Diary of Ellison Capers, July 1862 - November 1863


Diary of Ellison Capers, July 1862 - November 1863


Diary of Ellison Capers, kept from July of 1862 through November of 1863.




The Citadel Archives & Museum



Materials in The Citadel Archives & Museum Digital Collections are intended for educational and research use. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright. For more information contact The Citadel Archives & Museum, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, 29409.








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[Cover page]

From July 1862 to Nov 1863

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[Blank page]

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[illegible] - Private. - 1862

After the evacuation of James Isld. by the enemy, during the 1st week in July, our Regt. struck its camp on Royal’s place & moved over to Secessionville, July 9th 1862. The 51st Leu. Col. Slaughter, with Smith’s Batt (afterwards combined with Byrd’s Batt. to form the 26th S.C.V.) and two, or three, companies of Lamar’s Regl. Artly. together with the 24th formed the Garrison of Secessionville after this date. - Slaughter was ordered to Virginia about the middle of July & the 1st S.C.V. Col. Hagood succeeded. - Hagood was made Brigadier in latter part of July & Glover forwarded. During the second week in August Glover, with the 12 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 22d, 23d, [illegible] Legions,

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James Batt. Bryce’s Battery & other troops, with Genls. Evans & Drayton, were ordered from our coast to Va. Subsequently Smith’s Batt. was ordered to Adams Run, & the 8th Geo. Batt. substitutes, since which times, & up to this date (Dec. 9th 1862) the garrison of Secessionville has been composed of one Regt. (24th) one inft. Batt. (8th Geo.) & one batt. of the arty. Regt. Col. Lamar’s, which has charge of the guns at fort Lamar. - I have been for the most in command, Col. Stevens Comdg. the Isld. - On the 11th of August. ordered to be one of a board of examiners - Took a short furlough on the 13th to the 18th, on which latter day brought my family, Lottie & Frank, to city &

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took rooms at Mills House. - Board at first met at Ft. Johnson but removed to city after first week’s work. - In the city until the 13th of Oct. ordered back to coast. - 14th my birthday - 25 today - Rode over to the city spent a short time during the afternoon with Lottie at the Charleston Hotel. 17 & 18 Oct. Moved Lottie & Frank to Columbia & secure board at Dr. Jeff. Goodwyn’s, $100 fr. month, wife, child (18 mo old) & two servants. Night of 18th left Columbia for Ch. AM 11th our daughter, the second, born, & I got the intelligence of it on the evening of the 12th at P.O. in city.

Nov. 17 - Monday - Rode

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over to [illegible] - stopped at Mr. Sagr’s - I am sick [illegible] - Inflammation of the [illegible] the bladder. -

AM 18 - left Sagr’s at night & took [illegible] for Columbia at 8:20 P.M. Arrive at Dr G’s at 6 A.M.on Nov. 19th. - On the 6th of Dec. [illegible] baptised our own little daughter, Susan McGill. - Evening of the 6th started for Secessionville & arrived on Sunday at noon.-. 

7th, 8th, & 9th very cold. - Today (9th) Genl. Gist visits the Isld. & dined with me.

Dec. 10 - Clear & cold - nothing of interest occurs. Col. Stevens left last for Pendleton, having heard of the illness of his son Hamilton. - [illegible words] 

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for August. Oct. & Nov. presented by my friend Holmes $66.78. - Four Iron boats reported in Stono today - two above & two below battery Isld.

Dec. 11th
Clear & cold morning. Palmer & [illegible] rode to city as witnesses in case of [illegible], Williamson & Buckham. - Dined with [illegible]. -

Dec. 12th
Clear & pleasant. - Morning paper reports enemy attempting to cross the Rappahannock, but repulsed. Last night, a year ago, I spent the night on “Clark’s Bay”, as Lt. Col. of the Rifle Regt. S.C.M. with [illegible words] of men as [illegible]

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forty. - Saw the [illegible] fire in Charleston.-

Dec. 13-
Saturday - clear, but warm - an Indian Summer morning.- Inspection day. - Four letters from Lottie, written on Wednesday, Thurs. & Friday-

Dec. 14th
Orders to get Regt. ready to march - four days rations, two tents to a company, & two to field & staff - 24th S.C., 25th S.C. & 46 Geo. with [illegible words] & me when the Battery - where to, at this writing 8 a.m. do not know.- Pleasant day morning.- Pickets at [illegible] shelled by enemy’s Iron Boat lying off Battery Isld. Get the order to move to the N.E.R.R. Depot at 8½ P.M. Regl. left Secessionville, six hundred [illegible] men, about, at 11½ 

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P.M. Marched to Depot by 3½ AM on the 15th -

Took the 24th till 2 P.M. to get off - [illegible], & most of those used had to be unloaded. Learned of Evans repulse at Kingston & of Yankee advance W. & W.R.R.

