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          SPECIALIZING IN ORIGINAL CIVIL WAR MEMORABILIA        
The Battle for Battery Wagner, Morris Island, S.C. – Sumner B. Cole, Co. F, 10th Connecticut Infantry
This 4 page letter in nice dark ink was written by Sumner B. Cole, a 26-year old from Griswold, Connecticut. Cole enlisted in October 1861 and would reenlist in January of 1864. He was severely wounded at the battle of Newmarket Road, Virginia on October 7th, 1864. The letter is headed, “Morris Island, S.C., July the 28th, 1863”.


Here are some of the highlights:

• “Fort Sumter is ours and you need not be afraid to bet a thousand dollars with any man that Fort Sumter will fall in less than 10 days.” (Hope he didn’t really bet as Fort Sumter did not fall until February 1865!)

• “We have got 4-200 pound parrott guns planted less than 2 miles in the rear of Sumter. We also have 6-100 pound parrott guns planted about 4 miles and a 1/2 in the rear. We have a number of 32 pound parrott guns planted near and then we have next to this time, got 40 guns and mortars. Some of the mortars are 13 inch and some are 10 inch. One of the 200 pound guns commands the gate to Sumter. These 200 and 100 pounders the Rebels knew nothing about for they have not been unmasked yet.”

• “I hear that the siege is going to open July the 29th, but I don't think they will be ready before the first of Aug. Then they will open on Sumter and Fort Wagner and Cummings Point, all at one time and they will fall sure.”

• “I can see Sumter and the City of Charleston from our camp and Fort Moultrie and Fort Johnson. Fort Johnson has been firing night and day for the last 3 days at our men that are to work mounting guns & where they know we have got them mounted. Last Friday the 10th went to the front to guard the siege train. We was under a heavy fire of shot and shell for 4 hours.”

• “Our Lieut. Col. lost his left leg, and 2 men was wounded by a shell from Johnson. Five men in Co. F was buried in the dirt by the bursting of a shell from Fort Johnson. George Cole was one of them men hurt. We had to dig one man out with a shovel.”

• “The only way we saved ourselves was to dig holes and get into them and keep our eyes skinned. We were there in case the Rebels undertook to charge on our works. We all stuck to our post till 9 o'clock that night. Then we was relieved by a Ohio Regiment. Our Lieut. Col. is the best man we have got. Bill Fenner can tell all about Col. Leggett. Some of the boys have been to see him. He told them to not to be discouraged. That he should be with the Regt. soon with a cork leg.”

• “The most of the work is done in the night such as mounting guns. We have to haul them along by hand. It takes about 400 men to snake one along. The gun is slung on wheels that are 10 feet high. Our Batteries are built of sand bags. There is some times 3 or 4 Regiments backing them along. They get whiskey 2 or 3 times during the night. Then there'll be music here in a few days. And mark what I say about the 7th of August. You will see in the paper big black letters saying that Fort Sumter is all caved in and that it is ours. I may lose my life here, but if I live through this, I shall be proud that I was near here where the war commenced and I hope here is where it will end.”

• “Our troops near charged on Fort Wagner but they failed. Our Brigade supported them, but no man can live to get into Wagner till after our siege train works on them and roasts them out. We was left to the front that time 24 hours, 12 of which we was under a heavy fire, but as it was in the night, we could see the booms coming and get out of the way. No one in the 10th was hurt.”

• “The 7th Conn. and 6th Conn. are here. Warren Humes is in the 7th. There is 7 Monitors near and the Ironsides and about 20 wooden gun boats. The old Wabash lays off at the bar. She sent 150 Marines ashore today to dress the 200 and 100 pounders. The first U. S. Artillery and the 3rd R. I. Artillery man the rest of the siege guns and mortars.”
• “Fort Sumter has got 2 guns and one mortar that she can use on us. Only Cummings Battery has got 2, I believe, and one mortar. Fort Wagner has got 2 guns but they can't use them for our sharp shooters are so near that they pick the gunners off as fast as they can get round their guns.”

• “Our Marines are to work nights with diving bells picking up torpedoes. They have taken out one chain that was stretched across the channel. The chain is made of large saw mill logs. All of this is unknown to the Rebels. As soon as Sumter is caved in, the Monitors will go right in and let themselves perfectly loose and the next thing you hear we shall be in Charleston.”

