Letter, 18 Dec. 1861 (Port Royal, S.C.)| Manuscripts Gifts 2006 | Front Page 2006 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
by Harry Kauffman
Letter, 18 December 1861, written by Union soldier Harry Kauffman from Port Royal, South Carolina, while stationed there on duty with the 97th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War, speaks about a storm during the sea voyage southward, his observations upon arrival, and establishing himself in camp. | Manuscripts Gifts 2006 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
Kauffman writes about the wide range of emotions that soldiers demonstrated during the storm. Men prayed, sang songs and hymns, cursed, and gave away their belongings because they thought they were going to die, while some made fun of the other soldiers. When they finally arrived at Port Royal he “counted over eighty vessels of different sizes... as we came in.”
“The Works” at Fort Walker, he noted, “do not bear any marks of the late Battle as they have been thoroughly repaired by our troops.” And, he went on to say, after giving dimensions for a ditch that surrounded the fort, “They are fortifying this place more so as to make it impregna¬ble.” His regiment was camped in a cotton field about half a mile from the fort. Much to the soldier’s enjoyment, he had found “an extensive oyster bed a short distance from our camp” upon which he had already feasted.
Kauffman and others had walked over the surrounding lands and reported - “There is vast quantities of Sea Island Cotton not yet gathered and I wonder they do not set the contrabands to gathering it, there being plenty of them about here.” An outbreak of measles was affecting the men of his regiment. Consequently, it was taking “all my time to attend to their wants.”