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Famous Charleston Lawyer W. F. Colcock Describes Charleston’s Condition in January 1862

Four page LS by William Ferguson Colcock, United States Congressmen from South Carolina.  During the Civil War he served as Collector of the Port of Charleston (a position he held under both the Federal and Confederate Governments).  After the Civil War he had a law practice in the Beaufort area with his son-in-law, Charles Jones Colcock Hutson.  The Colcock-Hutson collection of books is in the University of South Carolina School of Law.  In this letter William is writing his son, Cornelius, who would eventually join his father’s law practice. 

Highlights of the letter:

  • “We are living in times of grand events and God alone knows what the final & complete issues will be.   I have an abiding confidence that under his divine guidance we will work out our deliverance & liberty, but we will have to pass through the agony and bloody sweat of an unparalleled revolution.”  
  • “The next few months will produce decisive events.  Our enemies are putting forth their maximum strength and will fall back like a drunken giant exhausted by his overtaxed efforts.  We are looking anxiously for the movements of the Burnside fleet.  It is said they are now at Hatteras but we are yet ignorant of what point they intend to attack.  They may strike us a severe blow somewhere on our coast, but they cannot advance far into the interior as they can never cover their rear.”
  • “Willie and Cornelius are with Charles’ command which has abandoned Bluffton by Gen. Drayton’s orders, and fallen back to the head of the South May River Road… The enemy sometimes comes up our river in their gun boats and destroy our houses and steal our property.  They have retired from the mainland and are now confined to the Islands.” 
  • “Gen. Gregg has his head quarters at Jericho.  He was not in the battle of Port Royal Ferry being absent in Columbia attending the Convention.   Gen. Donelson of the Tennessee Brigade is at Bindon and Gen. Pemberton at John Gregone’s house near Pocotalig’s Station; Gen. Lee has his headquarters at Mr. Farri’s house in Coosawhatchie and Gen. Drayton is at Hardeeville.  Gen. Evans at Adams Run and Gen. Ripley in Charleston.  Col. Manigault commands at Georgetown.”
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