Effe of the Shells Fired into Charleston.
A writer in the Cornhill Magazine
graphically describes his experience of a night in a Charleston hotel during a bombardment by the Union
On the 21st August, at half past 1 A M, I was lying on my bed in the Charleston Hotel
, unable to sleep from the excessive heat, and listening to the monotonous sound of the cannonade kept up on the enemy's position from the batteries on James Island
Restless and weary of the night, I had lighted a candle in defiance of the mosquitos, and sought to pass away the time with a volume of "Les Miscrables" It happened to be the one containing the account of the battle of Waterloo
, and white deeply interested in the description of the rushing squadrons of cuirassier, I was startled by a noise that, from connection with my reading, resembled the where of a phantom brigade of cavalry, galloping in mid air.
My first feeling was that of utter astonishment; but a crash, succeeded by a deafening explosion in the very street on which my aperture at was samite; brought me with a bound into the centre of the room.
Looking from the window, I saw fire and smoke issuing front a house in which were stowed the dings of the medical purveyor.
A watchman was running antically down the street, and when he reached the corner just below me, commenced striking with his staff against the curb, a signal of alarm practised among the Charleston
At first I thought a meteor had fallen; but another awful rush and whirr right over the hotel, and another explosion beyond, settled any doubts I might have had — the city was being shelled.--People are not giving to laughing under such circumstances, but I will deity any one who witnessed what I witnessed on leaving my room not to have given way to mirth in moderation.
The hotel was crowded with spectators, who had been attracted to the city by the sale of some blockade cargoes, and the corridors were filled with these terrified gentlemen, running about in the scantiest customs and the wildest alarm.
One perspiring individual, of party dimensions, was trotting to and fro, with one boot on and the other in his hand, and this was nearly all the dress he had to boast of.
In his excitement and terror he had forgotten the number of his room, from which he had hastened at the first alarm, and his distress was ludicrous to behold.
Another, in a seminate of nudely, with a portion of his garments on his arm, barked the shins of every one in his way to drag an enormous trunk to the staircase.
On reaching the had I found a motley crowd, some of whom, with the biggest of words, were cursing the Federal
Whirr! came another shell over the roof, and down on their faces went every man of them, into tobacco juice and cigarsends and clattering among the spittoons.
I need not say that this is a class of men from whom the Confederacy
hopes nothing; on the contrary, by their exotoxin, practiced on a suffering people, they have made themselves execrated.
If a shell could have fallen in their midst and exterminated the whole race of hucksters, it would have been of great benefit to the South
The population was now aroused, the streets filled with women and children, making for the upper part of the city, where they could find comparative safety.
The volunteer fire brigades brought out their engines, and parties of the citizen reserves were organized rapidly and quietly, to be in readiness to give assistance where required.
The first engine that reached the house struck by the first shell was one belonging to a negro company, and at it they went with a will, subduing the fire in a marvelous short time.
At every successive whirr above them the negroes situated quaint invectives against "cussed bobolitiontats," scattering for shelter until the danger was passed Through the streets I went, and down to the battery promenade, meeting on my way sick and bedridden people, carried from their homes on mattresses, and mothers with infants in their arms, running they know not whither.
Reaching the promenade, I cast my eyes towards the Federal
position, and presently, beyond James Island
, across the marsh that separates it from Morris Island
, came a flash, then a dull report, and after an interval of some seconds a frightful rushing sound above me told the path that the shell had taken.
Its flight must have been five miles.