mass. advanced slowly and cautiously about Ό of a mile. 28th Jones were in advance “Roundheads” in supportive distance.  About 8 or 9 a.m. the Enemy attacked us. The 28th Mass. Regt. the Regt. all broke and run without giving a single [?] hurrah for the Yankees. Roundheads were in front of a lot of Nigger [?] with empty guns we fell behind these [?] in good order and loaded ours.

 

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Wednesday 4,                                                 1862

 

Weather very cloudy wet and disagreeable all day--a damp and dreary day.  I never saw such dreary disagreeable weather in June before. John and George and me erected a shelter or tent with our oil cloth and gum blankets a very poor concern but we could do no better as the Col. had no tents brought from “Beaufort.” About 100 head of cattle come into our lives property of  the Enemy night before last and we killed them today supplying ourselves with meat--the best meat I have eaten in “Dixie”.   Thomas McKeever of our Company was severely wounded in the neck yesterday – I destroyed all the letters in my possession some one of Mama’s fearing they would fall into the Enemy’s hands – “Highlanders” and “Roundheads” were called about 2 p.m. out to the scene of yesterdays action to reinforce the 28th Regt. and a Battery of the Enemy but no engagement was brought on. Had the battle been on hands yesterday and everything managed as it should have been we could have captivated the island.

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Thursday 5,                                                     1862

 

Weather very cloudy wet and disagreeable since our arrival on the Island--raining all day at intervals, exceedingly disagreeable. The steamer “Potomac” arrived with provisions for the “Roundheads” the whole Regt. was detailed to carry off and unload the boat carrying the grub to Camp – Companies M. C. and H. came over the river and joined the Regiment again they had been scouting on another island – Several Companies of 46th N. J. Regt. arrived today and continued coming through the night – Clark McKeever and several boys arrived today they were detailed to guard the provisions. Fortunately everything was calm today and we were permitted to remain in Camp unenlisted – About 60 head of cattle were brought in – “Roundheads” went on picket. 40 went from Company A.

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Friday 6,                                                          1862

 

Weather very cloudy although “Old Sol” shone occasionally. We were fortunate enough to get our clothes dry once again as they have been wet ever since we landed on the island – heavy rain shower in the afternoon – We were allowed to remain in Camp today also – I took a bath in the river. I attempted for the first time to wash some clothes after rubbing and rubbing at least an hour and a half I found the shirt was not a particle cleaner than when I began so I become discouraged believing I never was cut out for a wash woman and I think I’ll never try it again. Perhaps it was owing to salt water. “Prof Love” arrived with his Balloon and was engaged all night filling it or preparing for an occasion several Regiment arrived – Gen. Wright.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Saturday 7,                                                      1862

 

Weather very cloudy wet and disagreeable as usual ever since our sojourn on “James Island” – This was my birth day 22 years old.  I was on fatigue duty for the first time unloading company stores off the boat. Since my arrival I have been troubled with diarrhea owing perhaps to the water.   Consequently I am very weak unable to work much – really awful to perform any duty but I don’t like to report to the Surgeon so I will grin and bear as long as possible – Prof. Love filled his Balloon with gas took it aboard a boat and sailed up toward Gen. Wright’s Brigade – Washington’s portrait was in the Balloon and his name in red white and blue letters – “Roundheads” were called out in the evening but returned without meeting the Enemy – Some more Calvary troop arrived – Sutter of 28th Mass. arrived.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Sunday 8,                                                        1862

 

Weather as usual very cloudy wet and disagreeable.  An old retired Darkey (Captain’s Cork) says he never saw such cold disagreeable weather in South Carolina at this season before – We Northerners were surprised to find such weather – This was decidedly the most unhappy and unpleasant Lord’s Day of life lying under an apology of a tent or shelter of oil cloth blankets.  I, the mud and swamp were encamped in a buggy marsh swamp. I wrote a letter to Mama.  I felt very much indisposed owing to the attacks of Dysentery under which I have suffered severe since we landed.  I appear to be getting worse instead of better – Prof Love’s balloon busted about the time he was ready to make an occasion. The gun boats were shelling the Enemy at long range today – “Roundheads” ordered to hold themselves in readiness in case of an attack – Four Secesh were captured today--letters C. R. T. was on their hat.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Monday 9,                                                       1862

