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Full text of "Among the cotton thieves"



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A. M O N <3c 



COTTON THIEVES. 



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By Edward Bacon, 

Colonel of Sixth Michigan Volunteers. 



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DETROIT: 

THE FREE PRESS STEAM BOOK AND JOB PRINTING HOUSE. 
1867. 









Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, 03- Edward Baco.v, in the 
Clerk's office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan. 



PREFACE. 



To bring back in mind tbe scenes of the Department of tbe Gulf 
has been interesting to me. I have endeavored to make written pictures 
of those scenes which may be interesting to others. There are witnesses 
in all parts of the country who can testify whether the picture is like 
the reality. I offer no excuses for using plain words and proper names. 

If the short-lived unwritten history of the civil war should seem to 
show that the system of military despotism, which has been handed 
clown to our times substantially the same as it was in the days of 
Xerxes, is nothing but a system of man - worship, no less evil and 
absurd for any intelligent people in time of war, than it would be in 
time of peace, there is no doubt that the orthodox written history of 
the war will come to the rescue of the old system, and demonstrate its 
excellence in every way. 



AMONG THE COTTON THIEVES. 



" Calla, amigo Sancho," respondio Don Quijote, " que las cosas de la guerra mas que 
otras estan 6ujetas a continua mudandza." 



CHAPTER I. 



General Williams— His difficulties with the Mississippi River— The Sixth Michigan and 
the " Order of Combat." 

It is a July day in 1862. From an early hour Farragut's 
gunboats and sloops-of-war have been going down the river at 
Baton Rouge, and the transports that bear the troops of Gen- 
eral Thomas Williams have been arriving from the expedition 
against Vicksburg. A crowd collects at the levee. There are 
the blue caps of Federal soldiers, the broad-brimmed planters' 
hats, the uncovered woolly heads of negroes, and the glossy 
beavers of well dressed Jews. At windows and porticos, here 
and there, appear a few white women of the poorest sort, and 
some quadroon beauties, whose gay attire and finely curled 
ringlets indicate that they have not been losers by the Federal 
conquest. 

A characteristic order of the General has forbidden the 
troops to land, and the crews of the gunboats left for duty at 
Baton Rouge seem wondering what the transports full of half- 
dead men and horses are doing so long in the middle of the 
stream. 

Southerners in the crowd are smiling, and talk freely about 
the failure of the Vicksburg ditch. The Mississippi has proved 
too much for General Williams, and the Hill City is not yet 
made an inland town ; his last device of making a little narrow 
ditch along the middle of the first ditch, in the vain effort to 
overtake the falling waters of the river, and lead them where he 



AMONG THE 



willed them to go, in no way helped the matter. A little 
trickling stream got through feebly, and in a few hours ceased 
to How. although an old stern-wheel steamer had been kept at 
work at the upper end of the ditch, to force the water, by the 
action of the wheel, to obey the General's will. Some of the 
talkers think that the General's pride would not have allowed 
him to yield on account of the havoc made by sickness among 
his troops, had it not been for the appearance and doings of the 
rebel ram Arkansas. 

At length, the General, with his florid countenance and his 
precisely cut grizzly hair, whiskers and mustache, comes ashore, 
duly attended by some of his obsequious staff oflicers. As 
the General steps on the plank held for his security, and then 
on the land, he glances at the crowd, and seems greatly 
satisfied with himself. He is escorted to the quarters pre- 
pared for him, without deigning to recognize officer or citizen. 
He appeal's to have made up his mind to try that dogma of 
his faith and early instruction, which is, that a sufficient die- 
play of authority is all that is necessary to make subordinates 
cease to think of the folly or crime of a commander, and 
that nothing is too absurd for a ruler to make the multitude 
believe. Next comes Xims 1 Battery, which, before the expe- 
dition, astonished Baton Rouge with its tine condition and 
abilities, that even justified its puffs by Boston newspapers. 
Now what a change. The gaunt, skeleton horses, hang to the 
ground the heads that they once held up with proper esprit de 
a»\/>s. Even the worn and cracked harness seems too much for 
them to carry. The guns and carriages are smeared with \ ick8 
burg mud. ami marred by the action of heat and rains. I meet 
a quartermaster of the expedition. He tells me. "We have 
come back. We ought to have come hack sooner. That flitch 
would not work; the soldiers knew that it would not work. It 
made me sick to Bee them (lie as they did. We buried men 
c\ cry where. There were not well men enough to bury the dead. 
The men were lying around in the mud. exposed to the hot sun 
ami the rain, without much of anything lit to eat. They looked 



OOTTON THIEVE*. 



as if they would be glad to die, to get out of their misery . 
And the ditch itself will be uo greater wonder than some of the 
orders and performances contrived every day. I was glad 
Avhen the old ram came and started us down stream, for before 
that there was a fair prospect that we would have to keep dig- 
ging in that ditch all summer." 

The Ninth Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers, the Fourth 
Regiment of Wisconsin, and the Seventh Regiment of Ver- 
mont, are beginning to land as the heat of the day comes on. 
The faces of officers are changed, as if by ten years of care and 
trouble. The men appear like wretches escaped from the dun- 
geons of the Inquisition ; every face and foi-m shows the effect 
of long continued exercise in tortures, and expectations of a 
miserable death. Numerous buildings have been seized for 
hospitals, and confused processions of the sick, some in ambu- 
lances and wagons, some in litters, and some staggering along 
on foot, present scenes of horror in every street. This day the 
surgeons' command outnumbers that of the General, and pas- 
sengers hourly departing for the country carry faithful reports 
to the confederate outposts, while the frequent firing of funeral 
escorts causes reports and camp rumors that the long expected 
attack is about to begin. 

My regiment, the Sixth Michigan Infantry, occupies the com- 
fortable brick barracks at Baton Rouge. A long sea voyage, 
with three thousand men crowded on board one steamer, the 
sufferings of Ship Island, followed by many weeks of life on 
transports off the Southwest Pass and again during the first 
Vicksburg expedition, have conspired, with the climate and the 
recent change from civil life, to prostrate with sickness half of 
my regiment; but the excellent shelter afforded by the United 
States barracks is likely to enable the regiment to pass the dan- 
gerous hot season Avithout increase of disease. For several 
weeks we have buried a man every day, but the numbers of 
those whom former sufferings have marked for the grave is 
growing less, and the appearance and step of the men show 
that vegetable food, and protection from the hot sun, are 



AMONG THE 



slowly restoring strength to their debilitated constitutions. 
It is reported through the officers' quarters of the Sixth 
.Michigan that our regiment is surely to be ordered out of the 
barracks, to make room for the Ninth Connecticut. There are 
other buildings enough ready for use, and that regiment have 
tents, while we have none; but as the report goes, we are to 
have no shelter either by tents or roofs. We are to be ordered 
to encamp, without protection from sun or rain, at a place just 
out of the town, toward the Perkins plantation. 

The officers are assembled to consult as to the matter. The 
place where we come together is at the door of the quarters of 
the commanding officer, on the upper portico, toward the river, 
of one of the large barrack buildings, with white columns sup- 
porting its wide porches, beneath which many large windows 
are open. The men are thronging the shady part of their bar- 
racks. All the buildings being much alike, are arranged in the 
form of a horse-shoe, with the open part at river bank, so as to 
inclose a neat parade ground, with graveled walks, where the 
garrison of regulars once displayed their perfection. The con- 
sulting officers are now all in earnest. Our sleek commander, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, seems to think of himself as well as of 
others, as he speaks most feelingly : " I am ordered to march 
this regiment out of these barracks, and I don't propose to do 
it, because I look upon the order as unreasonable. The men are 
just beginning to get well, and if we make them lie in the sun 
out there where they want to send us, they will die. I have 
told the General that the Ninth Connecticut have tents, and we 
have none, but he is determined to show his authority. He 
hates us, and hates to see us in these buildings. I expect he 
wants to revenge himself on us because our men yelled 'Order 
of combat,' as often as he showed himself on the deck of the 
Great Republic. The continual war that we have had with him 
since lie commenced treating us like dogs, and calling us beasts, 
might as well come to a head now as at any other time. I refuse 
to march this regiment from where they are, to lie exposed to 
the sun and rain. The command will devolve upon some of the 



COTTON THIEVES. 9 



rest of you in succession, and you can do as you please, but I 
do not wish to be accountable for the deaths of those who will 
die in consequence of needless exposure and suffering." The 
officers present are not slow in agreeing with their commander. 
Allusions are made to the threats of the General when our men 
used to hoot " Order of combat," as often as he showed himself 
out of his cabin; when we lay off the Southwest Pass, during 
the bombardment of Fort St. Philip and Fort Jackson. All 
the officers are committed to the policy of disobeying, and 
being arrested. Although some appear very willing to escape 
all risk to themselves, no one, however, dares speak openly in 
favor of gratifying the General by submission. The gathering 
is broken up, and the officers retire for secret counseling. Not 
long afterwards, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark returns from a visit to 
General Williams' head-quarters. He looks like a martyr; says 
that he is under arrest ; appears to have lost considerable of his 
zeal, and to have a realizing sense that the thing is done. I, 
as major of the regiment, am in command, and in a short time 
an orderly arrives from the General with a message, taking me 
to post head-quarters. I cross the broad, dusty street, separat- 
ing the barracks from the arsenal grounds. The sun seems to 
scorch the blood in my veins, my little uniform cap affording 
no protection. On entering the fine brick building used by the 
General and his staff, I find him standing by a table, on which 
lies an open order book. Lieutenant Elliott, the brigade quar- 
termaster, is present, and attentive, probably in expectation of 
being a witness. For a like purpose, I have with me an officer 
of my regiment. General Williams, pointing to the book, says : 
" Major, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, who has been in command of 
your regiment, being under arrest, the command of the regi- 
ment devolves upon you. An order has been issued which I 
wish you to obey, in regard to your regiment moving to the 
forks of the Bernard and Perkins roads." I answer that I do 
not know what the order is. It is pointed out to me on the 
order book, and simply requires that the regiment be moved to 
the place spoken of. I ask can I state any facts connected with 

2 



10 AMONG TEE 



the matter. " No," answers the General. I say, in inquiry, 
"Then will I not be allowed to give any reasons?" "Orders 
are not to he discussed," is the i*eply, continued with the ques- 
tion, " Will you obey this Order ?" I answer, " Under the 
circumstances, I cannot." The little grizzly old General, grow- 
ing red in the face, and straightening his tight-buttoned form, 
repeats, " Will you obey this order ?" I answer that I can give 
no other answer than I have given. The General tries to look 
as fierce as he can, and again asks, "Will you obey this order ?" 
My reply is again, " I can give no other answer than I have 
given." The General, suddenly losing all his ferocity, says 
mildly, "Go to your quarters in arrest." The command of the 
regiment is left to Captain Ely A. Griffin, of Company A. He 
is sent for by the General, and on being required to obey the 
order, squarely refuses, and is sent back under arrest. Cap- 
tain William W. Wheeler, of Company B, is next sent for, and 
being naturally too subtle to lose such an opportunity to gain 
some advantage by his skill, he makes objection to the General 
that the commissions of captains in the regiment bear date on 
one and the same day, and that their rank has never been deter- 
mined by lot or otherwise. The General is confused, but think- 
ing this a fit occasion to show how a West Pointer is taught to 
dispose of matters of law likely to thwart his will, at once 
requires Wheeler to obey the order, and, without paying any 
attention to the answer, sends him to his quarters in arrest. 
Captain Spitzer, of Company C, comes next. At the meeting 
of officers, where resistance was resolved upon, he was most 
earnest in promising to stand by Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, and 
to refuse to obey the order. Yet there has been some curiosity to 
know the result of his present interview with General Williamc. 
But little time has passed when Spitzer returns, his face the pic- 
ture of distress. Some of us gather around him. He is saying, 
" What could I do ? The General just showed me the law, and 
that went on to say something to the effect that if I did not 
obey orders I should suffer death. When he came to that, I 
told him I could not refuse, for I had not known what the law 



COTTON THIEVES. 11 



was before." Several ask, " Did you agree to march the regi- 
ment out where the General wants them?" Spitzer answers, 
" What could I do ?" and his looks render all further inquiry 
needless. I leave to others all further conversation with Spit- 
zer, and return to my quarters, well satisfied that in his case 
there is a good example of what is called military subordination. 
While in the power of Clark, he was loud in professions of 
determination to gratify every wish ' of his regimental com- 
mander. While in the power and in the presence of General 
Williams, he was doubtless abject as a slave, and now that he 
was again among us of his regiment, he was as friendly as ever 
to our side of the question. Our case is beginning to be 
serious. There is counseling in public and in private. Captain 
Spitzer is in command of a regiment, and is bustling about 
getting wagons and baggage ready. The regiment is formed, 
and in dust and heat proceeds through the streets of the town 
to the new camp, where the General's ideas of camping without 
shelter are immediately tested by a drenching thunder storm. 
Officers seek the protection of the rebel roofs. No fear of 
General Williams is sufficient to keep the men out in the 
rain, and their expressions of hatred toward the General are 
sufficient to open the sympathies and the doors of rebel house- 
keepers. 

During the days that elapse before the 31st of July, there are 
few events worthy of mention. The officers in arrest make 
application and receive the extension of limits of arrest, so that 
they can go anywhere within the picket guards of the post, such 
extension being usual, and almost a matter of course. A few 
hours after the grant of extension, our General hears something 
that has been said about him, and immediately sends an orderly 
with an order revoking the extension given, and confining the 
officers in arrest to the ground within the police guards of their 
camps. The exposure of the men to the heat and the rain if 
continually lessening the numbers in the ranks, already dec 
mated by disease. I write a letter to. the Governor of Michig 
of which this is a copy : 



12 AMONG THE 



Camp op Sixth Regiment Michigan Vols., ) 
Near Baton Rouge, La., July 29, 1863. $" 

Sir — I am informed by Colonel Payne, of the Fourth Wis- 
consin Regiment, that the Governor of his State has promised 
"active co-operation" to deliver us from Brigadier-General 
Thomas Williams, who, though avoiding every chance to fight 
the enemy, has so long and openly been murdering the men of 
his brigade, that every one of us is convinced that there is more 
to fear from him than from Van Dorn or the rebel ram. We 
have found ourselves cornered where we must be destroyed 
like silly sheep, or begin to resist. 

W T hen Williams went on his second Vicksburg expedition, 
the Sixth Michigan, Twenty-first Indiana, one battery, and one 
company of cavalry, aided by the gunboat Kineo, were left to 
take care of the capital of Louisiana. Our brave men soon 
began to be themselves again, actually enduring the heat better 
than the guerillas could. Tired of the defensive, they began to 
penetrate many miles toward Camp Moore, never failing to 
break up guerilla camps, and return with new liking for real 
war. 

General Williams returned. There had been no battle in 
which he had been engaged, but his troops looked as if they 
had come on furlough from Death himself. Slow in all opera- 
tions against the enemy, he was active enough in those against 
us, for before he left his steamer he ordered us out of our bar- 
racks, to camp out doors, without any shelter, not far from 
where the waters of the great crevasse had just dried. away, 
and in a defenseless position, where Ave would effectually mask 
an advancing foe from the fire of the gunboats. Next, all the 
wretched sick men were ordered out of the hospital, where we 
had made them comfortable, to go on a miserable transport, 150 
miles, to New Orleans, among strangers. Next, all the troops 
in Baton Rouge received orders to march about a mile out of 
town every morning, and form a long line on an old field, and 
then, after being drilled two hours in the General's famous 
"Order of Combat," to march hack in the hot sun to their quar- 



COTTON THIEVES. 13 



ters. Nor were the hot afternoons to he without enough 
similar performances to make short work with the whole bri- 
gade. Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, myself, Captain Griffin and 
Captain Wheeler, were put under arrest, at first charged with 
disobedience of the first order, but now the charge appears 
changed to mutiny and exciting to mutiny. 

This General verily believes all volunteers no better than 
dogs, and he is entirely incapable of understanding how an 
officer can take any care of his men's lives, or make them com- 
fortable, except on the supposition that the officer is a politician 
seeking votes. But never did any demagogue under Fernando 
Wood do more debasing and menial services for Southerners, 
and Southern institutions, than our General is astute in finding 
occasions to do. Should I say that this man has decimated our 
regiment, it would, I admit, be far from the truth. There are 
now less than half the men of the regiment fit for duty, and of 
these few look like their former selves, or will be spared very 
long by the seeds of disability and death, which have not only 
been planted, but carefully nourished in their constitutions. 
Any sacrifice I can make to save my men, is simply doing my 
duty. I know that we are not doing what will discourage 
enlistments, or aid that enemy, who has never done us a hun- 
dredth part of the harm done by our own generals. Every 
act and word that tends to remove such men as Williams, tends 
to remove that which chiefly discourages enlistments, and aids 
the enemy — in other words, to remove the greatest stumbliug 
blocks in the road to peace. The States of Michigan, Wiscon- 
sin and Indiana, ousrht to refuse to allow another regiment to 
move southward until General Williams is recalled. This 
would give some assurance to those whom they ask to enlist 
that they are not being recruited for hospitals and pestilence — 
some assurance that their own States consider a volunteer better 
than a dog. I rejoice that amidst all present evils I see one 
great good, namely, the North is learning war, though it be in 
the costly school of experience. And the great money god is 
loosing his hold on the people's affections. 



14 AMONG THE 



I hope to be here again some time, to fight in the cause of 
the warlike Northwest, when Southerners shall know what our 
brave men and iron-clad gunboats can do, and what kind of raids 
we can make, when we are led by leaders chosen from among 
ourselves, and not from among regular army officers, who have 
no ties of residence, and into whose minds the South, during 
her long dominion, instilled her own principles much more care- 
fully than into the minds of politicians, inasmuch as she was to 
have more use for them — use not only for those she was going 
to take, but for those she was to leave to lead us. 

Respectfully, 

EDWARD BACON, 
Major Sixth Regiment Michigan Infantry. 

His Excellency, Austin Blair, Governor of Michigan. 

I also take some of the leisure which our arrest affords to 
write to Senator Zachariah Chandler, of Michigan, the follow- 
ing letter : 

Camp of SrxTn Regiment Michigan Infantry, ) 
Baton Rouge, La., July 30, 1862. f 

Sir — Knowing you to be leader in the great Northern cause, 
which shall prevail, I wish to tell you of some of the troubles 
of the Sixth Regiment of Michigan, which has fallen into the 
hands of General Thomas Williams, an old regular army cap- 
tain, whose hatred of all volunteers, evidenced by orders and 
public declarations, is enough to render him more to be feared 
than either fevers or rebels. We have been packed in the 
lower holds of transports, to voyage on various expeditions, 
for weeks together ; our miserable rations seldom cooked, and 
always irregular; carefully avoiding the enemy, waiting for him 
to gather immense forces; and, in truth, with apparently but 
one design, namely, to make us feel that the life of a volunteer 
is not worth as much as that of a dog. The decimation of the 
entire brigade is already complete; the sick are everywhere, 
and the well hard to find. Hospitals are multiplied, without 
diminishing the number of deaths. In some regiments there 
are about enough men left for duty to make one company, Avhile 



COTTON THIEVES. 15 



other brigades, not under General Williams, are in excellent 
health. 

Scarcely a wounded man is to be found, and from the soldier 
to the chief surgeon, all agree that one man is the cause of the 
deaths that are filling acres of grounds with graves. Even the 
poor half-killed horses, hanging their heads to the earth, seem 
praying for deliverance. 

General Williams is stuffed full of the small things of the 
regulations. He appears determined to wage war by means of 
inspections; thinks that in this way he is fated to be a mighty 
warrior, and dissatisfied with inspecting our dress and looks, he 
has lately confined his ambition to the cultivation of his own, 
and there are those who even dare to say that had he shown 
the same skill before the enemy which he has shown before the 
looking-glass, the Mississippi river would not now be closed 
more firmly than at any time since the forts guarding its mouth 
were taken. 

The expeditions to Vicksburg, and the renowned Williams 
ditch, on the westward side of the river at that place, where the 
insubordinate water would not run up hill, must be an ever- 
lasting puzzle to the rebels, and to all who do not know the 
presiding genius. The regiments never had a position either in 
his drill, the " Order of Combat," or when strung around Baton 
Rouge, or when marvelously embattled to fight the great ram 
Arkansas, but that the design seemed to make it necessary that 
the fire of friends, or of our own gunboats, should be the 
greatest danger. The General's two Vicksburg expeditions 
contain such a combination of petty injuries, neglect to strike 
effective blows, shrinking from fight, great displays at safe dis- 
tance from danger, and such cowardly cringing to traitors, as 
can hardly fail to line the river with batteries, and bring rebel 
armies to the very streets of New Orleans. Nor is there any 
doubt that the Williams ditch would have been the grave of our 
whole force, perishing by exposure to all known causes of death, 
in the execution of a plan which must have been the offspring 
of a mind twenty years pickled in alcohol, had it not been that, 



16 AMONG THE 



far excelling all fabled monsters, came the rebel ram, which, 

however, the Northwest and the Northeast must thank for 

saving the lives of those friends and relatives who were at that 

time saved from a fate scarcely less horrible than that of the 

hundreds of fugitive slaves who, having long been at work on 

the ditch, and standing on the shore, holding the hands of 

wives and children, sent up a shriek of woe when they were 

barred by the General's bayonets from entering empty steamers 

of the retreating expedition, and left to be made examples to 

terrify all who would afterwards aid the North. Some idea 

of the military abilities of our commander may be formed from 

his orders, such as his great negro order, his order of combat, 

and his two-ball order, copies of which I send herewith. 

Being possessed of the Mississippi river, even if we only 

occupied land enough for temporary and changeable camps, with 

armed transports and active iron-clad gunboats, we could make 

raids wherever we pleased, shatter rebel authority far and wide, 

not only pay, but enrich both fleet and army with the spoil, and 

cut oft* from the enemy what is half his empire. Instead of any 

such plan, we are kept strung around Baton llouge, guarding 

our General, his rebel friends, and a few poor Union men, whom 

it would be a thousand times better to support in the North. 

Seldom are there any incursions. The broad river is left free 

to the rebels, even within our sight. We are waiting for rebel 

rams to get ready, and then for another sudden retreat like the 

last from Vicksburg. 

Respectfully, 

EDWARD BACON, 
Major Sixth Regiment Michigan Infantry. 

Hon. Z. Chandler, Washington, D. C. 



General Orders, No. 29. 

Headquarters Second Brigade, ) 
Ship Island, April 7, 1802. ) 

The tactics of the Second Brigade will be the attack, consist- 
ing of the lire of skirmishers advancing, the volley of the First, 



COTTON THIEVES. 17 



Second and Third Divisions, at 50 to 75 paces. Muskets charged 
with two balls, and the bayonet charge delivered with manly- 
cheers. The order of combat is an order of attack, and, there- 
fore, to be practiced until it can be executed with rapidity, 
intelligence and vigor. Let the simulated attack be executed 
with the spirit and intelligence of brave men in earnest, and the 
real attack is made sure of. Field officers and captains of divi- 
sions in front, leading their men on, will step, the former to the 
rear, and the latter between the companies of their divisions, 
the instant before the volley, and rush again to the front to con- 
duct the charge. 

By order of Brigadier- General Williams. 

WICKHAM HOFFMAN, A. A. Gen'l. 

The Order of Combat. 

Center or First Division. 



Colonel. 
Third Division. Second Division. 



Major. Lieut. -Colonel. 

Fourth DivisionA 



For Skirmishers and a Battalion 
Reserve. 



Fifth Division. 



To form order of combat from line, the command of the Gen- 
eral will be : 

1. Order of combat. 

2. March. 

Which command will be repeated by the commanders of 
battalions. 

At the first command, captains will step to the front, the cap- 
tain of the First or Center Division to caution that division to 
move forward ; the captains of the Second or Third Divisions 
to stand fast, and the captains of companies on the right and 

3 



18 AMONG THE 



left will break their companies to the rear, to form double 
column at division distance. 

At the command "March," the First or Center Division will 
move forward, division distance, and be dressed by the center. 
The Second and Third Divisions will stand fast, and will be 
dressed, the Second Division by the left and the Third Division 
by the right, and the companies broken off to the rear will 
move to form double column, and will be dressed by the center. 
Chiefs of divisions, three paces in front of the center, lead their 
divisions. They are selected for courage, vigor and skill. 
There are thus in the battalion, when in the " Order of Com- 
bat," five captains who may be properly denominated fighting 
captains, and their divisions fighting divisions— all emulous of 
each other. 

When the battalion moves forward, skirmishers are thrown 
500 to 1,000 yards to the front. If only one division (say the 
Fourth) is thrown forward, one company supports ; if two divi- 
sions are thrown forward, one division skirmishes, and one 
supports. As the battalion approaches the point from which 
its First, Second and Third Divisions are to deliver a volley 
and charge, skirmishers incline to the right and left, so as to 
unmask it, keeping up their fire. The distance between skir- 
mishers and supports generally about 150 yards. When the 
battalion has approached near enough to act as a support to its 
own skirmishers, division or company supports withdraw by a 
double quick to their places in rear of the battalion, to act as a 
reserve. 

In the volley delivered by the battalion, the men are directed 
to aim at the line of knees. At 100 paces from the enemy, 
commanders of battalions command : 

1. Battalion— Halt ! 2. Ready. 3. Aim. 4. Fire! 

5. Shoulder — Arms ! 6. Forward — March ! 

7. Prepare to charge ! (at which the men come to arms-port) 
and at GO paces — 

8. Charge ! When the men take cadence double quick, 
keeping up the touch of elbow toward the guide, and just 



COTTON THIEVES. 19 



before the moment of shock, pass from arms-port to charge 
bayonet, with loud hurrahs. The touch of the elbow is to be 
insisted on in the drill, being essential to the momentum of the 
shock. After the shock, the order of combat is to be resumed 
at once; the men reload by command (Load at will — Load!) 
given by battalion, ready to renew the attack, and the skirmish- 
ers pursue. 

The skirmishers consist of the Fourth Division, supported by 
the Fifth Division. 

4th 3d 
80 yards. n a First line. 



2d 



-Second line. 



6th 1st 

1=1 1=1 Third line, 

Or Reserve, protected by cover or by 
distance from tire. 

The battalions echeloned on three lines, as above, or by some 
other arrangement of echelons, support each other, and attack 
successively ; if the attack of the first line fails, the second line 
attacks, and if successful, the reserves come up to complete the 
success ; or if the second line is checked, the reserves strike for 
success, or to prevent disaster. The right or left flank of the 
battalion may be made the front by a simple wheel of divisions 
right or left, or by a wheel of divisions on the center (one com- 
pany wheeling forward, and the other faced about and wheeling 
back), or by coming into line by divisions. 

By the following commands of the battalion commander : 

1. By Division— Right (or Left) Wheel ! 

2. March ! (or double quick — march.) 

Note. — The Fifth Division faced to the right or left, in moving, preserves its relative 
position to the Fourth Division. 

1. By Division on Center — Right (or Left) Wheel ! 

2. March ! (or double quick — march.) 

Note.— The companies to be faced about will be so faced by their commander at the 
first command 



20 AMONG THE 



1. Battalion — Right (or Left) Face ! 

1. By Division into Line. 

3. Mai'ch ! (or double quick — march.) To advance by center 
of divisions, the command will be : 1. Advance by center. 2. 
March ! (or double quick — march.) 

Note.— The companies will be faced to left and right flanks by captains, and broken to 
the front at the first command. 

To retire by center of divisions, the battalion will first be 
faced about, and commanded : 

1. Retire by Center. 

2. March ! (or double quick — march.) 

Note.— The companies will be faced to right and left by their captains, and broken to 
the right ;it the first command. 

Note. — The same movements of advancing or retiring may be made to either flank, by 
forming up to right or left, and then breaking to front or rear by center of divisions. 

To Form Square. — The square is formed directly from the 
order of combat, at the commands of " Form Square — March !" 
(or double quick — march.) At the first command, the First 
Division is cautioned by its chief to stand fast ; and the Second 
and Third Divisions are by their chiefs faced to the right and 
left, and some files broken to the front. The Fourth and Fifth 
Divisions cautioned by their chiefs to move forward. At the 
word " March," the First Division stands fast, the Second and 
Third file to the right and left, to join on the First Division; 
the rear divisions (Fourth and Fifth) move up to complete the 
square. If a Fifth Division be present, it closes on the Fourth 
and faces outward — its flank files, also facing outward. 

To Form Oblique Square. — The battalion first changes direc- 
tion by the right or left flank, and the square is formed as 
before. The square is reduced by facing the Second and Third 
Divisions by the left and right flank, and filing back by the left 
and right flanks to their position in " Order of Combat." The 
Fourth front is marched, division distance, to the rear, and 
refaced to the front. 

In evolutions of the line with battalions echeloned, in " Order 
of Combat," the tactical commands are as familiar and simple 



COTTON THIEVES. 21 



as they are easy of execution — changes of front, forward, and to 
the rear ; marching to the front, rear and flanks, etc. 

Brigade Headquarters, ) 
Camp at Ship Island, Miss., March 17, 1862. ) 

(Signed) T. WILLIAMS, 

Brig.-Gen'l Vols., U. S. A. 

With compliments, to Colonel F. W. Cortinius, commanding Sixth 
Michigan Infantry. 

To complete a package of papers to be sent to Michigan, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, myself, Captain Wheeler and Captain 
Griffin, sign this statement for publication in the Detroit Adoer- 



" Being intrusted, in a sickly climate and at a sickly season, 
with a regiment of Michigan's best men, most of them sons of 
worthy farmers, we have judged it our duty, regardless of con- 
sequences, to begin to disobey the orders of Brigadier-General 
Thomas Williams, because we believe his orders more fatal to 
the lives in our charge than the bullets of the enemy, or the 
yellow fever itself. By this General's orders, our regiment 
was kept packed in the lower hold of the steamer Constitu- 
tion, off the Florida Reefs and on the Gulf. By his order, men 
without half rations were worn out by carrying packed knap- 
sacks at a double quick step, beneath the sun and in the sand of 
Ship Island, and made to drill, not in any known tactics, but in 
the " Order of Combat," a thing of his own invention, worthy 
of himself, and intended to degrade the volunteer service. By 
his orders, the Sixth Michigan, Twenty-first Indiana, and Fourth 
Wisconsin Regiments, nearly three thousand men, lay many 
days off the mouths of the Mississippi, the deserted rebel Pilot 
Towns in plain sight, w T hile disease, like a vulture, was preying 
upon the vital energies of every man. A week's delay at New 
Orleans, and the General took us on board transports for his 
first Vicksburg expedition, upon which permission to go ashore 
was a rare favor. The rebel plenty and luxury on either side 
was protected by all the zeal of the General's patriotism. Our 



22 AMONG THE 



food, and the opportunity to cook it, were matters of chance. 
Sometimes there would he half allowance of the vilest rations ; 
then nothing to eat ; then more than enough of one kind of 
food. Superadded, came the moral effect of weeks of inactivity, 
failure and defeat. To Commodore Farragut we owe our res- 
cue from the transports at Baton Rouge, where the pallid and 
emaciated battalions landed, looking as if they had just been 
raised from the dead. 

" General Williams then went on his second Vickshurg expe- 
dition, ever memorable for its ditch. Then strength and life 
began to return, with the restoration of the usual means for 
sustaining them. The daily work of grave digging began to 
lessen, and some of the ghastliest faces in the hospital began to 
show the wonder of returning health. 

" Now, the General, in fine bodily condition, without having 
been in any battle, has returned from what he, in military tech- 
nicality, terms his grand diversion, but the horses and soldiers 
of his regiments and batteries horrify all who behold them. 
There has been a hurried seizure of buildings for hospitals, and 
so many are the dead, that even fugitive slaves are employed to 
dig soldiers' graves, although such fugitives have long been con- 
signed to bloodhounds and slave hunters by the great negro 
order, which our General has had printed, posted up about the 
town, and circulated through the country : 

" General Orders, No. 46. 

" Headquarters Second Brigade, ) 
" Baton Rouge, June 5th, 1862. f 

" In consequence of the demoralizing and disorganizing ten- 
dencies to the troops of harboring runaway negroes, it is hereby 
ordered that the respective commanders of the camps and gar- 
risons of the several regiments, Second Brigade, turn all such 
fugitives in their camps or garrisons out beyond the limits of 
tlieir respective guards and sentinels. 

" By order of Brigadier-General T. "Williams. 

" WICKIIAM HOFFMAN, A. A. G. 



COTTON THIEVES. 23 



" The General announced to us his arrival from Vicksburg by 
ordering us out of the barracks, not to occupy other buildings, 
of which there are many vacant or filled with rebels, nor into 
tents. Orders required us to leave ours at New Orleans, 
because we were to use buildings. Our regiment was to be 
without shelter. We were ordered to camp at a place outside 
the town, exposed to the deadly dews, to frequent rains, and to 
the glare of the Louisiana sun. General Williams has suc- 
ceeded. The regiment is turned out of doors, and is alternately 
drenched with rain and scorched with heat, but not until a 
protest that must be heard has been made, by our arrest for 
disobedience to the order requiring such a sacrifice of health 
and life. This General now acts as if he has received a commis- 
sion from the Genius of Pestilence, in the triumphant execution 
of which he draws a scent of prey innumerable." 

On the 31st of July, 1862, I am in my quarters yet, under 
General Williams' arrest. I have been amused by the tokens 
of sympathy and interest which the arrested officers receive 
from rebel citizens. I have watched the little grouj^s of men 
who came with their colors to form brigade line for drill in the 
hottest hours of the day. Where are the rest ? Not more 
than one in five of even the living are present. The experi- 
ment of the Vicksburg ditch has been a costly one. An order 
comes that the officers in arrest shall go to New Orleans and 
report themselves in arrest to Major-General Butler. We are 
to start about sunset. The regimental line is formed for parade 
beside their bush-hut encampment. We are called on to say 
something. Colonel Clark first goes before the line, and says : 
" I never expect to see you again. I am ordered off to New 
Orleans under arrest, and do not know what they will do with 
me. I have always done the best that I could do for you, and 
have always tried to save your lives from being sacrificed by 
unnecessary exposure. There is no man who can say that I 
have wronged him. If I have ever injured any of you, it was 
not done intentionally. I hope to satisfy your friends at home 



24 AMONG TIJE 



that I have done right. You all know Captain Spitzer and 
Captain Cordon and Captain Bassett, who have been appointed 
to act as your field officers. They are good men, and I hope 
that you will respect and obey them. Farewell." 

I am next called on, and as soon as the cheers that answered 
Clark admit, I address the scanty regiment. " Soldiers — or 
boys, as I have often called you — we have long enough seen our 
comrades die and be buried like dogs. I remember those 
burials of our friends in that levee at Vicksburg. The plain 
board coffins that held our dead were sunk in the mud of shal- 
low graves, from which the flood that washed on both sides has, 
ere this, swept the bodies into the river, for the catfish and the 
alligator. The transports on which you were crowded, like 
slaves on slave ships, were tied to the same trees for many long 
days and nights. Diseases were engendered which have filled 
so much ground here at Baton Rouge with the graves of Michi- 
gan men, and now leave before me but a fragment of what was 
recently our regimental line. This work of murder has gone 
on long enoxigh. Something must be done, and I have made 
up my mind to do it. I think of the wail that I niust hear 
when I go home, and I am resolved that I will be able to report 
what I have done to stop this destruction of life without any 
cause, except some such cause as the Vicksburg ditch, and the 
man that made it." 

Captain William W. Wheeler is next called, and commences 
like himself: " I do not care what the result is, I have submit- 
ted as long as I am going to. I had rather be cashiered, and go 
home and be drafted under the conscription law, and serve as a 
private soldier for nine months under the new conscription law, 
than to serve one month under this old General as a colonel." 
After continuing his remarks most happily in this strain for 
some time, he received more hearty cheers than those who pre- 
ceded him. Carriages have been sent to hurry us to a steamer 
about to leave for New Orleans. Our regimental band, with 
their brass instruments, give us a tune at the camp. We stop a 
lew moments in the town, where officers of gunboats, with some 



COTTON THIEVES. 25 



army officers and leading citizens, are having a high time. Some 
rich man's supply of liquors is going for patriotic purposes. 

We are off" on the steamer Ceres, starting down the river just 
at sunset. The iron-clad Essex, and other formidable war ves- 
sels, one after another, are letting off steam with loud roaring, 
as they lie all ready and waiting for the terrible rebel ram 
Arkansas. 

August 1. — After a ride down the majestic river, luxuriant 
sugar plantations extending far back from either bank, we arrive 
at New Orleans, take rooms at the City Hotel, report ourselves 
under arrest to Major- General Butler, and request a copy of the 
charges against us. Each of us, except Colonel Halbert E. 
Paine, of the Fourth Wisconsin, receives a paper stating the 
accusation against him. Mine is as follows : 

CHARGE AGAINST MAJOR EDWARD BACON, SIXTH REGIMENT MICHIGAN 
VOLUNTEERS CHARGE, MUTINY. 

Specification. — In that he, Major Edward Bacon, Sixth Regi- 
ment Michigan Volunteers, in the service of the United States, 
did endeavor to excite, and did excite, a mutiny among officers 
and men at the post of Baton Rouge, Head-quarters Second 
Brigade, Department of the Gulf, by conspiring against the 
legal authority of his commanding officer, Brigadier-General T. 
Williams, U. S. Volunteers, in disobeying, with other officers, 
to wit: Lieutenant- Colonel T. S. Clark, Captain Eli A. Griffin, 
Captain W. W. Wheeler, all of the Sixth Regiment Michigan 
Volunteers, and combining with the same officers to disobey 
his, Brigadier-General T. Williams', legal orders, especially spe- 
cial order No. 200, dated Head-quarters Second Brigade, Baton 
Rouge, La., July 26, 1862, as attached hereto. 

This at Baton Rouge, La., on or about the 26th of July, 1862. 

(Signed) T. WILLIAMS, 

[official.] Brig.-Gen. Vols. 

K. C. Davis, Capt. and A. A. A. G. 

Colonel Paine's case is disobedience of the General's order to 
deliver up fugitive slaves. 
4 



26 AMONG THE 



I see that the faces of some of the accused grow very long as 
they sit pondering over the articles of war relating to mutiny, 
an offense so serious that the limits of our arrest forbid us to 
leave the hotel. Our time goes heavily. Colonel Paine's sins 
are not considered of so dark a nature as those of the rest of 
us. He has no limits assigned, and is the means of bringing us 
much information. From him, and officers who visit us, we learn 
that General Butler's brother, Andrew J. Butler, and Colonel 
Shaffer, Chief Quartermaster, are supposed to be the best inter- 
cessors to obtain some favor for us with the Major-General, 
who has already commenced to reign as a Viceroy. Mounted 
orderlies and patrols, with shining arms and accoutrements, 
continually passing in the streets, give the city a show of gov- 
ernment which it has never had since the Spanish rule. 
Although New Orleans is cut off from all trade with the 
interior, and is in the hands of an enemy, yet business goes on, 
and poor people live; but all questions, except those of our 
own case, are losing interest for us, and we begin to understand 
the feelings of prisoners — that want of liberty which would 
bring sensations of suffocation to a free man if confined within 
the walls of a church. On Sunday, August 3, a swift boat from 
Baton Rouge brings a dispatch from General Williams to Gen- 
eral Butler, callinj. for reinforcements, and giving information 
that General Breckenridge, with an army, is advancing from 
Camp Moore, on the Jackson railroad, westward, toward Baton 
Rouge. The swiftest steamer is ordered to be in immediate 
readiness to carry General Butler and his staff to Baton Rouge. 
There is delay, inquiry, consideration, and the General does not 
go to Baton Rouge, but only sends dispatches. Whether there 
is to be an attack on Baton Rouge seems now like a real ques- 
tion. The present report is not like those which have caused 
many false alarms, and are we to lie here in conlinement, a 
burning sun in the heats of August glaring upon this filthy city, 
where drainage is almost impossible, and during all the spring 
months the river has been more than six feet higher than the 
streets, and liable at any time to make the city the bottom of a 



COTTON THIEVES. 27 



lake, as nature intended? There are odors enough to lead a 
stranger to think that the very hotel where we are is founded 
in a swamp, where the process of putrefaction is never to cease. 
If the yellow fever does not rage here, as it has many times 
before, it is accident, and any night the returning pestilence 
may begin for the negroes and the dead carts their customary 
employment until frost comes. Memorable battles may be 
fought, and the only chance of reward for our former sufferings 
and privations may pass without any more advantage to us than 
if we had stayed at home. I, with one of my companions in 
arrest, sign and send to the General the following lines : 

" General— If there really is to be an attack on Baton Kouge, 
we respectfully ask permission to serve with our regiment until 
the battle is ended." 

One report says that General Williams has made his " Order 
of Combat " the basis of his plan of defense, and that he has 
such confidence in his famous condensation of tactics, that he is 
resolved to advance three miles from the river to meet the 
enemy, who is reported to have 15,000 men. Our minds are 
wearied with speculations concerning our trial, and what points 
we can make in defense, and concerning the various federal and 
rebel rumors of the great events of war said to have recently 
happened, and to be gathering around us. On the night of the 
5th of August, I draw my musquito net, shutting out the 
swarm that fill my room with music, and after some time 
given to the thoughts which have been keeping me in anxiety, 
I lose my troubles, and at about two o'clock in the morning am 
aroused by loud raps at my door. A messenger, with clanking 
sabre and bright uniform, has arrived from General Butlers 
head-quarters, with verbal orders for Colonel Halbert E. Paine, 
and the rest of us under arrest, to report there immediately. 
" Has there been a fight at Baton Rouge V is one of the first 
questions, but to whatever is asked the messenger replies with 
the caution of one who has been on worse business for superiors 
than he is doing now. A carriage is ordered, and we hurry 



28 AMONG THE 



along the moonlit streets to find out something new in our fate, 
doubtful whether it is to be for better or for worse. After 
going more than a mile up Camp street, we stop at a stylish 
residence, lately the home of General Twiggs, but now among 
the first fruits of confiscation seized by the General. Lights 
are in the hall, sentries are on duty, and orderlies and officers 
are coming and going. In one of the best rooms Ave are ushered 
into the presence of Benjamin F. Butler, who sits behind a 
table, officers of his staff about him. At first, scarcely raising 
his eyes from a paper he is finishing, he bids us " be seated," 
and in a short time, looking up at us steadily, he proceeds : " I 
have sent for you. There has been an attack on Baton Rouge, 
and the enemy have been repulsed. General "Williams is killed. 
(Here the General pauses a moment, turning his eye toward 
each of us successively, and watching every expression of coun- 
tenance.) He adds: "General Williams' head was shot off by a 
cannon ball." (Here the General quickly passes his eye from 
face to face, as if looking for some expression of surprise that 
a Western rifle ball has not done the work.) He continues : 
" The killed and wounded are about two hundred and fifty. 
Colonel Cahill was in command when the steamer left, and 
another attack was expected. That attack has probably been 
made. Reinforcements are asked. I have none to send. All 
of the navy that can be spared are going to Baton Rouge, to 
try their strength with the ram Arkansas, which is there. I 
have received from some of you a request to be permitted to 
serve with your regiments if any attack was probable. This is 
very gratifying to me. The cause of all difficulty lias been 
removed. I have ordered the Ceres to get ready immediately, 
to take you back to your commands. You are all released from 
arrest. Do you wish to return to your commands?" A prompt 
answer in the affirmative comes from all of us. Some inquiries 
are made as to the ram, and the General, in a friendly voice, 
reads to us a part of his dispatch from Colonel Cahill, stating 
that the Arkansas was in sight, and says, " You have all that I 
know."' 



COTTON THIEVES. 29 



An officer who is present, and appears to have had some- 
thing to do with the regular army, is dissatisfied with the whole 
proceeding concerning us. He says something about the 
bravery of General Williams, and his death in battle, and adds, 
"That is the way he always wanted to die," and glances at 
us with a look which indicates that he thinks that the slightest 
wish of a regular army commander ought to be reason enough 
for sacrificing any number of volunteers. We can see what 
would have been our fate had we been in the power of a man 
who would cower before the frown of that West Poi.it influence, 
which would have surrendered our country and libei'ties at the 
beginning of the rebellion, had it not been for Benjamin F. 
Butler and a few other leading spirits, who gave things a differ- 
ent turn, and fixed the purj)ose of the nation for the mightiest 
war of history. In saving us from being crushed to gratify a 
dead West Pointer's hatred, General Butler added to the unpar- 
donable, sins he had already committed in displeasing that army 
aristocracy who are worse enemies to liberty than the demo- 
cratic owners of estates and human chattels in the South— that 
aristocracy who despise all volunteers, and curse them as militia- 
men, whose courage in battle is, according to regular army 
theory, about as meritorious as that of horses. No man not of 
that aristocracy can long hold such a place as General Butler's, 
until the people learn to be their own masters in war as well as 
in peace. 

On our way up the river, we are at times near to Farragut's 
sloops-of-war, and at times out of sight of them. As we turn 
the great bends in the river, many eyes look for the ram 
Arkansas, whose cannon may be the reporters to tell us news 
of the result at Baton Rouge. This formidable naval monster 
was, at Vicksburg, proved able to pass through the federal 
fleet without feeling their fire, and experienced commanders in 
the fleet expressed their opinion that there was nothing to 
hinder the ram from proceeding to New Orleans and shelling 
the city. What has been the result of yesterday's work ? 
What would a federal victory on land avail, if the ram can 



30 AMONG THE 



shell Baton Rouge ? We approach our destination, after pass- 
ing within a few yards of levees and thickets on the river banks, 
where a single discharge from a couple of field pieces, or even the 
fire of guerillas, might have compelled our defenseless boat to 
surrender. Lieutenant Weitzel, of General Butler's staff, who is 
a man worthy to command an army, is a passenger with us, and 
argues good news from the enemy's neglect of us. Our arrival 
at Baton Rouge is on the night of the Gth of August, while 
the flames of a burning house light up the clouds, being the 
signal agreed upon, give information to the enemy of the arrival 
of federal reinforcements. Our eager inquiries are answered 
by accounts of the blowing up of the ram by means of provi- 
dential interference with its machinery, and the consequent fail- 
ure of the enemy to make any second attack. The sorrowful 
news telling of friends who are woimded, and others that are 
killed, leaves little time or occasion for rest. After the sun rises 
like a fire to scorch the earth, a visit to the field of battle shows 
me scenes not to be iorgotten. There, on a common near our 
camp, is a short trench in the hard soil. The flies are swarming 
over the crumbled pieces of clay with which it is partly filled. 
This is the place where Michigan men who were killed have 
been buried. At a little distance, rebels have been buried in a 
similar manner, and a ragged piece of white cloth on a stick left 
there, is the flag that protected the burial party. Near the 
Magnolia cemetery, the negroes are yet lazily at work disposing 
of frightfully swollen and blackened bodies, swarming with 
worms. Friend and foe are often placed in the same shallow, 
shapeless grave. During all the federal occupation of Baton 
Rouge, since the first of June, no earthwork or rifle pit has 
been made, the remnants of regiments were extended out of 
supporting distance from one another, and from any reserve, 
the plan being to surround the town and keep the enemy out. 
Wherever there has been any lighting, the tire of the gunboats 
would have been no less dangerous to our own forces than to 
the enemy. The ground, and a statement of the position of 
forces, show that the individual patriotism and self-sacrificing 



COTTON THIEVES. 31 



courage of men of the Sixth Michigan and Twenty-first Indiana 
Regiments, aided by the want of all concentration on the part 
of the enemy, decided the battle, although the ruins of burned 
tents and baggage in federal camps, show that the enemy will 
claim that but for the failure of the Arkansas, he would have 
captured every federal regiment. 

Now spades, picks and axes, are busy. Rifle pits and breast- 
works of earth are everywhere in the way of an assailant. 
Experience can even teach those who claim to need no teaching. 
For two weeks we are engaged in making strong, compact 
works, at the arsenal grounds, in the miserable business of 
burning about one-third of the town, and in getting ready for 
imaginary attacks by night and day, until soldiers and generals 
all agree that we do not want Baton Rouge any longer, and on 
the 18th of August, the place is abandoned and yielded up to 
the enemy, who quietly resume possession of both banks of 
the river, down to the immediate neighborhood of New Orleans. 
They must be satisfied with themselves for making no second 
attack, when they find the preparations made for their reception 
after their first attack. No attempt to hold useless parts of the 
town, formidable earthworks at the arsenal grounds, with sand 
bags and embrasures, all so arranged as to keep our forces under 
cover of a cross-fire from the navy. Yet these preparations 
were the work of Colonel Paine, a volunteer, he having been in 
command of the post from the time of his return from arrest. 
The same question which has cost us much to answer is now 
left for rebel consideration, namely— what is the use of holding 
Baton Rouge ? One set of men are well satisfied, the convicts 
of the State prison, who number several hundred, and have just 
been turned loose, with some kind of obligation that all of them 
fit for service are to enlist in the federal army. When the 
prison doors and gates were thrown open, and the poor 
wretches, in their white cotton clothing, came out to embark 
for New Orleans, they looked as if the doctrine of universal 
salvation was to be realized right here. It was something new 
to see so much woe and misery and ignominy all ended instantly 



32 AMONG THE 



by one stroke of fortune, the sentences to horrible pain which 
sinful men pronounced on those often no worse than them- 
selves, were instantly swept away by the fortune of war, which 
may yet see some of these convicts made brigadier-generals, and 
patriotically applying the justice of the confiscation laws to 
those who once pronounced the sentences which were all nulli- 
fied now by a verbal order from the officer of the day. 



CHAPTER II. 



The Lake Pontchartrain Swamps — The Court of Inquiry — Heresy almost detected — 
General Sherman and his remarkable inspection. 

It is the month of September, 1862. The volunteer army, 
and particularly the Sixth Michigan, are far from having learned 
their first lesson of abject submission to regular army domineer- 
ing. Brigadier-General N. A. M. Dudley's brigade, including the 
Sixth Michigan, Thirtieth Massachusetts and Fourteenth Maine 
Regiments, the Sixtn Massachusetts Battery, and one company 
of cavalry, are lying at Camp Williams, on Metaire Ridge, a 
place where several small farms have been cleared in the swamp 
northward from New Orleans, and within three miles of Lake 
Pontchartrain. The dense forest of tall cypress and live oak, 
their boughs hung with long festoons of Spanish moss, shut 
out every breeze. The hot sun shines through the stagnant air, 
which is hazy with swamp vapors. The ground is called a ridge, 
because it is dry enough for human habitations, but no percepti- 
ble elevation is ever to be found in the low lands of Louisiana, 
where there is not a pebble or stone, and where every particle 
of earth appears to be made of decayed vegetation, and alliga- 
tors and crawfishes appear to be the rightful owners of the land, 
as swarms of musquitoes are proprietors of the air. Although 



COTTON THIEVES. 33 



the expected yellow fever has scarcely been heard of this year, 
yet a fatal disease of congestive symptoms, called swamp fever, 
with the assistance of diarrhea, threatens to take off almost as 
many victims as would be called for by that pestilence, which 
has filled with graves a crescent of burial swamps extending 
around the greater part of New Orleans. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Clark, of tbe Sixth Michigan, has become colonel, and I have 
received my commission as lieutenant-colonel. Intrigues, by 
which my colonel has expected to become a brigade commander, 
have been troubled by other aspirants, who have taken measures 
likely to result in a court of inquiry, to obtain evidence con- 
cerning many publications which have appeared in northwestern 
papers, attacking the character of our late General, Thomas 
Williams, country editors having proceeded to make their own 
comments in caucus style on such communications as the follow- 
ing letter, published in many places : 

Camp Clark, Baton Rouge, La., \ 
August 1, 1862. ) 

Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, Major Bacon, and Captains Griffin and Wheeler: 
Gentlemen — At a meeting of the representatives of the non- 
commissioned officers and privates of the Sixth Regiment of 
Michigan Volunteers, the following preamble and resolutions 
were unanimously adopted : 

Whereas, Our beloved Lieutenant-Colonel and Major, and 
Captains Griffin and Wheeler, were placed under arrest for 
disobedience of orders, which disobedience consisted in refusing 
to remove the regiment under their command from the United 
States barracks at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the woods, at a 
time when the regiment was totally unprovided with tents or 
other shelter, and while the regiment was suffering severely in 
health from needless exposures on transports and elsewhere; 
and 

Whereas, At the time of the above mentioned ordered removal, 
the regiment would be exposed to privations and hardships 
which they were, from past treatment from the above men- 

5 



34 AMONG THE 



tioned General, totally unable to endure without endangering 
their lives and health ; and 

Whereas, We believe that the above mentioned officers, in 
acting as they did in the premises, were doing their duty to 
their commands, fearless of the frowns of military dignitaries. 
Furthermore, Ave believe that they did the best they could, 
under the circumstances, for the health, welfare and efficiency 
of their command; therefore, 

Resolved, That we, the representatives of the non-commissioned 
officers, musicians and privates, of the Sixth Regiment of Michi- 
gan Volunteers, pursuant to instructions, express our unlimited 
and unabated confidence in the officers above mentioned. 

Resolved, That in the course taken by our officers, we fully 
believe that they nobly laid aside all considerations of self- 
interest, having an eye single to the ultimate benefit of the 
soldiers under their command. 

Resolved, That whatever be the result of any investigation or 
court-martial in the premises, we, in our own minds, hold them 
guiltless and free from blame; that we gratefully cherish them 
in our remembrance, and that if suffer they must, our unabated 
love, respect and affection for them, as officers and soldiers, 
shall go with them, whatever be their fate. 

Resolved, That the chairman of this meeting shall send a copy 
of the preamble and resolutions to our officers, now under arrest 
at New Orleans, at the earliest opportunity. 

Sergeant HARRIGAN, Co. A, Chairman. 
Sergeant MOULTON, Co. B. 
Sergeant CHAPMAN, Co. C. 
Corporal SCOTT, Co. D. 
Private WELTON, Co. E. 
Sergeant AMSDEN, Co. F. 
Private MABBS, Co. G. 
Sergeant WHTTCOMB, Co. H. 
Sergeant STODDARD, Co. I. 
Sergeant BEARDSLEY. Co. K. 
Musician GEANSEY, Regimental Band. 



COTTON THIEVES. 35 



To a regular army officer, such a letter seems worse than the 
most horrible blasphemy. Volunteers talking about wrongs 
done them, and taking measures likely to trouble their supe- 
riors, for disposing of them as they please. 

The court of inquiry, having for its most important officer 
Lieutenant Elliott, lately of General Williams' staff, is assembled 
at the tent of the commanding officer of the Thirtieth Massa- 
chusetts Regiment, who is no friend of Colonel Clark. I am 
one of the first witnesses called, and in a hot tent, about the 
middle of Camp Williams, which stretches out about three- 
quarters of a mile in length, I am employed the most of two* 
days in making cautious answers, which, as well as the questions 
asked, are slowly written down in my presence. Slips cut from 
a newspaper printed at Niles, Michigan, my j^lace of residence, 
are presented to me, containing the editor's remarks on the 
subject of our arrest, calling General Williams very hard names, 
and applying to Captain Spitzer, who submitted and obeyed 
the General, epithets such as show very little respect for mili- 
tary dignity of office. One of the questions asked of me, after 
mature consideration, is, " Do you know or have reason to 
suspect who instigated such communications ?" I answer 
" No," for the papers presented to me do not purport to be 
communications, but only editorial remarks. I am asked fur- 
ther, " Do you know, or have you reason to suspect, who wrote 
or instigated any communications on which such editorial 
remarks are based ?" I answer " No," for I cannot tell on what 
sort of statements the editor would see fit to base his remarks, 
for which he might have judged any vague rumor a sufficient 
basis. Another question is carefully framed and put, " Do you 
know, or have you reason to suspect, whether any officer in the 
service of the United States, ever wrote any communication on 
which an editor would be likely to make such remarks ?" I 
answer "Yes," with this qualification, that any statement of 
facts connected with my arrest at Baton Rouge, would be likely 
to cause the editorial remarks referred to, considering the char- 
acter of the editor. 



80 AMONG THE 



Another question follows, " Have you any reason to suppose 
that any such statement of facts connected with your arrest, or 
the arrest of Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, at Baton Rouge, have 
been written home by any officer ?" My answer is, " Yes. I 
think that facts connected with those arrests would naturally 
have been mentioned by many officers in writing home." The 
investigation proceeds, " Can you tell the court what statement 
of those facts has been made in writing home by any officer 
other than yourself?" " No." " Was the order of General 
"Williams, for disobeying which you were arrested, a legal 
order ?" " Yes." " In your opinion, did Captain Spitzer do 
right in doing as he did?" " Considering what Captain Spitzer 
believed, he did right." " Do you believe that Captain Spitzer 
was right in what he believed?" "Yes, taking his conscience, 
as it was, into consideration." " Did Captain Spitzer do right, 
leaving his conscience, as it was, out of consideration, according 
to the best of your belief?" "I do not know how to attribute 
any moral character to his actions, without taking his conscience 
into consideration." " Supposing Captain Spitzers conscience 
was right, do you believe that he was right in doing what he 
did?" "Yes; if he acted according to his conscience." "Did 
he act according to his conscience ?" " I do not know ; but I 
have no reason to believe that he did any violence to his con- 
science." 

