Beaufort, S. C., April 10th, 1862.
My dear Mother:
I was glad to get your photograph, as it does not look, as did the other one you sent me, as though you were the last inhabitant without a friend left in the world. This one is a thousand times more agreeable, though I have to make allowances for those very extraordinary expressions which play about your mouth, when photographically tortured.
The bombardment of Pulaski has begun to-day. Full accounts, I hope, of the “fall” will be taken North by the steamer bearing this. We can hear the guns booming in the distance, but our Brigade, with the exception of the 8th Michigan Regiment, is condemned to remain at Beaufort. So I shall see nothing, but hope soon to hear the fort is ours, and, indeed, so secretly, yet so securely have preparations been made, that we can hardly fail of success. It is dangerous though to make predictions, so often have I read similar sentences in “Secesh” letters written just previous to a defeat.
The atmosphere is most delightful to-day. I wish you could breathe such balmy, though invigorating air. It is hard to realize that it soon will change to an atmosphere deleterious in character.
It is strange to think how ordinary dangers lose all terror in these war-times. I have been almost constantly exposed to smallpox, yet never have so much as thought of the matter further than to assure myself that the vaccination was all right. It is wonderful too how perfect a safeguard vaccination is. Although smallpox has been so prevalent, it has been wholly confined to the negroes and young children, and a few backwoodsmen, to whom modern safeguards were not accessible, or who had neglected the common precaution. I think there has not been a case among our vaccinated soldiers. It is quite a relief to feel that this is so.
I am glad to hear of all my friends wheeling so enthusiastically into the service of their country. As far as I can ascertain, the position of an Allotment Commissioner is one that requires an earnest determination to do something, to tempt any one to accept it, and yet it is really a philanthropic act to perform its purposes.
I wish Charley Johnson would come down here. I would give him the best reception I know how, and this is a pleasant season to visit Beaufort. You ask for my photograph dear mother, and I meant long since to have gratified you, having had myself taken alone, in company with the Staff, and on horseback with the Staff — in a variety of positions, you see, to suit everyone. But I know not how it is that I have never been able to get a copy since they were first struck off, although we have had promises enough that they will soon be ready. I intended to surprise you, but despairing of success, I write the matter that you may not think I have not tried to gratify your wishes.
I am suffering great torments from the sand-flies which abound. These are the peskiest little creatures you ever saw, completely forbidding sleep on a warm night, and defying such flimsy obstruction as mosquito bars.
I wrote Sam Elliott a few days ago. Wm. Elliott has returned looking well, and disgusted with leaves of absence. He is really about the most efficient man in the Brigade. His education has given him great habits of self-reliance, which are invaluable in his profession. Give my love to Mrs. Walter Phelps, and tell her I expect she will send me a photograph of that precious baby of hers. Capital idea photographs are!
Love to all my dear friends.
SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 136-8