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[19] Island were even more fully occupied than usual, mostly by families of planters from the rice plantations of South Carolina. Hospitality was unbounded, and of the most charming character. Nothing I have experienced at home or in the great capitals of Europe has surpassed or dimmed the memory of that first introduction to Southern society.

In December, 1853, the order came announcing my appointment as second lieutenant, 1st Artillery, and directing me to join Battery D at Fort Capron, Indian River, Florida. A steamer took me to Palatka, stopping a short time at Jacksonville, which was then little more than a landing on the St. John's River. After a week's delay at Palatka, another little mail-steamer carried me and a few other passengers up the river to Lake Monroe, whence a mule served for transportation across to New Smyrna, on Mosquito Lagoon, opposite the inlet. It was a great day's sport going up the river. The banks seemed almost lined with alligators, and the water covered with water-fowl of all kinds, while an occasional deer or flock of turkeys near by would offer a chance shot. At New Smyrna Mrs. Sheldon provided excellent entertainment during the ten days waiting for the mail-boat down Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River, while Mr. Sheldon's pack of hounds furnished sport. At length old Captain Davis took the mail and my baggage and me on board his sloop, bound for Fort Capron, opposite the mouth of Indian River. He divided his time fairly between carrying the United States mail and drinking whisky, but he never attempted to do both at the same time. I am not sure but it was the captain's example which first suggested to me the rule which I adopted when commanding an army in the field—to do no drinking till after the day's fighting was over. But, in fact, I never liked whisky, and never drank much, anyhow.

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