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[482] State were not hastening to a bloody conflict. But the Wee Nees were composed of men who did not stop to count cost, consider danger, or falter in the path of duty. After their arrival in Charleston they were sent over to Sullivan's Island, and quartered at the Moultrie House. There they were organized with ten other companies into a regiment, of which Maxey Gregg was appointed Colonel. The month of January and a part of February were spent on Sullivan's Island, the officers almost constantly drilling the men and instructing them in their new duties, and the latter submitting to the hardships and privations incidental to the life of soldiers, not without some complaint, but generally with a cheerfulness born of genuine patriotism.

While on the island, the company was sent to the north end, and did duty there for a few days. A battery had been constructed and guns mounted to guard the passage between Sullivan's and the island next north. Both men and officers enjoyed the change, and were sorry when the order came to return to the Moultrie House. That house was a magnificent hotel, which had been built on the front beach to accommodate the summer travel to the delightful village of Moultrieville. The military authorities took possession, and it was used for barracks. It must not, however, be imagined that the soldiers were enjoying the comforts and elegancies for which the house was famous in times of peace; on the contrary, the constant round of drills, dress parades, and guard mountings soon became both arduous and monotonous.

The tedium of garrison life was occasionally relieved by events out of the usual order of occurrences, and sometimes by practical jokes of both a ludicrous and humorous character. A good deal of fun often grew out of mistakes which citizens in a state of transformation to soldiers would naturally make.

One night, a short time after arms were distributed, and before the men had learnt the manual, the long roll was beaten. The Wee Nees were promptly in line. The enemy's ships were reported to be entering the harbor to reinforce Sumter. Every man was in a hurry to get a ball cartridge down his piece, and many were the questions asked the Captain as to how to use the ammunition then in the hands of the men for the first time. ‘Captain,’ sung out a gallant fellow, who afterwards made effective use of many a cartridge, and who came out of the war on one leg, ‘how do you bite this cartridge?’ When the excitement was over, this appeal for information caused much merriment among the men.

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