#L8-26-63SC

Lt. Alonzo A. Vanderford of the 21st S.C. Writes Home from Fort Johnson, Defenses of Charleston, August 26th, 1863 – Written on C. & D. Rail-Road Stationery



Prior to the war starting, Alonzo was a merchant in Cheraw, South Carolina.  In December of 1861, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in Company D of the 21st South Carolina Infantry.  The 21st S.C. spent 1862 and 1863 defending the city of Charleston, before heading to Virginia in 1864 where Vanderford would be severely wounded, his leg amputated and died.  Fort Johnson was on James Island and it was here in April of 1861 that the first volley against Fort Sumter was fired. 

The letter is written in nice dark ink on colorful gold 7 x 10-inch stationery of the C. & D. Rail-Road.  The Cheraw and Darlington railroad ran between those towns in South Carolina.  When Union General William T. Sherman invaded South Carolina in March of 1865 much of the railroad was destroyed. 

Here is the content:

  • Fort Johnson Aug. 26, 1863.  My Dear Cynthia, I again write you a few lines as Capt. Tarth is going back home. I am well at this time and getting on very well. I rec’d the box and it was very acceptable. I tell you, though, we had a large supply on hand except bread. The apples were very fine.
  • We are now camped out in the woods without tents. Take the rain at nights, sometime all night out in the rain.
  • THERE WAS A FIGHT LAST NIGHT AT THE BATTERY [BATTERY WAGNER] AND OUR SIDE WHIPPED THEM. WE LOST 8 KILLED AND 20 WOUNDED. THE 54TH GEO. REGT., THE 61ST N. C. AND CHARLESTON BATTALION WERE ENGAGED. WE DON’T KNOW THE NUMBER OF YANKS THAT WERE KILLED, BUT REPORT SAYS THEIR LOSS WAS VERY HEAVY.
  • I hope that we will not have to go back to Wagner, but if we do, don’t be uneasy for I will take care of myself if I have the right mind about me. I wish that this was over. OUR MEN ARE GETTING VERY MUCH WORN OUT. BUT THEY WILL FIGHT TO THE LAST.
  • Tell Mr. McArn that the city of Charleston is to be held if it can be, and if hard fighting will do any good. But that is enough about the fight. I wish that I could only see you and Julie a little while but I can’t. I will come home though just as soon as I can, and if I get sick you shall know it immediately.
  • THERE IS NO SUCH A THING ABOUT ALL HOPES BEING GIVEN UP ABOUT HOLDING THE CITY. THEY HAVE THROWN SOME SHELLS OVER IN THE CITY BUT DID NO DAMAGE.
  • You ought to have heard from me on Tuesday. But we did not get over from the Battery until Monday morning daylight, and then I did not have the time to write for the mail left at 7 a.m. But I wrote one on Monday and mailed it on Monday night so, I reckon you got it on Wednesday morning.
  • I have just bought a bushel of salt and will send it up by Express. I have not paid the freight. Maybe will not have any to pay. It is in a box. You will then have salt enough to last you some time.
  • I will send you by Capt. Tarth $210. Two hundred and ten dollars and you can use it just as you please. Only have the note paid to McQueen as soon as you can possibly do so.
  • I can’t get the chance to go to the city now. They won’t let us go because we are under marching orders, and it is best heeded.
  • Send to the Depot for the salt in a day or two and get it and dry it and keep it in a dry place, and write soon and tell me how you are and all about how you are getting on.
  • Kiss Sallie for me. Give my love to all. Tell Ma to let me know when she will have the suit ready as soon as she can. Nothing more at this time. Write soon. Your Loving Husband, A. A. Vanderford.  Send me some envelopes if you can, some small ones, two or three.

#L8-26-63SC – Price $350













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