Dec. 16th
At 2 P.M. got to Wilmington - Bivouaced about one mile from the city -

Dec. 17
Ordered to move nearer the city & W. & W.R.R. Marched to Camp Lamb, & received order to proceed with the 24th to Preston’s Light Battery to the North East rivers, at the [illegible] point where it is covered by the R. R. for the protection of R.R. Bridge arrive at about 3 P.M. by R.R. Relieve the guard at the Bridge, & dispose of the artillery at the 

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ferry & the Bridge - send Co. “A” beyond as an outpost [illegible] Bivouac for the night - no news - no papers - how different from the life at Secessionville - ah! how different from the life at my Lottie’s side! - 

Dec. 18
Dispose of the force under my command for the defence of the Bridge more perfectly.- Ride with Preston, Agier & Palmer, first across the river to the outlook & then to a [illegible words], on this side.- a report, at night. That we are ordered forwarded, perhaps to a point as near Goldsboro as possible, with a view to cooperating with Genl. [illegible] Smith’s army, at Goldsboro.- Smith superseded Evans, from Richmond - 25th S.C.V. the 6th Geo. Pass on up the road. - Addison, [illegible words] Srgt. returns from Wilmington, & brings news of our

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great victory on the Rapahannock & of the repulse of the enemy at Goldsboro by Genl. Smith. 

Dec. 19
[illegible words] - 10 & 20th a.m. sent adjt. to town, 9 miles - I am writing in front of my tent, while the Band, at the  Regl. Bivouac, is pleasing - a pretty fine game. The soldier’s life! Here we are - waiting orders - It may be forward, or backward, or halt! God’s providence is the same 

[illegible] -  To His good cause I commit my angel wife, & my little ones, & go on to the conflict for right & justice; for independence. -

Dec. 20th Saturday-
Orders to move to Magnolia to the support of Genl. [illegible] Smith countermanded in consequence of the enemy’s [illegible] from the R.R. Rode into city in answer to summons from Genl. Gist - Genl. wishes to

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know if I desire to be relieved from duty here. - I expressed my satisfaction with my post, & said I was ready to take any post, to which the orders of my superiors in the service assigned me. It is a principle with me not to influence my own position - my life, under God’s providence, is in the keeping & subject to the orders of my country. - Agier & myself spent the night in Wilmington - Got Lottie’s first letter [illegible] to Wilmington.

21st Sunday - 
Very cold - another letter from my cherished wife - a cold ride to the Bivouac on the N.E.R. no definite news - an uncomfortable

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sabbath. -

Still no news & very cold - Preston & I ride down to the Island Creek & across to the Main Plank road, & down to the sound - a beautiful view of the sea. - A letter from my wife. All well - Thank God - Col. Stevens returns to us, after a long period of detached duty. - 

The Wilmington Journal brings Genl. Lee’s report of the battle of Fredericksburg on the 13th [illegible] - & telegraph the news from the north. A most charming day. Col. S. & I take a long ride - across the ferry the Lance’s Ferry, some 9 to 10 miles distant. The plantations on the 

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the river lie beautifully & seem to produce well. - Conn is the main camp with a large proportion of ground [illegible]. The boys are [illegible] very good, & in fine order. - Bowie, Agier, Palmer & I have an Egg nog at 11 P.M.

Opens cloudy. -

Christmas! Preston & I rode into Wilmington. - Dined in camps - Egg nog at night. - Lt. Col. Pressley, 25th T.C.V. rode out to camp with me, & dined.

Attention called to recent act of Legislation (S.C.) appealing the action of the Ex. Council in appointing the field officers of the 24th & giving [illegible] to the Regl. to check. - Col. Stevens and I

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resign - Major Hammond resigned previously, ill health. 

Col. Stevens & self road down to Isld. Creek., & selected points on which to [illegible] - up field works in order to strengthen the point as an outpost station. -

Go down to Isld. Creek, 5 miles, & lay out a Redan in Grady’s hill, & with James’ Co. “E.” progress considerably towards its completion. -

Finish Redan & lay out on [illegible] Blake’s hill a simple field work & begin the [illegible]. James Co. “E” relieved by [illegible] Co. “C”.-

Work on curtain & planks of the work at Blake’s hill -

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January 1st 1863
Finish earth work, & cut road through swamp connecting the batteries, & begin clearing up swamp in front of the Blake work so as to give a command of the Bridge, crossing Isld. Creek.. Complete the work. -

[Writing in margin] See diagram ahead, on this side of creek. -

Jan. 2d
Our brigade moving back to Charleston - 24th ordered to be ready. - Addison’s Co. “D” with axes go down & open the way to the bridge, in front of the Grady battery. The falling of a tree occasioned a severe accident to my left leg. - No bones broken only a bruise. - Transformation from Regl. ready. - will move at 9 a.m.tomorrow. So ordered, am [illegible words]. -

