27 December 1861: “In my individual command we have not even a Pistol to defend us.”

Item description: A letter, 27 December 1861, from Captain Charles E. Kanapaux of the Wagner Light Artillery, Palmetto Battalion, to William Porcher Miles, a member of the Confederate Congress. Kanapaux implored Miles to use his influence to secure arms for the battalion.

Item citation: from folder 47 in the William Porcher Miles Papers #508, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Charleston Dec: 27th 1861

Hon: W. Porcher Miles. M.C.C.S.

My Dear Sir

I take the liberty of addressing you this note, as I know you will do all in your power to advance any measure conducive to the better protection of our State against our common enemy. You are perhaps, aware, my Dear Sir, that I am attached to the “Palmetto Battalion Light Artillery,” commanded by Maj: E. B. White, and have been in actual service since 14 Nov ulto: Up to this time, I have not either a Musket or Rifle with which to do battle in case of attack, and the enemy is not far off. Our Battalion is stationed on Wappoo River about 3 miles from the City and have command of three batteries very inefficiently provided for a fight.

We formed this Battalion for light batteries in the field, where we thought we were most needed; and before the enemy had invaded our shores, Maj: White had received orders to have his batteries made in this City and Columbia. The fire has stopped the Contractor here from going on with his contract, and it will no doubt be months, or when too late before we are fully equipped in our favorite arm. We are daily drilling with the miserable pieces we have and will even with them show fight. But we have no horses. We move our guns by hand—we have appealed in vain, and our only recourse is to the Gentlemen of the Convention.

Can you not call upon the General Government to give us outfit and send us to any post where we can be of service in defending our homes and firesides. In my individual command we have not even a Pistol to defend us.

You would be doing me a great favor my Dear Sir, by speaking with others of your friends in behalf of Our Battalion. For more minute information respecting our Condition, I would refer to Capt: Campbell of our Battalion, a Member of the Convention, and Col: DeTreville has also been addressed by Maj: White on the subject. Mr. A H Brown has visited our batteries and can speak of them better than I can write. If a pressure was brought to bear upon Col: Preston, I am satisfied much can be accomplished. Do strive and effect something for us and that too, as quickly as convenient with your duties. Please my Hon: Sir, excuse my boldness in thus trespassing upon your valuable time. Trusting you will do all in your power for the “Palmetto Battalion of Light Artillery,”

I remain Your Obedient Servant,

Chas E Kanapaux

Capt: Wagner Light Artillery

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