December 12, 1861 Letter from Private Robert Dawson to sister, Rebecca Dawson while at Beaufort, S.C.
(transcribed by granddaughter, Ms. Clara Warner)
Beaufort, S. C. Dec. 12th, 1861
I take the present opportunity of sending you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and I hope that these few lines may find you enjoying the same blessing the boys are all well at present we have left Hilton Head and we are at beaufort South Carolina up the beaufort river we worked on the intrenchments at hilton head 11 days our brigade was all that worked on them until we left and then some of the other brigades would have to go to work on them we were getting along pretty well they had 4 or 5 canon mounted on them when we left they had 12 horses to haul one of them up from the wharf one they had 16 horses to it was about a ten inch gun. we left hilton head on the 6th of this month and embarked on board the winfield scott and lay til the next morning the scott was the ship that part of the 50th Reg. was on the time of the storm and they threw their guns over board it looks like it had seen hard times both masts cut away and the vessel damaged a good bit they have a pump running all the time to keep the water pumped out of her, we landed saturday and put up our tents this is a good sized town and the nicest buildings in it I ever saw and some of the nicest furniture and pianoes lot of them and libraries of books there is a great many french greek and latin books I have a few books I would like to send some of them home I have a book with some pictures of collars and so on that I have a notion to send it to you we started sunday morning to the back of the island a distance of ten miles to see if there was any rebels on the island for they was on here friday, there was only twoo companys here before we came that is the reason we was fetched here the rebels would come over from the main land and carry off their property we did not see any rebels til we came to the ferry we saw a few on the other side of the river Company H went on picket and the rebels fired across twoo or three shots at them but they did not come near to them they had no canon there our men had twoo pieces of canon with them but they came back as soon as they saw there was no enemy there, we only had one days provision with us and we had to stay a11 night on a plantation where there was a good many niggers and we bought hoe cake and chicken we lay out all night without any blankets or over coats I know that we would not done it if we had been in Pa. we could hear the rebels talking in the night and swearing about the yankees along the road out to the ferry it is the nicest road that I ever saw it has been throwed up and shelled with oyster shells and some of the nicest trees great big spready live oaks spread over the road with moss hanging down from the limbs and nice forests, forests of pine monday the 50th came to take our place and when we left the rebels were throwing up embankments and when we came to camp the battery went out and the next day sent a few balls over and scared them away we have plenty of sweet potatoes and pone and oysters we get them from the darkies I will send you a piece or twoo of calico write soon and let me know how all the young married folks are getting along and about the war news and congress no more at present so good night
R D Dawson
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