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Jan. 3rd - Rise at 5 - Move at 9. I accept invitation to ride in buggy with neighbor Matt - my leg very sore & stiff. Halfway to Wilmington the 24th is stopped by order from Whiting (Genl) to turn back, Genl. Beauregard having ordered by telegram that the troops must delay the movement from this point. - This in consequence of a dispatch from Genl. [illegible] Smith, sent in cipher, & read by Beauregard  - Genl. Whiting believes advance of enemy in this city - Think not - I think on Goldsboro or [illegible], if at all. - Take lunch with Mr. Smith, & ride back with him to his house, to spend the night. - A very pleasant evening, notwithstanding the leg. - As a matter of curiosity I will record the prices I saw 

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today, in Wilmington:

1 pr. brass spurs        $ 6.00
1 webbing & leather halter 5.00
1 leather [illegible] 4.00
[illegible] 4.00
1 pr. silk brown gloves 1.50
1 black silk stock 3.00
2 packages envelopes   .50
Writing paper [illegible] 2.00


Jany 4th
Sunday - After breakfast, bid good morning to kind friends and walk part of the way to camp, riding to the main road with [illegible] of the ladies on their way [illegible]. Genl. Whiting writes us [illegible words] as must look out for the enemy, whom he believes to be advancing from Newbern on this place. - A very pleasant day so far. 

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Jany 13th
I write this note while in the swamp, just before Isld. Creek - 20th of 4 P.M. This has been a lovely day - It is now a most charming afternoon. - I have been constantly employed during the past week, and are now so, in throwing up on earth work across Grady’s field, in advance of the Batteries I erected the week before the last - the men are now engaged on the two last [illegible], & I hope to complete it tomorrow - The left [illegible] on a heavy swamp, to the right on an abattis of fallen timber, now being felled, and an informidable, swampy country. - We expect to make a decided stand here. 

[See scan of diary for drawing]

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Since writing the last note, the news of Genl. Bragg’s great conflict in the week has reached us! Poor Kingsman has died - Vicksburg has repelled the invaders again, & in her defence Paul Hamilton, my noble pupil, has shed his heart blood! [illegible] Frank was married on the 1st by Bridg. - 

Jany 21st
Since writing last the most interesting occurrence which has transpired was the capture of the wrecked steamer Columbia off Masonboro Sound- She ran ashore, & surrendered to Col. Lamb of Ft. Fisher, 12 officers & 35 seamen prisoners. - The weather for the past three days has been unsettled and very unpleasant - we have no definite news from the enemy. - He is moving from 

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Newbern in some direction, but where, or in what force, no one knows. - Yesterday & the day before I was engaged in cutting a road through the woods, connecting the Ferry with the R.R. Bridge on the North East, at this point. -

Sunday night - Jany. 25th.
A clear, pleasant day after a week of mist, wind & rain - the enemy sent a force of cavalry, artillery & infantry estimated at 1500 as far as within four miles of Anslow Court House, on yesterday week - this party was fired into by cavalry & retired. A refugee from More Head city reports to Genl. Whiting that the enemy is awaiting fair weather to attack the city. - 

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Today I have attended first the Regimental Inspection & after dinner took a ride up the Duplin Road some 8 miles with Col. Stevens. - Got back at sunset. Yesterday morning I took a deer hunt. Startled a deer but he ran by my stand without my seeing him. Day before yesterday, planked the North East R.R. Bridge. I am quite well tonight. 

Tuesday - Jany 27th 1862
A warm day - wind from the North South West. Nothing of interest transpired since last note. Today is the day fixed for my family to move from Columbia to Cherry Grove, via Charleston - May God’s good providence shield them. 

Wednesday - 28th
In Prest. Davis’ last

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message he alludes, most touchingly, to the devotion of our noble and patriotic women to the great cause of our independence, & says in concluding: “In the homes of our noble and devoted women, without whose sublime sacrifices our success would have been impossible, the noise of the loom and the spinning wheel may be heard throughout the land!” - In my experience I have found this to be literally so - In our Regt until a few days past, during which clothing has been issued to the men from the Qrs. Master’s Dept. many of our men were clad in the homespun, spun & made in most instances, by their wifes & sisters, and in all cases, in their immediate

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neighborhood. - Two of our companies, from Edgefield, were entirely clad in such. I have met men who had not a single imported or Yankee made articles; hat, shirt, drawers, coat, pants, socks, gloves & shoes, all made at home. There is a most interesting character in this neighborhood, living on Isld. Creek, with whom I have been most interested. She is an old widow lady, say 50, who lives by herself, except when a little niece spends a short while with her, her two sons, the only children she has, being privates in one of the North Carolina Regts. She showed me their daguerreotypes

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taken in their homespun uniforms, and they are fine looking young men. This noble old woman, spins & weaves their clothing, & knits their socks & gloves. By her industry, she manages to take in sewing sufficient to defray her expenses, with what little aid her brave boys afford her. - One of them, she told me, had been in sixteen engagements with the enemy and had not been hurt - May God spare their lives to be a blessing & a comfort to the old age of their noble mother. 

