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 J.H.W.

For F.W.


No. 2

Apr 13th continued. In the afternoon we went out again without any further trouble. This morning while some men of the 62nd were cooking their breakfast, an old bomb shell they had put in the fire to hold their kettle up, thinking there was nothing in it, suddenly exploded dangerously wounding two of them and making it necessary to amputate the leg of one of them. To day we built more roads and commenced a splinter proof battery, that is a battery covered over with palmetto logs and sand. Palmetto being of a soft spongy nature like cork if hit by a ball or shell no splinters fly off which is often the case with other wood, the splinters wounding more men than the shots. This morning a captain of the 62nd was shot dead by one of his own men.1 It seems that the captain went outside the lines and lost his way, and came in at another point. The guard not knowing the captain was out challenged and the captain being a little deaf did not respond, so the guard fired killing him almost instantly. This happened before day light. The wind from the east to day blowing a gale. The sea is very high and the breakers make such a roar we can barely hear each other speak. This tide is verry high compelling some of the men to move higher up the bank. 15th This day is clear and beautiful and I begin to like it here as well or nearly as I did Beaufort. I am sure I like better than the head of it in the wild woods. To day I tried something new. In the top of the palmetto grows a substance which the negroes call cabbage, and it certainly tastes much like it. I like it much better. It can be used all the different ways the same as cabbage. I use it mostly raw cut up with vinegar. One tree furnishes about

1. Accidental deaths of Federal forces are estimated at 4,114. Long, The Civil War Day by Day, p. 710.

-6-

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