Arming & Equipping the South Carolina Troops - October 1861

This ALS on imprint stationary “State of South Carolina, Head Quarters” is all in the hand of South Carolina Governor F. W. Pickens.  In this letter, Pickens stresses the need to not let the Confederate Government in Richmond know the extent of their own supplies, “Keep them in a secret… until the hard fact of the winter, & when we know where they may be needed most.”  Pickens mentions shoes and while not currently a shortage, would become one of the most needed supplies in the Confederate army – as many soldiers would end of barefooted!  Pickens mentions “90 muskets to be paid for to Messrs. Frazier & Co.”  These were muskets imported from England.  The Confederacy would rely heavily upon items “run through the blockade” throughout the war.  The letter totals three pages and is in fine condition.

         State of South Carolina,
Head Quarters.


     I sign with pleasure the request to issue the receivable paper authorized under the act for $200,000.  I am surprised at what you wrote as to auditing accounts at Richmond.  I feared it & know nothing but your presence will force the audits through.
     I do hope you will go
immediately and push as many through by the meeting
of the Legislature as possible, for all we can get there will relieve us that much.  You will be so good as to supply me a few days before the meeting of the Legislature with the whole amount audited up to that time, & then the balance already due but not audited, & then a general amount of what we may claim from 20th Dec. up to 9th Feby.  I wrote Glover that of course the supplies are not to be furnished all at once nor is the money - $20,000 – at a time is enough - & the estimate I sent him were for a year.
    Beside the soldiers have already
run through half their supplies, & private
contributions particularly of blankets & shirts & drawers are going on to a large extent so that you cannot tell what is needed until each Col. makes his proper requisition.
    I agree with you as to a special agent in Richmond, & want when the
Confederate Govt. have provided to account for all transportation.  We must hold back on supplies and keep them a secret to ourselves until the hard fact of the winter, & when we can know where they may be needed most, & then we can tell with effect from our public sources.  At present there is no suffering in fact.
    Even all the shoes I sent on are not yet needed or used.  I know this.
As to the 90 muskets to be paid for to Messrs Frazier & Co. – they are 90 that Col. Gist got for a company in DeSaussure’s Regt. – and he was to get them provided Frazier & Co. could but if in such a state that it would pass as a number against the Confederate Govt. and if this cannot be done then they are not to be paid for.  Capt. Redcliff of the same Regt. got an account of the same kind of rifles from the same party, & it was approved of by Genl. Ripley & with Genl. Ripley’s approval Frazier & Co. looked directly to the Confederate Govt. and the rifles were returned.  Let these ninety be paid for in the same way.  The price they were offered to us at was $30 although they had sold to Confederate Govt. at $40.
    The Secy. of War telegraphed me that it was in this way Col. Cunningham got
950 from the same parties & all I intend was that as these 90 guns went into the hands of a company already mustered into Confederate service.  That you should be sure of receiving back the money immediately beyond all doubt.  Write me & also telegraph from Richmond. 

 Yours very respectfully & truly, 
                        F. W. Pickens


The letter is in excellent condition and provides an important glimpse into the equipping of the early South Carolina troops… especially from the point of using imported arms!


#HC90 – Price $425