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Augustus Bull Papers: Transcripts - MS 649
Beaufort S.C. July 27th 1862
Dear Cousin Roxie,
I Received your very welcome letter yesterday morning. & hasten to reply. I intended to have written you long ago & not wait for your answer but any time has been pretty well taken up for the last two weeks. I will give you a sketch of my journal & you may judge for your self what sort of a time I have had. Just after I finished your letter. We had 20 extra cartridges dealt out to us making 60 in all. We had 3 days rations of hard Bread, Beef, Potatoes, Coffee & Sugar. in our haversacks. we packed our knapsacks & left them behind & I only took my Watch Coat, Mosquito Net and Rubber Blanket. At 11 OClock we fomed in line & marched to the wharf & went on board a Steamer & Crossed the river & landed on a pontoon wharf. We lay down in the bank & lay till morning & then started on. We marched about 8 miles that day & bivouaced in a large Cotton field. There were about 12000 men in our division. June 3rd it rained hard all day long & we lay there & took it. We were soaked through & through. & couldn't get any wetter. I lay down on the ground & slept as sound as if I had been in a palace. 4th at 4 O'clock Co's C, D, F and K started out on a reconnaisance, We scouted the island for about 8 miles and [discovered?]a squad of Secesh cavalry. I had all the Plums Strawberries, Blackberries, Peaches, Apricots &c. I could eat and got me a nice set of Chess men which I confiscated of course, returned to camp in the afternoon rather tired. Eat supper of raw bacon & hard Bread & turned in on the ground.
5th We were called up at 3 O'clock to start off again & in a short time our whole force was in motion. I never saw it a rain harder in my life than it did all day. the mud & water was up to our knees & we had to wade through 2 creeks where the water was up to our waists. We marched 15 miles & only rested twice. We arrived at the village of Lagreville about 5 oclock & found our gunboats lying in Stone Inlet. We were quartered in the houses in the village till the 9th when we went on board a steamer & crossed to James Island & landed about 3 miles further up the inlet. We had just time to make some coffee when we rec'd orders to go out on picket. We marched out to the woods & were stationed along the edge of the wood. I was on the advanced post. the rebels were firing from their battery but most of their shells went to the right of us.
10th the rebels kept shelling us all night & this morning our gunboats began to return the compliment & we lay there all day between the two fires till 4 O'clock P.M. when we were relieved by the 47th NY Regt. We marched into Camp & got ready to cook our supper. We had hardly got our fires built when we heard rapid firing in the woods & a courier came in & said that the rebels had attacked our pickets. We fell in & were waiting for orders when who should we see coming up the line but our Capt. Who had been home on a furlough for 6 weeks. We were all very glad to see him especially just at that time. the firing continued but our artillery soon got to work & in a short time drove the rebels. the Gunboats continued to shell the woods all night. four Co's of our Regt went out to support the batteries. the rest were not called on. We took 6 prisoners & buried 23 of their dead. Our loss was 3 killed & 7 wounded. Three of the prisoners died the next day. one of them, a Captain and acting Colonel had 7 balls in him. he said they saw our Co when we left our post & didn't see any one come to relieve us, so they thought they would occupy the post but when they got there they found some one there to receive them. the 97th Pa. Regt had been out scouting and bore the brunt of the fight. We lay on our arms all night but they didn't renew the attack. The 14th I had an attack of the Jaundice and for a week I could hardly get around.
15th Our Regt went out on picket. I stayed in camp. about 2 o'clock in the morning of the 16th we got orders to made an advance. I got up cleaned my gun & got my breakfast & started to join the Co but I met the Lieut & he told me to go back to camp & stay there, so I came back. Gen. Stevens Brigade attacked the rebel battery and drove them out 3 times but they fell back into other batteries that we couldn't get to & poured grapes and canister into our men so that they had to retreat. Our loss was very heavy between six and seven hundred in killed wounded & missing. Our Regt were not in action but held their position on picket on the left flank of the enemy. Our tents & knapsacks came the 20th making nearly 3 weeks that we had been without tents. Capt brought on a small Melodeon with him & we had quite lively times singing &c.