 

Weather very cloudy windy and cool I should think for this climate though very muddy and disagreeable. We had less rain today than any day since our arrival on the Island – The Enemy returned the compliment of the gun boats sent them yesterday firing heavy shells at intervals during the day though with little or no damage to us – Companies H and M of the “Roundheads” were detailed for picket.  My diarrhea was worse today worse and worse every day – I took a walk up to the 8th Mich. Camp soldiers traveling by dozens in all directions. A rifled piece of artillery arrived to day – Gen Wright’s troops were landing all day above us on the island. I spent the last quarter I had to get some cheese hoping to effect a cure of my disease or at least offer some relief.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Tuesday 10,                                                     1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately accompanied with a cool refreshing sea breeze altogether very pleasant weather and I think the weather has now assured a settle state – I heard early in the morning the Locomotive whistle in Rebeldom came running from Savannah to Charleston I presume – My disease was no better today and I fear I shall be compelled to visit to Medical treatment to obtain a cure – our heavy siege guns arrived today – We received a mail to day. I received a letter from R. A. M. dated March 11th – E. L. M. May 27th Maria May 31st – Wm A. Holland May 25th – L. B. Martin (Fort Edward Institute N. Y.).  News from the North are very discouraging more troops are called for – Major Leckey returned to the Regt. just fresh from home-looks well and in good spirits.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Wednesday 11,                                               1862

 

Weather clear and few clouds to interfere with “Sols” pathway and thus he reigned supreme very warm – my disease was no better – suffering more intense I was idle all day I took a stroll into the woods and beneath a huge cedar I read and re-read all my letters several times the more I read them the higher I valued them so finally though very reluctantly I destroyed them fearing they might fall into the hands of the Enemy – I also read my Bible some before leaving the beautiful spot – Several guns were talking through Camp. We had plenty of music as no less then their Brass Band were playing their compliments to the Rebels at long range though I think with little damage to them – It was rumoured Gen Wright defeated and drove them back yesterday.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Thursday 12,                                                   1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately intensely hot June weather in every respect – I was one of a detail to police our Camp and quarters – I awaited some two hours on the Surgeon but finally got out of patience and left – A mail was received today but there was nothing come for me – Chaplain R. A. Brown arrived in Camp just returned from his visit home – All was quiet today in our part.   Enemy threw several shells though without damage – John, Geo. Stevenson’s and I repaired our tent today making a shade in front – “Roundheads” were marched out to the battle ground to the first house about 8 p.m. and a portion of Companies A and L detailed to carry board lumber to the fort.

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Friday 13,                                                        1862

 

Weather clear and very warm June weather in every respect – We remained at the first house this side of the Hedge until about 10 a.m. when we received orders to return to Camp – I felt very weary and tired had but little rest or sleep during the night – returned to Camp ate dinner lay down and took a sweet invigorating sleep – We were idle the remainder of the day – There was considerable dissatisfaction in Camp on account of our not receiving sugar for our coffee or scarcely anything else for several days past. I was fortunate to get enough for myself. More guns passed through Camp – Enemy continued shelling all night without damage.

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Saturday 14,                                                    1862

 

Weather very cloudy in the forenoon indicating rain. We had a little drizzle about 9 a.m. Through the clouds the sun dispersed in the afternoon--it was clear and very warm.  The Enemy kept the ball or (rather balls) rolling all day continued shelling at intervals all day and rather thick and fast about dark though with little or no damage to us – Our Batteries and Gun boats replied showing the Rebels that it took two to make a bargain – Capt Elliot of 79th N. Y. made a woeful mistake in showing the Enemy the position of our masked battery of James guns thus by the Captains rashness the “cat was let out the bag” before all things were in readiness for the attack and now the Enemy will prepare for the worst .  Gen. Stevens was very angry when he learned the great secret had been revealed to the Enemy.

