The following letter was written June 14, 1861 from Portsmouth Island by Sgt. John Wheeler (CSA):
"...Having finished dinner I shall continue my
letter. We had crabs, bluefish, spots, and mullets besides ham for
dinner. Our table was made of plank unplaned set on legs of unhewn
timber. Our utensils of tin made up our soldierly table quipments.
But Oh! the water such stuff I never attempted to drink! Out of our tin
drinking cups we strain it through our lips. Our cake today we saved for
hard times which we expect at most any time. Out company is of good cheer
and their only solicitude is sympathy with the feelings of those at home.
We are very well situated. Better by far than we expected. Portsmouth has about 500
inhabitants. Joshua Taylor [Collector of Customs] is dead and his family removed. All this
region is called Ocracoke. Most of the troops are on this; the fort is on
Beacon Island. We are ready.
Your son John"
Sgt. Wheeler (1841-1861) died July 7, 1861 of typhoid fever.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of the 2013 Portsmouth Island Christmas Bird Count.
You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012114.htm.