Sunday - Feby.1st 1863
A cloudy morning. - Since the 28th of last month, the 

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news from the North is cheering. - Indications of a peace movement at the North are decided. - Yankee correspondents writing from Europe think our resignation a foregone conclusion. Burnside has resigned.- Horace Greely has openly declared his want of confidence in the ability of his people to maintain the struggle. - Some of the papers are openly calling for peace, & the fearless [illegible] horn has sounded the call in thunder tones in the Yankee Congress. - May God continue to bless us. - Yesterday, heard of the safe arrival of my family in Charleston, & of their being enroute for Cherry 

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Grove, via Pinopolis. - Our camp was enlivened on yesterday by the news that our troops had captured a Gun Boat in Stone River; our old station, and at night, by the glorious news that our Gun Boats, the Chicora & Palmetto State, had triumphantly driven the Blockading squadron from the Charleston harbor, sinking two vessels & firing a third! The rascals had taken a vessel a few days ago bringing in a valuable cargo for the Port - consisting of 900 tons; being [illegible words]. - The month of January has been signifized by our successes over the Yankee Gun Boats and Transports! On the 1st of Jany. - 

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Genl. Magruder  recaptured Galveston, Texas, taking the enemy’s Gun Boat Harriet Lane, causing the burning of the Westfield, and the retreat of the entire fleet from the harbor - shortly after the enemy’s boat Hatteras made out at a “strange sail”, from the enemy’s fleet on the Gulf, and was sunk by the stranger, who is now supposed to be the Lane. Genls. Wheeler & Morgan have been sinking the enemy’s transports - in the Cumberland & capturning & destroying his vessels of war. - The steamer Columbia, 7 guns, went ashore off Masonboro Inlet, in this state, & was captured with 48 prisoners. At Charleston, the [illegible]

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  1. Smith was captured in the Stono on Friday, and on yesterday morning, the 31st [illegible words] Ironclad’s sank two of the blockaders, & dispensed the rest. -

11th of February - My precious wife’s birthday! A clear Sping-like morning - most lovely. My spirit prays that the angel of my heart may live to bless me for many, many births days to come. - On her last birthday we dined together at Mr. Yeadon’s in Charleston - I was there in command of the camp of Instruction in St. Andrews Parish. - On that birth day season God blessed our love & we were happy together, but 

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today finds us separated, by long miles. But we both feel that God’s good providence is over us, & by his gracious care we hope to be again united. Amen & amen! 

During the past two days the [illegible] of an attack on Wilmington have become much less pointed, & our attention is now drawn to Charleston & Savannah, by the collection (reported) of a large fleet of transports, gunboats & Iron Clads, at Beaufort S.C. of this we have the report of the correspondents of the Northern [illegible] from Ft. Royal, and of scouts who have penetrated the 

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enemy’s lines, beside the appearance of the “Ironsides” off Charleston, & the attack of the [illegible] on the Battery at [illegible] Point. The large force which has been threatening us from New Bern & Morehead city, is supposed to have gone to Beaufort S.C. & the correspondent [illegible] to expects on her troops. - Our Brigade (25th, 16th, 24th, Nelson Batt. S.C.V. & 46th Geo.) [written in margin of page] with Preston’s, [illegible] & Culpepper’s Batteries are moving. The 25th & N.B. have gone & the remainder expect to leave this week. Genl. Beauregard expects an attack on one, or both, of the cities. - My friend & immediate commander, Col. Stevens, has heard of the death of his gallant brother

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Lieut. H. K. Stevens C.S.V. He died in defence of the C.S.S. “Cotton” on the Red River about the 18th of Jany. He was a noble spirit.


Camp near Pocotaligo, S.C. 

