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On the 3d of June the Fifty-fourth reached Hilton Head, and on the 10th took part in an expedition to Florida, under command of Colonel Montgomery, in the course of which they burned the deserted town of Darien, ‘by order of the commanding officer.’ He writes: ‘This is not the sort of work I came for, nor do I believe it good work, but it is not for me to criticise. Colonel Montgomery, I think, has caught some Kansas ideas about retribution which hardly belong to civilized warfare.’ On the 15th of July the regiment was at James Island, and early on the next morning the three companies on picket duty, of which Company H was one, were attacked by a considerable force of the enemy. They behaved very well, and were complimented by the commanding general. The following letter gives an account of the action.

off Morris Island, July 17, 1863.

dear father,—We have had an engagement on a small scale; all officers safe, but alas for my poor men! Simpkins, Willard, and myself were detailed for picket on the 15th instant, with our companies. We went out, Simpkins's and my companies on the line, Willard's in reserve. We went out at six P. M. All night the Rebel lines were uneasy, and my men kept firing on their scouts. Just at daybreak Simpkins's line was violently driven in, the enemy thus turning my flank and getting behind me . . . . . They had a large force, and we had to retreat, firing as we went; it was a double-quick run all the way, but the Rebels were at the reservehouse as soon as we. Then we had to get to camp, fighting as we could. My right was entirely cut off and driven into a marsh, where they were slaughtered, but fought like demons. One of my sergeants, named Wilson, was surrounded, but killed from three to six before he went under. A man named Preston Williams saved my life. As we reached the reserve-house, the reserve was driven in, and a cavalry officer charged at me and cut twice at my head. The first time the blade missed, and the second Williams caught on his bayonet, and shot the man through the neck and head. The most wonderful part was that I knew nothing about it till I was told after the fight was long over. I was very sorry I had not known of it at the time, as I could have shot the officer with my revolver, which I held in my hand ready for close fighting. . . . .

My loss was very heavy; out of about seventy men I had on

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