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CHapTER 3 Duty at Fort Sumter and an Engagement December 1863–February 1864 Augustine T. Smythe, Fort Sumter, to Margaret M. Smyth 1 Dec. 1863 Tuesday My dear Mother, I dare say you will be very much surprised at the date & heading of this letter. I have been here since Friday evening when I came down in a small boat. I have been thinking whether to write & tell you I was here or not but having a chance now to send this up to town I thought it best to tell you candidly. I wrote you from the gunboat telling you of my expected temporary removal from it & stationing at some other post. This turned out to be Sumter & here I am now, alive & kicking & very well off except for the dirt which does not aid my comfort at all. This is the first good chance I have had to write you & must hurry now as the boat will soon be returning. I did not know whether it would be better to wait until I got out of the Fort before I wrote & or to write immediately, but have come to the conclusion that you ought to know that I am in here tho’ it is only for a short time. This is the first letter I have written since my advent to this abode of happiness. I have not had the chance of informing you sooner. I am quite well & hearty & very glad that I came down as the Fort is worth seeing & being in now. The Yankees have slackened their fire very much for the last day or two & to-day they have been firing quite heavily on Moultrie & James Isl. They still continue to throw mortar & Parrott shell at the grand old fortress tho’ the only casualty since I have been here has been one negro who was killed Sunday night. The Fort is much stronger than I expected to find it & cant be easily taken. On the N & E. angle in the casements we have three heavy guns mounted & ready for action manned by one company of the Fort 82 | Duty at Fort Sumter and an Engagement Sumter troops. There are about 350 men in the Fort altogether & 150 negroes (about). We are hard at work building bomb proofs & strengthening the different points exposed to attack & I dont think the enemy ever can get the old place. I fired the evening gun Saturday night just for the sake of doing it. I have command of a squad of sixteen (16) men who take charge of the hand grenades & greek fire. This is in addition to the Signal duty which is very light. They are stationed on the only two remaining points of the parapet, the S.E. & S.W. angles & are to hurl their missiles on any advancing party. The fort is a complete mass of ruins to look at it but there is many a safe nook & casemate yet left untouched. I am quite comfortable & quite well. They have been shelling the city several times lately. Our on Friday fell in Barker’s lot but did not explode. Another burst in Tradd St. This p.m. they killed a woman in the city so the report is. I am so so glad you are not there. . . . Now Mother dont worry about me. I am as safe here as in the gunboat for in the bomb proof there is no danger. The weather is quite pleasant, tho’ bitter cold. Clear frosty. This a.m. the inside of the Fort wh. is a regular lake was completely frozen over. I must stop, as the boat is nearly ready & there is such a crowd of men round me knocking my elbow & the table that I cant write. Love to all at home. I shall write again my first opportunity but as the boats are irregular so may be any letters. So dont be anxious. I expect to be out by the time this reaches you. Much love to yourself dear Mother from your own boy Augustine Augustine T. Smythe, Fort Sumter, to Margaret M. Smyth Thursday 2 Dec. 1863 My dear Mother, I wrote you a letter last night wh. I hope you have recd safely. I now have another chance to get you off a line as the quarter master boat has come down as I know you are anxious to hear from me. . . . The Yanks shelled town yesterday afternoon again, killing one man on East Bay & one woman in Church St. Most of them fell around Cumberland St. One struck in St. Mary’s church yard in Hazel St...


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MARC Record
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