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?’
‘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
), 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