Return to Port Royal Experiment
Journal of Charlotte Forten Grimke
Commission and Journey to be a Teacher in the Port Royal
Experiment
From Various Days 1862
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Wednesday, Saturday, August 16 [1862]. Had gone to see some members of the P. R. Com. and finding them all
out of town, felt somewhat discouraged, when I rec'd the kindest letter from Whittier, advising me again to apply to
friends of his whom to apply, also his permission to use his name as a reference. How very kind he is. I shall go see
those whom he mentions at once.

Watertown, Saturday, August 16. Have not succeeded in seeing any of the Com. Though I have traversed this hilly
city enough; but I don't despair for I have seen Dr. Howe. Was disappointed in his appearance. He is not the
benevolent looking, genial person I expected to see. ....He is not a member of the Com. but recommended me to go
to a Dr. Peck who has been Superientendent of the schools at P. R. and who has great influence with the Com. ...

Worcester. Tuesday, August 19. Saw Dr. P. this morning. He was very kind, and assures me that he thinks there will
be no difficulty about my going. He will speak to the Com. about it and let me know in a few days. It was very
interesting to hear his account of his experiences at Port Royal. He seems deeply interested in the people there. I
hope I can go. Bade farewell to my kind friend Mrs. J. and came to W. this eve. Here I shall remain until I get news
from B. ...

Wednesday, Sept 3. Have been anxious and disappointed at not hearing from Dr. P. But a letter from Mrs. J. to-day
tells me that she has seen him, and that he is very saguine about my going. Dr. R. and others to whom he spoke
about it, wish it. The Com. meets to-day, and then he will write immediately and let me know the final deciision. Last
week I heard from home that there was now no doubt of my being able to go from the Phila. Com. Mr. McK. had
spoken to them about it. So if I cannot go from Boston I am sure of going from P. but I w'ld rather go under Boston
auspices.....

Monday, Sept 8. No further news from B. I am determined to go tomorrow and see for myself what the trouble is.
Have paid a last visit to the W. C. ..

Phila. Sunday, September 14. Back again in old abominable P. H. and I went from W. to B. on Tuesday afternoon. I
got little satisfaction from the B. Com. "They were not sending women at present" etc. Dr. R. promised to do all he
c'ld for me, but I am resolved to apply to the Com. here....

Monday, September 15. Through Mr. McK's kindness have seen the Com. They are perfectly willing for me to go.
The only difficulty is that it may not be quite safe. They will write to Port Royal at once, and inquire about my going. I
shall wait anxiously for a reply.

At Sea. October 27, Monday - Let me see. Where am I? What do I want to write? I am in a state of utter
bewilderment. It was on Wed. I rec'd the note. On Thursday I said "good bye" to the friends that are so dear, and
the city that is so hateful...the next morn did not hurry myself, having heard that the Steamer
United States w'ld not
sail till twelve. Mrs. W. and I went to "Lovejoy's" to meet the Hunns' and found there a card from Mr. H. bidding me
hasten to the steamer, as it was advertised to sail at nine. It was then between ten and eleven. After hurrying down
and wearying ourselves, found when I got on board that it was not to sail till twelve. ...

...Had no symptoms of sea-sickness until eve. when, being seated at the table an inexpressibly singular sensation
caused me to make a hasty retreat to the aft-deck.....Was terribly sea-sick that night and all the next morning.

[October 29] Early this mron. Mr. H came to our door to tell us that we were in sight of the blockading fleet in
Charleston harbor. Of course, we sprang to the window eagerly, and saw the masts of the ships looking like a grove
of trees in the distance. ...

Late. We are again in sight of land. Have passed Edisto and several other islands, and can now see Hilton Head.
Shall reach it about one. Tis nearly eleven now. ....

We approach Hilton Head. Our ship has been boarded by Health Officer and Provost Marshal. We shall soon reach
the landing. All is hurry and confusion on board. I must lay thee aside, friend journal, and use my eyes for seeing all
there is to be seen.

Tuesday night. T'was a strange sight as our boat approached the landing at Hilton Head. On the wharf was a motley
assemblage, ---soldiers, officers, and "contrabands" of every hue and size. They were mostly black, however, and
certainly the most dismal specimens I ever saw. H. H. looks like a very desolate place, just a long low, sandy point
running out into the sea with no visable dwellings upon it but the soldiers' white roofed tents.

Thence, after an hour's delay, during which we signed a paper, which was virtually taking the oath of allegiance, we
left the "United States," most rocking of rockety propellers, ---and took a steamboat for Beaufort. On board the boat
was
General Saxton to whom we were introduced. I like his face exceedingly. And his manners were very courteous
and affable. He looks like a a thoroughly good man....
Charlotte Forten Grimke