Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
Previous Issue Next Issue
Previous Page Next Page
0 matches
		105
                          Written in Quarantine.

[newspaper clipping: first column]
          The Quarantine   The Yellow Fever at Key
                  West   Two Ex-Members of the Florida
                   Secession Convention   Affairs at St.
                   Augustine and at Hilton Head

From Our Special Correspondent.
             ON BOARD THE U.S. STEAMBOAT DELAWARE
                     ST. HELENA SOUND, S.C., Aug. 29, 1862

   A seal in a sentry-box, a giraffe in a diving-bell, a
penguin in a Broadway omnibus, would be decidedly
out of place, but hardly more so than a newspaper
correspondent in quarantine.  That is my condition,
however, at present.  The musical but objectionable
name signifying, according to Webster (TRIBUNE
authority)   the time during which an infected ship
is prohibited intercourse with the shore,  we   albeit
pleading stoutly  not guilty  to the count   are con-
demned to two weeks sojourn on this coast, until,
purged from imaginary yellow fever, we shall be al-
lowed to steam up to the long pier at Hilton Head.
Hence am I until September 8, debarred from
any opportunity of shore itemizing.  Very willingly
improve the present one by devoting a portion of
the monotonous interval to what remains to be told
of my ultra Southern voyage.
   I wrote to you from Key West, Florida, dur-
in the second week of the present month.  We
left, a little unexpectedly, on the afternoon of the
next day, bringing with us, in addition to the can-
non and ammunition already mentioned, Dr. Cor-
mick of the U.S.A., late Medical Director of the
Post, also; two prisoners, Messrs. Bethel and Pinkney,
inhabitants of the island.  Of the latter I shall have
something to say subsequently; let me in the first
place devote a paragraph or so to Dr. Cormick and
the yellow fever, involving a plain statement of its
appearance and real extent in the locality, for, from
that I have heard (not read), it has been subject to
the grossest exaggeration by the representative of a
New-York newspaper, who left the place in a state
of absolute panic, and of whom the people do not
speak in complimentary terms.
    Dr. Cormick has been Medical Director of the
Post for five or six months, relieving Dr. Crane, now
occupying the same position at Hilton Head.  His
appointment was an opportune one, for, a Virginian
by birth, he had experience of the yellow fever dur-
ing its prevalence at Norfolk, in the terrible pesti-
lence of 1853.  The first case at Key West oc-
curred on or about July 20, the sufferer being a
soldier, one of the Ninetieth New-York, two com-
panies of which regiment form the garrion of
Fort Taylor.  This poor fellow being transferred
to the general hospital, presently died.  Other cases
appearing among the soldiers in the Fort and
barracks and Capt. Mcfarlane s corps of engineers,
it was wisely determined not to risk spreading pos-
ible contagion among invalids and citizens by
further removals, but to quarantine the fort, which,
being islanded by water, and accessible only by a 
bridge, was easy enough.  Accordingly, the patients
received medical attention inside, with such success
that only one death ensued, though the disease may
be said to have gone through the entire garrison.
About thirty persons were sick at one time, and
nearly all the officers   including Capts. Macfarlane

[newspaper clipping: second column]
and De la Paturelle, and Lieuts. Ireland, Shepherd,
White and Locke.  The disease, though attacking
unacclimated strangers, was of a mild type, yielding
readily to prompt remedies.  Outside the fort, how-
ever, among the German and Irish laborers of the
Engineer corps, it numbered about twenty victims.
These men, working and sleeping in the burning
sun and drinking indiscreetly of water, assisted
 Yellow-Jack  by the application of quack medi-
cines.  But one death occurred among the towns-
folk, that of Deputy Collector Gates, a six or eight
months  resident.  Two are reported to have hap-
pened on board the U.S. steam-frigate San Jacinto,
while lying in the harbor, and I learn that thirty
cases occurred before she reached Boston, with three
deaths.
    The exertions of Dr. Cormick were so well appre-
ciated by the inhabitants of Key West that they ap-
peared extremely unwilling to lose his services, al-
beit we brought them a substitute in Dr. Hoffman
of the 50th of New-York from the Tortugas.  They
were, however, emulated by Mr. Bethel, one of the
prisoners above mentioned, then in Fort Taylor.  All
the officers, and Dr. Cormick himself, concur in stat-
ing that to this gentleman s humanity and assiduity
are owing the highest possible praise, some of them attribu-
ting the preservation of their lives to him.  He sat
up night after night, administered consecutive mus-
tard baths and all the remedies which a life-long res-
idence in the semi-tropical regions has rendered familiar
to him, with what effect the single unit in the tables
of mortality my testify.  Mention of him brings me
to his antecedents, and present position, and those of
his companion:
    They were, in conjunction with one Asa Tift, a
native of Connecticut, but a thirty years resident of
Key West (and the builder of the Rebel  ram 
Georgia, at Savannah) deputed to the secession con-
vention at Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, in
January, 1861.  They claim to have opposed the act
of secession, Pinkney instancing the absurdity of it
by stating the sum, $4 45, then in the Florida trea-
sury, a fact pretty well ventilated by the Northern
press subsequently.  Chiefly the two (for Tift was
an ultra secessionist) resisted  separate State ac-
tion,  advocating co-operation, then known as the
doctrine of minority disparaged as  submissionists, 
(Among these, also, appeared a Col. Ward, a Talla-
hassee lawyer, who fell at Williamsburg, at the
head of his regiment.)
    After some days struggle, however, the objectors
acceded to the urgent general wish that Florida
should  go out with a clean vote,  and appended
their names to the document.  Then Mssrs. Bethel
and Pinkney went home, and subsequent to Presi-
dent Lincoln s inaugural, claim to have returned to
their allegiance, nor ever to have departed from it.
Until the middle of June the former retained his
office as judge in the District Court of Key West
(an offense punishable with death by the Rebel
Government), when orders arrived from Hilton
Head for his arrest and that of his friend Pinkney.
He is a merchant and ship-owner, and has had pe-
cuniary relations with Uncle Sam in ante and post
Secession times.  He states that five fishing vessels
belonging to him were seized at Tampa and the
crews compelled to work on the fortifications there.
What disposition Gen. Hunter will make of our
prisoners of course remains to be seen; at present
they share quarantine with us.
    Two days and a half of squally weather with the
accompaniments of rain, thunder, and lightning
(heralded by a stormy petrel, who perched symbol-
ically upon our anchor), brought us to St. Augustine.
And there we lay in the river, in view of the old
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty: page one hundred and seventeen
Description:Newspaper clipping regarding Gunn's stay aboard the Delaware during Quarantine, a Yellow Fever outbreak in Key West, and the transport of prisoners.
Date:1862-08-29
Subject:Bethel; Civil War; De la Paturelle, Captain; Delaware (Ship); Diseases; Fort Taylor (Key West, Fla.); Georgia (Ship); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Hoffman, Dr.; Hunter, David; Ireland, Lieutenant; Journalism; Locke, Lieutenant; Macfarlane, Captain; McCormick, Dr.; Medical care (U.S. Army); Military; New York Infantry Regiment, 50th; New York Infantry Regiment, 90th; New York tribune.; Pinckney; Secession; Shepherd, Lieutenant; Tift, Asa; Ward, Colonel; White, Lieutenant
Coverage (City/State):St. Helena Sound, South Carolina; St. Augustine, Florida; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Key West, Florida; Norfolk, Virginia; Tallahassee, Florida
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.