|E. S. Williams to Mr. Jocelyn
St. Helena Village - Dec. 18, 1862
AMA - South Carolina Roll
|Dec. 18, 1862
St. Helena Village, S. C.
Dec 18th 1862
The very first evening we have anything that looks like a home we write the friends through whom
we have the privilege of being here. It is a privilege to be here though we have had some
hardships. We were charged $24 for our board however which was an extortion for all our
passengers. We arrived at Hilton Head a week ago today and at Beaufort the same evening.
There we were very kindly entertained by Mr. Judd. General Saxton assigned us to this village and
we came the next day by small boat passing within a few rods of rebel shore being stopped by our
own pickets and compelled to quarter over night in a Negro cabin lying on the floor of one small
room with five fellow passengers and reaching her Sat. last. Sunday in company with Dr. Bundy of
Boston I opened Sabbath School, and after it I preached a short sermon to the adults. It was a
very interesting occasion to me and some of the thanks I recd from them when I was through I am
sure were sincere. I think I shall get their hearts. There are about a thousand people. This is a
very healthy location was a kind of summer resort of the planters and the houses are very good
for the South. The freedmen are quartered in them and also in the cabins and rough houses lately
put up for them. They are very need though not in misery by any means. They have plenty to eat
and say â€œthese be good times Massaâ€�. There are here the Allen superintendent Mr. Hill
boss carpenter Mr. Philips commissary agent, Mr. Bundy and Wife and Sister in law and ourselves
are all favorable. the good work and all more or less engaged in it!! We have bee so trouble
getting settled and last night was the first night we have slept in a bed since we left home. It has
really been tedious and we would deny being a little dispirited for we are strangers and the others
came long enough ago to pick up comforts, while we are left to a back room and what we brought
with us. But a blazing home fire cheers us now and we are ready for our work. As it seems to lie
before me it is this. The School has been neglected and is all in the hands of the old colored men.
I am to reorganize it, with three lady assistants and shall teach three or four hours a day more or
less for we have no fire and are limited to the hours when the sun is warming the room. We are
well provided with school books. But I shall most love visiting them in their cabins in the ? and
reading the Bible to them. When I told them you would give Bibles to all who would read them, they
were rejoiced and they are in a hurry to get them. I hope they will come soon. Mrs. Williams will go
with me preceding me and teach them to sew and sweep they need kind lectures on cleanliness
and neatness. Sunday alt I shall assist in the S. Scho and preach and in the evening attend a
meeting for prayer and exhortation I have just come from one tonight and a very good one it was.
They have true religion many of them. The Thursday evening meeting I shall attend regularly and
with the other will be all my health will permit of my doing regularly. I keep talking kindly with them
when I meet them, and strive to lift up their hearts so long weighed down. It is a glorious work, and
to me a very pleasant one. Pardon me if after a day spent in organizing school, stuffing broken
windows, unpacking boxes etc make a rather shabby report In due time I hope to report progress.
Edwm S. Williams.