" In your opinion, are the editorial remarks that have been 
shown to you on pieces of newspaper, true ?'' " Those remarks 
contain true statements of the editor's opinion, without particu- 
lar information as to all the facts." " Are there not statements 
of facts in those remarks?" " Yes." " Are they true?" "Some 
of them are. For instance, it is stated that the Sixth Michigan 
was at Baton Rouge." " Are not some of those statements of 
fact false ?" "Yes; for instance, the letter of Captain Spitzers 
company is misstated." Then reading from one of the pieces of 
newspaper, Lieutenant Elliott asks, " Is it true that General 
Williams ordered the Sixth Michigan out of comfortable bar- 
racks, to camp without tents, where they would be exposed to 



COTTON THIEVES. 37 



a hot sun and drenching rains ?" I answer " Yes." He asks, 
" Have not other troops been exposed in the same manner ?" 
My answer is " Yes." 

Reports concerning the court of inquiry have filled my regi- 
mental commander's mind with anxiety. He has quietly 
obtained an order to take one captain and go to Michigan on 
recruiting service, a kind of service destined to employ many 
most eminent officers much of their time. Captain E. A. Griffin 
is agreeably surprised to receive, on the 30th day of September, 
1862, the order to be ready to start with Colonel Clark for 
Michigan on the next day. But those interested in the court ol 
inquiry have got out a subpoena, or order, for Clark to appear 
before the court without delay, and another order comes detailing 
him as general officer of the day, to serve October 1, 1862. The 
Colonel acts like a man with half a dozen constables after him. 
On the plea of seeing about being general officer of the day, he 
keeps out of the way of the subpoena, and on the strength ot 
his order to go to Michigan on recruiting service, he gets 
excused from duty as general officer of the day, and is safely 
off and on his way down the river on a swift steamer, which 
goes too fast to be overtaken by a telegraphic dispatch, which 
the court of inquiry are a little slow in getting started from 
General Butler's head-quarters, for the purpose of having Colonel 
Clark stopped at Fort Jackson, and sent back. 

For a day or two after Colonel Clark's exit, Ave are left to our 
reflections, without hearing much from the court of inquiry, 
except that they have removed their sittings to one of the 
buildings occupied for military purposes in New Orleans, and 
are at work there. What kind of a thing is this court of 
inquiry ? They do not proceed according to Greenleaf on Evi- 
dence, that is certain. What theory of evidence is to guide 
them it is difficult to understand from their questions, but the 
manner in which they seek after doubts, beliefs and supposi- 
tions, is enough to make us all feel unsafe. Captain William 
Wheeler is called before the court, and is questioned for a long 
time as to his innermost belief and metaphysical doubts as to 



38 AMONG THE 



"whether Captain Spitzer did right in obeying the order of Gen- 
eral Williams, which had been disobeyed at Baton Rouge. 
Captain "Wheeler's answers set up a distinction of military right 
from moral right, Captain Spitzer's conduct being entirely right 
in a military point of view, while morally he might have erred. 
In following this distinction, the court work as if their job Avas 
to make up a code of morals. Then they get Captain "Wheeler 
into the business of detailing grievances received from the 
General. Here the Captain is in his element. He commences 
with Ship Island affairs, and tells of a case of a man dying with 
small pox in his company quarters, while repeated applications 
were made in vain to General Williams to provide some suitable 
place to which the man might be removed, to save others from 
the contagion. Then follows the story of the transports, where 
western volunteers were kept in horrors such as belong to slave 
shins, and days and weeks passed, when men longed for death 
to end their sufferings, yet without doing the enemy any harm; 
and as long as the court are disposed to ask for aggravating 
circumstances, Captain Wheeler is ready to state them, with 
exactness of time and place. On the morning of the day after 
Captain Wheeler's examination, I am sent for to be questioned 
further by our court, now assembled at a building on Camp 
street, occupied by General Butler's Chief Quartermaster. It 
seems that regular army influence at head-quarters must be 
earnestly demanding vengeance on volunteers, to appease the 
shade of Williams. After I come before them, I am asked, "In 
your opinion, was it necessary that your regiment should be 
ordered to camp without tents, where they were ordered to 
encamp at the time of your arrest?" My answer is, "I do not 
know, because I am not informed as to what reason there was 
why tents could not be obtained." "If tents could have been 
obtained, then was it necessary for your regiment to encamp at 
the place, and in the manner, required by General Williams?" 
" Nil, for they were required to encamp without tents." 

"Do you know whether there were tents which could have 
been provided for your regiment?" "Only by hearsay." 



COTTON THIEVES. 39 



"What did you hear?" "That there were such tents, the 
same belonging to the Ninth Connecticut, the regiment which 
went into the barracks in our place." << Do you know whether 
what you heard was true ?" " No." 

" Were not the Ninth Connecticut more in need of comfort- 
able quarters in the barracks than your regiment were?" "I 
am unable to decide." 

" Why ?" " I cannot tell which was in the worst condition 
as to health. The Ninth Connecticut had just returned from 
the ditch of Vicksburg. Their health was certainly miserable 
enough, but that ol our regiment was certainly bad enough, 

also." 

" Had your regiment been doing any duty as severe as that 
of the troops at the ditch of Vicksburg?" "Considering the 
health of our regiment, as compared with that of most troops 
who went to work on the Vicksburg ditch, I answer yes." 
"What duty, and under what circumstances?" "Picket and 
other guard duty, guerilla hunting and cotton getting, when 
the men were in miserable condition of health and strength, on 
account of previous exposures and sufferings, especially such as 
were endured on transports, our regiment having made two sea 
voyages on ships carrying three thousand men crowded together, 
first in March, 1862, from Fortress Monroe to Ship Island, and 
then in April, 1862, on the transport Great Republic, from Ship 
Island to the mouths of the Mississippi, near which we lay 
without landing for about three weeks; and immediately after 
the federal occupation of New Orleans, our regiment was sent 
with General Williams on his first Vicksburg expedition, on 
river transports, where they were crowded, and suffered as 
much as they had at sea, especially while the transports, for a 
week in May, 1862, were lying tied to trees in the flooded 
country on the side of the river, westward from Vicksburg. 
During the whole time spent on the transports, the principal 
food of the men was hard bread and salt beef, both damaged. 
The Ninth Connecticut had not been on the First Vicksburg 
expedition, had never suffered on transports, and their men 



40 AMONG THE 



were mostly Irish laborers, used to low living, while ours were 
mostly the sons of respectable farmers." 

" Had you ought to have obeyed the order of General Wil- 
liams, for disobeying which you were arrested ?" " If the court 
ask my opinion, I answer that it is already a matter of record. 
My arrest must be presumed to show my mind, and I have not 
changed it." 

" Did General Williams ever treat your regiment worse than 
others?" "Yes." " In what manner ?" " On the 27th of May, 
1862, when our brigade, on the transports Laurel Hill and 
Ceres, ran the rebel battery at Grand Gulf, General Williams 
being on the former transport, out of sight of the latter, which 
was loaded with our regiment, passed the battery first, and 
without waiting to give any warning to the Ceres, suffered her 
to be surprised while landing for wood at Grand Gulf, by the 
sudden fire of the concealed battery, the General, in the mean- 
Avhile, having hurried off down the river after gunboats." 

The examination of witnesses before this court continued for 
many days. Colonel Holbrook, of the Seventh Vermont, presi- 
dent of the court, did not interfere with the zeal of Lieutenant 
Elliott, recorder of the court, and formerly a member of General 
Williams' staff, who evidently shaped the whole inquiry as he 
pleased, while other members of the court were willing enough 
to let his genius take its course. 

After a long time, we heard that the report was about to be 
published; that Captain Spitzer's character had been vindicated. 
The first step was taken toward appeasing the spirit of Williams. 
Soldiers had their jokes about the similarity of courts of inquiry 
to smut machines. And when the report of the court came 
before Major-General Butler, he seemed both interested and 
amused, but on the next morning he sent for the lengthy 
charges which Colonel Halbert E. Paine filed against General 
Williams, and handing the report and the charges to his orderly, 
directed him to put those papers into the fire, saying to him- 
self, "The less said now about that matter the better." 

The month of October, 1 862, sees more suffering and death 



COTTON THIEVES. 41 



in the Sixth Michigan, caused by the pestilential influences of 
Camp Williams, than would have been caused by the worst 
perils of a Virginia campaign. The plain board coffins must 
be held under water in the shallow, swampy graves, while the 
clammy earth is thrown in. Lines of hastily made head-boards, 
marked " Sixth Michigan," are daily lengthened in an old field 
bounded by the cypress swamp, on the northward side of our 
camp. The hot and motionless air is murky with miasma. The 
only possible approach of the enemy must be between the river 
and Lake Pontchartrain, which are but about six miles apart, 
and for a distance of more than fifty miles the horrible swamp 
in which the lake loses itself comes so near the river, that the 
approaching enemy would at every step be under the fire of 
gunboats, and there is no fear of a confederate fleet bringing an 
army across the lake in spite of our navy. Every occupant of 
Camp Williams asks why it is that all these troops are kept 
here dying, to guard this horrid swamp, where no enemy can 
get to us, and where even the few survivors that have the 
needed strength would have to make a long march by narrow 
roads to reach any place where an enemy can come. But staff 
officers in the city have announced that Camp Williams must 
be kept filled with troops, to complete the cordon from river to 
lake, and make a necessary appearance on certain maps and 
reports, that are to go on the books ai Washington. I hope 
that whoever is doomed to search those volumes and reports, 
will happen to find the number of those who died at Camp 
Williams, about the time that he inspects the maps, showing 
the scientific position of the troops. 

One of the first incidents worthy of note after duty has called 
Colonel Clark to his home, is this : Captain Cogswell, of Com- 
pany E, in our regiment, supposing that all members of his 
company likely to die during the day are in the hospital, goes 
to the city after dinner to get rid of the swamp for a few hours, 
and enjoy some of those recreations which New Orleans offers 
to men of war. Lieutenant Dickey, of the same company, is a 
man of destiny, fated to be a negro general, and on this occa- 
6 



12 AMONG TEE 



sion his genius gives forth the first spark attracting attention. 
A man of the company, in fair health when the Captain left in 
the morning, is struck with swamp fever and dies, and the 
efficient lieutenant had coffin made, grave dug, and man buried, 
before the return of his captain at supper time. 

The most noteworthy affair, however, besides death's doings, 
is our inspection by Brigadier-General Thomas W. Sherman. 
As the sun casts his last scorching rays before he drops into the 
yellowish haze over the swamps, on the 6th day of October, 
1862, I receive from one of General Sherman's orderlies, or 
waiters, a notice that to-morrow the General will inspect my 
regiment. I have heard from officers of regiments encamped 
along the river, wonderful accounts of General Sherman's inspec- 
tions. That he arrested one lieutenant on account of a slight 
flaw in the seam of his coat ; another for deficiency in military 
expression of countenance; another for unmilitary tone of voice; 
but that he was most particular in a set of arithmetical questions 
on the numbers in the regimental reports; that he wished 
prompt answers from memory concerning changes in the various 
numbers of absent, sick, present, sick on detached service, and 
on extra or daily duty, and other lists; also as to the numbers 
of cartridges in the boxes of the men, and on hand in ammuni- 
tion boxes. When I recollect that ift would not be easy to 
answer promptly from memory such questions as "What are the 
twelfth and the twentieth letters of the alphabet?" I see what use 
may be made of inspections, to gratify the ill-will of a general 
or any of his staff officers, endeavor to commit as many figures 
of my reports to memory as I can, and prepare copies for pocket 
use. The men hear accounts of wretched soldiers doomed 
unheard by the General to ball and chain, and other tortures, 
because of something about their persons, or their tents, at 
which he took offense, and even those hardly able to move are 
at work sweeping the ground about camp, cleaning their cloth- 
ing, and endeavoring, with feeble hands, to give to the metal of 
their buttons, and of their arms and accoutrements, that shine 
the possession of which, in the General's estimation, is one of 



COTTON THIEVES. 43 



the first military virtues. Even at night, after the drums and 
bugles of Camp Williams have sounded tattoo through the 
vapor-laden air of the swamps — through that air which every 
night seems to putrefy, and everywhere gives forth the odors 
of carrion, I see that the men are keeping up fires, to be some 
defense against the swarms of musquitos, while the work of 
getting ready for inspection continues. 

Feverish influences in earth and air have long prevented 
healthy sleep at Camp Williams, but on this night anxiety keeps 
many officers awake, as they are repeating to themselves the 
numbers of their reports, hoping that by accident they may 
remember the numbers which the General will call for. There 
is a great increase of the horrid midnight sounds usual in the 
camp, the sounds coming from the sick in quarters, who are 
groaning and vomiting worse than ever ; and the hundreds of 
owls, whose nightly hootings are heard in these swamps, seem 
to be reinforced by new choirs of their friends. 

On the morning of the 7th of October, 1862, the hot sun licks 
up the pestilential fogs of Metairie Ridge, and shines in the faces 
of a line of troops standing in heavy marching order, waiting 
for the inspection, on a swampy piece of ground, prepared at 
great expense of human labor, for the grand ghastly march in 
review. No reviewing officer has appeared. One hot and 
sickening hour after another wears away, but there the line 
must rest, clad in their thick, woolen uniforms, wearing the 
little regulation skull caps, and burthened with stuffed knap- 
sacks and rolled great coats, for the inspection. Occasionally 
humanity, getting the better of fear, even among officers, sick 
men are allowed to straggle off toward the tents. I sit in my 
saddle and look at the pallid faces and emaciated forms of our 
men. I think what a favor it would be if these men could once 
breathe an October breeze of Michigan, or even if there would 
come a breeze such as is sometimes felt near the river in Louis- 
iana ; but there is no motion to the stagnant air. The men are 
allowed to rest in place. They unsling their knapsacks, stretch 
out like alligators in the sun, and wait in silence, the heat 



44 AMONG TEE 



striking through to the very blood in their hearts. Some com- 
panies have become so scanty in numbers by excusing men 
taken sick, that the officers will certainly incur the General's 
wrath. At length a cloud of dust is seen where the road comes 
out of the woods toward the river. " Attention !" sounds along 
the line, and the sick vie with those who are well in getting 
every button and strap into place. The officers are giving the 
commands, " Right dress," a few have said " Front," when Gen- 
eral Thomas W. Sherman and staff are grouped before our 
center. "By companies right wheel," is shouted, for the General 
cannot wait a moment for those who have waited for him long 
after the appointed time. The regiments stand in column of 
companies. The General and staff have arrived in a brisk trot 
at the head of the column. They dismount; orderlies hold 
their horses. I see some of the staff officers are already at 
work with pencil and memorandum book. Mine is the second 
regiment from the right. I see that the General is putting 
questions to the officers, and keeps the memorandum book 
in use. Suddenly one company is ordered out from among 
the rest, and is put through the " firings," watched by staff 
officers. Then the company is exercised in some of the 
most difficult maneuvers of the drill, until faults enough to sat- 
isfy the General have been found. Unlortunate company ! 
Some luckless word or look of your captain has given 
offense. As the General approaches, I give the command 
"Shoulder arms," and the men, warned beforehand, stand at 
strict attention. General Sherman, followed by his retinue, 
and with his officer of the memorandum book beside him, takes 
position right before me, and stands staring into my face, as if 
hesitating whether to let loose his wrath at once on me. I 
keep my eyes fixed on his face. He is a small, spare man, with 
a crazy look about his lead-colored eyes. He seems to have no 
blood in his body, and is a personification of dyspepsia — a dis- 
ease which has preyed upon him until his mind is no less 
unsound than his body. I can hardly help smiling as I think 
what pranks will this great West Pointer play next ? Probably 



COTTON THIEVES. 45 



he will revenge himself on us for his last dyspeptic reflections 
while reading some newspaper article ridiculing his con- 
quests when he was Viceroy, and spent eighty millions in South 
Carolina. At last, Sherman winks and speaks. " Colonel, how 
many ot your staff are present ?" I answer, " Two, sir." 
Some strange sensation, apparently starting from the General's 
stomach, runs through his frame, causing a curious expression 
in his face. He composes his features, looks steadily at me 
again, says nothing, and turning with a quick step, marches off, 
followed by his staff. They mount their horses, and the General 
leading the way, they go off at a furious gallop in the direction 
from which they came. After a while, the astonished regiments 
are marched back to their camps. I have scarcely arrived at 
mine, when one of the General's favorite orderlies comes in haste, 
and informs me that General Sherman will be at my camp and 
inspect my adjutant and quartermaster's books this afternoon. 
It needs no advice to let me know that if he wishes to dispose 
of any officers, he can do so more easily on account of faults in 
these books than in any other way, and during the remainder of 
the day we are searching and arranging what records we have 
of the various transactions of the regiment since its organization, 
but night comes again to Camp Williams, and no General Sher- 
man arrives. 

After some weeks, the sickliest part of the season being 
past, orders remove all the troops from Camp Williams, on 
account of fearful mortality, and the terrible fit of delirium 
tremens afflicting a high functionary at that place. All of the 
troops have gone to the healthiest parts of the suburbs of the 
city, except the Sixth Michigan. We are also removed, but to 
a place where the great parapet from the river, near Carrollton, 
ends in the swamp. It needs no learning to perceive that the 
place designated for our camp is worse than Camp Williams, 
and on my reports I name it Camp Mors, intending that if 
generals demand what the name means, I will tell them that it 
is the name of a Michigan statesman, but in writing home I state 
that our camp is named Camp Death. Whatever has been horri- 



46 AMONG THE 



ble at Camp Williams, is now more horrible here. We petition, 
Stating that our regiment is the only one required to remain in 
the swamp ; that the others have be§n permitted to escape, and 
praying that if we have done our share of duty there, we may 
be relieved. We receive no answer, but at the end of three 
days a staff officer arrives, demands of me a detail to assist him 
in laying out and fixing landmarks for a new regimental burial 
ground for our use, and informs me that General Sherman 
is satisfied that the sickness of our regiment is caused by 
neglect on our part to obey properly the requirements of 
the regulations as to camp duty, and that on the 9th day 
of November, 1862, the General will inspect the regiment 
thoroughly. 

And on the day appointed, after we have been waiting a long 
time endeavoring to lighten our hearts by making sport of our 
fears, the General and staff arrive, and commence the inspec- 
tion, by having our poor, half-sick remnant of a drum corps, 
beat the ruffles three times — the salutes of the line being as 
many times repeated, at orders brought to me a distance of 
about fifty feet by that elegant horseman, Captain Wickham 
Hoffman, A. A. G., who seems to imperil his life in the short 
turns he has to make, at the required gallop. After I give the 
command " Present arms," the third time, I wonder what is 
coming next, and resign myself to my fate. I go through with 
a review, an inspection of everything, and finally with a bat- 
talion drill, under the direction of the General, and when the 
Brigadier's cavalcade departs, I cannot believe that the great 
inspection is to be without some terrible after-clap. To my 
surprise, however, on the third day afterwards I receive from 
General Thomas W. Sherman, through his doughty adjutant, 
Wickham Hoffman, a significant letter, commending me and my 
regiment for passing inspection well. I order this letter care- 
fully recorded in the letter book, and knowing that the General 
did not believe a word he has said, I make up my mind that as 
Don Quixote, after his adventure with the lion, styled himself 
" Caballero de los Leones," I ought to be " Caballero de las 



COTTON THIEVES. 47 



Inspecciones," and that General Sherman's inspection had by 
somebody been turned into an innocent stratagem to make us 
lie still in the swamps at Camp Death. 



CHAPTER III. 



Infernal Regions— Stonewall Jackson— Glorious Conquest of Pontchitoula— Noble and 
Patriotic Hopes Disappointed— Burning of the Barataria. 

As the eye follows the course of the Mississippi, shown by 
the map, it is seen that toward the river's final outlet, land and 
water are in strange confusion. Strips of new made land at the 
passes are reached out in shape of a sea gull's foot, where the 
yellowish river water is discharged upon that sea, which for 
many miles refuses to mix with it. Among the curious lakes, 
bayous and inlets, seen in the Louisiana low lands, the most 
remarkable are the Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas, with 
their passes. Light draft vessels, engaged in the New Orleans 
trade by way of Lake Pontchartrain, steam in from the gulf 
toward great marshes covered with reeds and canes, where, on 
near approach, are seen the crooked outlets of the Rigolets, 
which are sluiceways connecting the waters of the lake with the 
gulf. After some miles ot pushing through the Stygian chan- 
nels of the Rigolets, Pontchartrain opens to view its expanse of 
shallow water — a lake without a shore, for although it may be 
said to be of oblong form, and about twenty miles in breadth, yet 
whenever a vessel leaving the strangely colored central parts of 
the lake, approaches most parts of the ragged line of cypress trees 
supposed to designate a shore, it is perceived that the color of 
the water becomes uniformly like that seen in vats of a tan yard, 
and that this color is given by particles of rotten vegetation, 
which thicken the sluggish waters that lose themselves among 
the cypresses and water plants of a dismal swamp, whose boughs 



48 AMONG THE 



are hung with long festoons of gray moss. This swamp is gen- 
erally impassable even to boats, there being a blockade of fallen 
trees, and tangled undergrowth of canes and nameless vines. 
In this pestilential fringe the lake loses itself. Here, before the 
river levees were made, the river, the lake and the swamps, for 
about half of each year, kept their waters commingled ; and in 
later times, Avhen strong southeast winds have continued long 
enough, the sea is forced in, and the waters of the swamps rising 
rapidly, have flooded the streets of New Orleans. On the west- 
ern side of Lake Pontchartrain is found a second outlet and 
inlet, where the water flows both ways, like the Rigolets. A 
long, low, cypress-covered island, named Jones' Island, divides 
the channel. The north branch is called North Manchac Pass, 
and the south branch is South Manchac Pass, and is navigable 
by the lightest schooners and steamers. The only railroad com- 
munication of New Orleans with the North was by expensive 
bridges over these passes, and crossed this island. At the 
western end of the island, the passes coming near together, 
open suddenly into Lake Maurepas, which is a little likeness of 
Lake Pontchartrain, about eight miles wide, and combining all 
the hideous features of its prototype, except that Lake Maurepas 
is the shallowest, and receiving several sluggish streams from 
the northward, its waters are made briny only in case of some 
high tides and winds that drive in the sea, but even then there 
is hardly any change perceptible in the vile color of the lake, 
which, for most of the year, is kept as hot by the sun as the 
surrounding swamps would be if the cypresses were removed. 
When the tide ebbs, and the wind is from the west, the lake 
lets out much of its tepid contents. There are then places along 
its margin where a broad strip of its bottom may be seen. A 
strange sight is presented to view. One thick mass of entangled 
roots and snags, dead and half cooked, but not one grain of any 
kind of earth. Most of these roots appear to be those of the 
cypress, showing that parts of the present lake bottom once 
belonged to the swamps. Many black and fetid bayous reach 
inland, making openings among the cypress trees and canebrakes 



COTTON THIEVES. 49 



that form the lake margin, and by the evil significance of their 
names, in French and in English, make known that two nations 
have agreed in considering these regions as next to infernal. 
Whatever may be exaggeration in accounts of musquitos, moc- 
casin snakes and alligators, found in other parts of Louisiana, is 
all plain truth in regard to these creatures as they exist about 
Lake Maurepas and the Manchac Passes, and whoever is fated 
to breathe for some time the death-laden air of these horrible 
places in the hot season, will feel the meaning of Virgil's descrip- 
tion of Lake Avernus : 

" Quam super hand ullae poterant impune volantes, 
Teudere iter pennis tales sese halitus atris, 
Faucibus effendens supera ad convexa ferebat." 

It is difficult to say what diseases are not generated in these 
seething, steaming swamps, where the yellow fever and the 
cholera dwell in conjugal bliss, and nourish all their offspring — 
a family whom the king of terrors would delight to visit. 
Northward from these lakes and passes lies the Confederacy, 
where, at no great distance, there is found solid land, with pine 
trees having no moss hanging on their boughs, but on the south 
side lies our province of New Orleans, where even what appears 
the most like solid land, is found to be decayed vegetation and 
the sediment of the high water, which, before levees were made, 
yearly rolled its inundations over all the low lands of Louisiana. 
It is said that once people were so deluded as to bore an 
artesian well in New Orleans, and at the depth of about five 
hundred feet cypress logs were found. At all events, it is evi- 
dent that the federal province plundered by the courtiers of 
federal Viceroys, is the recent work of the Mississippi, and 
had not covetous men impiously built their levees, and inter- 
fered with the Creator's work, the country would by this time 
have been ready for men to live in. Now, the punishment of 
the intruders is, that as many of them shall die by plagues, to 
increase the scanty land with their ashes, as it is possible to take 
without frightening away others whom avarice continually 
brings to swell the burying ground. 

7 



50 AMONO THE 



Since the Sixth Michigan has removed from Camp Williams 
to Camp Death, rebels ask us sometimes whether our generals 
intend to teach us to be amphibious. Quinine, repeatedly 
administered in enormous doses, has ceased to have much effect 
against the terrible miasma. The doctors decide that a new 
and more powerful drug must be used, and at our morning sick 
call arsenic is administered, both as prevention and as cure, 
until nothing short of killing doses of that medicine will have 
any effect on our death-infected systems. Another change of 
medicine is required, and strychnine becomes the regular dose 
to counteract the poisons of earth and air acting upon us, and we 
are informed that when strychnine shall lose its power, there is 
no other antidote left. I often wonder if, should Camp Death 
fail to plant us all in the new burying ground, any worse place 
can be found to make surer work with us, and in looking on the 
map, my eye rests at once on the place where the Jackson rail- 
road crosses the passes of Manchac. The thought comes that 
this is the very place. Some general, with his head-quarters at 
the St. Charles Hotel, and wishing to make a report, will cer- 
tainly discover that Manchac is the key of New Orleans, and 
must be garrisoned. The Sixth Michigan is sure to be chosen 
for the garrison. Nor is my opinion changed by hearing that 
the railroad for miles on either side of the passes is supported 
on high trestle work, and that there is no footing for a man 
away from its track. 

In March, 1863, the creatures of the different head-quarters 
in New Orleans, reveling in stolen luxury with their yellow 
concubines, are suddenly alarmed by a report that Stonewall 
Jackson, with 40,000 men, is coming to take the city. A New 
England favorite, enjoying the title, uniform and pay of a colo- 
nel, but without any regiment, Langdon by name, is sent with a 
light gunboat to reconnoitre at Manchac. He runs into the 
south pass, keeping Jones' Island between himself and all harm, 
and coming to the ruins of the railroad bridge burned by order 
of General Butler, he looks along the railroad through the nar- 
row opening in the trees of the island, across the north pass, 



COTTON THIEVES. 51 



and up the trestle work, into the opening among the cypresses on 
the confederate shore. What he sees satisfies him at once. He 
leaves in haste, and happy to find himself once more at his luxu- 
rious quarters in the city, he makes his report, and it is, or ought 
to be, among the Glulf Department archives. He reports that 
he has seen trains of cars arriving in rapid succession, and 
unloading large regiments of rebels, with their colors flying, 
near by where great numbers of negroes were at work mount- 
ing heavy guns on the north side of Pass Manchac. Dispatches 
are hurried to Washington. The province is to be saved by the 
valor, patriotism and ability of the faithful federal officers in 
New Orleans, and no small share of the honor is to belong to 
the brave colonel who made the bold reconnoissance. 

The federal navy controls the lakes and the river, and sweep 
every inch of the narrow strip of passable ground which, for 
more than fifty miles, separates the lake swamps from the Mis- 
sissippi. There is no way for Stonewall Jackson to reach New 
Orleans unless he comes right through the swamps, and that is 
the way that he is coming, according to the opinion of our lords. 
The Sixth Michigan is ordered further into the swamp than 
ever before. Our patrols and picket guards are ordered to 
watch for Stonewall Jackson in the most lonesome recesses of 
the canebrakes, where the stagnant water is thick and yellow 
with poisons stewed out of the rotting vegetation. Runaway 
slaves have surrendered to the bloodhounds rather than attempt 
to make their way through these poisonous bayous and jungles. 

As the vapors begin to break early one morning at the Lake 
Pontchartrain end of the New Orleans shell road, strange 
schooners are seen approaching from toward rebeldom. The 
military telegraph wires are busy; there is a general bustle. 
Slaves are hunting for staff officers in haunts of sin. Money 
and gold and silver plate are ready for the gunboats, when the 
telegraph announces that the strange schooners have shown 
white flags and landed, and that they are heavily loaded with 
bales of cotton, valued at half a million. The owners of the 
cotton claim to be Union men, surrender their property, trusting 



52 AMONG THE 



to federal justice, and report that nobody on the confederate 
Bide of the lake knows anything about Stonewall Jackson being 
this side of Richmond ; that no preparations are going on for 
any attack on New Orleans, and that no confederate troops, 
except some scouting cavalry, are anywhere near Manchac. 
Orders are issued for the troops to be held well in hand, ready 
for an attack at any moment from any quarter. It seems to be 
the opinion at head-quarters that the cotton schooners may have 
been cunningly sent by Stonewall to tempt the ruling passion 
of his enemies, and allay their fears, while he is coming down 
upon them some way where he is least expected. Gradually all 
alarm ceases, and it appears that while the owners of the cotton 
fully report the truth as to there being no preparations for 
either attack or defense in the adjacent parts of the Confederacy, 
they find it expedient, in attempting to get their pay, to make 
statements not strictly true in regard to the abundance of cotton, 
resin and turpentine, articles now of incredible price. On the 
evening of the 20th day of March, 1863, Colonel Thomas S. Clark 
returns from a long visit at head-quarters to our camp, his face 
flushed and his tongue thick. He confidentially informs me 
that he has orders for the regiment to be ready early to-morrow 
morning to start on an expedition for Pass Manchac. On the 
morning of the 21st da\ of March, 1863, the regiment may be 
seen drawn up in line, with stuffed haversacks and heavy knap- 
sacks, every man carrying about one hundred cartridges. The 
hot sun is shining in their sweaty faces. Colonel Clark comes 
forth from his quarters in a neighboring mansion, and in a most 
important voice orders " Stock arms !" A wagon, containing 
barrels, is driven near to him. Several men, under the direction 
of the Colonel's favorite orderly, draw out pails full of whisky, 
and going along the line, let every man drink with his tin cup 
the drugged and fiery liquid. Soon afterward the regiment, in a 
long and straggling procession, at rout step, are seen following 
the track of the Jackson railroad, from the sugar plantations 
near Kennerville into the cypress swamp. Beyond this place 
the railroad does not come in sight of the river again, but at the 



COTTON THIEVES. 53 



end of about five miles there is for some miles an opening in 
the timber, made by a great marsh flooded from the lake, just 
deep enough in most places to allow long reeds to grow up 
through the water. Here the railroad is raised by trestle work 
about five feet above the water, and at intervals the trestle work 
has been half destroyed by fire. The men are heavily loaded, 
and have to make long steps from tie to tie. Now and then 
some poor fellow falls ; some ribs are broken. The effect of 
the hot sun and the villainous whisky is such that there is soon 
seen going back a considerable number of sick and injured men. 
I keep ahead, and notice many alligators, of all sizes and ages, 
stretched out on masses of float-wood. They do not fail to 
draw an occasional shot from the soldiers. At La Branch 
station, we again come to the cypresses. Here there are some 
railroad buildings. We halt to make a dinner of our cooked 
rations. As the fires kindled to make coffee are yet smoking, 
just after we have sounded the assembly for departure, Colonel 
Clark stands on the corner of the porch of the station house, 
and reads to us, in a loud voice, a part of his written instruc- 
tions, saying that he is to push forward to South Manchac Pass, 
where he will find the One Hundred and Sixty-fifth New York 
Regiment Zouaves ready to co-operate with him. The last 
words are : " Great confidence is placed in you and your 
command. By order of Brigadier-General T. W. Sherman. 
Wickham Hoffman, A. A. G-." The patriotism of the men seems 
unbounded. The march over the trestle work, of which much 
more remains, seems to have only intensified their zeal. 

At length we come in sight of Lake Pontchartrain, and the 
breeze seems refreshing. Here the confederates built earth- 
work protections, where one or two guns were mounted, and 
with the fire of infantry from the cover of bushes and trees, a 
sure defense could have been made against any attempt to land, 
although here, for a short distance, the shore affords a secure 
footing. We soon follow the track into the swamp again. 
Clouds and rain render the air more stifling than ever. Our 
bugles often sound halt, and every man sits down on the ties 



54 AMONG THE 



and timbers. The water which fills the swamp is full of old, 
black logs, and everything looks dark and dismal, and seems 
strangely hurrying to decay. The air almost refuses to echo 
the sound of our bugles. The mournful cypress trees are very 
thick and tall. The owls keep up their screeching, without 
regard to the doubtful daylight. 

Night is spent at a j)lace which is deemed inhabitable, 
where we came again to the lake. Here a few Avretched build- 
ings and improvements have been made. I make a bargain 
with some of the poor inhabitants that I will keep the men in 
the ranks long enough for them to get their pigs and poultry 
into their dwellings, if they will give us the use of their barns 
and sheds for the nigdit. Soon the fires of the men are burning: 
along the railroad track, pickets are stationed, and places being 
designated for assembly at any alarm; every place fit for men to 
rest in, not occupied by families, is filled with tired soldiers. 

In the morning, Sunday, March 22, 1863, I find myself in 
command of the regiment, Colonel T. S. Clark having already 
began to act as brigadier, and gone to a detachment of eastern 
troops posted at De Sair station, a short distance before us, and 
ready to proceed with us to South Manchac Pass. 

It is not far from noon, when slowly striding from tie to tie, 
the black waters and their reptiles under the trestle work 
below us, and the wall of dismal, moss-hung cypresses on either 
side, we come where the iron rails have been taken from the 
track and carried by the enemy to the Mississippi side of the 
passes. Soon we arrive where the trestle work is filled up with 
sand, which must have been brought from beyond the Louisiana 
boundary. We see a detachment of troops halted at a distance 
before us, their fires smoking for dinner. A shout is raised by 
the men, who suppose that they have reached the end of the 
chief labors of the expedition. Soon I stand on the end of 
the sand-filled trestle work. Here are the brackish waters of the 
sluggish South Pass at my feet, and distant a quarter of a mile 
before me is Jones' Island, which is only a piece of the cypress- 
grown swamp, set off by itself, and making a resting place for 



COTTON THIEVES. 55 



the railroad, which was once supported by a great bridge across 
the pass. Now, rows of charred and displaced timbers show 
where the bridge was, and looking to the left I see, less than a 
mile distant, an expanse of Lake Maurepas; beyond that, the 
line of swamp timber that surrounds the lake. In looking to 
the right, a bend in the pass leaves little beside the forest in 
sight. 

At night, an old light draught steamer, the Savary, and a little 
iron-clad gunboat, the Barataria, with several schooners in tow, 
arrive, loaded with red-legged Zouaves, of the One Hundred 
and Sixty-fifth New York. Nothing can be done till morning. 
A chilly, drizzling rain begins. The men pile up ties and pieces 
of plank for walls, and with their oil-cloths make roofs for shel- 
ter. Officers can do no better. We huddle together along the 
scanty and muddy embankment which fills the trestle work, and 
pass a miserable night. I am long kept awake by some of the 
most talkative of the company negroes, who are telling each 
other long stories of the old plantation life of their youth. My 
thoughts wander far back to my own home and youth, and 
then I think of the affairs which my colonel has laid before me 
during the afternoon. He showed me his instructions in writing 
from General Sherman, that he should send the Zouaves up the 
railroad, to advance directly on Pontchitoula, while the rest 
of his command should go in sufficient vessels across Lake 
Maurepas, up the Tickfaw river, and landing at or near Wades- 
borough, about twelve miles up the stream, should proceed, 
three miles through open pine woods, and make a flank attack 
on Pontchitoula, while the Zouaves attacked in front. A 
detachment of the Ninth Connecticut, with two field pieces, 
were to be left on Jones' Island, to guard the base of operations. 
A detachment was also to be left at De Sair station, to guard 
against having our retreat cut off by any of the enemy, who 
might cross Lake Maurepas, and, in small boats, ascend a certain 
crooked bayou which extended through the swamp up to within 
about half a mile of that station. Pontchitoula being captured, 
we were to hold it until further orders. 



56 AMONG THE 



My colonel had heard something about the Tickfaw river. It 
was a deep, sluggish stream, so narrow that the enemy could 
fell trees before us or behind us, so as to form the best of 
obstructions. Every man who showed himself while we were 
on the river might consider himself a target for the rifles of 
guerillas, securely sheltered by trees and logs; and that the 
three miles we had to go over in order to take Pontchitoula in 
the flank, might be a hard road to travel. 

My colonel seemed to be somewhat the worse on account of 
his potations when he showed me his instructions, and told me 
that I was to command that part of the expedition which was 
to go up the Tickfaw, and that he would go with those who 
were to proceed up the railroad. 

During the latter part of the day, I had busied myself in find- 
ing among the detachments of eastern troops two men who had 
been enlisted as recruits for New England regiments in Louisi- 
ana, and who had formerly lived near Wadesborough. One of 
them was intelligent, and a long cross-examination which I gave 
him, in the presence of my colonel and other officers, showed 
that if we reached Wadesborough, the flank attack on Pont- 
chitoula would be the easiest instead of the most difficult part 
of the work before us. 

During the forenoon of the 23d day of March, we are making 
the embarkation. The Zouaves are carried around the end of 
the island and landed, to advance up the railroad on the main 
land. The rain has given place to a southern hurricane. The 
difficulty of bringing any vessels near to our camp makes it 
necessary to carry the men in small boats across to the opposite 
side of the pass, where the vessels lie, protected by the island 
from the wind. Torrents of rain drench us. We all have to 
go, one at a time, over a long timber, extending about ten feet 
above the water out to a point where the boats can come. 
Some men have to be steadied by their companions reaching out 
their rifles for them to take hold of. At times the rain and 
wind compel all to stop. I find it difficult to keep my place on 
one of the bridge timbers, with the surging waves below me, 



COTTON THIEVES. 



and the storm driving against me. My oil-cloth cap and coat 
save me from being as completely wet as are most of the men 
about me, but after going bounding over the waves, and finding 
myself in the cabin of the Savary, I find a fire almost as com- 
fortable as if I had been exposed to one of the March rains of 
my own country. I hasten to see what kind of shelter the men 
have found, knowing that it must be poor enough. I find them 
huddled together on the steamer and on the schooners, shiver- 
ing in the rain, many of them showing symptoms of a return of 
the fevers from which they have hardly recovered. I set some 
of the healthiest men at work to clear away below decks, and 
the wretched, half-sick beings are stowed into the holds of the 
schooners to escape from the storm. The sky suddenly changes, 
and lets down hot sunshine by intervals. The wind has fallen. 
We are busy trying to get the vessels under weigh. While we 
are disentangling a schooner's yard arm from a steamer's 
smoke stack, partly overturned in the storm, sergeant Yaw, of 
Company B, who was once a justice of the peace in the county 
where I lived, is accidentally injured in the head. The old gen- 
tleman is carried bleeding past me. I remember cases in which 
I appeared before him as an attorney, and little think how soon 
he is to die on the slaughter-field. 

The expedition is on Lake Maurepas. The storm has gone. 
The ring of dense cypresses around the little lake shuts off the 
breeze. The Savary and the Barataria take the schooners 
in to'sr. The sail vessels keep their sails spread to aid the 
feeble steamers to keep up motion. The fires are fed all the 
bituminous coal that they can burn, but it seems as if a spell 
prevents headway. The steamers slowly separate, and as my 
schoonei', the Maybel, floats beside the struggling Savary, I gaze 
with wonder at the little black iron-clad Barataria, about half a 
mile distant. A long, thick black cloud of coal smoke is con- 
tinually rolling out of the smoke stack, leaving in sight parts of 
the white sails, while the points of yard-arms and masts stick 
out of the smoke. There seems to be but one large-sized vessel 
of nondescript character, emitting steam from among half a 



58 AMONG THE 



dozen masts, and showing - an iron-clad prow, armed with bronze 
t ueh e-pounders. Every growl of the engine is echoed over the 
suspicions lake from the enemy's shore. If any rebel scouts are 
making observations, they must wonder at our flotilla, appear- 
ing like two strange-shaped ocean steamers, yet making their 
way over a lake not five feet deep. 

Delays, by getting aground and getting off again at different 
places, have kept us from reaching the mouth of the Tickfaw 
until almost sunset. Here we are at last, trying to enter an 
oblique opening among the cypresses. Broken stumps and 
deformed roots protrude from the water on either side. The 
Barataria is ahead of us, to show the way, but we suddenly find 
ourselves fast aground. We are within easy rifle range of some 
excellent hiding places for sharpshooters, yet not a living thing 
shows itself along the rebel shore. Anchors are taken out some 
distance and let down, ropes being attached, the capstan is used, 
but in vain. The Mabel and the Savary are held firmly by 
snags. The night is upon us, and we must stay here till morn- 
ing. It becomes very dark. A drizzling rain begins. There 
is but little motion in the waters of the vile pond, on the dubi- 
ous edge of which we are floating. To land is impossible, 
where even in daylight land would be so hard to find. On our 
vessel men are piled together, some above and some below 
decks, choosing as best they can between suffocating air and 
exposure to rain and frequent disturbance. 

Officers of the companies with me on board the Mabel are 
gathered in the cabin, which is a box about eight feet square, 
entered by a steep stairway. Our tall, red-whiskered captain, 
shares his supplies with us, and a scanty meal of pork, hard tack 
and coffee, by the light of a smoky little lamp, prepares us for a 
horrible night. There are not seats enough for half of us to sit 
on, and the floor is not clean enough or large enough lor us to 
lie down. We endeavor to keep up our spirits. Some wonder 
why Colonel T. S. Clark changed his plan, and, in the morning 
starting the Zouaves off alone for Pontchitoula, only about ten 
miles distant, has come with our part of the expedition. 



COTTON THIEVES. 59 



Unless we find the passage up the river free, it will be necessary 
to go back and declare the object for which we came accom- 
plished. Conversation often turns upon luxuries enjoyed at 
home. We have suffered before, but at last we find ourselves in 
this cabin, where we can hardly breathe. The poisoned air occa- 
sionally drives us out of our place of confinement, but rain and 
commotion soon compel us to return. Two officers find an 
opening like a shelf near the cabin floor, and going several feet 
into the vessel's side. They get a few minutes sleep in this 
place, and are waked by sudden strangulation. Both roll out 
half-crazed, and with fearful imprecations struggle forth to the 
open air. I button my long oil-cloth coat, and at last get into 
a painful doze, as I sit on the floor at the foot of the stairs. 

Tuesday, March 24, 1863. — Our vessels have, during the night, 
got clear of the snags, and as daylight appeal's we enter the 
Tickfaw, which for two miles appears to be only one of the 
well known family of bayous. We see one place where there 
happens to be dry footing for a few men among the moss-hung 
trees and rotten logs. Here are the remains of confederate 
picket fires, abandoned, apparently, for a long time by the 
guards, who have been driven away by the dismalness of the 
place. 

For a while our steamers tow all the other vessels, till the 
sluice of dark waters on which we are moving divides in the 
swamp. The branch which we take grows^ narrow and crooked. 
It is hardly possible for the steamers to get around the short 
turns; they are continually striking the shores, and have to 
cease all attempts at towing. We are surprised that there has 
been no effort to obstruct the stream. The tall and heavy trees 
lean over us from both sides. A few hours of labor by a few 
guerillas, with axes, ought to have stopped us for days. Every- 
where is the most perfect cover for sharpshooters. It is said 
that the confederates have several companies of Indian scouts 
along the frontier. Not a tree has been fallen into the stream, 
and now not a rifle shot is fired nor a guerilla y all heard. A 
number of skiffs, several navy boats, and a heavy barge, with a 



60 AMONG rilli 



howitzer mounted in the bow, have been brought with us. 
Soldiers, with their arms, are sent into the row boats, and by- 
main strength our schooners are towed slowly up the sluggish 
Tickfaw — the steamer and the gunboat showing no anxiety to 
run ahead of us very far. I have the men and arms all in readi- 
ness, and make a sort of breastwork of planks and boxes along 
each side of my schooner. The soldiers dispose of their hard 
breakfast, with their loaded E .fields and Springfields beside 
them. The procession of masts and smoke stacks, with the 
decks loaded with blue-coated federals, winds slowly up its 
crooked way through the dense, dark forest. At last we see a 
few pine trees, at a place where our bayou divides again. 

This place, the first ground which does not belong to the 
swamp, is called Whisky Point. Here are fresh indications of 
a hostile picket, and it is said that rebels have been seen running 
away to give news of our approach ; but our flotilla still goes 
on, with the splash of oars and the puffs of the steamers. We 
are emerging from the swamp, and entering the rebel country, 
by them called the piney woods. A field and a log cabin 
appear on the north bank, which has raised itself with at least 
ten feet of sand above the river, that now shows a slight cur- 
rent. Hopes have been entertained of catching some richly 
loaded cotton schooners at Wadesborough, which we are rapidly 
approaching. A strong detachment, commanded by the ener- 
getic young Lieutenant James Brainard, of Company H, Sixth 
Michigan, is sent by land across a horse-shoe bend, while the 
rest of us are going round to where the cotton schooners are. 
A few shots are heard. The gunboat hurries forward, followed 
by the Savary. No more firing is heard, and when our 
slow going schooner comes struggling along within sight 
of the group of cheap buildings making the frontier village of 
Wadesborough, a great smoke announces to us that the cotton 
has fallen a prize to fire, instead of being left an honest capture 
for the court of New Orleans. 

The Barataria, having brass guns ready, and men with Enfield 
rillcs at th« loop-holes in the iron plating, watches over us as 



COTTON THIEVES. 61 



we hurry from our schooner over the decks of the rickety- 
old Savary, and spring off upon the shore, man after man, till 
the companies are formed, and then moved up to their places in 
the regimental line, that is stretched out in a sort of street, on 
each side of which are scattered a few wooden buildings. News 
from the Zouaves is eagerly sought, for in any natural course of 
events they ought to have taken Pontchitoula, or to have been 
beaten back by noon yesterday. We hear that they have had a 
fight, but we can learn nothing satisfactory as to the result. 
Consultation is had. I urge that if the Zouaves had been badly 
beaten we would hear all about it, and would have seen more of 
the enemy, and that we must take advantage of the absence of 
the enemy and make our flank attack on Pontchitoula as soon 
as possible. Others coincide with me. We are moving four 
abreast up the road, Companies A and H advancing into the 
pine woods before us, and out on our flanks, scattering them- 
selves as skirmishers among the trees to protect our march, 
which has to be very slow, to allow them to keep their distance 
from us, and make their way through numerous obstructions. 

Our guide, the soldier who used to live near here, assures me 
that we are on the right road, and tells me where other roads 
are by which the enemy might advance upon us, but the tall 
pines on a level country, without much undergrowth, let us see 
far enough to be assured that either infantry or cavalry can here 
go wherever they please. I am admiring the sand over which 
we march — the first I have set foot upon since the day that 
we first disembarked on the miry alluvium of the Louisiana low 
lands. I can almost see the cypresses of the swamp through the 
pines on our right. One rifle shot is heard in front — another 
and another. Are we to have a fight, or is this firing on account 
of some fugitive making off through the woods ? But a dozen 
rifles are fired in quick succession, and seem to be answered by 
a dozen more further off. We go along by the flank. Our 
skirmishers seem willing that we should get nearer to them. 
Firing breaks out from twenty rifles in a volley, and runs along 
most of the skirmish line in front and on our right. We can 



62 AMONG THE 



see, here and there, one of our skirmishers crouching behind a 
tree, aiming and firing at some foe entirely out of our sight. 
We file right, halt, face to the front. Colonel T. S. Clark has 
picked out three or four favorite officers and men for his stall' 
and orderlies, and takes a position as brigadier in rear of our 
line. About two companies of the eastern troops have been 
left at Wadesborough to guard all our water cralt that lies in 
the Tickfaw, waiting for the cotton; two more eastern com- 
panies are with us. " Battalion — forward march !" and I move 
my line forward, finding it no easy matter to march a line of 
battle through woods as open as these. The firing is incessant, 
a thousand echoes adding to the sound. An officer from the 
skirmishers returns to us. "What have you seen of the enemy?" 
is asked of him. " Nothing but rebel cavalrymen," is his 
answer. " How many do there seem to be of them?" "There 
are a good many," he says. Company E is sent to reinforce our 
advance, and as we move along the whiz of bullets is heard 
over our heads, and a hostile line of skirmishers are firing as 
briskly as our own. 

I see many serious faces. I get the line in as good order as 
possible, for the report comes from the front that the enemy are 
growing more numerous and obstinate, especially on our left, 
and that part of our line slackens pace, so as to change front 
gradually that M'ay. We may, for aught we know, behold a 
rebel line of infantry rise up on our front, or on our left Hank, 
not far from which runs a highway from Pontchitoula to Spring- 
field. I order patrols of three men each to scout on the flanks. 
Our advance are at a stand, firing angrily, until we are almost 
upon them. Suddenly the well known yells of a charge are 
heard. We fix bayonets, but our skirmishers arc going forward 
rapidly instead of being charged upon. We are soon informed 
of the truth. At a little bayou, having thickets of young pines 
beyond it, the rebels made quite a stand. Company A raised a 
yell and charged forward, the bugles sounding the signal "double 
quick," and the rebels ran farther oil' than ever. In getting over 
the little bayou, our line is necessarily much broken. 1 wonder 



COTTON THIEVES. 63 



why the rebels keep up their foolish random firing directly in 
our front at long range, while they have so many chances to trot 
around and attack us in flank, or even in rear. At one place, as 
our old Michigan colors happen to be borne along some dis- 
tance in the road, I see nearly half a mile belbre us a group of 
mounted men taking observations, then suddenly galloping off, 
as if some bullet had whistled too near them. About the same 
time I get a glimpse of a rebel cavalier on a white steed making 
off through the woods. That is about the last heard or seen of 
the enemy for the present. The firing ceases; the coast is clear. 
We are within a mile and a half of our destination, but we 
march cautiously, keeping in line of battle in spite of fences or 
ravines, and keeping out skirmishers and patrols for fear of an 
ambush or surprise. At a distance we see white buildings. 
That is Pontchitoula. We enter the panic-stricken little town, 
our line of battle sweeping destructively through garden fences 
and door yards, terrified children running into hiding places in 
the houses, while frightened women, cheaply clad and ill-looking, 
try to beg for protection. We cannot stop to hear them, and 
do not halt until we come to the railroad, across which we form 
a line, sheltering our flanks by buildings, which afford good 
cover for riflemen, our front being partly covered by fences, the 
scantiness of the town leaving before us a good field of fire up 
the railroad. No enemy is to be seen or heard of. From the 
time we have entered the town sounds and sights at every 
house tell that the work of making the enemy feel the signifi- 
cance of our confiscation laws, has been going on. It ddw 
becomes apparent that our colonel finds the temptation more 
than he can bear. He can hardly wait to make an inquiry con- 
cerning the Zouaves, and on hearing that the enemy have until 
this morning prevented our friends from getting across a great 
marsh two miles from town, a sergeant and eight men, with a 
white flag, are sent down the railroad in search of them. And 
now it seems as if the main intention is to secure the plunder 
before the Zouaves get here. I see what an opportunity is given 
to the enemy. One well-handled company of horsemen might 



64 AMONG TEE 



take advantage of our confusion, excitement and plundering, 
and rout us. I endeavor to place men of Company G at the 
windows of a large tavern building, where our right rests, so as 
to make this building a sort of fortification, but an order comes 
from my colonel for this regiment to go out as pickets. Nearly 
half the regiment are sent as pickets to the open woods 
surrounding the unprotected town. Captain Chapman and 
Lieutenant Lawler, of Company B, Sixth Michigan, and the two 
companies of eastern men, are sent up the railroad to find and 
burn the first large bridge, and now the work in Pontchitoula 
goes bravely on. 

All appearance of a line of battle is gone. I can hardly keep 
enough arms stacked to indicate the rallying places of compa- 
nies. My last effort to keep a few men together is a distribution 
of a large quantity of excellent tobacco, but while this is going 
on a demijohn of Louisiana rum is brought. The demijohn is 
smashed, but as our commander has abandoned himself to plun- 
dering with patriotism equal to that of the worst soldier, every 
man follows suit. There is the large wooden depot, with its 
offices. The sounds of axes resounds within, and blue-coated 
soldiers are seen coming out with bundles and boxes. There 
are two country stores in the village. Our colonel is just 
coming out of one store, where he has set some of his attend- 
ants at work. He appears not to have found what he thought 
good enough for him. He has a wild and uncommonly thievish 
expression of face as he hastens toward the remaining store, 
followed by several of his favorites. The store door is fastened 
strongly. He makes a furious kick, throwing the weight of his 
corpulence against the door. It does not yield. A beam is 
brought in haste, and the colonel and his lackeys break in 
together. They greedily search for such things they think most 
valuable. Then the crowd is let in. No man confiscates the 
rebel liquors faster than our commander. It is told openly that 
a purse of a hundred dollars in gold has been found in a private 
house. Soon the few women and children that remain in the 
town are seen running in confusion, or imploring protection, 



COTTON THIEVES, 65 



while at windows and doors soldiers are seen, offering no vio- 
lence to any one, but searching for plunder and questioning 
negroes, who willingly submit to be compelled to act as guides. 
The post-office is now sacked. Letters and torn envelopes of 
miserable rebel paper, and newspapers from all parts of the 
confederacy, are scattered along the streets. Just as the red- 
legged Zouaves arrive, marching in order worthy of their 
character for discipline, some enterprising patriots are breaking 
into a well-furnished Masonic lodge. The contagion of plunder- 
ing a town is rather too much for discipline, and the Zouaves 
suddenly begin to show their New York education. Silver 
squares, compasses, suns, stars, crescents, and other Masonic 
emblems, that would value most at a New York pawnbroker's, 
fall to our disciplined friends in what our men seem to think 
unfair proportions. One of their most severe sergeants has 
secured the tyler's sword, which he puts on in place of his own. 

Pontchitoula is a little village of neatness and thriftiness 
uncommon in the South. There are very few slaveholders in 
all the country known as the piney woods. There are no fields 
in sight. The forest of evergreens closely surrounds the gar- 
dens of the village, which presents almost the same appearance 
as a frontier town in Northern Michigan. Most of the people 
have shut up their houses and fled on our approach, thereby 
rendering certain the fate which they might have changed for 
the better by remaining at home. Long may it be before any 
town in Michigan is visited as this place is to-day. Blue-coated 
soldiers are running here and there, far and near, singly and by 
dozens, some with their arms and some without, bringing all 
sorts of bundles, and eagerly dividing the spoil. The Zouaves, 
in their Turkish costume, are every way worthy of being thought 
true Turks. 

There came with us on the iron-clad two distinguished and 
mysterious functionaries, one Captain Pierce, an A. Q. M., 
recently promoted, to reward him for bad eminence among the 
Gulf Department quartermasters. The other is a brother of 
our Chief Commissary, McCoy, in New Orleans. These men are 
9 



66 AMONG THE 



our real commanders and owners, and, like our nominal com- 
mander, they have seemed transfigured by the evil spirits that 
possess them, and have appeared more like devils of theft and 
pillage than like mortal men. One of them has not allowed 
himself to leave the iron-clad, where he remains to act as 
receiver of the spoil. The other is present with us, and mani- 
fests himself now here, now there, everywhere the master spirit, 
like Homer's God of War in the midst of a slaughter. Greedily 
he drives his faithful blacks to seize, to bag and to pack up 
whatever his quick eye selects. Others, even our military chief, 
give up whatever the A. Q. M. chooses to take from them. 
Any disappointment is drowned by making sure of more drinks. 

If the enemy have left behind them in the woods a hundred 
men to watch, they can make sure of a rout and a capture by 
any kind of an attack on us. Soon the truth appears that the 
poor town has not much that is valuable in it, even including 
the goods which New Orleans courtiers have received ten prices 
for in the contraband trade across the lakes. And further, it 
appears to be awfully true that there is no cotton in Poutchi- 
toula after all, and the faces of our chiefs are saddened. In 
obedience to preconcerted orders from our colonel and our A. 
Q. M., parties of men have been sent out recklessly into the 
country to get teams at all hazards, for the purpose of getting 
our plunder back to our vessels waiting at Wadesborough. the 
damaged condition of the track, and the want of cars, prevent- 
ing any other way of accomplishing the purpose for which we 
came. 

Teams begin to appear and receive their loads. From press- 
ing inquiries that I hear from our A..Q. M., I understand that 
he has an affection for resin and turpentine equal to his heart's 
desire for cotton. The astonishing prices which resin and tur- 
pentine bear lately are such as to promise more gain than 
cotton itself would afford at a dollar a pound. Guards are now 
established, and some attempt made to get the men together. 
I am glad to see that our men appreciate the danger that they 
have been in, and that the companies reassemble and make tires 



COTTON THIEVES. 67 



to cook. In the hotel the table is spread with the best that the 
people had, for their own officers, but the vacant chairs are now 
to be filled by the officers of their plunderers, and fried eggs, 
corn bread and milk, never tasted better to half-famished men. 
I am glad to get something to strengthen me, expecting that 
something may happen to require my strength. My expecta- 
tions seem realized. I have not risen from the table when 
Colonel T. S. Clark comes to me and tells me that Captain 
Chapman has found the enemy at the railroad bridge, and has 
sent for reinforcements, and that I am to take four companies of 
our regiment and go as quickly as I can to reinforce him. 

