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God, Prayer, and Heavy Ordnance Will Help 10th Connecticut Take Charleston
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I think Charleston must fall this time but we need something beside men and heavy ordinance. we need the help of God if we go forth in his name and strength, he will lead us to victory.

BENJAMIN WRIGHT. Autograph Letter Signed, to his wife Abbie, August 2, 1863, Morris Island, S.C., 4 pp.

Inventory #21265.23       Price: $275

Complete Transcript

            In the field Head Quarters 10th C. V.

            Morris Island S. C. Aug 2 / 4 P.M.

My dear Abbie

            Today is the Sabbath but how little of Sabbaths do we have of late. No Sabbaths, no chaplains, no meetings & I fear but few prayers. I had intended to have had a meeting to night, but we have received orders to go to the front for twenty four hours, to be ready to leave at 7 oclock precisely. if my life is spared to return I shall endeavor to have a meeting on Tuesday night. I am afraid I shall be on guard however. I suppose we should have had some prayer meetings if Mr Tbull had been with us, but he was left on Folly Island when we come up. I think he will be here soon. I should have tried to have had meetings before, but either I or the men have been on duty almost every night. they appear to be letting up on us a little at present. we have not had to send the Regt. out on fatigue since we <2> we came in from picket Thursday night. I think the darkies are doing most of the fatigue just at this time, but picket twice a week is enough. it will soon use up the men, without doing any fatigue. it is harder work than doing fatigue duty, which is mostly done in the night. this laying in the ditches in the broiling hot sun is what fetches the men. if anything will make a man have the shakes that will fetch them. All the day allthough Sunday the firing has been going on at the front. I hope for our sake they will be a little decent for the next twenty four hours.

            Yesterday two Brigade arrived here from the neighborhood of Norfolk. they are landed or are to land on Folly Island. we are glad to see them come. we are much in need of reinforcements. our men would soon all give out. they have to encamp on Folly Island as there is no room for them on this Island. they will come over here to do duty however, fetch rations & bivouac for two or three day s at a time. it has been <3> very hot here to day. I wish we could have a good shower before we go out to night it would greatly refresh things. I have to go in command of the Co. as Lieut. Tomlinson has not returned to duty yet. I don’t believe he means to very soon, that is if there is much to do. he intends to try and get home after Charleston is taken. if he cannot get a furlough he will offer his resignation. I don’t think he has any claim for a furlough, as he came on from home when we were at St. Helena. there is quite a number of officers in the Regt. who have not been home at all, who should have the first chance if there is any chance at all.

            I have just finished a letter I have been writing to Joseph. I think I shall get a letter from him soon now I hope so at least after we come down from picket I must write to Lizzie and cousin Louisa, also to Mr. Sanford Mead if I can get time. it is so warm and the flys are so troublesome it is difficult to sit down and write. the <4> flys are I think regular Secesh fellows are trying to drive us off the Island. there is no doubt that there is enough of them to do it. we shall probably get another mail soon after we get down from picket as the Arago must be due today or tomorrow. I hope for more good news. I hope we shall soon get ready to open here, when I hope you may be permitted to hear good news from us. I think Charleston must fall this time but we need something beside men and heavy ordinance. we need the help of God if we go forth in his name and strength, he will lead us to victory. let us pray earnestly for his help in evry time of need, and as he has been with us in days that are passed and gone and protected and give us success may he still continue his blessings unto us.

            but I must close. as it most time for dress parade, and we have to get supper and probably be ready to fall in by ½ past 6. Love to all. you and Bennie take a good share.

                                                                       Ever your loving and aff. Benjamin

Historical Background

Organized at Hartford in October 1861, the 10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry left the state at the end of the month for Annapolis, Maryland, where it remained until January 1862. Early in 1862, it participated in battles in North Carolina, culminating with the capture of New Bern, where it remained until October 1862. After more expeditions in North Carolina, the 10th Connecticut transferred to Hilton Head, South Carolina. The regiment took part in the assault on and siege operations against Fort Wagner on Morris Island, at the mouth of Charleston harbor from July to September 1863. It was during these operations that Wright wrote this letter.

After the capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg on September 7, the 10th Connecticut participated in operations against Fort Sumter until October 26, when it moved to St. Augustine, Florida, where it remained until April 1864. Transferred to Virginia, the regiment occupied Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, from May to July 1864, and then participated in the siege of Petersburg and Richmond until April 1865. The regiment was briefly detached for duty at New York City in November for the presidential election. Present at the surrender of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in April 1865, the regiment remained on duty in Richmond until it was mustered out in August 1865.

Benjamin Wright (1834-1913) was born in Connecticut and married Abigail R. Mead in 1860. He was a merchant in Greenwich, living and working with Joseph E. Brush, when he enlisted in October 1861 as a sergeant in Company I of the 10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. Promoted to 2nd lieutenant on January 8, 1863, Wright gained promotion to 1st lieutenant on June 6, 1864. He was discharged on October 17, 1864, when his three-year term of service expired. In 1880, he was an inspector in Canton, Connecticut. He was active in the 10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry reunion and was elected its president in 1907.

Abigail R. Mead Wright (1839-1897) was the daughter of Thomas and Hannah Mead. She married Benjamin Wright on June 29, 1860, and on July 17, 1861, she gave birth to Benjamin M. Wright (1861-1907).

Henry C. Trumbull (1830-1903) was born in Connecticut and married in 1854. He was ordained as a chaplain on September 10, 1862. He became the chaplain of the 10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, replacing Henry L. Hall, who resigned on August 10, 1862. Unknown to Wright, Trumbull had been taken prisoner on Morris Island on July 19, 1863. He had gone to care for the wounded under a flag of truce after the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, made famous by the participation of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, composed of African American soldiers. Because the 10th Connecticut was not involved but the 6th Connecticut was, Chaplain Trumbull went to aid the wounded. Taken prisoner and transported to Charleston, Trumbull worked among prisoners in the “Yankee Hospital.” He was imprisoned for three months in Columbia, South Carolina, then transferred to Richmond, where he spent a week in Libby Prison before being exchanged and returning to the 10th Connecticut in St. Augustine, Florida.

Mark Tomlinson (1833-1911) enlisted as a sergeant in Company A of the 10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. Tomlinson was dismissed by court martial on September 18, 1863.

Sanford Mead (1803-1873) was a farmer in Greenwich, Connecticut, and owned $20,000 in real property. His son Henry H. Mead (1840-1862) was a private in Company I of the 10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, and died of typhoid fever on April 20, 1862, at New Bern, North Carolina. Wright likely wanted to write to Sanford Mead about his son’s death.

SS Arago (1855) was a wooden-hulled, sidewheel steamer built in 1855 in New York City. Originally a transatlantic mail steamer, the ship was chartered by the Union Army as a troop transport, it also served with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The Arago routinely transferred sick, wounded, and discharged soldiers from the South Atlantic coast to northern ports and returned with fresh troops and mail. In Aprl 1865, the Arago returned the United States flag to Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. Captain Henry Gadsden commanded the ship throughout the war.


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