Just following the firing on Fort Sumter, in this April 5,...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionJust following the firing on Fort Sumter, in this April 5, 1861 letter, The Wife of S. C. Secession Convention Signer James Jefferies, describes her tour of all the forts and sights in Charleston!
This 9-page letter is headed "TIMBER RIDGE, UNION DISTRICT, S. C." and is written by Sallie C. Jefferies. Sallie is writing her cousin who lives in Tyler,Texas. For the history enthusiast, her descriptions and details are excellent! Reading in part:
I suppose you have heard that the Southern Confederacy flag is waving gracefully over Fort Sumter. While I was in Charleston I took a ride on the boat and went around to see all of the forts. It was quite an interesting scene to me. My very heart felt lit up when I would look at all of the ships and boats with our independent looking flag floating over them, but when I would cast my eye on Fort Sumter I would feel the sting of revenge burning. I went in a hundred yards of Fort Sumter. It is a beautiful place. I say beautiful, it looked lonely, I must say, but I guess it does not now. We suffered a great deal of uneasiness during the fight. Brother John was stationed at the nearest point to Fort Sumter. He was chosen as one of the Sharp Shooters. They were appointed to go in the water until they got in sixty yards of Fort Sumter, and then they had to shoot the men off of the Fort with their rifles as they went to load if it was needed. But to my joy, it was not needed. Ripley, Bob Anderson's old friend, got him out by shooting hot shot at him.
(Since Sallie is writing her cousin in Tyler, Texas, she states:) From what I can see in the papers, I think Texas will be devolved in war before it is all ended. I must say Old Sam Houston needs applause for his smartness. What does Uncle think of him now? I hope Texas will act as noble as old Carolina has.
I must tell you a little about my trip to Charleston...We took the cars and reached Columbia about 4 p.m. where we spent two hours. All of the Cadets came out to bid adieu to the members of the Convention. They went through their regular course of performance and Judge Longstreet delivered an address, and then the car commenced to move slowly off and the Cadets pulled off their caps and made a polite bow and then the sweet music commenced.
We...reached Charleston about ten o'clock. I thought I could eat some supper then. We went down to the table and the first thing I saw was a poor old crippled white man come to wait on us. He seemed to know how very well, but his looks done me up so I could not eat. So I did not get any supper that night. The next morning I awoke and found myself in Charleston. We sent over to the Island after the boys, but they could not get to come the first day, so we spent the day in riding around. We went to the Medical College where you graduated. We went in the museum. It was a great curiosity to me. The College is a pretty building. I also went to the Orphan house. I went to hear the Catholic preach, and I can tell you it was amusing to me to see them. I went all through the floating battery that you have heard so much talk about. I did not have much opinion of it when I saw it, but I see it has done a faithful part in the battle. I went around to see all of the points, and I saw the tide rise which was a great curiosity to me. I got a great many shells the Volunteers gave me. They say they spend their Sundays in gathering shells. I saw a great many palm trees. They are a beautiful tree.
Sallie concludes the letter by mentioning that her brother, John who is serving under Gen. Gadberry in the 18th S. C. on Morris Island, has been sent to Virginia to fight. In fine condition save for some staining. From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection
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