Confederate Letter & Two Postal Covers from Augustine T. Smythe Who Served in the CONFEDERATE SIGNAL CORPS & ON THE C.S.S. PALMETTO STATE !!
Ever since my first visit to Charleston, S.C. over 50 years ago, I became acquainted with the name Augustine T. Smythe. My good friend “Jack” Thompson who originated the famous Charleston Civil War walking tour, used the story of Smythe in his talks. Augustine T. Smythe first served in the South Carolina College Company of 25th Militia stationed at Moultrie House on Sullivan’s Island. He then became the Chief “Lookout” stationed in the steeple of St. Michael’s Church with a job of looking for enemy vessels advancing in the harbor. His final assignment was service on the C.S.S. Palmetto State. [Check out the great history of this Ironclad Ram Vessel on the Internet.] Another great source to check out is the book, Days of Destruction: Augustine Thomas Smythe and the Civil War Siege of Charleston by W. Eric Emerson. Many of Smythe’s letters can also be found in the South Carolina Historical Society.
The letter is 2-pages in nice dark ink with an address label on the 3rd page. It is addressed to Mrs. Thos. Parker in Rivoli, South Carolina. Here is the content:
- C. S. S. Palmetto State Nov. 22nd, 1863. My Dear Mrs. Parker, You asked me once to let you know occasionally the whereabouts of the Calhoun Guard. They were for a long time encamped as garrison to the Battery at White Point Garden, then they went to Morris Island for a time. There they relieved the regulars in Fort Sumter & were there with the rest of the Battalion to repulse the attack of the Yankees on the Fort.
- When they left there, they were moved to James Island where they now are, I believe. The Battalion tho, as such, has ceased to exist for a junction has been made between it & Nelson’s Battalion forming a new Regiment, the 36th, I think.
- They are now encamped on some point of the Island, I think, as Infantry. In every engagement which they have been in, they have added new laurels to those worn at Secessionville & are one of the best bodies of troops that we have.
- Their conduct at Morris Island & Sumter has been spoken of in the highest praise & they are now really veterans.
- I AM QUITE WELL & AS COMFORTABLE AS POSSIBLE UNDER THESE UNCOMFORTABLE CIRCUMSTANCES. THE YANKEES KEEP UP THEIR CONTINUAL SHELLING, BUT I THINK THAT THEIR EFFORTS WILL ALL END THERE.
- They have no idea of trying to run into the harbor, unless under some better auspices than at present. Their fleet is now very quiet & have been for some time.
- It is near dinner time & I must close. If I can do anything for you in the city at any time, I shall gladly serve you. Please remember me kindly to Mrs. Fleming & with kind regards, believe me. Yours Respectfully, Augustine T. Smythe
Through carefully watching Confederate postal history auctions over the past 30-years we were able to purchase two covers that were addressed to Smythe and show two “assignments”. These two are included with the letter.
The first cover is addressed, “Pvt. Augustine T. Smythe So. Ca. College Company Moultrie House Sullivans Island”. The second is addressed to Smythe on the “C.S.S Palmetto State Charleston, S.C.” Interestingly, this one is a “turned” cover… when you peak inside you will see the address to his mother Mrs. Thomas Smythe, J. E. Adger & Co. Charleston, S.C. [His mother worked in the famous hardware business in Charleston.]
A very “historic” grouping from Charleston.
#L11-22-63 – Price $850