We remained there going on picket every third day till July 1st when we to orders to evacuate the island. We took 3 large Parrot guns & drew them down to Stevens Brigade about 3 miles & then came back & struck tents & carried them down to the wharf on our backs & then carried all our Co stores down & put them on board the boat. The rest of the troops embarked on the Transports & we remained with Hamilton's Battery & slept on the ground. 2nd about 10 O'clock our pickets came in and we started for Gen. Stevens'. The Battery took the lead & we brought up the rear. We had to march about a mile in range of the rebel batteries & we expected to get a few shells before we got past but they didn't choose to fire at us.
We halted near the Wharf & stacked arms & went to the wharf & unloaded our tents & brought them up & pitched them. I was detailed for guard at 4 O'clock and was up all night. I had been up till near midnight every night for over a week helping Capt. make out Muster & Pay Rolls & I felt rather sleepy but I never tried to get rid of my duty & I was bound I would stand it as long as I could. Stevens Brigade commence to embark about midnight. I spent the 4th in my tent and slept most all day. It was the dullest Independence I ever saw. There was nothing going on and the only thing that seemed like the 4th of July was the firing of National Salutes at noon by our gunboats and light batteries.
the 7th. We embarked for Edisto, We were the last Regt to leave the island. Had a very pleasant sail & arrived at Edisto in the evening & landed the next morning & pitched our Camp near our old camp ground on the bank of the river. I took 3 men & dug a well for our Co. We only had to dig about 8 feet & then put down barrels for a curb.
9th. We were at work building off parade ground when we rec'd orders to get ready to go on a reconnaisance. They told us to take 3 or 4 hard tack in our packets for dinner & we should be back before supper. Co's C. D. H. and K started at 10 O'clock & we marched 16 miles across the island under a broiling sun & scarcely a breath of air. We found nothing of any importance & started back about 8 P.M We got a buggy & loaded it with Chairs & Tables from the houses on the roads. We got a large Brass Kettle to make Tea and Coffee in, It holds enough for the whole Co. We had all the fruit we could eat. It was a beautiful moon-light night and quite cool. We arrived in Camp at 3 o'clock in the morning, found some Pork & Beans & Coffee ready for us & I assure you we were ready for them. I lay down just at day break & slept till breakfast was ready. It was the hardest hardest march we ever had & a great many of the men fell out but I made out to weather it through.
We had quite an easy time after that till the 15th, when our Co. was ordered out on picket. My post was on the extreme right & the mosquitos almost eat us up. I never saw them half as thick, the air was fairly black with them. I saw a cow out in the corn, so I took a mess pan and went out and milked her and we had hard Bread & milk for supper. Boiled a lot of sweet Potatoes & Corn & we had pretty good living while we stayed there.
16th, we were relieved at 6 O'clock P.M. & marched into camp found our tents all struck & on board the steamer & not a thing left for us to eat but boiled Pork. We slept on the ground all night.
17th sent out a foraging party & they brought in a lot of fresh Beef, Plum tomatoes &c. I was detailed for guard. About midnight we marched aboard the boat.
18th started for Hilton Head in the morning & arrived there at noon. We met a steamer going out with troops on board. She had waited 2 days for us & then taken another Regt. & started for Fortress Monroe & we were ordered to Beaufort. We landed here the next morning & laid out our camp. Our tents came Sunday afternoon. My tent is under a large oak tree. I have fixed up a bench & table in the shade & got things in good shape. We have the nicest camp we have ever had, just back of the the town in a beautiful Oak Grove. It is a very pleasant town about 7000 inhabitants, most of whom left when we took Hilton Head last fight [?] I have not had time to go around town any yet. I have just returned from church & it really seemed quite natural to get inside of a church once more. We took Capt's melodeon over & played it. So I can say I have prayed & sung in church in South Carolina. We have plenty fruit, such as figs, Peaches, Plums Apricots, Water Melons &c. I think we shall remain here all summer. You say you didn't receive my letter till the 7th of July. the mail was stopped for a while & Lizzie got 3 letters that I wrote May 23rd, June 1st, & 14th all together. I think this will do for once so I will close with much love to all from your cousin,
Beaufort. S.C. Sept 10th 1862.
