6 October 1861: “We have heard of great victories, of late, in other quarters. Why is there no fighting in this section?”

Item description: Letter, 6 October 1861, from Charles Woodward Hutson to his mother, discussing life in camp as part of the Hampton’s Legion South Carolina Infantry. He expresses his frustration at the relative inactivity on the front during this period in late 1861.

Charles Woodward Hutson (1840-1936) grew up on plantations in Beaufort District, S.C., attended South Carolina College, served throughout the Civil War in Virginia, was a teacher and professor in several southern states including fifteen years in Texas, and settled finally in New Orleans as an artist and writer. Hutson enlisted as a private in the A Company. The Hampton Legion South Carolina Infantry Battalion was organized on 12 June 1861, and mustered out 9 April 1865 at Appomattox Court House.

[Transcription available below images.]

Item citation: From folder 4 of the Charles Woodward Hutson Papers, #362, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

6th October, 1861. Sunday-

Army of the Potomac

Legion’s Camp at Freestone Pt.

Dear Mother,

Yesterday, after our return march, we rested, partook of camp fare for dinner, & read old Harpers. I wrote to Em., sealed the envelope & drank two cups of fine coffee made by Fred, then took a refreshing bath, & after it some Scotch whiskey with a friend. We then walked to Kankey’s for supper, which we greatly enjoyed. On returning to camp, I found the mail had brought me a bundle of papers & a letter from home, which I was of course very glad to see.

I am rejoiced to hear that the author (or authoress) of “Mary Powell” has written so much, as all of her books are likely to be good, & I entertain hopes of enjoying them yet.

This last death in the village must deepen greatly the gloom which has been settling over it during the summer. I can well understand, how the sense of helplessness may leave room for a true & better strength, & teach all to sober their anxieties respecting kindred into trustful resignation to God’s will.

Sophie at Orangeburgh at last! These are indeed astonishing times. I hope she will now have some chance for development. I am truly glad that the girls are to have Ady. Women must have something to love & think for; & old maids with a girl-pet are very respectable old maids. See, how charitable an old-bachelor may be!

We have heard of great victories, of late, in other quarters. Why is there no fighting in this section? This inaction looks outwardly like a blunder, though we are not qualified to judge. It may be all for the best.

Stewed shrimps, rice birds & wild ducks! Now take my breath away. I must certainly manage to live & get back to charming low-country life.

It is so laborious to write with pencil, that I curtail my letters perforce.

My love to all at home,

Your loving son,


Breakfasted at Kankey’s this morning }

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