Feby- 20th 1863. -
The 24th left Wilmington on the evening of the 12th [illegible] & arrived at Charleston at 12 [illegible] on the 13th. - Camped on the Citadel Green - I stopped at St. Stephens, got horse of Dutchman & rode on to Cherry Grove where I met my precious family, quite well - Thank God. Spent Saturday & left Sunday morning at 3 - our camp on the Green was a pleasant one. - We were ordered to move to Pocotaligo

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on the morning of the 18th & left camp at 3 ½ P.M. embarking at Sar. R.R. Depot At 8 P.M. & arriving at Pocotaligo at 1 AM on the 19th. - We are now (20th) encamped on the main stage road from Salkehatchie to Coosawhatchie & about one mile from Pocotaligo station. - We have no definite news of the enemy. I understand their force at Hilton Head & [illegible] Islands. [illegible] to 20,000 - the indications of dissatisfaction in the North West are very evident, if reliance can be placed in the representations of the Press. May God’s providence so ordain events as to bring them all to [illegible] upon the mind & heart of our enemy  & insure a speedy end

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to our troubles & give us an honorable peace. - Here we are commanded by Brig. Genl. Walker, who was so promoted for gallant & meritorious conduct at the Battle of Pocotaligo, fought & won by the troops under his command on the 21st of October 1862. Our camp is pitched on the spot occupied by [illegible] Regt. of “Reserves”, whose time of service, these months, having expired, has gone home! Genl. Beauregard & the Sec. of War, feeling the necessity of retaining the “Reserves” in service during the present emergency, telegraphed the Gov - to permit the same. The latter referred the matter to the Legislature, &

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that body, actually permitted the disbanding of eight well armed Regts. of So. Ga. troops in the very face of the enemy, whose threats of attack are more serious than ever before! The Gov. in his proclamation dated the 18th inst. calls out the Militia of the State in the stead of the Reserves. The Reserves were raised by the “Gov - & Council”, for the defence of the State. The Gov - calls out all persons between the ages of 16 & 18 and 40 & 50 years of age. - I noticed Genl. Magruder’s success at Galveston, & since that note was made, the Texas papers give an account of the raising of the Blockade at Sabine Pass by Maj. Watkins, under Genl. M’s orders. - The enemy’s 

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vessels, a ship & schooner were captured, & the former destroyed. - x x x x x

Camp of Detachment 24th S.C.V. at Ballonville, on Combahee & Ashepoo Ferry Road, March 10th 1863. -

Ordered to this point by Genl. Walker, with 200 men of the 24th. ([illegible] “F.”, “J.” & “H.”) [Note in margin of page] on the 6th week. - to support the Batteries on the Combahee & Ashepoo Rivers & the work on the peninsula between. - Nothing of very great importance has transpired since my last note. We are still in ignorance as to the enemy’s designs on our coast - Ft. McAllister has been bombarded, & has again repelled the attack. We hear through 

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Northern papers of difficulties among the enemy on our Coast. Hunter & Foster quarrel, & go to Washington to settle the dispute - Foster is ordered back to Newbern - In the week, the enemy’s Iron clad boats “Queen of the West”, & “Indianola” have been captured. Van Dorn has vanquished the enemy near Nashville, taking a quantity of slaves, & upwards of 3000 prisoners. The telegram reports the advance of Banks on “Port Hudson”, & Rose Kranz on Bragg. - The peace party at the North & West are quiet - The Abolition Congress went out of power, leaving to Lincoln the right to suspend the [illegible words] at will, & marking him in fact, a military dictator. God

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alone knows how this great conflict will end. Our enemies are mad, & their counsels are like the counsels of children. A firm & steady defiance is still called for at our hands. I give my share of it, relying upon God. - Sorry to see Genl. [illegible] Smith resign - & the Court of Inquiry acquit Genl. Evans of [illegible] charges. -

In my private affairs all is well, thank God. My family, at Cherry Grove, in health, & I am in better flesh & health than ever before. - In thee! do I trust, O! God. Strengthen my heart. - 

March 29th 1863
Since writing last no very important fact has transpired. 

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By Genl. Walker’s order I assumed command of all the troops between Ashepoo & Combahee Rivers, including those at the Ferry (Combahee) on the 6th inst. Geo. “D” 24th T.C.V. has been added to by command which now includes the following troops:

Cos. “F”, “H”, “I” & “D” 24th T.C.V. 

Co. B 1st Batt. S.S.S.

3 cos. 5th S.C.V. cavalry

Capt. Boman’s Battery [illegible] artly. & one piece Preston’s Ft. Battery, with the fixed Batteries on Ashepoo & Combahee. - In the West the enemy made naval attack on Ft. Hutson & were repulsed, two of their vessels, the Brooklyn & Monongahela passed the Battery - Banks’ land forces advanced but failed to attack. - At expedition 

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up the Yazoo has failed to accomplish anything of great importance, & Rosecrantz has not yet intimated his designs. In No. Ga. Genl. D. H. Hill advanced against the enemy at Newbern, but with what results is not certainly known by me. We [illegible] that the enemy in our front are moving in the direction of Edisto Isld. So it is reported. My outposts have reported for the past four mornings a [illegible] of lights & [illegible] on St. Helena, where [illegible] troops were encamped. I have been busy, since camping here, at work on the [illegible] Combahee Ferry, & strengthening the position at stocks causeway, on the [illegible] Road. Since

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writing the above I have ridden up to Green Pond Station & learned by Telegram from Genl. Hagood, Comd. 2d Mil. Dist. that the enemy’s fleet in North Edisto landed two Regts. in Seabrook’s Isld. yesterday evening. - [Illegible] Pickets captured a Srgt. & one private, yesterday, of these Regts. This is the most pointed demonstration the enemy has yet made, & it may indicate his intention against Charleston. This has been a day of almost constant rain, with some thunder lightning, in the early part of it. 

