The capture of Fort Pulaski, Ga. letter written by William...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionThe capture of Fort Pulaski, Ga. letter written by William H. Harrison, Co. A, 7th CT Infantry with a Brady photograph of the Fort after the assault.
William H. Harrison was a resident of Southington, CT. On September 17th, 1861 he was mustered into the 7th Connecticut Infantry and started the very next day for Washington, D.C. After training there they sailed to Port Royal, S.C., captured the forts and then headed for Fort Pulaski and its "reduction". The letter is 3 pages in ink on blue-grey stationery and is headed, "Fort Pulaski Ga. May 1st, 1862."
The photograph is a fine CDV "Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1862 by M. B. Brady". Corners have not been trimmed and there is no fading. You can see the damage inflicted by the artillery that Harrison describes in this letter. Here is the content as he writes his uncle:
"Since the 7th Regiment landed and took possession of the Fort, I have been very busy and have scarcely had time to write even to my wife. We are now comfortably quartered in the "Case Mates" and are living in pretty good style considering that we are soldiering."
"Of course, you have seen an account of the engagement which commenced the 11th of April and resulted in an unconditional surrender of Fort Pulaski. The "White Flag" was thrown out on the 12th at about 2 p.m. Our troops embarked the same afternoon and took possession of the fort and some 300-400 prisoners."
"I was left behind "on Tybee" in charge of Subsistence Stores and before I came over, the prisoners were on their way North. I was very much disappointed as I was very anxious to see and have some conversation with them. They left some 15 men sick in Hospital, in charge of their Hospital Steward. And by the way, the Steward is a fine specimen of a real Southerner. He says "you have the advantage of us just now," but if you think we shall give up this contest, you are very much mistaken. He knew nothing of our recent victories in the Northwest or even of those in South Carolina."
"I had a number of late N. York Newspapers which I gave him to read. He acknowledged at once that if the information given in them was correct, that the cause of the South was hopeless. Still he thinks that the North misrepresented the state of affairs. Provisions in Savannah "he tells me" are very scarce and dear in proportion. Pork is worth $20 per barrel. Bacon 20 cents a lb., coffee 60 to 75 cents, tea scarcely none in market and held at from $2 to $3 lb. Liverpool salt "the only kind on sale" sells at $15 per bushel. Fallow candles 60 cents lb, etc. I could plainly see that with all his boasting and blowing, he expected to see the South subdued, and I trust he will not be disappointed."
"I have read a copy of the Savannah Republican of April 3rd, and in it found some interesting items. It condemns the conduct of the officers in the Confederate Army, and in fact finds fault with almost everyone who has anything to do with Army matters. It advises that a new Army be raised at once to repel the advancing invaders who are about to overrun the South and suggests that in the absence of other arms, pikes may be used to good advantage."
"From all we can learn, the Rebels have a large force in and around Savannah. The river approaching the city is well provided with heavy guns, but when the attack is made, I do not think their Batteries will be of much service to them."
"The guns on Tybee are now being removed. Also the 13 in. mortars are being quietly loaded on board vessels. I imagine that the next time they are used, it will be in the vicinity of Charleston. Capt. Francis "of Co. A" thinks our boys will follow them up and again assist in manning them."
"The 7th Regiment have been worked night and day for many weeks and are certainly deserving of the rest which is now granted them. They will be ready very soon for active service, and I hope that we shall not be kept back as formerly."
"Masons are now at work repairing order. Two district breaches were made although they were fast being made into one by those terrible missiles – "James' Projectiles". In some cases, these balls would bury themselves out of sight in the brick work without shivering the walls in the least."
"The Rebels had little fear that we should be able to breach the walls or to compete them to surrender, but they all said when those "Cart Hubs" began to come in that they knew the end was near. Several of their Parapet guns were dismounted. Piles of Brick scattered in every direction. The flag was twice shot away and in many places the wall on the Parapet was torn away."
"Still the Rebels stuck to it. Not one of their number was killed. One of their men left behind in hospital tells a far different story, but the real truth will never be got at. I consider it impossible for a garrison of 400 men to withstand such a bombardment without sustaining quite heavy loss in killed & wounded."
Harrison's description of the James Rifled Artillery that the North used against Pulaski is interesting. Their shells weighed up to 84 lbs. and he jokingly referred to them as "Cart Hubs". One page has archival tape on a fold separation. The CDV is excellent. From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection
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