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. 21

Nov 17th continued. I regret to commence this number with the relation of a melancholly accident. In the afternoon while some marines were rolling a buoy out in deeper water a negro who had got the top of it fell off and disappeared beneath the surface never to rise again in life. It is supposed he must have knocked the breath from his body as he fell or he would have risen to the surface immediately. The water was only 4 ft 6 in deep. The under current must have carried him out as the body at last accounts had not been found. The buoy was one that had got loose in the harbor and floated ashore in front of our camp. It was towed out and refastened. 19th Mail arrived this afternoon having been 2½ days coming from the Head. I suppose you read the paper you sent me. I have seldom seen more truthfull accounts in the papers than the dispatches from here contained in this one. The showers of shells it speaks of as being thrown in Sumter and such like stories is all moonshine and wont do to tell to those who can see for themselves. I have never seen two shots fired at the same time and I hardly think one can be called a shower. The rebel papers from which the herald makes extracts also gives true statements. They say that in 24 hours 1,215 shot were thrown in Sumter which averages one every 1 min

sees. See if you can figure that out and send me the figures on paper. Something is brewing perhaps an attack on Sumter for tonight.

20th I believe an attempt was made to take the Fort last night but I can learn nothing definite. Whatever the attempt may have been else it was a failure. So many reports are flying this day I will not give any of them. The facts are evidentially withheld from the men. My own impression is that it was only a reconnoitering party and that an attack will be made in a night or two. 22nd It is Sunday again, but unlike the last it is

-60-

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