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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 15, page 153, February 9-10, 1861 [newspaper clipping]

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Identifier: DX01493875

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 15, page 153, February 9-10, 1861 [newspaper clipping]

Description: Includes a newspaper clipping written by Gunn for the New York Evening Post concerning pre-war events and attitudes in Charleston.




as to what had occurred. As requested, I had made excuses for his non-appearance at dinner. By the way Dr Irving talked old school over it and told stories about George Frederick Cooke and Kean and other theatrical celebrities.

10. Sunday. Another visit to the floating-battery, then meeting Marchant and a German of my acquaintance on my return. Then writing a letter to the Post; — this:

[newspaper clipping]



{From an Occasional Correspondent.}

Martial Law Established—Bad Behavior of the South Carolina Troops—Fort Sumter—Charleston Commerce—The New Confederacy—The Defences of Charleston—Major [Robert] Anderson’s Condition.

CHARLESTON, February 10, 1861.

Yesterday’s papers contained a proclamation from the Governor, establishing martial law (duly accented in capitals), in and over Sullivan’s Island “and the waters and marshes adjacent,” the provisions of which you have doubtless reprinted. Such a measure had been confidently expected during the past week, and was indeed highly necessary for sundry reasons, some of which I am enabled to mention.

In the first place, some of the troops have been behaving badly. Consisting almost entirely of young men unaccustomed to any control but that of their own will, obtaining no pay from the state, animated only by their devotion to it, detestation of all “Yankees,” and an inherent proclivity towards fighting, they do not submit even to lax military discipline with a good grace, regarding themselves as entitled to all the privileges of volunteers—among them, unlimited whiskey, which, up to the date of the Governor’s proclamation, was supplied to them by their friends and relatives. These too they invited and entertained, until the island—or at least the camp—was overrun with them, themselves, in their turn, visiting the city a good deal too often, and with equally mischievous effect. There were, also, jealousies, rivalries and grudges among the different corps.

All of these things have borne their natural fruit—drunkenness and occasional riot. On one of the days in the earlier half of the past week some members of a Columbia company (I believe the Washington Guards, or some such title) broke into a house and grossly assaulted a woman there resident, subsequently resisting with their muskets the guard sent to arrest them. After a severe “free fight” the offenders were locked up, and will probably be punished or sent home. Hence, primarily, the Governor’s proclamation. Of course not a word of this has appeared in the newspapers.

A minor reason may have consisted in an increased desire for secrecy as to the military preparations on the island—a distrust of spies sent hither by the federal government. It is asserted that such have been discovered and privately sent out of the city. The case of one man, dismissed on the charge of being a correspondent of northern journals, was two days ago paragraphed in the Mercury and Courier, his detection and arrest being due to a notable detective here, one officer Schuboo, who enjoys a great reputation for similar feats. They are generally effected so quietly that their mention in the newspapers is quite exceptional.


Yesterday, on its return from the race-course, Charleston found two subjects for its evening’s discussion—one the arrival of Colonel Hayne and Lieutenant Hall from Washington; the other the establishment of a provisional government for the seceded states by the Alabama Convention, and its nomination of a President and Vice-President. I. . . .

coverage:Charleston, South Carolina
coverage:Washington, District of Columbia

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1861-02-09

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Drinking of alcoholic beverages
Martial law
Armed Forces
Charleston (S.C.)
Civil War, 1861-1865


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