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UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY
MANUSCRIPTS DIVISION 2001
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Letter, 16 February 1864, of R.P. Wales, U.S. Hospital, Hilton Head, to Miss Eva Pratt, Essex, Ct.
Letter, 16 February 1864, of R.P. Wales, U.S. Hospital, Hilton Head, to Miss Eva Pratt, Essex, Ct., comments on life in and around the hospital where he had been confined by doctor's orders. "Hospital life is not very interesting...when every thing is done by those in charge to make it disagreeable," Wales writes. "They make the men who are able to walk about and take care of themselves go to work cutting bushes and clearing up about 30 acres of land. I am one that has to cut bushes &c. I did not swear myself into the service to go at work at such business....It makes me angry every time I think of it. We shall never be any better off with this farm. We can get vegetables from the North quite as cheap only the Hospital Surgeon may not make quite as much. Only for my hope of getting sent north I would refuse to do a thing."

"There is some first rate land here," the letter continues. "This is a very easy country to live in, in times of peace but it is a hard country to fight in. It is harder for some to bear up against the climate than it is to bear the hardships of war."

The letter also tells of a suicide among the hospital patients. "A man belonging to the 48th N.Y. was found in a swamp just south the Hospital today dead. He had hung himself to a small sappling which bent with his weight....It was a very difficult place to get at. We had to walk over fallen trees and any way to get at him....He belonged to the hospital. It is said he had no friend in this country and could not speak a word of English. He formerly belonged to the 'lost children,' which was mostly composed of Frenchmen. That Regt was consolidated with the 48 N.Y."

In conclusion, Wales relates news of a fight in Florida in which Col. Henry was killed and mentions the sinking of the Housatonic by torpedo in Charleston harbor.


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