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					93
	 Evening Post  Correspondence.

[newspaper clipping: first column]
	{From an Occasional Correspondent.}
Sufferings of the South Carolina Soldiery Keeping 
  Secrets Fort Sumter Impatience of Young South
  Carolina An Incident of Charleston Life.
		CHARLESTON, S. C., January 25, 1860.[1861]
  Diarrh a and dysentery are said to prevail among
the troops on Sullivan s, James and Morris
islands, to what extent it is difficult to ascertain,
for, as I have already intimated, access to the camps
requires a special permit from the authorities, and
the Charleston newspapers maintain their charac-
teristic reticence on every topic that can be suppos-
ed to tell against the popular cause.  We are even
careful of allowing such to appear too prominent in
conversation; we speak incidentally and with
bated breath, rather than otherwise.  Hence a good
deal transpires daily of which the knowledge is 
confined to a few, and I have heard many Charles-
tonians admit that they first became acquainted
with such and such facts through the medium of
New York newspapers.  They add, also, that some
of them lie considerably, which is equally true.
Whether the exigencies of the present revolution
have developed the capacity or only increased it, I
think South Carolinians possess the useful one of
holding their tongues.  Adverse particulars may
leak from them; they seldom disclose them.  They
possess, too, a marvellous faculty of hushing things
up peculiar to the South, which impresses me like a
sixth nationalx sense.  I have been informed of in-
stances confirming this which I do not care to put
on paper.
  I believe a regiment might mutiny and the towns-
people know little or nothing about it for twenty-
four hours, and am sure that then they would do 
their best to conceal it from strangers.  There are
rumors, not of this, but equally suggestive.
  The troops, composed of young fellows of un-
questionable pluck and patriotism, but accustomed
mostly to city life and the reverse of exposure and
hardship, are impatient of their passive endurance,
nor too prone to submit to the necessary rigors of
military discipline.  They would infinitely rather be
exposed to the fire of Major Anderson s colum-
biads than to the inglorious attacks of dysentery
and diarrh a, which, without adopting the Chinese
theory, that the stomach is the seat of the soul,
may be admitted as natural drawbacks to a man s 
courage.  They have jealousies and rivalries, too,
and quarrel among themselves.  It is confidently
asserted that some companies are with difficulty
restrained from fighting, not against the common
enemy, but among themselves, and that their com-
manders have urged the necessity of an immediate
attempt upon Fort Sumter on this ground.
  In my last I spoke of a general, indefinite im-
pression that such action was secretly contem-
plated.  Three days of dullness and drizzle have, I

[Gunn s handwriting]
x natural.

[newspaper clipping: second column]
think, diminished that impression, but increased
the desire.  The many begin to assert, now, that
the state government is desirous of adopting the
policy of inactivity, leaving the onus and oppro-
brium of molestation to the federal authorities,
even up to the date of Lincoln s inauguration.
They assume the wisdom of this in virtue of the
the result of the occupation of Fort Sumter upon
other southern states, the consequent formation of
a slaveholding confederacy of such proportions as
to render recognition a necessity, coercion an im-
possibility.  Thus the many, always disposed to
accept a temporary lull for a lasting calm.  The
few, I find, think differently.
  They believe that were the above programme
feasible and Mr. Buchanan so well disposed towards
their object as they assert he once was, though he
abstained from blockading the harbor, declaring it
no longer a port, cutting off the mails, in short,
adopting all the coercive measures which lie in his
power even in that case, South Carolina could not
bear the cost of delay.  She is bleeding pecuniarily
at every pore.  All business has ceased.  In the
present state of risk, insecurity and danger no ves-
sels enter her harbor they go to Savannah; for
shrewder Georgia, though she has seceded, has yet
forborne to disturb existing arrangements with the
government of the United States.  The purchase of
arms, gunpowder, accoutrements and food for the
troops costs enormously.  Only yesterday a bill for
raising $1,300,000 for  military contingencies  was
discussed in the legislature, which is engaged
in taxing everything taxable, even the wearing of
gold and silver watches and negro-minstrel per-
formances.  Considering all this, the impatience of
young South Carolina, the exasperation of the com-
munity at Major Anderson s retainment of Fort
Sumter, the accidents and chances that might at any
moment precipitate a collision, the few do not ex-
pect a peaceful solution of the difficulty.
  They are none the less resolved, however, to carry
out the revolution at all consequences, believing
their honor, their interests, their liberties at stake in
the contest.  They did not count the cost, I honestly
believe, but are committed to its payment, even to
the rist of utter ruin and bankruptcy.  Without
desiring war that folly is confined to the young
men and always attributing the responsibility of
it to the United States government, they prepare
to accept it as a very probable contingency.  I
have heard a gentleman in authority state that
he believed Fort Sumter would be attacked before
the expiration of another week, adding that South
Carolina was defied and rendered ridiculous in the
eyes of those who had emulated her example, so
long as Major Anderson remained there.  He sup-
posed that the Administration dared not order the 
evacuation, in consequence of the overawing threats
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen: page one hundred and three
Description:Includes a newspaper clipping written by Gunn for the ''Evening Post'' concerning pre-war events and attitudes in Charleston.
Date:1861-01-25
Subject:Anderson, Robert; Buchanan, James; Civil War; Diseases; Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Lincoln, Abraham; Military; New York evening post.; Secession; Slavery
Coverage (City/State):Charleston, South Carolina; New York, [New York]; Savannah, Georgia
Scan Date:2010-05-11

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen
Description:Describes Gunn's experience as a correspondent for ""The New York Evening Post"" in Charleston, South Carolina, in the aftermath of South Carolina's secession from the federal government, including a conflict between A.H. Colt and Mr. Woodward, a visit to Sullivan's Island, John Mitchel's tale of assisting with the lynching of an abolitionist, attending a celebration in honor of Benjamin Mordecai, Will Waud's arrival in Charleston, the scene in Charleston the day the ''Star of the West'' was fired upon by the Morris Island battery, pistol and rifle practice with various Charlestonians, a rumor in New York about his having been tarred and feathered in Charleston, a visit to the quarters of the ''Richland Rifles,'' witnessing a slave auction, and a visit to Colonel Bull's home.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Books and reading; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Military; Publishers and publishing; Secession; Slavery; Slaves; Travel
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Charleston, South Carolina
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.