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		79
                         On James Island.

[newspaper clipping: first column]
 in conclusion, permit me again to express my deep grati-
tude for those marks of your affection and esteem.

   The sword, a singularly fine weapon with two
scabbards, fatigue and dress, at once unique and
beautiful in design, and the handsome spurs, were
were manufactured by Tiffany of New-York; the lid
of the box, containing the former, bears this inscrip-
tion:  Presented to their former Colonel, Brigadier-
General Stevens, by the non-commissioned officers
and privates of the 79th Regiment, Highland Guard,
N.Y.S.M., Beaufort, S. C., 1862.   It may be ad-
ded, as a suggestive fact, that not a man of the regi-
ment but concurred in and contributed to the pre-
sentation.

                FROM SOUTH CAROLINA.

                             -----*-----

Our Force on James Island   Quiet but
       steady working   9,000 or 10,000 Reb-
       els on the island   occasional Demon-
       strations by the Enemy   evacuation of
       the island by our troops   affairs at
       Hilton Head   Rebel Rejoicings over the
       defeat of McClellan.

From our Special Correspondent
                        Gen. Wright s Headquarters,
               Camp on James Island, S. C., June 28, 1862
    The mails from this locality are delightfully inter-
mittent, allowing ample time for a war correspondent
(at present on a very peaceful footing) to write out
all the items he has gathered at leisure befitting the
fierce heats of the region and season.  They are also,
like the white man of colored anecdote,  mighty
onsartin,  for I have just heard how one dispatched
to Hilton Head six days ago was judiciously sent
back hither, which agreeable little instance of postal
discretion may explain possible delay in the receipt
of my letters.  However, as a mail leaves this after-
noon, I shall avail myself of it, casting my bread
upon the waters, in the hope that THE TRIBUNE will
get the benefit of it, after many days.  I propose to
write of what little is here occurring, or at least to
tell what may be with prudence related.
   We are very quiet here; quiet, but not inert as, I
suppose, the Rebels will discover in due time.  This
land, with its almost tropical luxuriance of dense
woods, its rushy swamps, its neglected fields of corn
and cotton, its muddy creeks, lies apparently as
lonely in the winking and glittering salt water as
one in a book of old romance or in the heart of
Africa.  Except for the hostile camps, the few de-
serted houses (peeping out whitely from amid the
trees), and the unpleasantly named village of Seces-
sionville, it might be the island of Cos on the day
when the Christian Knight Gualtier adventured
within its fastnesses to deliver, by the bestowal of
a passionately-supplicated kiss the enchanted
daughter of Hippocrates from the loathly form of a horri-
ble serpent.  We are here, by the way, on an
errand akin to Gaultier s, and albeit uninvited and
indisposed to adopt such gentle means as his, have
little doubt of our ultimate success.

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
   I think the aquatic prospect is the liveliest, for
our steamers, big and little make the Stono River
more populous than it can have been within the
memory of the oldest shark or alligator familiar with
its sedge banks.  These (the steamers, not the car-
nivora), with an irregular fleet of schooners, sail-
boats, and row-boats, are constantly plying to and
fro between our upper and lower landings, while
the gunboats (I wish we had a score of them, with a
Monitor or two, in which case I should have to
write anything by idle letters) keep watch and
ward over the shore still in possession of the ene-
my.  We occupy but a small portion of the island,
you know   about ten square miles   no more; all
the rest would be terra incognita but for our look-
outs and observatories.  Sometimes the Rebels try a
little inefficient shell practice at the gunboats, which
ordinarily treat the demonstration with silent con-
tempt, saving their ammunition and biding their
time.  So very quiet have we been since Gen. Ben-
ham s  reconnoissance in force    until last night  
that these things were absolutely talked of!  Any-
body familiar with the reckless expenditure of shot
and shell common to our armies   so common and so
useless in its infinitessimal results that one gets to
regard it as a sort of grown-up pyrotechnics   will
be able to estimate our general tranquillity by the
statements.
    We work, however.  Col. Serrell s engineers are
as busy as bees, or rather as moles, and we know
that the enemy is doing his best to emulate the ex-
ample.  Apropos, three days back, there came within
the lines of Gen. Stevens another deserter, whose
meager information confirms that of the Irishman,
Griffin, detailed in my last.  He is a sharp, forward
lad of nineteen, named Pollock, with the air of being
very much petted and spoiled by those about him.
He claims to be a German, saying that he arrived in
the United States ten years ago, two of which he
has spent down south.  Evidently his valuable sym-
pathies are with the Rebels; he assigned no other
reason for deserting than a general desire to get
back to his kinsfolk in the North.  (I think a pre-
liminary course of cotton-picking or wharf-labor
might do master Pollock good.)  He belonged to the
51st Georgia regiment, and reports that the enemy
is between 9,000 and 10,000 on the island, com-
prising ten regiments, of which he named the fol-
lowing: the 4th, 46th, 47th, 48th, and 51st Georgia;
the 21st and 25th South Carolina; a Louisiana bat-
talion, a Eutaw battalion, and the Charleston rifle
battery.  He adds that a colored man, recently
familiar about our camp, is now a deserter with the
Rebels.  Gen. Stevens supposing it probable that
Pollock might follow the example of the contraband,
has sent him to Hilton Head.
    With Col. Serrell and the two gentlemen men-
tioned in a previous letter, I yesterday took another
ride to our outskirts, this time in a south-easterly
direction.  Of course, it is not my intention to
afford the Rebels (who are, doubtless, diligent read-
ers of THE TRIBUNE) any contraband information
relative to the disposition of our forts and batteries
-- though they are respectfully requested to visit
them   still some admissible particulars as to the
locality and look of things may possess their modi-
cum of interest.
   We rode out of camp from one fort to another,
across furrowed but unplanted fields, redolent of
weeds and wild thyme, generally pursuing the track
of narrow, shallow furrows serving as drains, and
running obliquely or transversely across them, by
piny lanes and thick hedges, with here and there a
tropical-looking palmetto marking the sultry land-
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty: page eighty-nine
Description:Newspaper clipping reporting on conditions at James Island.
Date:1862-06-28
Subject:African Americans; Benham, Henry Washington; Civil War; Georgia Infantry Regiment, 4th; Georgia Infantry Regiment, 46th; Georgia Infantry Regiment, 47th; Georgia Infantry Regiment, 48th; Georgia Infantry Regiment, 51st; Griffin, Frank; Gunn, Thomas Butler; James Island (S.C.); Journalism; McClellan, George B.; Military; Military deserters; Monitor (Ship); New York Infantry Regiment, 79th; New York tribune.; Pollock (soldier); Serrell, Edward W.; South Carolina Infantry Regiment, 21st; South Carolina Infantry Regiment, 25th; Stevens, Isaac Ingalls; Wright, Horatio Gouverneur
Coverage (City/State):Hilton Head, South Carolina; Beaufort, South Carolina
Scan Date:2010-09-10

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of his experiences as a war correspondent for ""The New York Tribune"" at Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, especially Hilton Head, Port Royal, St. Augustine, Key West, and the end of his experiences with the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsular Campaign when he had to leave camp due to illness.
Subject:African Americans; Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Civil War; Diseases; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marches (U.S. Army); Medical care (U.S. Army); Military; Military camp life; Peninsular Campaign (Va.); Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Port Royal, South Carolina; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Key West, Florida; St. Augustine, Florida; Virginia
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.