I am soon leading my detachment along the railroad out of 
the town. I send a good number of flankers among the pines 
on either side. We have a hand-car, carrying a large tin can of 
turpentine, for bridge burning, and a quarter of some villager's 
cow, with other provisions, for the men at the bridge, from 
whom we begin to hear the sound of irregular firing. We are 
nearly two miles from the town, and see at a distance, upon the 
track, some kind of barricade, by which there is seen the smoke 
of firing. There, we suppose, must be our friends firing at ene- 
mies beyond them. A bullet whistles over our heads, and 
another strikes the bark of the tree beside us. These are sup- 
posed to be spent balls from a distant enemy, but now half a 
dozen bullets whistle closely about the men on the hand-car, 
a little before us, and go singing along by the ears of the whole 
detachment, marching by the flank. Such a raking fire must be 
avoided. We in haste get off the track, and march along under 
cover of the thick pine trees on either side. 

Our flankers have, in their eagerness to get a shot at the 
rebels, got so far ahead of us, that in returning the fire of the 
enemy my men are likely to send some shots among their 
friends, and the effect of the Louisiana rum, which has been 
freely used, may be such as to give another fine example of 
federal soldiers getting into a skirmish among themselves. 
With difficulty I get my flankers back, while we wait for them 
under cover, the firing now being brisk. Captain Chapman has 



68 AMONG TEE 



communicated with me, and I march my detachment to his, 
who are lying" covered by a rise of ground and by woods, about 
two hundred yards from the bridge, and on the side of the 
thickly-timbered bayou bottom, which the railroad crosses by 
means of a long embankment and a bridge one hundred yards 
long, supported by bents of beavy timber, about twelve feet 
high, beyond which is the rebel barricade, made by piling ties. 
1 speedily ascertain that we can cross the bayou and turn the 
enemy's position. Two companies are sent across, and, accord- 
ing to their orders, deploy as skirmishers, resting one flank on 
tbe bayou, and swinging around so as to open a flank fire on all 
rebels along the line of the railroad. The rest of us follow 
promptly in close order, and by means of fallen trees cross the 
little bayou. We form. Already our skirmishers are rapidly 
pushing forward, so as to reach far around the enemy's barricade. 
We suddenly hear a yell raised by men making a charge some- 
where up the bayou, on the other side of the railroad, where a 
company of the Fourteenth Maine had advanced to try that 
flank of the enemy before I arrived. Have they been surprised 
by concealed foes rising from ambush among the pines, perhaps 
in sufficient force to cut off our retreat while we are trying to 
flank them ? But the yells cease, and the firing is no more 
heard. We advance toward the barricade, and looking up from 
among the thick timber to the top of the embankment, where 
the log breastwork is, we can see no enemy. They have fled. 
I send back to the town some wounded. Captain Spit/.er, of 
Company C, in our regiment, with fire and axes commences the 
destruction of the bridge. I hastily place two long lines of 
skirmishers so that their flanks rest on the bayou on either side 
of the bridge, at distances of about a quarter of a mile, and meet 
at a point on the railroad about that distance forward in the 
direction the enemy have taken, and the rest of my command 
employ their utmost energies to destroy the bridge. 

Dry ties are brought, and a great fire is kindled on the track 
and its supporting timbers at each end of the bridge, where it 
Leaves the embankment. Another fire is started on the middle 



COTTON THIEVE8. 69 



part of the bridge, but there is not wood enough to keep it 
burning. About a dozen axes which we have brought are kept 
at work by reliefs to cut off the heavy timbers of the bridge 
bents, near their base. Bent after bent falls, and the timber 
being dry cypress, the assistance of our fires soon enable us, 
by the aid of levers, to bring down long stringers to which 
the iron rails are spiked ; but the work is more than we sup- 
posed it could be, and although no enemy disturbs us, the night 
is far advanced before we have made the gaps in the bridge 
many yards wide. Negroes coming to us bring information 
that the enemy, not outnumbering our own detachment, have 
retreated about three miles, to what is called the shoe factory, 
an establishment of no small importance, which furnishes for the 
confederate army shoes and cavalry equipments, and are there 
protecting what is more important to them than the bridge we 
are destroying. I send back to our head-quarters for permission 
to move on and burn the shoe factory. Never were men in 
better spirits for an attack. The officers of the Fourteenth 
Maine company, Captain Trask and Lieutenant Wooster, give 
me the particulars of their charge when the yell was raised 
and the enemy fled. They had come to a wagon road crossing 
the bayou by a plank bridge, just beyond which, on a bank, the 
rebels had made a rail breastwork, crossing the wagon road in 
the same manner as the principal barricade crossed the railroad 
about two hundred yards distant. The firing had been brisk 
by the advanced skirmishers of the Maine company, when the 
reserve of about twenty men advanced, and their commander 
crying, " Battalion— forward, double quick!" they rushed ahead 
with all the yells they could raise, and the rebels departed in 
such haste that an officer's sword and some other arms and 
knapsacks were left for their deceivers. 

A message is brought to me forbidding any advance. Our 
fires, for which there is plenty of the best of fuel, flame and 
sparkle, illuminating the pine woods not only by the bridge, 
but for some distance back along the track, where the men are 
cooking fresh beef, pork and poultry, and making their black 



70 AMONG THE 



coffee, which, with the broken hard bread brought with us, 
makes a supper which cannot be equaled by any rich man's 
banquet, and is spiced by the continual expectation of an attack, 
for which our pickets are watching in various directions, our 
skirmishers being withdrawn to the safe side of the bayou. I 
have had nearly every post of the standing part of the bridge 
cut off near the base, and although the fastenings above prevent 
them from falling, I am satisfied that the enemy will not ridicule 
our imperfect work. My men are worn out, so that I can hardly 
keep a pair of axes at work. "When I sink down to rest, after 
visiting my pickets, I hear some soldier more patriotic than the 
rest still at work to finish cutting off the last post of the bridge. 

March 25, 1863. — The fires that have illuminated the pine 
woods during the night, and cooked our breakfast in the morn- 
ing, are smoldering. The sun has begun to dispel the mist. I 
stand leaning on the strong barricade of ties that we have built 
across the track, and look over the ruined bridge to where the 
enemy's barricade was thrown down, and we now have a picket 
of three men. Suddenly two rifles are fired somewhere beyond 
our pickets. I might retain my supposition that some con- 
federate pig or cow had been the object fired upon, were it not 
that two bullets in quick succession come unpleasantly near my 
head. Our drummer beats the long roll. The companies fall 
in under cover along the sides of the railroad, while our retiring 
picket and a number of men near me keep up an interchange of 
rifle shots with enemies concealed behind piles of wood beside 
the track. 

The hiss and sing of bullets, doing us no harm, is continual as 
we deploy skirmishers along our bank of the bayou, and post 
the main part of our detachment in reserve some distance back 
toward Pontchitoula. but the enemy cease firing and disappear. 
Some of our venturesome skirmishers send to me a sulky pris- 
oner, from whom they have taken a double-barreled shot gun. 

Toward noon a detachment of Zouaves come marching out to 
take our place, and our weary men slowly march back to the 
town, where my worn companies seek in a cotton-press and 



COTTON THIEVES. 71 



other buildings shelter from the sun, and seem displeased to see 
what they have lost by being away from Pontchitoula all night, 
for last night has been a night such as no Turk-costumed Zouave 
from the Five Points will be likely to forget. Here lies the 
ravished town. I pick up in the street a love-letter from a con- 
federate officer to his lady in a distant rebel city. All kinds of 
papers, books, daguerreotypes, articles of household furniture 
and female wearing apparel, are scattered here and there on the 
ground. Doors and windows are wide open, most of the people 
having fled to hiding places in the woods, or wherever they can 
find shelter. A few people, either from poverty or shrewdness, 
have remained about their homes. They seem to consider that 
the worst is past, and claim some protection now under the 
President's proclamation, on the ground of having submitted 
and laid down their arms. Captured teams have brought in 
loads of the precious resin and turpentine, for which small par- 
ties have been sent out nearly eight miles, at the risk of their 
lives, the danger appearing as little to the patriotic zeal of the 
soldiers as it does to the greedy avarice of those who sent them. 
One returning party, bringing with them mules and ponies 
enough for the men to ride, are mistaken by our pickets for the 
enemy's cavalry, and are fired upon. The long roll causes every 
soldier to spring to arms. Fortunately, the returning foragers 
do not fire ; they send a flag of truce. The mistake is dis- 
covered, and many a man feels that his life and his plunder are 
safe. 

Several portly individuals, having titles such as doctor or 
squire, have in some way managed to appear at the hotel build- 
ing where our chiefs are enjoying themselves. There is some 
kind of treaty making as to trade and commerce. Powder is 
one of the articles mentioned. Medicines and certain articles 
of clothing and of luxury are spoken of as being the surest 
things to bring cotton and turpentine out of concealment. 

I sit a few minutes in the best room of the old hotel, the 
owner and keeper of which is a widow lady, whose old, worn 
black dress and grief-marked face show the effect of sorrows 



72 AMOJSG THE 



which must have begun before the war. Two other woe-begone 
old ladies, whose looks have made it safe for them to stay in 
the town while it was sacked, have come to the hotel. There is 
something sad and yet ridiculous in seeing certain officers of 
both regiments, with faces solemnized by drink, most seriously 
assuring these old women that they are under the sacred pro- 
tection of gentlemen as chivalrous as any Southerners. A 
captain has been appointed provost-marshal, and a company 
detailed for his guard. He begins to give passes and to admin- 
ister federal oaths to inhabitants of the conquered city. I take 
a little rest under the shade of the hotel piazza, and in a chair, 
novel luxuries which I have not often enjoyed during months of 
camp life. I am seated at the widow's table, and my well 
cooked dinner is a luxury, to my taste equal to that enjoyed 
yesterday, but the thought that we are eating up everything the 
widow has in the shape of provisions is unpleasant, even though 
we are the men who have brought Pontchitoula back into the 
Union. 

Captain Joseph Bailey, a "Wisconsin lumberman, who is called 
chief engineer on General Thomas W. Sherman's staff, has 
arrived this morning. He says that he has instructions to fortify 
Pontchitoula, and has a large gang of negroes coming up the 
railroad. He says to me privately that he does not see any 
place to fortify, unless he makes a breastwork around the entire 
town, and he does not see how he can do that. I urge that 
having destroyed the bridge we ought to abandon this open and 
indefensible town, and if we fortify any where this side of North 
Manchac Pass, we ought to select a good camping place on the 
railroad, so near to the swamp that our position cannot be 
turned. 

Reports are continually brought by negroes that trains of 
cars have arrived at the shoe factory loaded with troops, and 
that rebel cavalry in strong force is on some of the main roads 
leading into the town, and it is evident that no more spoil can 
be got or is to be found. A messenger comes from our picket 
at the burned bridge informins: us that a train of ears has cer- 



COTTON THIEVES. 73 



tainly brought troops to the shoe factory. The main parts of 
both regiments are formed in line and start clown the railroad 
toward Manchac Pass. Major Charles E. Clark, with about 
three hundred men, is left to fulfill that part of General Sher- 
man's orders which requires us to hold Pontchitoula until 
further orders. The Major is to keep a strong picket at the 
burned bridge, and is to occupy the same extent of ground held 
by the whole force. He is instructed to hold the town as long 
as he can, and then retreat. 

Considering the time that the enemy has had to gather force, 
I expect to hear firing before we get out of the village, for pas- 
sengers have been coming and going, and it is fortunate if the 
rebels do not know just what we are doing. We pass the 
newly-deserted camps of several rebel companies, and follow the 
railroad among pines growing on some of the poorest land in 
the world. We arrive at a great open, flooded marsh, covered 
with reeds and grass, except in places where the water is deep, 
and water lilies spread their broad leaves on the surface. This 
marsh is eight or ten miles long, and from one mile to three 
miles wide. It divides the pine woods from the cypress swamp. 
There appears to be no mire sufficient to have made it difficult 
for those who made the road to keep the track above water 
easily by means of a slight foundation of sand. Along this 
narrow road we are kept marching, and are ordered to halt alter 
we have entered the swamp, where the narrow embankment, 
with the black water on either side, is the only ground to camp 
upon. Our fires are soon smoking along the road for nearly 
two miles. Good things, brought from Pontchitoula, make our 
supper, and we lie down to rest at night on the hardest beds that 
men could have; but we rest well, for we do not have to watch 
for the enemy. Green boughs and ties, with pieces of plank, 
are the sides and shelter tents, and rubber blankets are the roofs 
of our long row of huts. Fuel is abundant, and fires light up 
the black recesses of the swamp, in which we feel at home again. 

March 26, 1863.— In the morning, after the swamp mists and 
vapors have cleared away, and our joints lose the stitthess 
10 



74 A&01TQ THE 



caused by the kind of resting place we have had, our camp pre- 
sents many sights worthy of remembrance. Groups of men are 
enjoying their spoil and trophies. Here are half a dozen fine 
fellows cooking poultry; they have several cans of preserves and 
bottles of wine. Various articles of female wearing apparel, 
which they have in some way contrived to use for their bedding 
and sometimes in their dress, appear stranger than the captured 
articles of men's wear, and the quilts and fine coverlets with 
which they have carpeted the low, muddy embankment. 

A group of Zouaves and Michigan men, in about equal num- 
bers, conspicuous among whom is the disciplinarian sergeant, 
with the tyler's sword from the Masonic lodge, are deeply inter- 
ested in something they have — an assortment of silver and 
gilded emblems and ornaments, which must have belonged part 
to Free Masons and part to Odd Fellows, and are now more 
freely mingled than would be pleasing to those skilled in the 
mysteries of either fraternity. Even w r ooden implements and 
all kinds of paraphernalia are produced. One villainous fellow, 
who wears a glossy beaver hat in place of his Zouave skull-cap, 
suggests that there will be no trouble in starting a lodge, which 
will excel Odd Fellows and Free Masons both. There are 
brethren of both orders present, but they seem to feel that rebel 
lodges have no more sanctity than rebel hen-coops and pig- 
sties. 

There is no danger of straggling to-day, for Jthe railroad has 
the only ground a man can stand upon, and a picket each way 
prevents men from leaving without permission. I am not a 
little surprised to hear that our detachment in Pontchitoula have 
not been disturbed, and thinking that I can find better camping 
ground among the last pine ti'ees on the opposite side of the 
marsh, I take with me the prompt and energetic Sergeant Fox, 
of Company C, in our regiment, and go across the marsh to 
make explorations. We first come to the point of pine woods, 
where about a dozen rebel sharp-shooters, having climbed 
up among the green boughs, by their well-aimed fire kept 
our Zouave friends at bay, while the rest of the rebel force, 



COTTON THIEVES. 75 



being about four mounted companies, were engaged in the 
foolish performances in our front when we took the town. 
I turn from the railroad and follow an old wagon road far 
enough to find that it furnished the rebel sharp-shooters an 
easy and safe retreat to the east of the town. Here are the 
recent tracks of horsemen, and in the road a good rubber coat 
is picked up by my sergeant. I return to the railroad near 
to the marsh, and find a place well adapted for camping and for 
defense. Here is a small piece of pine woods, almost like an 
island, being cut off from the rest of the dry ground by a swale 
difficult to cross, and having beyond it a small open field, on 
either side of the railway. In one of these fields is an old board 
house, where I find what seems to be a piece of large and strong 
stove-pipe, about eight feet long, having originally come from 
steam works somewhere, and having been used for a chimney 
here. The idea strikes me that it would make an excellent 
quaker cannon, and I assist in carrying it down the track to the 
place I have selected for a camp, and return to our main body 
to make report, but I find no favor at head-quarters. I see that 
the faces of my real and nominal commanders are unusually 
solemn. The reported wealth of Pontchitoula in cotton and 
turpentine has not been found in paying quantities. The sol- 
diers have secured many fancy things, but the schooners, barges 
and steamers that have been waiting in peril at Wadesborough, 
will never get their intended cargoes. All that we are waiting 
for is an order to retreat, or for the enemy to retake the town, 
while we are beyond the reach of danger, and too far from the 
town to help our frieiids there, and they are scattered on the 
bridge and out on the roads, so as to be unable to help each 
other, unless the enemy pleases to let them do so. It is about 
seven miles from the end of our camp down the railroad back 
to the ruined bridge. 

In the afternoon an opportunity to ride back to the town on 
a hand-car tempts me to revisit Pontchitoula, where I have 
hardly arrived when I see a number of officers and men standing 
by the depot and looking up the railroad, where they say there 



76 AMONG THE 



is some tiring. Our surgeon, who lias just provided pleasant 
quarters for himself and the sick, looks at me as I approach, and 
says that this will not turn out to be anything serious, but we 
begin to see men clad in blue retreating rapidly toward us. 
The firing increases, and extends a much longer distance to 
righl and left than our men can cover. The long roll is beaten 
promptly, first by the Zouave drummer and then by one ot our 
own. The companies form promptly. A small semi-circular 
barricade has been built in the street. Here one Zouave com- 
pany takes position, ready to fire up the track. I have the 
surgeon hurry to place some sick men and medical stores on the 
haud-car, and have them start down the track. Mounted men 
hasten to bring in the pickets. They have heard the alarm, and 
are soon present in good order. The firing is along the edge of 
the pine timber, just outside the town. An officer fresh from 
the skirmish reports to me that the enemy are in large force. I 
order Company K, Sixth Michigan, forward to reinforce our 
friends, who are hard pressed, and as I follow them just outside 
of the buildings, and assist in deploying the reinforcement so as 
to make the enemy display his force, I find my object accom- 
plished, for rebel skirmishers, outnumbering and outllanking us, 
are fast hemming us in, and their bullets hiss close about our 
ears at short range. It is evident that we Mill not need to wait 
for further orders before Ave give up the useless and empty 
town, and find for ourselves some position more like our regi- 
mental head-quarters on the safe side of the marsh. The enemy 
can easily send infantry or cavalry to cut olf our only retreat, 
and it is a wonder that he has not done so instead of making 
this attack on our extreme front, unless this is a feint to draw 
our attention from the real danger. 

There is no necessity of ordering a retreat; the enemy are 
driving our skirmishers back. To right and left and in iront I 
see rebel riflemen run forward from hiding place to hiding 
place, to get nearer shots at us. One fellow, with a puff of 
smoke from behind the corner of a building, sends a bullet 
whistling very near my head. I look at the Zouaves lying 



COTTON THIEVES. 77 



behind their little half-moon shaped barricade in the open 
street. If the enemy get on either side of them, or behind 
them, there will be lives sacrificed for nothing. I have them 
retreat, halt, and form line along the edge of the pine bushes, 
on each side of the railroad, behind the town. Companies 
E and A, of the Sixth, each deploy a platoon on the flanks 
of skirmishers now engaged. The enemy displays more force, 
and the firing increases greatly. It is reported to me that 
a strong body of rebels have been seen moving around our left, 
to get behind us. Our Zouave reserve move slowly down the 
track, while our skirmishers are again compelled to yield ground. 
Our Quartermaster, Lieutenant Clement L. Stone, comes out of 
the railroad depot building, near which I am standing. He 
says, " There is a good deal of stuff here which I cannot get off. 
Shall I set the old thing on fire ?" " Yes," is my answer. He 
disappears within the building for a moment, and hastily comes 
out, followed by a gush of black smoke from doors and win- 
dows. There go the resin and turpentine, to get which the 
zeal and patriotism of our men have been basely used. I notice 
women and little children running from houses to the woods, to 
get out of the way of the bullets coming from their friends, to 
whom we abandon the town. The burning depot sends up a 
great cloud of turpentine smoke, and the flames having sud- 
denly enveloped the whole building, wave and dance high in 
the air. Some patriot set fire to the hotel as we left the town, 
but the building does not burn. It appears that the enemy are 
making a stop in the town to put out the fire, or to see what 
other mischief we have done. A considerable part of the 
Michigan detachment, and all of the Zouaves, march along the 
railroad. I keep out a line of skirmishers toward the enemy, 
just sufficient to prevent an attempt to get on our flanks. I am 
glad when we pass the principal wagon road crossing the track, 
about a mile from the town, for there has been nothing to pre- 
vent the enemy from getting cavalry, infantry or artillery behind 
us by this road. I send Lieutenant Stone, with a dozen Zouaves 
and six of our own men, to hurry ahead to the last hard ground 



78 AMONG THE 



this side of the marsh, build a barricade with ties, and send a 
patrol out on the old road which I reconnoitered in the morning. 
Firing begins again on the right extremity of our skirmish line. 
It is apparent that the enemy, exasperated by what has been 
done in the town, and fully informed of our weakness, are 
making a bold push to bring us to a halt before we can reach a 
place where either flank can be safe. A considerable force ot 
the enemy are following us on the track. I have a few ties 
piled up to make some shelter, and wait for a chance to deliver 
a fire that can do some good, but the rebels clear the track, and 
their bullets coming from hiding places on both sides of us, 
show us that we can gam nothing by waiting here, and again we 
retreat, deploying a reinforcement of skirmishers, whose fire 
keeps the enemy from following too closely, until we reach the 
place where the railroad passes through the miry swale which 
separates us from the sort of island, at the further side of which, 
about a quarter of a mile distant, our friends are building the 
barricade with ties from one of the piles to be found in many 
places along the track. I send all of the Zouaves to complete 
the barricade and get posted behind it, and posting some of my 
Michigan men behind a slight protection built across the track, 
and others in close order under cover of woods near by, I 
deploy the rest on each side of the road, so as to have the little 
open fields in their front and the swale behind them. Their fire 
soon checks the enemy in attempting to cross the field. Here 
is the ground to fight on. It will trouble the enemy to get 
around us, and we have a sort of a fortification and a reserve 
not yet engaged ready for us if compelled to yield. But the 
evil moral effect of retreating as far as we have retreated is our 
chief danger. And the enemy is doing his best to concentrate 
upon our left a heavier fire than we can bring to answer him. 
Our men there do not know the nature of the swale behind 
them, which renders their position not liable to be turned. 
They begin to retreat toward the railroad. Some of them have 
to wade through mire and water up to their necks. The retreat 
of the akirmishers on our left is soon followed by that of those 



COTTON THIEVES. 79 



on our right, who are so closely followed by the rebels that 
most of them have to make their way through the water. The 
enemy are pressing right on, and are likely to commence a 
contest for our last position, when seeing some of our best non- 
commissioned officers and men about to abandon then- place on 
the railroad where it entered the swale, I hasten to them and 
urce them to hold their place. Rebel bullets are coming 
thickly, but our men are soon firing coolly from good cover. 
The swale presents a most serious obstacle to the enemy if he 
attempts to get around us, and our deliberate fire makes him 
shrink from advancing directly upon us. We hold our position. 
In about an hour the sun will set, and the rebels will be likely 
to leave us. A man, wearing a red shirt, and having an excel- 
lent rifle, ventures near to us, and lying down beside the track, 
sends every bullet as he would at a shooting match. Whoever 
shows himself is sure to be this man's target, but we have men 
who fire so promptly and aim so well, that he has to fire too 
quick to hit. At last the sun sets, and our confederate brethren 
disappear. Not a man on our side has to-day been hit by a shot 
since we left the town. While the company at the bridge was 
being driven in, two men were wounded and one was taken 

prisoner. . 

The men of the Sixth Michigan who turned back, and by their 
courage and well-aimed fire prevented the enemy from gaming 
the passage through the swale, were Sergeant William Leime, 
of Company E, Privates H. S. Howard, J. W. Armstrong, G. 
W. Sparling, A. Doy, Levi Crondman, Ira Gray and E. Thayer. 
Colonel T. S. Clark arrived with his whole command to 
reinforce us just as we were succeeding in making our last 
stand He ordered me to commence immediately a retreat 
across the marsh. I disobeyed, and when he saw that the 
enemy were withdrawing, he called me to him and said, ■ 1 
want you to understand that when I give an order, it must be 
obeyed;" but proceeded to give me command, as officer of the 
day of all troops on the Pontchitoula side of the marsh, and 
having ordered fresh men to relieve my tired force, he marched 



80 AMOXG THE 



back to his safe head-quarters, and I set about making prepara- 
tions for night and morning. The large sheet-iron pipe which 
I found in the morning is now mounted so as to point through 
an embrasure in our barricade. A piece of blackened paper, 
with a round opening in the middle, is tied over one end of the 
pipe, and a stake is stuck up by the breach to represent a 
rammer. The spy-glasses of the confederates will be sure to 
find in the morning something very closely resembling an eight- 
inch howitzer pointed at them. I post sentinels where they 
can see and hear anybody attempting to approach our flanks. 
A bright fire is kindled on the railroad, and Sergeant Leinie, 
wishing to find out whether the enemy have any considerable 
force encamped in front, catches an old horse straying near by, 
and having fastened about twenty yards of wire belonging to 
the demolished telegraph to the horse's tail, turns the frightened 
animal loose on the road to Pontchitoula. The horse goes off 
at the top of his speed, and runs up the road with a clattering 
noise like that of a cavalryman's sabre, but he is halted by no 
rebel picket as long as he can be heard. The enemy have 
cautiously withdrawn to some strong position. A piece of hard 
bread and a tin cup of hot coffee make my supper, and I lie 
down on the uneven side of the railroad embankment, that 
being the dryest ground, and half asleep, half watching and 
planning, I wait for morning. 

March 27, 1863. — With the earliest dawn I am up. Taking a 
few men without arousing the rest, I go, in company with 
Lieutenant O. Hare, of Company Gl, along the old road explored 
in the morning. Just before coming where this road crosses 
the swale, I place my men in ambush. If the enemy come at 
all, this will be the way they will choose. A trusty sergeant is 
put in command, with instructions when to fire and how to 
retreat, so as to mislead the enemy, and not be in the way <>i' 
our fire. I am returning with the Lieutenant to our well- 
manned picket line, and while walking carelessly within ten 
rods of the line, my attention being directed to some features 
of the ground in relation to the expected attack, I am suddenly 



COTTON THIEVES. 81 



fired upon once and twice, the bullets coming with a hot hiss, 
telling how near are the rifies from which they came, and strike 
pine trees near me. I spring behind a tree for shelter. Another 
shot, coming obliquely, gives me a narrow escape. Lieutenant 
Hare, with an oath, calls out, "What are you about there, Har- 
ris ?" In a moment I hear the well known voice of Lieutenant 
Harris, of Company G, ordering his men to eease firing. He 
comes forward and explains that he had mistaken us for rebels ; 
that he had no idea of seeing us outside of the pickets at that 
hour; and although no rebel bullets ever put me in any such 
danger as that just passed, I can blame no one, for we went out 
at another part of the line, and the fog among the thick pines 
obscures everything. 

No enemy disturbs us. The morning wears away. I am 
relieved by Lieutenant-Colonel Carr, of the Zouaves, and go 
back to my Colonel's head-quarters, to rest. I find what has 
caused the sounds of hammering and clanking which I have 
heard during the night. Captain Bailey, of Sherman's staff, has 
been at work with his gang of negroes. He has taken up many 
of the rails along the track across the marsh, so that the rebels 
cannot run their trains of cars into head-quarters, and as an 
additional protection for our camp, he has built across the track, 
where leaving the open marsh it enters the timbered swamp, a 
tie barricade, ten feet high, against which he has leaned up iron 
rails, so as to present to the expected cannon shots a slanting 
front, like the upper part of the sides of the Merrimac. A con- 
siderable number declare that they do not believe that there 
was any need of leaving the fine quarters and exj)ected pleasures 
in Pontchitoula, and a plan for fortifying and holding the town 
is talked of. The most zealous of this party obtain permission 
to go as near to the village as they dare, and reconnoitre. They 
soon return with accounts of lucky dodges to avoid bullets, and 
of a speedy retreat. 

During the remaining days of March, 1863, we continued at 
this camp. The faces of our chiefs grew more solemn every 
hour. Here was a poor place for pleasure or plunder; nowhere 

11 



82 AMONG THE 



to go except up or down the railroad. Our good living ceased; 
we were reduced to common rations. The voices of frogs and 
the deep bellow of alligators were sounds which soon became 
monotonously doleful. 

A flag of truce was reported to be in front of our most 
advanced picket toward the town. Colonel Clark immediately- 
sent forward two young men to play staff officers for him, and 
see what was wanted by the bearers of the flag. For some 
time papers were sent back and forth. I was inlormed by my 
commander that the communications related entirely to cotton 
affairs, and contained a proposition from the rebel head-quarters 
in Mississippi to our head-quarters in New Orleans, offering to 
sell fairly all the cotton which the federal authorities would 
allow to pass the blockade. I saw that there was no result 
which kindled hope in my Colonel's face. He said he returned 
an answer to the rebels that he had forwarded their communica- 
tions to New Orleans. Several citizens escaping from rebeldom 
entered our lines, and with them came a precocious little boy 
about twelve years old, who had just come from the rebel camp. 
He seemed to have a memory wonderfully adapted to retain 
just what he had seen of military preparations. We were able 
to ascertain that the long time we had spent about Pontchitoula 
had not been unimproved by the enemy. They had gathered a 
force greatly outnumbering ours. They had artillery and 
cavalry, and a large band of Indians for swamp fighting. 
Nothing but gross mismanagement by the enemy, in attacking 
our pickets farthest advanced, instead of getting behind us, had 
saved from certain capture all of us who were in the town on 
tin' day we left it. At our head-quarters, behind Captain 
Bailey's barricade, where a light rifled cannon was mounted, it 
gradually became established as proven that rebel shells coming 
down with a curve would tall right among us, notwithstanding 
the iron-clad barricade at one end of our long encampment ; and 
that the Indians could get through the swamp and might at any 
moment be aiming a rifle at the bowels of the best of us ; and 
also that there was no way rations in sufficient quantity could 



COTTON THIEVES. 83 



be got up the railroad from Manchac Pass, without making too 
much hard work. 

The result of deliberations was a change of base. On the 
evening of the 28th March, orders were given to our picket at 
the Quaker gun, on the Pontchitoula side of the marsh, that at 
11 o'clock in the evening they should quietly abandon their 
position and retreat down the track till they found our new 
camp at Owl Bayou, where we all arrived at about 2 o'clock 
in the morning. A terrific thunder storm, which had long been 
threatening us, let loose its gusts and floods upon our half- 
stretched shelter-tents, and flashed its lightnings in our eyes. 
We were all as drenched as our oil-cloths would permit. 
At this camp we remained during the last days of the month. 
A new iron-clad barricade was built, stronger than the first. 
The rifled cannon was mounted pointing up the railroad, but 
this barricade was located, not behind the deep and wide bayou 
which crossed the track, but about one hundred yards in front 
of it, so that if the enemy's sharp-shooters ever got into the 
swamp, they could easily come on the flanks, and pick oft" any 
man behind the iron-clad fortification. The bayou is named 
after the hideous night birds, that hoot even in the day along its 
obscure, cypress-lined course. Its waters, of a reddish color, 
are thickened by particles of decayed vegetation, and cause a 
sickening sensation when tasted. The resemblance of this 
water to commissary whisky was noticed by the soldiers. 

Colonel T. S. Clark took up his head-quarters on the gunboat 
Barataria, which lay in the Pass, two miles from our camp, and 
seemed delighted with the good bed, provisions and liquors at 
his service. On the afternoon of the 31st I was surprised to 
see Colonel Smith, of the Zouaves, accompanied by two of his 
best looking officers, all dressed as they would be for a city 
parade, going toward our picket farthest from the barricade. 
I ascertained that he had gathered together all the relics of the 
Free Masons and Odd Fellows that he could find, and was 
going back to Pontchitoula with a flag of truce to return them 
to their owners. About an hour afterward I saw the Colonel 



84 AMONG THE 



coming back, his face showing no little emotion. " What is the 
news, Colonel ?" " \\ r e found them a little ways in front of our 
pickets. They are advancing. Colonel Miller was there, and 
another colonel. They would hardly treat me civilly; they are 
terribly enraged against us." As I looked far up the railroad to 
a turn it made, I saw the gleam of the sun on bayonets, and in 
a little while the enemy were plainly to be seen marching down 
toward us. The long roll, and a prompt preparation for attack, 
followed. The gunners have everything about the cannon in 
readiness. I gave my skirmish companies instructions how to 
get on the enemy's flanks, and prevent him from getting on 
ours. The rebels halted, and remained at a halt until night. 
Then they kindled bright fires, and after a while it appeared 
that they were at work taking up the iron rails and bending 
them across logs, after heating them red hot in the fire. Not 
a shot was fired. 

I sent a message to my Colonel, at his gunboat head-quarters, 
requesting permission to take fifty picked men and make a night 
attack on the rebels. After some time I received this written 
answer : 

Head quarters U. S. Forces, ) 
Pass Maxchac, March 31, 1803. \ 

Colonel — The Colonel commanding is unwilling to allow you 
to make any attempt on the enemy to-night. It is his intention 
to shell their position at daylight to-morrow morning, and if he 
does not succeed in dislodging them by that means, you will 
have an opportunity to try your sharp-shooters to-niorrow 

night. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

WM. II. DICKEY, 

Lieut, and A. A. A. G. 
To Lieut. -Col. Bacon, commanding Sixth Michigan Volunteers. 

In the morning the enemy were gone. They had been tear- 
ing up the track to prevent us from following them, just as we 
had been doing to prevent them from following us. 



COTTON THIEVES. 85 



The result was another change of base, which this time took us 
back to our old place of embarkation on the south side of South 
Manchac Pass, where we were to be kept a long time. The 
escape of our vessels from Wadesborough was evidence of the 
grossest neglect on the part of the enemy, who, during two 
days, had every chance to obstruct the stream by felling trees, 
and the weak guard left with the vessels could have done 
nothing to prevent an easy capture. Two steamers, four 
schooners, one barge, and a dozen row boats might have easily 
been captured or destroyed by a few companies of the iorce 
that recaptured the vacant town of Pontchitoula, with about the 
same superiority of numbers which we had when we drove 
their cavalry companies out of the place. The numbers 
employed on our side were as follows : Of the Sixth Michigan, 
400 ; of the Fourteenth Maine, 40 ; of the Twenty fourth Maine, 
20 ; of the One Hundred and Seventy-seventh New York, 100 ; 
of the One Hundred and Sixty-fifth New York Zouaves, 306 ; 
and of the Ninth Connecticut, 26, who remained in charge of 
the two guns. The force we encountered on entering Pontchi- 
toula was about four companies of irregular cavalry, acting as 
coast guards, but after two days of delay the enemy, by use of 
his railroad communications, collected a large force, which, if 
used as it might have been, would have made our cotton and 
turpentine expedition cost the lives of many good men. 

The principal object of attention at our final landing j)lace 
was the schooner which we had heard that the Zouaves captured 
at Owl Bayou, as they first advanced up the railroad toward 
Pontchitoula. This schooner was there receiving a load of cot- 
ton, which high contracting parties had agreed might go to New 
Orleans. No resistance or attempt to escape was made by 
those in charge of the schooner, but a Zouave bullet killed the 
captain as soon as he showed himself to the advanced guard, 
and now here the schooner lay at anchor, so near to the burned 
piles of the railroad bridge that it was continually bumping 
against them, and at last filled with water. Strong details of 
our best men were made to get the cotton out of the hold and 



86 AMONG THE 



put it on other vessels, which carried it to the city. The poor 
results of our Pontchitoula exjsedition had caused a quarrel 
among those who were to divide the booty. Authorities near 
to city head-quarters were determined to take the whole 
schooner load of cotton, on the principle of right to the lion's 
share. This determination was so distasteful to our chiefs that 
they anchored the schooner where it would bump till it sunk, 
and then undertook to claim a large part of the cotton on the 
principle of salvage, supposing that the law would be on their 
side, but they soon learned that, law or no law, the lion must 
have his share, and asses must be content with the honor of 
obedience. 

It is the morning of April 12th, 1863. The sun, rising from 
behind Lake Pontchartrain, begins to give an unhealthy sultri- 
ness to the air. The fires of our encampment at South Manchac 
Pass are smoldering along the railroad embankment. The 
aversion of the men to eating salt beef and pork is shown by 
the good appetite with which several groups are feasting on the 
white meat of alligators' tails, roasted. A veteran volunteer of 
the Sixth Michigan, whose features have been weather-beaten 
by the blasts of Hatteras and the storms of Ship Island, stands 
beside a sickly recruit on the shelving shore, made by earth 
washed from the embankment Avhere the Pass opens into Lake 
Maurepas. They are filling their canteens with water, which 
the veteran tastes and says, " The water will taste more and 
more of salt until the wind stops blowing from the east." " I 
don't care," answers the recruit, " I am going to drink all I 
want of it. I'll not go without water, as I did yesterday, for 
any doctor, but somehow it seems to me as if that alligator gar- 
lic i that we ate for breakfast had poisoned me. I "wonder what 
kind of living Colonel Clark has at head-quarters on board the 
gunboat," and he points to the curious little iron-clad Barataria, 
which is anchors! at a short distance. The veteran answers, "I 
assure you he is not in want. The old Savary arrived yesterday 
with any quantity of canned things and Liquors. It would not 
be strange if they get aground again as they did last week, 



COTTON THIEVES. 87 



when for two days they had the turpentine all ready to burn up 
their gunboat. Nothing but the high tide got them off. I 
believe that if one rebel had come out and shot at them, they 
would have burned up the Barataria." The recruit continues, 
" I can't speak the name of that gunboat ; the boys call it ' Bull 
Terrier.' I was detailed for some kind of guard duty on board 
that craft yesterday. The officers had to drink very often. I 
should think that navy Lieutenant was aboxit as much of a tee- 
totaler as our Colonel is. They seemed to agree very well. 
They kept me loading muskets for them to shoot at alligators 
all the way down to the lighthouse and back again. I thought 
the boat run as if the men that managed it were about half 
tight. They bumped first against one shore and then against 
another, and all yelled whenever the Colonel or the Lieutenant 
happened to hit an alligator." The veteran says, " I expect that 
there are a good many gunboats doing just about such service 
as that. Well, the Bull Terrier is getting up steam now. 
When General Sherman was here day before yesterday, he 
ordered that gunboat captain to explore all the rivers and 
bayous around this lake. I'll bet ten to one that order was the 
death warrant of the Bull Terrier. If the rebs don't capture it 
and bring it down to shell us out, I shall be glad." 

The Barataria runs down to the bridge. Colonel Clark sends 
his orderly for two of his favorite officers and twelve of the 
best enlisted men, who soon go on board well armed and 
equipped, and the Barataria steams away, headed for the rebel 
shore of Lake Maurepas, leaving us in camp to wonder what 
daring exploit is undertaken. I am left in command of the 
post. A captain comes to me, and after seating himself beside 
me on a timber, he turns from looking at the long stream of 
black coal smoke which the disappearing gunboat leaves 
behind, and says, " I wonder how long we have got to stay 
here?" I point to Captain Bailey's gang of negroes, all hard at 
work with wheel-barrows, hand-barrows and pounders, making 
a sort of parapet of earth taken from the embankment of the 
railroad, and piled up around a little eight-cornered log pen, 



AMOXG TEE 



about thirty yards wide, and I tell him, " You see what is to be 
done. It has been discovered that this cursed place commands 
New Orleans. They are afraid that the rebels will pontoon the 
Pass unless this fort is built, armed and garrisoned, to command 
this bridge. 

The Captain proceeds, " I have heard that they are going to 
make railroad bridges here. They say that the contract is 
made, and that all sorts of workmen are coming here just as 
soon as our fort is sufficient to protect them. I do not know 
whether the price of the job is to stop in the hundreds of thou- 
sands, or go into the millions. I suppose that because old Ben 
Butler burned these bridges, there is reason enough why they 
should be rebuilt at any expense. Our New Orleans nobility 
were dreadfully afraid that Stonewall Jackson was building 
some kind of bridges across these passes, and now it appears 
that they are going to use up what there is left of us in rebuild- 
ing these bridges as good as they ever were. Probably we 
shall lay our bones here. Probably the job will be a great one 
for stealings, and we are to rot here to make some of those 
Boston Yankees rich." I answer the* Captain that " it is the 
plan of our commanders to rebuild these bridges, and put the 
railroad in good order to the other side of the passes, for the 
ostensible purpose of getting a new base from which to attack 
the Confederacy, and that the nose of the ox treading out corn 
is not to be muzzled. I suppose it is right that those great 
men who have left happy homes to come and hold offices for 
their country in New Orleans, ought to have a chance to make 
something, especially as greenbacks have depreciated lately, and 
that, at all events, the regulations forbid us to speak disrespect- 
fully of head-quarters." The Captain tersely remarks, " Our 
expedition has proved a failure as to cotton and turpentine. I 
suppose that this bridge job is to get out of our government as 
much spoil as was expected to be got out of the rebel country 
by our expedition. I have heard that when the railroad com- 
pany built these bridges in the first place, they could not get 
men to work here without paying ten times common wages, 



COTTON THIEVES. 89 



and even then the men died off so rapidly that the job had to 
be abandoned several times. The negroes were too valuable to 
be used up in any such way ; poor foreigners, gathered in great 
cities, were the victims, and it appears that our regiment is in 
this department to be used in the same way that the foreigners 
were." 

The hot hours of the clay are almost gone. I have been 
looking with curiosity at the row of sharp sticks, about four feet 
long, which Bailey has stuck so as to turn up a little all around 
his mud fort, about half way up its side. These poor negroes 
are not so stupid that they cannot understand the- ridiculous 
nature of their recent labors. This fort looks very much as if it 
is to be a master-piece of the same kind of work as our iron- 
clad batteries toward Pontchitoula, built to be abandoned 
immediately. 

Night has fallen. The usual miasmas, mingled with the dark- 
ness, obscure everything. Nothing has been heard from the 
Barataria. A large dead tree, dry enough to burn, has been 
found, and is naming and sparkling fifty feet in the air, intended 
to show where the landing place is. There is a general still- 
ness, broken only by the doleful shrieks of owls occasionally 
answering one another, and by the voices and laughter of men 
at the flickering camp fires. Cannon shots have been heard in 
the direction where our gunboat was last seen. Several officers 
are out on the timbers of the burned bridge, listening and look- 
ing. A red spot of fire is seen across the lake. Gradually it 
flickers up; then flames illuminate that part of the horizon. 
Soon comes the boom of a heavy gun; then other cannon shots 
are heard. Now the discharges are in quick succession, and 
seem like those of a battery of light guns, which must be on 
the shore. Again a solitary twelve-pounder shot. A consider- 
able pause; two or three other reports, apparently from the 
light guns on shore. The flames which have been lighting up 
the sky gradually subside, and there remains what appears to 
be a lurid mass of slow burning fire. Now and then a cannon 
shot is heard. Our whole camp is aroused, and the men have 
VI 



90 AMONG THE 



crowded together where they can watch the fire. Various 
opinions are expressed by the officers on the bridge timbers. 
One says, " That fire must be on land, just about the mouth 
of the Amite river. Our folks have been burning a house. 
The rebels have come with a battery, and the gunboat has been 
shelling them." " No," says another, " I believe that the Bara- 
taria is in distress, and that a house has been set on fire and 
those guns have been fired as signals for us to come to their 
assistance." Two lieutenants take a skiff and row off" through 
the darkness to cross the lake and find out what has happened. 
Most of us expect soon to see the light of the Barataria's 
fires, and hear the sound of her machinery. There is a long 
time of suspense. The fire has burned down to just such a lurid 
spot as it was when it began, and no sound comes to us over 
the still lake. At last a light is seen toward the fire, but in a 
different place. It has the motion of a light on water. As we 
watch it, it becomes plainer, and is approaching slowly. After 
a while we can hear over the still water sounds which resemble 
those of regularly moving machinery, and the light seems bright 
enough to be the fires seen through the open forward ports 
of the gunboat. Some of us believe that the Barataria is com- 
ing, until the light is very near; then we perceive that the 
sound is of oars — we can hear their splash at every pull. It is 
the large cutter of the steamer, perhaps come for reinforce- 
ments. No; it is loaded down with men to the waters edge. 
I hear Colonel Clark's voice, and see that the light is a large 
lantern held by a man in the bow. " Where is the Bull Terrier?" 
is eagerly asked by one of the Colonel's friends, as the boat is 
slowly landing. No answer. Then, as the Colonel steps on 
shore with a sort of ejaculation indicating relief from fear, he 
exchanges a few words with his friend in a low voice, and fol- 
lowed by the two naval officers, carrying carpet bags, he goes 
directly to the fine new wall tent which Captain Bailey has had 
prepared by his negroes for his own use. It is about midnight. 
Candles are burning on the board table. As soon as the light 
strikes the laces of Colonel Clark and the gunboat commander. 



COTTON THIEVE*. 91 



it requires no skill to see that they have been doing something 
which makes them feel like condemned rogues on their way to 
the whipping post for sheep stealing. They simultaneously ask 
for whisky. A demijohn of the basest commissary, and a dirty 
tumbler, are immediately employed to put about a pint of the 
fiery liquid down the throat of each returned warrior chief. 
That whisky would dissolve a cent if dropped into it. Colonel 
Clark, after a shake and a wry face, indicating the action of the 
terrible stuff he has swallowed, begins, while the gunboat com- 
mander gets behind him : 

" I tell you, we did all that we could. We got aground about 
8 o'clock this morning in the mouth of the Amite river. We 
supposed that there was eight feet of water in the channel, and 
so there was, but the boat was run by that pilot too near one 
bank, and got hung on an awful snag. We took out an anchor, 
and undertook to get the boat off by using the capstan, but it 
was an impossibility. After noon we sent a party ashore and 
cut some timbers, with which we were going to raise up the 
boat, but as our party were coming back with the timbers, the 
enemy opened fire on them. One sailor's arm was broken. 
From that time it was impossible for a man to show himself 

without being shot, but Captain P succeeded in spiking the 

bow gun and heaving it overboard. My men kept the enemy 
down a little about that time by firing through the loop-holes 

in the iron-plated cabin, and Mr. G succeeded in opening 

the port-hole far enough to give the enemy one charge of grape 
from the gun amidships, but we could not get that gun over- 
board, and there was no time to be lost, for the rebels ceased 
firing and went off after reinforcements and artillery. And then 
where would we be ? We tried again to get the boat off by 
having a cable, fastened to an anchor, wound up around the 
stern wheel by the whole power of the engine. There was 
only about fifty yards of water between us and the shore, and 
we knew that the rebels had gone after artillery, and would 
capture the Barataria and get command of the lakes with it. 
So we destroyed it and came off. I lost my shawl and all my 



9-2 AMONG THE 



clothes except what I have on. We remained near the gunboat 
till we were sure that the rebels could not put out the fire. 
There was no use in sending for reinforcements as long as we 
could not get the boat off, and we could not wait till morning 
for the tide." Here the Colonel takes another tumbler full 
of fiery commissary, and closes with a side remai'k to Captain 
Bailey, " Captain, some officers have been willing to be taken 
prisoner, but I tell you I have a perfect horror of being a pris- 
oner, and I would have fought till death rather than surrender. 
It required nerve. It required nerve to come eight miles across 
that lake, as we did. If the water had not remained smooth, 
we should have gone to the bottom." And as he fills the tum- 
bler again, he says, " Well, it was a pity about our whisky. 
The wounded man was in the way; we could not get the 
demijohn into the boat, and it was used instead of turpentine 
to burn the vessel. It was poured over the bed clothes, and 
then we set fire to them." 

Assistant Surgeon Mason has been at work with the wounded 
sailor. That arm must come off, the bone and flesh between 
elbow and shoulder being terribly blown to pieces. The doc- 
tor's humane countenance shows pity uncommon in the army, 
as he gets his case of instruments. The poor sailor is delirious. 
He groans and shrieks even after the chloroform is given, but 
the operation is performed in a manner doing no small credit to 
our surgeon, and which saves the life of the sailor, who is a tall, 
noble looking man, of middle age, who has seen much service, 
and is well entitled to the support guaranteed by the laws 
of his country. 

1 find a trusty non-commissioned officer, who has returned 
with the Colonel from the Barataria. I ask him, " How many 
of the rebels were there ?" " None of us saw more than six or 
eight, any how." "About how many shots did they fire?" 
,l From a dozen to twenty." "Did you see or hear anything to 
show that the enemy went after reinforcements or artillery?" 
" They went off as soon as the charge of grape was tired at 
them from amidships. There was so much swamp there that 



COTTON THIEVES. 93 



they could not have brought artillery except by one road, along 
the river, and our twelve-pounder commanded that road. As 
for infantry, they could not hurt us. We could have kept them 
off by firing from the loop-holes in the iron plating of the upper 
cabin, and they could not charge on us through the water 
without swimming." " Why did not anybody send here for 
reinforcements ?" " Colonel Clark did try like a good fellow 
to get the cutter and come off himself after reinforcements, but 
the navy officer told him he could not let the cutter go, for 
when that was gone there was no way of escape for those that 
stayed on the gunboat. Colonel Clark would have come off if 
the navy man had not stopped him almost by force. There 
were two other little boats, and men begged the Colonel to let 
them take one of these and come for reinforcements, but he 
refused. He was afraid to cross the lake himself in one of those 
risky little boats, and did not seem to want any reinforcements 
if he had got to stay himself. Whenever there was any firing, 
or prospect of any firing, the Colonel stayed away down in the 
lower part of the vessel, where there was the most iron around 
him. The day was sultry, and he had like to have roasted down 
there. The truth of it is, that he and the gunboat officer were 
terribly scared. They acted as if they wanted to get away at 
any rate, and could not get away without destroying the boat. 
When we were getting into the cutter to leave, we found a man 
lying down. He would not raise himself. Some wanted to 
kick him and make him get up, but nothing could make him stir 
till we got out of rifle range of the shore. Then he arose, 
and behold it was our Colonel." I ask, " Did they use whisky 
for turpentine to set fire to the gunboat ?" " They did ; and in 
my opinion you may say in more than one sense that whisky 
burned the Barataria. I was just noticing that the tide is high 
enough to have floated the vessel off if they could have waited, 
till this time." 



94 AMONG THE 



CHAPTER IV. 

Vicarious Suffering— The Veritable Bear with a Sore Head— The Court-Martini which was 
no Court-Martial— A General Taught not to Meddle with the Toys of hi~ Superior. 

During the forenoon of the 12th day of April, 1863, a strange 
sail appears close to where the wreck of the Barataria is sup- 
posed to lie. It requires no great wisdom to form an opinion 
that the enemy are at work to carry off the fine twelve-pounders 
abandoned there, to recover which there has been no effort, 
although one of the guns has probably been held up by the 
wreck at about the surface of the water. Watching with our 
glasses, we perceive that the strange schooner is moving out 
into the lake toward us. Colonel Clark does not seem to take 
much interest in anything that way, but when he hears that the 
vessel is certainly sailing boldly on, and has almost reached the 
middle of the lake, he seems to appreciate the suggestion that 
the rebels may come and shell us out at leisure without 
approaching where our two light guns can do any harm. He 
is on the alert until the schooner tacks and makes for the mouth 
of the Tickfaw, evidently to escape with what she has taken 
from the wreck. We have our steamer Savary and the cutter. 
Officers and men are anxious to do something, at least, to dis- 
turb the enemy in getting off with his trophies. Permission 
is delayed, although there is so little wind that the schooner 
hardly seems to move in her new direction. 

At length Lieutenant A. J. Ralph and Lieutenant Lacy, 
favorites of the Colonel, and yet men of courage, are seen 
wearing their swords and hastening with about a dozen Avell- 
armed men to the cutter. They embark and row off vigorously 
toward the schooner, which now cannot tail to reach the mouth 
of the Tickfaw before she is overtaken- But the rowers do 
their best, and the cutter is soon out of our sight around the 
projecting point of Jones' Island. Immediately afterward a 



COTTON THIEVES. 95 



little canoe, in the back end of which sits our tall Lieutenant 
Trask, of Company H, is seen paddling in the same direction, 
following the cutter. The schooner, also, is hidden from us by 
the island. 

The later hours of the afternoon, sunset, night, come, and 
there is no news of Lieutenant Ralph and his companions, 
except an uncertain report of some stragglers from our camp, 
who say that while they went down on our side of the lake, 
they heard firing near the mouth of the Tickfaw. 

Time goes on. Day and night pass, and yet no news to 
tell the fate of our friends. On the afternoon of the 14th day 
of April, men looking across the lake with a marine glass think 
that they see a moving speck, which may be a little boat, now 
and then lifted into plain sight by the waves, which are running 
very high before the violent blasts of wind from the murky sky. 
The speck is coming near; it is a canoe. It has passed the 
point of the island, and will soon reach our cam}:*, for which its 
rolling occupant is paddling bravely over waves that may swal- 
low him at any moment. He is a very tall man, but he is in 
his shirt sleeves, and at first appears like some refugee from the 
rebel country. As he nears us, we lose our doubts ; it is 
Trask. He soon lands and steps out on shore. He seems faint 
and starved. Surrounded by rejoicing friends, he is taken to 
the Bailey tent, where he seats himself. Colonel Clark con- 
gratulates him, and insists on giving him a dose of scalding 
commissary before he begins his report, but the Lieutenant is 
too far gone to say much till he has had something to eat. The 
best that we can provide is set before him, and he soon is ready 
to commence : 

" I could not quite keep up with Ralph's boat. The schooner 
did not seem to have many men on board. We saw them heave 
one of the Barataria's brass guns overboard as we approached. 
She got into the mouth of the river a short distance ahead of us. 
We followed her, and could soon see her apparently unable to 
get away, for her sails were of no use in the river. No towing 
could keep her out of our reach many minutes. Ralph rowed 



AMONG TEE 



into the river, and was getting near to the schooner, when a 
party of the enemy, concealed behind trees and logs, opened 
fire on him. They had let him pass by them a short distance, 
so as to take him in the rear. Ralph pulled for the other shore, 
and his men sprang out and commenced to return the enemy's 
fire. About that time my canoe attracted their attention. I 
was just entering the mouth of the river. They fired on me. 
I lay down in my canoe, but a bullet came through the side 
of it as if nothing had been in the way. I rolled the canoe on 
one side, slid out, and swam away among the willows and 
swamp trees near by. After a while I came to a strip of ground 
which was not under water, and crept out. The firing ceased. 
I suppose Ralph surrendered, for I never saw anything more 
of any of his party or of the enemy. I went about a mile in 
the woods, and hid till night. Then I came out and looked all 
along the lake shore for a boat, but could find none. There 
was moonlight, and there was some wind from that side. I 
found a good many boards that had been washed ashore. I 
began to make a raft, and worked the most of that night, but 
could not finish it. During the next day I stayed there. I had 
nothing but a few berries and twigs to eat. Xobody came, 
and I worked on my raft, but it was likely to be a risky thing 
to cross the lake on, and at night the wind rose and blew from 
the wrong direction. My raft went to pieces. I would have 
tried to follow the lake shore, but the Amite river was before 
me, and the enemy's pickets were there. If I undertook to go 
toward the Mississippi, an impassable swamp was before me. for 
the only hard ground was a strip along the shore of the lake. 
On the next morning I came out of my hiding place, and fol- 
lowed the path along the shore back to the Tickfaw. I thought 
that if the enemy's pickets were there they might take me, but 
they were not there, and no boat was to be found. I swam 
across the river. Thai was a hard job after such a fast, and I 
had some thoughts about alligators while I was paddling in the 
black water. I came out safely, and waded to a large log, on 
which I sat <lown to rest. 1 happened to look behind the log, 



COTTON THIEVES. 97 



and there lay about the largest alligator I ever saw. His horrid 
head was almost under me. I got up and stood in the swamp 
water. It seemed to me as if I owed that alligator a grudge. 
I saw a sharp dead limb of a tree that I could get and use like 
a spear. I took it, and went back carefully. The two scaly 
eyes on the top of the animal's head were the only places where 
I could hurt him. I sent the sharp end of my wooden spear 
into his eye, when he gave a thrash with his tail and rushed into 
the river, where he swam around and tui-ned on one side, as 
if he was crazed. I then hurried out of the water to a sort 
of shore ridge, which was dry enough to give me the advantage 
of the alligator tribe. I followed this ground two or three 
miles. As I rested in on© place I missed my pocket-book, con- 
taining my last month's pay. It was lost, probably, while I 
was swimming. At last I came to a bayou, wide and deep. I 
thought that if I found many like it I would never reach the 
railroad. I waded up its side some distance, to find a narrow 
place to swim across. The other side looked much worse than 
the side where I was. I sat down, feeling somewhat like des- 
pair. My strength was just about gone, and I had been so 
much in the water that I felt sick already. Without any reason, 
I got up and made my way through a thick jungle to an arm 
of the bayou, a little before me. I parted the prickly vines till 
I came to the very edge of the water. There, half hidden in 
the rushes, lay the little dug-out that has brought me here. I 
went back and sat down on a fallen tree to rest, before trying 
to cross the lake. The wind was blowing, and the waves were 
such as you see. As I sat there, my finding the boat seemed 
like a delusion. I waded to it and took hold of it, and then 
went back and rested again. If I had not had a good deal 
of experience with canoes, I should not have reached here." 

" Trask, how did you all come to go off after that schooner 
without permission ?" says one of the Colonel's friends, while 
the Colonel's swollen face wears a look indicating that some 
base purpose is in his mind. The worn out young man, who 
has just finished his narrative, fixes his eyes on the Colonel and 
13 



98 AMONG TEE 



inquires what is meant. " Why, those fellows got captured 
by going after the schooner without permission," is the reply 
of the Colonel's friend. " Without permission !" answers Trask, 
" Ralph came right from our head-quarters with a regular detail. 
He told me that he had orders to take a party and capture the 
schooner if he could, and directed me to keep near enough to 
report all that happened." 