• “S. B. Cole Direct Co. F. 10th C. V. Morris Island S. C. Stevenson's Brigade”


A wonderful letter full of much valuable information. Condition: On the first page at the top there is a small piece missing, it affects one word on the other side.

#L718CT - Price $495

















































FULL TRANSCRIPTION:

Morris Island S. C.
July the 28th 1863

S. A. Cole
               Sir thinking you would like to know what is going on here, I thought I would write and let you know what I know about it. I can say this much. Fort Sumter is ours and you need not be afraid to bet a thousand dollars with any man that Fort Sumter will fall in less than 10 days. We have got 4-200 pound parrott guns planted less than 2 miles in the rear of Sumter. We also have 6-100 pound parrott guns planted about 4 miles and a 1/2 in the rear. We have a number of 32 pound parrott guns planted near and then we have next to this time, got 40 guns and mortars. Some of the mortars are 13 inch and some are 10 inch. One of the 200 pound guns commands the gate to Sumter. These 200 and 100 pounders the Rebels knew nothing about for they have not been unmasked yet. I hear that the siege is going to open July the 29th, but I don't think they will be ready before the first of Aug. Then they will open on Sumter and Fort Wagner and Cummings Point, all at one time and they will fall sure.

               I cannot tell you half that is going on, but I can see Sumter and the City of Charleston from our camp and Fort Moultrie and Fort Johnson. Fort Johnson has been firing night and day for the last 3 days at our men that are to work mounting guns & where they know we have got them mounted. Last Friday the 10th went to the front to guard the siege train. We was under a heavy fire of shot and shell for 4 hours. Our Lieut. Col. lost his left leg, and 2 men was wounded by a shell from Johnson. Five men in Co. F was buried in the dirt by the bursting of a shell from Fort Johnson. George Cole was one of them men. Them was hurt. We had to dig one man out with a shovel. The only way we saved ourselves was to dig holes and get into them and keep our eyes skinned. We were there in case the Rebels undertook to charge on our works. We all stuck to our post till 9 o'clock that night. Then we was relieved by a Ohio Regiment. Our Lieut. Col. is the best man we have got. Bill Fenner can tell all about Col. Leggett. Some of the boys have been to see him. He told them to not to be discouraged. That he should be with the Regt. soon with a cork leg. The most of the work is done in the night such as mounting guns. We have to haul them along by hand. It takes about 400 men to snake one along. The gun is slung on wheels that are 10 feet high. Our Batteries are built of sand bags. There is some times 3 or 4 Regiments backing them along. They get whiskey 2 or 3 times during the night. Then there'll be music here in a few days. And mark what I say about the 7th of August. You will see in the paper big black letters saying that Fort Sumter is all caved in and that it is ours. I may lose my life here, but if I live through this, I shall be proud that I was near here where the war commenced and I hope here is where it will end. I am well and in good spirits, and so is George. I sent 19.00 dollars to Mr. Bile for George. I would like to know if he has got it. I sent it about 4 weeks ago by mail, July the 10th. Our troops near charged on Fort Wagner but they failed. Our Brigade supported them, but no man can live to get into Wagner till after our siege train works on them and roasts them out. We was left to the front that time 24 hours, 12 of which we was under a heavy fire, but as it was in the night, we could see the booms coming and get out of the way. No one in the 10th was hurt. The 7th Conn. and 6th Conn. are here. Warren Humes is in the 7th. There is 7 Monitors near and the Ironsides and about 20 wooden gun boats. The old Wabash lays off at the bar. She sent 150 Marines ashore today to dress the 200 and 100 pounders. The first U. S. Artillery and the 3rd R. I. Artillery man the rest of the siege guns and mortars. Fort Sumter has got 2 guns and one mortar that she can use on us. Only Cummings Battery has got 2, I believe, and one mortar. Fort Wagner has got 2 guns but they can't use them for our sharp shooters are so near that they pick the gunners off as fast as they can get round their guns. Our Marines are to work nights with diving bells picking up torpedoes. They have taken out one chain that was stretched across the channel. The chain is made of large saw mill logs. All of this is unknown to the Rebels. As soon as Sumter is caved in, the Monitors will go right in and let themselves perfectly loose and the next thing you hear we shall be in Charleston. I received a letter from Sarah but I have not had time to write. My respects to all and write soon. How does Grand Mother get along? Is she in Jewett City? How is Betsey?

S. B. Cole

Direct Co. F. 10th C. V. Morris Island S. C.
Stevenson's Brigade