In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

CHapTER 4 A Lofty Perch in St. Michael’s March 1864–November 1864 Augustine T. Smythe, Dill’s Bluff, James Island, S.C., to Susan D. Adger, Columbia, S.C. 6 March 1864 My dear Auntie Enclosed please find a photograph which you know I promised you some time ago. . . . The house at No. 36 has been struck again. The shell came thro’ the roof, into the same room as the other & burst in your room doing considerably more damage than the first but not breaking the mirrors. The pieces were scattered all around & one sticking in the wall which I especially charged Robt. not to take out but to leave in for Aunt Janey’s satisfaction to show after the war. The floor upstairs is pretty well torn up & your floor has three or four holes in it. . . . The fire the other day burnt down Bowens Kitchen & half his stables, the brick house on Water St. & partially burnt two or three wooden ones. They had hard work to save 34. The fence between was burnt down but Robt. has patched up a sort of temporary one. No. 36 was not otherwise injured. . . . Much love to dear Aunt Janey & the girls & much to yourself, Auntie, From your affectionate boy, Augustine 98 | A Lofty Perch in St. Michael’s St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, where Augustine T. Smythe was stationed in the steeple as a signalman. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. Augustine T. Smythe, St. Michael’s Church steeple, Charleston, S.C., to Margaret M. Smyth 31 March 31 1864 My very dear Mother, Here I am on my lofty perch1 behind a big telescope looking out for any movements of the Yankees which may be of sufficient importance to send up to Genl. Jordan.2 My tour of duty to-night is from 1:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. & I have been on duty half the day. . . . The duty is pretty heavy, as I am on every other day & half of every other night. The worst difficulty is the trouble of getting up here for it is not a joke climbing up 150 feet. . . . I have been on now two days & nights in succession, but hereafter it will be regular. Our place is the upper piazza above the clock. We have it boarded in & bunks put there for us to sleep in so that we are tolerably comfortable except the wind which blows thro the cracks of the boards at a great rate & there is always a wind up here. I still eat at home & shall try to fix it so as to sleep there every other night when I am not on duty. Our business up here is merely to keep a close eye on all the movements of the enemy & report them to the Genl. It is quite interesting to watch them as we have a splendid glass. Now it is daybreak & their vessels are moving about & soldiers March 1864–November 1864 | 99 marching on Morris Isl. at a great rate. Nothing unusual. It is well I am not superstitious up here at night sitting alone. . . . Good bye with love to all, From your boy Augustine Augustine T. Smythe, St. Michael’s Church steeple, Charleston, S.C., to Margaret M. Smyth Thursday 7 April 1864 My dear Mother, . . . You must not feel anxious about me up here & never fear my falling down the stairs, tho’ there are 170 of them. “High life above Stairs” with a vengeance. . . . It is no joke to walk up 170 winding stairs, I can assure you without trying to run either up or down them. Besides I know all the bad places by this time. There are four of us up here, two on every day. . . . Oh my, there goes that bell (10 o’c) & such a cracking & a shaking as this old steeple gets when ever they ring it is a caution. The first time you experience it, you feel certain that it is going to fall immediately. Now I have got rather used to it, but still it is not the most comfortable feeling I have ever had. It shakes so I can hardly write. . . . We have a rope ladder outside in case the steeple should be struck for us to descend, but it has passed safely thro’ so much that I am in hopes it will go thro’ the rest. It seems as if God’s providence was specially directed towards this venerable (but shaky) old Spire. . . . No news at all. The Yanks threw three or four shells into the City yesterday...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.