In Their Own Words
March 21, 1862
Letter from Fort Pulaski
From Ft. Pulaski near the mouth of the Savannah River, Confederate defender Ricey Brooks wrote to his wife:
“I received yours yesterday which aforded me much pleasure, the first letter that I have received from you since we left camp. I suppose the cause of it is that the Yankees have taken any mail that has been started to us since we have been here. You cannot imagine the pleasure it gave me to hear from you once more, though I am fearful that it will be the last in a long while unless they hoist the blockade. I suppose in this time that the Yankees are as well fixed in their batteries as they can be, while our people, I suppose, are just living ‘round Savannah, drinking whiskey and cursing the Yankees – like that would whip the river out. It is provoking! Thee was also a dispatch sent down requesting us not to give up the fort, that they would be down with the mosquito fleet in a few days. They [the Yankees] can bust that fleet into a thousand pieces at one time, so you see that it is no fleet at all. The Yankees have got some vessels that looks almost as large as one side of this fort. The vessels are coming in every day. I guess that there will be enough to storm the fort in a short time. “… All the amusement we have is catching fish without a hook. We can catch them as fast as we can drop our line over. They are as large as your finger. We catch crabs and stingrays. They are very good, too. And on Sundays [we] have preaching. We also have Bible class of about two hundred. Saturday we have to scour the floors of the casemates. We also wash our clothes on that day. My health is better than it has ever been. I will keep the cold water. I wash my body every morning. I weigh about 150 pounds. If I continue to grow I will be as lazy as cousin Edward Brooks. Well, I said i weigh 150. The last time I weighed it was 148. That was before I left Camp Wilson. I am the stoutest man in the garrison or, that is, I am stouter than anyone I have tustled with. I believe water will make a man of me if I keep it up, which I expect to do. It is one of the best medicines I have ever taken.”
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 107.