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 against
Charleston

No. 17

September 29th. Sumter seems determined to carve itself a name in future history. Our heavy batterys have been battering away at her again for the last two days trying to utterly destroy and make the fort intolerable. Sumter reminds me of my boyhoods days when I used to knock down hornets nests with stones for artillery. I have spent many hours knocking down a single nest and got many a sting by the courageous little garrison as a reward for the invasion to their little citadel. Even after I had ultimately destroyed their stronghold they would remain in the vicinity of the naked branch for several days, sometimes making an attempt to re-build, but I was too much of a general to allow them to make much progress before a second attack as I always found them disheartened after the first defeat and did not allow much time to elapse to recruit their courage or numbers. If some of our leaders would act on the same principle perhaps our cause would make more rapid progress. Like the hornets the rebels still hang about the ruins of the fort, and although they can do us no injury still it does not suit the Genl to have them there, and everybody is anxious to see the legitimate flag of the union flying over the ruined mass of brick and mortar.

I cannot pass further by without again referring to our colored troops. I mean those enlisted at the north. As I said before they are much more intelligent and require different treatment from those of the south. The prejudice of the white soldier is gradually wearing away as their usefullness can no longer be denied. Now I am far from being what is termed a nigger worshiper, but still I cannot help but notice that they are an ill used race, ill used by those whose duty it is to look after their interest and see them get what Uncle Sam intends to provide for all alike both white and black. I believe none of them have been paid yet by government as they refuse to

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