Dear Cousin Roxie
Your very welcome letter was received nearly a week ago, but this is the first opportunity I have had of answering it. I have been very busy for the last five weeks. I have had all the Company writing to do, besides drilling two hours every day. Our Captain was taken sick the 1st of August and had to be taken to the hospital, both Lieuts were already in the hospital and our Orderly Sergeant sick in his tent, another Sergt gone home to recruit for the Regt, and a Color Sergt who does no duty except take care of the Regimental Colors and four Corpls [Corporals] sick in quarters.
We were firstly bad off for officers and what there were of us left had a pretty tough row to hoe. I had to drill the Co about half the time. One of our Lieuts came back in about a week and took charge of the Co. The Capt continued to fail till the 19th inst when his spirit took its flight from its earthly tenement to a happier world where there is no more war and tumult but all is happiness and peace. God grant that we may all live in such a manner, that we may meet him in his heavenly home when we come to die. He was buried in the Episcopal Churchyard on the 20th with Military honors. The same day Private Mack died in the hospital and was buried the next day. It cast a gloom over the Co and I might say over the whole Regt. The Orderly Sergeant was appointed Administrator, and I had to help him make out the Inventories and Final Statements of the Estate.
The 26th inst we got news that Sergt Perkins who had gone home to recruit was dead and the 27th a telegraphic dispatch from Hilton Head told us that Corpl Hickox was found dead in the road near Draytons plantation[.] He had been connected with Maj-Gen Hunters, Mounted Guard since we first landed on Hilton Head, the cause of his death is unknown but he was supposed to have been murdered. Then I had to make out the Muster & Pay Rolls, Monthly & Weekly Reports, Ordnance Returns, Bills of Company Savings & c, and it kept me just about as busy as I wanted to be. I have only written two letters home since I wrote to you. Our Officers have got better & the Co is quite healthy now. The 1st Lieut has been promoted to the Captaincy and our 1st Sergt to be 1st Lieut, and your "Yankee Cousin" has stepped up one peg and now ranks as Sergeant. I hope I shall be able to visit my Ohio friends sometime but I think you can call me 21 years old with perfect safety by the time I get there. We have just got orders to go out on picket for ten days at 3 O Clock this afternoon. So you will please excuse this short letter. I will write again when we get back. Our Co, I understand, has got to go to Port Royal Ferry[.] I enclose a piece of Palmetto Bark for you. Give my love to all & accept a large share for yourself from your
Beaufort. S.C. Oct 26th 1862
Dear Cousin Roxie
It is a rainy Sunday morning and as there is no inspection this morning, I take this opportunity of answering your very welcome letter. I meant to have written to you when we returned from the ferry, but I had to go to work on the Quarterly Returns as soon as I got back and it took all the time I could spare to attend to those. After I got them finished and answered one or two letters I had received from home we got orderst to go to the ferry again. So I packed up and we started for the ferry about 3 O Clock P.M on the 10th of this month. It was quite cool and we marched ten miles in about 3 hours. We found boards enough to floor our tents all over and we raised them up abouat 18 inches from the ground Our Camp was in a spendid oak grove and we enjoyed ourselves finely. The Niggers brought us fish Crabs, Shrimps Oysters, hoe cake & c and traded with us for Stale Bread and we dug what Sweet Potatoes and Peanuts we wanted from a field nearby and I tell you what we lived high for ten days. I was on picket when I received your letter, one of the boys brought it out to me and I assure you it was a welcome intruder into my clump of bushes[.] it was quite a relief from the monotony of picket duty. About dark we got ready and went out on the Causeway where we stayed till morning. We were not over 200 feet from the rebels, who came out on the opposite end of the Causeway. Some of the boys began to talk across to them and at last got them to answer us and then we talked with them for about 3 hours. They appeared to be very pleasant young men and answered our questions promptly and we had a nice little chat but they were very bitter against the North and seemed to be bound to hold out as long as possible. One of them told us they should fight as long as they could for "blessed is he that holdeth out to the end." It was a pleasant night and passed away very quickly and at daylight we went back to our bushes and I went and visited the other posts and reported to Head Quarters and then my 24 hours picket