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better apply at once. Let the store go. Please write very soon, if you do not come home, for I shall feel anxious to hear how you succeed in enlisting. Mother. (Extract.) Boston, September 10, 1861. My dear Mother: Your letter of the 7th inst. received this noon has filled my heart with joy. A thousand thanks for such words as these—words both of consent and blessing. I surely have no desire to bathe my hands in my brother's blood, but when he madly threatens to destroy, not only mehat disguised. The next morning we hauled around to Hilton Head and anchored to await the Mississippi, which had experienced additional trouble. At high noon on the thirteenth both ships beat to quarters, and we resumed our voyage. On the seventh day from Hilton Head, after suffering the tortures of the damned from both hunger and thirst (from the details of which, good Lord deliver us), a gun-boat hove to across our bow, and ascertaining that ours was a troop ship bound for Ship Island,
nited States service at the arsenal in Augusta,—December 31, 1861. Here we lived in tents half buried in snow, often drilling in snow knee deep, with the mercury at or below zero, till February 18, 1862, at which date we dug ourselves out of several feet of snow and ice and took train for Boston. About midnight we found ourselves in the Cradle of Liberty, where, it was supposed, we were to be rocked to sleep, but I don't remember to have seen a single sleeping soldier that night. On the twentieth a battalion of the regiment (four companies) (Colonel Dow and Major Hesseltine) was marched to Long wharf and down between decks of the good steamship Mississippi, in which for many days and nights we were literally rocked to sleep. (The six companies of the regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Rust commanding, sailed from New York.) The next day our voyage began, and before it ended the boys experienced all the charms of life on the ocean wave, and a home on the rolling deep. As we rolled and p
rived a day or two in advance of us. Our comrades who had sailed from New York had arrived while we were stranded at Hilton Head, and as we came to anchor gave us hearty cheers from the shore, and we returned the greeting with interest, but we had no further communication with them for three days. We had another practical illustration of the fact that doubtful things are very uncertain. A northerly gale kicked up such an ugly surf that we couldn't land till late in the afternoon of the twenty-second, when we literally staggered ashore. An officer of a Maine battery captured me and took me to his quarters and gave me a square meal and a good bed, and for twelve solid hours I forgot that I was a soldier. After an 8 o'clock substantial breakfast I reported for duty with my company; and on the whole I was glad that I was alive. Before I left the ship the captain said to, me that he never before saw so fine a body of men. Why, said he, they have a right to mutiny. I would consider
ced all the charms of life on the ocean wave, and a home on the rolling deep. As we rolled and pitched on the passage to Fort Monroe, many a luckless soldier went skating down the icy deck till the lee bulwarks ordered a peremptory halt. The order to halt was not always obeyed with such alacrity. At Fort Monroe we received General Butler and staff. We had previously discovered that the Thirty-first Massachusetts Regiment was stowed somewhere down forward. At 10 o'clock p. m. on the twenty-fifth, the engines began to throb, and shortly the capes were left astern. Our final (?) departure was taken, and Ship Island was announced as our destination. About 7 o'clock p. m. on the twenty-sixth I was standing in the lee of the pilot house, greatly interested in the tumbling of a ragged sea. Suddenly, through the gloom, I thought I saw white water on our starboard bow, and I said to the sergeant who stood near me, We are in the midst of breakers, and putting my hands to my mouth, sa
March 2nd (search for this): chapter 7
e? 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.
March 9th (search for this): chapter 7
quarters the sergeant did not receive a reprimand for any dereliction of duty. Our picket line extended into a dense oak wood, and as I made the rounds at night I frequently heard the sharp click of the musket as it was brought to a full cock, the sentinel being too scared to challenge, and I was obliged to announce my approach to the challenge of the click. One of the scared sentinels said afterwards that he guessed I was the only one that night in danger of being shot. On the ninth of March (a notable day in my calendar) we struck tents and embarked on the steamship Matanzas, the general deeming it wise to transfer the Thirty-first regiment to our quarters on the Mississippi lest the hastily patched bow should break adrift and endanger the lives of those in the forward compartment. Our seven days run ashore was a blessing somewhat disguised. The next morning we hauled around to Hilton Head and anchored to await the Mississippi, which had experienced additional trouble.
March 20th (search for this): chapter 7
ondition. (Blessing on the man who invented forgetfulness.) Four hundred pairs of eyes were shortly on the lookout for Ship Island. By and by masts appeared, and then the hulls came into view, but not the slightest indication of land. Vessels only —apparently in mid-ocean. To see vessels rising apparently out of the water was a novel sight to some of the boys. But when they discovered the low-lying island almost under our jib-boom their astonishment was complete. At 3 o'clock P. M. March 20), we dropped anchor within a cable's length of the Mississippi, which had arrived a day or two in advance of us. Our comrades who had sailed from New York had arrived while we were stranded at Hilton Head, and as we came to anchor gave us hearty cheers from the shore, and we returned the greeting with interest, but we had no further communication with them for three days. We had another practical illustration of the fact that doubtful things are very uncertain. A northerly gale kicked up
August 1st (search for this): chapter 7
Personal Experience of a Union Veteran By Levi Lindley Hawes About 12 o'clock one August night in 1862, as I sat in my tent at Fort Jackson, La., making out a Post Return—or perhaps writing to the girl I left behind me—I was interrupted by the quiet entrance of the commandant. Ye gods! what do I see? I exclaimed, as the lieutenant-colonel stood before me in full evening (or night) dress. I thought you were asleep hours ago. I have been asleep, he replied, but when I awoke and saw a light in your tent, I said to myself, this witching hour of night is a proper time for me to ask Levi what prompted or induced him to enter the service. You, an only son, left a delightful, happy home,—I simply left the state of Maine. Why did you enlist in the military service? After an hour's friendly chat, I think the colonel retired in the firm conviction that I had a valid reason for connecting myself as sergeant in company I, Thirteenth Maine Regiment Infantry. With varied phraseology th<
ompletely done, I will bury the sword. It does seem to me that it is my duty to offer my services to my country; and, God helping me, I will never disgrace my more than Spartan mother. My whole soul cries go. You say go. And does not the providence of God indicate that it is my duty to rally for the strife? Oh, the terrible, the thrice terrible necessity! But it must be met. Yours affectionately, Levi. But there is a long gap between this period and the beginning of my history. In 1833 two notable events occurred. First, the Anti-Slavery Society was born. Then, according to the record—which I have been assured is absolutely correct—a boy was born in the town of Union, Me., Lincoln county (now Knox), adjoining Hope, adjoining Liberty, and in process of time this boy necessarily became, in the main, a hopeful union, Lincoln, liberty-loving, American citizen. On that April day, when a gun-carriage went rumbling past my store, corner Beacon and Tremont streets, bearing th
September, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 7
ervice. You, an only son, left a delightful, happy home,—I simply left the state of Maine. Why did you enlist in the military service? After an hour's friendly chat, I think the colonel retired in the firm conviction that I had a valid reason for connecting myself as sergeant in company I, Thirteenth Maine Regiment Infantry. With varied phraseology this pertinent question has been fired at me scores of times. In this connection permit me to read extracts from two letters written in September, 1861. (Extract.) Bangor, Me., September 7, 1861. My dear Levi: You seem to think it is your duty to go into the army, and by what you write I judge that you have decided to go. Well, go, if you think you can endure the exposure and hardships of camp life; and may God bless you in all your endeavors to serve our country, and give you health, strength, and ability equal to your calling. If you do enter your country's service, attach yourself to a cavalry squadron, by all means. I sen
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