|The following are letters written by Lt. Benson in 1862, they maybe the same letter but are probably fragments of three letters all written about the time the 16th moved into Camp at Adams Run from Charleston. Most appear to have been written in March of 1862. The Sixteenth shows virtually no musters between December of 1861 and mid summer of 1862, as the unit was moving toward this station at Adams Run. Why keep musters? This thing was going to be over by mid summer anyway. Who in the world would argue with the logic on which the Republic was founded? Who indeed....|
Camp Leesburg, Adams run, So Ca March 30th 1862
To Mr. P.B. Benson and family
Dear Father I seat myself to this sabbath evening to drop you a few lines to let you now that I am well at present hoping these few lines may find you all in good health. I have nothing of importance to write to you at present. I sent 25 dollars to you yesterday by J Green (Jacob Green, Lt. With K and B Company, present at the surrender) all so a ….. pin and a pocket book for Sarah. I want you …
Take the money and put it to the best use…
That you can. If Sarah needs any thing you can get it for her I will send some more as soon as I can. I want to get clear del……..
I have a set of studs that I am going to put
In this letter for you. I send them to you to remember me if I should never sea you any more. You must wear them in rememberance of me. E.H Bates got hear the other day but did not bring my gun. I was sadly disappointed……
danger in loosing it. E Powell or E Batson either
one would take care of it for me it makes no difference about it. There was a little fight on little edisto yesterday, we could hear the muskets firing there was 2 kiled and 17 prisoners taken on the yankeys only two littely woundned there is a ….
…………………………Are just received a l…………………
…………………………this after noon and I was
…………………………hear from all of you stated
that mother had the too ache and you was complaining I expect you all are about half crasey any how you must not get sick as long as you can help it., you need not be worried about me I am as well as common, I look better, I think then I ever did we moved…
Charleston last satureday to Adams run……
24 miles from the city of charleston and…
Stayed there until eleven o’clock to day We moved about 9 miles to the left of the Savannah railroad we from Charles
On the cars, we marched from four the…
Hear we got hear about an hou before…
Down. I think. We have pitched out ents and have eat our supper, hee is a gr…
Many deer and turkeys, down hear and s…
There is no use in talking ther is geese Thousands of them, I killed one yesterday …. About fifty feet high I kiled it t…
first shoot G went down in the swamp…
this afternoon and I saw a great many…
If I onley had my shot gun…
Down hear I would be on ….
I shot it with my pistol.
Third Fragment (May match second fragment))
……….. and no…….
he is appear plesant to……
….. under his command …….
That we have got from u ….. Ripley
Dear Wife This is a poor country down here some times it is 15 or 20 miles between the houses of all the shaby houses it is down her ther is nothing but pines and swamps and marshes hear and the moss is a bout 5 or 6 feet long all, all over trees, I expect to I go a turkey hunting tomorrow if nothing happens more than I now off if I cant find turkeys I now I can
….. , Dear Sarah, you said somthing
….. a sending, some meat and other things
….. not choice a bout how you fix it you cook any think be shore to let it Get perfectly cool for the hot steam makes it sweat and spoils it, my cough is some better than it was I want the expectation …. have drilled of late I would like to be at home a while so I could hire some old preach I noe I want father to write for me if any of you get dangerous I don’t want to come home till first of April if I can help it tell .... to write to me soon , so is no more at present. I close your truly. R.T. to S.A. Benson
The Benson letters were furnished by Randy Hawkins
Soon to be Lieutenant Benson begins the first fragment with arranging for the care of his family though his father. The concern for his gun could have been more than a passing one. Captain P.D. Gilreath and others tell us all how very poorly armed the 16th was at this time. Shotguns, pistols, Brown Bess flintlocks from the revolution were all a part of the weapons that went to war with the Sixteenth South Carolina. It will not be until May or June that the Sixteenth will receive her trusty Einfields.
On March 29, 1862, Major F.G. Palmer of the Holcombe Legion with Major A.C. Garlington captured 19 Union soldiers on Edisto Island. (Defense of Charleston Harbor) Colonel P.F Stevens led an armed reconnaissance to attack the companies said to be on Edisto Island. The force consisted of parts of the Einfield Battalion (Seventh Battalion, Nelson's or Rion's Battalion), dismounted cavalry from the Holcombe Legion, infantry from the Holcombe Legion, infantry from Colonel Moore's First Battalion, and a section of two guns from the Washington Artillery. The force was split the first under the command of Colonel Stevens and the second under command of Major F.G. Palmer. They achieved a part of the goal of the attack. The enemy was not driven from the island but the bridge to be destroyed was. One Union soldier was killed, one Union soldier was wounded and died later and 19 Union soldiers were captured. Confederate forces sustained five wounded. Shank Evans was the commander of the Confederate forces.
The three soldiers mentioned in this letter and the writer would all become Lieutenants in Company G of the Sixteenth. Lt. Easley H. Bates will survive the war. He will return to Easley, South Carolina and found a Masonic Lodge that still bears his name.Esley Bates and Bates Lodge Lt. Elliott Batson will not be so lucky, he would be captured at Jonesboro and exchanged and captured again at Franklin. This time the fates would not be as kind. Camp Chase and pneumonia would claim him and he would be buried and recorded at Ervin Batson, this, a cousin from Company C who left his leg at Atlanta. Lt. Powell would touch many people through both his life and his children and for Lt. Benson a long life waited as well. He too would bear many children and he would be well known, well loved, and well remembered.
No one can imagine the stark contrast between the mountains of South Carolina and the land around Adams Run. Game was still abundant there one hundred years later when I hunted and fished the land Lt. Benson so adequately describes and it was just as stark. He was a stranger in a strange land, the land of Gullah and Spanish moss, and a land completely unlike his land of laurel and fresh mountain springs and streams. Finally the tantalizing fragments of his observations about his new commander, who was it he speaks of? A Captain, Boling perhaps or a General Officer, perhaps no less a man than Robert E Lee himself. Lee was called to Virginia on March 3 and General Pemberton took command on March 14, making Pemberton the most likely candidate. Shanks Evans is also a possibility. Ripley is probably General Ripley, a man whose career in defense of Charleston Harbor is probably best forgotten.