" Lieutenant Ralph had no such orders from me," says the 
Colonel, with assumed dignity. Then his spokesman resumes, 
" Old Sherman has forwarded a recommendation that Ralph be 
dismissed, and has ordered that if any officers who went with 
him should return, they should immediately be put under 
arrest." 

Trask fixes his eyes on the sensual face of the Colonel, and 
with an expression of disgust, says, " If I had known that there 
was anything of that sort on foot, I would not have come back. 
I did not think there was any crime in going with Lieutenant 
Ralph to prevent that schooner in getting away with the gun 
which she had been carrying off under our eyes. I did not 
suppose that all my sufferings in getting back here were to end 
in being a victim to atone for Ralph's capture and the burning 
of the Barataria." 

Lieutenant Trask was the first victim taken from our regiment 
to be sacrificed for the sins of a privileged commander. For 
about two weeks he was under arrest at our dismal encamp- 
ment. I often took walks with him down the railroad, the only 
way we could go, and endeavored to demonstrate to him that it 
was almost certain that Colonel Clark would procure his release, 
for his position was such that the General did not care for him, 
and Colonel Clark would not want to have the falsity of the 
accusation exposed, and could easily make all necessary explana- 
tions to the General. All the blame would probably be put 
upon poor Ralph, because he could make no defense, or upon 
some one whom the Colonel wished to injure. 

About the 2'2d of April, 1863, Colonel Clark went to New 
Orleans, and after one night's recreation, according to the usages 



COTTON THIEVES. 99 



of war, in the city, our Colonel calls at General Sherman's head- 
quarters in the morning, for it is in the morning, if ever, that 
the General's dyspepsia allows him to be approachable, but it is 
also true that some of his worst fits of insane racre have been in 
the morning. There is no show or parade at this General's 
head-quarters. A sentry from the regulars, a military machine, 
kept not for war, but to show how near to the perfection of the 
regulations a man can be, walks his beat in front of the door 
of a brick building. He comes to a present arms with just the 
jerk and clatter required for that most important military duty. 
Our Colonel, not deigning to answer the salute, enters the door 
and goes up the stairs. An orderly, with a most subdued 
expression of face and a very clean appearance, ushers the 
Colonel into the first room, where Assistant Adjutant-General 
Wickham Hoffman is at work on his morning reports, scattered 
upon the long table behind which he is sitting. He greets 
Colonel Clark without rising, for even a waiter, and certainly 
any staff officer at the head-quarters of a regular army General 
really outranks any volunteer officer. Captain Hoffman puts on 
an apish smile to receive Colonel Clark, as much as to say, " I 
know who is in favor with my master," and after inviting the 
Colonel to be seated, he rises, and opening the folding doors 
just wide enough to admit himself, enters the General's presence- 
chamber, and closes the door behind him. In a short time he 
returns, and as he says, " Colonel, the General will receive you 
immediately," his sallow features have an expression such as 
would be natural if his master had just given him a customary 
kick. Clark's perceptions are such as to make him feel uneasy. 
As he enters the General's room, a regular army orderly, in 
exact uniform, and with short-cropped hair, dodges out of the 
room, like a rabbit escaping from the cage of an anaconda. 

General T. W. Sherman sits at a table, where he has been at 
work on some very disagreeable part of his report of his grand 
South Carolina expedition. Beside the pile of foolscap he has 
been using lies his bible — the old army regulations in force 
when he was young. He is a little man, prematurely old, 



1U0 AMONG THE 



dressed in plain uniform. His hair is thick, of a soap color, and 
slightly frizzled. His complexion and eyes have a singular 
sameness, of bluish ash color, and of his emaciated features the 
most remarkable is his lower jaw, which is wider than any part 
of his head, and is continually moving out or in, or sidewise, 
chewing some cud of wrath. Colonel Clark, hat in hand, comes 
to a stand-still, bloated face, and ample development of abdomen 
and hips, make an appearance likely to gain favor at the court 
of New Orleans, for there, in his new uniform, with the gilt 
eagles on his shoulders, he looks showy, in spite of the expres- 
sion of his pewter eyes, and there is no moral development to 
hinder him from being a pliant tool in such business as is gener- 
ally to be done in the province. He speaks : " General, I called 
to see you respecting — " The General makes a short turn on 
his chair, and answers, " Look at me, then." " General, if you 
are engaged, I will call at another time," says the Colonel, 
faintly, and backing toward the door. " Halt ! I have not got 
through with you, sir. You have lost a gunboat and a part 
of your command by your lack of discipline and of respect for 
the regulations. You are a d — d volunteer. There would not 
be any such losses if you had discipline. You can't flog your 
men, but why don't you buck and gag them, and hang them up 
by the thumbs ? Why don't you have some of those officers 
dismissed at once ? That's the way to put life into your regi- 
ment, and stop their dying off. After such losses, there must 
be an example. I'll have one." " General, 1*11 do anything you 
require, but I wish to say, in relation to Lieutenant Trask, that 
he has been a good officer — " " Good officer ? d — d militia. 
Don't you talk to me. Don't say a word, G — d d — n you!" 
says the Brigadier, as the ash colors of his face darken and 
lighten by spots, and foam appears at the corners of his mouth, 
and he ejaculates, " Crawl, G — d d — n you ! crawl, or I'll dis-. 
miss you for cowardice ! Do you hear, you d — d militia 
nobody ? Down on your knees, or you'll be dismissed in 
general orders for cowardice." The General springs to his 
teet, as if about to fly at Clark like a terrier. Down goes 



COTTON THIEVES. 101 



Clark on his knees, looking like a despairing reprobate. " Down 
on your belly, or I'll break your head !" and Clark is sprawling 
full length on the floor, his eyes shut tight, as if not wanting to 
see what the General will do next. There is a pause, and the 
Brigadier says, "That's discipline. Now, I will make somebody 
of you. Get up, G — d d — n you !" and Clark regains his feet, 
looking some the worse for his prostration. The General con- 
tinues, " Now speak — talk, d — n you !" " General, I want to say 
that, in my opinion, we have got the wrong man. Lieutenant 
Trask went outside of our lines by permission of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Bacon. And what is more, if my Lieutenant-Colonel 
was out of the way, I could do something ; but as long as he is 
in the regiment, all my efforts to be what I might be are in 
vain." " Why did you not tell me before ? Have him arrested, 
and prefer charges against him immediately. I'll have him tried 
in time for my report of your expedition. If things go right, 
this d — d militia colonel, N. P. Banks, won't keep me here and 
run that great establishment across the street much longer. 
When I am the Major-General commanding, I'll make you a 
Brigadier, if I see that I can use you. I'll yet make those 
abolitionists at Washington understand my South Carolina 
campaign. They will not dare to keep me in penal service 
here under Banks much longer. I'll make them feel who 
I am." 

It is the 14th of May, 1863. A court-martial is in session in 
the dining room of the old Park House Hotel, at the corner 
of Lafayette square, in New Orleans, now used for General 
Sherman's head-quarters, and the members of the court are 
deep in their deliberations on the case of some unfortunate. 
The Judge- Advocate, a tall young man, with his uniform coat 
unbuttoned, and having light-colored hair, wearing spectacles, 
and evidently a lawyer, steps into what used to be the dining 
room, but is now the office of the Superintendent of Negro 
Labor, where I am sitting. He says, " Colonel, I will have that 
matter of yours brought on in about half an hour," and as I am 
near to him, he adds in an undertone, " From all I can hear 



102 AMONG THE 



of the evidence, I think that this trial will be a good thing for 
you, and for that Colonel of yours, too. 

I am seated at one end of a table, at the other end of which 
sits the President of the Court, the members of which sit on 
both sides of the table. The Judge-Advocate is beside me. I 
examine every face. I am safe. It is fortunate for me that this 
court was in session under an order from General Banks. 
There was no chance for General Sherman or his staff* officers to 
pack a court. 

Every face before me, except one, appears to be honest and 
intelligent. They are looking for the charge against me, and as 
I look out of the open window, and feel the air, refreshed by a 
recent rain, I think of the true character of the men whose 
brief authority has been used to send me here, and what injury 
their stupid malice has intended, contempt and hatred strive for 
the mastery. I stand up to hear the charge read, and plead to 
it. " Do you object to any member of this court ?" says the 
President, in a manly voice. I answer " No." In about an 
hour proceedings, shown by the following record, were finished, 
this official copy being obtained long afterward : 

PROCEEDING OP A GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL, . 

Convened at the. Park Hotel, New Orleans, pursuant to an order of Major- 
General Banks, commanding the Nineteenth Army Corps, of which the 
follmcing is a copy, viz : 



Head-quarters Department of the Gulf, 
Special Orders, ) Nineteenth Army Corps, 

No. 80. f New Orleans, March 25, 1863. 



5. A general court-martial is hereby appointed to meet at 
the city of New Orleans, at 10 o'clock on the morning of the 
27th day of March, 1803, or as soon thereafter as practicable, 
for the trial of Cardinal H. Conant, late Provost-Marshal for the 
parishes of St. Bernard and Plaquemine, Louisiana, and such 
other persons as are brought before it. 



COTTON THIEVES. 103 



DETAIL FOR THE COURT. 

Lieutenant-Colonel R. Fitzgibbon, Ninth Connecticut Volun- 
teers. 

Major J. B. Foster, One Hundred and Twenty-eighth New 

York Volunteers. 

Major H. Stall, Twenty-sixth Connecticut Volunteers. 
Major E. T. Clark, Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Volunteers. 
Captain George M. Dickerman, Twenty-sixth Massachusetts 

Volunteers. 

Captain F. Hannable, Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Volunteers. 

Captain Richard Barrett, Forty-seventh Massachusetts Vol- 
unteers. 

Captain R. T. Mitchell, One Hundred and Twenty-eighth 
New York Volunteers, Judge- Advocate. 

No other officers than those above named can be assembled 
without injury to the service. The court will sit without 
regard to hours. 

By command of Major-General Banks. 

(Signed) KICHARD B. IRWIN, A. A. G. 

[Official.] 

G. Norman Lieber, Major, 

Judge-Advocate. 

Park Hotel, New Orleans, | 
May 14, 1863. J 

Court convened at 4 o'clock p. m., for the trial of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Edward Bacon, Sixth Michigan Volunteers, on charges 
and specifications annexed, marked "A." 

Roster called by Judge- Advocate. 

Absent — Captain Hannable. 

Judge-Advocate reads certificate of Surgeon G. W. Braks, 
Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Volunteers, that Captain Hannable 
was sick and unfit for duty. Certificate annexed, marked "B." 

Court declared open by Judge-Advocate. 

Parties called into court. 

Order detailing court read to accused. 



104 AMONG TEE 



Accused asked if he has objections to any member. 
Answer — None. 

Order detailing Captain Wilkinson as Judge-Advocate, in 
place of Captain Mitchell, relieved, read by Judge-Advocate. 



Head-quarters Department of the Golf, 
SrECiAL Orders, ) Nineteenth Army Corps, 

No. 83. J New Orleans, March 28, 1863. 

8. Captain Robert I. Mitchell, One Hundred and Twenty- 
eighth New York Volunteers, is relieved from duty as Judge- 
Advocate of the general court-martial appointed by Special 
Orders, No. 80, of March 25, 1863, from these head-quarters, 
and Captain Robert J. Wilkinson is detailed in his stead. 

Captain Mitchell wdll turn over to Captain Wilkinson, Judge- 
Advocate, all charges and ]Dapers which have been referred to 
said general court-martial, and are now in his hands. 

By command of Major-General Banks. 

(Signed) RICHARD B. IRWIN, A. A. G. 

[Official.] 
G. Norman Lieber, Judge-Advocate. 

Court sworn by Judge- Advocate in presence of accused. 

Accused asked if he desires counsel. 

Answer — No. 

Accused arraigned on charges and specifications annexed, 
before full court, and to the specification pleads " Not guilty." 
To the charge pleads " Not guilty." 

Ordered to proceed forthwith to the prosecution. 

Captain G. T. Spitzer sworn for prosecution : 
Question — What is your rank and regiment ? 
Answer — Captain — Sixth Michigan Volunteers. 
Q. — Who commands this regiment ? 
A.— Colonel T. S. Clark. 

Q. — Where were you stationed on the 12th day of April, 
1863? 
A. — At South Manchac Pass, Louisiana. 



COTTON THIEVES. 105 



Q. — Do you know Lieutenant- Colonel Edward Bacon ? 

A.— Yes. 

Q._Was he with the Sixth Michigan on April 12th, 1863 ? 

A.— Yes. 

Q. — Describe as well as you can the position of your camp, 
with reference to the pass and surrounding country. 

A. — There is an island opposite the camp of my regiment, 
called Jones' Island, separated from the point on which the 
camp is situated by the south pass, some quarter of a mile wide. 
This island extends some distance each way east and west of the 
camp. There are the remains of a railroad bridge across the 
pass, and the camp of the Sixth Michigan is on either side the 
railroad track, the camp being on the southerly side of the pass. 

Q. — By what troops is this island occupied ? 

A. — The detachment of the Second Connecticut Volunteers. 

Q. — Are they the only troops there ? 

A. — I think they are. 

Q. — Is any portion of this island in possession of the enemy ? 

A. — I think not. 

Q.— Was it on the 12th of April, 1863 ? 

A. — I think not. 

Q. — Do you know Lieutenant Trask, of the Sixth Michigan 
Volunteers ? 

A.— Yes. 

Q.— Do you know of his having received permission on or 
about the 12th of April, 1863, to go beyond the lines of our 
forces at the pass ? 

A. — I know now that he did. I did not know it at the time. 

Q. — Where do the lines of the United States forces extend, 
with reference to your camp ? 

A. — We have a picket on the main land, on the same side the 
pass with the camp, a mile west of the camp. 

Q. — Do you know where the pickets are on the island ? 

A. — I do not. 

Q. — How did you know of Lieutenant Trask having received 
the permission as specified ? 
14 



106 AMONG THE 



A. — I got it from Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon. 

Q._When? 

A. — On or about the day he was arrested. 

Q. — What did Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon say about this ? 

A. — That he gave Lieutenant Trask permission to go to the 
point of the island. 

Q. — How far is this point from your camp ? 

A. — About a mile. 

Q. — When you say the point of the island, which point do 
you mean ? 

A. — The west point. 

Q. — Is this point in possession of the enemy ? 

A.— No. 

Q. — How do you know ? 

A. — The men go there fishing and hunting. 

Q. — Have you heard of the presence of the enemy at this 
point since your regiment has been camped there ? 

A.— No. 

Q. — Have you stated all that Colonel Bacon said to you in 
relation to giving the permission in question ? 

A. — I have. 

Cross-examined ly accused: 

Q. — Where was the Ninth Connecticut fortification ? 

A. — I do not know exactly. 

Q. — Was there a federal picket on the east end of the island ? 

A.— Yes. 

Q. — Where is the launch stationed ? 

A. — I think on the lower end of the island. I never have 
been there. 

Q. — What federal pickets were kept out ? 

A. — Those of the Sixth Michigan and Ninth Connecticut. 

Q.— What of the Sixth Michigan ? 

A. — On the main land, as I have testified, and in the rear 
of the camp. 

Q. — Was the main land picket withdrawn daily ? 

A.— Yes. 



COTTON THIEVES. 107 



Q. — "Was there any camp guard ? 

A. — No ; except over the guns and some boats. 

Q. — Do you know of any of those camp guards interfering 
with any one passing ? 

A.— No. 

Q. — Do you know of any enemy ever appearing on the south 
pass ? 

A.— No. 

Q. — What did you ever see of any enemy on the lake ? 

A. — I have seen a schooner once or twice on the lake. 

Q. — Did you see one of such schooners on the 12th of April ? 

A.— Yes. 

Q. — Where did she come from ? 

A. — Either from the Tickfaw or the Amite river. 

Q. — Did she not come from the wreck of the Barataria ? 

A. — I don't know. 

Q. — Was she not coming from the direction where the Bara- 
taria burned ? 

A.— Yes. 

Q. — Did you see the Barataria burn ? 

A. — I saw the light. 

Q. — Was this schooner in sight when Lieutenant Trask went 
on the 12th of April ? 

A.— Yes. 

Q. — How long had it been in sight ? 

A. — Several hours. 

Q. — How far is it across the lake to the northern shore from 
camp of Sixth Michigan ? 

A.— Five or six miles. 

Q. — Have you seen federal boats coming arouna the west end 
of the island ? 

A.— Yes. 

Q. — Was not this continual ? 

A — I think it was, in a measure. 

Q. — How near did the schooner you have alluded to come to 
the point of the island ? 



108 AMONG THE 



A. — Five or six miles. 

Q. — Do you know of a federal picket at the west point of the 
island ? , 

A.— No. 

Q. — Is not the point of the island in plain sight of your 
camp ? 

A.— Yes. 

Q. — Is the water about the point of the island a common 
fishing ground for the men ? 

A. — I have seen the men there fishing. 

Q. — Have any of the federal soldiers in this neighborhood 
been disturbed by the enemy ? 

A. — Not of the Sixth Michigan. I think not of the Ninth 
Connecticut. 

Direct resinned: 

Q. — When did you first know that Lieutenant Trask went 
across to the island on April 12, 1863 ? 
A.— That night. 

Lieutenant William S. Trask, Sixth Michigan Volunteers, sworn 
for prosecution: 

Q. — What is your regiment ? 

A. — Sixth Michigan Volunteers. 

Q.— Where stationed on April 12, 1863 ? 

A. — At South Manchac Pass. 

Q. — Who was in command ? 

A. — Colonel Clark, of the Sixth Michigan. 

Q. — Did you, on or about April 12, 1863, receive permission 
to cross the lines of the United States forces at your post ? 

A. — I received permission on that day to go to the point 
of the island. The point of the island is, if anything, inside the 
picket line. I think it is on the line. 

Q. — From whom did you receive this permission ? 

A. — From Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon. 

Q. — Was Colonel Clark near at hand ? 

A. — I believe he was in camp at the time. 



COTTON THIEVES. 109 



Q. — Is any portion of the island in possession of the enemy? 

A.— No. 

Q. — What forces are on the island ? 

A. — A detachment of the Ninth Connecticut. Some on the 
side nearest the camp, some on the opposite side. 

Q. — For what purpose did you request this permission ? 

A. — To reconnoiter a schooner running down the north side 
of the lake, apparently approaching the mouth of the pass. 

Q. — How near was she to the mouth of the pass ? 

A. — About two miles and a half. 

Q. — Why did you not apply to Colonel Clark for this per- 
mission ? 

A. — Because I did not see him. I happened to meet Colonel 
Bacon, and asked him. 

Q. — Was this permission written or verbal ? 

A.— Verbal. 

Q. — How near to the camp of the Sixth Michigan Volunteers 
was the nearest point known to be in possession of the enemy, 
and where is it ? 

A. — None nearer than the mouth of the Tickfaw, twelve 
miles. 

Cross-examined by accused: 

Q. — Was not Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon usually in command 
of the detachment ? 

A. — He had been. I can't say how long it was before that 
that Colonel Clark come there ? 

Q. — Where had Colonel Clark's quarters usually been ? 

A. — Before burning of Barataria, on her ; after that, on shore. 

Q. — What did Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon say when he gave 
you the permission ? 

A. — I guess so. 

Q. — Have you measured the distance from the camp to the 
visible point of the island ? 

A. — Yes; three hundred and nine rods. 

Statement of accused read to court by Judge-Advocate : 



110 AMONG TEE 



Mr. President and Gentlemen — My defense is the existence 

of Lake Maurepas and the passes, leaving the court to judge 

of the evidence, and give it due weight. 

Respectfully, EDWARD BACON, 

Lieutenant-Colonel Sixth'Michigan Volunteers. 
Court cleared. 

Charges read, with specifications under them. The vote 
of each member of the court being taken on the charge and 
specification severally, and submitted to the court after delibera- 
tion on the testimony. 

Court finds Lieutenant- Colonel Bacon of the specification not 
guilty. Of the charge, not guilty. And the court doth there- 
fore fully acquit him, Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon, Sixth Michigan 
Volunteers, therefrom. 

MEMORANDUM. 

The members of this court desire to express their surprise 
in this manner that the evidence furnished for the prosecution 
of the charges against Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon, Sixth Michi- 
gan Volunteers, is so meagre in amount and inconclusive in 
character. 

It is only because the charge preferred is proper in form, that 
the court does not characterize it as frivolous. 

RICHARD FITZGIBBON, 
Lieutenant- Colonel Ninth Connecticut, President. 
JAMES B. FOSTER, 
Major One Hundred and Twenty-eighth New York Vols. 
HENRY STALL, 
Major Twenty-sixth Connecticut Volunteers. 
E. T. CLARK, 
Major Twenty sixth Massachusetts Volunteers. 
G. M. DICKERMANN, 
Captain Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Volunteers. 

RICHARD BARETTE, 
Captain Forty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers. 
ROBERT WILKINSON, 
Captain One Hundred and Twenty -eighth N. Y. Volunteers, 

Judge-Adtocate. 
RICHARD FITZGIBBON, 

Lieutenant-Colonel Ninth Connecticut, 

President. 



COTTON THIEVES. Ill 



In witness whereof, and of all the proceedings in this case, 
the President and Judge-Advocate of this court have hereto 
set their names, this 19th day of May, 1863. 

RICHARD FITZGIBBON, 

Lieutenant-Colonel Ninth Connecticut, 

President. 

Captain Robert Wilkinson, 

One Hundred and Twenty-eighth N. Y. Vols., 

Judge-Advocate. 

Head-quarters Department of the Gulp, 
Nineteenth Army Corps, 
Before Port Hudson, La., June, 1863. 

In the case of Lieutenant- Colonel Bacon, Sixth Regiment 
Michigan Volunteers, the proceedings are disapproved, the court 
not being legally competent to try him. The charges were in 
this and in several other cases referred to the court for trial by 
an authority other than, and inferior to, the one ordering the 
court. This was improper. 

It is due to Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon to state that the charges 
were not sustained. 

He will be relieved from arrest, and returned to duty. 

N. P. BANKS, 
Major-General Commanding. 



"A." 

CHARGE— CONDUCT TO THE PREJUDICE OF GOOD ORDER AND MILITARY 

DISCIPLINE. 

Specification — In this, that Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Bacon, 
Sixth Regiment Michigan Volunteers, when not in command 
of the post, and when his superior officer and commander of the 
post was near at hand, did grant permission to Lieutenant 
Trask, of Company H, Sixth Regiment Michigan Volunteers, to 
go beyond the lines into the enemy's country. 

And the said Lieutenant Trask remained absent over forty- 
eight hours on said permission. 



112 AMONG THE 



This at South Manchac Pass, State of Louisiana, on the 12th 

day of April, 1863. 

T. S. CLARK, 

Colonel Sixth Regiment Michigan Volunteers, 
Commanding Post, Manchac Pass, La. 
Witness : 
Captain J. Bailey, 

Fourth Wisconsin Volunteers. 
Lieutenant W. S. Trask, 

Sixth Michigan Volunteers. 
Captain G. J. Spitzer, 

Sixth Michigan Volunteers. 
Lieutenant W. H. Dickey, 

Sixth Michigan Volunteers. 

"B." 

Hospital Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts, | 
May 14, 1863. j 

This is to certify that Captain F. Hannable is unfit for duty, 

by reason of remittent fever. 

G. W. BRAKS, 
Surgeon Twenty-sixth Massachusetts.* 

[Official copy for Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Bacon, Sixth Michigan 
Heavy Artillery Volunteers. J. HOLT, Judge- Advocate-GeneralJ 

Although members of courts-martial are sworn to secresy 
until the published order of the General convening the court 
announces his will approving or disapproving the decision, 
neither the evidence nor the demeanor of the court allowed me 
to doubt what the decision in my case had been. 

In the evening the Judge-Advocate invited me to take supper 
with him and a member of the court, and as w r e sipped wine 
that came from Bordeaux before the war, our conversation was 
about certain charges and specifications in capite, against Colonel 
T. S. Clark, which I had ready to file, accusing him of cotton 
stealing and other offenses, giving time, jjlace and witnesses, in 
a manner which showed truth and also facility of conviction. 
" Colonel," says the Judge- Advocate, " I hope you w r ill not 
depend too much on law, evidence or justice. Fortunate cir- 



COTTON THIEVES. 113 



cumstances have given you the benefit of them for onee. but 
only think what we are. Volunteers, off here, generally in the 
power of regular army brigadiers, who look upon us as dogs. 
Thev can dismiss any of us for any crime they choose to name, 
without evidence or trial. There is no chance for an officer but 
by the favor of his master. For you to file charges against a 
favorite for cotton stealing, will, in this department, seal your 
fate bevond a peradventure. As the matter now stands, your 
trial may be considered as all that need be done to cover up the 
loss of the Barataria and the capture of some of your regiment. 
Clark wants to be a brigadier, and he may never meddle with 
you again, but if you file those charges for cotton stealing, there 
is hardly a General or a statf officer in the department who will 
feel safe while you are in the service." 

"All that may be true. Captain." is my reply. "As you say. 
an officers only chance here is the favor of his master. That 
favor is generally obtained by flattery and by secret services — 
by services vile, degrading and criminal. I shall find no favor 
here ; I cannot hope for any. If I can be made a scapegoat 
once with impunity, I shall be used that way all the while, for 
there will be no lack of crimes to be put upon some innocent 
man, in order that the guilty may escape. My course is chosen. 
Before I can be arrested for something new, I will file these 
charges and specifications. Of course I do not expect Clark to 
be brought to trial — his guilt is his protection. Let staff officers. 
more guilty than he is, protect him; they will thereby show 
their complicity in the crimes of Clark. Let them even make a 
brigadier of him. They are likely to give me the means of 
exposing men who deserve the scorn and detestation of all 
mankind." 

On the 15th day of May, 1863, I duly forwarded to General 
Sherman charges and specifications, of which the following is a 
statement : 



15 



114 AMONG TEE 



CHARGES AND SPECIFICATIONS 

Preferred against Thomas S. Clark, Colonel of the Sixth Regiment of Michigan 
Volunteer Infantry. 

CHARGE I. — CONDUCT UNBECOMING AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN. 

Under which followed specifications formally stating these 
offenses, viz : 

That on or about the 4th day of February, 1863, at Camp 
Parapet, near Carrollton, in the State of Louisiana and Depart- 
ment of the Gulf, and in the presence of Captain Garrett J. 
Spitzer and Sergeant Lucius V. Lyon, of Company C, in said 
regiment, and of many other officers and men of said regiment, 
in their camp, he, the said Thomas S. Clark, was drunk, and 
being drunk, did then and there make an indecent exposure 
of his own person and of the person of a certain woman of color 
called Maria, and did then and there attempt * * 

and other things then and there did too enormous to be men- 
tioned. 

That on the 6th of April, 1863, at Pass Manchac, Louisiana, 
on the gunboat Barataria, where he had his head-quarters, and 
being in command of troops of the United States, he, the said 
Thomas S. Clark, was drunk and unfit for duty. 

That on or about the 10th day of July, 1862, at Baton Rouge 
Louisiana, he did employ and use, and aid and assist in employ- 
ing and using, Captain Eli A. Griffin, of Company A, in said 
regiment, and about forty men of that company, and Lieutenant 
Alonzo Shumway, of Company F, in said regiment, and about 
twenty men of said company, for purposes of private gain and 
speculation in obtaining cotton and otherwise, whereby the 
health and lives of officers and men were endangered, and he, 
said Clark, made great gain and profit. 

That on or about the I lit Ji day of July, 1862, at Baton Rouge, 
Louisiana, he did use and employ, and assist in using and 
employing. Captain Harrison J. Soule, of Company I, in said 
regiment, and thirty men of said company, in the business of 



COTTON THIEVES. 115 



getting cotton for greedy speculators, to the great injury of the 
troops and the enriching of himself. 

That on or about the 5th day of February, 1863, at or near 
the residence of Judge Rost, in New Orleans, Louisiana, he did 
wrongfully take and carry away, and assist in taking and carry- 
ing away, certain articles and things of great value, to wit: 
of the value of one thousand dollars, being private property 
of some person or persons unknown, which he had no right to 
take and carry away, and being in part named and enumerated 
as follows : Twenty bottles of wine, eighteen bottles of brandy, 
one silver tray, one pair of silver snuffers, ten knives, ten forks 
and ten spoons, of silver, one lounge, two mirrors, one table, 
one stand, one bed and bedding, one liquor case, with bottles 
to fit, of great value. 

That on or about the 15th day of August, 1862, at Baton 
Rouge, Louisiana, he did wrongfully take and carry away, and 
aid and assist in taking and carrying away, certain saddles, 
bridles and other things, being private property of some person 
or persons unknown, and partly described as one expensive 
saddle, twenty other saddles, one expensive harness, six other 
harnesses, fifty whips, four bridles and five pairs of spurs. 

That on or about the 3d day of May, 1862, at the United 
States Mint, in New Orleans, Louisiana, he did wrongfully take 
and carry away property of the United States, partly described 
as follows: Twenty dies for coining money; also, pieces of 
machinery and apparatus used in making coin. 

That on or about July 10, 1862, at New Orleans, Louisiana, 
and on divers days and times between that day and the 20th 
day of August, 1862, at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he did take 
and receive, and aid and assist in taking and receiving, large 
quantities of cotton, to wit, ten hundred bales of cotton, and 
great amounts of money, to wit, ten thousand dollars, all paid 
and delivered to him in unlawful cotton speculations and other 
illegal business, wherein he employed himself and troops of the 
United States intrusted to him. 

That on or about December 10th, 1861, at Baltimore, Mary- 



116 AMONG THE 



land, where said regiment then was, he entered into a corrupt 
agreement with one Samuel J. Loenstein, a Jew, to have said 
Loenstein act as sutler of said regiment, and to have the Jew 
pay to him, said Clark, for his own use, fifteen per cent on all 
collections, and furnish said Clark with confectionery, preserves 
and liquors. And that afterward, in September, 1862, near 
New Orleans, Louisiana, said Clark openly used his authority as 
Colonel of said regiment to compel said Jew to fulfill said 
agreement, and did obtain and convert to his own use moneys 
and supplies received from said Jew, acting as sutler of said 
regiment. 

That on or about the first day of September, 1861, at Kala- 
mazoo, Michigan, at the organization of said regiment, he did 
wrongfully aid, counsel and assist, in a certain iniquitous 
arrangement with one * * * a contractor, legally 

bound to furnish certain supplies for said regiment, by which 
arrangement provisions and rations lor said regiment, and the 
obligation to furnish them, were disjjosed of for about six hun- 
dred dollars, then and there paid by said contractor. And in 
the unlawful reception of the money said Clark did then and 
there participate, with intent to make unlawful gain and profit. 

CHARGE II. — CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO GOOD ORDER AND MILITARY 

DISCIPLINE. 

Under which came specifications stating the following 
offenses : 

That on or about July 15, 1863, at the United States barracks 
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said Clark, being in command of the 
post, did exhibit two thousand dollars in money to Captain 
Garrett J. Spitzer, of Company C, in said regiment, and boasting 
of his own shame, said, " God, I made that snaring cotton," 
meaning that he had obtained said money by unlawful and 
shameful service imposed upon troops of the United States, 
and by other foul means. 

That on or about September 18, 1862, at Camp Williams, near 
New Orleans, Louisiana, he, said Clark, being in front of said 



COTTON THIEVES. 117 



regiment drawn up in line, did, in their presence and hearing, 
say in a loud voice, " Old Williams (meaning his late brigade 
commander, killed in battle at Baton Rouge) was an old fool. 
I am glad he is dead," and many profane, indecent and obscene 
words, of and concerning the said deceased General, then and 
there spoke and uttered. 

That on or about September 9, 1862, at Camp Williams, near 
New Orleans, Louisiana, he caused the names of Charles Heine, 
First Lieutenant of Company E, in said regiment, and John D. 
Kline, a corporal of Company C, in said regiment, to be wrong- 
fully dropped from the rolls of said regiment, while he knew 
that said Kline and Heine were prisoners of war in the hands 
of the enemy, and did wrongfully give their offices to others. 

That on or about September 10, 1862, at Camp Williams, near 
New Orleans, Louisiana, said Colonel T. S. Clark did write and 
send to the aforesaid Jew, Samuel J. Loenstein, the following 
letter, now ready to be produced, and being a call for money, 
whisky and shoulder-straps, to be given as bribes : 

Camp Williams, Louisiana, ) 
Friend Loenstein : September 10, 1862. f 

Sir — I expect that the regiment will be paid to-morrow or 

next day. I then intend to give you a chance to sell beer for a 

few days, and perhaps all the time. I have removed all other 

venders beyond my lines. I shall expect you to do as you 

agreed with me last December (you undoubtedly remember 

what that was), or else I shall let some one else take your place. 

I wish you would see if the shoulder-straps came on the 

Roanoke. 

Yours, COLONEL SIXTH MICH. VOLS. 

That on or about the 27th day of May, 1862, at Grand Gulf, 
Mississippi, he led a large party in plundering the store of one 
Buckingham, and in wrongfully taking and carrying away there- 
from a large stock of goods, of about ten thousand dollars value, 
and received himself a share of the plunder. 

In conclusion, specifications for the recent stealing at Pont- 
chitoula. 



118 AMONG THE 



CHARGE III. — NEGLECT OF DUTY, TO THE PREJUDICE OF GOOD ORDER AND 
MILITARY DISCIPLINE. 

Under which came specifications stating the following offenses, 
in due form : 

That on or about October 1, 1862, at New Orleans, Louisiana, 
he had in his control about five thousand dollars, to which the 
United States were justly entitled, yet he neglected to pay over 
said money to the jn'oper officers, and converted the same to 
his own use. 

That on or about July 20, 1862, at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 
he had in his control about sixty-six bales of cotton, to which 
the United States were entitled, yet he neglected to deliver the 
same to the proper officers, and converted the same to his own 
use. 

That on or about the 4th day of July, 1862, at Baton Rouge, 
Louisiana, he used and employed, and aided and assisted in 
using and employing, wagons, mules, contrabands, quarter- 
masters and commissaries, of the United States, in getting 
cotton, and disposing thereof for money, for his private use 
and speculation. 

That on or about May 1, 1863, at or near the mouth of the 
Amite river, Louisiana, he became intoxicated while in com- 
mand of a party of about two hundred men, with their officers, 
in the service of the United States, a naval force co-operating 
with him, and being intoxicated, said Clark gave orders that 
the boiler lying at the wreck of the United States gunboat 
Barataria should be burst with a quantity of musket cartridges, 
and then did abandon said troops in the presence of the enemy, 
and went to New Orleans. 

CHARGE IV. — MISBEHAVIOR BEFORE THE ENEMY. 

In this, that heretofore, to wit, on or about the 7th day of 
April, 1863, at the mouth of the Amite river, in Lake Maurepas, 
Louisiana, in the Department of the Gulf, he, the said Colonel 
Thomas S. Clark, of the Sixth Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, 
being on board the United States iron-clad gunboat Barataria, 



COTTON THIEVES. 119 



where he had his head-quarters, with eight privates, two cor- 
porals, and two commissioned officers of said regiment under 
his command, and with the naval force on said gunboat, com- 
manded by a naval officer thereat, and he, said Clark, having 
also under his command near by, to wit, at Pass Manchac and 
thereabouts, troops of the United States, being about five hun- 
dred men, with their officers, and the said gunboat being 
aground, and there being some danger, six guerrillas firing with 
small arms, he, the said Thomas S. Clark, Colonel, as aforesaid, 
did, through cowardice, offer and attempt to take the only large 
boat there, to wit, a certain cutter, man the same, and himself 
go across Lake Maurepas after reinforcements, and not being 
permitted by the said naval officer to take said cutter and get 
away himself, did, without sending by a small boat for rein- 
forcements, as he well might have done, hide himself in the 
lower part of said vessel, under heavy iron work, where there 
was much heat, where he remained hidden a long time, and 
then did forsake said gunboat, and did aid, counsel and assist, 
in the destruction of said gunboat, by means of fire, whisky and 
otherwise, through undue fear and without necessity, said 
iron-clad gunboat then and there being of great value and 
importance, and being well provided with Enfield rifles, bronze 
cannon, and all supplies needful for defense. 

(Signed) EDWARD BACON, 

Lieutenant-Colonel Sixth Michigan Volunteers. 

Although I knew that the court-martial had acquitted me, 
and censured my prosecutor, yet, according to unjust military 
usage, I would remain under arrest until the court would dis- 
pose of all the cases brought before them, and General Banks 
would publish in general orders his will as to their findings, so 
that for weeks, and even months, I would be exposed to all the 
torments which any commander may inflict upon an officer in 
arrest. 

General Banks was, with his army, campaigning away in the 
Teche country, toward the Red river. For some days after my 



120 AMONG THE 



charges had duly reached General Sherman, and their truth 
became known to him, I was interested as to what would happen 
next. Summary dismissal, on an accusation of some infamous 
crime, without regard to truth or proof, and without any chance 
of trial; or the wrath of headquarters might, without men- 
tioning any cause, send me to the Old Parish Prison, in the city, 
or to Fort Jackson. 

I amused myself in reading some of Eugene Sue 1 s famous 
descriptions of prison life, and hoped that the " honorable 
soci6te," where I might soon have a place, would have a " Con- 
teur " equal to Pique Vinaigre, author of the story, " Coupe en 
Deux et Gringalet." 

But strange to say, staff officers direct from head-quarters, 
and Colonel Clark himself, seemed to be remarkably sweet- 
tempered toward me. The Colonel, disgusted with Pass 
Manchac, established himself in a fine plantation house at 
Kennerville, on the river side, sixteen miles above New Orleans, 
near the tents of our regimental encampment, which Ave left 
when we first started for Pontchitoula. Here many of the 
regiment, whose health had failed, were now remaining, and 
here I had my tent, and strolled up and down the river and 
about the great Kenner estate, during several sultry days. One 
event happened worthy of notice. 

On Sunday, about noon, a courier brought a dispatch to 
Colonel Clark from Captain Bailey, commandant of the new 
mud fort stuck full of sharp sticks, at Pass Manchac. Clark 
immediately forwarded dispatches to General Sherman, in the 
city. We soon found out what was the trouble at Manchac. 
Captain Bailey's dispatch said that a fleet of seven rebel schoon- 
ers had come out of the Amite river boldly upon the lake, and 
were bearing down at full sail right toward his fort; and as 
they probably had rifled cannon, which would carry farther 
than his thirty-two-pounders, they might shell him out unless 
he was reinforced immediately. 

The idea of a confederate navy on Lake Maurepas was appre- 
ciated by every soldier, as was also the suddenness with which 



COTTON THIEVES. 121 



the bridge and fort builders at Manchac bad discovered the 
insecurity of their works. 

But instead of hearing the distant roar of cannon, we heard 
before long that another courier had arrived from Captain 
Bailey with a dispatch, stating that all was over and no harm 
done, the rebel fleet having turned out to be seven schooners 
which a detachment from the Fourteenth Maine, at Bonne 
Carre, on the Mississippi, had captured up the Amite river, and 
having manned them, were sending them around to the federal 
post of Lakeport, on Lake Pontchartrain ; that he would have 
blown them out of the water if they had not shown the white 
flag just when they did. The commander of the party that 
captured the schooners was never noticed or honored. He was 
not in favor, and was guilty of scaring Bailey, whose subser- 
viency always kept him in favor. On the other hand, Clark's 
cotton and turpentine expedition to Pontchitoula was to be 
mentioned honorably in General Halleck's annual report, as 
commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States. 

When it became evident that the truth of my charges against 
Clark made it unwise for the authorities to let loose their wrath 
upon me at once, and that they had decided to wait a while for 
a pretext, I knew that nothing I could do would increase my 
danger. I forwarded a copy of my charges and specifications 
to the Governor of Michigan, and began to devote much of my 
time to books ; but my review of Virgil and Caesar's de Bello 
Civile was interrupted by important events. 



16 



122 AMONG TEE 



CHAPTER V. 

Port Hudson — News of the First Assault— Determination to see the Great Show — Diffi- 
culties in the Way Overcome — The Curtain Raised— The Besieged and the Besiegers. 

General Banks, by the grand detour through the Teche 
country and the Red river, approached Port Hudson, where the 
confederate commander, General Gardiner, had received and 
announced orders to evacuate the place. The evacuation of 
Port Hudson had not only begun, but was likely to be complete 
before the federal army would be near enough to claim any 
glory. Federal generals, over- anxious about their reports, and 
sure of finding Port Hudson abandoned, pressed forward to 
capture spiked cannon, nearer than General Gardiner thought 
honor permitted ; and although he had left the place himself, he 
returned and got back all of his force that he could collect, and 
had gathered considerable supplies when the advance of Banks' 
army exchanged shots with the rebel cavalry below Bayou 
Sara. 

Port Hudson was not evacuated. On the contrary, it was 
said now to be provisioned, armed and manned for a siege. 
Orders came to General Augur, at Baton Rouge, and General 
Sherman, at New Orleans, to come with every man they could 
bring. The Sixth Michigan was gathered together at Kenner- 
ville, and hurried on board a great ocean steamer, to go to Port 
Hudson, where General Augur had one battle three or four 
miles from the fortifications, and although he claimed a victory, 
his killed and wounded were numerous, and he had come to a 
halt waiting for reinforcements. 

I went on board the steamer with the regiment, and was in 
my state-room, when late in the evening Clark arrived from 
New Orleans, almost as drank as he was on the memorable 4th 
day of February, 1863. He first ordered the long roll to be 
beat, and put the men to the useless trouble of disembarking 



COTTON 1HIEVES. 123 



and forming line of battle on the shore ; then ordered them 
back on board the steamer again. Soon afterward, his right 
hand man, Lieutenant Dickey, of Company E, came to me with 
an order, which he pretended was from General Sherman, that I 
must not accompany the regiment, because I was not released 
from arrest, and that I was to remain at Kennerville. 

On the morning of May 28th, 1863, I rode past the grove in 
front of the Kenner mansion, and among the scattered houses 
of the little village near it on the road to New Orleans. The 
steamers which had been hastening up and down the river, and 
the strange rumors that had come from Port Hudson, as well 
as anxiety to hear from my last application for leave to join my 
regiment, had caused me to set out for the city to hear the 



news. 



As I came along the river road, behind the levee, approaching 
the Carrollton parapet, I saw in the distance the flag at half- 
mast, and on inquiring at the picket as to what had happened, a 
sergeant answered, " I suppose it is on account of so many of 
our men being killed at Port Hudson." "Has there been a 
battle there?" "Yes, clay before yesterday our army charged 
on the fort, and about two thousand were killed. I have heard 
that General Daw was wounded, and that Colonel Cowles, of 
the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth New York, Colonel 
Clark, of the Sixth Michigan, and General Sherman, were 
killed." I was soon at our regimental hospital in Carrollton. 
The wounded had been carried to general hospitals in the city, 
but I found eastern officers and men, who, as guards on steam- 
ers, had just returned from the siege. " Is Colonel Clark really 
killed?" was my first question. " Not exactly killed," was the 
answer. " Some of our boys passed him when he was lying 
insensible on the field. He was knocked down by the wind of 
a cannon ball in the beginning of the fight." " What kind of a 
place was he lying in when your men saw him ?" " They said 
he was inside of a ravine ; but it is said that he was very brave 
before he was wounded, and now he is in command of the 
brigade." "Then he is not wounded severely?" "No; the 



124 AMONG THE 



wind of the ball only knocked him senseless, and as soon as he 
came to himself he was all right." 

I heard many accounts of the general assault on Port Hud- 
son, May 27, 1863. General T. W. Sherman was not killed, but 
the bones of one of his legs had been shattered by a rifle shot, 
and unless the excellent care which he was receiving at the 
Hotel Dieu should save him, mortification and death would 
soon end his career. No skill could save his leg. 

I forwarded to Wickham Hoffman, who was chief of staff for 
General Dwight, successor of General Sherman, a formal appli- 
cation for leave to join my regiment, but days passed by and 
no answer came. I heard continual news from the siege, and 
longed to see for myself. On successive days I risked a new 
arrest by going to General Emory's head-quarters, and applying 
there for leave to go to Port Hudson. Pressure of business for 
several days prevented attention to my application, but at last 
I found the President of the court-martial by which I had been 
tried, and after he had had an interview with General Emory in 
my behalf, I obtained the following order : 



Head-quarters Defenses op New Orleans, ) 
Special Orders, ) Xew Orleans, June 10, 1863. \ 

No. 19. J" 

3. Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon, Sixth Regiment Michigan Vol- 
unteers, being under arrest in this city, and learning from the 
President of the court-martial before whom he was tried that 
the charges were not of a serious nature, and as Lieutenant- 
Colonel Bacon is anxious to join his regiment, and do duty in 
the field before Port Hudson, he is hereby ordered to report in 
person at the head-quarters of the Department of the Gulf for 
such orders as the General commanding may give. 

By command of W. II. Emory, B. G. C. 

W. D. SMITH, Lieut-Col., A. A. A. G. 

At about midnight of the day on which I received this order, 
I succeeded in getting on board a steamer which, on the way to 



COTTON THIEVES. 125 



Port Hudson, touched at Kennerville to put off some commis- 
sary stores. As I lay down to rest in a scantily furnished 
state-room, I noticed that the vessel shook in every part with 
the hard labor of the engine driving forward at full speed with 
a load of provisions and ammunition probably much needed in 
the siege. 

The sun shines down bright and hot on the morning of June 
11th, 1863. Our steamer is gliding forward beyond Baton 
Rouge. I am on deck, and hardly feel the heat or notice the 
levees, plantations and luxuriant forests, or think that from 
either of the shores which we often approach may come the 
guerrilla bullets which will prevent me from seeing the famous 
Port Hudson. At last my eyes are gratified with the sight of 
the first black hulks of Farragut's fleet. There they lie at 
anchor. There are the same leaning smoke-stacks and black 
short-topped masts which I have seen going up the river on 
their w T ay from distant stations to participate in the siege that I 
now feel sure of seeing. That piece of woods which divides 
the smooth yellow waters of the river is Prophet's Island. The 
channel on the east side of the island is very narrow, but the 
river being high we easily make our way up this passage, and 
soon have before us the regular tents and piles of stores at 
Springfield Landing, the base of supplies for all Banks' army. 
A steamer which, while aground, has been left half rolled over 
on its side by the receding waters, is used as a wharf boat. 
Gangs of slaves, newly captured from the plantations, are at 
work loading wagons with provisions and heavy ammunition 
for artillery. I look up the river and can see the water stretch 
out beyond the upper end of the island, and farther on are high 
banks and bluffs where the stream makes a great elbow. On 
the farthest of these bluffs are a few rough buildings like ware- 
houses, and over one of these, from a high pole, floats the con- 
federate flag of Port Hudson. Our war vessels are at a most 
respectful distance from those bluffs, on which, by assistance of a 
glass, can be seen the earth-work batteries where are mounted 
the cannon that destroyed the sloop-ofwar Mississippi. Such 



126 AMONG THE 



skill has been used to protect and conceal the guns, that even 
with a glass there is hardly a cannon that can be seen. There 
is no firing going on between the rebel batteries and the fleet. 
The lead-colored Monongahela, most forward of the federal ves- 
sels, lies without a show of sail or steam, still as if keeping a 
Jewish Sabbath in the hot sun, about two and a half miles from 
the nearest rebel battery, which is on the point of a high forti- 
fied bluff, where the same sabbatical quiet seems to prevail ; but 
when I have gone ashore I can hear occasionally the distant 
boom of a heavy gun from federal batteries, enough to give me 
a correct report of the siege. No parleying and no fighting 
is going on. These occasional cannon shots sound as if they 
were more for appearances than for effect. I meet our Quarter- 
master, and ask him, " How soon do you expect to get up 
another charge?" "In three or four days." "Then I am in 
time after all ! " 

I hear irom Colonel T. S. Clark. lie is in command of a 
brigade, and likely to be a division commander. Since his des- 
perate adventure with the cannon ball on the 27th of May, his 
valor is, by the Generals, deemed established, and he has been 
more of a favorite than ever. 

It is about eight miles to General Banks' head-quarters, 
where it is for my interest to arrive as soon as I can, in order to 
see him before my enemies can. Perhaps, by good luck and 
audacity, I will be put in command of my regiment, in spite of 
all that has been done against me, and of what I have done in 
return. I find an opportunity to ride in a wagon, and lor a 
long time I am jolting slowly along dusty roads around in rear 
of the army. There is continual coming and going for all the 
supplies along these crooked roads to the landing; and there is 
nothing to hinder a dash of rebel cavalry from sweeping away 
teams and men any moment. I inquire what guards the com- 
munication of the besieging army with Springfield Landing, 
and am informed that Griersoifs cavalry are the only protection 
of the rear of Banks' army, and that in reality they are not 
numerous enough to guard much of the long stretch where 



COTTON THIEVES. 127 



attacks may be expected, but that Grierson's raid has made his 
name such a terror to the rebels that he guards where he is not 
almost as well as where he is. I feel more desire than ever to 
see and understand the operations here. I am almost sorry 
that I ever spoke a word about cotton stealing or the Barataria. 
It is certain that if I do get command of my regiment I have 
now enemies in high favor who will not let me keep command 
long. They will try their best either to have me killed, or 
rearrested for something as bad as they can think of; but life 
was monotonous at Kennerville, and I will surely see the siege 
of Port Hudson. The country is level, and was originally 
covered with a dense forest of high trees, which now only here 
and there have been cleared away to make room for plantations, 
and for the numerous wagon roads, along which the clay dust 
rises at every step. 

We come where tents and bough houses are seen scattered in 
confusion under the trees. Stacks of arms, barrels of water, 
washed clothes hung up to dry, fires for cooking, negroes of 
every sex, age and costume, mules and dogs, refugees, planta- 
tion wagons, and piles of boxes of ammunition for everything 
from a cavalry revolver to a nine-inch Dalghren, are on all sides. 
These men are the besiegers of Port Hudson. A glance shows 
that they are already demoralized and at their wits' end, and 
that there is nothing but Grierson's name to prevent a small 
force of rebel cavalry, led by a bold man, from raising a panic 
here that would equal that of Bull Run. We pass along from 
one piece of woods, alive with besiegers, to another, then pass 
an interval where there appears to be quite a gap in the 
besieging army. Here is a house, said to be occupied by an 
old woman and her old maid daughters. They show themselves 
as we pass. They are representatives of the poor white trash, 
as represented by Northern novelists. The three men on guard 
at the house are not needed to protect such looking females, 
and such a house, even from the besiegers. 

I recognize men ot my regiment at a small log house, between 
two camps. I ask one of them, " What are you doing here ?" 



128 AMONG TEE 



" This is Lieutenant Dickey's place ; he is an ordnance officer 
now. He keeps ammunition here, and we are detailed to help 
him." " Well, you have a pretty safe business, havn't you ?" 
"We have that; but we had rather be with the regiment. 
There is no use in our being kept here to watch a few boxes 
of ammunition at such a time as this." 

I leave with a non-commissioned officer here my carpet-bag, 
and having inquired the way to Banks' head-quarters, set out on 
foot to go there. After a while I come out of the woods, filled 
with besiegers, upon a great plantation, now all open and with- 
out fences, where about half a mile to the left, beyond level 
fields, is in plain sight the long, low earth-work of Port Hudson. 
There are the rebel sentinels ; their musket barrels, sticking up 
above the earth-work, gleam in the sun as they turn. There is 
our naval battery of nine-inch Dalghrens, whose voices I have 
occasionally heard to-day, but now they seem to have done 
enough, and are quiet, participating in the languor which every- 
body seems to feel. The earth has been dug up and piled so as 
to protect the guns, which are kept as low as possible. Pieces 
of canvas have been stretched up like awnings, and I can see 
that the men who show themselves are sailors from the fleet. 
Inside of the enemy's works there is nothing to be seen except 
a green forest. I let my eye follow that line of fortification. 
It seems very low, and soon disappears from my sight which 
ever way I follow it, trees and bushes hiding it, except for 
about a quarter of a mile in front of me. It seems to be laid 
out on a great curve, running from the river to the river again, 
so as to inclose four or five hundred acres. Is it possible that 
such a little string of earth-work can be so hard to pass ? 

I am standing near the edge of a great plantation, and can 
look over nearly a mile of open ground back toward the outside 
country. There, on the border of the distant woods, are planta- 
tion buildings, about two miles from the rebel works. At those 
buildings are General Banks' head-quarters. A battery of light 
artillery is camped near where I stand. There is scarcely an 
appearance of any more federal forces as far as I can see. 



COTTON THIEVES. 129 



What protects General Banks' head-quarters? The distance 
which the besiegers pretend to cover with their camps is about 
seven miles, and how can they afford to make such a bend to 
the rear to give their commander a country seat ? and he must 
have a much greater respect for the rebel artillery in the fort 
than for the forces which the enemy may send to relieve the 
place. The besieging army is, on paper, about twenty thousand 
strong, but of men who will do any more earnest charging to 
take Port Hudson, there are not five thousand. The front, 
toward the enemy's works, is divided out to the regular army 
officers here, acting as Major-Generals. Dwight, Sherman's 
successor, has the left; Augur next; then Grover; then Weitzel. 
Those woods, distant from me about half a mile across the open 
plantation, are occupied by the troops of General Grover. 
These regular army gentlemen have certainly the control of 
everything in this army. They have sent General Banks two 
miles to the rear, to get rid of a volunteer and civilian superior, 
and true to their principles of jealousy and selfishness, every 
one will do all he can to make himself notorious, and to degrade 
his rivals. 

On my way approaching Banks' head-quarters, I see that 
wagon trains are encamped along the skirts of woods beyond 
the fields, and among the out-houses and groves near the planta- 
tion house are several batteries of light artillery, without much 
show of even men enough to guard them respectably in time 
of peace. This plainly built white house, with its beautiful 
grove of stately oaks, is not occupied by General Banks. His 
telegraph operator has brought his wires into one window, and 
uses one room; the planter's family continue to use the rest 
of the house. Behind the house the sod under the oak trees is 
level and clean as a carpet, and there is a gentle slope of the 
surface. Here, with mathematical regularity, the fine wall tents 
of General Banks and his staff are elegantly pitched in the form 
of a parallelogram, the Major- General's tent being at the end 
nearest to the house. At a short distance from these tents, 
under other trees, are encamped the head-quarters' guard, the 
17 



130 AMONG TEE 



besl disciplined men from the favorite Massachusetts regiments. 
Sentinels are on post at regular intervals, doing duty in imitation 
of a King's body-guard. In passing through the federal camps, 
I have hardly seen a sentinel on duty, till I find this soldier 
walking his beat, precise in every motion, betore the General's 
empty tent. I look over the open fields and woods, and the 
wide, level roads, extending farther into the enemy's country, 
and wonder what good this finely-clothed body-guard will do 
if the enemy should happen to choose these head-quarters for a 
point of attack; but when I hear an officer speak of Grierson's 
camp near by, I perceive what enables General Banks to rest in 
security in this rural retreat. My first business is to present 
my order at the tent of Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Irwin, a 
little red-headed regular army officer, who is Banks' Adjutant- 
t reneral, and has been sent here by the West Point authorities 
in Washington to act as a quasi keeper for the civilian Major- 
ral. I have oiten heard of this Lieutenant-Colonel Irwin, 
lie is represented to have been a favorite, long employed in the 
War Department, where, in addition to his contempt for volun- 
teers, he got great ideas of his own importance. 

This spare-faced little individual is now right beibre me. He 
receives and reads my paper from General Emory with polite- 
ness, and, to my surprise, in a gentlemanly manner tells me to 
wait until General Banks returns; that this matter is one for his 
personal attention; that General Banks will return from the 
front in about two hours. 

I leave his tent and walk away, looking for the best place to 
pass the time. I find twenty or thirty men in the dirty, dingy 
cotton clothing and slouched hats of rebel soldiers, lounging 
together on the ground, under the care of the guard. These 
are rebel deserters and prisoners. No opposition being made. 
1 enter into conversation with the rebels. They agree in all 
essentials of their description of the fortifications of Port 
Hudson. There is but one line of works, except at a few 
points, where the nature of the ground has made outworks 
necessary. There are no inside batteries which command the 



COTTON THIEVES. 131 



exterior works, except that some of the guns in the water bat- 
teries can be turned so as to command other fortifications near 
the river. Nearly all of the line of earth-work is intended to 
he of the zigzag kind. The ditch, where there is any, is about 
four feet in both depth and breadth, and the parapet is hardly 
high enough to hide a man immediately behind it. The chief 
strength of the place is what nature gave it — a labyrinth of 
ravines and a dense forest standing inside the fortifications, 
obstructing the view of the besiegers and stopping their shot, 
while outside of the earth- works the same forest has been felled, 
so as to make most of the way a mass of tangled tops where an 
enemy would have to approach, but should assailants make their 
way through this fallen timber, they would for about one hun- 
dred yards before reaching the ditch have to pass over ground 
cleared of every obstruction, swept by the concentrated fire 
of artillery and infantry. My inquiries about the supplies 
which the enemy have are answered in a manner which satisfies 
me that provisions, medical stores and ammunition, are scarce 
in Port Hudson, and that time will soon give us the place, if the 
demoralization of the besieging army does not sooner compel 
us to raise the siege, and if no attempt is made to relieve the 
besieged. 

