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CHapTER 2 Aboard the CSS Palmetto State August 1863–November 1863 Augustine T. Smythe, Charleston, S.C., to Jane A. Adger 8 Aug. 1863 My dear Aunt Janey, . . . First let me thank you for your very acceptable present of the cologne. I am extremely fond of it & am quite a connoisseur in the article . This is very nice & I am much, much obliged to you for thinking so much of my comfort. (Excuse all bad writing, for there are four (4) of us writing at this table & it is very rickety & shakes at the least push. I am just in the thoroughfare too & have to move every minute or two to let some one pass.) We have had two quite pretty little affairs here during the week. The first was on Tuesday night. Three boats from the Gun boats & two filled with men from the Eutaw Regt. started just at dark to surprise the enemy’s pickets. They went to within a short distance of them, when the soldiers landed & the boats went on round to cut off their retreat. The soldiers came upon men entirely unawares & fired on them killing two & wounding the Capt. & Sergt. & one other man. They took immediately to their boat & pushed off but our boat coming up just then they were fairly caught. They had a fine boat which we now have. The whole number caught was ten. The other affair was on Wednesday night. The Juno,1 a blockade runner, rigged up with a torpedo & under the command of Lt. Porcher2 of the Navy went out by Battery Wagner to reconnoitre. She went down to within 300 yds of the Monitors & there met up with the 1st Launch of the Wabash acting as guard boat. The Juno tried to run her down or strike with her torpedo. Luckily however the boat sheared out of the way but just as she was going under the wheel of the Steamer where she would certainly have been sunk, the anchor caught her & towed her along. Twelve of the men 50 | Aboard the CSS Palmetto State jumped overboard with the oars but the other ten with the officer surrendered . Two of these men were afterwards picked up on Sullivan’s Island. The boat is a splendid launch with a 12lb. howitzer & had a crew of 22 men fully armed. Considering that the steamer had only ten men armed with rifles, the launch should have whipped her but the men behaved very cowardly. This is a great prize & is the very thing we wanted. Lt. P. behaved bravely & is much commended. Besides this there has been nothing except that every other night we go down to Fort Sumter to protect the communication with Morris Island. This is very laborious as the night that the ship does not go down the men have to man small boats to carry troops to & fro. This keeps them up nearly every night & will soon break them down unless some other plan is devised. We have not yet given up Wagner but have increased its armament by another 10 in. Columbiad & a 32 rifled & banded. The whole South face of Sumter has been filled with sand strengthening it exceedingly . We are hard at work building batteries all round Morris Island & have now some very heavy ones particularly one at Legare’s point on James Island which mounts or is to mount 21 guns. The Yankee prisoners say that they are daily expecting 10,000 reinforcements & then they will renew the attack, & this time differently from last. They do not want Wagner now, so they say, but can do without it. Their opinion of the Monitors has fallen very much & they regard the Ironsides3 as worth the whole of them. She is certainly by far the most annoying to our batteries. Her commander is Stephen D. Rohan.4 It is said that Beauregard considers the destruction of the Ironsides as necessary to the safety of Charleston but this is mere outside report. Another report is that Gilmore & Dahlgreen5 have fallen out & are now at loggerheads & therefore the attack is not resumed. Certain it is, that everything now is very quiet with the exception of a little shelling now & then, & the regular shelling which one of our batteries keeps up every night to annoy the Yankees. It is a beautiful sight to watch the shells go up like rockets, up, up, up & then stop for a moment in mid air as if considering where they should drop & then fall fast, & faster until within a few feet of the ground, when there is a bright flash, a report, & all quiet. This is our principal amusement at night. They fire...


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MARC Record
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