U.S. Steamer Augusta, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron Off Charleston, S.C. – Fighting the Confederate Ironclads Chicora & Palmetto State, “We received one 9 inch shell through our vessel… the shot and shell flew around us for a time.”
This 3 ½ page letter in ink on 5 x 8 inch stationery was written by Pardon Spencer. With a first name like “Horace”, he preferred his nickname. This letter is not dated but was written probably in February 1863 just after the Augusta’s battle with 2 famous ironclads that Pardon refers to.

The first part of the letter perfectly describes the loneliness of a sailor: “If you think sailors are always the same gay, frolicsome set you would be mistaken; many times since I been from home have I looked over the side of our vessel on the wide expanse of waters and thought to what purpose am I living. I would wander back to when I was a mere boy of 14 years of age when I first left home on a voyage around the globe. I was then gay and full of ambition. The flag that floated ore me was my pride and in every foreign country I could say no prouder flag floats than ours, but what a few years have brought about.”

Amazingly, Pardon began his naval career at age 14! He goes on to state: “In Havanna a few weeks ago I saw four rebel steamers flaunting their cursed flag in our faces, some of our men nearly killed the Capt. of one of the rebel steamers in the streets.” It is very possible that one of these rebel steamers was the CSS Alabama as that was the ship that the USS Augusta was assigned to protect U.S. shipping vessels from.

Pardon goes on to state that they are “at anchor in plain sight of Fort Sumter and the city of Charleston.”

“The last of January we had a fight with two rebel rams. We received one nine inch shell through our vessel. The shot and shell flew around us for a time. The rams left us and made for Charleston. Some of our steamers suffered badly.”

Pardon goes onto tell his cousin that “I am sick and tired of roaming.” “…You spoke of one of your friends saying he thought the war was a speculation. I think so myself. I must close this poor letter and sign myself your loving, Cousin Pardon Spencer, U.S. Steamer Augusta. Please direct to Port Royal, S.C. My love to all your family.”

Fine condition.

#HC198 - Price $175