1862: Unidentified “George” to Mother

The content of this letter suggests that it was most likely written by a member of Battery E, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery but he only signed his name “George” and there is no accompanying envelope to assist in his identification. There are at least three members of Battery E named George—possibly more. Pvt. George W. Hicks of Battery E died at Hilton Head on 11 August 1862. Two others in the battery survived; they were George C. Simmons and George H. Boice (or Boyce).


Daufuskie Island
May 16 [1862]

Dear Mother,

I received your letter last Tuesday evening and would have answered it right away but we were all in a heap making preparations to move. Last Friday the steamer Mattano went up to Savannah with a flag of truce. We could not learn what it was for the rebel gunboat met her at St. Augustine creek. She went up again of Saturday. She brought us the news of the capture of Fort Macon by Burnside and also New Orleans was held by our troops. On Wednesday morning an eight oared boat of the rebels came down with a flag of truce bearing sealed dispatches for Gen. Hunter. What the nature of those are, we do not know but we suppose that Gen. Hunter has demanded the surrender of the City of Savannah. We had removed all of our guns and put up quakers in their places. Quakers are logs hewed round, painted black, stuck up on a barrel with the end slightly elevated. They look very much like cannon at a distance. Our four rowboats went out to meet her. She drifted down within 60 yards of our battery (that was). Lieut. [Ferdinand] Tisdale was afraid they would discover that our guns were gone so he told Capt. Gregory of the gunboat Western World who had just left his vessel, to order them back to Augustine creek. They had a splendid rebel flag in their boat. The rebel officers in the boat were Major Anderson and Lieut. Sidney Johnson.

Wm. Sabin that used to work for Keach, has been transferred from the 2nd Rhode Island Battery and is now acting Lieutenant in our company. We bade adieu to Bird Island night before last. All the company had left in the afternoon but a squad of 15 men. We left about 5 o’clock for Daufuskie with a scow in tow. It took us over 5 hours to go as far as Wall’s Cut about 2 miles. The tide was against us. It runs very swift here. We had to anchor our scow and wait for the tide to turn. While we were waiting, a thunder storm arose. I never saw it rain harder in my life. We were wet as drowned rates in a pig pen. We are the toughest set of boys you ever saw, We do not mind a wetting no more than you would of drinking a cup of tea. I am as hearty as a brick.

Well we got ashore yesterday morning about 5 o’clock. We live tip top here. I wish you were here. It is a beautiful place. It would do you good to take a walk around here—wild flowers in profusion. Plums are ripe and blackberries, the ground is black with them. Mulberries any quantity.

I will tell you what we had for dinner yesterday. We had fried beef steak and a loaf of just the best bakers bread you ever ate and about a pint of tea. I also went out and picked about a quart of blackberries. The cook gave me some sugar to put on them. Oh, didn’t I have a dinner. I ate so much it gave me the belly ache. The doctor says they are the best thing in the world for us to eat. I went out and got a pint of plums this morning. I am going by and bye to get some mulberries. Don’t you fret, mother. I shan’t eat enough to hurt me.

I don’t know how long we shall stay here but I don’t care much about going back to Hilton Head—only to see Ned Maguire. I have not seen that paper and envelopes yet. I am much obliged for those stamps. We are going to move little farther back from the shore than we now are. It is too much exposed to the sun here.

I heard yesterday—we, that is—Co. E & G were going to take charge of Fort Macon, North Carolina. It is a flying report. It is too good to be true. Also we heard that Norfolk had fallen in our hands. I wish Albert would write me the news about home. We get the war news about as soon as you now. You must write me longer letters. I would write more if I had time. We expect to get paid off soon and I will send you all that I do not need. Give my love to all.

Goodbye, — George



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