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as in open trenches. Occasionally solid shot were thrown, which at times could be distinctly seen bounding over the sandhills, or burying themselves in the parapets. Our batteries and the navy were still beating down the walls of Sumter on the 23d, their shots sweeping through it. That day Colonel Rhett, the commander, and four other officers were there wounded. With Sumter in ruins, the breaching fire ceased that evening, and General Gillmore reported that he considered the fort no longersels in the attempt. Captain Partridge about August 23 applied for sick leave and shortly went north. In consequence Captain Emilio again became the senior officer and was at times in charge of the regiment until the middle of October. On the 23d the brigade was reviewed on the beach by General Gillmore, accompanied by General Terry. The latter complimented the Fifty-fourth on its appearance. That evening Captain Emilio and Lieutenant Higginson took one hundred and fifty men for grand gu
n was most enjoyable, and camp-life under canvas a pleasure. Our frequent tours of picket duty in the pine woods were always delightful, amid the trees, vines, and beautiful ferns. Deserters came in occasionally. From them it was learned that the enemy was fortifying a strong position in front of Baldwin. Most of their cavalry was ordered elsewhere in March. Both forces were apprehensive of attack, and alarms occurred frequently, occasioned by picket firing and reconnoissances. On the 23d the prize steamers Sumter and Hattie Brock, captured at Deep Creek on the 14th, were brought to Jacksonville. During March, Lieutenant Howard was made adjutant. Captains Jones and Walton re-joined. Lieutenants Chas. Jewett, Jr., and Daniel G. Spear, newly appointed, joined. Assistant-Surgeon Pease went North sick, and never returned. News of a number of promotions came on the 26th. Lieutenant Homans was made captain of Company C, vice Partridge; Lieutenant Tucker captain of Company H,
ll. He brought the Thirty-fourth United States Colored Troops (formerly the Second South Carolina) and the Twenty-first United States Colored Troops. Col. William Gurney, with his regiment, the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh New York, came on the 23d, and in turn relieved Montgomery. In consequence of these frequent changes of postcom-mander some of the Fifty-fourth companies were as often shifted from one duty to another. On the 23d Companies B and G were made the provost-guard at Morris Is23d Companies B and G were made the provost-guard at Morris Island; but Company B was relieved therefrom in two or three days. Companies A, I, and K, under Lieutenant Leonard, were detailed for a few days as boat infantry. Captain Jones, with Company D, relieved a company of the Thirtyfourth United States Colored Troops as the garrison of Fort Shaw. A very heavy wind swept the island on the 25th, which blew down the Beacon house on the beach-front. This prominent landmark was a frame building, resting on a masonry foundation. On the northerly end w
o came to camp with Company E from Fort Green, on the 8th, when relieved by Lieutenant Newell with Company B. Captain Tucker and Company H reported from Black Island on the 20th, and Lieutenant Duren and Company D were relieved at Fort Shaw on the 23d. Captain Pope succeeded Captain Homans in the command of Black Island on the 24th. Our details for grand guard were increased after the 16th, when the Thirty-second United States Colored Troops was ordered to Hilton Head. Salutes in honor of Anlet. This was done by the Fifty-fourth, and they were placed on two schooners. The reason for this temporary change is not known. Possibly some fear of a rescue under cover of the exchange which was to take place may have occasioned it. On the 23d, after the truce had expired, the Fifty-fourth escorted the prisoners back to the camp. When the rolls were called, it was discovered that six officers were missing. Without a moment's delay, Lieutenant-Colonel Hooper and Quartermaster Ritchie
Emilio, Luis F., History of the Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry , 1863-1865, Chapter 14: Charleston and Savannah. (search)
elve miles from the Ashley River we passed an abandoned battery of three guns commanding Rantowle's Ferry; another was found on the right at Wallace's. The Fifty-fourth camped at dark ten miles from Charleston. Our bivouac was a festive one, for supplies of chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, honey, rice, meal, sheep, and beef, were in profusion. Only a few armed but ununiformed men had been seen, who, when we followed, escaped, and were thought to be guerillas. A move was made early on the 23d, our Second Brigade in advance, the Third Brigade following. The First Brigade remained to secure abandoned guns, for the whole region was thickly studded with works. We marched rapidly over good roads, arriving at the Ashley at 1 P. M. There, across the river, we saw Charleston, long the Mecca of our hopes; but the bridges were burned, so we camped with our long train, impatiently awaiting orders to cross. Captain Emilio was made acting assistant provost-marshal of the division, with Comp
Santee road. When opposite Wright's Bluff, the wounded, sick, and about five hundred contrabands were sent to the river for transportation by water. News was received of Lee's surrender which, though not unexpected, caused great rejoicing. General Potter turned over the command to Col. P. P. Brown, One Hundred and Fifty-seventh New York, and departed for Charleston to convey news of the armistice. After marching twenty-three miles, the troops halted for the night. At 5.30 A. M., on the 23d, the Second Brigade led out for the day's march. Now that hostilities had ceased, the force was dependent upon such supplies as could be purchased. A very large number of contrabands were with the column, straggling, and obstructing the rapid progress it was desirable to make. The day was cool and pleasant; the route through a fine country mainly, but wooded and low in places. Intelligence of President Lincoln's assassination was received,—sad tidings which could hardly be credited. Ther
ed in accordance with your suggestion. I now bring this subject again to your attention, in order that something definite may be done if practicable; and as my term of office expires in December, I should be glad to dispose of it, so far as I am concerned, before that period. Very respectfully yours, M. L. Bonham. Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War. Confederate States of America, War Department. Richmond, Va., August 31, 1864. sir,—I have to acknowledge your letter of the 23d instant, relative to the disposition of negroes captured in arms from the enemy. The embarrassments attending this question, and the serious consequences which might ensue from the rigid enforcement of the act of Congress passed on the subject, have co-operated with the objections which have been made by the authorities of some of the States to receive negroes directed to be turned over to them, and with the inability, when they have been turned over, to obtain criminal trials, to induce the d