and having throughout his collegiate course always maintained the highest position in his class.
He was also Captain
of the Cadets.
It is not often that a young man wins both of these distinctions; as the first is the reward for intellectual proficiency, and the latter is gained by military aptitude and attention to the strict rules of discipline.
About six months after he left the “Citadel” the agitation preceeding the war began.
As soon as South Carolina
“seceded” from the Union
, he volunteered his services with his old corps, the Cadets, then stationed on Morris Island
, and was made Adjutant of the battalion, commanded by Major P. F. Stevens
He was present on the memorable occasion when the Star of the West was fired upon and driven back.
When the Cadets were relieved from duty on Morris Island
, he returned to the city and was soon afterwards appointed First Lieutenant
in the First Regiment South Carolina Regular Artillery, then a battalion, and assigned to duty at Fort Moultrie
, where he remained during the months of preparation which preceeded the reduction of Fort Sumter
Just before the attack he was transferred to the Iron battery at Cumming
s Point, where his efficiency and skill were conspicuous during the bombardment.
On the occupation of Fort Sumter
April 13th, 1861, by our forces, he returned to Fort Moultrie
and was soon afterwards made Adjutant of the Battalion of Regular Artillery.
In January, 1862, he was promoted to a Captaincy in his regiment, and assigned to the command of Company D, then stationed in Fort Sumter
He assisted General Ripley
very materially in the organization of that splendid corps of artillerists who served their guns so faithfully and defended Charleston
with such skill and bravery, throughout all the long years of the war.
To take raw recruits, discipline and make regulars of them was hard enough, but to form them into artillerists was a still more difficult task.
once said to a friend laughingly “If any one wants to sound the depth of human stupidity he has only to take newly enlisted men and drill them for a couple of hours at the guns.
I show my squads fifty times in succession how to load and fire, and when I order them on the fifty-first occasion to do it without directions, I find that they know absolutely nothing.
I actually have to clench my teeth to keep from swearing at them, their awkwardness and dullness of comprehension is so wonderful.”
Yet by dint of patience and practice these very men became surprisingly expert in their handling of heavy ordnance, and could calculate with wonderful accuracy the length of fuse that would be required, and the proper elevation to give to their mortars, according to the distance that they wished to throw their shells, and their weight.