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115th New York Infantry - Captured at Harper's Ferry

Item LTR-8583
February 26, 1863 James M. Young
Price: $185.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages, written in period ink.

Hilton Head
February 26, 1863

Dear Brother,

I wrote you only a few lines by the last mail, but the boat going sooner than I expected gave me an opportunity of writing a short letter. Just enough so you could say you had heard from me. And informing you of the arrival of your letters.

You want a description of Hilton Head. You are well aware it is situated at the mouth of Port Royal entrance. It is an island 12 or 15 miles in length by 8 or 10 miles wide and formerly belonged, I believe to a general in the rebel army by the name of Grafton. His residence is but a short distance from our camp. And though not a stylish or handsome building, is a splendid place. The grounds have been laid out with care and taste, showing that the owner had an eye for the beautiful. By deserting his government, he has lost it all. Lieutenant Barnum with 5 or 6 others and myself were out on a short stroll the other Sunday and saw where the “cotton picking” had once been going on.

The wood is mostly yellow pine and palmetto and palm leaf, such as our palm leaf fans that are used so much at home are made of grows in any quantity. The buildings composing the place are all government buildings or sutler establishments and is about as large as Caughnawaga or a little larger. Fort Walker is on this side and Beauregard on the other. Beaufort is about 25 miles above.

What would you think to see trees in full bloom in February? I suppose you would incline to the Millerite persuasion and believe the millennium had arrived and that it required only one slight brush to take the world out of existence. But trees are in bloom here and nothing is thought of it. The soil is sandy and drifts like snow. Though not insuch large heaps. There is also a good deal of swamp. I have seen what has been called pleasant winters at home. But none to compare to the one I am now experiencing. Think about throwing off you coat and sitting in the shade in February to keep cool. You are no doubt putting on overcoats and sitting by the fire to keep warm. I have only seen about an inch of snow this winter and that was while at Washington. Now, while writing this letter, I am sitting in my tent with coat and hat off and undergoing a sweating operation equal to a first-class thunder shower in August.

I am glad to know you have been promoted from the ranks of scholars to shoulder straps in the domanie’s staff. There is nothing like promotion in this world if it nothing more than from a course hand dirt shoveler to a boss over Irishmen on the railroad. So keep moving up. I should not be surprised if you were promoted to the pulpit in a short time.

The Sheet is nearly full and I will close by sending respects.

Your brother,
James M. Young