Sunday, November 13, 2016

Captain William Thompson Lusk to Elizabeth Adams Lusk, April 15, 1862

Beaufort, S. C. April 15th, 1862.
My dear Mother:

Not wishing you to be exposed to disappointment, I must write a few brief lines by the mail that I have just learned will leave here in a short time. I have hardly anything to write beside the delight at the news received by latest advices. The fall of No. 10, the battle at Corinth, and the surrender of Pulaski are a rare combination of good things to come at one time. I can give you no particulars regarding the bombardment at Pulaski, as it was expected to continue several days, and the General consequently postponed visiting the scene of action until it was too late. The newspapers, however, will be full of the matter, I suppose, and will be loud in their praises of General Hunter, though he had really nothing whatever to do with it. The whole affair was prepared under the Sherman regime, and to it belongs the credit. The one immediately deserving of credit is General Gilmore who has had the direct superintendence of the matter.

We are hoping for reinforcements soon from the North, feeling, as we do, unwilling to enter into summer without having contributed something to the glory and success of our cause. But we are half relinquishing the hope that the Government considers our little post in other light than a good field for emancipation experiments. I am sorry to say I do not feel great sympathy in the efforts made at present in that line — not that I do not feel the necessity of the question's being settled, or do not feel the same interest that others do in the question itself. I am delighted to think that the time has come when slavery has lost its power, and something is to be done for the regeneration of the negro, but believe the question to be one of such delicacy, and requiring in its solution such rare wisdom, that I can not but be filled with extreme disgust at the character of the agents employed. I do believe that there is hardly one of them who would have the slightest chance of success in anything but professional philanthropy. A more narrow-minded pack of fools I rarely ever met. Instead of showing the necessary qualities for the position, they seem to care for nothing but their miserable selves. There is undoubtedly some good leaven in the mass, but, could you see them, the men especially, I do not think they would command your sympathies much. I suppose such preliminary experiments have to be made though, before any systematic plan can be adopted for the general amelioration of the mass. I do wish though there were more unselfish ones among them, and a few more acquainted with worldly matters. The ladies are by far the best part, for they mostly came down under excitement, or determined to do good. Here's a pretty dish of scandal, truly, but I get exasperated sometimes.

I am much obliged to Hattie for her kind offer to make the flag for me. Any such evidence of kindly feeling is appreciated, I assure you, down here.

A steamer lies embedded in the sand a short distance from the shore. I think it has some mail matter aboard, so I watch it impatiently.

Good-bye, dear Mother, love to all and believe me,

Your son,

SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 140-2

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