General Banks arrives, followed by staff officers and orderlies. 
The guard turns out, obsequious slaves hold the stirrups, and, 
when the well-uniformed riders have dismounted, lead away the 
horses. I see that some fine looking quadroon and mulatto 
girls are busy in cooking, at the house, the various dishes 
of food which genteel negro waiters are carrying to a table 
which they have covered with a fine linen table-cloth. While 
I wait a few moments for the General to get rested, I notice the 
accomplished Brigadier-General C. P. Stone, earnestly question- 
ing an intelligent rebel deserter, and pointing to places on a 
map of Port Hudson, which he holds spread out on the ground. 
Two well-dressed, middle-aged slaves, who look as if they had 
always held positions of trust in great families, carry past me, 
on silver trays, decanters of liquors and finely-cut glasses. I 



132 AMONG THE 



enter General Banks' tent, tell him -who I am. present my order 
from General Emory, and make known to him that I have been 
tried and probably acquitted on the charge preferred against 
me, and that the report of my trial is on file at his head-quarters 
in the city, and that all I "wish is to be returned to duty with 
my regiment. The General seems very much exhausted, and to 
have troubles enough of his own, but he tells me civilly that 
to-morrow he will telegraph to the city, find out what was the 
result of my trial, and that if I am acquitted he will return me 
to my command. As I go away I hear the clink of glasses and 
the sound of merry laughter, but I see that the General sits 
on the edge of his camp bedstead, and buries his face in 
his hands. Poor Major-General Banks, your regular army staff 
officers and division commanders are making your place worse 
than mine. There is little chance for you to command them. 
No, they will command you; they will ruin you here if they 
can. That you are a great man in the nation, and a volunteer 
Major-General, renders your fate certain. 

I go back to the camps by the way I came, but take time to 
inquire and to make observations. Part of my road is not only 
within plain sight, but is within the range of cannon shot from 
the enemy's works. Many teams are passing and repassing, 
but not a shot is fired. I stop to talk a few moments with 
Captain Holcomb, of the Second Vermont Battery, and while 
others are expressing their opinions as to w r hat has enabled the 
confederates to hold out so well, he says, "Well, gentlemen, 
my opinion is that we would have succeeded better if it had not 
been for a d — d rebellious spirit inside that fort." 

Most of the way no sight of the rebel works can be had, on 
account of the intervening woods. My own regiment is where 
the extreme left of the federal army rests on the river. The 
head-quarters of the Twenty-first Indiana Infantry, now heavy 
artillery, is half way there. This regiment and the Fourth 
Wisconsin came with the Sixth Michigan on the steamer Con- 
stitution to Ship Island, in March, 18<iii, and these three western 
regiments have ever since that time been the only western 



COTTON THIEVES. 133 



troops in the Gulf Department until the recent arrival of Grier- 
son's cavalry, and have been continually persecuted by the New 
England officials, who have had everything their own way here. 
Common j:>ersecutions have united the Sixth Michigan, Twenty- 
first Indiana and Fourth Wisconsin, like a ship's crew in a 
foreign port, and have given a great contempt for the New 
England troops, who are all called " Nutmegs " by our men. 
Colonel Keith, of the Twenty-first, offers me good meals, a good 
place to sleep, a horse to ride, and a chance to visit the Indiana 
batteries, which are in front of every division, and advises me 
to make the most I can of my opportunity to see this grand 
performance of the regular army generals and New England 
troops, for there is no telling how brief that opportunity will 
be. I conclude to give General Banks one whole day to hear 
from New Orleans, and to begin my explorations to-night. 

Soon after sundown I set out with Captain Roy, of the 
Twenty-first, to visit one of their principal batteries on the left. 
We pass several strong semi-circular redoubts, or lunettes, with 
deep ditch and high parapet. The revetments are of rails and 
posts. These lunettes, about a quarter of a mile apart, and 
nearly a mile from the present earth- works of Port Hudson, 
extend on a great curve around the place wherever an army 
can approach, and are a part of some plan of defense which 
would require thirty thousand men, and has been long since 
abandoned for the present continuous line, which yet remains 
too long to be well defended by the garrison. 

The short twilight is gone, leaving us in darkness to find our 
way, by the short turns of a new road, through a mile of dense 
forest, filled with tangled undergrowth. This road or path is 
the only practicable communication of the federal center with 
their left. 

What folly it is in the confederate cavalry to let Grierson, 
with his handful of Illinoisans, keep them from making these 
besiegers try their communications. What folly it is in the 
besieged to make no sortie on any isolated part of the federal 
army, for fear that the same Illinois cavalry will be everywhere 



134 AMONG TEE 



present, and ready to charge on whoever is caught outside the 
parapet. 

We come where half a mile of the road is again through the 
open fields, and passes within rifle range of the rebels. Here 
some casualties have happened, and we get over the ground as 
fast as we can. We leave our horses in a safe place, and go 
forward to the battery of four heavy Parrott guns which we 
have come to see. The negroes have done well here. The 
short cornered embankment, raised to protect the guns, is very 
thick and high, and the embrasures are well made. Here one 
gun burst to-day, but nobody was hurt. I am told that the 
breach of the piece only backed a little and rolled off the car- 
riage, while two or three large fragments flew up about twenty 
feet in the air and fell, giving everybody a chance to get out 
of the way. These Indianians talk as if the danger from a 
bursting cannon is very small. They say, however, that it is 
dangerous to wear any white clothing, even inside the battery, 
during the day, for it is liable to be seen through the embrasures 
by the rebel sharp-shooters, who stand ready to send half a 
dozen rifle bullets into an embrasure. That two or three days 
ago, while one of their- comrades was eating supper at the board 
table, under the awning behind the guns, a rebel Minie ball 
came through an embrasure and killed him instantly. 

Captain Roy is getting ready to fire a thirty-pounder Parrott. 
"Take a percussion shell this time," he says, and without orders 
or noise, but in a very quiet and business-like manner, the gun 
is loaded and run into battery. All is still inside the rebel 
works in front. Not a flicker of a camp fire can be seen, but 
now and then appears for a moment a light like that of a lan- 
tern. It is said that about this time supplies and reliefs are 
being distributed inside the fort, and a few shots are to be fired 
for their benefit. At the word " Fh*e," spoken in a conversa- 
tional manner, a stream of fire shoots from the muzzle of the 
loaded Parrott, the ground gives a quiver, a cloud of powder- 
smoke and a stunning sound fills the air. I step to one side, 
and listen to the screeching of the shell, at first very loud and 



COTTON THIEVES. 135 



accompanied by a rushing noise, then rapidly growing fainter, 
until it dies away apparently among the woods of Port Hudson. 
We wait until, at considerable intervals, several shots are 
fired. Some of the shells explode just within the enemy's works 
with a peculiar report, which tells how the pieces must fly, but 
not a shot from rifle or cannon is fired by the rebels in reply, 
and Port Hudson seems to be silent and unoccupied. Yet 
there is no disposition shown to go and see whether anybody is 
there. 

June 12, 1863. — The sun rises like a great fire, near enough to 
wilt the strength of even the Africans at work bringing hun- 
dreds of coffee sacks and oat sacks, stuffed with cotton, and 
piling them at a place not far from the head-quarters house 
of the Indianians. Negroes are getting horses ready. I am 
sitting under a rough piazza, on the shady side of the old build- 
ing. At intervals I hear the boom of cannon, some near and 
some far off. The discharges are less frequent than they have 
been during the night. I have heard that the principal object 
of the random night firing was to keep the rebels from sleeping 
well. Our chief of artillery must be afraid that the rebels will 
try to sleep in the morning. There sits beside me an officer 
who used to attend with me General Williams' guard mountings 
on the deck of the Constitution, when we first came under the 
Southern heats, on our way around Cape Sable and the Florida 
Keys, and who has shared with me the rice and pork stews 
provided for us when, on board the sail ship Great Republic, 
we lay at anchor off the Southwest Pass during the bombard- 
ment of Fort Jackson. He says to me, "There is to be another 
charge on Port Hudson in a day or two. This charge is to be 
on a new plan — the cotton bag plan. I do not think that the 
long poles and short boards used on the 27th of May will be 
tried again." "Is it admitted," I ask, "that the poles and 
boards were a failure?" "Oh, no; there is no such word as 
fail in reports from this siege. The poor contrabands, five or 
six at each pole, were put ahead of the storming column that 
was to go over the Slaughter field. There was a sufficient 



136 AMONG THE 



number of the negroes to carry about two wagon loads of those 
infernal poles — green, hard wood poles, crooked and misshapen, 
four or six inches thick, and twenty-five feet long. Behind the 
negroes went the forlorn hope — men from your regiment. 
They were ordered to carry a lot of little boards, about five 
feet long. The charge began at double-quick. The first diffi- 
culty was that there were about three strong fences and the 
ruins of Slaughter's house to pass. Negroes, poles, boards and 
soldiers, got through, but when they made their appearance on 
the open field they were somewhat mixed up. The rebels 
opened a tremendous fire of artillery and infantry, and the 
Slaughter field became a field of slaughter. It was expected 
that the negroes would carry the poles to that great ditch which 
is supposed by some to surround Port Hudson. There, right 
under a raking fire, the poles were to be laid, about four feet 
apart, across the ditch ; then the little boards were to go on, 
and the stormers were to go over on bridges. Neither poles 
nor storming column got more than half way across the field. 
The only real charge made was upon the fences. But few 
would have got off the field alive if it had not been for some 
of your regiment, who skulked forward as sharp-shooters, got 
into all sorts of hiding places, and by their well-aimed fire drove 
the rebels from their guns and kept them down." 

" What is now the cotton bag plan ?" " Well, some great 
regular army man has immortalized himself by getting up that 
plan. It is a wonder that forts have not been easily stormed 
and taken that way before. The soldiers are to carry cotton 
bags, about the size of pillows, to 'keep the bullets off. Our 
generals evidently believe in cotton." 

After a ride toward the front, our road leading through 
woods where hut and tent encampments are curiously scattered, 
we have hitched our horses and walked forward to the Indiana 
battery in the point of woods on the south side of the Slaughter 
field. Here I recognize some of the iron twenty-four-pounders 
and eight-inch howitzers which we used to see on the parapet 
at Carrollton. This battery is about nine hundred yards from 



COTTON THIEVES. 137 



the rebel works, of which I have a fair view. There stretches 
through the open, desolate cotton fields, the long, low earth- 
work, in most places hardly high enough to hide a man, but in 
places piled up in irregular mounds, said to be constantly 
repaired and strengthened by night work, to protect cannon 
that will not speak until another charge is tried. On my left 
the enemy's earth-work comes to an end in a projecting redoubt, 
where the fresh earth is piled up ten feet above the level plain. 
This redoubt seems to defend the corner where the line of forti- 
fication turns to go back to the river. To my right the rebel 
work extends across the Slaughter field until it is hidden by 
undulations in the surface of the earth and a growth of under- 
brush on land across which I have to look. Everywhere, at a 
short distance inside the rebel works, are seen the tall green 
woods, which, beginning again on our side of the ground, screen 
our camps and batteries. As I look forward I see some embra- 
sures in the rebel works filled with green boughs, intended to 
prevent us from seeing when their cannon are run out of hiding 
places and got ready to fire. We occasionally have a glimpse 
of rebel soldiers skulking about their fortifications, and a few 
tents and log huts are to be seen on the edge of the woods 
inside the rebel earth-works. My Indiana friends are about to 
fire a twenty-four-pounder, which is loaded, run into battery 
and primed without any commands or cei What do 

you see to shoot at ?" says the tall, democr.uic looking Captain. 
" Nothing," is answered by a man at the gun. Another can- 
nonier says, " I see an old cow right in front there, inside the 
fort." "Let her have it," says the Captain, and the flame darts 
from vent and muzzle, while the smoke rolls up over the battery, 
and the woods re-echo the report. The shot howls through the 
air on its curved flight, and bursts with a loud noise and puff 
of smoke about one hundred yards this side of the cow, which, 
either frightened or wounded, raises her head and runs into the 
woods. Several shots are fired, showing that Hoosiers can 
handle cannon as well as rifles, but without causing a rebel 
to show himself, or drawing any fire. 

18 



138 AMONG TEE 



Having left this battery, we cross the back part of Slaughter's 
field at a run, being fairly exposed to the fire of rebel sharp- 
shooters, who give us two or three shots from their long range 
rifles, but the noise of our horses' feet prevents us from hearing 
how near the bullets come. Here we are behind the fences and 
shade trees around the ruins of Mr. Slaughter's house, which 
was burned shortly before the great pole and board charge 
of May 27. Right here was formed the storming column of 
four wasted regiments, each in line, about twenty paces apart, 
the negroes ahead with poles, and the forlorn hope next with 
their boards; then the regiments, Sixth Michigan, Twenty-sixth 
Connecticut, Fifteenth New Hampshire and Twenty-eighth 
New York. Here General T. W. Sherman sat on his horse 
when General Banks' Chief of Staff, General George L. Andrews, 
brought him some message just before the column was ready to 
move, which stirred Sherman's wrath, and, as is said, he was 
seen to grasp his own hat, throw it to the ground, and after some 
words and excited gestures, he turned to the troops and cried, 
" Forward ! double-quick ! double-quick !" The soldiers had 
heard the fire of musketry die away, and the slow firing of artil- 
lery begin again along various parts of the federal front where 
there had been successive disconnected assaults by division com- 
manders during the forenoon. Every man knew that the result 
had been disastrous repulse. They were slow to start, especially 
as they could see nothing before them but these strong palisade 
fences and the smoking ruins around the chimneys and cellars 
of the burned mansion. 

" Double-quick !" cried Sherman, and double-quick went the 
doomed column, poles and all, against the fences, while Sher- 
man dashed through a lane on horseback. It is said that he 
is the only regular army general who has been crazy enough to 
attempt to lead any of the charges ordered. In a few moments 
horse and rider were shot, and the field was strewn with bodies 
of the bravest men, who, without commanders, and in confusion, 
still continued this madman's charge. Many are those who 
must mourn for what was done on the 27th of May ; many were 



C01T0N THIEVES. 139 



the brave volunteers who left happy homes and loving families 
to die on that slaughter-field. 

I shall soon see the place to which Colonel T. S. Clark was 
carried by the wind of that cannon ball or awful shell. Port 
Hudson is as belligerent to-day as it was on the day of the 
assault, but by taking advantage of the cover afforded by the 
ravine and woods a little north of Mr. Slaughter's house, we 
are soon at the hollow in the side of the ravine to which the 
wind of that ball carried Clark about as soon as he found him- 
self exposed on the open field. A large tree, growing on the 
ravine side, had been cut down, and its trunk and stump made 
doubly certain the protection which this little grotto, formed 
by the action of rains, afforded him. Here he lay, safe from the 
possibility of harm, while the slaughter was going on. What a 
fortunate thing that the concussion of that ball carried him to 
such an excellent hiding place. From this place six good 
soldiers had to carry him on a stretcher, as if he was wounded, 
while better men than he lay thirsty and bleeding on the sun- 
scorched field. Some of them lie in those graves which we 
have just passed by; some groan in hospitals, under the experi- 
ments of surgeons. Clark's valor and leadership, displayed on 
the 27th, have been reported and recorded. He has been a 
brigade commander ever since he was carried far enough to the 
rear to be one. I hope that the generals will show their faith 
in him by appointing him to lead in the next assault. 

One of the strangest things about the assault made on this 
field was, that it was not made until about 2 o'clock in the 
afternoon, when the repulse of the divisions of Augur, Grover 
and Weitzel, had been complete about the middle of the fore- 
noon, and the firing of heavy guns along that part of the line 
proclaimed to all of both armies that nowhere there had the 
enemy been driven from his works. The possibility of being 
beaten in detail was never considered by these division com- 
manders, who are responsible for that day's work, and lor the 
whole of this siege. Every one thought he would have an 
assault of his own, and he might get men enough killed to make 



140 AVONO THE 



a great man of himself, no matter what would be the result, and 
probably every general thought himself able to take Port Hud- 
son alone. Those who made the last assaults expected that the 
previous assaults had drawn the enemy away, and that- success 
would be very easy. But Shermans division, in plain sight 
of the enemy, and at a slow pace, was moved from a point 
of woods on the south side of the Slaughter field around along 
the back part of the opening, to the place in rear of the ruins 
of the house, where the charge was made at last. No better 
means of warning the victorious rebels where to concentrate 
could have been devised. After the disaster to General Sher- 
- column was complete, and the field was strewn with the 
dead and dying, Brigadier-General George L. Andrews, a 
renowned West Pointer, took General Sherman's place. The 
first thing he did was to announce that our troops were inside 
Port Hudson, and that something more must be done. Being 
' »f Staff, he had not been able to have an 

assault which he could call his own individually. Here was his 
chance. Three companies of my regiment, about one hundred 
altogether, had been left to support the batteries of artil- 
lery which co-operated with the column. Captain E. A. Griffin 
was the ranking officer ot these companies. He was commanded 
by General Andrews to get all the men together and move for- 
ward as rapidly as he could to support our troops, who were 
inside the fort and struggling with the enemy. The patriotic 
men of these companies rallied and charged out on the field 
about as far as the column went, and with about the same result. 
(. neral Andrews' charge could show as many killed and 
wounded, in proportion to the numbers employed, as any charge 
made that day. 

I look back to the woods in rear of Slaughter's house, where 
General Andrews remained safe as any brigadier, when his 
charge was made. Those v " here General 

Sherman, on the night I ie battle, made a beginning wor- 

thy of the end, namely, his nighl I Port Hudson 

and its artillery. The Sixth Michigan was selected tor this 



COTTON THIEVES. 141 



work. Total darkness was to prevent the rebels from taking 
aim, while our regiment were ordered to learn as much of the 
ground as they could by feeling, and were to press forward near 
to the fortifications and fire two volleys, to draw the fire of the 
enemy's artillery, so that something might be ascertained as to 
the caliber and position of the guns. An accomplished West 
Pointer, Lieutenant Woodrow, now accompanied the. regiment 
as far as he could with safety, in order to give the General a 
correct report of the whole reconnoissance. The orders received 
were obeyed. Clark undertook to move the regiment through 
woods and ravines in line of battle. Sometimes twenty-five or 
fifty men would be rolled together down twenty feet among 
briers and tree tops. Sometimes the flank companies would 
find themselves in the center, and at other times the color com- 
pany would find themselves neai'ly a quarter of a mile behind 
the rest. Clark halted at a convenient place, and sent forward 
one company to do the volley firing. They contrived to fire by 
rank, so as to deliver two volleys, without waiting to load, very 
near to the fortifications. They could distinctly hear the orders 
given, and the enemy's men taking their places, but not a can- 
non was fired. 

On the next morning it was discovered that there was nothing 
to hinder whole companies from going to the edge of the 
Slaughter field, where, without being in danger, they could see 
not only all that was reconnoitered by feeling in the dark, but 
could also examine the whole front of the fortifications, and 
could see just where the embrasures and the thickness and 
height of the parapet indicated that cannon were, and nothing 
was plainer than that most of the guns were light, and movable 
from place to place. Soldiers wondered how much wiser any- 
body would have been for hearing some of the rebel cannon in 
the night. 

We have arrived at the Indiana battery in the point of woods 
on the right of the Slaughter field. This battery is within 
about seven hundred yards of the rebel works. Every one who 
shows himself is liable to be hit by the Minie ball of rebel 



142 AMONG THE 



sharp-shooters, but I must make the most of this excellent 
chance to look at Port Hudson. Keeping tolerably protected 
by the thick piles of earth that protect the Indiana guns, I take 
a fair view of that long, irregular line of fortifications, which 
stretches so far to right and left. The sun shines down so hot 
that all I look at flickers as if about to flame. At intervals 
along the rebel parapet are placed white sand bags, always in 
threes, two side by side, about six inches apart, and one cross- 
wise upon them, leaving a hole through which the sharp-shooter 
watches and fires. I examine those mounds along the parapet 
which are said to protect rebel cannon. Some of these mounds 
are so near that I can plainly see what they were made for — 
principally to protect the cannoniers who are to work guns at 
embrasures in case of an assault. No guns are at the embrasures 
now ; they have been turned around against the thick sides of 
the parapet, or run into holes in the ground, remaining silent as 
if they were made of wood, but sure to speak when an assault- 
ing column comes. The spirit moves my Indiana friends to 
give the rebels a shot. They are loading one of their long 
Parrotts. I look to see what they can fire at. A solitary ambu- 
lance, with a little yellow flag, is slowly wending its way along- 
inside of the rebel fortifications, and in the edge of the woods 
beyond I see a few tents and a line of little log huts, but not a 
rebel soldier is to be seen; they, like their cannon, only showing 
themselves when an assaulting column comes. The air is 
shaken, and the forest resounds with the report of our Parrott. 
Away goes the hissing, howling shot, and comes down among 
the tree tops inside of the rebel works. 

It is said that' rebel riflemen have been firing from the upper 
boughs of those trees. However this may be, the smoke of our 
gun hardly clears away when we hear the distant report of rifles, 
and the well-known whistle of a Minie ball is heard about 
twenty feet above our heads. Another and another comes, and 
on a descending flight, goes just over our heads and strikes the 
ground. Beyond us, another spitefully strikes the trunk of a 
tree, where it buries itself, causing fragments of bark to fly in 



COTTON THIEVES. 143 



the air. It is evident that further observations from this point 
will be too risky. 

In a little while we have arrived at another Indiana battery, 
where several familiar guns are in charge of a gallant captain. 
Here we find ourselves yet within range of rebel rifles, which 
occasionally send their balls singing over our heads. This is 
the ground where General Augur made his charge on the 27th, 
but he was too wise to lead it. He stopped further back than 
this, among his staff officers, safely protected by thick trees. 
He was heard to say, " Go in, boys !" as his regiments and 
brigades, in long lines, closely following one another, hurried 
forward to take Port Hudson. I see the ground where that 
massacre of the men took place. When they came out of the 
woods they found themselves not in cleared fields, but on 
ground terribly obstructed by fallen timber, where rank briers 
peculiar to this country had grown high and thick among the 
tree tops, especially in the deep and narrow ravines, into which 
whole regiments fell at once. On they went in confusion, 
brigade and regimental colors halting, wavering, sometimes 
carried back, and sometimes rashly carried forward. The fallen 
timber grew worse and worse for the assailants. The whole 
rebel parapet before them blazed with the fire of infantry and 
artillery. Scarcely a man of the storming column reached the 
narrow belt of cleared ground in front of the rebel ditch, where 
all the ground could be raked by cross-fire. The whole extent 
of fallen timber was filled with bloody corpses, and with groan- 
ing wounded, suffering dreadfully from thirst and pain in the 
burning sun, within plain hearing of the taunting yells of the 
victorious enemy. All in that column able to escape vanished 
strangely, some behind logs, some into ravines ; some, regard- 
less of the increased danger, had turned their backs to the 
enemy and fled back to where General Augur probably reported 
that he rallied his division, after a most desperate charge, in 
which the great number of killed and wounded proved indis- 
putably his valor and ability — poor consolation to those who 
mourn for good men and true, who died as volunteer soldiers, 



144 AMONG THE 



and for distinguished citizens, commissioned as officers, who 
died while bravely endeavoring to lead the way through fallen 
timber, in obedience to West Point generals, who kept far in 
the rear, and never knew the nature of the ground over which 
their columns were to charge until it was told them by tbose 
who reported the number of the slain. It seemed to have been 
considered, on that day, advisable that any number of volun- 
teers should be sacrificed rather than any regular army general, 
except General T. W. Sherman, should risk himself. 

I wonder what has been the effect of all the artillery firing 
since the great assault, and to my inquiry in that respect, my 
friend the Indiana Captain of this battery replies, " We soon 
knocked down all the guns that the rebels did not care about 
running into holes or swinging around close against their para- 
pet, so as to be safe. It is some time since they showed either 
themselves or their cannon. We fire away as we are ordered 
to do. Generally we are ordered to drop shells at various 
places inside of the fort, but there is so much ground and such 
a body of timber there, that I think the ammunition we use up 
amounts to a great deal, and the damage we do to the enemy 
amounts to very little." 

" Have any approaches been dug, or any attempts been made 
to batter any part of the rebel works ?" 

" Nothing of any such kind has been ever talked of." 

" How are they going to take Port Hudson if they do not 
succeed in shelling that timber down ?" 

" Well, we have just received new orders. In about an hour 
we are to give Port Hudson the greatest shelling it ever had. 
All the artillery on land and water is to open fire and keep the 
shells going as thickly as they can for one hour; then a flag 
of truce is to be sent to demand the surrender of Port Hudson." 

We are soon riding across the open fields near the naval bat- 
tery, where I went yesterday. As I look toward the rebel 
works, I hear the frequent rifle shots of sharp-shooters, while the 
cannon's voice is heard oftener than at any time since I have 
been here. There is no gleam of rebel bayonets to-day along the 



COTTON THIEVES. 145 



fortifications. We hasten to arrive at the next and last Indiana 
battery on this side of Port Hudson, before the great fire-works 
begin. Our road lies through forests and ravines, where the 
huts and bough houses of the besiegers are on every side, espe- 
cially in the ravines, where they can feel secure. The men are 
resting, idling, sleeping, cooking, and straggling, in every kind 
of ragged and dirty clothing. Many seem to have got rid of as 
much clothing as decency will permit, in order to get relief 
from the heat, which this morning has rolled up the green 
leaves as if there had been a long drought. All that part of 
military duty which consists of parade, display and homage, to 
gratify the vanity of officers, is dropped. These unfortunate 
wretches are to gratify the vanity of their commanders in 
another way, namely, by being slaughtered. They enjoy as 
many privileges as a drove of fatting cattle; but I think that 
most of them realize their doom. 

By a turn which brings us along a ravine very near to the 
enemy's works, we are at the battery we intended to visit. 
The earth is piled high and thick, and the embrasures are made 
very narrow, to keep out as many rifle balls as can be avoided. 
Here are the Parrott guns, on their siege carriages, the imple- 
ments laid about in convenient places, regardless of rules. 
Here are the half-tents and awnings, and the rough faces of 
Indiana volunteers, with whom I have drilled in General Wil- 
liams' " Order of Combat," on the sands of Ship Island. This 
battery is about five hundred yards from the rebel redoubt, 
where, in front of us, the fortifications make almost a square 
turn to go to the river, on the upper side of the place. The 
fallen timber lies thick almost all the way to the redoubt, where 
the fresh earth has, by the night work of the garrison, been 
heaped up, so that there is some resemblance to what the 
Sebastopol redoubts are supposed to have been. Our sharp- 
shooters have made use of the fallen timber for cover, in 
skulking very near to the enemy. Rifle shots are heard con- 
tinually. Puffs of smoke from the sand bags along the top 
of the rebel parapet indicate that rebel rifles are at work, but a 
19 



146 AMONG TEE 



well-directed shell from a twenty-pounder Parrott goes with a 
shrill screech to the sand bags, where a rebel has been firing 
too boldly. The dust, sand and fragments of bags are blown 
into the air by the explosion of the shell. The rebels fire less 
frequently. Something appears to have happened to make 
them very cautious. Our sharp-shooters are seen springing 
forward from one log to another, and firing oftener than before. 
An officer near me looks at his watch. The hour for the great 
bombardment has almost come. General Weitzel and General 
Grover, with some of their staff officers, have arrived, and in a 
very republican manner are talking with officers and men 
around me. It needs no extraordinary ability to perceive that 
General Weitzel is a very different man from most of the regu- 
lar army subalterns who have been suddenly made brigadiers 
and major-generals. He actually went with his men in the 
assault of May 27. 

I inquire of him what is to come next, if this shelling does 
not appear to hurt anybody. He leans back against a tree, on 
the shady side of which he is sitting, and says : " A little before 
daylight to-morrow morning you will see some work with pow- 
der and steel." A remark was made concerning those who 
were killed and those who escaped at the last assault — that the 
killed were generally men of the best character, while not a 
cotton thief was hurt. The General smiles and says, " Anybody 
who hears that would be apt to ask, ' Lord, is it I ?' " 

The artillery opens. Shot after shot is heard along the front. 
Some watches do not follow head-quarters time as closely as 
orders require. Our gunners spring to their loaded pieces. 
There is nothing but earth-works and woods to aim at, unless a 
drove of cattle, that have been quietly grazing inside the forti- 
fications, should be shelled back into the forest. One gun at a 
time is fired, but one concussion of the air has hardly ceased 
when another comes. One gush of powder-smoke does not 
clear away when another rises. The distant bellow of naval 
guns and mortars comes booming over Port Hudson, while 
more heavy guns on land than Grant can open against Vicks- 



COTTON THIEVES. 147 



burg roar in irregular succession. There is no danger in 
standing out and taking a fair view, for the rebels have all gone 
into their dens and rat-holes, close to their parapet, where they 
are in little more danger than in an ordinary thunder-storm. It 
is interesting to see the effect of the shot. Many strike the 
earth-piles of the redoubt and adjacent parapet, ripping up the 
dry clay, and raising a small cloud of dust over every spot 
struck. Some of the shells burst some yards short of the 
earth- works ; some burst just as they strike, the fragments rais- 
ing the dust in different ways. Many shells fail to burst. Often 
shells, scattering the fresh earth some distance short of the 
parapet, go with a bound over inside of the fort, where, with 
another bound from the earth, again raising the dust, they go 
into the woods. I can distinctly hear the howling and rushing 
sounds caused by shot and shell flying from batteries a mile 
distant. The naval guns have the loudest roar, and their great 
round projectiles cause a rushing noise, and, on bursting, make a 
report almost equal to the sound of the cannon. The long 
conical shells of the rifled guns fly with an angry shriek, and 
seemingly with the best aim. I lift my eyes from the smoky, 
dusty cannonade, up toward the hot sky. I see, at short inter- 
vals of time, sudden gushes of smoke in the middle air. These 
come from mortar shells, always sent up at an angle of about 
forty-five degrees, to drop from a great height. Imperfect 
fuses and erroneous calculations occasion the explosions, some- 
times at the highest point of the great curve, and sometimes at 
less altitudes. Schooners, each carrying an enormous mortar, 
are anchored under protection of a high, curved bank, full two 
miles below Port Hudson. Twenty-five pounds of powder is 
put behind each shell, and an equal quantity within it. When 
any of these great thirteen-inch shells burst, there gushes forth 
a thick mass of smoke, to which the hot sun partly gives an 
appearance now of pure white, and now of rainbow hues. 

What is the effect of all this noise ? Not a living being is to 
be seen inside the rebel works. The cattle have made a hasty 
retreat, being too often selected as targets by gunners. Does 



148 AMONG TEE 



Port Hudson totter to its tall ? This redoubt before me is 
none the worse for all the terrible projectiles that have struck 
it, only to bury themselves in its clay, and make an earth-work 
half iron. Appearances indicate that the rebels are only shelled 
into their holes, where neither raking or recochet shots, or 
mortar shells, are likely to hurt one in a thousand. The crooked 
ravines inside of the place, like those outside, can hold armies 
safe from harm, especially when thick woods assist in making 
the cover better, and in screening everything from view. 

The bombardment has lasted an hour, and ended. A flag 
of truce has gone to demand the surrender of the place, and 
stop the further effusion of blood. There follows a cessation 
of all firing. We do not have to wait to hear from the flag 
of truce to know that the people in Port Hudson are not all 
killed, for along the parapet, both ways from the redoubt, up 
come the graybacks out of their holes, like so many prairie 
dogs. They are talking with some of our sharp-shooters. I 
have an opportunity to look through a large marine glass at all 
that can be seen of Port Hudson. The thick forest hides most 
of the camps inside the fort, but there are many log huts and 
one frame house in sight within the works. All the cannonade 
has done but little damage to these buildings. 

I overhear some of the conversation between General Weitzel 
and General Grover, near me. A messenger sent by them to 
bring news from the flag of truce, has returned. " Xo surren- 
der yet," says General Grover; "Old Gardiner was always as 
obstinate as a mule.'' To which General Weitzel replies, 
"Well, we know what is to come next." Having become 
acquainted with General Weitzel when he was a Lieutenant 
serving on General Butler's staff, I venture to point out to him 
some of the crooked ravines which extend in a winding course 
toward the rebel works, in a Avay which shows how easily 
approaches might be made so as to bring an army where it 
could rise and rush over the low rebel parapet at any moment 
when the garrison, by sleep, by a storm, or by a feigned attack, 
had their attention withdrawn. I ask why no approach has 



COTTON 1H1EVES. 149 



been even commenced. The answer of the General informs 
me that he, having been in favor with General Butler, is neces- 
sarily out of favor at court now, and has very little to do with 
present plans. 

We have returned to the Indiana head-quarters. I find here 
several officers of my regiment. I hear enough to be certain 
that it will be best for me to have General Banks' order return- 
ing me to duty before I go near the jurisdiction of Colonel T. 
S. Clark. I hear, also, that credible information has been 
received that powerful confederate forces are hastening to 
relieve Port Hudson. There is much disputation as to the 
manner in which our artillery has been used, and the probable 
effect of another assault. Some claim that if the bombardment 
had continued six hours instead of one, the fort would have 
surrendered. Others refer to the siege of Sebastopol for proof 
that to cannonade earth-works actually makes them strong 
instead of weak. There are those who advocate massing 
most of our army in one place for an assault, but it is said to 
have been decided by the Generals never to do so, because the 
rebels might get out and run away, and because some of the 
Generals would have to act a subordinate part in the column, 
whereas every one of them wants a chance to do all he can for 
himself and nobody else. Some declare that the rebel artillery 
is mostly silenced and disabled by our fire, and that nothing is 
wanting but a general assault to carry our army into the fort 
at once, and that delay will bring a relieving army upon our 
rear. 



150 AMONG THE 



CHAPTER VI. 

The Programme — The Immortal Order No. 32 — Pontoons and Cotton Bags— Fifty Sixth 
Michigan Men to Kidnap Awfu Gardiner— Grierson to Perform a Cavalry Charge 
Against the Citadel — The Inspiiation of General Dwight to be Demonstral 

June 13, 1863. — I have spent another night where, if the 
rebels turn any of their best guns this way, they can drop a 
shell through the roof, as is proved by the fragments of the great 
projectile which last week fell and burst in the door yard here. 
My knapsack has been my pillow, and my blanket, spread upon 
the floor, has been my bed. Dreams of my distant home have 
been disturbed by the reports of cannon, sometimes distant, 
sometimes near. 

The sun has again risen glaring hot, but an excellent break- 
fast, prepared by captured cooks, from captured provisions, has 
given me good spirits, as I am ready for an early ride to General 
Banks' head-quarters, when Captain Stai'k, Company G, Sixth 
Michigan, arrives to make me a visit. I perceive that he is well 
prepared to make a report of what has been going on, and a 
queer expression of this old gentleman's face indicates that he 
has a story which I ought to hear. I am soon listening to a 
statement from him, substantially as follows : 

" About the 11th of this month I first heard of the plan for 
the next assault, as intended by Brigadier-General Dwight. who 
has been our division commander since we lost General T. W. 
Sherman. I was sent for to come to the bead-quarters of our 
Colonel, T. S. Clark, who has been promoted to be our brigade 
commander since his wounds received and valor displayed on 
the :27th of May. On approaching his tent, in company with 
Captain Cordon, of our regiment, who had also been sent for, 
we noticed that the position was admirable for safety, well to 
the rear, and in the midst of artillery camps. Colonel Clark 
showed inc these orders : 



COTTON THIEVES. 151 



Head-quarters Second Division, ) 

Special Orders, ) Nineteenth Army Corps, <- 

No. 32. f Before Port Hudson, June 11, 1803. ) 

The following is the order of attack upon the enemy's works 
by this division : 

1. Bags filled with cotton and fascines* will be prepared and 
placed at or near the covered way at or near the white house 
mortar battery. 

2. General Nickerson will detail two hundred men to carry 
these bags, to be closely followed by one hundred more, to pick 
up those which may be dropped. 

A detail of the First Louisiana Engineers will carry the 
fascines. 

3. The troops will be held in hand, and prepared to move 
immediately to such point of assault as the Brigadier-General 
commanding shall designate. 

4. General jSTickerson and Colonel Clark will each detail fifty 
men, under competent officers, to act as pontouiers. These 
men will provide themselves with tools, and make it a special 
duty to open a way for our artillery into the enemy's works. t 

5. Colonel Clark will detail fifty picked men of the Sixth 
Michigan Volunteers, under command of Captain Stark, for a 
sudden attack upon the head-quarters of Major-General Gardiner. 
These men will press forward at all hazards. They wdl estab- 
lish themselves in the house, and hold it until relieved. The 
names of these men will be published in general orders, and 
they will be promoted if successful.! 

Colonel Clark will also detail two hundred men of the same 
regiment, under command of the senior captain, for an important 
and decisive movement.^ 

* What contents for these bags. 

t Comprehensive instructions for these bridge-makers. 

I Napoleonic ideas. Gardiner to be in his house at the time of a general assault, yet not 
a word said about taking him prisoner, which was the chief intention of the order, but an 
express order binds the men to hold the house, even if they find it empty." 

§To capture the citadel, spike its great guns, dig down the parapet, and heave the guns 
over into the river. 



152 AMONG TILE 



These parties will be supported by the One Hundred and 
Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers. 

7. With the exception of the picked men, who shall be 
detailed as stormers, the nine months troops will lead the 
advance in the attack.* 

8. The officers designated by General Nickerson and Colonel 
Clark for the above special duty, will report to-day, at 2 i>. si., 
at these head-quarters. 

9. The officers commanding the brigades will see that there 
is abundant ammunition on hand. 

By order of Brigadier-General D wight. 

WICKHAM HOFFMAN, A. A. G. 

General Nickerson. 
Colonel Clark. 

Head-quarters Second Division, ) 

Special Orders, ) Nineteen™ Army Corps, [• 

No. 35. f Before Port Hudson, June 11, 1863. ) 

Special Orders No. 32, from these head-quarters, are modified, 
in pursuance of orders from department head-quarters, as fol- 
lows : 

1. General Nickerson will detail three hundred men to cany 
the cotton bags, and will prepare that number of bags.f 

2. General Nickerson and Colonel Clark will each detail 
eighty men, instead of fifty, to act as pontoniers. Each party 
will carry seventeen axes, eleven shovels, five picks, one hand- 
saw,! and one hatchet. 

4. Colonel Clark will detail thirty-four men to carry the 
balks and chasses of the bridge. 

5. These details will be made at once, and the men drilled in 
their duties and in the order of march. 

By order of Brigadier-General D wight. 

WICKHAM HOFFMAN, A. A. G. 

* Little wouldjthe nine months men have to ilo after the citadel was captured, and Gen- 
eral Gardiner captured in bis^own house. 

* These orders exhibit the great cotton bag plan for capturing Fort Hudson. The de\ o 
tion of our chieftains to cotton must cost the nation as much in blood as it had cost in 
treasure. 

t This gleaming handsaw, moving here and there ami. 1st squads of stuffed cotton iia^s. 
is to add not a little to the martial appearance of the drill ordered. 



COTTON THIEVES. J 53 



" Colonel Clark assured me that he did not suggest my name 
for such a desperate enterprise. He said that my name had 
been put in at D wight's head-quarters. Some one of General 
Banks' staff was present. I was informed by my Colonel that 
Captain Cordon and I must report to General D wight. Before 
leaving, I asked Colonel Clark if he could tell us where General 
Gardiner's quarters in Port Hudson were. He answered ' No.' 

" We went to D wight's head-quarters, which were yet a con- 
siderable distance to the rear. There we found Captain W. W. 
Wheeler, of the Sixth Michigan, Dwight's Inspector-General, 
Captain L. W. Pierce, of the same regiment, his Quartermaster, 
and Lieutenant Trask, of the same regiment, his Topographical 
Engineer. Doctor Sanger, Dwight's surgeon, Major Bailey, his 
Chief Engineer, and Brigadier-General Nickerson, were there. 
Captain Wheeler wanted us to drink as soon as we came. I told 
him that I was going to have an interview with General Dwight, 
and would defer the drink. He answered that it made no 
difference, as the General was tight himself. Immediately after- 
ward we were brought into Dwight's presence, and I saw that 
the Captain had made no mistake. 

"We told Dwight that we w r ere ordered to report to him. 
He produced a map pretending to be a plan of the works of 
Port Hudson. I confess that I could not understand it at all. 
Perhaps the church was set down somewhere near the right 
place. There were two rebel deserters present. Dwight had 
been talking with them. He pointed out to us the citadel, 
being the enemy's water battery farthest down the river. He 
said that I was to have fifty picked men, who were to be dis- 
guised so as to look as much like rebels as possible. With this 
party I Avas to pass in through the citadel, and proceed imme- 
diately to General Gardiner's quarters and take him prisoner. 
All this was to be done in the night, and we were to be notified 
time enough beforehand to make all needful preparations. The 
General described different cannon and batteries that we must 
pass, but we were to pay no attention to any of these. I asked 
the General where we were to get into the citadel. He 
20 



A 



154 AMONG THE 



answered, 'Follow the edge of the river until you are directly 
under the citadel. Then, by steps cut in the clay, you will 
ascend the side of the bluff about one hundred feet, and find 
yourselves masters of the citadel. These deserters will be your 
guides, and show you the way.' I watched the expression of" 
the General's red face, which seemed to be all chops and snout, 
and wishing to avoid getting any further instructions about 
climbing that, stairway. I asked him if he knew whereabouts 
within the fortifications General Gardiner's quarters were. He 
said that he did not. I then asked him how I was to find the 
right place. He said, 'You must make a prisoner of the first 
man you meet, and holding your revolver to his head, extort 
the information from him.' I answered respectfully that among 
the deserters who come to us I had not seen one yet who could 
tell where General Gardiner kept himself, and asked, 'What 
shall I do if the man I catch cannot tell me where General 
Gardiner's head-quarters are ?' 'Catch another, then,' said the 
General, and added solemnly, after an unmeaning pause, 'Do 
the best you can' Soon he proceeded to say, 'You will be 
folloAved by Captain Cordon, with two hundred men, who will 
spike the guns in the citadel.' Captain Wickham Hoffman, 
who had stood by listening to the General as a small boy would 
listen to the instructions of a severe father, now ventured to 
add, ' General, would it not be well to have the men dig away 
the parapet and throw the guns of the citadel into the river.' 
Without turning his eyes toward Hoffman, D wight said, ' Cer- 
tainly, that must not be omitted,' and continued, ' Captain 
Cordon will be reinforced by five or six hundred infantry, to 
follow up his success. He will also be provided with rockets, 
which he is to send up, announcing to the army that General 
f) wight has taken the citadel. 1 Then steadying his glance 
toward me, as if his vision was rather uncertain, he closed his 
remarks in a very grave and Quixotic style: 'After you have 
taken Gardiner's house, \ou are to establish yourself in it, barri- 
cade the doors, and defend it at all hazards. Your men must 
be desperate men — men that will fight.' There was something 



COTTON THIEVES. 15. r ) 



in the tone of his last words so comical that I could hardly 
keep from laughing in his face. After receiving our instruc- 
tions, we had the honor of dining with the General. We sat 
down to a real feast. The table was provided with nicely 
cooked chicken, mutton and fresh beef, excellent soft bread, ice 
water, and the best of coffee. Surgeon Sanger is a little man, 
with a voice like that of a rat, but he seemed to have a huge 
appetite. To finish the dinner, two very gentlemanly waiters, 
the most valuable servants that could be found in the valley of 
the Teche, brought in costly decanters filled with old wines and 
brandies, which I suppose had been carried under guard ever 
since Banks 1 army left their revels in the Opelousas country, or 
worse yet, had been taken from hospital stores. I thought of 
our sick and wounded men, many of whom were suffering and 
dying for want of proper food and cold water. The General 
was too far gone to say much while Ave were at dinner. 

"When we were about to come away, some of Dwight's staff 
spoke jestingly of our job, and asked if we had a sure thing now 
on Awful Gardiner. I saw that they looked upon the project as 
I did. An ambulance was ordered to take Cordon and myself 
back to camp. I thought that the Captain was very sour. I 
asked him if he would not want my help about spiking those 
guns. He said that I had work enough on my hands. We 
have endeavored to keep our instructions to ourselves, but the 
secret has got out some way. Curious questions have been put 
to us. Everybody seems to think that the General's orders for 
a forcible entry and detainer of Gardiner's house were inspired 
by whisky. It is to be hoped that he has forgotten the whole 
project." 

I listen to Captain Stark's narrative with various emotions. 
My first words to him as he finishes are, "Well, Captain, I 
might not have been so anxious to get here had I known what 
a character we have for General Sherman's successor. I suppose 
that our Colonel must be Dwight's favorite Brigadier, and that 
all my risks will be increased by our change of masters." 
" We are all turned over to D wight to be disposed of," is my 



lf,6 AMONG THE 



friend's reply. " His next freak may be to have a military 
execution of two or three hundred of us, if we fail to take pos- 
session of General Gardiner's house for him. If he has ever 
heard how summarily the negro chiefs in the interior of Africa 
dispose of their subjects, he will be ambitious not to be out- 
dene: 1 

Several trusty western officers have heard most of the Cap- 
tain's account of Dwight's project to take forcible possession 
of General Gardiner's house, and speak of having before received 
intimations of such projects, but express astonishment at the 
shape in which it now appears. They urge me to hurry up my 
release, for I may get back to my regiment in time to act some 
important part in capturing Gardiner and the citadel. 

Another officer of my regiment arrives during our conversa- 
tion. It is Lieutenant William Trask, of Company II, now on 
duty with Dwight's staff. After he has been informed what 
subject we have been talking about, and sees that there are none 
but some of his old Ship Island friends present, he says : 

"I assure you that General Dwight's designs npon the citadel 
and Gardiner are just as Captain Stark has stated — that is, 
making allowance for the General's difficulty in telling the same 
thing twice alike. But for some time past, even when the Gen- 
eral comes nearest to being sober, he is continually talking about 
that cursed project of his, and yesterday he got an important 
addition to it. During the forenoon he drank often, sat down, 
resting his head on the hilt of his sword, which he held as he 
would a staff; then he would get up and walk with his arms 
folded in front or placed 1 ehind, acting in accordance with his 
fancied resemblance to Napoleon even more than ordinarily. 
At dinner he was taciturn and owlish. lie wished us to per- 
ceive that great things occupied his mind. In the afternoon he 
sent for General Grierson, of the Illinois cavalry. I was present 
at their interview. Dwight having given Grierson his camp 
chair, sat down on the side of his bed with an air of abstraction, 
and said, ' General, I have a plan by which you can add lustre 
to your laurels.' Grierson, who had been scanning the arrange- 



COTTON THIEVES. 157 



ments of the tent for shade and pleasure, now fixed his eyes 
upon Dwight, and seemed to be making an effort to keep from 
laughing at the assurance and assumed gravity with which the 
comical little Brigadier proceeded, as he pointed with his fat 
little red hand to the road which winds through the great 
ravine, and enters Port Hudson at the citadel sally-port, and 
said, ' I am going to surprise the citadel and capture General 
Gardiner, independently. You will be notified of the time, and 
can have your cavalry here. As soon as I give the signal, you 
will charge down this road by twos, at a gallop, and enter the 
fort.' Grierson, with a curious expression, watched the gro- 
tesque figure before him a moment, and asked, ' What shall I do 
then V ' File right and left, and dash along the parapet, sabering 
the cannoniers at their guns,' answered Dwight. Grierson, with- 
out changing his expression, repeated, ' What shall I do then ?' 
Dwight hesitated a moment, and replied, ' Proceed to the center 
of the town ; I will be there myself.' 

" I could not keep from laughing any longer. I had to leave 
the tent, and a little while afterward Grierson came out, 
mounted and rode off, apparently satisfied as well listening to 
Dwight's plan as a doctor would be with listening to the plans 
of a man in delirium tremens. 

" The road over which Dwight's cavalry charge was to be 
made goes out of the woods and diagonally across an open 
field, within full sweep of the rebel artillery; then' obliquely 
down the side of the greatest ravine about Port Hudson, where 
on both sides of the narrow wagon track the fallen timber and 
tangled briers make it almost impossible for even a man on foot 
to creep through. Down this road the cavalry were to charge 
by twos, and follow its winding way along the bottom of the 
ravine across a brook with steep banks, where the bridge is 
destroyed ; then turning to the right, go up between two forti- 
fied bluffs, and crossing the ditch, enter the sally-port almost in 
rear of the citadel. All the way the cavalry were to be exposed 
to a raking and cross-fire from both heavy and light artillery, 
which, as well as the infantry fire, would also take them in 



158 AMONG THE 



reverse for some distance before they could reach the sally-port, 
which is not probably wide open all the while, and on the inside 
of Port Hudson the ground looks to me as if there were as 
many bad ravines in the way of horsemen as there are on the 
outside. 

'• I soon saw the General again. He seemed to be dipgusted 
with Grierson, and said of him : 'In spite of the reputation he 
has gained by his raid, that d — d militia officer was afraid to 
execute my plan.' " 

I inquire of Lieutenant Trask what is the truth as to reports 
which I have heard concerning Dwight's orders tor military 
executions without any trial. He says that the General has 
published orders containing such expressions as these: " Who- 
ever seeks to hide himself from the enemy's fire, falters or 
retreats without, orders from me, shall meet with certain and 
disgraceful death at my hands;" and "If I find any of my com- 
mand straggling, I will turn such vagabonds over to my Provost 
Marshal, and have them summarily executed." 

I receive fresh congratulations from several present, who 
commend my zeal in leaving inglorious repose to get under the 
command of Clark and Dwight in time for the next assault, for 
no doubt that they will find something for me to do. I tell 
them, "Well, gentlemen. I must act as if you were in earnest, 
and be oft' on my way to Banks' head-quarters again, to obtain 
my order to return to duty to-day, if I can get it." 

As I am riding slowly along a shady part of the road, I am 
overtaken by an officer of my acquaintance, belonging to a gen- 
eral's staff. Our conversation is on the remarkable character 
of our division commander, General Dwight. My friend gives 
me a statement, substantially as follows : 

"Brigadier-General William Dwight is the hero of this siege. 
His claim to be a West Pointer is supported by testimony that 
he was expelled from West Point on account of his drunkenness 
and shameless association with obscene women. He came to 
this department a Boston Brigadier, having nothing but his gro- 
tesque figure to claim attention, until his brutal murder of John 



COTTON THIEVES. 159 



Hamlin, a brave soldier of Company F, Seventy-first Regiment 
New York Volunteers, on Banks' first Teche expedition. It 
appears that amidst the general despoiling of the country for 
private gain, this soldier had taken for himself one cheap article 
of rebel clothing. For this Dwight, his brigade commander, 
had him immediately shot in the presence of the regiment, 
without any trial or hearing. Hamlin was a devout Catholic. 
Father Nash, of the Sixth New York, confessed him, and he 
folded his arms and received the mortal volley without fear. 
The priest wrote the murdered man's last message to his wife 
and five children, who were left to starve in New York city. 

" When the army mai-ched the next morning, Dwight rode in 
a rich carriage, drawn by fine horses, to which he had as good a 
title as he had to the excellent liquors for which he ransacked 
planters' houses every day. The New Orleans Era, published 
by a lackey of the military government, gave a particular 
account of the execution, and gave Dwight as much praise for 
such an exhibition of discipline as he ought to have received for 
gaining a victory over the enemy, and claimed that generals 
were to be measured by their discipline exhibited in such a way. 
But expressions of disgust by officers and men in the army were 
so frequent, that it was judged necessary to have the same 
newspaper publish gross libels upon the character which the 
murdered man bore at home. 

"On the evening before the memorable 27th of May, 1863, 
Dwight, who was a brigade commander on the extreme right 
of the federal army, next to the river, above Port Hudson, sent 
for Colonel Nelson, of the colored regiment, known as the 
Third Native Guards, and told him, ' Colonel, to-morrow is the 
general assault. You will act as brigade commander under me. 
You lead the two colored regiments, First and Second Butler's 
Nativf Guards. You will have the easiest way into Port Hud- 
son. As soon as you get inside the works, and up the bluffs, 
you will press forward at all hazards, take a strong position in 
the graveyard, and stay there until I join you on your right.'* 

* If Nelson obeyed this order, he would have had to wait as long as any of the dead 
buried tboio. 



160 AMONG TUB 



" On the day of the assault, D wight got drunk before break- 
fast. At about six o'clock in the morning, before any assault 
had been commenced elsewhere, he sent the colored regiments 
to charge over a wide Mat against the works at the foot of high 
fortified bluffs, at the elbow in the river, on the upper side of 
Port Hudson. The position of the rebel batteries along the 
lower part of the river elbow was such that the great guns, 
which in March beat back all but two of Farragut's fleet, 
now not only swept with their concentrated fire the flat over 
which the colored regiments were to charge, but terribly raked 
the light timber beyond, through which they must come. The 
colored men must advance, receiving at the same time the fire 
of the water batteries and of the works immediately in front, 
along the foot of the bluff, while on their left flank they must 
receive the fire of several companies of rebel sharp-shooters, 
from a singularly formed narrow ridge, extending forward from 
the bluffs of Port Hudson. 

" Into this deadly cul de sac went the black regiments. They 
found a sheet of water from the flooded river extending along 
in front of the rebel works. Many would have perished by 
drowning had not the terrific fire driven them back*into the 
woods. There was still no sound of guns announcing that the 
rest of the federal army had commenced their assault. An 
officer, sent far to the rear to find Dwight and report to him 
the state of things, returned with this order from the General : 
'Charge again immediately!' and again the devoted regiments 
charged over their dead and wounded comrades toward the 
pond in front of the rebel works. Again they were driven 
back. 

"By this time Dwight had become uncommonly drunk, and 
sent an order to Colonel Nelson, 'Keep your negroes charging 
as long as there is a corporal's guard of them left.' Seven times 
that day the black regiments charged over the same bloody 
ground. It was Lieutenant-Colonel Chauncey Bassett, of the 
First Native Guards, formerly a Captain of Company G, Sixth 
Michigan, who really lead the colored men that day. He was 



COTTON THIEVES. 161 



an old school abolitionist, and a brave man of principle, in 
whom his men had a sort of religious faith. 

" No white regiment was within a mile of the place where the 
blacks Avere slaughtered. Two light field pieces, which were 
ordered to advance almost to the edge of the woods, to try 
their fire against the rebel batteries, were disabled and driven 
away. In the middle of the day the work of disaster and 
destruction was done everywhere any charge had been made 
within two miles of the place where D wight's victims fell. 
Yet throughout the afternoon, as late as 6 o'clock, after the 
work of removing dead and wounded had for hours been going 
on under flags of truce, where the division commanders had 
made their assaults, when the extent of the slaughter and the 
impossibility of anything but destruction were reported to 
Dwight, he said, 'Tell Colonel Nelson to keep charging as 
long as there is a corporal's guard left. When there is only 
one man left, let him come to me and report.' " 

We have arrived where I must leave my companion, to take 
the familiar road through the open fields, to General Banks' 
head-quarters. I tell my friend that if I obtain my order send- 
ing me back to duty, I shall endeavor to see Dwight as soon as 
I can, aud will probably be in time to be under his orders in 
the next charge. I am unfortunate in finding that General 
Banks and his staff have gone to visit the various division com- 
manders, and take a general view of operations. I find the same 
squad of deserters and prisoners that I saw here before. Their 
numbers have increased by the hourly desertions that thin the 
rebel ranks. Some of these men are intelligent; some very 
stupid. From inquiries, and with the help of diagrams on the 
ground, I am able to get from these rebels very correct ideas 
of the strength of Port Hudson, in men, armament and sup- 
plies. 

After I have been lounging about under the oak trees for 
several weary hours, General Banks comes at about 4 o'clock 
p. m., with his staff. Their dusty horses are led away by attendant 
slaves. The General goes to his tent without speaking, followed 

21 



102 AMONG TEE 



only by his chosen servant. He beckons to the servant to go 
away, and I am about to advance and present my case, when 1 
see the General take off his sword and throw himself upon his 
camp bed with the air of a man who has bad too much of a good 
thing. I conclude to wait for him to rest a while, and soon 
perceive that he is enjoying as sound a sleep as was ever enjoyed 
by Sancho Panza. I must wait for him to wake up, and as I see 
the preparations going on for a supper for these fellows, who 
can do what they please with me, I think seriously of what I 
have gained by exchanging my life as a freeman for that of a 
volunteer field officer. At last Banks wakes, sits up on his bed, 
and rubs his eyes. It is now or never with me, for his supper 
will soon have his attention. I walk to his tent door, and tell 
him who I am and what is my business; that I was here day 
before yesterday, and was ordered by him to report again as 
soon as he had time to receive a telegraphic communication as 
to the result of my trial. The General seems very sleepy, and 
evidently has forgotten that he ever thought of receiving any 
telegraphic dispatch as to my case. I cannot tell whether he 
even remembers to have seen me or spoken with me at any time. 
He answers slowly, "That is something for my Adjutant- 
General to attend to. Perhaps he knows something abput it." 
Saying "I will see him, then, sir," I hasten to the tent of 
Adjutant-General Richard Irwin, who, like the General, has 
neither heard nor thought of my case since I was here day 
before yesterday. Again at the General's tent. I see that he 
intends to let me have almost anything I ask rather than have 
further trouble. He thinks a moment, and says, "If you bring 
me some paper from your regiment, requesting your return to 
duty, I will issue the order." I am soon mounted and on my 
way to my regiment, which is about four miles distant. I am 
anxious to get the desired paper and obtain my order to-night, 
for while I have been at the General's head-quarters I have 
heard intimations ot a meeting there of all the subordinate gen- 
erals this evening, in order to make arrangements for a general 
assault. From all appearances, I am satisfied that the West 



COTTON THIEVES. 163 



Point Generals have made General Banks feel that he is to he 
nohody until they get through another general assault in their 
own way. I stop a few moments at the Indiana head-quarters 
to get a better horse, and there am informed by an officer who 
has just come from General Augur's head-quarters, that the 
following order has already been issued : 

Head-quarters Department of the Gulf, / 
Before Port Hudson, Juue 13, 1863. \ 
Spectal, Orders, ) 

No. 140. [ EXTRACT. 