[Illegible words] Port Secessionville

April 9th 1863
Since writing my last note the enemy has clearly indicated his design against Charleston, & the 24th S.C.V. has been or-

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dered to her defence. On the 4th inst. Genl. Hagood, Comd. the 2d Mil. Dist. telegraphed to Genl. Walker that four of the enemy’s Iron turreted boats were in the North Edisto, & subsequently, on the 5th, He reported their departure, bound in direction of Charleston. - I was ordered by telegram from Genl. Walker to [illegible] with the [illegible] companies of the 24th, & the Napoleon gun of Preston’s Battery at 1/4 to 3 a.m. on 4th, to Green Pond Station, for transportation to Charleston. Had to wait until 4 P.M. on the 5th for train. - On the morning of the 5th a telegram passed the Green Pond Station from Genl. Beauregard to Genl. [illegible] reporting the enemy’s Iron Turrets off the Ch. [illegible] & a landing of troops 

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on Coles & Goat Islds. - I got to Charleston & [illegible] Depot at sunset on the 5th, marched to point on the Ft. Johnson Road, J.I. opposite Secessionville, & biovacked for the night - On the 6th moved over & took up our old camping ground at Secessionville. - Col. Stevens Comd. East Js. Isld & I the post of Secessionville & the 24th. Now stationed here, the 24th, 8th Geo. Batt. & a Batt. of the 2d Regt. S.C.V. artillery. Lt. Col. [illegible] - On the morning of the 6th [illegible] Rhett of Ft. Sumpter telegraphed to Col. Stevens that eight turrets & the Iron sides had crossed the Bar, & were lying off Morris Isld. - At 2 ½ P.M. on the 7th the lookout from

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the observatory reported to me that the turrets were moving up Ship Channel - I took up my position on the observatory & saw them slowly heading up - Ft. Moultrie fired the first shot at ¼ to 3 P.M. [illegible] from turrets, were in line opposite Ft. Sumter & our Batteries were all firing. - The other turrets, with the Ironsides were still in Ship Channel, & unengaged, when I left the observatory at 3 ½ (to attend inspection of Regt.) but subsequently came into the action. It lasted until 5 ½ P.M. when the turrets withdrew. - Of the damage done to the enemy in this engagement I can not speak with anything like certainly. The “Keokuk”, one 

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of the turrets is reported by Col. Graham, Comdg. on Morris Isld. to be sunk off that Isld. & Col. Yates, from Sumter, telegraphed on yesterday, that she sunk at 9 a.m. of that day. - In addition to this, all of the Ironclad [illegible], used by the turrets to remove obstructions & explode torpedoes, is now ashore on Morris Isld. beach. - Of our own injury, I am not accurately informed. At Sumter, a ten inch gun was dismounted. & four or five men injured by bats, knocked out of an [illegible], which had been stopped up - at Moultrie one man was killed by the falling of the flag staff, & at Battery Wagner, on Morris Isld. three men

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were killed & five wounded by the explosion of an ammunition chest. 

April 11th 163
Since writing the above nothing of importance has transpired. - The injury sustained by Ft. Sumter, against which the turrets directed their fire, principally, is considerable. - The Keokuk is certainly sunk. I expect the turrets to renew the attack tomorrow, if they can remain long enough under the fire of our Batteries to do so, they will knock Ft. Sumter down. - At present I make out only two Regt. encampments on Coles & 

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Goat Islds. The indications of the enemy’s occupation of Folly Isld. are certain, but in what force, we do not know. - If he has not a large force then he certainly has but few troops about Charleston for they are not on Cole’s & Goat Isld. in any force. This morning Coles Isld. Harbor is studded with steamers & schooners, & the Iron Clads are still off Morris Isld. Lt. Col Dugan, 21st S.C.V. went over last night on little Folly Isld. and attacked the enemy’s outpost, killing one & bringing off a prisoner. Palmer has gone down Schooner Creek, reconnoitering - We will, maybe know something of him.

