It turned out to be a false alarm.
The steamer Planter
had been outside the bar to one of the islands near the coast for a load of palmetto logs, and in coming in, one of our own batteries, by mistake, opened fire upon her. Fortunately, South Carolina
's artillerists were then as green as her infantry soldiers, and no damage was done.
The regiment was drawn up near the Moultrie House
The firing from the batteries did not cease till after the line was formed.
The moon was about half full, and was shining in an unclouded sky. One shell burst high up in the air between the orb of night and the men. One little fellow on the left of the next company to the Wee Nees
, exclaimed, ‘Well, well, they have shot a piece off the moon!’
There was no man in the company more fond of a practical joke or more able to carry one out than Corporal F. J. Lesesne
Once he went through the quarters of the company assuring the men that a night assault had been planned, and was about to be made on Fort Sumter
; and that he had been directed by the Captain
to call for volunteers.
The Corporal had his pencil and paper in his hand taking down the names, as volunteers for the storming party announced themselves.
One brave fellow got very much excited, and began to find fault, ‘I came here to fight,’ he said, ‘and I will obey any order, no matter how great the danger, but it is not fair to call for volunteers for so hazardous a service, and I will be——if I will volunteer for anything.’
One afternoon Major Anderson
sent an officer with a flag of truce to inquire after something which was left on the island in his hasty evacuation.
, who was on guard at the wharf, aided in the reception of the flag, and was a part of the escort of the officer to headquarters.
The garrison was full of excitement, and every man anxious to know the purpose of the communication.
professed to them to know all about it, had heard the communication read, and was fully posted.
He gravely informed them that Major Anderson
had demanded the evacuation of Fort Moultrie
in two hours.
The improbability of so grave a matter being communicated to a Corporal did not occur to the men, who began at once arranging their affairs for battle.
After many letters had been written and messages left for family and friends at home, to be delivered in case of death, the Corporal
's laugh exposed the sell.
Much hilarity was occasioned in discussing the manner in which the belief of an impending battle had affected the different men of the command.
Particular attention was paid to guard duty, and the men instructed