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Sunday 15,                                                      1862

 

Weather very cloudy and clear alternately and very hot – I wrote sister Maria a letter – The firing was kept up today from batteries and field priced heavier in both sides than any day since our arrival on the island.  I think the Enemy commenced it in the moving night only caused a cessation of hostilities. The enemy shelling did not have much effect upon our Batteries little or no damage done us – “Roundheads” were put on picket stationed on the outer posts. John Clemens, George Stevenson and I were stationed together at a large Oak in a dense jungle with instructions to shoot whoever came – I never was tormented so much in all my life it was enough to wary the patience of a saint.  With the annoyance of ten million mosquitoes we could not rest or sleep. For mosquitoes as it kept are busily engaged--keeping them off the face with both hands, my face in the morning was all swollen and bloody – Countersign was “Winchester.”

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Monday 16,                                                     1862

 

Weather cloudy appearance of rain – Troops were moving about 4 or 5 a.m. – Pickets were partly called in very early with the intention of joining their reserve Regiment but oweing to a misunderstanding on the front of someone the order was not carried out.   Our Regiment had passed and the fight commenced before the pickets nearby were assembled together. I started for the Regt. to far it but pricing to the excitement and confusion of balls was unsuccessful like many others of the pickets .– so we went to the reserve house to await orders and remained there about two hours or more.  Ashen, I determined to return to carry and on the way to Camp we met Col. Armstrong who ordered us back to the “reserve house” of the Regiment if called for – So we did but were never called for – The battle raged furiously several hours and by scores here for the first time in my life I saw the terrible effects of War. Our boys made several bayonet charges but all their effects were on view and finally with terrible slaughters and a loss of about 100 we were defeated and compelled to retreat leaving possession of the Enemy.  Gen Stevens “said with tears in his eyes My God! Have I brought my men here to be slaughtered like stock for the market?”   Gen Benham would not allow the troops to load their guns saying herald take the Fort with cold meet. A battle commenced with empty guns – men forbidden to load by Gen. Benham.

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Tuesday 17,                                                     1862

 

Weather very cloudy cold wet and disagreeable I never saw more disagreeable weather in June and was not a little surprised to experience such cold weather in this climate reminding me of some March or April days in Penna. We were obliged to crawl and crouch into our little narrow kennels or tents and remain their all day and I dare say scarcely even comfortable then not taking in to consideration that we had scarcely room to turn over when we was in them; The 8th Mich. Regt. lossed heaviest in yesterday’s battle losing just half of the Regt. “Hilanders” (79th N. Y.) lossed heavy also. It is supposed that “Roundheads” lost less than any Regiment engaged.   Only one member of Co. A. wounded shot through the head Bill Cliffey. One “Hilander” and one “Roundhead” buried today – Both died from wounds.

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Wednesday 18,                                               1862

 

Weather very cloudy in the morning reminding me of yesterday but in the afternoon the clouds had disappeared weather pleasant and warm – Consequently we were fortunate enough to get our clothes dry once more. As I lost my knapsack and canteen on the 3rd inst. and seeing them piled promiscuously along the road on the 16th inst. I went early in the morning in search of one though all these of any value had been carried off.  However I found an inferior one which will answer when there is one better to be had. I crossed our first battle field – General Stevens and Benham were on the first battle ground waving things in General – Benham said he would not attempt again to take the fort at the point of us bayonet but would hold his present position.

