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[34] were being sent to the gun-boat, but he had obtained my colonel's consent, and would I remain and take the one chance,— ‘We need you—for, if we don't get off this tide, good-by Mississippi.’ I simply said ‘I'll stick.’ A little later he said, ‘I wish you would take the lead again, you have a more sensitive touch.’ My heart gave a big thump as I felt the lead trail aft just a bit. As with tense nerves I watched the lead-line, the General, apparently thinking I had fallen asleep, or was idling, yelled, ‘Keep that lead a-going.’ Turning to the quartermaster, I said, with as steady voice as I could command, ‘She forges ahead, sir.’ ‘Are you sure?’ he asked. ‘Sure,’ I replied. Then he repeated my report to the quarter-deck, which report brought cheers from every mouth and tears from many eyes. The boats were recalled, and, on account of the heavy sea, were with great difficulty hoisted aboard.

A few hours later, piloted by the Mt. Vernon, we let go our anchor near the mouth of the Cape Fear river.

The next morning we took a sailing-master from the Mt. Vernon and laid our course for Port Royal (Hilton Head), where we arrived March 2 with our forward compartment full of water. and the ship badly ‘by the head.’ The next day we hauled around to Seabrook Landing, about eight miles from Hilton Head, and disembarked. The first night we were quartered in a cotton shed, pole floor, and it is my belief that we suffered more from cold than we ever did in Augusta, and the poles were the knottiest and crokedest that ever grew upright. Our flesh was torn as well as our clothes. A wag had ‘For rent’ pinned to the tail of his coat. I didn't need a placard, but rather needle and thread and court-plaster.

Our battalion was moved out about half a mile from the landing on the road to Hilton Head, to serve as picket guard. We pitched our tents in a cotton field; and here I had my first experience as a Southern field-hand, from which duty I was detailed to serve as sergeant of the guard. Soon the rumor spread through the camp that the rebels were in force between our position and the Savannah river, and I detected a nervousness on the part of some of the guard. Early in the afternoon the officer

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