Headquarters 2d Brigade,
Port Royal District, Dec. 10th, 1861.
My dear Mother:
I am still much busied — still find it difficult to cull even a few moments from multifarious duties, even to write my dear mother. I would like much to have a chance to write you a good long letter, yet must wait until more leisure shall fall to my share. We have the last few days been more than ever busy, owing to our formal occupation of Beaufort, where we are now pleasantly living. All sorts of comforts are at our disposal. The house occupied by the General is one belonging to Rev. (I think) Mr. Smith, an extremely elegant one. The portrait of Bishop Eliot looks down benignantly from over the mantel while I write.
I wish the owners were back in their old homes, notwithstanding they have relinquished all their old home luxuries to us. I do not, I think, possess quite enough of the Vandal spirit, for anything like predative warfare. I have spoken of the extreme pressure of duties, and this you will understand when I tell you I often ride thirty miles, visiting posts, arranging pickets, and in the examination of doubtful points, during the day, besides performing many other duties, such as may fall to my share. I must say night generally finds me weary and after evening work is done, disinclined even to write you.
All things seem to thrive with us so far. What we still need is a sufficiently efficient organization to enable us to strike with rapidity. Here we are, nearly five weeks in possession of this point, and as yet we have hardly been able to get the stores ashore, which we originally brought with us. And all this time too we read in the newspapers of the great zeal and activity displayed by Captain who has charge of these things. By this time we ought, considering the great fear that filled the inhabitants on our first landing, to have been able to follow up our first successes by a series of determined blows, placing the entire State at our disposal. Still we are young at war, and cannot hope to learn all these things at once. We have however done something. Immense quantities of cattle, corn, and provisions have been gathered into the commissary stores, Hilton Head has been securely fortified, and some cotton saved, though much of the latter has been burned by the South Carolinians to prevent its falling into our hands. I think Cousin Louisa's favorite, Sam Lord, is in the Army awaiting us on the mainland. At least I heard such to be the case from a negro driver on one of the plantations, who seemed to know him. The Pringles lived somewhere in this neighborhood too, so I am brought almost face to face with old friends.
W. T. Lusk.
SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 106-7