23 February 1862: “[the General] issued an order that we should appear today with our hair cut short. we thought if we wanted us to shear our hair short he must set the example, for he is the most frizzly headed old scamp in the whole Brigade.”

Item description:  Letter, 23 February 1862, from Emmett Cole to his sister Celestia.

Item citation: From folder 2 of the Emmett Cole Letters #5002-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

[Editor’s note: We have corrected the year, based on other letters from Emmett Cole in the collection.]

Beaufort S.C.
Feb 23d 1861 [1862]

Dear Sister

little did I think while waiting so long and anxiously for the last mail that it would contain such sad news. and is it possible that our family Circle is again broken by that unwelcome visitor, Death? and it has taken the very one I wished most to see once more. and Celestia it is all to punish me the inocent babe has gone home to rest. and I have now only to regret my missbehavior to it. you spoke of the smile on its face as it was passing from the last shade of death into the home of its nativity. I can comprehend it all for I have seen the same heavenly smile, when the last pang was over, and “All was well” and Celestia, I loved that child as well as you although not many knew it. today is sunday the Church bells sounded dolefull this morning. and the organs notes, seemed to be, Solemn, Solemn. and who know but the next letter will tell that Edgar is dead. I fear it, for I know how fatal that disease is. there is not so mutch sickness in the army here now as there has been in times past. I am well withe the exception of a cold on my lungs. which is caused by being exposed to the storms and night air. the weather is quite warm here now prehaps as warm as it generally is there in summer. the Peach trees are in full bloom, and vegetation (such as decayes here in the winter season) is putting forth with all the beauties of spring. summer is fast comeing, and we are not used to this climate. and I feel a little dubious about the effect it may have upon the northerners. for I notice here upon most of the Grave stones (some of which date back half a century or more) that the principle disease is Yellow fever. but we may escape without being attacked by it. I had a great deal rather be attacked by the Rebels. I got a letter to day from Wakefield in Missouri. he said he was well & that they were haveing good times there. but guess he dont see quite such times as we used to in Charlotte last fall. I imagine he would be glad to exchange if he could as well as not. we dont hear mutch yet from the Savanna expedition we have not heared mutch noise in that direction for a few days past. but when they are still they are studying deviltry so let um alone. there is nothing very exciting going on here except an occasional row with the Pickets. they got to shooting at each other for fun the other day and kept at it untill a couple pieces of the Battery went down and helped them to move their Pickets a little to the rear. we shall have to go to the Ferry tomorrow on Picket. I hope our company will be sent to a little Island called Barnwells Island for when we get off by ourselves we have good times. you said you hoped this war would close before long well so do I and every other volunteer, we will try and do our part if we can. we had general review today the old general himself, was out to review us and looked as good natured as possible. he issued an order that we should appear today with our hair cut short. we thought if we wanted us to shear our hair short he must set the example, for he is the most frizzly headed old scamp in the whole Brigade. we kept good watch of him, he did not shear his, nor we ours. there was nothing said on inspection so I guess it is all right. I did not send any money home by Lieut. Mans but I let Lieut. Philips have $15, of Johns money to send to his folks. he was going to send some to H.N. Sheldon. and I thought it would be a good chance to send it. tell in your next if they received it. there is about $10, more comeing to them. I thought I could get it and send it all togeather. but the $10, will have to come through another channel. they will have to send to the Adgutant General at Washington making propper testimony to the identity of the parties. and it will come all straight. I will find out the exact prossess. and sit it you in my next. yesterday as you know was the 22d of Feb. Washingtons birthday. now we are away down in S.C. right here in the old Nest egg of secession & but a little squad compared with the rest of Uncle Sams Family but notwithstanding we managed to get up something of a noise. I wish you could have been where I was to have heared the salute from the Fleet. Hilton Head & Bay Point. they opened at 12 Oclock and fired in immediate succession Broadside after broadside for the space of 15 minutes when they ceased and fired at regular entervals the National salute. the Batteries on this Island were at the same time making what little noise they could & take it alltogeather it was about as mutch noise as you generaly hear over over one Man. Warren Cole is well. give my best respects to all the friends of mine down there tell Delilah I should be glad to hear from her by her own pen, and if she has any inclination to write me a friendly letter tell her to send it along and not stop for cerimony in war times. write often no more at present from your Brother


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