A general assault upon the works of the enemy at Port Hud- 
son will be made to-morrow morning, 14th inst. The following 
directions will be observed, and the following information is 
given for the benefit of those principally concerned : General 
Grover, with his command, including two regiments of Dudley's 
brigade, under Colonel Dudley, will make a vigorous and deter- 
mined assault at the point in front of Colonel Dudley's present 
position, already indicated to him. The artillery cross-fire in 
front of this point of attack will commence at 3 a. m , aud except 
such as may have been placed under his direction, will cease 
only on intimation from General Grover to these head-quarters 
that he desires it to cease. The attack of skirmishers will com- 
mence at half past 3 a. m., or as soon thereafter as General 
Grover may find best. A detachment of the First Louisiana 
Engineers, under Captain Jones, has been directed to report to. 
General Grover, with intrenching tools and sand bags, to take 
position, unless otherwise ordered by him, near the twelve- 
pounder rifle battery. 

General Augur will, in pursuance of orders already given, 
detail two regiments of Colonel Dudley's brigade, under Colonel 
Dudley, to report to General Grover, and two regiments, as 
already ordered, to report to General D wight. With the 
remainder of his command, General Augur will make a feint 
attack on the part of the works in front of Holcomb's Battery 
and Slaughter's house, to be made vigorously, and converted 
into a real attack should circumstances favor it. He will also. , 



164 AMONG TEE 



hold his command in readiness to support either General Grover 
or General Dwight, in pursuance of orders that may be given 
from these head-quarters. 

A heavy fire of artillery will open on the point of attack at a 
quarter before 3 a. m. At a quarter past 3 a. m. the attack of 
skirmishers will be briskly made. An officer, to be designated 
by Colonel Hodge, will report to General Augur with a detach- 
ment of the First Louisiana Engineers, and, with intrenching 
tools and sand bags, to take position, unless otherwise ordered 
by General Augur, near Holcomb's Battery, on the road leading 
from his head-quarters to Port Hudson. 

General Dwight, with his command, including two regiments 
to be sent by General Augur, will make an attempt to gain an 
entrance into the enemy's works on our extreme left. Should 
this attempt fail, it will be promptly reported to these head- 
quarters, and the same will be done in case of its success. In 
the former case, the command will be held in readiness to move 
promptly to reinforce at other points, in pursuance of orders 
that may be given at these head-quarters. A detachment of the 
First Louisiana Engineers, provided with intrenching tools and 
sand bags, will report to General Dwight, and take position, 
unless otherwise ordered by him, on the road on our extreme 
left, leading to Port Hudson, as near the works as cover may be 
found. General Dwight to move at such time after half-past 3 
a. m. to-morrow as he may deem most expedient. Generals 
Augur, Grover and Dwight, will not wait for signals, but act at 
the times specified herein, without further orders. The standard 
is the telegraph time at these head-quarters. General Arnold 
will have charge of all artillery in position, except such as he 
may have placed under the direction of division commanders. 
A reserve of engineer troops, under Colonel Hodge, with tools 
and sand bags, will be stationed near General Augur's head- 
quarters. 

All applications for reinfoi-cements must be made at these 
head-quarters. Either of the three commanders of a point of 
attack is authorized to order the fire of artillery near him to 



COTTON THIEVES. 165 



cease if he finds it inconveniencing his troops or his movements. 
He will report his acts to these head-quarters. General Banks' 
head-quarters will be, during the action, at the barn near the 
naval battery. 

By command of Major-General Banks. 

(Signed) RICHARD B. IRWIN, A. A. G. 

I am now certain that if I can be returned to duty to-night, I 
shall have my part to act in performances the like of which was 
never seen or heard of, and when I think how unwelcome my 
presence will be to my Colonel and several staff officers, I see 
that my only chance to get such a paper as I am seeking is in 
speed. When I am about a mile from my regiment, I am sur- 
prised to meet in the road Major Clark, commanding officer 
of my regiment, in company with the Colonel of a Maine regi- 
ment. 

Regimental commanders have been sent for to receive 
instructions. The Major is a man past middle life. He now 
appears twenty years older than when I last saw him. Lieu- 
tenant Frederick Clark, of Company D, in our regiment, nephew 
of the Major, was killed, shot through the head, in the assault 
of May 27. This grief, with what has been endured during the 
siege, have almost used up the life of my old friend. After a 
few words with me, lie concludes that the paper I want will 
cause the arrest of all who sign it, and therefore he will get 
excused from reporting immediately for his instructions, and 
will accompany me back to Banks' head-quarters, and make per- 
sonal application for my return to duty. 

We are again at the tents of Banks' staff. We present 
ourselves to General Banks just as he has finished his luxurious 
repast, and is returning in excellent spirits to his tent. A few 
words, and I hand him my document from General Emory. He 
takes it directly to the tent of his Adjutant-General, who returns 
it to me, after making the following indorsement : 



166 AMONG THE 



Head-qfatcteks Department of ttte Gn.F, ) 
Before Port Hudson, June 13, 18W. f 

Upon the recommendation of Major Clark, Sixth Michigan 
Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon, Sixth Michigan Volun- 
teers, is released from arrest, and will report for duty with his 
regiment. 

By command of Major-General Banks. 

RICHARD B. IRWIN, A. A. G. 

All is done, but we must delay a little to look at these 
generals who are arriving, one after another, for the final con- 
sultation. There is no small show of ornament, uniform and 
style. They seem to vie with one another as to who shall have 
the handsomest staff officers to follow him. Ah ! there is 
Dwight. I need not be told which he is — short, pussy, red- 
faced, pig-headed, but uniformed so as to make broadcloth and 
gilding do all they can for him. What a countenance. What a 
singular slope from the top of his head, both ways, to his belt. 
No forehead; wide mouth; neck larger round than his head. 
The Major remarks to me, " I need not tell you who that is. 
Don't he look like the image on the handle of a jug?" 



COTTON THIEVES. 167 



CHAPTER VII. 

Prelude— the Surgeons; The Artillery Orchestra; Pyrotechnics; The Grand Tragi-Com- 
edy Opens Wrong End Foremost with the Last G< neral Assault, which is Changed 
into a Farce — a Night Assault hy Daylight— a Charge without Getting Outside of 
the Pickets. 

The fast thickening shadows of the Southern night are taking 
the place of the last daylight. We have passed the Indiana 
head-quarters and the crossroads, where the cotton bags are 
piled and scattered, ready for their part in D wight's Order No. 
32, for turning General Gardiner out of doors. We are at the 
large cotton-press building, where the division hospital of 
Dwight's division is kept. Surgeon Mottram, of my regiment, 
is here. Major Clark has returned to the regiment. A skir- 
mish having been ordered, ambulances have just returned 
through the woods from the front bringing wounded men, who 
are carried groaning on stretchers into the hospital building, 
which resembles a great barn, with the sides partly uncovered. 
I am sitting on my horse, talking with two soldiers of my regi- 
ment, who have been detailed to be among the attendants at 
this hospital One of them is a cook. He soon provides some 
tea and hard bread, at a cooking place in an old building near 
by. I dismount and enter. 

Even at this late hour of the night a swarm of insects sur- 
round us as soon as the candle is lighted. I ask the cause of 
the horrid odor which fills the air. " They don't half bury the 
dead boys," is the soldier's answer, and he continues, " Things 
here are enough to sicken any man, unless he was like one 
of those d— d doctors, that take delight in butchering men 
alive. They are cutting, sawing and hacking men all the while. 
The groaning and screaming hardly stops day or night, and the 
breath isn't fairly out of a poor fellow when they send some 
of their niggers out to bury him, and the niggers hardly cover 
him up." 



168 AMONG TEE 



I am mounted again, waiting beside the open hospital build- 
ing for Dr. Mottram, who has been called upon by his enemy, 
Dr. Sanger, the division surgeon, to stay here and help in an 
extraordinary case now in hand. And what a sight is before 
me. There is the dim flicker of lights in the midst of surgeons, 
with their young assistants, crowded around a rough bench, on 
which lies the subject, a nobly-formed young volunteer of the 
Fifteenth New Hampshire. Chloroform has been used in vain. 
He is crying, in an agonized, despairing voice, " O kill me ! 
kill me ! do kill me !" I see his large, manly breast, heaving 
with agony, as he lies on his back, held by some of the young 
doctors, who have their eyes set upon the hands of older doc- 
tors, at work now with probe, now with knife and saw, and 
now with other frightfully appearing instruments of torture. 
The young man has been shot in the shoulder, and the doctors 
are digging out his arm for experiment. Some one of them 
says aloud, " There is not much chance for him." The glimmer 
of candles flickering in the night breeze, dimly showing the 
naked form of the Avrithing victim, and the hard faces of the 
surgeons, with their bloody hands and saws, the darkness hang- 
ing over us like a pall, the stars sparkling in the vault of 
heaven — the same stars beheld by our friends at home, far away, 
and by our enemies in the beleaguered fort before us — all 
together make a tableau not to be forgotten. I am glad to find 
myself at last riding away from the horrid odors and sights 
of that hospital. The voices of myriads of insects of every 
kind and size, and the occasional boom of a cannon, with strag- 
gling shots from sharp-shooters, are not enough to drive from 
my ears the groans and cries of the poor New Hampshire 
soldier, dying in the hands of his tormentors as we left. 

We turn and turn again, following old roads and paths, which 
lead us backward and forward, descending, climbing, or wading 
through a thick forest of trees, which causes such darkness that 
we have to trust to the instinct of our horses and that of the 
negro servant of an Indiana officer, who has come with us to 
take back his master's horse, on which I ride. 



COTTON THIEVES. 169 



The road brings us to a large wooden dwelling house on the 
banks of the river. This Dr. Mottram has for his regimental 
hospital. Our own sick and wounded will not have to be sent 
to Dr. Sanger and the division hospital. I lie down to rest a 
few minutes on the porch toward the river. Fatigue begins to 
leave my joints, when a sudden flash and blaze, like that of near 
lightning, rises from the water, and is followed by a crashing, 
jarring report, differing from that of a cannon. At the same 
time up flies a great spark, going with grand bounds toward 
mid-heaven. Another and another blaze and bellowing report, 
sending similar sparks toward the sky, where they go forward 
on majestic curves, all the while slackening their speed until 
they begin to descend. Then they go down with rapid bounds, 
being always out of sight an instant at every leap. Like shoot- 
ing stars they seek the ground, and must strike in the middle 
of Port Hudson. Suddenly one of the sparks bursts, with a gush 
of red flame. Then comes a sound equal to that of a heavy 
cannon. Another spark reaches the ground in the fort with a 
thud distinctly heard two miles. 

The mortar schooners of the fleet are anchored close by me, 
and have opened the bombardment to precede the general 
assault. This hospital must be a hard place for sick men, who 
cannot bear noise, but better all the noise, with occasional pre- 
mature explosions at the hospital windows, than the horror of 
Sanger, the division surgeon, and his young doctors. 

I have come along a crooked path, across several ravines, to 
the camp of the Sixth Michigan. A few little shelters, made 
with bushes under trees along the crest of a ravine, show where 
the bivouac is. Most of the men sleep in the open air, undis- 
turbed by the bombardment or by dreams of the fate that may 
await them before the dawn of day. I have arrived at the 
head-quarters hut, made of bushes, on ground so descending 
that I wonder how anybody can sleep on it. Captain Cordon, 
our senior Captain, and Major Clark, rouse up and welcome me. 
I find that no order for the general assault has reached them. 
Captain Cordon says, "If there is to be another big charge, I 

22 



170 AMONG THE 



should think that we -would have heard something about it. 
We have had no orders since Dwight gave Captain Stark and 
me our instructions for catching old Gardiner, and I suppose 
that business is dropped ; if it is not, it ought to be." I answer 
that I have just come from General Banks' head-quarters, and 
know that the order has gone out for a general assault before 
morning. I call attention to the artillery fire which the gun- 
boats have opened, and which the land batteries are increasing 
rapidly. Already the lighted fuses of four or five shells may 
be seen at once following one another with long leaps in the 
sky over our heads, rolling and whirling on their way from the 
mortar fleet to Port Hudson. Captain Cordon seems to be 
making the most of what time remains for rest, and has stretched 
himself on his blanket for a doze. I attempt to do the same, 
but I cannot rest on the slanting ground in the hut, and taking 
my blanket, I lie down on a level place beside a large stump, in 
the open air. I cannot sleep under the roar of such a cannon- 
ade. The rebels have at last been aroused to answer, and have 
opened with their heaviest guns in the water batteries upon our 
navy. Whenever I open my eyes I see the shells, with their 
burning fuses, following each other closely and more closely, 
apparently nearly as high as the stars. In case of a premature 
explosion, the pieces may come into our camp. Time passes. 

Sunday, June 14, 1863. — The bloody Sunday has begun. 
What cannon these must be that I hear. At intervals, among 
the naval guns, one roars louder than all the rest, and its shot 
howls through the air on a higher curve, and with an awful 
rushing noise, unlike the hissing and screaming of the other 
missiles, which, flying back and forth between the fleet and the 
fort, have been ringing like choirs of winged furies hastening 
through the air, preparing for some work that is to fill pande- 
monium with rejoicings. 

Now the rebels open fire with a huge gun, which they have 
held in reserve. It seems to shake the earth even where I lie. 
It sends a shot through the air with a growl and roar which 
equals the voice of any federal shot. The gunboat with the 



COTTON THIEVES. 171 



great gun is not heard from for an interval, then fires its huge 
gun further down the river than before. No shout of men is 
heard; not a human voice, although the night is still, and the 
rebel works are near. Now the fire of our sharp-shooters has 
become so much increased everywhere along the fortifications, 
that the rebels are evidently answering with their rifles at every 
part of their works. No order has yet come for us to prepare 
for the coming battle. Yet a battery of Indiana guns, within a 
few yards of us, has been steadily increasing its fire, under 
orders just received, and the thirty-pounder Parrotts are fired 
so near me, and so often, that I start to my feet and stand 
listening to the different voices of cannon far and near, and the 
noises of different projectiles traversing the air and striking 
against the hill sides and clay banks of Port Hudson. There is 
the peculiar cracking explosion of the great mortar shells, and 
the irregular screech of their fragments tearing through the air. 
There is the scream of the Parrott shot starting near me. Over 
my head is the same starry canopy which I have gazed into at 
home, and across which now flight after flight of shells follow 
one another like flocks of shooting stars. Yet this bombard- 
ment, with all its sights and sounds, is, in comparison with the 
sights and sounds of a thunder storm, really no less insignificant 
than a pyramid when compared with a mountain. One is the 
work of man; the other is the work of God. 

No orderly from any head-quarters has yet brought us news 
of any order for the assault. Fortunate will we be if the enemy 
is as undisturbed as this slumbering regiment. Nothing could 
have been devised equal to this cannonade for the purpose 
of arousing the enemy, and having them vigilant and prepared at 
all points. Can it be that I have been here until the morning 
is almost ready to dawn ? It must be so. Those rifle shots, 
far away toward the federal right, heard between the discharges 
of cannon, have become more frequent and distinct, until they 
are plainly fired by long lines of skirmishers. The assault has 
begun, and yet no order for us. There was certainly a volley 
of musketry. The artillery ceases in that direction. It must 



172 A1TQ2TG THE 



be that those cannon ceased firing to let the storming columns 
act. Xow comes heavy, continuous, irregular musketry firing. 
That is mainly from the rebel works. Those incessant rifle 
shots send death into the hearts and brains of the crowded and 
expo- into. Will Port Hudson be taken ? All will be 

over very soon. Yet that continuous fire does not abate ; no. 
it grow? hotter. Ah! the rebels were not surprised; their 
reserves have come up readily. Many the souls of Xorthern 
men that are departing every instant ; many the forms of good 
men that lie bleeding, pierced through by those rebel bullets. 
Slowly the firing grows less. The shots are farther apart ; 
fewer and fewer are those shots, and the federal artillery 
resumes its fire with more vigor than ever. It is plain which 
way that assault has terminated — a repulse; a most bloody 
repulse. That artillery is firing at victorious rebels, who hold 
their works defiantly. Yet that was no general assault ; there 
was apparently but one column engaged. 

The east is gray with dawn. All that part of the horizon 
is rapidly getting lighter. Soon the darkness will begin to 
vanish. Ha- I . rgotten all his own orders and those of 

General Banks, or is he waiting for the other division command- 
ers to get beaten in succession, in order that he alone may 
capture Gardiner, take Port Hudson, and do it all in broad 
daylight. 

in around on the federal right. The firing of skirmishers 
is heard, and is answered immediately by the enemy. A volley. 
>D of artillery fire. The continuous irregular firing 
of a>- lied across the earth-works tells that 

another storming column, moving near the fort, has been led by 
some important commander to grapple with the victorious and 
reinforced enemy. It is easy to perceive what must be the 
result. Probably every man who falls by any ot those rebel 
rifle shots knew that he was led to certain defeat. 

finished sooner than the first. The 
continuous clatter of musketry in the distance has ceased : only 
scattering shots are heard. Have our people broken through 



COTTOX TE2E' 173 



the fortifications ? No. Our artillery has again opened fire 
with renewed vigor in the neighborhood where the assault was 
made. That tells the story — another repulse. I think of the 
ground covered with the dead ; of the groaning wounded trying 
to creep out of the way of the rifle halls which are aimed at 
them by the rebel riflemen, whose shots I hear. Many are the 
anxious relatives in our distant country who are to see the 
names of their absent ones in the list of killed, and many the 
letters to be written from the Xorth to the horrible Gulf 
Department hospitals, inquiring in vain for the wounded. It 
is broad daylight, yet every soul about me is quiet except a few 
artillerymen working the guns in the battery near by. But all 
the guns and mortars on land and water are keeping up the 
bombardment. 

I hear the sound of a horse's hoofs. An orderly is picking 
his way through our bivouac, and is arousing a soldier and ask- 
ing for the head-quarters of the Sixth Michigan. I call to him, 
and tell him that I am commanding ofheer. He says. •• General 
D wight's orders are for you to form your regiment immediately 
and march them to the forks of the Mount Pleasant and Spring- 
field roads, and report to Colonel Clark." I answer that I am 
informed that this regiment is not in Clark's brigade. The 
orderly answers that Clark is to command m ps than his 

own brigade, and that he is certain this i\ . - ordered to 

join Clark's command. I awaken some oi 3, find the 

Adjutant, and assist in arousing the men and having them tail 
in, but the men do not seem to be very willing, although it is 
almost time for reveille. The orderly, who went oil' at a gallop, 
returns at a run, and says to me, " General Dwight orders you 
to march your regiment immediately, and join the column under 
Colonel Clark.'' I answer that the regiment will march as soon 
as they are in line. I hurry the formation, and the line is 
begun. I hear no infantry firing except the scattered shots of 
sharp-shooters. The artillery are increasing their fire every- 
where near us, and Blackening their fire in the distance, thus 
giving the rebels warning to prepare tor us on this side. 



174 AMONG TEE 



Colonel Clark's favorite orderly, George Robinson, comes gal- 
loping furiously, and cries out to me, " Colonel Clark is waiting 
for this regiment. All the other regiments are there. He 
wants you to come immediately." I answer that we will be 
ready to start in a moment, and George returns, but is hardly 
out of sight when Colonel Clark rides up before our line, 
which is now formed. His eyes rest on me with no small 
surprise, and there is in his pale face an expression of hate and 
of fear of detection. The thought flashes upon my mind that 
all hurry on his part is pretended, and that he has been sending 
orderlies, and finally come himself, to get rid of going into 
danger just as long as he can, and that he does not intend to go 
into an assault this morning any farther than he did on the 27th 
of May. 

" When did you come here?" he says, addressing me. 

" I came last night, and am in command, by order of General 
Banks." 

Colonel Clark turns toward the line and calls, " Captain Cor- 
don and Captain Stark, are you here ?" 

"Yes." 

" Are your details ready ?" 

" What details ?*' answers Captain Stark. 

"Your detail of fifty men, and Captain Cordon's detail of two 
hundred men." 

"What for?" says Captain Cordon. 

" Why," responds Clark, " to fulfill the instructions which you 
received from General Dwight." 

"We have never been notified," says Captain Stark. "The 
General said he would notify us before we were to fulfill those 
instructions." 

" Well," answers Clark, " count off your fifty men from the 
right of the line there, and then, Captain Cordon, count off your 
two hundred. I'll show you the way myself, and you are to do 
as you were instructed by General Dwight." 

" Where am I to go with the rest of the regiment ?" I 
asked. 



(JOTTON THIEVES. 175 



In the most amiable tone of voice Clark replies, " Yon will 
go to my main column, on the Mount Pleasant road. You can 
either lead the regiment yourself or accompany me between the 
two forward regiments, when I lead my column to the charge.'' 

With that, directing the two Captains, with their details, to 
follow him, my gallant Colonel rides off slowly down a winding 
by-road, through thickets, toward the river, every step taking 
him farther from his column, which must have been waiting 
some time for him to lead it. There is now as much daylight as 
there is likely to be before the sun rises. A slight mist, resting 
along the skirt of the woods, has begun to clear away, and the 
rebels have evidently seen Clark's forces, for about half a dozen 
pieces of light artillery, along the rebel works in front of us, 
open fire, as if they meant to stir up the dilatory column. As 
Captain Stark and Captain Cordon, with their details, pass, I 
see in the faces of officers and men that all understand well 
what kind of a horrid scrape they have got into. I hear from 
among them the words, " Pile up our bones, to make a repu- 
tation for somebody." The men do not march, but drag 
themselves like the prisoners of some cannibal king led forth to 
be slaughtered to appease some wooden god, and be roasted for 
some horrid feast. I start with my remnant of a regiment to 
join the main column on the highway, 

D wight's grand night attack and wonderiul coup to capture 
the rebel citadel and get possession of the rebel general's head- 
quarters in Port Hudson, is to be attempted in broad daylight, 
after the federal army has been beaten off at all points, and the 
enemy, profiting by time and warning given them from our side, 
are already shelling the column, and ready to rake the highway 
to the strongest part of their works, and every inch of ground 
over which the column is to pass. I do not wonder that my 
valiant Colonel has got so interested in sending Stark and 
Cordon to their job that he has forgotten that his column is 
waiting. May be he don't care if they go on without him. 

For some distance I have to follow the same track taken by 
the Captains. As I pass a hiding place between two thickets. 



176 AMONG TEE 



there stands my Colonel's horse without his rider. I look to 
see where Clark can be, and presently he reveals himself rising 
from among low bushes, and addressing me in a tender tone, 
says, "How do you feel this morning?" I answer, "Finely." 
He replies, " I am very poorly ; I have a severe attack of dysen- 
tery." I go on with my detachment, and see no more of my 
Colonel. I now meet an aid-de-camp wearing a private's uni- 
form, to avoid being shot at too much. He gallops to me, and 
as my command continue marching, he says in an excited man- 
ner, "Where is Colonel Clark?" I tell him where I last saw 
that gentleman, and instead of galloping on, he asks me where 
I am going. I tell him that I have been ordered to join the 
main column on the Mount Pleasant road. "That's wrong," 
says the aid ; " you are to support the attack on the citadel. 
Follow me, and I will show you the way." He rides slowly 
down a new road leading toward the river, while I give the 
command — " Counter-march by file left — March I" and my 
detachment, like men not be surprised at anything, file around, 
and we soon find ourselves following the Fourteenth Maine 
Regiment, who are crossing a ravine, with a muddy bottom, 
which is to be passed before we can reach the river bank. 
The aid is waiting under shelter of a hill, not anxious to return 
to the main column, or to show us the way any farther. Here, 
before us, spreads the broad Mississippi, here and there a thin 
wreath of mist rising before the rays of the morning sun. My 
men, one after another, struggle through the mud, and crouch- 
ing, we climb the narrow mound ridge which is next to 
the river's edge. There, to the right of us, about a quarter 
of a mile, plain in the morning light, is the high fortified bluff 
called the "citadel;" by its big guns we can be swept off like 
pigeons. Our two Captains, with their details, followed by the 
Fourteenth Maine, are over the bank, and are moving cautiously 
along near the water, toward the citadel. My men are getting 
over and closing up in good order behind the Fourteenth Maine, 
as rapidly as that regiment can get out of the way. There go 
the rebel deserters piloting Stark and Cordon. A few steps 



COTTON THIEVES. 177 



more, and they will come where this bank will no longer afford 
us partial shelter, and we must follow along the river across 
an open valley exposed to full view of the enemy, and to a 
direct fire from the citadel, and a cross-fire from a great 
redoubt up this valley. The alarm is given in the citadel. We 
have glimpses of men's heads and gleaming rifles hurx-ying 
stealthily to their places along the parapets and sullen earth- 
works. One great gun is pointed straight at us from an ugly 
looking embrasure. Rebel cannoniers are busy there, getting a 
field piece ready to work at the same embrasure. The picture 
of that citadel never will fade from our minds. Here we are 
going to scale that high clay-bank precipice toward the river, 
where, if there were no resistance, we having to climb up by a 
zigzag path, one man at a time, would not be able to get our 
men into the citadel in much less time than half a day. D wight, 
in broad daylight, and at an hour when he ought to be sober, is 
about to sacrifice us, to carry out a scheme devised when he 
was drunk. 

Evidently the rebel officers have been ordering their men to 
withhold their fire, and are no longer able to enforce complete 
obedience. First one rifle shot, and the Minie ball comes sing- 
ing slowly through the air over our heads. Another and 
another shot. Then a succession of scattering shots. The hiss 
and whirling, fluttering sounds of some of the bullets are now 
heard close over our heads, and now right among us. Wounded 
men are helped back from the head of our column. Sergeant 
A. Amsden, of Company F, standing near me, is shot through 
the thigh, and is borne away. In a few moments more the 
rebel guns will be raking us, and there will be enough of us 
killed and wounded to maKe Dwight a great man. Captain 
Cordon's British common sense gets the better of every other 
feeling in his soul, and, taking the whole responsibility, he says 
to his detachment, in unmistakable English, " 'Alt ! " and the 
column never moves again toward the citadel. Captain Cordon 
and Captain Stark, returning, consult with me. I tell them to 
stick to their halt. We all hug the hill side, where a slight 



178 AMONG THE 



curve protects us from most of the rebel bullets. Crouching, 
and hurrying to the rear, first to take advantage of Cordon's 
halt, comes Dwight'fi rocket man with his bundle of Fourth of 
July rockets under his arm. He was to send up those rockets 
in the sunlight to let D wight know when the citadel was taken. 
Probably his services will not be needed. 

One of Dwight's staff, Lieutenant William Dickey, detailed 
from our regiment, is seen galloping away along the safe side of 
a bluff far to the rear, whence he has been watching us. He 
goes to report to his master, but if I can judge by sounds his 
master's main column is meeting with such an overthrow that 
no report from us will be necessary. 

At about the time Ave came in sight of the river, considerable 
rifle firing near by was heard in front of Clark's main col- 
umn. A piece of woods screens the whole affair from us, but 
a wild, continued roar of small and great guns, and a terrible 
screeching of projectiles in the air, with the continual bursting 
of shells, tells that the main column is meeting its fate. The 
feeble yell they raised soon died away. The screams of the 
wounded, and the taunting yells of the victorious rebels, are 
heard. One boyish voice from the rebel works cries out 
between the cracking rifle shots, "How do you like it'r" 
Another rebel, with rough and hoarse voice, cries, ''Why don't 
you come on ?" Now field pieces and rifles drown the sound 
of voices. Now the sound of guns breaks a moment, and nor- 
rible shrieks of the wounded and dying are borne on the 
morning air, which, but for man's doings, would have been as 
quiet here as it is on this summer morning, just before the 
church bells ring at home. The shout always raised by a 
charging column was hardly raised by these assailants when it 
was hushed. That column hardly begun the double-quick when 
it was broken up and scattered, and now yells, taunting cries 
and savage laughter, are heard along the rebel works in front 
of Clark's column, while in front of us no cannon is fired, and 
only now and then a rifle shot is heard, and the ball comes 
singing among us, wounding somebody, or spitefully tearing up 
the sod. 



COTTON THIEVES. 179 



At the Indiana battery, by our last night's bivouac, there is 
evidently some trouble. The rebels are firing upon that battery 
as if they meant something, and there is a great yelling. 
The battery slackens fire, and the rebel yells increase lapidly. 
Can it be that the enemy will attempt a sortie to spike the guns 
of our old friends, who, by the rout of Clark's column, must be 
left without support ? Some of our sick men and stragglers, 
left at the bivouac, have advanced as sharp-shooters as far as 
they can, and are answering the rebel riflemen well. 

A message comes to us from the Indianians that they must 
have more support, and can find nobody but us to apply to. I 
take the responsibility of dispatching two of our best companies. 
I soon hear their rapid firing as skirmishers close in front of the 
enemy, whose firing and yelling almost cease there, and the 
Indiana guns are all at work again. 

Now is the time fur the rebels to make a sortie, if they have 
any man among them worthy of a name. They have seen what 
these eastern troops and ambitious division generals amount to. 
The federal army has charged by divisions, so as to be dashed 
to pieces most easily. The strength of Port Hudson is demon- 
strated. This army can hardly be made to assault it again, if it 
was unoccupied and abandoned. The garrison which every 
federal division has found gathered in its own front, wherever 
these wretched j^iecemeal assaults have been made, is supposed 
to be much stronger than it really is. Now all that is wanting 
to fill out the page of history to be given to this Sunday, is a 
grand sortie — something to turn this disastrous repulse into 
raising this siege, and a rout and capture of those generals who, 
with intent to glorify themselves, have made such a slaughter 
as this sun now beholds. 

An order, brought by the daring Lieutenant Dickey, who 
now comes very near to us, calls upon us to hurry somewhere 
toward the starting point of the main column. We obey, 
giving up without sorrow all ideas of sending up Dwight's 
rockets from the citadel in broad daylight, to announce that we 
have tossed the big guns into the river, captured Gardiner's 



180 AMONG THE 



head-quarters, and made Dwight and his Special Order No. 32 
alike immortal. We lose sight of Dickey, but we are soon 
going back along the same route by which we came. At 
one place the enemy get a glimpse of us hastening along the 
road, and making some show of men and arms. They open fire 
upon us with some new kind of light artillery, which shoots 
small, hissing projectiles, larger than musket balls, but much 
smaller than any cannon shot we have ever heard in the air. 
These villainous little missiles come as if fired from artillery 
revolvers, without delay for loading, nearer and nearer to our 
heads, sometimes tearing the leaves and limbs of bushes, which 
they could not have reached without passing through our line. 
The Minie balls keep up their singing and whizzing on every 
side of us. Balls which seem almost spent, and ready to drop, 
go past us slowly fluttering, but whenever one of them strikes 
a tree, it makes the bark fly, with a sharp, cracking sound. 

We have arrived in sight of where D wight's main column 
started, but where is the column, and where is Dwight himself? 
Stragglers are seen singly and in groups along the safe side of 
this ravine filled with tall timber, which screens Port Hudson 
from our view. Negroes in federal uniform are passing con- 
tinually to the rear with stretchers on which are borne dead 
or wounded men. A stout red-haired youth, without hat, 
arms, or accoutrements, comes uttering piteous sounds up the 
side of the ravine, " O, where is the doctor, where is the 
doctor ?" he cries in despairing tones. I see that his cheek is 
bleeding. He has been hit by a ball which has had hardly force 
enough to bury itself in his flesh, and he thinks that he is 
mortally wounded. Nowhere is a company or any remnant of 
a line. The whole column has disappeared. Captain Cordon 
with his two hundred men are sent forward as skirmishers to 
skulk over the ground where the column went out of sight, and 
act as sharp-shooters. It is evident that the column charged 
into ravines and hiding places, instead of charging into the 
strongly fortified sally-ports of Port Hudson. 

As soon as that column came under fire it was routed, and 



COTTON THIEVES. 181 



privates, captains, colonels and brigadiers went out of sight 
like a flock of frightened quails. Clark was probably in time 
to be blown into some deep hole, and will be praised and 
promoted for valor and skill. Not many of that column will 
be got together till night. 

Back a quarter of a mile farther from the enemy than we are 
marching is another long ravine, skirted with tall, thick timber. 
Behind that timber, out of sight of everything to be done, and 
out of all possible danger, is Dwight. His staff-officers and 
orderlies must make a long circuit to communicate with us. 
All that he could have expected to see of the battle must have 
been the rockets to be sent up announcing the capture of the 
citadel, and the tumbling of its guns into the river. The ravine 
beside us, with its timber, comes to an end. Here a section of 
a field battery, standing unscreened and unprotected, is firing 
upon the earth-works of the enemy as though the shot and 
shell were aimed at a line of advancing infantry. We are 
halted, and lie down along the last of the timber, and receive 
orders to support the battery. It must be unpleasant for 
Captain Cordon's sharp-shooters, as they lie firing from behind 
logs or stumps, to have that battery firing furiously over their 
heads at nothing. Rebel riflemen, who no longer show them- 
selves, keep up a succession of rifle shots, the bullets coming 
with various sounds, passing through the air, now cutting the 
leaves and twigs, and now spitefully striking the limbs and 
trunks of trees. 

Some distance behind us I see a group of men and officers 
gathering about a stretcher, on which a dead body has just 
been brought off the field. An Irish soldier looks at the body 
and turns away, bowing his head and weeping. That dead 
body was this morning animated by the soul of Colonel Bryan, 
of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Regiment of New York. 
He was young, hopeful and talented, admired and beloved by 
all who knew him. He will be honored as a fallen hero. It 
will not be known that he was the victim of a drunken block- 
head, and that his blood was shed for nothing, and where 



182 AMONG TEE 



nothing was to be gained by what "was attempted. Colonel 
Bryan fell advancing boldly, believing Dwight's last words, 
when the column saw the last of him, as he pretended to 
receive a dispatch, and cried out : " Go on, go on. G — d d — n 
you, go on. General Grover has broken through the rebel 
fortifications." 

First orderlies, then staff officers come to me one one after 
another, with the question, " Where is Colonel Clark ?" I am 
unable to give them any information till at last one of Captain 
Cordon's men returning, tells me that he has just left Colonel 
Clark. " Is he wounded ?" I ask. " I think not this time," 
answers the soldier wiih a smile, "he is in a deep hole out 
there a little way, and says he can't come out till night; he 
wants his orderly to bring him his dinner." 

Soon afterward comes Captain Hoffman, Dwight's Adjutant- 
General, with a most solemn countenance, as though he expected 
to find Clark's dead body immediately, and asks the oft repeated 
question. I answer that according to what I have just heard 
he can find Colonel Clark in the next ravine toward the front, 
where he is probably waiting for orders. The warlike Captain 
looks forward enough to see that the ground in front of the 
timber sheltering us is somewhat too open for entire safety. 
Just then a Minie ball is heard whizzing high over our heads. 
The Captain's oblique black eyes roll up an instant, and then 
turning, he goes at a rapid walk hack to his master to report. 

In a few moments Captain McGee, of the Massachusetts 
Cavalry, comes galloping carelessly to the battery, and gives an 
order from General D wight to fire more rapidly, and to direct 
their fire so as to assist Colonel Clark in any further demon- 
stration he may make on the enemy's works. 

The Captain dismounts, and stretching himself on the grass 
near me, says : " General Dwight thinks that Colonel Clark is 
going to do something, and I am to observe and report." I ask 
him where his cavalry are. He says, "They were here this morn- 
ing. I was to have the honor of leading this great charge." 
" Is it possible," I answer, " that the cavalry charge on the fort 



COTTON THIEVES. 183 



was to come off as well as the capture of General Gardiner in 
his bed while the battle was going on. Let me take down in 
pencil all you know about the matter." I hastily note with 
pencil in my memorandum book as the Captain gives me these 
words: "This morning I saw General Dwight near the ground 
where his troops assembled. Captain Godfrey, Captain Barrett 
and I were there with six companies of cavalry. I was in 
command. My force was in time. I went to report to the 
General. He gave me orders as follows: 'You will move 
your command up the road till you get in view of the citadel, 
and there remain until I give you the command to charge. 
You will then charge up through the sally-port, turn to the 
right and saber the cannoniers at their posts.' I asked Dwight, 
'That being done, where will I go, sir?' He said, 'Ride 
through the fort, and get out in General G rover's front.' I said, 
'I will then be receiving the fire of both parties.' Dwight 
answered, ' Do the best you can ; by that time you can fall 
back on the infantry, which I will send to support you.' No 
more was then said. 

" I moved my command forward to within view of the citadel, 
which was about one thousand yards off. The enemy then 
opened fire, first with shell and then with spherical case. Cap- 
tain Hoffman, Dwight's Adjutant, rode up to my command, 
which stood on the road in column of fours, and inquired which 
of the two roads led to the citadel, as he thought that I was 
not on the right road. I assured him that this road was right. 
He directed me to move my command a little to the right, out 
of range. I did so, but the enemy soon got the range again. 
(I forgot to say that Dwight told me he would give the order 
to charge as soon as he heard the firing on the left, by the 
river.*) Hoffman directed me to move under shelter of a skirt 
of woods on my left, which I did, and then gav^e the order to 
dismount. We remained there until an aid brought us orders 
to retreat. When I was on the road leading to the citadel, a 

* So Dwight expected that our surprise party, who were to capture the citadel and pro- 
ceed to Gardiner's head-quarters, were to enter the fort with tiring, as a storming party. 



184 AMONG THE 



detail, with cotton bags, moved up on my left flank, even with 
the head of my column. When I saw the shells doing damage 
to them, I gave them the order to lie down. After the charge 
came off without cavalry, I fell back and reported to Dwight. 
He asked if I could get a section of a battery within range of 
the artillery that had been firing upon us. I said ' Yes.' He 
answered, ' As you were there, and know the ground, will you 
show Lieutenant Rodgers the place ?' I did so, and came back 
and reported that I saw a regiment lying near where I posted 
the guns. Dwight said, ' Let that regiment be moved forward 
immediately to support skirmishers,' but no one could tell what 
skirmishers were to be supported, or where they were. I got 
on the ground of assembly before the infantry, and about sun- 
rise." 

As I put up my memorandum book, the Captain turns aside, 
and pointing toward the sullen embankments of the citadel, 
which we can see through an opening in the trees, he says, " I 
suppose that Dwight expected me to go by fours galloping down 
this narrow road, through ravines, under a cross-fire, and up 
the steep bluff, with a fire on both sides, and in my rear from 
the citadel and the next redoubts. Then we were to find the 
bridge all right and the sally-ports open. In we wei-e to go, 
and find no difficulty in turning to the right, riding along the 
parapet and sabering the cannoniers at their guns, although the 
ground near the parapet appears just about as impracticable for 
cavalry on the inside as it is on the outside of the fort. The 
greatest thing about it all was that the whole thing was to be 
done after the federal army had been beaten to death before 
daylight at all other points, and everything possible had been 
done to let the rebels know what we were going to do." 

I answer, "When Dwight's mind originated my order for 
catching Gardiner, and your order for sabering those cannoniers 
at their guns, he gave birth to twins, that much resembled 
their father." The Captain rejoins, " I would not wonder 
if one of his aids should come any minute and order us all to 
charge again, cavalry, infantry and artillery, for Dwight has had 



COTTON THIEVES. 185 



time to take a good many more drinks of the sanitary liquors 
Sanger has on hand for the wounded, and I know that he 
expects at every moment to hear that Colonel Clark has come 
out of his hole and taken the citadel. I believe that I have 
waited long enough, and will go back and tell him straight out 
where Clark is, and what has become of the column, for those 
staff officers will tell him any lie that they think he wants to 
believe, and the General is very sure not to get near enough to 
see for himself." 

The sun glares down upon us, heating the flesh to the very 
bone, and heating the blood to our hearts. The day passes. 
We find water in a ravine near by, and a few pieces of hard 
bread make as much as we feel like eating. Late in the day a 
little fire is made, and black coffee, hastily prepared, tastes as 
well from a bruised tin cup as it ever did when creamed, sweet- 
ened and offered in porcelain. Hardly a cloud has floated in 
the sky to-day. God have mercy on the wounded. No arrange- 
ment has been made for bringing off the dead and wounded 
under a flag of truce. The negroes have only been able to get 
off those who were nearest to our side. One of the black 
fellows just showed me his cap, through which a rebel rifle ball 
had torn a hole as he was helping to carry off a wounded man. 
Why is it that the wounded are left there to roast and thirst to 
death slowly in the hot sun ? It is said that the rebel and the 
federal generals could not agree, the former saying that some 
of the wounded lay nearer to their works than they were will- 
ing to have federal parties make examinations, and generously 
offered to send out parties of their own men, who would carry 
our dead and wounded to a proper distance, and there deliver 
them to those sent to receive them ; but luckily genius was not 
wanting on our side to perceive that in this way the rebels 
would make examinations too near our front, so the flags of 
truce returned, and the wounded are left to die in their agonies. 
The dead are already swollen and blackening, exposed to the 
feverish air. 

An officer, some of whose friends and neighbors lay dying on 

24 



186 AMONG TEE 



an open place toward the rebel works, begged Dwight to accept 
the rebel offer, as there was nothing here for the rebels to 
see which they had not seen every day. Dwight replied, " No, 
sir; it's all a stratagem of the enemy to get the dead carcasses 
carried away from before their works. They know that they 
will be stnnk out if the bodies rot there, and they cannot get 
them away on account of our fire. No, sir; I'll stink the rebels 
out of the citadel with the dead bodies of these d — d volunteers, 
if I cannot make the cowards take it by storm, as I have ordered 
them to do. If my orders had been carried out, Port Hudson 
would have been taken by me, and there would have been no 
trouble about the wounded. You ought to be in Port Hudson, 
sir, instead of being here. Clear out, sir, or I will have you 



executed ignominioiisly." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Dwight gets an Idea ; Night Performances ; Views from the Rifle Pits. 

Toward sunset orders came for us to form and march back to 
our camp. We obeyed, hoping that Dwight would make no 
further attempts to immortalize himself or sacrifice us that day. 
For some days our pickets and sharp-shooters had reported the 
nature of the ground between our camp and the citadel, which 
was the extreme right of the rebel fortifications, and in front 
of it, down the river, our regiment formed the extreme left 
of the federal army. At the foot of the group of high fortified 
bluffs making the citadel and its outworks, was a deep ravine 
about three hundred yards wide, a miry little bayou in its mid- 
dle, the valley being bounded on our side by a bluff almost as 
high as the opposite one on which was the citadel. Our bluff 
had been occupied by sharp-shooters for several days, who, from 
behind logs and trees, got many good shots at any man who 



COTTON THIEVES. 187 



showed himself in the opposite fortifications. There might be 
some propriety in making a redoubt with rifle pits at this place, 
to give our sharp-shooters better protection, and have some 
artillery ready in case of a sortie. A mortar battery, safe 
behind a hill, could be used so as to annoy the enemy continu- 
ally, but the idea of selecting the citadel as a place to batter 
with the best of the federal artillery, and for an assault with the 
best of the federal army, could only be suggested by the mind 
that originated Special Order No. 32. To send troops to pre- 
tend to capture and fortify the bluff opposite to the citadel, and 
then to influence General Banks to put the best of the artillery 
there in a grand battery, under Dwight's command, was sug- 
gested to this General by some of his staff as the best means to 
cover up his plans and performances of the memorable 14th 
of June. He gave orders that the suggested capture should be 
made, and added, " I will report to General Banks in the morn- 
ing that I have made a lodgment on a bluff that commands the 
citadel, and, by G — d, I'll make him send me the best of his 
artillery, and report to Washington that I have done more than 
Grover or Weitzel, and that report will be true, if we do any- 
thing at all." Dwight rode to his tent, where a brigade of 
infantry, under General Nickerson, with artillery and cavalry, 
guarded him, and Surgeon Sanger had prepared a feast of can- 
ned meats and other delicacies, with choice liquors, sent, per- 
haps, by Northern ladies for the sick and the wounded. The 
obsequious little surgeon, having abandoned the care of the 
wounded to young doctors, actually took the place of a waiter 
behind his master's seat, and praised the achievements of the 
day, as he brought this and that to regale the great General, 
fresh from the field of victory. 

We had hardly arrived at our camp, when Captain Bailey, 
afterwards breveted a General for working on a dam, and now 
Dwight's Chief Engineer, came and gave me instructions to 
move my regiment over into the next ravine toward the river, 
and that after dark he would bring some negroes to dig a rifle 
pit, and would call upon me for men to guard the working 



188 AMONG THE 



party. Bailey was a man aged about forty years, during the 
latter part of Avhich, before the war, according to his own 
account, the actions most to boast of were various horse 
trades, in which he had cheated his neighbors. It was said 
that before the war he was employed in a Wisconsin saw- 
mill for twenty dollars a month, but he possessed certain 
qualities sure to give him great favor in the eyes of Generals 
whom the government transported to this department to get 
rid of them. He was servile and obsequious to those he 
feared, and insolent as any blackguard could be to everybody 
else. No man ever had less sense of the difference between 
right and wrong, or less sympathy for suffering than Bailey had. 
His vanity and self-conceited importance were no less notorious 
and ridiculous than his gross ignorance and low breeding. No 
base man, suddenly promoted for base purposes of a besotted 
despot, ever believed more religiously than Bailey did in 
the necessity of cruelty and atrocious wickedness to make 
his importance felt. Although his avarice was unsurpassed by 
that of any Javorite of power in New Orleans, his malignity, 
shamelessness and low cunning made him a valuable tool 
for any secret service, or any infamous work, or any heaven 
daring crime that did not necessitate the exposure of his person 
to danger. It always seemed to me that the immediate cause 
of his being in favor continually was his readiness at all times 
to sacrifice the health, lives or honor of his counti'ymen of the 
Northwest to gratify the caprice or hatred of any of the old 
regular army subalterns appointed to be military governors 
with us for their slaves. Qualified to be Chief Engineer about 
as he was to be a bishop, he got his position to keep out of 
danger, and to find play for his abilities as a negro driver, which 
gave him the envy and admiration of Creole overseers. 

As he gave me the order to move my camp, his roguish face 
had an expression of uncommon villainy, which I tried to 
attribute to some pain he felt from a wound, for I saw that he 
carried his arm in a sling. I asked him if he was wounded, to 
which he answered, " Yes," with a look of affected unconcern, 



COTTON THIEVES. 189 



as though to be wounded was a common thing in his exper- 
ience. 

At about 10 o'clock in the evening Bailey came to our camp, 
and in a few minutes I was leading two companies behind him 
in a gully on our side of the bluff, the top of which was to 
be fortified by us. " Halt," says Bailey, " send forward a man 
to reconnoiter. I don't want to make a mistake and get 
gobbled. You had better ask some of your men if this is the 
right hill, and send forward a scout to see if the rebels have got 
a picket there." 

All causes for fear of being gobbled were removed, and I 
was soon on the top of the bluff with a party of our men, who 
had been provided with spades and picks, and were instructed 
to dig a trench about a foot and a half deep along the brow of 
the bluff toward the citadel as soon as they could, so that 
Bailey could come on with his negroes and go to work, having 
a place to drop down into and be safe if the citadel opened fire. 
The most of my men were posted as a reserve, lying safe on 
the hill side. The working party were armed and ordered to 
make as little noise as possible, while look-outs watched and 
listened for anything from the enemy. In a few moments our 
men would have places dug deep enough to get into if they 
were fired upon. The moon was not to be seen. The night 
air was cool and still, and the stars were bright in the dark sky. 
The citadel was very near. I could hear the sound of a lumber 
wagon driven back at a trot from the rebel works towards the 
village of Port Hudson. That team had been bringing ammu- 
nition or other supplies for those who could not receive much 
by daylight. A thirty-pound Parrott gun in the Indiana bat- 
tery spoke out suddenly, and being partly to the rear of us, 
made everything about us tremble. The whirling, screeching 
permission shell came tearing with a terrible noise through the 
air past us, and struck near where the team seemed to be, but 
in a moment afterward I heard the rebel wagon wheels going 
on again over the hard dry road. 

I looked into the dark valley before me, and was thinking 



190 AMONG THE 



what a blessing this darkness might be to our wounded, or to 
such of them as had lived through the hot day. I could hear 
sharp firing by skirmishers far off toward the federal right, 
where the greatest massacre had been in the morning. No 
doubt that our people were venturing far into danger to bring 
off their wounded. Ah! the dead were more fortunate than most 
of those wounded. The thirst, the loss of blood, the heat, the 
flies and mortification, made death certain, and caused death to 
be preceded by, unspeakable horrors. Soulless surgeons, with 
their bloody instruments of torture, were to be the only attend- 
ants of the dying. Suddenly I heard in the citadel the voices 
of a congregation singing a hymn, and soon afterward the loud, 
earnest voice of a devout Methodist, leading in prayer. There 
was a camp meeting praying and singing, for more than an 
hour, the " Amen," and the " Glory to God," being often heard 
uttered with the greatest zeal. At the same time, shell after 
shell was sent up from the distant mortar boats, the lighted 
fuses alternately appearing and going out of sight, as the great 
shells rolled over and over on their mighty curves through the 
sky, and the heavy guns in several of our batteries were fired 
by regular intervals, and sent their projectiles howling through 
the air. No part of Port Hudson seemed to be aimed for more 
than the citadel, but the praying and singing men seemed to be 
used to hearing shells from mortars and Parrotts burst about 
their ears; they paid no attention to such things. There must 
have been pickets outside of the rebel works, who coxild hardly 
have failed to hear our working party. The citadel might open 
fire suddenly, and sweep the whole hill-top. I watched to see 
the flash of the rebel guns in time to lie down before the shot 
could reach us, but the thing most to be feared was that D wight 
might come, or send new orders for us to do some feat of arms 
contrived by himself. Yet of this we need have had no fears; 
his staff" wanted no more of his exploits immediately, and having 
done all their duty as his waiters and wine-pour ers at the table, 
some of them had presented their master with a new black con- 
cubine, procured by them that day, and had performed for him 



COTTON THIEVES. 191 



all the ancient and honorable duties of groomsmen — services to 
be rewarded with corps d'Afrique field offices. 

At daylight on the 15th of June, 1863, I awoke from a sort 
of sleep, in which I had constantly watched for the citadel to 
open fire, and had been conscious that our working party and 
their guards had not been disturbed. The sound of our federal 
cannon, far and near, had grown fainter in my ears, until a sweet 
vision of home and children had hung before my mind, unbroken 
even by the report of the Parrotts in the Indiana battery near 
me. The first rays of light showed the rebels the lines of fresh 
yellow loam marking the crest of the bluff where our working 
party had been digging rifle pits. The sharp reports of half a 
dozen rifles, and the quick whiz of bullets, stopped all work, 
and our men dropped to their shallow trench as quickly as pos- 
sible. In a moment an irregular volley from federal Enfields 
and Springfields, followed by a succession of shots from both 
sides, let me know that an exchange of salutations was going 
on between Michigan men and the defenders of the citadel. By 
a curve in the flight of the rebel bullets, after passing the heads 
of our men in the rifle pit, they came down the hill side, singing 
through the air, cutting the green leaves and twigs, and making 
the dry pieces of bark fly from the trees near me. 

A little rebel howitzer, concealed in earth-works of one of 
the redoubts up the ravine from the citadel, was fired, and sent 
a spherical case shot, which exploded between me and our men 
in the rifle pit, and scattered its bullets recocheting over the 
ground where I had stood when the work commenced. The 
Indiana Parrotts seemed to think themselves insulted by the 
rebel gun that had dared to speak in their presence, and sent 
shot and shell, tearing up the earth of the redoubt where the 
howitzer had been seen. The Indiana guns rested, as if the 
rebel gun had certainly been knocked to pieces, but in a 
moment it fired again, sending a twelve-pound shell, which cut 
down a sapling, and emitting a gush of smoke, sent its frag- 
ments with a sharp growl flying up and down our hill side. 
Again the Indiana Parrotts, aided by the fire of other batteries, 



192 AMONG THE 



hurled their projectiles into the very place where the howitzer 
seemed to be, and this time when the roar of federal cannon 
and the shrieking of projectiles ceased, the rebel gun did not 
speak. No other gun, either in the citadel or any part of the 
works, was fired, and our artillerists could not tell where along 
the confederate works the cannon were hidden, but the rifle 
firing was kept up with spirit, as if it was a pastime, both 
parties lying under the cover of earth- works ; and although the 
Indianiars, assisted by a section of a regular battery having 
twelve-pounders, cannonaded the citadel, it was evident that 
the rebels were safer from the fire of artillery than they were 
from the fire of sharp-shooters. My regiment lay grouped 
under several spreading oaks in the ravine behind the newly 
constructed rifle pits, ready to relieve those there, by sending 
fresh men, or to meet the enemy in case of a sortie. Even the 
shots from the rebel howitzer had not disturbed the men, who 
were preparing their breakfast unconcerned as if in perfect 
safety. Presently Simonds, of Company G, come down the 
hill holding a bloody handkerchief to his cheek, but not appear- 
ing to be hurt much. He told me that as he was getting ready 
to fire through a hole at a turn in the rifle pit, a bullet came 
tearing the earth off the side of another loop-nole, and hit him 
in the cheek. He showed me the wound. The bullet had 
evidently lodged on the first bone. I told him he would have 
an honorable scar worth more at home than a commission. No 
one supposed that the wound was mortal, but so it proved 
to be, and Simonds lies in one of the many graves which the 
siege of Port Hudson left, never to be found by friend or rela- 
tive after the little board on which his comrades marked his 
name was broken down. 

The rebels seemed to become reconciled to the presence of 
our rifle pits, and the firing soon Mas no more than good sharp- 
shooters' practice, while the artillery fire became a succession 
of random shots at long intervals of time all around Port 
Hudson, without any effect or apparent object, except to show 
that we had a Chief of Artillery. 



COTTON THIEVES. 193 



The sun mounting up in the clear sky poured down his 
scorching rays, hastening the decomposition of the unburied 
dead bodies of many brave and intelligent men, kindling the 
fevers of the miserable wounded, and compelling the recent 
combatants to rest. Long exposure to the Louisiana sun 
during the year and six months that I had been without seeing 
home or family had acclimated me, and I was busy in making 
observations and collecting information. 

The great ravine immediately before the citadel extended 
back from the river about half a mile, and terminated close to 
the rebel works, so that it could not be swept by the fire of any 
federal battery. Our bivouac was in a second ravine, shorter 
and narrower than the first, and separated from it by the hill on 
which was our last night's work. A third ravine, in a course 
nearly parallel to the other two, extended from the river 
through the woods into the old cotton field. This ravine was 
separated from the second one by the ridge on which the 
Indiana battery stood. A fourth ravine, separated from the 
third by the last ridge, which^was covered with timber, came to 
the river, beside open fields, near Surgeon Mottram's white 
house hospital. The broken nature of the ground had caused 
the planters to leave the timber growing on these ridges, 
in these ravines, and inside the rebel fortifications. Beside 
the fourth ravine, and not far from our hospital, were the 
nearest troops that could come to our support — a weak 
force, about half a mile from us, and by winding roads 
and difficult ground that distance might be regarded as at least 
quadrupled. In case of a sortie, it was plain that the enemy 
could come out, attack us, and return, without danger even 
from our nearest batteries, for these Would have to send their 
shot among us in order to reach the rebels. There were pools, 
springs and little streams of tolerably cool water in the ravines. 
The doubts as to the effect of this water on health were little 
thought of by those who knew that they Avere the slaves of 
generals who considered it all right to use up any number 
of volunteers in any way to get a reputation, or even a notoriety. 
26 



194 AMONG TEE 



After a refreshing bath, I fell in with Lieutenant Buck, of Com- 
pany G, who had just been relieved from duty on the hill. 
He told me that from the rifle pit there was not only a good 
view of the citadel, but of much more of the fortifications, and 
that he knew a way of getting over the hill without much risk 
of being hit. I must examine the ground, and Lieutenant Buck 
acting as my guide, we started up the hill. As we begin to be 
exposed to bullets, the Lieutenant says to me, " You see that 
lone tree? Well, I'll run to that tree; then you run, and stop 
close behind me." It is done, and the little white oak hardly 
covers us. " Now," says the Lieutenant, " you see that old gate 
post standing there alone ? We must run again, and go it 
faster this time, for the rebs can see us easily." I am conscious 
of making good use of my running abilities, and have hardly 
squatted behind my friend at the gate post, when he says, 
u They can take us in the flank if they see us from that redoubt 
to our right. That fre-h earth across this stretch of open 
ground is the rifle pit. I'll run like the devil and throw myself 
into it, and you can do the same. We will probably draw fire 
this time, but it will be hard for them to hit us. Crouch down 
as well as you can." The Lieutenant does run, and drops into 
the rifle pit. I cannot be certain whether a rebel bullet hit him 
or not. Out of breath, I drop into the little trench, which does 
not seem to be quite a foot deep here. I do not know how 
near the bullets came, but the rebel rifles cracked in quick suc- 
cession. Here lie our sharp-shooters, every man yellow with 
clay dust, through which he must drag himself like a snake 
whenever he moves. They have their rifles beside them, or run 
through holes under limbs or logs of wood, which lie on the 
little earth-work thrown up during the night. 

