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Burning of Columbia, S.C.

Augusta, Sept. 15, 1865.

Rev. S. M. Isaacs:

After an interval of more than four years, I have again the pleasure of greeting you,—I trust with no diminution of the heretofore kindly feeling which mutually subsisted between us. The acerbity of party politics has given place to those more generous and sensible impulses which should be preeminent in the hearts of brethren of the House of Israel, whose aims and hopes are in common. After the disasters of an unhappy war which I have felt keenly in person, I hold out my hand frankly to my old and respected friend, and bid him  שלום in all cordiality and sincerity, satisfied of his whole-souled reciprocation.

I suppose you have heard, ere this, of the whole chapter of accidents which befell me during the last year. Previous to that period, when a continued residence in Charleston was considered unsafe, and a general migration took place, I was "detailed" by the Board of Trustees to officiate in Columbia, whither very many of my Cong. had proceeded. There I remained and officiated till the fall of the city and its destruction by Gen. Sherman's forces. I will not now recall the horrors of that Sabbath Eve, (the 17th Feb. [1864]), when I and my family were driven forth from our home to a park in the suburbs, where wrapped in blankets we passed Friday night, and nearly the whole שבת Save a change of raiment and my תפילין I lost everything in the world—clothing, furniture, books, manuscripts, provisions—even my canonicals and תליתות—everything except hope and confidence in our Heavenly Father. He indeed helped me, for I have found warm friends here in Augusta, whence wagons were sent for my family as soon as intelligence reached of our sad condition.

It will interest you to learn that the synagogue here has been renovated; and religion, I may add with humility, has received some impetus by my presence. Service is conducted partly in the Polish and partly in the Portuguese Minhag on Sabbath days, when, from נשמת till the Prayer for the Government, the former is followed—and the service is closed in the latter. On Festivals and Holidays, all Polish is used. Of course, the pulpit is the regular vehicle of religious instruction. Our Sunday School is in vigorous and successful operation, presided over very efficiently and zealously by Mrs. A. N. Cohen; Mrs. H. S. Jacobs is Secretary and Treasurer. There are over sixty pupils attached to it, divided into six or seven classes, under competent lady teachers, who are members of the congregation.

I have accepted the ministry here for one year certain, and, if my field of labor is not very large, still I hope to be useful, and to accomplish some good to the God of Israel.