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Thursday 19,                                                   1862

 

Weather was cloudy though pleasant we had a cool refreshing sea breeze but just before sun setting we had a very heavy shower of rain but it continued for a very short time – I was idle all day – All was quiet on the island to day no shelling nor firing of any kind since the battle – The “Secesh” Prisoners and our wounded were taken to “Hilton Head” – The carriages for the big siege guns or “James Guns” were taken up to the earth works or fort to day – A flag of truce was taken yesterday to the Enemies lines at the late hour to learn the condition of the wounded and also in relation to the killed – Enemy informed our offices that the prisoners 45 in number were sent to “Charleston” and that the dead were buried. The Enemy asked to exchange prisoners – it was rumoured through Camp that Gen. McClellan had advanced within 3 miles of “Richmond” and that he had the city entirely surrounded.

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James Island, S. Carolina

 

June,                                                    Friday 20,                                                        1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy attending and very warm – I had a very severe headache during the forenoon but was much better at night as the pain had almost entirely ceased – “Roundheads” went on Picket about 3 p.m. we left Camp.   Companies H. F. and A. were left on reserve at the second house. This was the first time I have been fortunate as to get on reserve. I had the exquisite pleasure of seeing “Fort Sumpter” the most historic fort in our nation. We had a splendid view of the celebrated “Fort” – could see it with the naked eyes but with the aid of a glass one could see the Rebel Sentinel and Secesh flag floating by the breeze over the greatest stronghold.  It is a magnificent looking Fort re-built and repaired this was the first time I ever saw the Secesh flag – The engineers were called from their work about 9 p.m. We received a mail – I got a catalogue from J. B. M. – Major Russel Errett arrived I hope to help us.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Saturday 21,                                                    1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately very warm and sultry – Companies A and J were called off reserve picket to perform fatigue duty – remaining in our Camp and I was assisting to unload boats and to load our Camp  luggage on wagons – Major Russel Errett arrived.  He brought me a package from Pittsburgh (Jonathan sent it) contained two shirts which I value very highly they came just at the perfect time – He paid the “Hilanders” today.  We removed our Camp to a more pleasant and healthy place up near the first house to the left of the same behind or under cover of the woods though we are now encamped without the range of the Enemies guns they can’t see us for the woods. 46 N. Y. in one side and “Hilanders” on the other. “Mosquitoes” without number annoying us four soldiers – our tents were brought from Beaufort but we were out and many of the boys have no shelter of any kind.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Sunday 22,                                                      1862

 

Weather clear and intensely hot June weather in every respect – We received a mail to day – I received three letters from Mother – Elizabeth and Jared written on the 4th and 11th inst. I spent the day reading the news and my Bible.  The “Hiland” Regt. presented General I. I. Stevens with a splendid sword costing $480. The Regiment formed in Camp and marched to the Generals quarters (without arms).  All were dressed neat in white pants and red cap – made a fine appearance. I heard the General making a very appropriate speech tending his professed thanks to the Regt. for the splendid present – I spied the pay rolls for the first time today.  Whiskey drugged with quinine was distributed to the men.  Chaplain Brown had religious exercises in the evening.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Monday 23,                                                     1862

 

Weather clear and intensely hot I think this was decidedly the hottest day I have experienced in “Dixie” – Company A marched to the Pay Masters tent and I received $25.55 – spent 60 cts. for “salted [?] herring”– I was on fatigue duty all day very hard work; the most tiresome fatigue duty I have yet done in the U. S. A. – I had the diarrhea very bad--consequently I was really unfit for any duty; but the idea of reporting to the Surgeon was so loathsome I went on duty ill as I was – Whiskey and quinine was given to the fatigue party but I declined eating or drinking my ration.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Tuesday 24,                                                     1862

 

