Diary of a Yankee Engineer: The Civil War Story of John H. Westervelt, Engineer, 1st New York Volunteer Engineer Corps

By John H. Westervelt; Anita Palladino | Go to book overview

Journal of an expedition to Folly
Island written by JHW for FSW

No. 1

Apl 1st 4pm Word came to prepare for a secret expedition to Folly Island. 2nd Last evening we packed everything belonging to us. 6 P.M. We had orders to strike tents but were obliged to sleep in the sand all night. The wind blowing a gale on us and sand in clouds…. got my breakfast 8 A.M. Fell in and marched on board all highly elated with their idea of work. … there are … birds here. They seemed so playful that I almost imagined that it was for our benefit. After watching them a while went to dine on salt hardtack. Water on board vessels is made fresh by placing in what they call condensers, after which it becomes sweet and pure. [However] not having any on board old enough … 5 P.M. We had 2 boats lashed together one upside down, we took them in tow although the sea was very high and we had great difficulty in getting them and was obliged to cut the one adrift that was upside down. 6 P.M. We ran and anchored in Edisto inlet between Edisto & John’s Island 4th 7 A.M. Up anchor and put to sea. 8 A.M. began to get rough, the sea kept rising. 11 A.M. when we took a pilot on board. Previous to this the boat we picked up swamped. We cut her loose and let her go. We now ran as far as Stono inlet and lay out at the bar for the tide till 6 P.M. when we ran in and anchored. We could now see the fleet blockading Charleston harbor, being about 15 miles distant. We could also see rebel camps on the land. Here lay several monitors and gun boats waiting orders for the attack on C.

Sunday 5th 3 P.M. Orders came on board for the Company to go to Folly island with three days rations in our haversacks, or knapsacks. All hands were highly elated except two of those who showed the whites further. Now we detect the chaff from the wheat. I will tell you some anecdote about it when I see you. I have no space here. 11 P.M. Left the steamer in small boats and landed at 12 midnight. All of the boats running

-1-

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