Friday, August 12, 2016

Captain William Thompson Lusk to Elizabeth Adams Lusk, January 19, 1862

Headquarters 2d Brigade S. C.
Beaufort, S. C. Jan. 19th, 1862.
My dear Mother:

I am so accustomed to commence all documents in an official form, that even in a letter to you I find myself employing the customary heading. I regret very much that this letter will not reach you by the “Atlantic,” but it is too late — the steamer sailed a day sooner than at first reported. But I trust Walter has told you I am well, that Uncle Phelps has reported my purchase of a new horse, and that Capt. Wm. Elliott, who has returned home with your address in his pocket, will relieve your mind of all anxiety as regards the effect of my late illness. But tell Walter that all my fretting and fuming on two points was in vain. After writing as I did about the sword, I went to the express office to make a last inquiry. The office was closed, so I despatched my letter. On going to dinner a few hours later, one of the officers spoke up: “By the way, there's a package for you at the express office, about three feet long and four or five inches deep.” My sword after a long delay at Fortress Monroe, at last had come. I am charmed at Walter's forethought, and I promise to wear it with double pleasure, for the great love we bear each other.

Then the matter of the 79th officers sent out with commissions from Gov. Morgan, although not having a pretext of a claim for recognition — well, my efforts, somewhat Quixotic, and decidedly mutinous in character, were of no avail. I had set my heart on seeing Wm. Elliott in a position which every man who knows him, acknowledges to be his due. The Lieut.-Colonelcy was vacant, the Colonelcy too; one of these offices the General declared he should have, but the Governor of New York had to attend to his friends and so William lost his promotion. I was indignant, outraged. I tried to get all the officers to resign, sooner than submit to imposition. Luckily for me, the men I sought to influence were “Canny Scotch” — the promotion of Elliott had no material interest to them. They could say that it was a shame, but losing the liberal pay the U. S. Government allows, was too much of a stretch upon their sense of justice, so I was saved a deal of foolishness which must have ended disastrously. Necessarily in the army a great amount of temporary injustice is done, but in the long run merit will rise. And so I satisfy myself that Wm. Elliott will yet be a Colonel or something more, but he must bide his time. I meant to have written ever so much more, but just hearing the “Baltic” sails directly, I halt abruptly, hoping this may catch her.

Love to all.

SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 116-7

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