A spare and swarthy soldier, whose face I have seen in the 
hold of the Great Republic, and in many a swamp encampment, 
6ays to me, " Colonel, the best place to look from is at the fallen 
tree at the farther end of the rifle pits, but you can see a good 
deal from here." He draws his rifle out of the loop-hole, 
through which I strain my gaze, taking in at one view the great 



COTTON THIEVES. 195 



ravine, and along the crest of the opposite bank, the sullen cita- 
del, with its network of rifle pits and parapets looking down on 
one side upon the broad, tawny-colored river, flowing a hundred 
feet below, the most venturesome gunboat being two miles 
away, while on the side this way, at not much more than three 
hundred yards distance, two parapets, one above the other, on 
the steep hill side, hold their hidden fires ready to sweep the 
river bank and the valley yawning before me. 

About two hundred and fifty yards up the ravine from the 
citadel, a high, round hill stands out, almost separated from the 
main bank, which the rebels have fortified. The top of this 
round hill is dug into a redoubt, which shows, by the piles 
of fresh earth on its parapets, that it holds its guns entirely 
safe, ready to cross-fire with the citadel, and rake every step 
of ground where assailants can come. 

Up the ravine, a quarter of a mile farther, I see the heavy 
embankments of another redoubt standing out into the valley 
on a projection much like the round hill. All the rebel parapets 
are capped with sand bags, piled two side by side, six inches 
apart, and one laid across, so as to make a perfect loop-hole. 
In some places two or three lines of these sand bag loop-holes 
appear, rising one above another, on different parapets. The 
redoubts give a perfect flanking arrangement, and an assaulting 
column, in crossing this great ravine, would have to make their 
way through the tangled, fallen timber, interwoven with rank 
briers, cross the miry brook or bayou, and climb the opposite 
bank, encountering every kind of fire. 

If the citadel should be taken by assault, the appearance of 
things on the inside of the rebel works indicates thai, the assail- 
ants would find themselves in a trap, for a deep ravine coming 
from toward Port Hudson village parallel to the river bank, 
and near to it, empties into the ravine before me. Just 
beyond the first redoubt, a strip of ground between the ravine 
and the river has the only track leading from the citadel to Port 
Hudson, which is a mile distant. Across this narrow strip of 
ground, I can see that several lines of interior works have been 



196 AMONG THE 



made, any one of which looks stronger than any part of the 
single exterior line of earth-works, which, at other points, has 
repelled every assault. Along the narrow strip of ground, not 
far beyond the interior works, I see a comfortable brick dwell- 
ing house. Near it, and close to the river bank, are several 
negro cabins, also made of brick, some of them being white- 
washed. Farther toward the village everything is obscured 
from view by the dense forest, in the edge of which can be seen 
long rows of little log huts, built by regiments of soldiers. All 
these buildings look not much the worse for the cannonade. 

My attention is drawn to the redoubts Our generals are 
not yet acquainted with them, or we should have heard more 
about them. Under the fire of both of these, and winding 
around between the first one and the citadel, and through the 
doubly guarded narrow sally-port, D wight was to send his 
cavalry to enter by twos, file right and left, and dash along the 
parapet, sabering the cannoniers at their guns. Of course, 
cavalry that could get through this ravine before me would go 
through any ravine on the inside of the rebel works. Surely, 
such cavalry need not stop at anything. The track where the 
cavalry was to go was the same where the infantry must follow, 
and the narrowness of the road would compel them, as well as 
the horsemen, to go by twos, nowhere sheltered from fire. The 
long procession Mould have to go for about half a mile almost 
parallel to the rebel works, and within good rifle range of them. 
The discretion which caused the storming column to disappear 
into holes and hollows as soon as they got fairly started, was 
better than any valor they could have shown. 

I drag myself along the narrow rifle pit, slipping over the 
bodies of those I cannot get around. The low piles of fresh 
earth fail to be a sufficient cover. I stop in places, dodge my 
head for an instant above the little parapet, take a good view, 
and down again in time to be safe from a bullet. I creep 
farther, ap with my head in a new place, so as not to appear 
where I may be expected to appear, get a fair glimpse of the 
rebel arrangements, and then down again. 



COTTON THIEVES. 197 



This creeping through yellow clay dust without rising on my 
knees to help myself is advantageous in one way: whatever 
part of the body is shown to the rebels is the color of the clay, 
and cannot be aimed at easily. I have arrived at a great fallen 
tree on the brink of the bluff toward the river, whose waters 
do not come within less than about twenty rods of the foot of 
this bluff, the intervening ground being a low ridge along the 
river edge, and between that ridge and the foot of the bluff a 
strip of very low ground, through which winds the little bayou 
from the great ravine almost parallel with the river, until it 
empties into it back where our column, destined for Gardiner's 
head-quarters, first drew the enemy's fire yesterday morning. 

All this low ground and river shore is completely swept by 
the fire of the enemy, and is not to be reached by a single 
federal gun, except by random shots from- the navy two miles 
away. There were but few trees growing at the mouth of the 
great ravine, or anywhere between this bluff and the river, and 
no attempt has been made to obstruct the ground there with 
abattis. This place, safe from federal guns, is enough to tempt 
a sortie if anything can do so. Here the enemy can come by 
day or night and take this rifle pit, our camp and the Indiana 
battery, in flank, with superior numbers, while all support is cut 
off from us by distance and by the nature of the ground. But 
in any event we have less to fear from the enemy than from our 
own commanders, so we must accept the situation. 

There is an opening under the trunk of this tree, through 
which I get a good view up the great ravine and along the rebel 
fortifications, but seeking a better view over the top of the log. 
While I am watching for any puff of smoke from the redoubt, 
I am suddenly conscious of several rifle shots in the citadel. 
I drop down quickly. Some of the bullets hiss spitefully 
through the air where my head was. There has been a little 
cessation of firing before this, but now the citadel garrison 
keep their rifles at work so that I will hardly be able to creep 
back as safely as I came. I gave orders to my men not to fire, 
thinking that shots from our side would only provoke the rebels 



198 AMONG TEE 



and prevent my observations, but I find, as I drag myself along 
the .shallow trench that our silence is giving the enemy courage 
to keep up such a fire as will prevent me from running over the 
open ground in rear of our rifle pit. I lie still and give our 
men permission to answer, which they do with such spirit as 
to quiet their Southern neighbors, so that I find no trouble in 
returning to our camp in the ravine. But the twang of rebel 
rifles and the spiteful hiss of bullets which I heard as, covered 
with clay dust, I made the last race, yet ring in my ears. 



CHAPTER IX. 



The Boston Achilles at his Tent; Dwight as Magician— He Changes Known Defeat into 
Recorded Victory: His New Programme— a Tower of Cotton Bales to Overlook Port 
Hudson, and Mount Cannon Enough to Shake Down the Citadel; Verax, the Herald 
of Truth. 

The fiery heat causes Dwight, the mighty son of Boston, to 
perspire as he yet sleeps in his guarded tent. His staff speak 
in whispers. The sentinels forbid approach and prevent noise, 
but he awakes. The daughter of Ethiopia is gone. Faithful aids 
led her away before day dawn. Dwight speaks : " Hoffman I" 
Promptly replies the zealous Adjutant, in sweet tones, "Sir!" 
The divided curtain which separates the ends of the two white 
wall-tents is raised by the unsoiled hand of the trusty Adjutant. 
"I am here, General." Again speaks the chieftain: "Hoffman, 
where are my pantaloons?" "I will find them, General." 
" Well, find them now." Imperial was that voice. By the 
Adjutant's skilled assistance soon is the mighty leader clad, but 
sombre is his brow. There is blood in his eye. As Hoffman 
stoops with his white handerchief to brush a little dust from 
his master's polished boot, Dwight makes a step, kicks the 
Adjutant, and with words as well as acts to teach subordination, 



COTTON TE1EYE8. 199 



says : " G — d d — n you volunteers. If you had done as you 
were ordered, I would now be in General Gardiner's head- 
quarters, and the world would have known who I am. If I had 
regulars I could march them into Port Hudson at a right 
shoulder shift arms. If I had even my old regiment I could 
send them in line of battle through any ravine here." Hoffman 
listens. It is not for him to answer. His master looks at him 
and says, "Where is Colonel Clark?" Tremulous is the 
answer. " He has been waiting some time to see you, General." 
" Why didn't you let me know that, sir ?" " I did not know 
that you would like to be disturbed." Quick is the response 
of the great warrior Bostonian : "Did you think that I was 
asleep ? Well, volunteers will never know anything. Go and 
bring Colonel Clark here." 

Soon, on the carpeted floor of the outer tent, in presence of 
D wight, who sits in a cushioned chair, Clark stands in finest 
uniform. Large the eagles on his straps, and wide the sash 
beneath his sword-belt. Tall in stature, portly in abdomen and 
hips, pale in his fat face, his bluish eyes wide open, he waits hat 
in hand. Dwight, swelling with superiority and dignity, says, 
" Where were you all day yesterday ?" Pale is Clark, but 
unabashed : " General, I was holding my ground. I was keep- 
ing possession of the field of battle for you. When you send 
me forth to fight I am not the man to forsake the field. My 
head-quarters were so close to the enemy that I could not com- 
municate with you regularly. I was almost ready to make 
another attack on Port Hudson, when I was ordered to with- 
draw the troops under my command, but I was too near the 
enemy to retire before darkness covered my retreat." The 
cloud of wrath on Dwight's brow is not dispelled. He is not 
content with the glory of having held the field. Clark must 
say more : " I would never have stopped until I was in Port 
Hudson if the column by the river had obeyed your orders, 
and executed your plan for the capture of the citadel and 
of General Gardiner— that plan which will put you in history as 
the first military genius of the age. Had I seen one of the 



200 AMONG TEE 



rockets you provided, go up from the citadel, niy bleeding 
column would have swept on like the wind, and the enemy 
would have fled in dismay. Had I been with my regiment 
to lead them myself, they would have obeyed your orders, and 
I would have sent you General Gardiner in a cage. But I could 
not be in two places at once. Under the leadership of those 
who were left in my place my regiment failed to act worthy 
of themselves." The great leader of storming columns would 
say more. He would tell his master that to his surprise he had 
found Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon in command of the Sixth 
Michigan, and knew that the presence of that officer was 
enough to account for the failure of the sublime plan. 

But D wight cuts him short. He start in his chair, swelling 
like a furious toad. " Send for Captain Cordon and Captain 
Stark," he says. " Cowardice ! disobedience of my orders in 
the presence of the enemy ! I have had men shot without trial 
for less than that. Even now my orders are out for the sum- 
mary execution of stragglers. By G — d, I'll have a summary 
execution. I'll hang those Captains with my own hands this 
morning. Hoffman, send for them instantly. They are respon- 
sible for all the blood that this siege will cost. They are 
responsible for preventing the success of a plan which would 
have given me the stars that I am entitled to. I'll hang them 
high as Hainan !" 

While an aid is gone for the two Captains, Clark dares to 
address his chief, who has risen and steps from side to side, his 
short form and wonderful head and neck all full of majesty. 
The Colonel's voice is subdued in tone. He says, " General, 
your plans have not failed. I have heard you say ' there is no 
such word as fail.' " Hoffman interrupts, " Yes, General, may I 
sooner die than admit that your plan could fail. Your compre- 
hensive plan provided for every emergency. The two columns 
made first-rate feints, and completely diverted the attention 
of the enemy, while under your eye your Engineer, Captain 
Bailey, slipped in and made a lodgment on the eminence that 
commands the citadel and Port Hudson. As soon as you get 



COTTON THIEVES. 201 



your artillery there, you can demand the surrender of Port 
Hudson to yourself, and receive the sword of General Gardiner, 
without the help of any other division." 

"What!" asks D wight, thrusting his thumbs into the arm- 
holes of his vest, " did you not suppose I knew all that ? Now, 
get some of Sanger's supplies out here as soon as you can. I'll 
have a hanging before I eat, but not before I drink, by G — d !" 

The Adjutant and a first-class negro waiter bring the decan- 
ters filled with mixed liquors, in which the slices of lemon are 
seen through the cut glass. The liquors have been kept cold in 
hospital ice. Silver goblets, lined with gold, procured in the 
Teche country, are filled. Dwight drains one, and exclaims, 
" Clark, drink, or I'll hang you." The stormer of forts boldly 
reaches forth his right hand. Three times the two great men 
drink in silence. Hoffman fills the empty goblets. 

" General," says Clark, " this execution — this execution. You 
have already made yourself No. 1 among disciplinarians. Of 
course this execution Avill exhibit your power, but I am anxious 
to see the order which all expect to see — the order announcing 
your victory and your occupation of the hill that commands 
Port Hudson." 

" That's so," says the General, with gravity, and drank alone. 
" But the hanging comes first, unless — unless — " he drinks 
again. 

Hoffman announces, " General, the two Captains are here," 
and the two Captains, worn and dusty, stand before Dwight, 
who tries to stretch himself up and put on authority, but it is 
like trying to stretch up a jug, or fit authority to a demijohn. 

"Captain Cordon and Captain Stark," says Dwight, "you 
— you — hie — hanged — hie — " he holds on to the tent pole, 
" hanged — hie." 

No smile is seen on the face of either Captain. Thoughts 
of home and eternity give them laces solemn as that of Daniel 
in the pictures representing him in the lion's den. But Hoffman 
smiles. He has crossed the liquors in a particular way, which 
he knew had power over the soul of his master, and he now 
26 



202 AMONG TEE 



beholds both D wight and Clark reeling into seats. The General 
says, with several stops. " Gentlemen, 'ej) yur-selves." Hoffman 
directs the slave to offer a goblet to each of the Captains, and 
informs them that they can return to the regiment and await 
further orders. He adds, significantly, " If you hold your 
tongues, there will be no further orders in your case." 

Captain Hoffman immediately sent for the officers who com- 
manded the cotton bag battalion, and the bridge makers who 
started with the storming column, the former to keep the bullets 
off, and the latter to bridge some imaginary castle moat. 
When they came, he told them frankly that they were in danger 
of being hanged, and he did not know but they ought to be 
hung, for the cotton bags and the balks and chesses had been 
thrown down or piled up for shelter as soon as the enemy's 
bullets began to come, so that the bridge and cotton bags were 
at the rear of the column when it exploded, and that no matter 
whether to have stopped at the outset was the best thing they 
could have done or not, the General must be satisfied, for the 
assault must be reported a success. He advises them to get 
every sign of the cotton bags and of the pieces of the bridge 
out of sight, and have as little said about them as possible; 
to send a present of the best liquors to the General every day ; 
and to send him anything else they know he likes, and to say all 
they can think of in his praise, and that, as Adjutant-General, 
he will look out for the rest. That so far luck is on their side, 
for the General seems to have forgotten all about them, aud 
what they were to do. The distinguished bridge builders and 
cotton bag bearers have nothing to do but thank Hoffman and 
take his advice, as they would take a preventive medicine which 
is the only thing that can save their lives. 

Captain Hoffman immediately sat down and wrote the fol- 
lowing order, which aids and orderlies were soon delivering to 
various commanding officers : 



COTTON THIEVES. 203 



General Orders, ) Head quarters Second Division, ) 

No. 4. f Before Port Hudson, June 15, 1863. ) 

The Brigadier-General commanding the division congratulates 
the troops on the brave advance they made yesterday, and the 
ground they gained from the enemy, which they now hold. 
Every such approach toward the enemy must discourage and 
distress the rebel force. But to do this it is important that not 
a step of ground be lost; that from every ravine and every 
artificial cover our riflemen shall annoy and distress the rebels 
within their works. It is important, then, that our soldiers shall 
get such advanced position that the enemy cannot move about 
within their works in safety. The Brigadier-General com- 
manding the division has to complain that regimental command- 
ers do not keep their men well enough in hand, and that line 
officers do not keep the soldiers in ranks with sufficient strict- 
ness. These faults must be corrected. No soldiers can march 
to an assault who fail to preserve their formation strictly. 
No advance can be well held when soldiers are suffered to leave 
ranks. No sharpshooters or skirmishers can be effective unless 
controlled by their line officers. Regimental commanders do 
not preserve control over their regiments when they allow their 
soldiers to mingle with the soldiers of another regiment on the 
battle-field. The proper intervals of regiments must, under all 
circumstances, be preserved. When regiments are crowded 
they are inefficient, and sometimes uselessly exposed. 
By order of Brigadier-General D wight. 

WICKHAM HOFFMAN, A. A. G. 

The truth was that neither of D wight's columns got as near 
to the enemy as our sharp-shooters had been during many days 
before the 14th. Near the river and along the whole brink 
of the great ravine, from the place of our new rifle pit to the 
highway, our riflemen had for several days hiding places, and 
held the ground, for the enemy did not pretend to come out 
of his works. In the daytime artful dodging was necessary 
for riflemen to relieve each other in these hiding places, but at 



204 AMONG THE 



night there was nothing to hinder the whole division from 
advancing to the brink of the great ravine and intrenching 
themselves there. 

The main column led by Clark had not reached the brink 
ot the great ravine, but had disappeared in other ravines before 
getting there. That column exposing its masses to a concen- 
trated fire, could not pass the ground over which our sharp- 
shooters had often skulked singly. These sharpshooters on 
the morning of the assault actually looked back towards the 
camps and saw that column routed, and sent into the earth. 
Our new rifle pit could have been made any night for a week 
before the assault just as easily as on the night after that event; 
so that D wight really did all of his assaulting without getting 
outside the federal lines. But according to the West Point 
philosophy it appears that a general's authority is such that in 
his orders, reports and bulletins, he may use either truth or 
falsehood as suits his interest and convenience, and one of the' 
most important duties of a staff officer is to tell lies for his 
master. 

During the 15th of June, 1863, one of D wight's staff, having 
hints Irorn the General himself, wrote a communication for a 
Boston newspaper. As soon as the valiant Brigadier got sober 
enough to listen he read it to him as follows : 



"Before Pout Hudson, / 
i 14, 1863— 11 o'clock P. u. J 



" June 

"Port Hudson has been assaulted, and General Dwight is now 
master of the place. Alter the rest of the army had been 
repulsed, General Dwight led his division to attack the 
strongest part of the fortifications along the high bluff. If 
there had been no fortifications the position of the enemy would 
have been stronger than it was where any other general made 
an assault, but our brave commander, of whom Boston may 
well feel proud, led the charge in person. His valor inspired 
every soldier. His master mind found one of those simple yet 
grand plans of attack, which indicates a genius like Alexander's. 



COTTON THIEVES. 205 



" One column pushed forward, aiming for the only weak side 
of the citadel, that toward the river. A stronger column, 
under the valiant and distinguished Colonel Clark, went thun- 
dering against the great redoubt. This was only to distract 
the attention of the enemy. Our chief led the center column, 
moving between the other two. 

" His Massachusetts veterans, in perfect order, sweep over 
bluffs and ravines, which the enemy deemed impassable. They 
are ascending the precipitous side of the great hill which com- 
mands the citadel and all the adjoining works. On this hill the 
enemy are posted in force and strongly fortified. They pour a 
deadly lire into the advancing column of assailants. Undis- 
mayed, on rides the gallant leader, and, undismayed, behind 
him come his veterans, the old right arm and drawn sword on 
their banners. Not a shot is heard Irom them ; they advance, 
trusting to the bayonet only. Even the enemy cheer our noble 
General. He bears a charmed life. . A shout, a rush of the 
assailants — the hill is gained, and the enemy are driven head- 
long down the hill side. 

" General Dwight's engineers, instructed and drilled by 
himself, are at work turning the rebel works into fortifications 
for us, while the General himself leads the pursuit. He is the 
only mounted man whose horse has not been killed. His steed 
is worthy to carry such a rider. Our General dashes in among 
the flving masses of rebels. His bright saber flashes again and 
again — he cuts down a man at every blow. His looks strike an 
awe into all around him — they are helpless. 

" He is borne along with the fugitives to the sally-port. Here, 
on the parapet, the rebels have planted a battle-flag for their 
last rally. Catting and slashing right and left, General D wight 
is in the very gate. A skillful blow of his bloody sword severs 
the flag-staff. He catches the trophy and rides away with it, 
under the cross-fire of rebel batteries. He displays a skill and 
grace in horsemanship which might win the fairest lady's heart. 
The rebels, struck with admiration at his feat of arms, cease to 
fire at him, and, waving his captured flag, he rides unscathed 



206 AMONG THE 



into our fortification on the hill top, from which we can look 

down into any part of Port Hudson. 

"Here our mighty General rests in the arms of victory, and 

surrounded by those who adore him, As soon as the artillery 

to be concentrated here opens fire, Port Hudson must surrender. 

It is probable that as soon as the rebel General understands our 

position, he will abandon all further defense. General Dwight 

says that if the Illinois singing-school teacher, Grierson, had 

been man enough to follow him with a regiment of cavalry, and 

charge through the sally-port, Port Hudson would have been 

surrendered to him to-day. 

" VERAX." 

Dwight expressed the utmost gratification on hearing the 
communication read, and rising to his feet, exclaimed, " Won't 
those young ladies in Boston pursue me. I'll make them feel 
who I am." 

Captain Bailey was present, requested Yerax to write for 
him a communication to one of the Milwaukee papers, and, 
addressing Dwight, said, "If you ever want any of your staff 
to support them statements, just call on me." Yerax was pro- 
moted to a post out of all danger lor the rest of the siege, and 
afterward was a renowned functionary in the Corps d'Afrique. 

News from the great assault on the farther side of Port 
Hudson came privately. The slaughter had been terrible, the 
failure complete. General H. E. Paine, iormerly Colonel of the 
Fourth Wisconsin, was badly wounded, having a leg shattered. 
He lay all day yesterday exposed to the sun on the field. 

The plan of attack was to throw forward a body of skirmish- 
ers, who were to keep the enemy down. Behind the skirmishers 
strong details, carrying, as hand-grenades, six-pounder shells, 
with matches ready to light the fuses. Then the storming 
columns, the men in front carrying cotton bags, stuffed with 
the all-saving cotton. The skirmishers could not keep the 
enemy close, but, on the other hand, the enemy kept them close. 
The attack was before daylight, or the skirmishers could not 



COTTON THIEVES. 207 



have got as near to the works as they did. Their failure made 
it impossible for the men with hand-grenades and shells to show 
themselves, and, lastly, the cotton bags would not keep the 
bullets off. 

The burial of the dead was going on. Long trenches had 
been dug by negroes, and into these the blackened, flyblown 
bodies, were thrown and covered up. D wight and his Engineer, 
Bailey, returned with satisfaction in their faces from a visit to 
General Banks. This much is certain. The order for a great 
battery, to be made under the direction of Dwight, on the top 
of the hill, where our new rifle pit was, had gone forth. The 
best of the federal artillery was to be concentrated there— was 
to be withdrawn from being in front of the weakest parts of 
the rebel lines, and concentrated before the strongest of all the 
fortifications, where the make of the ground made it certain 
that all the ammunition that could be got might be fired away 
without accomplishing anything. 

Bailey and Dwight were also highly pleased with an 
order which had been issued to General Grierson, to have his 
cavalry take wagons with them, forage far and near for cotton, 
and deliver all the bales they could bring to Bailey, to be used 
in building his new batteries. They also brought from Banks' 
head-quarters the following order, which was circulated imme- 
diately : 

Head-quarters Department op the Gulf, j 

General Orders, > Nineteenth Army Coups V 

N 49. \ Before Port Hudson, June 15, 1803. ) 

The Commanding General congratulates the troops before 
Port Hudson upon the steady advance made upon the enemy's 
works, and is confident of an immediate and triumphant issue 
of the contest, We are at all points upon the threshold of his 
fortifications. One more advance and they are ours. 

For the last duty that victory imposes, the Commanding 
General summons the bold men of the corps to the organization 
of a storming column of a thousand men, to vindicate the flag 



208 AMONG THE 



of the Union, and the memory of its defenders who have fallen. 
Let them come forward. 

Officers who lead the column of victory in this last assault 
may be assured of a just recognition of their services by pro- 
motion, and every officer and soldier who shares its perils and 
its glory, shall receive a medal fit to commemorate the first 
grand success of the campaign of 1863 for the freedom of the 
Mississippi. His name will be placed in General Orders upon 
the Roll of Honor. 

Division commanders will at once report the names of the 
officers and men who may volunteer for this service, in order 
that the organization of the column may be completed with- 
out delay. 

By command of Major-General Banks. 
[Official] RICHARD B. IRWIN, A. A. G. 

During the day the rifle firing between our men and the 
garrison of the citadel continued, the enemy supposing that 
nothing more than sharp-shooting was intended by us. 

Dwight's father was said to be one of the richest men in 
Boston. It was said, also, that General Banks had sustained to 
the D wight family the unfortunate relation of a debtor who 
could not pay. Hence the mysterious influence of our jug- 
shaped General at head-quarters. 



COTTON THIEVES. 209 



CHAPTER X. 

The Citadel Overawed ; The Chief Engineer's "Wounds ; Grierson Undergoing Punish- 
ment — He must get all the Cotton Dwight wants. 

On the morning of June 16, 1863, the rebels behold Bailey's 
cotton bales and large quantities of fresh earth piled up as the 
foundation of a great parapet laid out curiously along the site 
of our rifle pit. There is sharp rifle firing for a little while, but 
about as soon as the state of things can be reported to 
General Gardiner, and orders be returned by him, all firing by 
the enemy ceases suddenly. The rebels are compelled to 
believe that we are really making preparations for great bat- 
teries here, and have ordered an entire cessation of hostilities 
on their side in order that we may not be interrupted in our 
undertaking, for every cannon that comes here is virtually 
withdrawn from the siege. 

Our men, lying under cover of the new made works, soon 
find that they can show themselves without being shot at, and 
cease firing. Before long officers of negro troops commence 
work on our parapet. At first they are cautious, but soon find 
that those who carelessly expose themselves to the view of the 
rebels are safe. 

Bailey himself comes up from his tent in the ravine, and 
wishing all the credit of carrying on the work by daylight, in 
full sight of the enemy, he drives the frightened negroes to 
their task in crowds, keeping many on the top of the parapet, 
but not a rebel gun is fired. Along the enemy's fortifications 
the dingy-clad soldiers show themselves, some sitting lazily on 
their parapet watching our negroes work. With a glass I take 
a good view of these rebel soldiers. Here, not over three 
hundred yards from me, sits one of the rebel defenders of Port 
Hudson. He wears a slouched hat, a dingy gray shirt, and 
pants of the same color ; his hunter's bullet pouch and powder 
27 



210 AMONG THE 



horn are hung across his breast in backwoods style ; his feet 
are bare, and as he gazes at us silently he reminds me of Daniel 
Boone. 

Bailey comes to me, his arm still in a sling, and says : 
"Colonel, I hope you will give strict orders to your men not to 
fire on any account, for they might draw the enemy's fire upon 
me. I think that the rebels have give uj) in despair, and 
if they let me get along a little further with my work, I am the 
man that'll have the credit of takin' Port Hudson." 

During the day the report that Dwight and Bailey have 
silenced the citadel is industriously circulated. Officers from 
other divisions arrive to look at the peaceable rebels that line 
the fortifications before us. Among them is a friend of mine 
from the Fourth Wisconsin. In speaking with him I men- 
tion that nobody seems to know how Bailey got wounded. 

" Wounded !" replies he, " does Bailey pretend to have been 
wounded by the enemy ? I Avill tell you all about it. In one 
of the dark nights just before our last assault Bailey was sent 
in command of a gang of negroes to throw up a new battery a 
little nearer to the rebels than was entirely consistent with his 
safety. He thought that this Avould be a good occasion out 
of which to get up a report, so he called for a strong guard, 
and got a detail of one hundred down-east nine months 
men. About midnight Bailey sent a courier to head-quarters 
with the report that he had successfully made a lodgment in 
the important position selected by the General, and that in a 
short time he hoped to be able to report that he was ready for 
the guns to be brought forward. The officer in command 
of the one hundred nine months men flattered Bailey as to his 
engineering genius, and took it as a matter of course that the 
first thing in making a lodgment was to dig a trench and 
throw up a bank to protect the guard. While the negroes were 
zealously at work on this trench, the guard lay flat on the 
ground a little way to one side. 

" Bailey undertook to superintend the woi'k of the negroes. 
His chief duty seems to have been to keep the Africans from 



COTTON THJEVE8. 211 



making any noise that might draw the attention of the enemy. 
He knocked down two or three of his best hands for letting 
their picks hit something that made a clink. Bailey's mind 
became possessed with the idea that the rebels were coming 
out, skulking like Indians, to gobble him up. He saw lights, 
heard the sticks break, and at last thought that he saw the 
enemy in large numbers crouching close to the ground, and 
almost ready to surround him. 

" Just then a negro hit his pick against a spade with a loud 
clash. The fellow who had hold of the spade exclaimed, 
" What yuh 'bout dah ?" Bailey cried out to the guard, " Fire ! 
lire ! for God's sake, fire !" and at the same time broke for the 
rear like a quarter-horse, but intended to go no farther than the 
commander's position, when the line fires. The guard fired, and 
the negroes, who had just been taken from a drove brought in 
by the cavalry, were instantly on a stampede, springing and 
bounding with an activity never seen in them before. They go 
crowding and rolling, like a thunder cloud in a tornado, right 
after Bailey. He, in an unlucky moment, stumbles and falls 
upon his hands and knees. Three or four huge negroes 
tumble over him, and half a dozen more of the herd run over 
those that are down. Bailey's voice was unheeded, and the 
heavy heel of a brogan stamped on his arm and almost broke it. 

" That's the way he got wounded. The nine months men got 
off the field about as soon as the negroes did, and in about the 
same manner. Bailey reported he did all in his power to stop 
the retreat, and although the fire of the enemy was terrific, and 
he was wounded, yet he was the last man to leave the field, 
and that he fell back in good order." 

For days the work on our famous new batteries opposite to 
the citadel progressed in a manner worthy of Bailey. He 
claimed that the plan of his fortification was a wonder, and so 
it was. He declared that his cannon would enfilade all the 
water batteries in Port Hudson, but a bend in the river was 
such that every rebel gun in sight along the river could be 
pointed straight at Bailey's stronghold, and a dense piece of 



212 AMONG THE 



woods inside the rebel works completely protected and hid 
from our view most of the guns that kept the fleet at bay. 
Bailey had given such a slant to his line of parapet, that if the 
rebels had any guns to the right of us, those guns would enfilade 
every rod of Bailey's engineering. There was something about 
every part of Bailey's job which indicated the genius of a com- 
mon railroad boss of shovelers, rather than the genius of a Chief 
Engineer. 

But in one thing Bailey's genius was admired by those of us 
who had served at Baton Rouge during the cotton harvest 
there. The cavalry and the wagons of our army must have 
given up most of their business, and spared no pains to get 
cotton bales for Dwight and Bailey. Several regiments of 
negroes came swarming into the ravines near us, to work rolling 
the cotton bales from the place where the teams left them up to 
Bailey's parapet. 

Day and night the negroes toiled incessantly getting Bailey's 
cotton parapet piled up high enough to suit him. Every con- 
trivance was used to make it necessary to have more cotton. 
The bales were placed endwise or were piled side by side so as 
to give a thickness almost equal to that of the Chinese wall. 
The joy with which Bailey and other favorites of head-quarters 
greeted every cotton train that arrived, and the praise bestowed 
upon every part of the job where the most unnecessary quan- 
tities of cotton had been worked in, left no doubt as to the 
ultimate destiny of the cotton, especially as every pound of it 
was likely to be worth a gold dollar. 

The federal artillery only kept up a monotonous and irregular 
firing at long intervals of time between the shots. The other 
division commanders seemed content to lie still and let Dwight 
get all the glory of taking Port Hudson by means of Bailey, 
since the pole and board plan, and the cotton bag plan had 
failed. General Banks and stall', and the other generals, were 
frequent visitors at our new fortifications, where unbroken 
peace with the rebels made it entirely safe for visitors to show 
themselves and examine the works of both parties. But 



COTTON THIEVES. 213 



Dwight and Bailey had things their own way, and the siege 
was in such a degree of progress that nobody was jealous 
of them. There was strange delay in getting guns mounted 
in any part of our new works. We had nothing but the 
rifles of a small force of infantry and the good will of the 
enemy to rely upon for our safety from whatever force the 
rebels might see fit to concentrate, hidden behind their works 
three hundred yards off, ready for a rush across the valley, 
which none but their own guns could reach. 

Cessation of firing was followed by friendly intercourse 
between federal soldiers and confederates, everywhere near 
Bailey's pacific work. 



CHAPTER XI. 



More Cotton and more Negroes; Diplomatic Intercourse; An Armistice; A Rebel 
Archimedes with his Mirror. 

It is morning. The hot rays of the sun are kept off by 
cloiids, but there is a sultriness that would seem stifling to any 
but those who are used to the atmosphere of the Louisiana 
low lands. The rebel citadel, and our bluff opposite to it, are 
swarming with men. They do not conceal themselves, but are 
standing, sitting and lounging in plain sight, along the outside 
of their trenches and parapets. Bailey has a reinforcement of 
about a thousand negroes, in addition to the black multitude 
that he had before. Like ants, they are all at work, picking, 
digging and shoveling the clay, or rolling and heaving the 
cotton bales. A grand addition to the former works of our 
Engineer is rapidly going forward, extending the parapet with 
a curve along the irregular crest of the ravine. 

When the guns are mounted along this new part of our work, 
they can all be worn out by firing into the clay embankments 



214 AMONG THE 



of the great detached redoubt opposite to them, without send- 
ing a shot into the real fortifications of Port Hudson, for the 
redoubt is so made by excavating and digging up the top 
of a bluff, that it will be necessary for artillery to be able to 
batter down the bluff itself before any kind of shot or shells 
can disable the hidden guns of the redoubt or drive out its 
defenders. 

The rebels this morning do not pay the least attention to the 
host of slaves at work under experienced drivers to carry out 
Bailey's ideas of siege works and batteries. Confederates and 
federals appear to be chiefly interested in a conversation carried 
on by shouting across the valley at the citadel. It is easy to 
understand the words of a Michigan soldier boy, once renowned 
for his strength, but now somewhat the worse for many months 
of life in our swamp encampments. He stands in plain sight, his 
soldier cap, indigo-colored blouse and light blue pants strangely 
clean for a besieger. He calls to the rebels, " Hadn't we better 
quit this war and drive the French out of Mexico ?" " Yes, 
yes," is answered by half a dozen voices from the other side 
of the valley, and one young fellow, springing up from behind 
the citadel parapet, shouts, " What's the news from Mexico ?" 
He hears in reply, " Our papers say that the French have taken 
Puebla at last." After a pause, a man better dressed than 
others about him gets up on the parapet, and calls to the 
federals, " Bring me a New York Herald, and I'll meet you 
half-way." 

As the Northern soldiers are looking around to see whether 
any staff officers are watching them, two gunboat officers, wear- 
ing the well-known naval caps and coats, unsoiled with the clay 
of the trenches, step forward, saying, " We are not afraid of any 
general," shout to the rebels, " Come on," and are going down 
the hill carelessly, as if the roar of that heavy gun which comes 
booming from the right of our army did not show the uncer- 
tainty and narrow limits of our truce. The Southerners are not 
to be outdone. Two of them, evidently officers, come lightly 
down the citadel hill, and about the middle of the open valley 



COTTON THIEVES. 215 



stand on the river bank for some time, talking with the naval 
officers, who have been joined by an Indiana lieutenant from 
the nearest battery. Soon a man climbs up on the citadel 
parapet, and calls to the group who are holding the parley. 
They hastily shake hands and separate. 

The lieutenant and the naval officers report that after the 
New York EeraU was received by the rebel gentlemen, they 
spoke of the war, and said that there was no use of talking, or 
even thinking about the beginning of the war, for both parties 
were so far committed that neither could recede, but they were 
willing to confess that they were sorry that any war. was ever 
begun in which Americans were to shed one another's blood. 
It was agreed that the truce should be respected from the river 
up the ravine to the old cotton-gin building beside the rebel 
works, at a point about half a mile from the citadel. If either 
party received orders to fire where any harm was likely to be 
done, warning was to be given in time for those in danger to 
get out of the way. The reason why Bailey's Ethiopian battery 
builders were not to be disturbed, was frankly given by the 
rebel officers, as it was, in' truth, " Any man ought to see that 
the whole United States army could not get into Port Hudson 

by this way." 

The lieutenant brought with him a little newspaper printed 
in Port Hudson, the quality of type and paper being very 
different from that of the New York EeraU given in exchange. 
But the little rebel sheet has an account of the recent assault, 
and of the correspondence by flags of truce in regard to the 
wounded, which is not exactly such as our generals would like 
to have read by the troops. 

A federal soldier, having a face not expressive of any great 
regard for other people's feelings, calls out to the rebels, " How 
do you cook rats over there?" and after some words and 
gestures indicating that it is not thought fair to make such an 
inquiry on a painful subject, a young fellow of a nature not 
unlike that of the questioner, answers, " We have rations of 
corn on the cob and mule meat now. We had salt mule as 



216 AMONG TEE 



good as you have, but when that gave out we commenced on 
fresh mule beef, and can live on that as long as you will charge 
on us often enough to keep our spirits up." 

The clouds are gone and the sun glares down on the scene. 
A Boston boy in gay new uniform, wearing a costly sword 
and belt, and being a captain on Dwight's staff, has ventured 
from the hiding place where he has been watching all that has 
taken place, and appears among our men, who are exchanging 
words with the rebels. Suddenly all are still, and some begin 
to get back inside of our works, when all at once comes a 
dazzling, blinding flash, that strikes all eyes. The idea of rebel 
guns, shells or torpedoes, and of brains blown out, drops the 
staff officer, limp as a rag, to the ground, and causes many a 
better man to find himself safe in the trenches quicker than he 
ever got there before. In an instant a burst of laughter from 
the rebels is heard, and is immediately followed by laughter 
almost as loud on our side. The men, getting upon their feet 
again, look across the valley and see a tall, lank confederate, 
holding up a large looking-glass, turning it to reflect the sun's 
rays, and showing us that the flash was not that of powder. 



COTTON THIEVES. 217 



CHAPTER XII. 

Stepping from the Horrible to the Ridiculous. 

Curiosity leads me to take a walk outside of Bailey's works 
and explore all that rebel honor under the truce will permit me 
to explore. I follow our crest of the great ravine, looking at 
the wonderful abattis of briers and fallen timber up and down 
the rough sides of the ravine, along the farther side of which 
stretch the skillfully arranged rebel fortifications. I see that 
I am approaching the Mount Pleasant road, along which 
Dwight's main column was to have made their assault. I turn 
and follow this road back toward the federal camp that I see in 
the nearest woods. A branch of the great ravine extends along 
near on my left. A large oak tree has been cut down beside 
the road, and its great trunk lies sprawling like a fallen giant 
upon the ground. 

A horrible sight is here. The unburied dead, blackened, 
swollen out of human shape, covered with worms, the flies 
swarming over them. Hereabouts it was that Dwight's column 
vanished. The crooked branches of ravines seen in various 
directions kindly received the fugitives, who would go no 
farther toward certain destruction.* 

This frightful corpse probably belonged to one of the nine 
months regiments put in advance. He must have been a man 
of unusual size and valor. Instead of escaping like the rest he 
was pushing forward to get the cover of the fallen tree and fire 
at the rebel cannoniers. A shot from a field piece tore through 
his bowels, and he fell as he lies, upon his bask, his hands 
extended, the thick skin of the palms being the only parts not 
blackened by mortification. His accoutrements yet hang 
around him. From his torn haversack there have fallen pieces 
of the hard bread he had been ordered to carry. He had a 

* On the day of the assault all Michigan pickets and sharp-shooters were withdrawn 
from this vicinity, and their places had not been rilled. 

28 



•218 AMONG THE 



high forehead, and his brown hair, in which flies and worms are 
creeping, is fine and delicate. He was probably a well educated 
New England farmer, not long absent from a New England 
home, whither he hoped soon to return. His Springfield rifle 
with the gun-sling strap attached lies a little beyond the hand 
from which it fell. Alas, for the sorrow of the unknown dear 
ones who will mourn for this man. May they never know any 
more about his fate than official reports will be likely to let 
them know of the truth in any respect. 

This man was fortunate — he died instantly. Such a fate as 
his must have been envied by those poor wounded men who 
lingered for days and nights without assistance, to die at last 
within plain sight of friends and foes, who would willingly have 
relieved them, had not the fears of federal generals that their 
great plans and preparations might be pried into, stopped all 
negotiations for bringing off" the wounded. 

There, among the branches of the fallen oak, sits leaning 
against the trunk of the tree the horrible corpse of a man who 
died by slow tortures. Here he fell. Here are his rifle and 
accoutrements, and a little pool of blood dried into the grass, 
making the green blades dead and yellow as usual. I can see, 
by the trace of blood, the places where the poor man rested, 
dragging himself toward the tree top. A piece of shell hit him 
in the knee. He bound his handkerchief as tight as he could 
around the limb above the wound, to stop the flow of blood. 
The weeds and grass near him show his struggles to get shelter 
from the sun. He managed to break off two or three little 
boughs, having dead leaves, and arrange them together so as to 
give him some semblance of shade, but the scorching heat fol- 
lowed him, and thirst was more terrible than the heat. He 
tried to suck the juice from the roots of a few rank weeds 
which he could reach and get out of the ground with his fingers. 
These roots lie near him, still having the marks of his teeth ; 
some of them are of the kinds likely to have increased his 
thirst. There are indications that he tried to slake the fire 
of thirst with his own blood. His strength failed so that he 



COTTON THIEVES. 219 



could not creep back to his friends; but the difference of 
decomposition as seen in him and in the man who was killed 
instantly, shows that his agonies must have lasted at least two 
days after the assault. His head is leaned back, the sun shining 
in his blackened face, and his lower jaw has fallen. His vest, 
his fine linen shirt and neckcloth, indicate that the young man 
was probably one of the many students who left college to 
serve his country, but all his agonies were to gratify the idiotic 
caprice of a sot in brigadier's uniform. His death was but one 
of the many deaths that were to encourage the enemy to hold 
out till the last. 

I hasten away, fearing to breathe longer the infected air. I 
approach a little arm of a ravine which comes close to the road. 
I see that it is very deep. The falling water drained from the 
plain in the rainy season has made a sort of grotto about twelve 
feet below me, and as I look down, what is my surprise to see 
there a well known sergeant of my regiment. " How do you 
happen to be there ?" " I thought that I would improve the first 
opportunity to take a look at the place where I saw Colonel 
Clark's orderly take his dinner to him when I was with the 
sharp-shooters on the 14th." I ask, " Is it down there that the 
Colonel had those head-quarters that he reported so much about 
having established close to the enemy V" " This is the very 
place," the sergeant replies ; " if he had established his head- 
quarters in the bottom of a well he would not have been safer. 
Here he sat enjoying the cool shade with two or three other 
great men all day long. These cans and broken bottles show 
how they consoled themselves while the wounded men out on 
the field were dying with thirst. Just look and see how much 
farther toward the enemy the column must have gone without 
any leader. The truth was that he dodged into this hole as 
soon as the column got under any fire that was dangerous." I 
take leave of the sergeant, saying: " Remember the regulations. 
Here I am talking with an enlisted man who is speaking very 
disrespectfully of his Colonel. Remember that Colonel Clark's 
reports of his achievements on the 27th of May and on the 



220 AMONG THE 



14th of June are to stand as true. The testimony of every 
enlisted man in the regiment could not shake a word of those 
reports. It is best to claim a share of the honor sure to be 
conferred upon him, and be proud of our noble Colonel." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Mental Conception. 



West of Port Hudson, in the low land, an old horse-shoe 
shaped bend of the Mississippi, nearly twenty miles long, lies 
full of water, and appearing like the real river, from which it is 
entirely cut off by newly formed ground, and bears the name 
of " Fausse Riviere." 

Behind the woods that separate the true river from the false 
one, the sun is setting. No beautiful crimson and golden tints 
on this sky. The sun keeps the same dazzling color he had at 
noon, and the last rays which he darts across the beleaguered 
citadel and the gangs of slaves rolling cotton for Dwight and 
Bailey, seem the fiercest that he has sent forth during the day. 
With the shade of twilight, Dwight, followed by some of his 
staff, has arrived behind Bailey's cotton bale wall, stands talking 
with the great Engineer, and says : 

" Bailey, they have been trying to make me believe that our 
works here can be enfiladed." 

" Well, then, we must have more cotton, and build them 
craverses you was telling about, General." 

" Traverses, you mean, Major. How many can you call for ?" 

" Why, we must have one alongside every gun, of course, 
and the things must be big enough to shelter all the men work- 
ing at any gun. And anyhow, General, I will find enough to 
do with all the cotton you can get sent here." 



COTTON THIEVES. 221 



" All right, Bailey, you are the kind of an engineer for me 
and I'll keep the cotton coming to yon as long as I can work 
Banks ; there is no way for me to work him better. The old 
fellow has promised to-day to send me all the artillery I want, 
so prepare for just as many guns as you can get into your 
parapet. I am going to open my thunders on the citadel when 
I get ready. By G — d, I'll have an artillery fire that will drive 
every soul out of this part of Port Hudson. My mortar bat- 
teries will drop shell every moment along just inside of the 
fortifications. There will be no shelter for anybody behind the 
parapet. I'll knock down the strongest part of their works in 
a little while, and blow every man away for half a mile inside. 
All my division of d — d volunteers and niggers will have to do 
is to occupy this part of Port Hudson, after I have vacated it 
for them. I could not make Weitzel understand what my can- 
non were going to do, but, by G — d, he shall know when he 
finds out that I have taken the citadel, stolen a march on all the 
rest, and got Port Hudson and old Gardiner for my own use. 
Bailey, I tell you that you shall have a tenth of my cotton here, 
and I will report you as second only to myself in capturing 
Gardiner and taking Port Hudson." 

" That's so, General." 

" My dear Major, I name this battery Fort Bailey." 

" Why, General, is it possible that I am to receive so much 
grace from you ? I am thankful. I am nothing but your ser- 
vant. The name ought to be Fort Dwight, for you have told 
me just what to do." 

" No, I don't monopolize. This is Fort Bailey. The citadel 
will soon be mine, and I'll name that Fort Dwight." 

" I'll always call it Fort Dwight, General, for it's yours certain. 
Nothing can prevent that unless your orders are disobeyed, as 
they were on the 14th. We would have had Port Hudson then 
if your orders had been obeyed, and I may as well tell you 
what I've been thinking for some time, General. My mind has 
been troubled a great deal. I'm afraid that your orders won't 
be carried out, and yet I would not for all Port Hudson, and all 



222 AMONG THE 



this cotton, have you expose your precious life. Where would 
I be ? Where would we all be, if it was not for you ? Now, 
General, if you could only be here to watch 'em, you could 
make 'em obey your orders, and go in when you tell 'em to go 
in. Yet when everything in the world depends on you, you 
must not be exposed to a single bullet — no, not for nothing. 
Well, General, if you will walk along with me close behind 
this 'ere cotton, I will show you the place where I want to 
make it." 

" Certainly, Major and Chief Engineer Bailey, but keep along 
where we are perfectly covered, for I must begin to be more 
cautious how I expose my person when I have such vast respon- 
sibilities." 

"Now, General, here's the place; here I want to make it." 
" Make what, Bailey ?" 

"A thing that will surely keep you safe. A thing that cannot 
fail to keep you safe while you can be the commander of every 
charge, and have all the chargers under your eye and make 
'em go into Fort D wight over there." 
" New idea, Bailey. Explain yourself." 

" Well, General, I'll make them niggers bring here the biggest 
logs they can find, and right here I will make three sides of a 
log house with the open side this way, and have three or four 
loop-holes in the side toward Fort D wight; little loop-holes 
just so you can see out of them. And then if you will send 
me one guard to stand beyond my niggers, and keep the rebels 
from coming out of Fort I) wight to gobble us, and another 
guard to stand this side of my niggers to keep them from 
stampeding again, I'll make them pile up such a great haystack 
of dirt against the outside of the logs that no cannon can ever 
shoot through it, and you can sit inside and watch everything 
through the little loop-holes. You see I'll have long peaked 
boxes stuck against the outside of the loop-holes to keep the 
dirt from getting before them. General, when those volunteers 
are drawn up to go into Fort Dwight and begin to want to 
skedaddle, they'll look up and see the big haystack of dirt with 



COTTON THIEVES. 223 



the holes in it, and they'll know that your awful eye is on 
'em; they'll think about your having 'em executed, and they'll 

go in." 

« Bailey, what a genius you are. This thing will be the most 
glorious invention to be found in all the catalogue of poly- 
technics. Bailey, I will make you a brigadier. Take all the 
men you want for guards, and if they get killed take more." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Form and Shape. 



Hie portus alii effodiunt: hie alta theatris 
Fundamenta locant alii, immauesque colunmas 
Rupibus excidunt, scenis decora alta futuris. 

There is no delay for morning. The worn-out mules that 
have been at work all day hauling the cotton are compelled to 
get up, and are beaten into their places before the heavy blue- 
painted government wagons. The cavalry horses, jaded and 
faint from the last raid for cotton and negroes, are brought 
forth by their weary riders. The teams and escort are moving 
toward the nearest good timber. Quartermasters' clerks fol- 
low, mounted on costly and finely equipped steeds, and after 
them march, with faltering steps and downcast looks, numerous 
details from Northwestern regiments, from negro regiments, 
and from the best droves of slaves brought in by the cavalry. 
Some go far into the country to find the cotton bales, and have 
them loaded before sunrise, but a number of the best ax-men 
are soon at work felling, hewing and cutting at particular 
lengths, choice trees of a certain size. Few are their words 
except to ask the measurement by the quartermasters' clerks. 
The sounds of their ax blows are very different from the sound 



224 AMONG THE 



of chopping in the Northern woods by willing men. The 
strokes are struck now by despairing and degraded men, who 
work like convicts. They know what this night work is, for 
the conversation of D wight and Bailey was overheard. 

Some half-spoken curses, and some words bitterly expressive 
of a sense of degradation, may be heard among the tired Michi- 
gan men, who help the negroes unload the finely-shaped logs 
from the returned wagons at the site of Bailey's wonderful safe, 
where that huge hollow mound is to rise, from which Dwight 
is to peek out and see his men take the citadel — that mound 
which is to give Bailey such favor at head-quarters as will yet 
gain for him the coveted star. 

Even sick men have been compelled to take their places in 
the heavy details that have been sent down the hill side to 
prevent the possibility of the rebels coming out to gobble 
Bailey, who is on the ground with a detail of the best carpenters 
in the division, and with a small army of Africans, carrying 
picks and spades. 

Bailey, with his own hands, assists some of his favorite 
negroes to lay the foundation logs of his great safe, in three 
sides of a square, and yet it is not much more than half-way 
from midnight to sunrise. He enjoins silence. He threatens 
death to any man who makes a noise that can draw the enemy's 
fire. He orders the carpenters to saw softly. Timber after 
timber goes into place. The structure rises. The peek-holes 
have been measured, marked and sawed, under Bailey's own 
eye. 

With a grunt of satisfaction, Bailey gets inside of his safe as 
soon as it is high enough to keep bullets off. He orders the 
officers of negro troops to commence their part of the work. 
He peeks out and sees that they make every negro work for 
life. The broad bank of earth begins to rise against the outside 
of the logs. 

As soon as one gang of negroes begin to give out, he orders 
them off, and a fresh gang is brought on. The carpenters are 
yet carrying the timber walls higher. Bailey stands up, and 



COTTON THIEVES. 225 



his head is lower than the top of the wall, but he says higher it 
must go, because it is for the General. 

The log work towers aloft, and negroes shovel the clay from 
near by, or carry it from a distance on hand-bearers, for the 
embankment, which Bailey tells must look like three haystacks 
all in one. Two sets of hands are at work on the top of the 
rising embankment. One set level and spread out the earth 
brought to them, and the other set pound it down with heavy 
pounders. 

Bailey must show his authority, and make the negroes work 
as he would like to have them work, to make himself a brigadier. 
One fellow, who appears to be old and does not make very 
quick motions, he knocks down with a spade, and leaves him 
bleeding from a terrible gash on the head. Another negro, 
who says he is sick, he strikes in the back with the point of a 
pick, and he is carried off probably to die. 

It is sunrise. Bailey has earned his star. The astonished 
rebels line their works, and shout, " What is that ?" " Is it an 
Indian mound ?" " Are you going to have a sacrifice on it ?" 
Bailey's safe, though not quite so large as he intended it to be, 
is done, and presents toward the citadel, and toward right and 
left, the appearance of a large, well packed mound, in shape 
of half a globe. There are three holes in its surface, where 
flaring boxes lead back to the little openings in the log work. 
The side of the mound which is unexposed to any danger from 
the enemy is open, and the inside of the log work can be seen. 
There is a floor, a table, an easy chair, and other seats ; also, a 
strong camp chest, for containing nice things to eat and drink, 
while a well formed shelter of green boughs and grape vines is 
formed over the whole interior, a little lower than the top of 
the walls. 

The site of the wonderful safe was about the middle of the 
rifle pit made on the night after the last general assault. That 
rifle pit had since that time been changed into a part of Bailey's 
great cotton bale fortification, and two companies of the Sixth 
Michigan were posted there as the hot sun got near to noon 
29 



226 AMONG THE 



on the morning after Bailey completed that work, which, 
together with the dam he afterward helped to make, is to place 
him second only to Ulysses in future song and history. 

They did not fail to appreciate the scene, as Dwight, followed 
by some of his stall' officers and menials, came to congratulate 
Bailey. 

" General," said Dwight, addressing the great safe-maker, 
General, " the angels must have helped you last night." 

The Indian eyes and dark visage of the Engineer expressed 
a sort of cat-like delight, as he answered, " It must have been 
because I was making a thing to keep you safe, Major-General 
Dwight, for you are sure to be a Major-General as soon as your 
plan is carried out." 

Hoffman promptly turned the easy chair. Dwight took his 
seat with a peculiar majesty, that brought smiles to the faces 
of the worn-out soldiers near by. Captain Pierce, Dwight's 
Quartermaster, was busy stowing' a demijohn and numerous 
bottles of various shapes into the strong camp chest. 

Dwight's staff officer who kept the Boston papers supplied 
with truth, over the signature of "Verax," was examining the 
safe within and without, and repeating aloud a sentence from 
Virgil, " Scandit fatalis machina muros, foeta armis." 



COTTON THIEVES. 227 



CHAPTER XV. 

More Cotton ; Rebel Non-res'.stance ; The Cards Begin to Understand how they are to be 
Played; Heretical Opinions ahout Breech-loading Arms. 

The work of building the cotton bale traverses went bravely 
on, and very soon a thick and high wall of cotton, on the right 
side of every gun, extended back about sixteen feet from the 
main parapet, so as to make every gun, and all the gunners, 
safe from any enlilading fire from the heaviest guns, showing 
thus, as Dwight said to General Banks, " what a fool any man 
was who thought that these batteries could be enfiladed." 

Dwight's guns were to knock down the citadel and lay Port 
Hudson wide open, so that all he would have to do would be to 
walk in, and as Bailey intended to be present during the opera- 
tion, he thought it advisable to do something to keep bullets 
from coming through the embrasures, lie had large pieces of 
boiler iron, taken from the ruins of a burned sugar house, cut 
and prepared, and hung up so as to cover every embrasure, an 
opening being cut in the lower part of these mantelets large 
enough to let out the muzzle of the gun. 

Bailey contended that the enemy would surely open fire as 
the guns began to be mounted, for General Gardiner would 
certainly get his eyes open at last, and have some idea of what 
destruction was to be let loose upon him. Accordingly, more 
cotton was called for and obtained, to make the parapet high 
enough to hide the operation of mounting the guns. The 
lightest pieces were put in place first, and the night time was 
taken for the work. Dwight could not wait for another night, 
and the mounting of the heavier guns went on in daylight. A 
nine-inch Dalghreu was taken hold of first, and the enormous 
wheels of the sling cart were slowly rolled up on the platform, 
the ponderous gun slung to the axle. The wheels stood higher 
than the parapet, and in plain sight of the rebels. The secret 



228 AMONG TEE 



was out ; the rebels would now see what all our work had been 
for. Bailey expected the whole storm of war to break then 
and there, and called on me to get my men under arms at once. 
But not a shot came from the rebels, and as we looked out by 
the cannon muzzles, we saw that our fellow citizens in slouched 
hats and dirty grayish clothes were acting as if they expected 
the truce to last for some time to come. Several of them were 
standing on their parapet unarmed within three hundred yards 
of us, and looking intently at our big wheels. When it became 
evident that the enemy had no more idea of keeping Bailey 
from arming his parapet than they had of keeping him from 
building it, I was un wise enough to say to him that the enemy 
could not have failed to understand all that he intended to do 
from the time that he commenced his parapet. 

He at once became enraged, and answered, " You talk as if 
you did not know that my building this parapet right before 
the rebels' eyes was one of the greatest stratagems that ever 
was. Do you suppose that they would hold still and let us 
march into Port Hudson ?" 

" No, sir." 

" Well, they might just as well do that as to let me get all 
these guns where I want them." 