duty was done. I went to Camp and washed up and got my breakfast and went out and got some Sweet Potatoes for dinner[.] After dinner I felt rather sleepy and thought I would have a little nap and then answer your letter[.] so I went to sleep and the next I knew one of my tentmates called me to breakfast the next morning[.] I had taken cold and every bone in my body ached like the toothache[.] I lay around all day feeling rather blue and as soon as it was dark I went to bed but couldn't sleep any. In the morning I got my breakfast and went on picket again. I had to go to the outpost on the right about four miles from Head Quarters and by the time I got there I was pretty much tired. I took off my equipment spread down my blankets and made up a good fire and took things easy during the day. I went up to the next post and got some Oysters and we had a good roast. about dark we made some Tea and eat our supper[.] The Lieut came out with the Countersign and we got ready to look out for Secesh. The old oak tree that we built our fire in had got on fire and just after dark it burst out about 20 feet from the ground and made everything as light as could be. About ten O Clock our Lieut came out and told us that Capts Hudson and Prouty and 6 men had been taken prisoners by the rebels and they had the Countersigns with them and if the rebels should get hold of them they might come over and try to capture some of our pickets. So they changed the Countersign and told us to keep a sharp lookout and report to Head Quarters early in the morning. I didn't feel sleepy at all, so I sat up all night and watched with the boys. About daylight we made some Tea for our breakfast and then I started for Camp. I reported everything quiet to the Capt and then went over to Camp. About noon the 8th Maine Regt came out and relieved us and we started for Beaufort. I didn't feel as if I could walk a mile but I was bound to go as far as I could and I made out to get into camp but I couldn't have marched much farther. As soon as I got my things off I went to the Drs [doctor's] and got some Medicine and went to bed.
In the morning I felt worse and went to the Drs again. I done some writing for Capt and we got paid for four months in the forenoon[.] The Regt got orders to be ready to march at half past one O Clock but the Dr told me I couldn't go. No one knew where they were going but the report was that they wree going to destroy the railroad bridge. After they were gone I got things straightened and made out furloughs for three men that are sick. The next day I went down town and got my picture taken to send to you. It is "Gus" complete only he has daubed to[o] much red paint on the cheeks. You can compare it with the others you have of me and see if there has been much change. The Regt got back day before yesterday. they had some pretty tough fighting while they were gone. They went to destroy the bridge but found too many rebels. they drove the rebes about ten miles when their ammunition gave out and they had to fall back. The loss of our Regt is 5 killed and 35 wounded including the Col and Lt Col [Lieutenant Colonel]. I wish I had been able to have been with them for I want to share all their trials as well as pleasure. Our Co only had one man wounded. I wish I could be with you for a while. I think I could do a pretty tall piece of talking just now especially with the aid of a female and I think I could take care of a piece of that Peach Leather although I don't chew Tobacco. That Palmetto Bark is not exactly the outside bark, though it is all the bark there is. Your opinion on the Drafting question is the same as mine. It does me lots of good to see some of the old hypocrites squirm and try to get away when they are drafted. I only wish I was there so that I could laugh at them and bother them a little. it would fat me an inch on the rib. Parson Brownlows writings are very interesting but I can only get such as are published in the papers. Lieut Stowe of Co "G" has bought that Melodeon [sp?] but I use it whenever I choose. I give Lizzie a good long letter once in a while. I wrote her one of 29 pages and wrote between every line so that it was as good as 58 pages. it took her from seven O'Clock till ten to read it.
[In margin of page 1] Tell Artie I don't know what the girl I left behind me would prefer but I should most decidedly prefer my Yankee home to any place this side of Mason and Dixons line. So if I can't get one that likes Yankeedom I shal live in solitude all my days. Ask Mary if she thinks I will do for her everlasting Love. I think I will, for if I don't think so there won't any one. I send you a little piece of Cotton that was picked on the battle field. it is rather dirty Give my love to all and accept a large share for yourself from
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