Letter from Herbert Welsh to his Sister Anna Maria Welsh Smith from Charleston Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina, March 4, 1872

My dear Sister Anna

I have just written a letter to Alice in which I told her, very briefly, of my movements within the last few days. Before I go further, however, let me thank you for the two letters which I received today from you. And so Maria is not going to Europe after all! Well I am sorry as I think it would have done her great good.

You speak of having had very disagreeable weather in Philadelphia – I  met this afternoon a young man who left there on Friday last by steamer & on Saturday they were struck by a storm of far more than usual violence, the cabin was drenched with water & in his stateroom it was some four inches deep upon the floor. I suppose this must have been the storm which we felt on Saturday at Raleigh.

I have found Charleston delightful. This afternoon I left the wharf in a yacht at 3 o’clock on an Excursion to Fort Sumpter. The sky was cloudless a fine sea breeze was blowing & every thing gave us reason to expect a pleasant trip, & I am glad to be able to say that my expectations were never more fully realized.

The fort is just about six [?] miles from the city of Charleston. Its outer wall is, as you know, built of brick which is supported on the inside by what is, I think, a natural composition of shells & clay. The walls, judging from their appearance, must have been tremendously battered during the bombardment. We first walked through the casemates, saw the heavy guns, & then went into the interior of the fort. Here we found a number of men engaged in repairing. In the centre of the interior was a great heap of exploded & unexploded shells, spherical & conical. From among this heap of now passive iron I selected a modest piece of grape shot & carried it away with me as a trophy. I have also a small piece of the renowned palmetto & a chip of the rapidly decaying flag staff. After having seen every thing of interest we returned to the yacht and had a delightful sail back to the city.

Since I have been in the south I have noticed some eight or ten people with one, two , three fingers & sometimes a whole hand or an arm gone. Every body seems to have been in the war. Dr. Watson told me that 22 members of his parish (St. James’ Wilmington) had fallen in the war as commissioned officers! Dr. Watson was himself chaplain in a Confederate regiment. The husband of Mrs. Meers, the lady of whom I spoke in Alice’s letter, was killed at Malvern Hills. It seems to be the same story every wheres. But the Southern people brought all this terrible suffering upon themselves!

But now my dear sister I must bring this letter to a close. Give my love to Mr. Smith & a kiss to Somers. Take good care of Fanny. Write soon again & believe me your aff. Brother


P.S. Has Rosie [?] sent my gun to St. Augustine?