‘Yankee ship… came so close I could see the Captain’

The ill-starred and ill-steered Costa Concordia was dominating cable news when this liftout quote on the back cover of the latest Windows grabbed my eye: “We can see the Yankee ships all the time. [T]he other day one came so close I could see the Captain….”

Letter writer William Cain, 25th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, was stationed near Wilmington at Camp Davis. Cain’s letter to his mother, dated October 18, 1861, is posted in full on the Civil War Day By Day.

The Gazetteer briefly mentions this Camp Davis as “a Civil War training camp” in western New Hanover County. Better remembered is the  Camp Davis in Onslow County, a bustling anti-aircraft training base during World War II.