A Yankee Girl at Fort Sumter

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Rose Koven, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

A YANKEE GIRL

AT
FORT SUMTER

BY

ALICE TURNER CURTIS
AUTHOR OF

The Little Maid’s Historical Series, etc.

Illustrated by ISABEL W. CALEY

PHILADELPHIA

1920

INTRODUCTION

Sylvia Fulton, a little Boston girl, was staying with her father and
mother in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina, just before
the opening of the Civil War. She had become deeply attached to her new
friends, and their chivalrous kindness toward the little northern girl,
as well as Sylvia’s perilous adventure in Charleston Harbor, and the
amusing efforts of the faithful negro girl to become like her young
mistress, all tend to make this story one that every little girl will
enjoy reading, and from which she will learn of far-off days and of the
high ideals of southern honor and northern courage.

I. SYLVIA

II. A NEW FRIEND
III. SYLVIA IN TROUBLE
IV. AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
V. ESTRALLA AND ELINOR
VI. SYLVIA AT THE PLANTATION
VII. SYLVIA SEES A GHOST
VIII. A TWILIGHT TEA-PARTY
IX. TROUBLESOME WORDS
X. THE PALMETTO FLAG
XI. SYLVIA CARRIES A MESSAGE
XII. ESTRALLA HELPS
XIII. A HAPPY AFTERNOON
XIV. MR. ROBERT WAITE
XV. “WHERE IS SYLVIA?”
XVI. IN DANGER
XVII. A CHRISTMAS PRESENT
XVIII. GREAT NEWS
XIX. SYLVIA MAKES A PROMISE
XX. “TWO LITTLE DARKY GIRLS”
XXI. FORT SUMTER IS FIRED UPON

CHAPTER I

SYLVIA

“Your name is in a song, isn’t it?” said Grace Waite, as she and her
new playmate, Sylvia Fulton, walked down the pleasant street on their
way to school.

“Is it? Can you sing the song?” questioned Sylvia eagerly, her blue
eyes shining at what promised to be such a delightful discovery.

Grace nodded smilingly. She was a year older than Sylvia, nearly eleven
years old, and felt that it was quite proper that she should be able to
explain to Sylvia more about her name than Sylvia knew herself.

“It is something about ‘spelling,'” she explained, and then sang, very
softly:

   ”‘Then to Sylvia let us sing,

       That Sylvia is spelling.

     She excels each mortal thing,

       Upon the dull earth dwelling.’

“I suppose it means she was the best speller,” Grace said soberly.

“I think it is a lovely song,” said Sylvia. “I’ll tell my mother about
it. I am so glad you told me, Grace.”

Sylvia Fulton was ten years old, and had lived in Charleston, South
Carolina, for the past year. Before that the Fultons had lived in
Boston. Grace Waite lived in the house next to the one which Mr. Fulton
had hired in the beautiful southern city, and the two little girls had
become fast friends. They both attended Miss Patten’s school. Usually
Grace’s black mammy, Esther, escorted them to and from Miss Patten’s,
but on this morning in early October they were allowed to go by
themselves.

As they walked along they could look out across the blue harbor, and
see sailing vessels and rowboats coming and going. In the distance were
the three forts whose historic names were known to every child in
Charleston. Grace never failed to point them out to the little northern
girl, and to repeat their names:

“Castle Pinckney,” she would say, pointing to the one nearest the city,
and then to the long dark forts at the mouth of the harbor, “Fort
Sumter, and Fort Moultrie.”

“Don’t stop to tell me the names of those old forts this morning,” said
Sylvia. “I know just as much about them now as you do. We shall be late
if we don’t hurry.”

Miss Patten’s house stood in a big garden which ran nearly to the
water’s edge. The schoolroom opened on each side to broad piazzas, and
there was always the pleasant fragrance of flowers in the big airy
room. Sylvia was sure that no one could be more beautiful than Miss
Patten. “She looks just like one of the ladies in your ‘Godey’s
Magazine,'” she had told her mother, on returning home from her first
day at school.

And with her pretty soft black curls, her rosy cheeks and pleasant
voice, no one could imagine a more desirable teacher than Miss Rosalie
Pattten. There were just twelve little girls in her school. There were
never ten, or fourteen. Miss Patten would never engage to take more
than twelve pupils; and the twelve always came. Mrs. Waite, Grace’s
mother, had told Mrs. Fulton that Sylvia was very fortunate to attend
the school.

School had opened the previous week, and Sylvia had begun to feel quite
at home with her new schoolmates. The winter before, Mrs. Fulton had
taught her little daughter at home; so this was her first term at Miss
Patten’s.

Miss Patten always stood near the schoolroom door until all her pupils
had arrived. As each girl entered the room she made a curtsey to the
pretty teacher, and then said “good-morning” to the pupils who had
already arrived, and took her seat. When the clock struck nine Miss
Rosalie would take her place behind the desk on the platform at the
further end of the room, and say a little prayer. Then the pupils were
ready for their lessons.

“Isn’t Miss Rosalie lovely,” Sylvia whispered as she and Grace moved to
their seats, “and doesn’t she wear pretty clothes?”

Grace nodded. She had been to Miss Rosalie’s school for three years,
and she wondered a little at Sylvia’s admiration for their teacher,
although she too thought Miss Patten looked exactly like a fashion
plate.

Grace was eager to get to her desk. From where she sat she could see
the grim lines of the distant forts; and this morning they had a new
value and interest for her; for at breakfast she had heard her father
say that, although the forts were occupied by the soldiers of the
United States Government, it was only justice that South Carolina
should control them, and if the State seceded from the Union Charleston
must take possession of the forts. With the consent of the United
States Government if possible, but, if this was refused, by force.

Grace had been thinking about this all the morning, wondering if
Charleston men would really send off the soldiers in the forts. She had
not spoken of this to Sylvia as they came along the street facing the
harbor, and now as she looked at the distant forts on guard at the
entrance of the harbor, she resolved to ask Miss Rosalie why the United
States should interfere with the “Sovereign State of South Carolina,”
which her father had said would defend its rights. “Question time” was
just before the morning session ended. Then each pupil could ask a
question. But as a rule only one or two of the girls had any inquiry to
make. To-day, however, there were several who had questions to ask and
Grace waited with what patience she could until it was her turn. When
Miss Rosalie smiled at her and called her name, Grace rose and said:

“Please, Miss Rosalie, if Charleston owns the forts, could anyone take
them away?”

The teacher’s dark eyes seemed to grow larger and brighter, and she
straightened her slender shoulders as if preparing to defend the rights
of her State.

“My dear girl, who would question the right of South Carolina to

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