Saturday, September 10, 2016

Captain William Thompson Lusk to Elizabeth Adams Lusk, February 16, 1862

Headquarters 2d Brigade, S. C.
Beaufort, S. C. Feb. 16th, 1862.
My dear Mother:

Pleasant land of South Carolina! Roses blooming in the gardens, mocking birds whistling sweet notes in the forests, trees green and beautiful as dense foliage can make them — quite different from the cold winter you are spending — but Ugh, how the wind does blow here to-night though! It makes little difference to us here in the house, for the bright wood-fire blazes cheerfully, and around it is gathered by no means a dejected party smoking cigars, and good-naturedly cursing the slowness of the campaign. Out of door, the pickets perhaps, blowing their fingers, may be using deeper expressions, and may be having different motives for wishing the war to wag along a little faster. Would that our little General with his big shaggy head, were in command! I think he would set them dancing over on the mainland to the merry old tune of Malbrook, but Sherman is slow and cautious, and the biggest figure he allows us to execute is a sort of dos-a-dos performance at best.

So our little General, with nothing better to do, contents himself with having the best managed Brigade in the Command, lectures us young men occasionally on Strategy, and at times, in sheer despair, reads novels with the same energy and vigor with which he conducts his operation on the battlefield. He is, indeed, a prodigious little man, and it would rejoice many a one, were he to receive a larger, and more splendid field of action — such a one as his talents demand.

Dear, dear! I am impatient to hear from home, but our transport vessels are needed elsewhere, and we have no idea when we are to receive another mail.

I see Captain ——— quite often. He is like Sherman, very slow. I try to give him some hints about flying around more, and I trust experience will teach him the necessary lesson.

By-the-by, who is George Martin, now Quartermaster of the 79th Regiment, who talks about “Uncle Lusk” and “Uncle Olmstead” and “Uncle Thompson” and “Henry G.,” etc? He heard me say I was from Connecticut — “What, you don't belong to the Enfield Lusks?” I explained my relationship. . . . Wishing to ascertain the relationship existing between us, I found he was born somewhere in Suffield, and that his using the title of “Uncle” was merely intended to show that he was accustomed to mingle familiarly in the Aristocratic Circles of Enfield. Indeed we kept up quite a running talk about Enfield. While talking rapidly upon the topics suggesting themselves, on finding our “relationship,” we were somewhat interrupted by a loud hawhaw from a bed in the corner of the room. Then a voice, deep and gruff, cried: “Haw-haw! Oh Lord, haw-haw! One would think there were no people in the world except those that come from Connecticut, haw-haw!” This proceeded from a drunken Captain, who was so amused at his own wit, that he continued to laugh, and roll, and shake his fat sides until the room was in a roar, and as I left, way down the street you could hear the same “haw-haw” from the jolly drunken Captain.

Love to all.

SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 122-3

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