3rd New Hampshire soldier's letter/ Hilton Head, SC
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Soldier's Letter, 4 pages, 4to., Head Quarters 3rd N.H.V., Hilton Head, S.C., March 27th, 1862. Arlon Sabin Atherton (Co. I, 3rd New Hampshire Infantry, wounded Deep Bottom Run, VA) writes to his friend S. Henry Sprague, Quarter Master, 9th NH Vol.:

"... We have just been in a little skirmish with the rebels nothing very serious as there was no killed or wounded on our side. The rebels had three or four wounded. I dont know whether any of them were killed or not. And they had one horse killed and one taken prisoner. I think they would be of about as much consequence as the men. We left Hilton Head the 19th went up the river in small boats. Slapped (Slept) over night at a plantation beside the river on a lot of unshelled corn, not so soft a bed as I have seen but as good one as soldiers can expect. Were called at two o'clock next morning and loaded into the boats (after having loaded our guns). Just as it was growing light the Colonel came along side our boat and told us to strip to our jackets and get ready for action. Soon afterwords we came in sight of some rebel pickets beside the river. Our boats were then all steered for that shore. The rebels stood there watching us until we were within about a quarter of a mile from them, then fired their guns at us and left, as we expected to alarm their camp and thought very likely they would be down on us before we could secure a landing and get a line formed. The boats struck where the water was nearly waist deep. To get out of the boats made ashore and get our lines formed occupied the space of about two minutes I should think. We were then ordered to forward double quick for a lot of buildings a short distance from the shore where we expected to find the enemy but none was to be found there but we could see three or four horseman in the woods a short distance from there. The Howtzers we carried with us was then brought up and two or three shells thrown in there. Our skirmishers were then thrown out. Company E brought in 4 rebels which they had surprised they being on picket. About eleven o'clock the bugle was sounded to bring the men alltogether and we started back. Came as far as Bells Island where we slapped over night. Next morning went back to Hunting Island landed about the same as before. The pickets were back there gain. Skirmishers were thrown out and we advanced towards Bluffton a village about two miles from where we landed. The road was through woods most of the way. As soon as we had reached the woods the rebels commenced firing on us but were careful to keep pretty well out of the way themselves. We expected every minute to come on to a masked battery there in the woods but did not find any. 

The village of Bluffton comes up to the edge of the woods. We expected the rebells would make a stand there certain but they did not. We took possession of the place without any trouble. There are some very nice buildings there and some very nice furniture in them. We followed where the rebells up as far as the Colonel thought it would answer to. There was only six hundred of us and we knew where was a large force of rebels encamped but a few miles from there. We were the first that have been on main land in South Carolina. We are going off again in two or three days...A.S.Atherton"

Dark ink, very fine. Comes with the original postally used cover, postmarked Port Royal, SC.


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3rd New Hampshire soldier's letter/ Hilton Head, SC

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