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CHapTER 1 A Taste of War and New Duties 1862–May 1863 Augustine T. Smythe to Margaret M. Smyth Monday Eve [June 1862] Dear Mother, Just back from such a scene of blood as I trust never again to behold.1 Poor Taverner2 & Fleet Lanneau3 both dead! This morning I had just awoke late to reveille & was hurrying to dress when I heard the bugle sound the assembly & rushing out found that we were ordered off immediately. We were soon under way beating Hagood’s regt. by about 100 yrds thus securing the post of honor. We marched on most of the way at “double-quick” stirred up & excited by the shells bursting thick over Secessionville. We hastened up to a hedge about ¼ of a mile from the village & the order was immediately given to us to stoop! Scarcely had we so done when a volley of balls swept over our heads killing five in Co. B & wounding 7 also wounding some 4 or 5 others in the regt. I never felt so ticklish in my life but, thank God I am safe & so is the whole of our company. This is almost a miracle for the balls fell among us & just beyond us by a few feet. The worst of it all was that the Yankees were right in front of us not far off & yet our officers thinking they were friends ordered us not to fire. This was obeyed by most of us but some of the company fired & killed 7 or 8. Two of our men were in their places when the bush in front parted & out came two men one of them asked who he was. He answered, “Friend, dont shoot for God’s sake!” “Where from?” “Rhode Isl.” They immediately raised their guns & fired killing one & wounding the other. Immediately after the discharge they retreated & commenced to shell us but tho’ these fell all around us we did not mind them for we had seen shell before. After a while when all our wounded & 36 | A Taste of War and New Duties dead had been removed they detailed a squad of ten (10) men to go on the field & get arms. I was one & such another scene I do not wish to witness. In grt haste Good bye, Augustine The Battle of Secessionville, which Augustine T. Smythe described as “a scene of blood,” on James Island. From the editor’s collection. Augustine T. Smythe to Jane A. Adger Tuesday morn 17 June 1862 Dear Aunt Janey,4 We have been in our first fight & have met the Yankees at last &, thank God! we are not only safe for the most part but have driven back the enemy with great slaughter. I was awakened yesterday morning at daybreak by the sound of the bugle calling us to “fall-in” & hurrying out found that we were to march off immediately to meet the advancing Yankees. We quickly fell into line & started off hurried on by our own excited feelings & by the sight of the shell bursting round Secessionville. We marched out “quick” for 1862–May 1863 | 37 some time but as we neared the battle ground we could stand it no longer but giving a shout marched on at “double-quick.” As we passed Hagood’s encampment we found them drawn up & ready to march but quickening our pace a little we got ahead of them & thus secured the post of honor. As we were within a mile of Secessionville we turned off from the road & running across a long field, then thro’ a creek, then thro’ another field in which the shells were falling & bursting we marched our position behind a hedge where the order was given immediately to lie down. Scarcely were the words uttered & the men down when volley after volley of bullets flew around us cutting off the branches in front of us & falling behind us & in front of us. It was a trying moment for we none of us knew but that the next bullet would finish us, yet the men behaved with the greatest coolness fixing their bayonets & getting ready for the charge. Now occurred the mistake which sacrificed Co. B. We heard & could see men moving on the other side of the hedge but just as we were about to fire an order came from Col. Haygood [sic] that it was his men, not to fire. This was repeated by our officers & believing them friends we held back. This delusion was increased by the Yankee officers on the other side continually crying out “Dont fire we are friends, you...


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MARC Record
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