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George H. Petit Letters

Two letters, 12 January and 23 February [18]64, written by Geo[rge] H. Pettit, a Union seaman stationed aboard the U.S.S. Carnation at Port Royal give details of Union navy activities in the area, including an account of "quite a scare" as related in the earlier letter. "About 12:30 A.M. on Sunday morning," Pettit writes, "we were sent on a reconnoitering expedition to Paris Island about two miles up the River. I tell you...I thought that we were going to have a brush with the Rebs, we were called out at first by a boats crew from the `Vermont' all armed, we got up steam and then proceeded up the River when all of a sudden we ran aground, so the only thing to be done was to send the boat which we did, who... performed their part satisfactorily and upon their return reported that they had captured one Trout the enemy being nothing more than a lot of Contrabands spearing trout...."

The second letter comments on excitement over the defeat of Union forces in Florida and provides details of the sinking of the Housatonic--"There is also some little excitement here about the Gunboat...being blown up by a Torpedo from Charleston attached to a Cigar Boat...she was lying at the time outside the Bar, when they saw this boat coming towards the vessel, they hailed it, when it immediately sank and very soon afterwards it exploded under her quarter, sinking her almost immediately...she was one of the largest and finest gunboats in the Navy."

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