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[374] friends on Folly. Four companies are no force to hold this island if the Rebels choose to try to take it; and our only way of keeping out of trouble is to humbug the rascals, and make them think we are all here still. The regiments all embarked and left in the night, the steamers not coming for them till after dark. When they left, they went towards the Head, and, in some cases, when the troops left here at too late an hour to land at Stono before daylight, they went all the way to the Head, landed on St. Helena, and at night embarked again, went up to Folly in the dark, and disembarked there before there was light enough for Secesh or anybody else to see them. So there is no chance of the Rebels having seen our men leave. And we keep the tents all standing, the bands playing, and drums beating at the usual hours; even the candles are lighted in the tents at dark, and put out punctually at taps. The part of our four companies consists in keeping up the old picket line, so that the Rebels may not miss us there. I am now picketing the ground which four companies used to occupy. Company C, down at the left, does the other half of the work. My pickets are nearly a mile off in some cases. They distribute themselves along the line of the old posts, show themselves at all the places where we used to have men, patrol where we have not force enough to put posts, and generally give the Secesh an impression that we are “round.” But there are only twenty-five or thirty men out where there used to be a hundred and fifty, and the support, namely, our company, is necessarily a long distance in the rear, and the main reserve (Companies E and F) is a long distance behind us, and behind that there is no infantry force except a parcel of cripples and invalids. There is a battery of artillery in the intrenchment in front of our camp, and, better still, there is the gunboat South Carolina. It is a very magnificent game of bluff that we are playing. I felt pretty nervous for the first two days, but since they commenced fire on Folly I feel a good deal easier in my mind. The Secesh pickets act just as they used to, out in the field in front. They come down and brandish their sabres from the house nearest our lines, innocent men that they are. But we have got to be careful, and particularly prompt in getting out of the way if they advance in force.

Morris Island, August 11.

At last I have another chance to write you. It happens to be decently cool at this moment, that is, one can sit still in his shirtsleeves, with the sides of the tent all raised, and not be in a perspiration. Moreover, the tent has been made comparatively decent by

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