Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Letters and diary of Laura M. Towne.

Letters and diary of Laura M. Towne.

July 20, 2013

Letters and diary of Laura M. Towne

[Diary] July 20.

I came home yesterday, and to-day I am summoned by Mr. Pierce to Beaufort to help nurse the wounded soldiers who have come down from Morris Island. They are coming in by hundreds. We hear the guns all day and night. The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts behaved splendidly at the attack on Fort Wagner.1 They took it, but we cannot hold it, for Fort Sumter commands it and shells our men out. Our young Hallowell was wounded three times. Mr. Pierce nursed him and brought him down. Nearly all the officers of the Fifty-fourth killed or wounded. Colonel Shaw, they say, sprang upon the fort and called to his boys to come on, and was then struck and fell. It is hoped he is a prisoner, and yet his comrades hardly dare to expect much from that, for, commanding black soldiers, will he not be murdered in cold blood? They are all greatly excited about him, hoping, fearing, disregarding their own wounds in their anxiety for him. They love him.2

1 July 18, 1863. The attack was led by the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (colored), Colonel Robert Gould Shaw commanding.

2 Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was killed in the attack on Fort Wagner.

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