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					113
	Review on Sullivan s Island.

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
most beneath its walls, when the attack shall com-
mence, this formidable battery is expected to be of
signal service in effecting a breach, while its pecu-
liar construction may cause the balls of the be-
sieged to glance aside or mitigate the damage done
by them.
  At least a score of workmen are engaged upon its
construction.  When it is completed, and perhaps
another, look for exciting news from Charleston.
With these batteries, with those at Pelican s Point,
Forts Moultrie and Johnson all ready, with what
cannon and ammunition we have, we shall be pre-
pared to make a final demand of the government
and of Major Anderson for the surrender of Fort
Sumter; in the event of their refusal, awaiting
some cloudy night, to put the question at the can-
non s mouth.  Then the townspeople, aroused from
uneasy slumbers by the roar of those instruments,
the invention of which is attributed, by Milton, to
the Devil himself, will know that the Devil s work
of fratricidal strife has indeed begun, and the war
commenced in earnest.
  Not till then, though.  We shall keep everything
quiet until the last moment, as long as it is possi-
ble.  We know the value of secrecy.  To-day we
have adopted a stringent general order against the
admission of all visitors to the forts and batteries
except such as are duly authorized by a special
order from the Quartermaster-General.  Our vigi-
lance, which has slackened a little in this respect,
is strictly resumed.
  We sleep, I have implied, uneasily.  On Monday
night we were stimulated by a report of a strange
vessel seen on the coast, off Stono, apparently
making preparation for the landing of United 
States troops.  This story, brought by a negro to
his master, induced instant preparation and got our
military under arms in the briefest space.  Last
night, too, a similar alarm of a vessel entering the
harbor provoked firing of cannon, the display of
rockets and bluelights from Forts Moultrie and
Johnson and the putting forth of guard-boats,
which satisfactorily ascertained the peaceful char-
acter of the visitor.  Each night brings its rumors,
as each morning dispels them.  Grim fact will do
it yet more distinctly one of these days.
  Lest you should pronounce my letter too sombre,
I will enliven it with a pleasant episode of which I
was the accidental witness.  It occurred on Monday
afternoon, at four o clock, on Sullivan s Island,
when the wife of our Governor and her daughter-
in-law, Mrs. and Miss Pickens, attended a dress-
parade of the troops there encamped, extemporiz-
ing a sort of review, none the less agreeable and
picturesque for its informality.
  I have spoken of the Island before; it is all sand,
with the shabby, wooden-built village of Moul-
trieville scattering over one end of it, the fort mid-

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
way, and villas and hotels growing more infrequent
as you journey seawards.  These tenements are
now occupied by the troops, the largest, the Moul-
trie House (a huge wooden hotel, with ample
piazzas and quaint cupola,) accommodates, I be-
lieve, no less than seven companies.  Near to it,
and at the hour mentioned, they troop forth to pa-
rade on the long, and lank, and brown, and corru-
gated sea-sand, (which here merits all those adjec-
tives,) and here the ladies, who had been enjoying a
pleasure drive about the Island, gratified them by
their presence.
  No lovelier afternoon could have been conceived
or wished for.  The sun shone brilliantly at just
two hours  distance from his dipping below the
watery horizon, and just a little breeze sent the
waves rippling and rolling in on the sea-shore with
the same monotonous, melancholy music which,
thousands of years ago, greeted the sad ear of
Odysseus as he, his face and heart, turned in the
direction of Ithaca, from Calypso s island,
 Over the trackless brine, through trickling tears kept
	gazing. 
  It blew out the flags gallantly, too, as, to tap of
drum, in double file the troops marched forth from
their different quarters.  I counted eleven compa-
nies, consisting of about a hundred men each,
mostly dark-haired, resolute looking fellows, some
in uniform, others (notwithstanding the dress pa-
rade) in the costume of private life and that, in
some instances, not of the neatest.  A Columbia
company is a belted dark gray frock, presented, I
thought, a very effective appearance and might
have been selected as a good type of military young
South-Carolina.
  The ladies, quitting their open barouche, in com-
pany with two aids in uniform, at first looked on
from the piazza of a villa, while the troops formed
in line, facing them.  Presently they walked down
the ranks, still accompanied by the officers, the men
saluting by presenting arms.  For the benefit, not
only of your lady-readers but of our sex, (who are,
or ought to be, just as much interested in such par-
ticulars,) I will mention that Mrs. and Miss Pickens
are decidedly pretty and prepossessing; that the
first wore a dark colored French basque, a velvet
hat ornamented with a red ostrich feather, a veil,
sable muff and cape of the same material, had dark
hair confined by a net and carried a parasol.  Miss
Pickens was similarly attired, with the exception of 
a white ermine muff and victorine.  Suppose the
group of ladies and officers in the foreground, the
long line of men fronting them, the sad sea waves
in the rear, the Moultrie House adjacent, on the
rear side of the wrecked steamship Columbia and the
forts, the sands stretching away, the ocean in the 
distance, the beautiful afternoon firmament over-
head, and you have the whole picture.
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen: page one hundred and twenty-three
Description:Includes a newspaper clipping written by Gunn for the ''Evening Post'' concerning pre-war events and attitudes in Charleston.
Date:1861-01-30
Subject:Anderson, Robert; Books and reading; Civil War; Clothing and dress; Fort Johnson (S.C.); Fort Moultrie (S.C.); Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Military; Pickens, F.W.; Pickens, F.W., Mrs.; Pickens, Miss; Sullivan Island (S.C.); Women
Coverage (City/State):Charleston, South Carolina
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.