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April 23 -
Enemy did not attack next morning, but on the 12th, at high water, the turrets & the new Ironsides crossed the bar; the [illegible] but [illegible] for Ft. Royal - Land forces commenced leaving Coles Isld. same day. Today everything is quick. The enemy has not moved his force from Folly Isld. to our knowledge but in what force he is there, we can’t tell. Palmer’s scout alluded to in my note on the 11th did not amt. to more than seeing the enemy’s outpost on Folly Isld. In my “home circle” all is not well. - My jewels have the whooping cough, & little Sue is quite sick - Lottie

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expected to go to Pinopolis on yesterday (22d) to escape the measles, now at Cherry Grove. - On Monday last, the 20th, Genl. Beauregard reviewed the troops of Jas. Isld. consisting of two Brigades Comd. by Genl. S. A Gist, the brigades being commanded by Genl. Clingman & Genl. Stevens - abt. 5,500 on the field. After Review, Genl. B. presented Battle flags to Regts. & Batteries - I responded in behalf of the Commands. - 

[See scan of diary for drawing] Beauregard’s Battle Flag. Stars white.

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Pinopolis, Episcopal Passage, May 2d 1863. - 

I came hither on the 27th [illegible], to see my family - little Sue is quite unwell with the whooping cough - all the rest well, except Savannah, who has measles. No news from our enemy. I left everything quiet about Charleston. - 

In our room - Passage - May 6th / 63, before breakfast. - 

I leave this rooming for Charleston to join my Regt. which, with the 46 Geo. & 8th Geo. Batt. & the 16th S.C.V. has been ordered to Jackson Miss. - “The path of duty is the path of safety.” I go cheerfully, for whatever others may 

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have done to influence my going, it is the voice of the country to me; I have said nothing, & now  and now readily obey orders. - I leave my precious family here in the hands of a good & gracious God, & feel the most perfect assurance in His blessed providence & care. - I am satisfied that all will be right & well with us. - In Miss. I will be no farther from God than at Successville, & He is my refuge & strength. The papers of yesterday bring us the glorious news of another victory on the [illegible words]! for a season. My angel, & my little ones. - “May” God bless you. -

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Eutawville, St. John’s [illegible].

July 19th 1863
Two months & a half have elapsed since I bade my family goodbye, at Pinopolis, & started with my Regt. for Jackson Miss. Since that time important events have transpired. Our great cause has suffered disadvantage & defeat; & today, our army, under [illegible], defeated in Pennsylvania, is again on this side of the [illegible]; Vicksburg & Ft. Hudson having surrendered, our victorious enemy marches against Jackson for the second time, & for the second time drives Genl. Johnson from the city, where to, I am not informed; Bragg

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falls back to Chattanooga; and the city of Charleston is besieged by land & sea! July 1863 is indeed an eventful month in the history of our struggle. Lee fought at Gettysburg on the 1st 2d & 3d; - Vicksburg capitulated on the 4th; Ft. Hudson on the 9th; [illegible] on Morris Isld effected on 10th; Johnston retreats from Jackson on the 16th; and what else the remaining twelve days of this momentous July may develop God alone knows. - The 24th Regt. under my command, reached Jackson Miss. on the afternoon of the 13th of May, & found Genl. Grant’s forces marching on the city by the roads from Clinton, to the West, &

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Raymond, to the South West. Genl. Johnson arrived on train with Regt. [illegible] force at Jackson, almost 6000 being too feeble to dispute the enemy’s occupation of the city. Genl. J. retired towards Canton on the 14th, the 24th S.C.V. position of 46 Geo. 14 Miss. Nelson’s Co. of Geo. Cavalry, with a [illegible] Battery, covering the retirement from the Clinton road, meeting the enemy at about 9 & holding him until about 1 P.M. I was wounded, through right leg, below knee, at 12½. 24th lost some 20 killed, 30 made prisoners, & about 50 wounded. - 

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Grant took possession on the 14th & on the 15th began his march to Vicksburg, meeting Pemberton at Baker’s Creek, half way, on 16th, & after a pitched battle drove him within his lines around the doomed city. There followed the [illegible] & the bloody assaults by the enemy, with the heroic defence by the garrison, who yielded on the 4th of July. -

Johnson collected an army of about 30,000 men around Canton, but this force, the only protection for Miss. in case Genl. Pemberton’s army fell, it was wisely deemed prudent not to risk against Grant 

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who had strongly fortified himself among the hills around Vicksburg. After the fall of Vicksburg Grant marched on Jackson for the second time, & Genl. Johnson placed his [illegible] position to hold the city, but the telegram of the 17th tells us that he was compelled to evacuate the position on the 16th. - Where he now is, is not known, certainly. - So back to my Regt. next week, my wound having sufficiently improved [illegible words]. - Genl. Gilmore, the enemy’s Genl. Comd. the troops in the “[illegible] of the South”,

