Headquarters 2d Brigade, S. C.
Beaufort, S. C. March 10th, 1862.
My dearest Mother:
The “Atlantic” brought Wm. Elliott who had much to tell me of you all, and I gladly learned of your happiness and good health. The letters with the latest news and Lilly's carte-de-visite, likewise came to hand. I must thank Lilly a thousand times for having undergone the ordeal of being photographed for my sake. Only let Molly go and do likewise. As for the little boys, I fear their moustaches will grow before their mother will consider them lovely enough for the occasion. Pshaw! As though a photograph could represent a red nose or a cold in the head!
Well, I thank Uncle Phelps most heartily for the wine he sent me, which has been much commended by judges of the article. Aunt Maria's crackers were a welcome addition to our mess for which I am this month acting as caterer.
I received a long, long letter from Sam Elliott, for which I am most grateful. Tell him, if I do not answer as speedily as it deserves, he will nevertheless always remember how much I prize his friendship. I am very glad you did not accompany “the excellent females” whom the “Atlantic” brought hither for the purpose of regenerating the negro race. They have been having a most royal time of it I assure you. Some of the ladies are from Boston, and do not wish to associate with ladies from New-York. Indeed, some of the Boston ladies have been creditably informed that the New-York delegation is composed of nothing better than milliners. The New-York ladies say that they have volunteered their services while the philanthropic Boston women are receiving $20.00 a month — in fact are paid wages for their charity. And so the battle rages high. In fact the most of the combatants are heartily sick of it. They supposed they were coming here to occupy the superb mansions of the wealthiest of Southern Planters — such mansions as you read of in Mrs. Caroline Lee Hentz's picture of Southern life. They have come, however, and found an old-fashioned town with crumbling old-fashioned houses, all run to waste in piazza — very picturesque to look at to my eyes — “but then they are so different,” the ladies say, “to what we are accustomed about Boston.” With the men of the Association there has been no little fun. They are strictly non-combatants, and have indeed a sort of superior feeling to those who are brutally employed in bearing arms. For this they have been punished by being made the recipients of the most marvellous “canards” imaginable. They are kept in a continual state of alarm by reports of a speedy attack from overwhelming forces. They are comforted by the coolest assurances that the enemy would in no case regard them as prisoners of war, but would hang them without compunction to the nearest tree.
But I have told scandal enough. We were reviewed a week ago by Gen. Sherman. Our brigade made a fine appearance, and I am glad to particularize our Conn. Battery which really reflected very creditably on its captain. I met a young fellow a few days ago, named ———, who says he knew you and Lilly when you were at the Wauregan Hotel. I believe he had a class in Sunday-school then, though somewhat anxious to play the fast boy now. Well, it seems we are making rapid progress in the war, and who knows but that I may be home by next 4th of July, instructing Mary's boys in firing off crackers and other noisy nuisances incident to the occasion.
Good-bye, my dear, darling Mother. Love to you and all of my friends, to sisters and the little children. You must report progress too about Walter's boy.
By-the-by, you addressed me some time ago in a most mysterious manner. Reading over the letter lately, I have concluded to answer with equal mystery — “Precisely!”
Your affectionate son,
W. T. Lusk,
SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 127-9