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[486] Though this gentleman had not received a military education, he was a man of such rare talents that he soon fitted himself for any position he was called to fill.

On Friday, the 22d of February, news reached the Governor that the Daniel Webster, a Federal steamer, was expected with supplies and reinforcements for Fort Sumter. I was detached with twenty-three non-commissioned officers and privates of the Wee Nees and put in charge of the ‘Star of the West Battery.’ The cadets had been relieved from duty in the field and sent back to the Citadel. The weather was bitter cold, and being entirely without fire (no lights were kept after dark that could aid an incoming ship in finding the channel), we suffered considerably, but the expectation and hope of a fight kept up our circulation, and we endured our discomforts like old soldiers. An artillery company that was to have relieved us did not report till twenty-four hours after it was expected.

Shortly after this time a detachment of the company was put under the command of Captain A. F. Warley, of the Navy, and with that officer took charge of the battery of two Dahlgren guns which was built about three hundred and fifty yards south of the famous ‘Star of the West Battery.’ With the rest of the Wee Nees I was put in charge of a four-gun battery built on Vinegar Hill about three hundred yards still further south. Both these batteries were designed to prevent vessels coming into the harbor through the ship channel; the guns of neither were trained for operations against Fort Sumter.

Our camp was delightfully located. The high sand-hill in front, on the crest of which our battery was located, cut off the rough sea breezes. The rear rested on a bold salt creek affording oysters and crabs in abundance. The men made themselves very comfortable, rations were plenty and of excellent quality. No doubt in the later years and privations of the war many a Wee Nee remembered the camp at Vinegar Hill with longing for the comforts of those halcyon days.

The 4th of March, 1861, so long and anxiously waited for, came at last. President Lincoln was inaugurated, and the all-absorbing question still asked and discussed by the citizens at every fireside and by the soldiers around every camp-fire was, ‘Shall we have war?’ Various were the opinions entertained, but a majority of the people, as well as a large number of the army, had at length reached the conclusion that the separation of the States would be peaceable. The

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Alexander F. Warley (1)
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