April 20th, 1861, Charleston, S.C. A Northerner, whose hom...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionApril 20th, 1861, Charleston, S.C. A Northerner, whose home is now Charleston, describes the bombardment.
The author of this three-and-a-half-page letter in ink, Alice F. Fuldin, was a native of Whitinsville, Massachusetts. In this letter she is writing her aunt, Mrs. James F. Whitin. The stamped envelope is included. The letter starts by stating, "The mails are so uncertain that our letters have been detained over a fortnight, and so many stirring events have taken place within that time that our friends have been very anxious to hear from us." Alice then goes on to describe the action of April 12th:
I can say that I have "seen service in military parlance" as I saw the whole from
beginning to end. The first gun startled me from sleep, and with its heavy booming
I felt that the terrors of war and strife were to be ushered in. We spent most of the
time at the Bates' as their house commands a fine view of the harbor and
fortifications. I can never describe my sensations on seeing the humiliation of the
"stars and stripes." I little thought that I should live to witness the dishonor of that
flag under which I and my children have been born and reared, and under who
protection every nation of the earth has been gathered and kept.
I watched with an almost feverish anxiety the firing on both sides and the course
and explosion of the shells. Major Anderson and his gallant command acquitted
themselves in that trying time, as very few would have done. He never in all his
intercourse with the people here has uttered one word or performed a single action
derogatory to his position as an officer of the U. States Army, or his character as a
Christian and a gentleman. His bravery is the theme of every tongue, and he has
been treated with every courtesy by his country's enemies here. I have got his
photograph suspended in my room underneath the stars and stripes.
The news from Baltimore is very startling. I fear that the north will find that the
fighting will be nearer their own homes than they imagined; things seem to point
that way. We are getting somewhat quieted here though our city presents more the
appearance of a camp than anything else; squads of Cavalry are galloping in every
direction, and detachments of volunteers are arriving from the up country to swell
the ranks of the Confederate Army.
We are living in the midst of all this excitement as quietly but a little more retired
than usual. I have no heart to pay many visits and no desire to at present. I see no
prospect of getting north this season, if things continue in this way. We have made
up our minds to do the next best that we can, make ourselves as comfortable as
possible, and leave the uncertain future to God, trusting that out of all this darkness,
He will bring light in His own good time.
We had hoped much from the peace policy. If that had been carried out as it
ought to have been, a few years would have reconciled all our differences. I
feel just as if I was talking to you, and I am writing in great haste, as a Boston
gentlemen has kindly offered to be the bearer of our letter.
Both letter and cover are in fine condition. Alice signs the letter with only her initials, "A. F. F." However, this letter comes from a series of known correspondence with her relatives in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. A rare glimpse of a Northern lady living in Charleston at the start of the Civil War! From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection
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