Hilton Head, S. C.
September 13, 1863
Letters from Teachers
HILTON HEAD, S. C., SEPTEMBER 13th, 1863.
The people are raising a plenteous crop for their subsistence, with the exception of a few aged and otherwise
helpless individuals. There is much matured corn, an abundance of sweet potatoes, considerable rice, and a general
supply of various kinds of vegetables all over the islands. There is also a quite extensive crop of cotton, the first
picking of which is now taking place. The peach, fig and other fruit harvests have gone by, but there is a profusion of
oranges everywhere, some of them beginning to turn yellow. The supply seems to be unlimited. I have been
surprised at the amount of subsistence raised upon the islands; and yet, with more diligence and increased
husbandry, the amount may be vastly increased. I see no reason why the natural resources of the islands may not
be made to support entirely, at least twice, and perhaps three times their present population. This, of course, would
require a more thorough and general superintendence, than has yet been rendered. The people need to be
instructed, encouraged, and in many cases compelled to labor. The agent who comes here for pastime or.the mere
novelty of change, had better stay at home. The direction of labor is vastly important, but scarcely less so is the
development of the social, mental and moral faculties of this long oppressed and neglected race. It seems to me
there is at present a great lack of teachers, not merely of the alphabet, and more advanced education, but also of
social and domestic duties.