Carolinian volunteers as seen by a Northerner.
under Arms." is the title of a spicy and very readable article in the Atlantic Monthly for April, in which many of the social and political peculiarities of the Charlestonians, are sketched with an evident partiality for the softer, or more humorous phases of the subject.
An incident of the writer's return to Charleston
from Fort Moultrie
is thus pleasantly related:
At two o'clock we were steaming over the yellow waters of the harbor.
The volunteers, like every body else in Charleston
, discussed Secession and Fort Sumter
, considering the former as an accomplished fact, and the latter as a fact of the kind called stubborn.
They talked uniform, too, and equipments, and marksmanship, and drinks, and cigars, and other military matters.
Now and then an awkwardly folded blanket was taken from the shoulders which it disgraced, refolded, packed carefully in its covering of India-rubber, and strapped once more in its place, two or three generally assisting in the operation.
Presently a firing at marks from the upper deck commenced.
The favorite target was a conical floating buoy, showing red on the sunlit surface of the harbor, some four hundred yards away.
With a crack and a hoarse whiz the Minnie
balls flew towards it, splashing up the water where they first struck, and then taking two or three tremendous skips before they sunk.
A militia man from New York city, who was one of my fellow passengers, told me that he ‘"never saw such good shooting."’ It seemed to me that every sixth ball either hit the buoy full, or touched water but a few yards this side of it, while not more than one in a dozer went wild.
‘"It is good for a thousand yards,"’ said a volunteer, slapping his bright new piece proudly.
A favorite subject of argument appeared to be whether Fort Sumter
ought to be attacked immediately or not. A lieutenant standing near me talked long and earnestly regarding this matter with a civilian friend, breaking out at last in a loud tone:
‘"Why, good Heaven, Jim!
do you want that place to go peaceably into the hands of Lincoln
‘"No, Fred, I do not. But I tell you, Fred, when that fort is attacked, it will be the bloodiest day — the bloodiest day!--the bloodiest--!!"’
And here, unable to express himself in words, Jim flung his arms wildly about, ground his tobacco with excitement, spat on all sides, and walked away, shaking his head, I thought, in real grief of spirit.