Letter, 3 Apr. 1861, from Lewis Alfred Wardlaw to| Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Front Page 2008 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
Joseph James Wardlaw
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2008
Letter, 3 April , of Lewis Alfred Wardlaw (1844-1863), was written from the vicinity of Charleston to his father, physician Joseph James Wardlaw in Abbeville, S.C., and documents the presence of Confederate volunteers in state service along the South Carolina coast prior to the bombardment of Fort Sumter. | Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
The writer indicates that he was in good health even though rain and wind the night before had threatened to tear down the tent in which he was sleeping. He also tells of two instances of insubordination within the ranks.
In the first, Eccles Cuthbert was to be sent to the guardhouse for having gone “over to the city with out permission,” but the company had passed resolutions appealing to Captain Perrin to punish him instead. A day earlier a sixteen-year-old had been drummed out of the regiment for stealing: “he walked about 20 feet a head of the drummer and behind him a file of 4 men with load[ed] guns.” Wardlaw thought such situations regrettable but not surprising: “I find like in all companies we have some black sheep and the only way to have all white sheep is to get rid of the black sheep. It is very annoying to have such men.”
While there is no detailed discussion of the preparations for war, Wardlaw noted disparagingly that the troops were “to move to the new encampment” and that “the order to move to James Island was countermanded very much to our disappointment. From what the members of the other companies say, the new encampment is a miserable place.” Likewise, the fate of Fort Sumter is mentioned only in passing: “I suppose something will be determined upon soon by the convention as regards Fort Sumter. There may be an issue between the Two Partys.”
Lewis Alfred Wardlaw served six months with the “Abbeville Volunteers,” Co. D, Gregg’s First South Carolina Volunteers, and ultimately joined Co. B, First Regiment, South Carolina Rifles (Orr’s Rifles), where he advanced to first sergeant before being severely wounded at Chancellorsville in May 1863.