Weather clear and intensely hot in the morning but soon a cool refreshing sea breeze commenced everything all day causing it to be very pleasant. Owing to overdoing myself yesterday on fatigue duty being ill when I left Camp.  I suffered severely during the night was very sick enjoyed little or no sleep or rest – I felt very unwell today.  Also I can find nothing to relieve my suffering or cure my disease.  I was idle all day.  Some of our boys allowed whiskey to get advantage of them creating quite a mess in Camp. Lieut. J. H. Pentecost ordered me out of my bed such as I was, also excused by the Surgeon to assist in arresting and escorting the instigators to the guard house – Joe Mullen I seized.  I gave Orderly Sergeant Ed. Bausman 15 $ to send home for me. He took a list of what we lost in the fight - I bought ½ box of raisins.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Wednesday 25,                                               1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and very hot June weather in every respect. I wrote a letter to Bro Jared and one to Sister Maria. I was still very unwell oweing to my disease I have veered no relief from any source whatever.  I was idle to day – “Roundheads” had Dress Parade for the first time since we left “Beaufort”.  My mess mate Alex Addams and I went in search of boards to repair our tent. I took Captain Templeton some dinner as he was on duty at the reserve Picket house – I gave one dollar to the subscription being raised in the Company for “Miss Nelly Chase” Hospital nurse for her kind treatment to the sick and wounded – I read an account of our skirmish of 3rd inst. in Pittsburgh Chronicle.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Thursday 26,                                                   1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately very hot in the morning but soon a cool refreshing sea breeze came making the remainder of the day pleasant I was reported on the sick list this morning. This was the first time my name has been enrolled on the sick report of Co. A. and I sincerely hope it will be the last time it shall be necessary to report to the Surgeon.   I went to the hospital for medicine – “Roundheads” went on picket duty in the evening Co. A. was very small some 20 members being left behind and we down fresh beef today.   “Jim” Barr and Corporal Eleren Olvey were very sick the Doctor was sent for and visited them in Camp – I visited the hospital four times to take my medicine – About a half dozen of Co. A. were detailed as Provost Guard to get down to the duty wharf – this excusing them from all duties.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Friday 27,                                                        1862

 

Weather cloudy very warm and sultry – my disease was no better today so I reported to the Surgeon again having faith in his medicine though I received no relief from what I have taken – visited the Hospital four times to day for medicine. A huge Mortar (13 inch) was taken passed Camp to put in position to shell the Enemy – The Enemy kept up a shelling of our masked battery during the night wounding four and killing one of our men engaged working there – very heavy cannonading was heard in a Southeastern direction – doubtly the gun boats blockading squadron that was considerable firing while the “Roundheads” were in picket but no “Roundheads” were injured.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Saturday 28,                                                    1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately in the forenoon very warm – Cloudy and sultry in the afternoon threatening rain in fact a few drops fell in the evening threatening much rain during the night. I reported to the Doctor today also though his medicine thus far has provided no change that I am aware of.  Surgeon advised me to diet myself so I commenced obeying his instructions. A portion of Co. A. was detailed on fatigue duty to load munitions of war on the boat as we are going to abandon the siege and evacuate the island – I finished reading the New Testament today I visited the hospital four times for medicine – the Enemy threw several shells today.

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James Island, S. C.

 

June,                                                    Sunday 29,                                                      1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately – a very cool sea breeze blew all day the strongest sea breeze I have ever experienced in “Dixie” – I reported sick this morning I felt a little easier oweing I presume to the effect of my dieting and medicine – and because my medicine had a good effect yesterday the Surgeon refused to give me any more; which I thought very singular logic – Leaving me to do as best I could without it. Company A. was detailed on fatigue – A mail arrived today making many glad hearts. I received a letter from M C. B. dated June 15th – I spent the days reading – roaming in the woods – and sleeping in my tent – Early in the night the heavens became dark terrific lightning and thunder indicating much rain but very little fell.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

June,                                                    Monday 30,                                                     1862

 

“June went out like a Lion” Weather cloudy now indicating and threatening rain altogether the weather was disagreeable – I bought a pound of dried peaches from a Sutler cost 25 cts. We had fresh beef for supper – A portion of Co. A. were sent out to our masked batteries on fatigue duty – I was put on fatigue at 7 p.m. We went out to the batteries and worked hard all night commanded by a Lieutenant who was entirely too impudent to command much less to manage a job of work.  I was wheeling 84 pound shells from the Fort to the house – I never worked so hard in fatigue duty before I fear I over done myself and with this bury of a size of sickness under the circumstances.

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