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

Post image for War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

July 12, 2012

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

U. S. Forces En Route To F. Monroe,

July 12th, 1862.

My dear Mother:

When I wrote you a few hurried, peevish lines, by the last steamer, I then had little thought we were so soon to be summoned to a different sphere of action, and that, had my longing to see you at home been really gratified, I would have returned only to be mortified by being absent from duty at a time when every man should be standing steadily at his post. So you see my lucky star is always dominant. Just when I thought my fate intolerable, I was merely being providentially detained that nothing might prevent me from the fulfilment of my duty. Ten Regiments from the Department of the South, six under Stevens and four under Wright, are ordered to Fortress Monroe, we know not yet whether to reinforce Pope or McClellan. Few of us regret to leave this unholy soil and wretchedly mismanaged department, where we have been sure only of mismanagement and disgrace. I am sorry Rockwell could not go with us. He would have liked to have done so, but a demand was made for infantry alone.

It is a good thing for me that I have escaped from the Southern climate, having been long enough exposed to feel as though every fibre of my body was involved in a malarious atmosphere. A change of climate and a persistent employment of quinine, the Doctor says, are all I need, though were times less stirring, he would probably prescribe in addition a few days at home. I shall probably lose the letters you will write relative to Lilly’s wedding, but you must not forget to let me know all about it in whatever new sphere I may be placed. I suppose you had better address the first letter to the care of General Stevens near Fortress Monroe, and so soon as may be, I will let you know a more definite address.

I enclose the $25.00 for Lilly’s bridal gift. I could not enclose it in my last, as it was then some time since I had seen the paymaster. I hope I may have an opportunity to see you all this summer, but it looks dubious. Next to Lilly’s wedding, I was very anxious to be present at my class meeting, which takes place the end of this month. Hall will be there and many old friends. It will seem strange enough to get among civilized people once more, and there will be so many changes too. Walter, an aged paterfamilias. Lilly and Hall, both old domestic bodies. Hunt in a new house. Horace alone will be left unchanged.

Are any of my friends desirous of making a profitable speculation? A sure and magnificent fortune may be realized from the sale of ginger-pop at Hilton Head. Blind Dennis is doing a flourishing business in the lemonade line, and will certainly before long be putting up a superb house on Washington Street, in Burdick’s best style. The ginger-pop trade, I predict, will be one of the most remunerative branches of business ever opened at Port Royal. It even bids fair to prove as handsome a thing as negro-philanthropy, which in shrewd hands has proved a most capital paying business, and then the sale of ginger-pop is eminently more respectable. At any rate it is a pet idea of mine, and I would like to see the experiment tried.

Well, good-bye. I hope to hear good news on arriving at Fortress Monroe. Love to all.

14th. Still on shipboard but near Fortress Monroe.

Lilly’s wedding day. Miles of friends — little children’s voices — church bells — sweet thoughts. I shall feast to-day for all that though, on hard tack and salt horse with a quinine pill by way of dessert. So goes the world.

Good-bye, my dear Mother. Blessings on you all.



Previous post:

Next post: