J. Smith DuShane letters, 1860-1862.

Creator: DuShane, J. Smith, 1838-1922.
Collection number: 5198-z
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Abstract: Schoolteacher, lawyer, and Union Army soldier J. Smith DuShane was born in New Castle, Lawrence County, Pa. DuShane enlisted on 31 August 1861 as a sergeant in Company K of the 100th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. Most of his war career, 1861-1862, was spent in coastal South Carolina and Virginia. After being wounded in the shoulder at Second Manassas (Bull Run), 29 August 1862, DuShane was discharged from the army. He then returned to New Castle and married schoolteacher Adela McMillan (b. 1841). In September 1864, DuShane was admitted to the bar in Lawrence County, where he eventually served one term as district attorney. He had been a schoolteacher before the war and was again listed as such in the 1880 census. Letters written from DuShane to his future wife Adela and one undated fragment of a letter to his parents. In the latter half of 1861, DuShane wrote from Annapolis, Md., and Hilton Head, S.C., with descriptions of his surroundings, a storm at sea while en route to South Carolina, and the November Port Royal Expedition. The bulk of the letters were written in 1862 and include accounts of various operations in the Hilton Head and Beaufort, S.C., area; the commandeering of the Confederate steamship Planter by its slave pilot; his teaching philosophy, the defiant character of the residents of Fredericksburg, Va.; and fellow soldiers’ retaliation against the so-called “land shark” peddlers who followed the regiment through Virginia. As the relationship between DuShane and McMillan grew, he wrote at length of his love for her. DuShane also recounted, in a feeble hand, the events leading to his being wounded at Second Manassas. Undated items include two separate descriptions of the Union defeat, 16 June 1862, at the Battle of Secessionville, James Island, S.C., an event that greatly affected DuShane.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: 1862 letters include describing the commandeering of the Confederate steamship Planter by its slave pilot, as well as DuShane’s interactions with African Americans in Beaufort, S.C. (Folder 2)