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Morris Island Sept 11th 1864

My dear Father

I received a letter from you of July 23 at Fort Delaware + replyed to it on the 24th informing you that I expected to be sent to this place with six hundred other Confederate Officers, to be placed under the fire of our batteries in retaliation for a like number of Federal Officers exposed to fire in Charleston, we were 18 days on board a steamer between decks + suffered very much from heat thirst + very short rations of crackers + salt meat [.] [W]e lay 12 days in Port Royal Harbour off this [far?] + you can imagine the suffering that would necessarily ensue from the great heat and crowded conditions of the boat. [W]e are now in a pen enclosing about 2 acres of sand fed in small A tents imediately in the rear of the Federal batteries, some fragments of shell from our batteries have fallen in the pen but nobody was hurt. I do not think the danger is very great. When the opposing batteries as shelling each other it is a very a very interesting sight + never to be forgotten, it is astonishing to what a distance + with what remarkable accuracy the imense shells can be thrown, we are so near one of the Federal batteries that the shock from the explosion of + the passing of the shell over our heads is very unpleasant + often prevents one sleeping at night but I suppose we will soon become accustomed to it. We are here for retaliation + are fed exactly as the Federal Officers are said to be fed on in Charleston that is on short rations of salt meat + crackers but are allowed to buy a few articles of food from the sutler such as sugar coffee Tobacco ++. I can not get along without money + beg that you will at once get some Federal currency or Gold at any price + send it to me, I will be allowed to receive it or any articles of food clothing or luxuries that are sent from our lines. [I]f necessary get brother Robt or some one to bring the money + box of food [.] I wrote to Ann for to Charleston + put it in the hands of some one who will forward it by first Flag of Truce Boat, which passes about once a week or ten days. Tell Ann if she has a suit of clothes (not too fine) made up to send them in the box. [A]lso a small quantity of Blue Mass Quinine + Opium. Money is the thing I need greatly + I beg that if it can be possibly procured you will send it at once [.]

[verso:] I left Lt W P Bormey at Fort Delaware + well. Lynch dead[,] was at the Old capitol Prison D.C. in July I do not know whether he was wounded or not. I tried to learn where T L Boykin was but was unable to do so. E B Cureton was at Fort Delaware + well, I find this imprisonment very irksome + miserable. I am very well now + if I [can time] so can bear the confinement as well as any one. There are some Gentlemen here who have been in prison two years + many since the battle of Gettysburge. [W]e can hear nothing of what is going on in the outside world + I have asked Ann to send me an occasional News Paper. Money is the all important matter with me now. I hope you will write to me occasionally as I can receive as many letters as are sent me. I understand no U S Stamp is required to send a letter to this point [.]

I send much love to Mother. Your Affectionate Son

W E Johnson Jr

Address me “Prisoner of War, Morris Island” Tell Ann not to wait for me to [ask for]30 boxes but to send them at regular intervals

Creation Date



Morris Island (Charleston, Folly Beach)


Charleston County


South Carolina


United States

Creator Life Dates



W.E. Johnson, letter, soldier, Civil War, prisoner, prisoner-of-war

Date Digital


Document Type



American Studies | Military History | Other Rhetoric and Composition | Political History | Social History | United States History

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Letter: W.E. Johnson to W.E. Johnson, Sr., September 11, 1864