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                       Written in Quarantine

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
 own, for six dreary days, nobody going ashore ex-
cept Gen. Terry and certain of the ship s officers.
For Dr. Cormick had been taken ill of a bilious
fever, which seemed likely to develop into a yellow
one, and it was advisable to adopt reasonable pre-
cautions.  Of course the townspeople believed that
we were reeking with pestilence.
    For six days we conjugated the verb, To Loaf, in
all its tenses   writing letters to friends who would
never have got them under the circumstances
and trusting in Providence for an opportunity of
mailing the result, re-reading old newspapers and
watching the stormy sea and sky.  What time the
harbor bar that held us imprisoned was a sea of
foaming breakers, and the noise of the surf at night
exactly like the roar of Niagara.
    Gen. Terry went ashore almost every day, scru-
tinizing the condition of things military and summa-
rily deciding innumerable cases between white and
black incidental to our occupation of the place.  I
saw a copy of his instructions (subject to the approv-
al of Gen. Hunter), for the future guidance of the
Commander of the post in these matters, and admired
them for their quiet efficiency.  They simply ignored
Slavery altogether.  If a slave chose to stay a slave,
why, that was his or her business; if not, as all civil,
State law had been superseded by military, and as
it certainly was none of its business to catch and re-
turn runaway slaves, or indeed to recognize them at
all, except as human beings enveloped in a black
cuticle   why then the negro must   do as he or she
pleased.  I commend Gen. Terry s legislation to
United States officers in similar positions.
   It will hardly, however, gratify the inhabitants of
St. Augustine.  The ladies (there are scarcely any
males, nearly all being in the Rebel army) still in-
dulge in invidious disparagement of the national
eagle as a  turkey-buzzard  (though they are not
averse to him on the gold or silver coinage of the
country, for they make palmetto-hats and trinkets,
and sell them to the devastating Yankee), still volun-
teer invidious allusions to Bull Run.  In illustration,
two of them having a brother wounded at Fort
Donelson (he is since died) were forbidden to inquire
of his fate of a young U.S. officer who had offered
the intelligence; their aunt, forsooth, wouldn t let
them speak to anybody in that uniform.
   By the way, I must mention that Col. Bell, of the
4th New Hampshire, once in command here, but re-
cently arrested by order of Gen. Hunter, and sent
to Hilton Head on the charge of having returned a
negress to her  owner,  was, in St. Augustine, re-
garded as a Republican and Abolitionist, and unpop-
ular in consequence!  The facts of the case, as re-
lated to me, were as follows:
   A slave of Col. Buffington, of the Magnolia House,
one of the two hotels now open in St. Augustine,
ran away and took refuge in the fortress, from which
she was, next morning, expelled by Col. Bell, to be
reclaimed by her master.  This, I am informed
on what should be good authority, is all.  A pub-
lished order by Gen. Hunter on the subject, which
we saw on our return to Hilton Head, excited some
surprise in consequence of its severe characteriza-
tion of Col. Bell s offense.
    While we lay off St. Augustine, there came into
it, under a flag of truce, a Lieut.-Col. St. George
Rogers of the 2d Florida (Rebel) Regiment, and
Lieut. J. Buffington (son of the hotel-keeper above
mentioned), of Holland s Battalion of Light Artil-
lery, with a letter from J. Milton, Governor of the
State, to the United States officer in command, so-
liciting that it might be permitted to supply food
and money to the inhabitants by their relatives.
This Gen. Terry, not recognizing the authority, re-

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
fused.  The envoys, however, achieved an interview
with their families by their motion.
   That we hold only the town, and that it is dan-
gerous to go far beyond the old city gate, was evi-
denced by the adventure of Sergeant Hicks, of the
4th New Hampshire (doing garrison duty here), on
the day preceding our departure.  Being dispatched
with a squad of men in search of one Champlin,
an escaped prisoner, who had been lodged in the
guard-house on a charge of using seditious language,
and whom Gen. Terry had intended to have trans-
ported to Hilton Head, the Sergeant rode about five
miles inland, and then, giving up his quest, set out
on his return, instructing his men to follow at
leisure.  Presently they came up with his horse
shot in the road, its rider s cap lying beside the dead
animal.  Of course they supposed him killed or
 gobbled  by the enemy, and so reported to Lieut.
Col. Sleeper.  Happily, however, toward night
the Sergeant made his appearance; he had been
fired on twice, but had taken to the swamps and
thick palmetto bush characteristic of Florida land-
scape (which is rather more impervious than the
Mexican chapparal), and baffled his pursuers.
    We effected a triumphant passage over the harbor-
bar on the afternoon of the 22nd and, next morning,
found ourselves at Fernandina.  Here we lay two
days in voluntary quarantine, Gen. Terry going
ashore as usual on business, and Dr. Cormick re-
covering of what had proved a sharp attack of yel-
low fever, during which he was assiduously attended
by Mr. Bethel.  I am not sure but that he owes his
convalescence to that gentleman.
   He had been quite well, however for some days,
when on the morning of the 26th, we came in sight
of Hilton Head, after just a month s absence.
There, not much news (except that contained in a
batch of TRIBUNES for your correspondent, which
were eagerly welcomed by everybody,) awaited us.
As you know, all the troops that could be spared
have gone to Virginia, to re-enforce the Great In-
capable; and, in consequence of the sneaking policy
of the Government with respect to the colored regi-
ment, and the brutal prejudice against it here, there,
and everywhere, Gen Hunter has disbanded it.  I
begin to think that John Bull is right, after all, and
that the North loves Slavery no less than the South,
and with less excuse.   Ephraim is given over to
idols; let her alone!   Says Carlisle, the Jews pre-
ferred Barabas and, in consequence, have been
money-changers and dealers in old clothes for
eighteen hundred years; how if we are destined to
expiate our national Fijianism by becoming a bundle
of anarchies for a century or so?  Republics have
gone by the board ere now, though never until they
deserved it.
   The New South (which, after a slumber of five
months, has awakened, and bids fair to become as
permanent as our occupation of Hilton Head) will
already have posted you as to current items in the 
locality.  The capture of the heedless picket-guard
of the 3d New Hampshire, on the morning of the
22nd, seems to have excited a good deal of sensation.
The men were fast asleep when surprised   Lieut.
Wiggin, the officer in command, rushing out of his
tent in his shirt to meet his death and the soldiers
being aroused by the application of the-points of the
enemy s bayonets.  We have the particulars from
the wounded, with whom the Rebels disdained to
incumber themselves.
   I shall probably find matter enough to add a post-
script to this letter before I get an opportunity of
sending it.  Meantime, we are riding quarantine
We have had four days of it, and count the remain
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty: page one hundred and nineteen
Description:Newspaper clipping regarding quarantine at sea, the inhospitable behavior of the women of St. Augustine, Yellow Fever, and the danger of Confederate attack near St. Augustine.
Subject:Bell, Colonel; Bethel; Buffington, Colonel; Buffington, J.; Champlin; Civil War; Delaware (Ship); Diseases; Florida Infantry Regiment, 2nd; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Hicks, Sergeant; Hunter, David; Journalism; McCormick, Dr.; Military; Milton, John (Governor); New Hampshire Infantry Regiment, 3rd; New Hampshire Infantry Regiment, 4th; New York tribune.; Prisoners of war (Confederate); Rogers, St. George; Slavery; Slaves; Sleeper, Lieutenant-Colonel; Terry, Alfred Howe; Wiggin, Lieutenant; Women
Coverage (City/State):St. Augustine, [Florida]; Hilton Head, [South Carolina]
Scan Date:2010-09-10


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.