23rd Georgia Infantry

John Barnes Letter Describing the Sinking of the Steamer Sumpter Co. B

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John Barnes
23rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Company B, "Choestoe Guards"
writing to his Mother in Union County, Georgia
written September 8, 1863
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John Barnes' letter was found behind a picture frame in Union County, Georgia. He served in Co. B, "Choestoe Guard," 23rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, C.S.A. While at Charleston, the 23rd fought at Battery Wagner, Fort Sumter and James Island.
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The following letter describes Battery Wagner and the sinking of the sidewheel steamer transport Sumter with the 23rd G.V.I.R. aboard including Union County’s Company B, "Choestoe Guard" and Company K, "Young Cane Volunteers. "

Charleston Sc Sept the 8 1863
Dear Mother
It is with the greatest of pleasure that I seat myself to transmit to you a few lines to inform you that I am in tolerable good health at this time. Hoping that those few lines may reach and and find you all in the same state of health. We have just got back from Battery Wagner. There is continual fighting although mostly shelling. We stayed there six days and night. The yankees are continually throwing shell in there. Their mortars throw shells that vary from two to three hundred pounds.
We were relieved there last Sunday night at 12 o'clock and our Regiment and the 20th South Carolina and two other companies got on the boat [C.S. Steamer Sumter].
And about two or three o'clock, our Batteries fired on the boat and the second shot from Fort Moultrie, they hit the boat and soon sunk it. And some threw their guns and everything else [away]. Some were killed and some were drowned. Some waded and swam to Fort Sumter and some swam to land. It was about a half of a mile to Sumter and some stayed and hung to the boat till they got news of the accident and brought small boats and all of our Regiment made their escape. But I doubt now how they all happened to, for it was the most distressing time that ever was. Some of them threw off all of their clothes and came to Fort Sumter with out a rag of clothes and some of them just with their chest and drawers. So nothing more at this time, only I want you to write soon and often. So I remain yours, truly until death. John Barnes
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The Official Records show only 2 deaths and one wounded from the shelling. Those were in the 20th South Carolina. No deaths occurred in the 23rd Georgia.
According to the O.R., there were no drownings from the sinking.
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John Barnes survived the war.
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Found originally online at Private David W Payne Camp
1633 http://camp1633.scv.org/regiments/styled-2/index.html