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          SPECIALIZING IN ORIGINAL CIVIL WAR MEMORABILIA        
100th Pa. Soldier E. F. S. Pinkerton Writes Home on His Way by Ship to South Carolina. “Thought our vessel was gone forever”… He Survived but 9 Months Later Drowned When His Ship Went Down on the Potomac River! “We got lots of Negros as captives. They like it first rate, they know they are free. I will send you a piece of cotton as it grows here.” – And it is enclosed!
Pinkerton was a resident of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. He enlisted on August 31st, 1861 into Company B of the 100th Pa. Infantry. The 100th Pa. were known as “Round Heads”. The first assignment was to head south to Hilton Head, and that is where our letter is headed, “November 18th, 1861”. The letter is written in nice dark ink. It has some “breakage” issues that archival tape has fixed. The content is excellent. PLUS, ENCLOSED IS AN ORIGINAL PIECE OF CIVIL WAR COTTON!


Here are the highlights:

• “I take this opportunity to inform you how I am getting along DOWN HERE IN SOUTH CAROLINA AMONG THE COTTON FIELDS WHERE THE DARKIES WORK.”

• “My health is very good & hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing. I have had the measles was pretty sick for three days but am now well enough again. I would have written to you long ago but had not time so you must excuse me.”

• “I will tell you something about our journey here. We sailed from Fortress Monroe on the 29th of October and had a very hard storm while on the steam boat. SEVERAL TIMES WE THOUGHT OUR VESSEL WAS GONE FOREVER but still she carried us safely through while several other vessels were lost.”

• “We came here on the 4th of this month and in the evening our gun boats run up and fired on the Rebel Batteries. In this place they fired an hour or so when our boats run out of range of the battery and the firing til the next morning when our boats run up again.”

• “They fired 2 1/2 hours and our boats run out of range again. The next day there was no fighting done but the day following, our boats went up closer than ever and commenced to fire on the battery. The fired on both sides like fury for awhile when the Rebels began to fire slowly and in about 3 or 4 hours the Rebs began to fire only once in awhile til afternoon when the rebels quit firing and were leaving their dead not buried.”

• “There was 3 hundred of their Rebels killed and we don't know how many more owing to how many they buried. They run leaving everything behind them even their wounded.”

• “We came on shore and lay round awhile and then went out on skirmish. We took 4 men prisoners and two women besides several that were wounded. We took 80 horses and several wagons & some harness and 150 head of cattle with lots of turkeys and chickens.”

• “We got lots of Negroes as captives. They like it first rate, they know they are free. I will send you a piece of cotton as it grows here. I have just pulled it off the stalk but we also got on the island 100 acres of sweet potatoes most of which is now dug and a good many (to) eat.”

• “I like it very well, am very well contented to live here in the fields of cotton. Kill all the secessionists you see. Tell them nothing but union men can live, that SECESH MUST ALL BE KILLED OR MADE (TO) SUBMIT, FOR THE STARS AND STRIPES SHALL EVER WAVE O'ER THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE…”

• “I am your absent brother. Direct your letters to ETS Pinkerton (E. F. S. Pinkerton, Co. B., Leasures Rgt., 2nd Brigade.) (J. H. & N. C. Thompson, Sherman's Division in care of Col. Tompkins, N.Y. ) Please forward after.”


As we mentioned in the title, on August 13th, 1862 Pinkerton while on the steamer West Point drowned on the Potomac river.

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Transcription:

Hilton Head., S.C.
November 18th of 1861

Dear Brother and Sister,

                               I take this opportunity to inform you how I am getting along down here in South Carolina among the cotton fields where the darkies work. My health is very good & hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing. I have had the measles was pretty sick for three days but am now well enough again. I would have written to you long ago but had not time so you must excuse me. I will tell you something about our journey here. We sailed from Fortress Monroe on the 29th of October and had a very hard storm while on the steam boat. Several times we thought our vessel was gone forever but still she carried us safely through while several other vessels were lost. We came here on the 4th of this month and in the evening our gun boats run up and fired on the Rebel Batteries. In this place they fired an hour or so when our boats run out of range of the battery and the firing til the next morning when our boats run up again. They fired 21/2 hours and our boats run out of range again. The next day there was no fighting done but the day following, our boats went up closer than ever and commenced to fire on the battery. The fired on both sides like fury for awhile when the Rebels began to fire slowly and in about 3 or 4 hours the Rebs began to fire only once in awhile til afternoon when the rebels quit firing and were leaving their dead not buried. There was 3 hundred of their Rebels killed and we don't know how many more owing to how many they buried. They run leaving everything behind them even their wounded. We came on shore and lay round awhile and then went out on skirmish. We took 4 men prisoners and two women besides several that were wounded. We took 80 horses and several wagons & some harness and 150 head of cattle with lots of turkeys and chickens. We got lots of Negroes as captives. They like it first rate, they know they are free. I will send you a piece of cotton as it grows here. I have just pulled it off the stalk but we also got on the island 100 acres of sweet potatoes most of which is now dug and a good many (to) eat. I like it very well, am very well contented to live here in the fields of cotton. Kill all the secessionists you see. Tell them nothing but union men can live, that Secesh must all be killed or made (to) submit, for the stars and stripes shall ever wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave, but I must close. Write soon. I am your absent brother. Direct your letters to E. F. S. Pinkerton (E. F. S. Pinkerton, Co. B., Leasures Rgt., 2nd Brigade.) (J.H. & N.C. Thompson, Sherman's Division in care of Col. Tompkins, N.Y.) Please forward after.