Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/485

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484 Southern Historical Society Papers.

according to the forms prescribed by army regulations. Upon one

occasion, N F was on post on the beach. The Captain

carefully instructed him in the duties of a sentinel, and explained particularly to him how he should receive the grand rounds, in case he should be honored with a visit from an officer entitled to make the rounds. After the Captain had repeated the instructions two or three times, he left, and not long after returned with the rounds.

Upon their approach, N F promptly commanded, "halt,"

th'ei a long pause Captain and the rounds shivering in a cold Jan- uary breeze "What next," said the Captain? F , still think- ing, finally came slowly and hesitatingly from him, " Stand, rounds, advance Sergeant and give the copper sign." The Sergeant ad- vanced, gave the countersign, and the laugh at the expense of N

F - firmly impressed on his mind the difference between "the countersign" and "copper sign."

Once, Robbins F was the sentinel at the guard room. The

Captain instructed him that when he saw the officer of the day ap- proaching, he must call out, "officer of the day, turn out the guard," and that the officer of the guard would then form his guard for in- spection. The Captain, who was himself the officer of the day on that occasion, after a brief interval,. approached to see whether his in- structions were remembered. Imagine his surprise to hear Robbins call out, " officer of the day, stand out of the way."

Fort Sumter was closely watched by the sentinels, and every move- ment that could be tortured into a signal promptly reported to head- quarters. The sentinels were particularly directed to look out for signal rockets. One night a brave fellow, who subsequently learnt a great deal more about pyrotechnics than he then knew, was on post on the front beach, and was heard calling lustily for an officer. The Captain went to the sentinel's post, "Well, what is it, sentinel?" "Why, Captain, I saw a rocket!" "Where, sentinel?" "Right over yonder, Captain ; it went up and up, and came down and stopped over yonder, and yonder it is now," pointing to a light on Morris Island.

While we were at the Moultrie House on the gth of January, 1861, we witnessed the firing of the first hostile shot of the war. One morning about sunrise the "Star of West," a fine steamer, crossed the bar and came gallantly up the "ship channel," having supplies and reinforcements on board for Fort Sumter. A shot was thrown across her bows from a battery on Morris Island manned by the Cadets from the Military Academy. She ran up a large United