Thursday, July 30, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: February 25, 1862


 This being a warm, sunny day, a small party of us thought we would take a stroll up to the head of the island, a mile or two, and perhaps we might find some traces or relics of Raleigh's expedition. Arriving at our destination, we discovered a large, weather-beaten two-storied house, built at some remote period, and surrounded by large live oak trees. We had not the slightest doubt but that this was the house built by Lane and his party. Seeing a man standing outside, whom we supposed was the gentlemanly proprietor of the ranche, we approached, and saluting him very respectfully, inquired if he was in receipt of any recent advices from Raleigh's expedition. He looked at us in utter astonishment and said he knew nothing about it and reckoned there had been “no sich expedition yere.” He said, “Burnside's expedition was yere,” and “reckoned that was about enough;” he couldn't see the use of any more coming. We bade the gentleman good day and left. In looking around for relics, Whipple picked up an old shoe heel. Here was a prize surely, a veritable relic of Raleigh's party. Whipple put it in his pocket, intending, as he said, to send it to the antiquarian society at Worcester, and indulging in the hope that for presenting such a priceless relic, they would at least vote him an honorary member of the society. Relics being scarce, we went up to the shore where we could look up the Albemarle. The wind was blowing gently down the sound, and the little rollers were breaking on the beach at our feet. It was pretty warm; the water looked clear and really refreshing. Some one proposed taking a dip. No sooner said than off came our clothes and in we plunged. Egad! such a scrambling and floundering to get out is seldom seen. It reminded me of a basket of lobsters turned into a tub of scalding water. The water was ice cold, and I thought I should certainly freeze before getting out. After getting on my clothes and getting warm, I certainly felt better for my bath. It was agreed by all hands that February was the wrong season of the year for out-door bathing. Whipple is despondent, his hopes are dashed. He came to me and informed me that he had carefully inspected the shoe heel, and found it put together with cut nails, which are a much more recent invention than Raleigh's expedition.

 SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 40

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