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succession to Hunter, is now in front of Charleston with a force of some 10 to 15000 troops, assisted by Adml. Dahlpren’s fleet of Iron & wooden vessels. The attack upon the city is this time by way of [illegible] Isld. last year, under Genl., it was by way of James Isld. The object of the enemy now, is to carry Morris Isld. with a view to erecting beaching batteries against the South West face (the [illegible] side) of Fort Sumter, that work, being the key to the possession of the Harbour. Last year Branson’s (?) object was to gain James Isld. east of the James Isld. Co. so as to command the 

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city from the bluffs opposite to the Battery. The victory on the 16th of June, so disbanded at Secessionville so crippled the enemy, & convinced [illegible] of the strength of our fortifications on James Isld. that he gave-up the undertaking, evacuating the Isld., early in July, & sending a portion of his troops, under Stevens, to reinforce the army of the Potomac, then retreating from Richmond. So far, though the enemy took our Batteries on the South end of Morris Isld & [illegible] possession of that portion of the Isld. he has been severely repulsed in every at-

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tempt to take the northern portion. - His [illegible words] boats have been incessantly bombarding Battery wagons (a redoubt across the Isld. about one mile & a half from Comming’s Pt.). Since the 10th [illegible] while his troops have made several gallant assaults upon it, the last (that we have heard of.) having been made on Saturday night last, the 18th. I had a conversation with Genl. Beauregard on last Thursday. - His object is, to erect more heavy batteries on Sullivan’s & James Islds. to concentrate on the Northern portion of the disputed Island a fire so severe 

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as to render its occupation by the enemy impractical. The diagram will illustrate; the bench marks indicating the points at which it is proposed to build additional batteries. Our people are greatly alarmed at the possession of a portion of Morris Isld. by the enemy; much more so than they were last year, when he held a portion of an Isld. much nearer the city, & more directly commanding it. - The reason of this is to be found in two considerations: 1st, the fall of Vicksburg has impressed the people with the ability of the enemy to 

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[See scan of diary for drawing]

[Page 62]

[Written on back of drawing] Oxford - Nov 10th/63. Genl. Beauregard’s [illegible] failed to [illegible] the enem northern end of Morris Isld. He was forced to abandon the entire Isld. early in Sept. and the possessing enemy is now [illegible] the rivers of Sumter from Batteries Gregg & Wagner, which works him been repaired under Genl. B’s concentrated fire. 

attack the shores so as to [illegible] its occupation by 

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approach the strongest positions by means of regular parallels, & as Morris Isld. affords excellent facilities for this means of attack, our people look to the fall of Ft. Wayne as a matter of time only. - 2d The Comdg. Genl. of the enemy is a skillful officer, who last year took Ft. Pulaski by erecting batteries on Gibes Isld. & breaching its weak side obliged its surrender. This was accomplished at an incredible distance, & his long range guns are feared against Sumter.  But I am hopeful & do not believe he will succeed. - [illegible]

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to mention in the right place that the enemy’s force on James Isld. which had been landed, no doubt, to divide our attention, was [illegible] by Genl. Hagood on Friday Thursday morning last, & evacuated the Isld. on Saturday, no doubt to reinforce the command on Morris Isld. for the attack on Wagner, which I stated was made Saturday night. - So much for the military.

My precious wife is quite unwell, & is now in bed. - I expect to leave next Tuesday week for Miss. if my wife is well enough. - 

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Monday night - Eutawville

July 27 1863. - 
My Lottie has just gone to rest; our little ones are quiet & I write this note as my last in this book, 8 P.M.

On tomorrow morning I start for the west - once more I am about to say good bye to my angels, & the gracious mercy of God in the past makes my heart bold. - How often I have gone! And have never once failed to return! “I’ll praise him for all that’s past; & trust him for all that’s to come.” - I leave my precious wife greatly enfeebled, & now 

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too weak to sit up, but I believe that God will bless her. - Oh! How earnestly I shall pray for her! Hear our prayers, O! Lord, & grant us peace, and bring us, once more, under our own vine & fig tree, with none to molest us, or make us afraid.

Ellison Capers

Tuesday Nov. 10 1863
Though it has pleased God to take our little daughter Susan McGill from us, since I made the above note, yet

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again has He been pleased to return me to my family after the dangers of battle. I am now recovering from a severe wound received at Chickamauga & am with Lottie & Frank, at my sister’s, at Oxford, Ga. - 

Praised be the loving kindness of God!


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[Blank page]

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Act with [illegible]

Tel. Dispatch - Jany. 27t   .80 cts
Papers   .10
Blacking 1.00
Envelopes & Hymn Book 2.00
Express for Bundle   .50

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[Illegible words]

  1. Capers
  2. Capers

C H Stevens

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[Back cover]


Capers, Ellison, 1837-1908, “Diary of Ellison Capers, July 1862 - November 1863,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed April 18, 2024, https://citadeldigitalarchives.omeka.net/items/show/1512.