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“ [235] time I had but a mouthful here, and now I shall be here three weeks” when--

In dropped, like a bombshell, a despatch announcing that we were to be relieved by the Eighth Maine, the next morning, as General Gillmore had sent an order that we should be ready for departure from Beaufort at any moment.

Conjectures, orders, packing, sending couriers to outstations, were the employments of the evening; the men received the news with cheers, and we all came in next morning.

February 11, 1864.
For three days we have watched the river, and every little steamboat that comes up for coal brings out spy-glasses and conjectures, and “ Dar's de Fourf New Hampshire,” --for when that comes, it is said, we go. Meanwhile we hear stirring news from Florida, and the men are very impatient to be off. It is remarkable how much more thoroughly they look at things as soldiers than last year, and how much less as home-bound men,the South-Carolinians, I mean, for of course the Floridians would naturally wish to go to Florida.

But in every way I see the gradual change in them, sometimes with a sigh, as parents watch their children growing up and miss the droll speeches and the confiding ignorance of childhood. Sometimes it comes over me with a pang that they are growing more like white men,less naive and less grotesque. Still, I think there is enough of it to last, and that their joyous buoyancy, at least, will hold out while life does.

As for our destination, our greatest fear is of finding ourselves posted at Hilton Head and going no farther. As a dashing Irish officer remarked the other day, “If ”

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Q. A. Gillmore (1)
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