The guns were all mounted at last. The most of the heavy 
guns went into their places in the presence of as many of the 
enemy as there were spectators on our side. Rebel officers 
even offered to come over and help us. It needed not West 
Point education to perceive that no artillery could have any 
effect on the old bluffs of hard clay before us, into which and 
behind which the enemy had sunk themselves. All the opera- 
tions of Dwight and Bailey could only result in having us sent 
into another assault against the strongest part of Port Hudson, 
with less chance for success, and a certainty of greater slaughter, 
than had been in any former assault. There would probably 
soon come a day of bloodshed and disaster to be memorable in 
history, but the Sixth Michigan must act well their part. There 
was one thine that I could do which miedrt tend to the honor 



COTTON THIEVES. 229 



of the regiment before the assault, as well as in the assault. 
The Twenty-first Indiana Regiment being now heavy artillery, 
had no more need of their excellent breech-loading rifles, which 
the men bought with their own money in Baltimore. I was on 
good terms with their officers, and might arm a part of my men 
at least with these Merrill rifles, if I could borrow them. 

But little negotiation was necessary. My receipt was given, 
and Companies A and K, that came from my own county, and 
had as good men as there were in the army, were armed with 
the famous breech-loaders, highly prized by Northwestern men, 
but condemned by West Point. 

I saw that every man who bore a Merrill rifle seemed to feel 
his spirits and ability quadrupled. The old arms were put 
under as good shelter as could be found, and soldiers expressed 
a willingness to have the price of their old arms taken out 
of their pay rather than lose the chance of using the breech- 
loaders, even in such performances as they expected were before 
them. I could not believe that either D wight's big battery or 
any assault planned by him would do much more toward ending 
the siege than his operations on the 14th of June had done, 
but when he would open fire the truce would end, and Bailey's 
great cotton bag fortifications would afford good cover for our 
sharp-shooters, who could watch every part of the enemy's 
works opposite to them, and with their breech-loaders send 
telling shots in quick succession as often as there would be 
occasion, and in case of either a sortie or an assault, wherever 
rapid firiug would give an advantage, the new arms would make 
one man equal to six men with muzzle-loading guns. It was 
not improbable that some trick would be used to make me lose 
the value of the old arms which I took the responsibility to 
have the two companies lay aside. Of this I must take my 
chances. 

The big battery continued to consume time and labor beyond 
all expectation. Seventeen cannon were mounted, and half a 
dozen more were to be mounted. Several large magazines, 
intended to be bomb-proof, were made, bulging up like so many 



230 AMONG TEE 



bakers' ovens, and showing the rebels unmistakably where the 
powder was to be. Then came the work of filling the maga- 
zines. On the left of our cotton bag works, below the crest of 
the bluff toward the river, a mortar battery was placed, with 
its magazine, the mortars being down in a cavity, so as to be 
safe. It was expected that their shells would drive the rebels 
from the citadel without ceremony. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

A Sphere of Usefulness Extended; Grand Rounds; The Spirit of Command; Sent to 
Find that Bourne whence no Traveler Returns. 

As the work on the great battery drew toward its end, Bailey 
feared tint with the end of the work might come a lessening 
of his importance. It was at about this juncture that I showed 
to Bailey one day a plan for digging zigzag approaches, in the 
usual manner, from the little flat between the foot of our hill 
and the river to the foot of the citadel hill, and up its side. 
He appeared very much interested. I said that this part of 
Port Hudson was the strongest, and the ground here most unfa- 
vorable for approaches, but that if any such plan was to be 
tried, there was no other place near us so favorable as the 
ground I pointed out. Wherever digging was going on, Bailey 
was sure to be important, and before long he had a host of 
negroes digging trenches. A deep ditch, with a high bank, was 
made from the foot of our hill directly to the river. From this 
ditch, as a sort of base, the zigzag trenches were dug, about six 
feet deep, and the earth from them was thrown up on the side 
exposed to the plunging fire of the enemy. 

The zigzag work reached forward toward the foot of a pro- 
jection of the citadel hill, up which it must go to avoid as much 



COTTON THIEVES. 2S1 



as possible a flank fire from the neighboring redoubts. The 
ZZ ditch of the eitadei might be reaehed, a mine might b 
sprung, the citadel might be taken, hnt it stood on the pom. 
of a Ions high ridge, and was only an outwork. Behind it lay 
Port Hudsof, yet having three times as much fo— » 
overcome as there could be found in front of the Slaughter 

^There were frequent rains and thunder-storms. Our regiment 
continued for some days encamped in the ravine nearest , « our 
side to the new works. Companies had their cookmg done ,n 
he second ravine, and at a safe distance. It was thought best 
not to let smoke from cooking fires indicate our place of 
encampment, for the ground we occupied might be enfiladed by 
some of the rebel guns. 

Bushes were used to make slight shades for men to rest 
under, and we knew the trees that belonged to each company 
There was an unceasing call on me to furnish dermis .for fat.gue 
and details for guards. I was daily obliged to order out for 
these details men whom I knew to be only fit for the hospital, 
but whose seal and pride would not allow them to make known 
their real state of health. , ^ 

My own quarters were at first under a large oak tree in the 
middle of the ravine. Afterward I removed to a sort of arbor 
which a grape vine formed by overrunning a little tree Tins 
was on the hill side nearer to the works. I was sheltered better 
from the rains, but every breeze being shut out, the heat was 
very uncomfortable, and the musquitos would not cease to sing 

in the daytime. . ., 

At last the idea that the rebels might make a sortie and spike 
the guns arrived at head-quarters, but this was not until our 
diminished regiment, weakened by numerous details, had for 
days been the only force protecting the guns, none of which 
could be so pointed as to sweep the ground near the river 
where the sortie would be made if there was to be any. 

I was surprised one day to find that first one colonel and 
then another had been sent to me to show them the ground 



232 AMONG THE 



and give them places where they could be ready in case of the 
sortie, which I was -told might be expected at any moment, as 
deserters and spies had given information at head-quarters 
showing that the rebels were about to make a desperate attack 
on Bailey's battery. The reinforcements took our old camping 
ground, while our regiment moved up close to the cotton forti- 
fications. I fixed my head-quarters near the mortar battery, 
and during the first night that I was there Dwight paid a 
midnight visit to his safe, accompanied by Colonel Clark and 
by his Engineer Bailey. This visit was the finishing part of a 
drunken spree. Some odd mixture of liquors in the General's 
stomach had started him out. He immediately ordered Clark 
to send for one of the bravest captains in the Sixth Michigan, 
and in a few moments Captain Eli A. Griffin, of Company A, 
in compliance with an order from Clark, reported at the safe. 
A large flat brandy bottle was produced and the Captain invited 
to drink. He excused himself on account of a wound which 
was unhealed and feverish. The General took the proffered 
drink himself, and with slow and solemn utterance said to 
the Captain: 

" The enemy have given wp in despair, and are awaiting their 
doom. But the officer in command of the citadel continues to 
have the insolence to post a picket every night at the foot of 
the hill. Captain, I cannot endure that any longer from men 
who are no better than prisoners of mine. Take your company, 
go and capture that picket, and bring them before me here." 

Captain Griffin answered : " General, I will go immediately 
if you order me to do so, but I, as well as other officers, have 
been acting in good faith with the enemy under this truce, and 
it was understood that hostilities would not be recommenced 
without notice." 

There was a tone of kindling wrath in Dwight's voice as he 
replied: "What business had you or any G — d d — d volunteer 
officers to make a truce with the enemy. I don't know any- 
thing about any truce. Obey your orders, sir, immediately." 

Captain Griffin was gone with his company some time. With 



COTTON TH1EVE8. 233 



frequent drinks at the rests, the following conversation was 
overheard at the safe, Hoffman taking the lead : " General, 
after your capture of the enemy's picket on this' side of the 
citadel, I think that it will be very important to stop the rebels 
from completing those fortifications between the citadel and 
the river, concerning which Chief Engineer Bailey has made a 
report of his observations to-day. Especially I would recom- 
mend that the enemy be compelled immediately to desist from 
going any farther with the work which Major Bailey saw them 
building across the track along the water's edge where the 
Sixth Michigan were ordered to advance on the 14th, and where 
I hope you will have the principal advance made against the 
citadel when it is taken." 

"Very true," responds Dwight, "very true. The citadel 
shall be taken by an advance along the very track I selected 
for the Sixth Michigan. The advantage of an attack by 
escalade of the steepest side of the bluif, and a consequent 
surprise of the enemy, shall be demonstrated if I have to lead 
the storming party myself." 

" Don't, General, don't," exclaimed Chief Quartermaster 
Pierce. " No cause could justify such exposure of your 
person. Here is the only place for you. Here you can have 
everything under your own eye, and be present everywhere." 

" True — very true," answered Dwight, " and we will recon- 
sider our intention to lead the escalade." 

Here Bailey put in earnestly, " General, I made a reconnomance 
in person, and looked behind the citadel along the river. There 
I saw a strong working party commencing a parapet right 
across the track where the Sixth Michigan ought to have gone. 
It was right at the foot of the stairway, where the Sixth 
Michigan ought to have gone up." 

Captain Griffin suddenly returned alone. Dwight asked, 
before the Captain could speak, " Where are the prisoners ?" 

" I have none," was the reply ; " I followed along the foot 
of the hill clear past the citadel, and there was no picket any- 
where there." 

30 



234 AMONG THE 



"Very well — very well, then," said" the General, " they have 
concluded not to trifle with me hy putting out a picket again 
on this side. They have changed their operations to the other 
side of the hill. Captain, they are making a work near the 
river, at the foot of the hill on the other side of the citadel, in 
order to blockade the entrance which I have chosen for taking 
Port Hudson. Captain, march there with your company, expel 
the enemy, and destroy that work. Major Bailey will show 
you where to go." 

Captain Griffin seemed to get an idea as soon as he heard 
that Bailey was to show him where to go. He said, " I am 
ready," and turning to Bailey, asked, " Are you ready ?" 

Bailey started reluctantly, and as he went away with Captain 
Griffin, Dwight's last words to them were, " Get up just as big 
a fight as you can." 

They went along the deep trench down the hill from where 
the mortars were at the end of the cotton parapet, on the top 
of the bluff toward the river. Having arrived where the trench 
ended at the river bank, they stood beholding, through the 
hazy moonlight, toward the citadel, a precipitous clay-bank, one 
hundred feet high, which seemed to go almost straight down 
from the citadel to the river, but it could be seen that the 
muddy waters falling every day had left a strip of shelving 
ground, covered with sediment, along the flat at the mouth 
of the ravine. The same strip might continue along the foot 
of the citadel bluff, but the curve of the river made it impossible 
to see what was there. Bailey had imagined that if there was 
any passage along the water's edge, the rebels would make 
some sort of fortifications to obstruct it, and therefore reported 
that in a venturous reconnoissance he had found them making such 
a fortification behind the citadel. No more than tour men 
abreast could make their way along the foot of the bank. If 
the rebels were at work there, they would not be asleep, and 
must be attacked by a force marching by the flank, and if they 
had even one field piece, the whole attacking force might be 
raked by the first shot fired. At the same time, the assailants 



COTTON THIEVES. 235 



would be exposed to have lighted shells and heavy logs rolled 
down upon them from the rebel garrison over their heads, and 
experience what a plunging fire of riflemen would amount to. 

Not a shot from friends could be fired so as to assist the 
assailing party, for Dwight's battery had not yet prostrated the 
works protecting the enemy's garrison. The whole bluff would 
be between the assailants and their friends. And in case such 
an attack could be successful, the idea of staying in such a place 
to dig down the enemy's work was worthy of the mind which 
believed that if it was possible for the assailing party to stay 
long enough to dig down the new work, the rebels would never 
think of doing anything further there, and would, of course, 
always leave the way clear for Dwight's escalade. 

No man understood better than Captain Griffin the nature 
of the whole affair. He asked Bailey several questions, the 
answers to which were such that he could hardly refrain from 
laughing aloud, and, in a low tone, he said to the Engineer : " I 
am afraid some of the staff want to get rid of you. If they 
can get you one step farther than here, you are liable to have 
your bowels knocked out by a cannon ball." 

The Engineer settled back into the trench, and crouching to 
the ground, collecting his ideas, said, " Captain Griffin, I 
will go back and wait for you at the other end of the ditch. 
Let your men go out, one after another, where I was a moment 
ago, and fire up the river bank. Keep up a firing for about a 
quarter of an hour, then have your company fire two or three 
volleys, and march them back with me to the General. I will 
do the reporting — you need not say anything. I know that the 
firing will accomplish just what is wanted." 

There was an irregular musketry firing for some time, then 
the volleys aroused most of the camp. The first supposition 
of the awakening soldiers as to what was going on was not far 
from the truth. There were lights in the safe, and it was easy 
to conjecture what kind of projects would probably be tried. 

D wight took hasty glimpses through the loop-holes. He 
soon ceased to do that, such was the outcry of his staff against 



230 AMONG TEE 



his exposing himself so much, for a bullet might come and hit 
him right in the eye. They all assured him that Bailey and 
Captain Griffin were having a sharp fight, and when Bailey 
came hack and made a report of what fighting he had done, 
and of his dislodging the enemy from their works behind the 
citadel, Dwight exclaimed, " Let us drink all around. Hoff- 
man, make a report to General Banks immediately. We have 
done enough; let's go home." But there was silence among 
the staff, and Bailey continued : " General, before I got their 
works half destroyed they came down on me with a whole 
brigade, and those miserable volunteers that I had were 
not the right stuff for me to fight against such odds with, 
so I retired; and, General, if I see that the rebels undertake to 
complete those works that -I drove them out of, I will find a 
chance tor some other staff officer to surprise them to-morrow 
night." 

On the next day, it having been determined that trenches 
should be extended along the crest of the great ravine to the 
ri.dit of the cotton bag battery, and several regiments oi 
negroes having by great industry got these trenches so deep 
that a man could walk in them some distance without being 
seen by the rebels, Bailey and Clark, the leaders of storming 
columns, took a walk i;to the safest part of the trenches. Both 
had come recently from the safe, where they had imbibed freely 
the spirit of command, lor they were of the chosen lew that 
the regular army sentinel posted there had orders to allow to 
enter the sanctum. " Colonel," said Bailey, " let me. show 
you how I make these nigger officers stand around." 

"I have great confidence in your abilities, my dear Major; 
great confidence in your abilities. I may add great confidence 
in your abilities," was Clark's answer. 

" See here," said Bailey to the colonel of a negro regiment, 
who, in his zeal to have his men do well, had just been using a 
pick with his own hands, " See here; you are a grumbler. You 
have been grumbling about your work. D — n you, I put you 
under arrest. Go to the rear in arrest." 



COTTON THIEVES. 237 



" By whose order ?" asked the surprised Colonel. 

" By my own order," said Bailey, " I rank you if you are 
Colonel. I am a staff officer. D — n you, a staff officer, I tell 
you, and I can put you in irons if I please." 

" I appeal to Colonel Clark," said the arrested man, " I wish 
to know whether Captain Bailey ranks me, and can put me in 
irons because he is on General D wight's staff?" 

" You insolent nigger officer. You G — d d — n volunteer," 
cried the furious Bailey, making a pass to knock down the 
arrested Colonel, but sinking back suddenly pacified by the 
manner in which his blow was parried, and by a glance of fire 
from the eyes of the man he struck at. 

" Desist ! desist, my dear Major, I beg of you," said Clark, 
" I will settle this matter to your satisfaction, I assure you," 
and turning to the indignant commander of the black regiment, 
continued, " Colonel, you are subject to the orders of Major 
Bailey, for he is a staff officer. He is honored with a position 
very near General D wight, a position for which he is eminently 
qualified ; eminently qualified." The arrested Colonel seemed 
to comprehend the whole, and, making a low bow, departed. 

Bailey and Clark continued their walk, and in a little while a 
major, whose appearance as a well educated gentleman was 
enough to account for the ill-will of Clark and Bailey toward 
him, was sent by them to the rear under arrest. Then followed 
one captain and then another, arrested with scarcely any accusa- 
tion except what might be gathered from Bailey's words, " I'll 
make an example of you." 

Immediately on Colonel Clark's return to his head-quarters, 
he found, among several letters recently arrived, one from the 
Governor of Michigan, stating that my charges and specifica- 
tions against Clark had been received and filed, and giving some 
ideas respecting cotton stealing, which, to Clark's mind, seemed 
cruel and unnatural. Clark immediately sent his favorite 
orderly, George Robinson, for Bailey, and soon afterward the 
leader of assaulting columns and the great safe-maker were seen 
arriving at D wight's head-quarters. 



238 AMONG THE 



It is about 2 o'clock on the morning of the 26th of June, 
1863. A hazy light falls upon Port Hudson and the broad 
Mississippi. A few white clouds float below the stars. No 
wind stirs the air. There is the slight chilliness which midnight 
brings even in the warmest Southern night. The musquitos 
have ceased their din. A staff officer is seen coming from the 
safe, arousing a soldier here and there, and inquiring, " Where 
is Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon ?" He finds me as I lay wrapped 
in my blanket on the platform of the mortar battery. I am 
awakened from such sleep as circumstances have allowed me 
for a few minutes, by a hand taking hold of my shoulder. I 
readily recognize Captain Metcalf, Adjutant-General on the 
staff of General Nickerson, and not doubting some evil is at 
hand, I spring to my feet. The Adjutant, with a voice indi- 
cating that he feels the baseness of his errand, addresses me : 
"By the order of General Dwight, General Nickerson has sent 
me with an order to you that you are to take one hundred 
picked men of your regiment, proceed immediately along the 
river bank behind the citadel, and make an attack on a party 
of the enemy that Captain Bailey has just seen throwing up an 
earth-work there. You are ordered to lead the assault in person, 
and make the enemy stop their work there. I am to wait and 
see you make the attack." 

" Captain," I reply, " we have been in a brigade commanded 
by Colonel Clark, and how does it happen that this order is sent 
by General Nickerson." 

The Adjutant rejoins, " Colonel Clark was at the look-out 
with General Dwight when General Nickerson and I got there, 
in obedience to an order to report immediately. It seemed to 
me that Colonel Clark and Captain Bailey had been the means 
of having Dwight send for us expressly to take the job of send- 
ing you to make this assault." 

Saying that I understand the matler, I go to the first company 
commander that I can find, which is Lieutenant Ellis, of Com- 
pany C, and waking him from a sounder sleep than I have been 
able to enjoy for some time, I order him to get up his men and 



COTTON THIEVES. 239 



have them form in as light marching order as possible, every 
man to have forty rounds of ammunition, and to have his rifle 
in good order and loaded. 

I find Captain Craig, commanding Company A, and have him 
get his company under arms immediately. I then lead them to 
the part of Bailey's sap or zigzag works most advanced toward 
the citadel. Here I post them, and explaining to their Captain 
the orders I have to execute, I instruct him that as soon as he 
hears firing behind the citadel he is to open fire with his breech- 
loaders on the front, and make as much noise as he can, so as to 
keep some of the enemy away from my assaulting party. 

Without waiting to hear remarks of officers and men, which 
were somewhat disrespectful of generals, and evinced some 
recollections of the orders for taking possession of General 
Gardiner's house, and turning him out doors, on the 14th, I 
hurry back to Company K, commanded by Lieutenant W. J. 
Edwards, whom I have ordered to have his men fall in under 
arms. I find his company ready for action, and post them in a 
trench on the extreme brow of our hill, directly opposite the 
citadel, and give the same orders that I gave to Company A. 

I hasten to a well mounted eight-inch howitzer in the hands 
of a well known company of the Twenty-first Indiana, and make 
au arrangement with the Captain that as soon as firing begins 
he will open on the citadel with grape-shot and shells. No 
orders have been sent from any general to have artillery help 
us, but I can rely on this Captain, orders or no orders. 

Lieutenant Ellis and Company C are ready to go with me on 
my mission, which is second to none but that called for in Special 
Order No. 32, for ousting Gardiner. To my surprise I find 
Colonel Clark standing in conversation with Ellis, who was 
one of his personal iriends. "Colonel Bacon," says Clark, 
" General D wight's order is that you are to lead this assault 
in person, and the General cannot be kept waiting any longer." 
Lieutenant Ellis here interrupts, saying, "I can only get 
about forty men together ; here they are." 

" Very well, I had rather have that number than a hundred. 



240 AMONG TEE 



Perhaps the fewer men I have with me the better," is my 
answer, and turning to Clark, I say, " Colonel, do you consent 
to my going on with the men Lieutenant Ellis has here ?" 

The Colonel hesitates a moment, thinking how he can help 
his friend, the Lieutenant, out of the job on hand, but the clank 
of the saber of an approaching staff officer is heard. Clark 
stepping aside has a few private words with Ellis, and just as 
one of Dwight's staff officers arrives, Clark speaks aloud to me : 
"Move forward with your men immediately. You must dis- 
lodge the enemy from the works they are making behind the 
citadel immediately. General Dwight is waiting at the look-out 
to see the result." 

In a few moments I have led my forty men out to the end 
of the trench at the river bank. I spring upon the embankment 
thrown upon the side toward the enemy. I look over the track 
we must take. It is the same we were ordered to take on the 
morning of the 14th, when we started under the famous orders. 
I cannot see beyond the first mound of the citadel hill. The 
great bend of the river makes it impossible to see what there 
may be a little farther along the foot of the precipice. One 
thing is certain, that if we find any footing along the edge of 
the water it will be very narrow, and if the enemy are there 
behind any kind of earth-works, especially if they have any 
artillery, the exploit before me now is equal to that ordered for 
us on the morning of the 14th. A brave and intelligent young 
man named Brown, a resident of my own county, is beside me. 
I start forward with him far enough to be in perfect quiet, the 
rest of my men being left under cover in the trench, I ask 
young Brown to go forward as stealthily as possible till he finds 
the enemy's picket, and then to return and report to me. He 
immediately lays aside his rifle, accoutrements, coat, hat and 
boots, and rolling up his pantaloons, so as to be ready to run the 
gauntlet, as he may have to do on his return, skulks forward 
like an Indian, and in a little while returns, saying that just 
beyond the mound he saw three men rise up before him, but he 
does not think that they saw him. There is no use in knowing 



* 



COTTON THIEVES. 241 



anything farther about what is before us. I return to the 
embankment extending down the river bank. I find Captain 
Metcalf here. He says : " I understand this matter, and have 
come so that I can do justice to you in my reports." I thank 
him, and tell Lieutenant Ellis to bring his men out of the trench 
and over the embankment as soon as he can. The men, com- 
prehending what is to be done with them, are not very prompt, 
as they close up four behind four, ready to march forward 
where nothing protects them from rebel bullets at close range. 
Forward I lead my forty men, with as little noise as possible. 
Not a shot from the rebels. We are between the mound and 
the river. One rebel picket must be on the mound a few yards 
above our heads, but yet no "Who comes there ?" and no shot. 
I feel a strong desire to get to the enemy as soon as possible, 
and have the firing commence. A strange compulsion is 
getting me too far ahead of my men. I turn to them and urge 
them by gestures to be quicker. Some of them seem to be 
influenced by common sense, and to wonder whether we are 
going clear into Port Hudson after General Gardiner again, but 
the same impulse which I feel to go through with the affair 
suddenly extends to every man. In a moment we are recklessly 
scrambling over the hard lumps and blocks of dry, yellow clay, 
along the base of the great precipice, which is very steep from 
the sullen citadel one hundred feet over our heads down to the 
deep water. We must be sure-footed; a mis-step sends any 
of us into the whirl of dark waters. We are already farther 
into Port Hudson than any assaulting party have ever been 
before, and yet no alarm. We go on. We have passed the 
middle of the citadel. Nothing but an abrupt and ragged side 
of the great clay-bank on one side, and- the broad river on the 
other. A few clumps of hardy bushes here and there up the 
precipice, show footholds for sentinels, who at any moment may 
give the alarm. The upper part of the precipice appears to be 
less steep than the part near us. No doubt there are passages 
and rifle pits up there connected with the citadel. Still we go 
on, and yet no alarm. A glance upward shows that we are 
31 



242 AMONG THE 



leaving the lowering citadel behind us. Here, right before us, 
is a narrow path leading up the precipice, with occasional steps 
cut in the face of the clay-bank. This is the track by which 
D wight thinks he is fated to reach at once the citadel and 
eternal fame. 

We have gone as far as he intended us to go, and yet have 
found no work or obstruction of any kind made by the rebels. 
No wonder that they are content to leave this entrance to Port 
Hudson pretty much as nature left it. 

Not yet thinking that the redoubt or earth-work we have 
been seeking is like Macbeth's dagger in the air, all imaginary, 
I feel a strong desire to find it, but there is no use in leading 
this cumbersome squad ol iniautry farther into places from 
which escape may be so much more difficult than entrance, until 
I know where we are going. I halt my command by a word 
spoken in a low tone to the forward men. In a moment the 
sounds of the soldiers' shoes on the hard lumps of clay cease. 
All of the men crouch against the side of the precipice. I, 
with four picked men, advance as quickly and quietly as possible 
along the foot of the precipice. We are a long ways inside 
of Port Hudson. I stop where going farther would take me 
out of sight of my company, and let the men go ahead to find 
the fortification we are to attack, if they can find it. I direct 
them that they are to leave one of their number at the end 
of every thirty or forty steps, so as to keep perlect communica- 
tion with me, and that they are to return and report to me 
what they find of the enemy as soon as possible, without giving 
any alarm. As I wait for them, listening to the slight sound 
of their steps, rapidly ceasing to be heard, my thoughts fly an 
instant to my distant home. I see my children and my native 
land. Quickly the bright vision vanishes. I see the broad, 
dark surface of the river, glimmering in the pale light. I hear 
the low, ill-natured voice of the waters. I look up the preci- 
pice. There alott are the sullen earth-works and parapets, 
mysteriously enwreathing and crossing the top of the high 
bluff. There are the rebel soldiers, perhaps unconscious of our 



COTTON THIEVES. 243 



presence, and perhaps watching us, under the direction of some 
crafty leader, who is withholding destruction from us now, in 
hopes that our explorations will be the means of bringing a 
large federal force here to attempt the capture of Port Hudson 
by this way, in order that withholding destruction from the few 
may insure the destruction of the many. But if the garrison are 
asleep, I may scale this bluff, surprise them, and gain a 
place in history for this night. Yet if I should surprise the 
citadel, Dwight, Bailey and Clark are not the men to send me 
any support or reinforcement. No; they would keep their 
guns playing on the citadel if they knew I had possession of it. 
If I should escape with my life, they would have me arrested 
for exceeding my instructions, and in case of any failure and 
loss of men, I would be charged with cowardice and murder. 
After all, I know very well what it would amount to to surprise 
the citadel and be in possession ©f it. The inside of the citadel 
is commanded by the guns of other fortifications in rear of it, 
and for any federal force the citadel would only be a slaughter- 
pen. 

We have been here too long already, but my scouts do not 
return. We must delay no longer. I go to the nearest man, 
and tell him to pass forward the order for all to retreat as soon 
as possible to our trenehes where we started from. I Avait till 
I see two of the four men returning toward me, without any 
signs of trouble. I hasten back to the main body of my party, 
and give them the order to retreat with as little noise as pos- 
sible. It is needless to tell them to be quick about it. 

As soon as we begin to retreat, every man has a realizing 
sense of what kind of a job we have been engaged in, and the 
insane impulse to find the enemy and charge on them in such a 
position as this, gives place to a common sense impulse to 
get out of such a place immediately. We are back at the 
federal trenches. Not a shot has been fired. As the men are 
getting over the embankment back into the trench on the river 
bank, I tell Lieutenant Ellis to see if they are all here. He 
finds two missing, and sends Lieutenant Grant, of Company C, 



244 AMONG THE 



back to ascertain if they are near by. Lieutenant Grant is gone 
some time. I find Captain Metcalf beside me, and report to 
him what we found and what we did not find, and put under 
the latter head the fortification we were ordered to assault. 
He smiles when he hears that there was no possibility of there 
being any truth in Bailey's report about seeing rebel works 
where the precipice runs down to the water so steep that a man 
can scarcely find any footing there. He remarks to me, " Well, 
your charge on Port Hudson is the most successful one so far. 
The reports in the morning will have to show the orders 
executed and you alive, to the great disappointment of some, 
perhaps." 

After a while Lieutenant Grant and the missing men return. 
The Lieutenant gives me an account of what delayed him. He 
says : " I went back as far as the company had been and stood 
still and listened, but I could hear nothing of the men. I then 
went on and kept going cautiously, until I found the men in a 
little level place by springs at the foot of the precipice. The 
rebels in the citadel had a cook shanty there and our men were 
collecting trophies. I hurried them off and brought along 
with me this bag of corn meal. I thought it would do well 
enough for a trophy, and better to make corn dodgers. Our 
colored man can make the best corn dodgers I ever saw. I will 
send him to you with a specimen of his work for breakfast." 

Here a soldier of Company C, known as Yankee Hill, inter- 
rupts, " See what I have got, Colonel," and holds out a confed- 
erate soldier's waist belt with a circular clasp of brass marked 
" C. S." This Yankee Hill is a fellow whose wonderful devel- 
opment of nerve and muscle are such that fear and feebleness 
are almost unknown to him. I tell him that I think him entitled 
to wear the belt. Another Company C man, of short, burly 
figure, and curly black hair, presents to me his trophy, a fine, 
well smoked ham, out of the middle of which several slices had 
been cut, probably for the breakfast of some rebel officer. 

" Colonel," says the soldier, " I think you will be entitled to 
some of this." 



COTTON THIEVES. 245 



My reply was that I believed it to be a law of nature that 
the captor owns the prize, but that to live on salt beef and hard 
bread as we have been doing is enough to give any man an 
appreciation for any share in such a prize as he had taken. 

" Well," says the short man, " I did not know but that I 
might lose it. I was the hindmost man coming out, and just 
as I was getting clear of the citadel somebody on the hill called 
out, ' What picket post do you belong to ?' I answered, ' Outside 
picket post,' and he didn't shoot." 



CHAPTER XVII. 

A Dream, and what followed next. 

The 26th of June, 1863, began with a flaming sunrise, but 
those of us who had been into Port Hudson slept late and 
soundly. It was natural to feel that for a little while we might 
rest exempt from that exhausting anxiety which had worn upon 
our minds and sickened our hearts with thoughts like those 
that torture shipwrecked mariners in the hands of a cannibal 
chief, Who daily takes some of their number to amuse himself 
with their death struggles, and to regale him with their roasted 
flesh, or to be sacrificed in honor of some sacred serpent. One 
of those sudden thunder showers, which had so often drenched 
us, awakened me from a dream occasioned by thoughts of this 
very comparison which had often been forced upon my mind, and 
by the sounds of the approaching storm. The whole imaginary 
scene, though apparently involving considerable time, prob- 
ably needed but an instant before waking to appear and be 
acted out before the mind. There was a strange union and 
co-mingling of the things of America with those of the negro 
continent. 



246 AMONG THE 



It seemed that our hill, with Dwight's safe upon it, had been 
suddenly carried to the interior of Africa and set down amid 
the tall palm trees of a vast plain. Right before me was the 
safe, but increased in size to a pagoda, the floor being up 
about thirty feet above the foundation, a sodded inclined plane 
went up to the floor, and there aloft stood a wooden image of 
Dwight, wearing the hat and old-fashioned swallow-tailed dress 
coat of a federal brigadier, with enormous epaulettes. The 
face of the image was surprisingly like that of the original, but 
the rest of the body was roughly made. Although the general 
pot shape was well preserved, the naked wood was left in sight 
from the waist downwards, and the stomach was made by 
setting an enormous blue jug into the wood. In its right hand 
the image held out a large whisky bottle, a bottle familiar to 
the eyes of those who knew Dwight. On the floor at the feet 
of the idol lay crouching two beasts, looking at me hatefully. 
The upper part of their faces were like those of men, but their 
other parts were beastly and disgusting. The beast at the 
image's right hand was a hyena, and the human part of its 
head was that of Bailey. The beast on the left hand was a fat 
hog, and the human part of its head was that of Clark. 

In front of the safe or pagoda, not very far from the foot of 
the inclined plane, cotton bales from our fortification at Port 
Hudson were regularly piled in the form of a great square, six 
bales high. The bales of the upper surface were laid with long, 
narrow openings between them, running across the square one 
way. In these openings stood, by ranks, all of our regiment in 
double column, every captain at the head of his company, and 
the lieutenants in the ranks. 

In front of the column, and in the openings between the 
bales, I stood with the commissioned and non-commissioned 
staff officers of the regiment, and the color guard with the 
colors, all in the same order as is usual on inspections. Every 
man's hands were in manacles behind his back, and his feet 
were in fetters, chained to something below him. I looked at 
such irons as I could see of those near me, and saw plainly 



COTTON THIEVES. 247 



stamped on the metal the words, " West Point Works." 
Between the ranks of chained victims stood, at intervals, on top 
of the cotton bales, the well-known officers, orderlies and slaves 
that belonged about Dwight's and Clark's head-quarters, Wick- 
ham Hoffman being nearest to me. All of these were without 
clothing, except a piece of red eotton cloth wrapped snugly 
about the loins, and all had become black as negroes. Every- 
one of them held a broad, bright and sharp sacrificial knife, 
some of which were near enough for me to see plainly stamped 
on them the words, " West Point Works." Suddenly they 
all broke out into a loud, religious chant, using these words : 
" Happy ! happy ! happy ! Blessed ! blessed ! blessed are they 
who die by the sacred knife, to glorify the god and his holy 
beasts." Then Captain Pierce, Dwight's Chief Quartermaster, 
appeared, black, and wearing only the red cloth like the 
rest, but he had suspended about his neck, by a long, slender, 
writhing snake, a miniature cotton bale, exceedingly dirty. 
He ascended the inclined plane, prostrated himself, and kissed 
the toe of the idol thrice, took from the extended hand of 
the god the whisky bottle, and saying, " To the god power, 
dominion and glory, for ever and ever," he poured out before 
the image a libation of commissary whisky, the odor of which 
caused the holy beasts to turn their eyes from me, and point 
their snouts, with tongues thrust out, toward the falling liquid, 
but a gesture from the Chief Quartermaster quieted them, 
and the black priesthood all chanted again, "Be pleased, 
be pleased, O deity, with whisky, with whisky, the liquid of 
living soul, that gladdens divinity. The victims long to die for 
thy glory, for thy glory alone. No honor for mortal men like 
the honor of dying before the god by the knife of sacrifice. O, 
Dwight, hear us ! O, Dwight, hear us !" Then the Chief 
Quartermaster wrinkled his black brow, and pointing his black 
finger at me, cried out, as the holy beasts made a hoarse, angry 
noise, " Expel the unworthy one. Away with him into outer 
darkness. The glorious death is denied him." 

Instantly a small dog, with a head and face resembling those 



248 AMONG TEE 



of Lieutenant Dickey, Dwight's ordnance officer, came running 
down from behind the idol, and scrambling up to me in some 
way, unlocked my manacles and fetters. Hoffman cried 
"Begone! begone!" I sprang down, and after me came three 
of the black priests with their knives. I supposed that I was 
to be slaughtered somewhere out of sight of the god, and as 
they hurried me away I could hear horrible shrieks and cries 
mingled with barbaric chanting. The sacred knives were at 
work on the throats of the victims. 

I was surprised to see no spectators except a number of men 
sitting on benches in rear of the sacrifice. These men, although 
black and naked barbarians, were at work like reporters. They 
were making hand-bills and sending them off every moment by 
couriers, and as some of them passed by me, I saw in great 
capitals at the head of the bills sometimes one and sometimes 
another of these phrases : " Terrible Slaughter !" " Dwight 
Triumphant!" "Glorious News!" "Great Bloodshed!" "Dwight 
the Hero of the Day !" " The Sixth Michigan to a Man Die 
Around their Colors !" 

When the horrible sounds of the sacrifice began to grow 
fainter in my ears, I looked back and saw the whole pile 
of cotton sending up a column of flame and black smoke, and 
in that direction I could hear the noise of barbaric instruments 
of music. In other directions I could hear in the distance the 
applauding shouts and huzzas of great multitudes, who were 
not allowed to come within certain sacred limits, and who were 
receiving the hand-bills from the couriers. What became of my 
escoi't I know not, but I was borne with incredible rapidity 
through the air until I saw below me, at no great distance, the 
oak groves, the river and the streets about my home ; but ere 
the gush of joy could rise in my heart, my course was suddenly 
changed, and I was let down, where the fast falling rain-drops 
awake me, on the platform of the mortar battery before the 
citadel of Port Hudson. 

The splashing rain was soon driven past us by a northwester, 
which, even here, had not entirely lost the chill of the Rocky 



COTTON THIEVES. 249 



Mountains. Nobody had heard from any of our lords who 
sent us on our little foraging party last night. They were all 
in the safe about the time they got us fairly started out of the 
end of the trench, and then they suddenly took a freak to go 
oft*. It really seemed as if they did not want to hear the sound 
of the guns which they believed would soon put an end to our 
lives, and on the principle that dead men tell no tales, make 
sure that no more charges and specifications against cotton 
thieves in this department would be sent home to the North. 

Our whole regiment was in the trenches, mainly on the flanks 
of Bailey's great cotton bale works, for all the guns were in 
position. The magazines were supplied. Sailors, under naval 
officers, were at the huge nine-inch Dalghrens. As soon as 
D wight and his nobility could sleep off the effects of those 
potations which quite overcome them last night before Metcalf 
could find them to make his report, the guns must open, and, 
according to official reports and calculations, the citadel and the 
rebel redoubts must tumble down, and D wight was to have 
all the glory of capturing old Gardiner and Port Hudson; and 
as Dwight's staff would doubtless make him believe that the 
guns had done all he imagined they would do, he would cer- 
tainly order the Sixth Michigan to go over and take possession 
of Port Hudson in his name, and probably not many hours 
would pass before I would have the honor of leading my regi- 
ment up the citadel hill to certain destruction, for it was easy 
to see just where the interior works of the rebels were which, 
entirely safe from federal batteries, could make short work 
of all of us who should reach the inside of the citadel. If 
fortifications could ever be so arranged on chosen ground as to 
render certain the fate of assailing infantry, it must be here. 
So well did the enemy know their advantages, that they had 
gradually withdrawn their pickets in order to let Bailey dig his 
trenches to the foot of their hill. I knew, however, that what- 
ever disasters and massacres there might be, our regiment, and 
especially the two companies for whom I had borrowed the 
breech-loaders, might gain some honor by their skill and valor. 
32 



250 AMONG THE 



Every company had in various ways arranged loop-holes, so 
that the rifles could be aimed toward the rebels without letting 
any part of the man who held it be exposed. In some places, 
long boxes were thrust through the embankments on the flanks 
of the cotton bales. In other places, logs were laid upon the 
embankment, and holes made through the earth under the logs; 
and in other places again, sand bags were piled up so as to leave 
loop-holes, in the same manner as the rebels had prepared their 
parapet for riflemen. Such was the patriotism of the men, that 
although they could look forward only to some such perform- 
ances as those of the 14th of June, yet when they saw so many 
cannons, and the cannoniers resting by them, behind such 
mighty fortifications, all were anxious for the hour of conflict, 
no matter what Dwight might do with us. 

As is usual, after a storm in this region, the sun came out 
apparently hotter than ever. Incessant singing, like the voices 
of enormous locusts, was heard among the boughs of the 
scattered trees. The creatures from which the noise proceeded 
were of the lizard kind, and save their loudest racket for times 
of extraordinary heat. The screeching chorus of these lizards, 
seeming to be very happy about something, was in some way 
associated with the significance of the dream I had in the 
morning, but the moment I thought of the dream I remembered 
one thing about it which undoubtedly took away whatever 
faith I had in it. I had seen the Chief Quartermaster officiating 
as chief priest, where not only human life, but also a vast 
amount of cotton was sacrificed. I knew him too well; he 
would have disposed of that cotton in quite another way. 

My attention was suddenly called from all abstractions by 
the sudden appearance of a staff officer, nobody less than 
Lieutenant Verax, Dwight's truth teller. He saluted me and 
requested me to step aside, as he wished to speak with me 
alone. " Colonel," said he, " a few officers of high rank are 
needed for General Bank's storming column of a thousand men. 
1 believe that your attention has already been called to that 
subject several times. Colonel Clark and General Dwight are 



COTTON THIEVES. 251 



very desirous that some officer of your rank should represent 
your regiment in that column of noble patriots, who will have 
all the honor of going forward as a forlorn hope. They will 
be immortalized. And yet, Colonel, I am authorized to say 
there is no prospect that they will ever be required for an 
assault. General Dwight will soon dispose of Port Hudson 
summarily. I assure you, Colonel, upon my honor, that this 
storming column offers a rare opportunity. They have a 
delightful camp in the safest position that can be found, and are 
provided with extra rations, and will have nothing at all to do. 
Yet it is a great gratification to General Banks to see the best 
officers volunteer." 

He would have gone further had I not interrupted him saying 
that I had heard so many promises that the storming column 
were to do nothing, that I really began to believe these 
promises, and that if my regiment were in reality to be the 
storming column, I chose to remain and share their fate. 
Verax bowed and departed. It was easy to see that Dwight, 
Clark and Bailey wanted to get rid of me, and give me no 
chance to be a witness of their doings, but this was just 
what I was determined to see. I came to Port Hudson, 
knowing that I would soon be arrested a second time, especially 
if there was any probability that I should share any of the 
supposed honors to be won, or gain any distinction, but I came 
prepared for the worst, and determined to act well my part and 
see the performances. There was no use in attempting to con- 
ciliate any of the men hostile to me. No promise that they 
could make could be trusted, and any offer to conciliate them 
would only be considered a sign of fear, and would do harm 
rather than good. 

I turned my thoughts to the scene around me. It was 
evident that, although all communication with the rebels had 
for several days been strictly forbidden, our men had con- 
tinued to give them all the notice that honor required. They 
knew that our guns were about to open fire as well as we did ; 
and now, as a sign that the truce had ended, a bright silken 



252 AMONG THE 



battle-flag was run up on a long flag-staff close behind the main 
parapet of the citadel. The flag showed the three broad bars, 
red, white and red, and the rebel stars. It seemed as if colors 
never looked so bright before. 

On our side the stars and stripes were held up, and waved a 
defiance, answered immediately by a similar motion of the 
rebel ensign. Yet no soldier on either side fired a shot, but 
every cannon was loaded, and its muzzle at the opening in the 
iron mantelet of the embrasure. 

A message was brought to me by a soldier that Lieutenant 
Dickey wanted to see me down in the ravine, and having 
descended to a place where no bullets could come, I found 
the Lieutenant, mounted on an expensive horse of very 
doubtful ownership, often used by the Chief Quartermaster. 
The Lieutenant had an exceedingly malicious smirk on his 
canine countenance as he handed me a large white envelope, 
directed to me, and marked " O. B.," and said that General 
D wight wished the order obeyed immediately. On opening 
it, I found it to contain a general order from Dwight, through 
his Adjutant, Wickham Hoffman, declaring Lieutenant-Colonel 
Porter, of the Fourteenth Maine Volunteers, and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Bacon, Sixth Michigan Volunteers, under arrest, and 
ordering the arrested officers to take up their quarters half a 
mile in rear of Dwight's head-quarters. (I thought Dwight's 
head-quarters were certainly far enough to the rear.) The 
order proceeded to set forth the cause of the arrests with 
curious circumlocution, meaning that Ave were arrested on 
account of want of respect for our commanders, which made it 
expedient to get rid of us before an assault on the citadel. 
(Then Dwight did not intend to wait for his cannon to drive all 
the rebels out of this part of Port Hudson, according to his 
predictions. No, he must have another assault first, probably 
by the same route which we were sent upon last night, so that 
his bulletin might not fail to report terrible fighting and fearful 
carnage.) The order concluded with a verbose subdivision, 
commencing with exactly this sentence : 



COTTON THIEVES. 253 



" III. The troops of this division will never be required to 
perform any duty which should not be reasonably expected 
of good soldiers, and which is not only possible but easy." 

At the end of the subdivision stood officially the familiar 
words : 

"By order of Brigadier-General Dwight. 

" WICKHAM HOFFMAN, A. A. G." 

What did this mean ? No doubt Special Order No. 32 and 
the jobs appointed for Captain Cordon and Captain Stark were 
referred to, and not altogether incorrectly, for if there could 
be doubt whether such duty should be reasonably exj^ected 
of good soldiers, there was no doubt that such duty lacked 
much of being either possible or easy. And the General 
declares that he will never require his soldiers to do any duty 
which " should not be reasonably required of good soldiers, and 
which is not only possible but easy." Perhaps the division will 
not think he tells them much that is new when he publishes in 
this order that hereafter no duty required of them is to be 
possible and easy. 

It might have been that some mutineer had claimed that 
Dwight ought not to require impossibilities, and this order was 
to show authority, and let subordinates know that the General 
would now commence to require impossibilities continually. At 
any rate, this order was to be a finality, a sort of Dred Scott 
decision, by infallible authority, as to all of Dwight's perform- 
ances, pronouncing them " very good " — indeed, so perfect, that 
to question their wisdom would be an unpardonable offense. 

In a little while after receiving the order, the arrested, officers, 
with their servants and camp equipage, were on their way 
toward Dwight's head-quarters, and long before our arrival at 
that safe and secluded place, we must pass through thick woods, 
which would hide every part of Port Hudson and all the 
operations of the siege from our view. 

There was a great branching tree in one of the last open 
fields we were to pass before losing sight of Port Hudson. 



254 AMONG THE 



The top of this tree had been sawed away, and a platform, a 
shelter from heat and rain, and a seat, had been fixed there. 
The arrangement was for a part of the signal corps. Here by 
day the curiously colored little signal flags rapidly waved in 
the signal semi-circle; and here, at night, the same motions 
w r ere made by swinging lanterns fastened to poles. 

Near this tree was now hitched a horse, with saddle and 
bridle, indicating that he belonged to a staff officer ; and there, 
carefully climbing the long ladder leading to the platform, was 
an elegantly dressed little officer, Lieutenant Verax, who hon- 
ored us by recognition, and in a very friendly voice, said, " I am 
going to see the big battery open. I think that this is about 
the right place to get a good view." Colonel Porter remarked 
to me, " Probably distance will truly lend enchantment to that 
view." 

In a moment afterward one heavy gun was fired in the 
direction of the great battery, which was entirely hidden by 
the bluffs and woods about it. Other reports of cannon were 
immediately heard that way. Bailey and Dwight had begun, 
but my expectations as to the noise they would make were dis- 
appointed. It seemed to me that they were firing slowly. The 
navy also seemed to be commencing an unusual cannonade, but 
they, too, fired slowly, and yet they seemed to make more noise 
than the guns on shore. The last I saw of the siege of Port 
Hudson was a gush of smoke from one of the enormous 
naval shells, which prematurely burst in the middle air right 
over the great battery, the hot mid-day sun giving the smoke a 
curious reddish hue. 



COTTON THIEVES. 255 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

A Change. 



Near the veranda of a plantation house, and under the live 
oats and cotton woods, whose uniting boughs formed a thick 
shade, is spread a table with its clean white table-cloth and 
China ware bought in old times of peace. Here is the genuine 
Southern corn bread, light and soft as the white loaf beside it, 
made from Northern flour bought for my own use from the 
federal commissariat of Dwight's division. Here are the well 
cooked meats; also the cakes, preserved fruits and coffee pre- 
pared by the trusty slave women, whose affection for a kind 
mistress and for a good master has been sufficient to keep them 
at home, even though the camps of the army besieging Port 

Hudson are near by. 

At the head of the table sits Doctor Burnette, owner of the 
plantation, recently a surgeon of the Eighteenth Confederate 
Regiment of Mississippi, and opposite to him his wife, a 
Southern lady. She has Southern pride in every feature, 
and yet such kindness and benevolence in her looks, that it 
is easy to understand why not only her female house servants, 
but also several fine appearing young men servants are seen 
among those who prefer slavery at home with such a mistress 
to freedom in the federal camps. 

Seated about the table are those whom nothing but some 
cause unusual as this siege could have brought together. An 
old man, with sharp, black eyes, gray beard and hair, but with 
form erect and manly, as in youth. Beside him his wife, broken 
in strength and health, not by time, but by recent grief. The 
old man is Captain Griffith, who got his title in some bygone 
Indian wars. Lately his son, fighting under Stonewall Jackson 
in Virginia, was killed, and the news of his death was a stroke 



256 AMONG THE 



from which his mother never recovered. The Southern cause 
is a part of her religion. She blessed her son when he went to 
the war, and believed that her continual prayers would be 
heard, and that she would see her son return and her country- 
free. She has yet one son, who is very young, and serving with 
the rebel signal corps in Port Hudson. The house of Captain 
Griffith was burned by some of the federal army when Port 
Hudson was invested, and now he, with his wife and their 
daughter, are here to find shelter. The daughter is plainly 
dressed, but is a person possessed of uncommon vigor of mind 
and of uncommon health, which gives her the appearance of a 
New England girl. 

Next to this young lady, and beside me at the table, sits the 
delicate little wife of a rebel surgeon, on duty with an Arkansas 
regiment in the fort. Opposite to me is seated a lair-skinned, 
blue-eyed Alsacienne, the wife of Lieutenant-Colonel De Gour- 
nay, a French officer, who is Chief of Artillery in Port Hudson, 
the man whose guns destroyed the steamer Mississippi, and 
beat back all of Farragut's fleet except the Hartford and the 
Albatross; the man whose hidden howitzers have come forth 
just in time to repulse and rake down every storming column 
which has ventured to assault Port Hudson. 

Dr. Burnette is a tall, lithe and intelligent Mississippian, in 
the prime of life. He is saying, " Colonel, I do not understand 
how Dwight happened to measure the distance so as to send 
you straight here, unless he thought that to send you among 
such a set of rebels as we are would be a terrible punish- 
ment." 

My reply is that I am resigned to my fate, and that inasmuch 
as we may be deemed outside of the federal army, I desire him 
to give me his word of honor that I shall not be taken prisoner, 
for nothing would please Dwight and his staff better than to 
get rid of me in that way, and report that I had deserted to the 
enemy, thus preventing the confederates from gaining anything 
by my capture. 

Dr. Burnette answers, " Under the circumstances of your 



COTTON THIEVES. 257 



visit to us, our honor is pledged that our friends shall not carry 
you off." Captain Griffith and the ladies seated about the 
table join in the assurance given. It needs no uncommon dis- 
cernment to see that I can trust them. 

The attentive slaves behind our chairs are model waiters, and 
as I enjoy the first wholesome, well cooked meal I have had in 
a long time, I see why Southerners want to keep their negroes. 
They are bound to them by ties of interest and affection both. 
Mrs. Burnette seems to divine my thoughts, and says to me, 
" I must talk with you some time about our peculiar institution. 
Perhaps you never supposed that there were really two sides to 
the slavery question." 

I tell her that a lady's right to choose what shall be talked 
about is not to be disputed, but that the slavery question is the 
last subject I should dare to choose for conversation, considering 
that I am almost on her side of the line, and that even now I 
propose a question on a very different matter : " Why don't 
your confederate cavalry come and stir up some of our generals 
who have got their quarters so far to the rear, to escape the 
shells from Port Hudson ?" 

The lady responds that there is bad management somewhere; 
that she is sorry to say that the confederate leaders are too 
much like the leaders I have been serving under, and that if her 
country is ever subjugated, it will be on account of just such 
mismanagement as leaves the rear of Banks' army undisturbed, 
but she adds, Avith a significant look, " Don't you think, Colonel, 
after all, that we would be foolish to capture such generals as 
D wight? Why, he has surely been doing more for us than 
most of our own generals." 

Our conversation is interrupted by the sound of a sudden 
cannonade in the direction of the great battery which I left on 
the 26th, and as we listen it is not difficult to hear the continual 
irregular fire of musketry in the same direction. 

"Another charge, surely," says Dr. Burnette; "can it be 
possible that your generals want to use up their army entirely ? 
The garrison have nothing to do but lie in security and 
33 



258 AMONG TEE 



slaughter their assailants in such charges as there have been. 
If they should surrender to-morrow, they have done our ene- 
mies more harm than ten times their number have done in 
Virginia and Maryland. Why don't Davis send somebody this 
way, where it is easy to do so much, rather than keep sending 
them on the errands of fools into Maryland ?" 

I have left the half-finished meal, and, standing apart under a 
tree, hear again much such firing as I heard on the morning of 
June 14, only it is now at a greater distance. For a little while 
I hear nothing but musketry ; then the artillery is heard again, 
and the cannons speak in quick succession, as if to cover the 
retreat of repulsed infantry. Then follows a long continued 
firing of both musketry and artillery in confusion not easily 
explained. 

Has Dwight got the citadel, and is this firing to hold it, or 
has he only got into his safe and set his artillery and infantry to 
firing at random for his amusement ? I pray that it may be 
nothing worse than what I have last supposed, but I can easily 
imagine the evil disposition of Dwight and Bailey toward 
everybody on account of the ridiculous failure of their cotton 
bale battery, and I wait listening to every sound for a long time. 
The sun's last rays have gone, and I hear through the evening 
air only the sound of cannon shots at intervals, which proclaim 
afar that Port Hudson has not yet fallen. 

When I return to the plantation house, I find my rebel friends 
seated under the veranda and under the nearest trees. In 
answer to inquiries, I state some suppositions in explanation 
of the firing, and what is the probable result. The Alsacienne 
wife of De Gournay stills the child she holds in her arms, and 
eagerly endeavors to catch the sense of English words 
enough to get my meaning, but seems entirely baffled, and as 
her servant takes her child, she rises, and approaching me, says, 
"Pardonnez moi, Monsieur, mais il taut que je sache ce qu' est 
arrive. Pensez vous que beaucoup de gens out ete tue.v? Parlez 
moi en Francais les autres entendent ce qu' il y a de nouveau. 
Mais jamais, jamais puis je comprendre l'Anglais." I make her 



COTTON THIEVES. 259 



the best answer that I can in her own language, and tell her 
that I hope to hear in the morning all about what has happened, 
and that she shall have no more trouble in understanding the 
news, if she can understand my French. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

The Whisky Charge. 

On the morning of July 1, 1863, we had a late breakfast at 
Doctor Burnette's plantation, for we had been listening to 
uncommon firing by infantry and artillery until a late hour for 
two nights, and yet I had received no reliable news from the 
siege. I knew that something very uncommon must have pre- 
vented any of my friends from bringing the news, and I could 
not doubt that something like a series of assaults upon the 
citadel had been going on for the benefit of Dwight, and con- 
tinued through such a space of time, and repeated in such a 
manner, as to leave little doubt that he was applying to the 
Sixth Michigan the same tactics which he used on the 27th 
of May, when he got more than a mile out of danger himself, 
and as often as the negro regiments under him were repulsed 
in attempting an impossibility, he sent orders to charge, and 
keep charging as long as a corporal's guard was left. In com- 
pany with Doctor Burnette I was examining his cotton fields 
and cotton gin building, and learning something more about 
that plant which had cost so many valuable lives in my regi- 
ment, when a remarkably bright Utile negro boy came running 
to us and brought word that a gentleman wished to see me at 
the house. Soon afterward I accompanied a lieutenant of my 
regiment to Colonel Porter's tent in a dense woods near by. 
The Colonel's servant took charge of the lieutenant's horse. 



260 AMONG THE 



We seated ourselves upon logs, and the lieutenant gave an 
account of what had been going on. He said : 

" When the great cotton bale battery opened fire on the 26th, 
the enemy scarcely deigned to respond, and had nothing to do 
but to keep the cover of their works and act as sharp-shooters 
occasionally. The more of our projectiles that sunk into their 
parapet the stronger did it become. Dwight had often said that 
his battery would drive the enemy from their works, and that he 
would take possession of Port Hudson, marching his men into 
the sally-port at right shoulder shift arms. Nobody knew what 
a failure his battery was to prove, but he delayed his assault until 
such failure was notorious, and the thundering of his great guns 
against the everlasting hills had become as ridiculous as the 
dropping of his mortar shells to drive the rebels out from 
behind their long traverse along the brink of the precipice 
going down to the river, the shells falling into the water or 
bursting at the foot of the precipice. After the 26th the enemy 
seldom fired even a rifie shot, and the truce seemed to be 
renewed on their side. Dwight's cannon appeared to get tired 
out with their own noise. 

" On the night of the 28th it was determined at Dwight's 
head-quarters that the assault should be the next morning at 5 
o'clock, and a tremendous bombardment for a long time before 
that hour made known to the rebels, as on former occasions, 
that an assault was at hand, but such was the quantity of sani- 
tary wines and brandies which the General and iiis Surgeon 
Sanger had consumed at their midnight debauch, that before 
they realized what had become of the time, the 29th of June was 
far spent. 

" Nevertheless, at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the One 
Hundred and Sixty-fifth New York, better known as the 
Zouaves, and the Sixth Michigan, were ordered to charge the 
citadel, under the direction of General Nickerson. Bailey's 
zigzag trench, or sap, had been continued without hinderance 
from the rebels until one end of it, made very deep, was at the 
toot of the most projecting part ot the citadel hill. Here 



COTTON THIEVES. 261 



Nickerson took position perfectly safe, but nearer to the enemy 
than any brigadier had been before during the siege. Nicker- 
son appreciated the job appointed for him, and had prepared 
himself for it by imbibing at the safe large quantities of the 
spirit of command. 

"The two regiments, or rather remnants of regiments (for 
fatigue, sickness, wounds and death had left but a few of them), 
lay in the trench close behind the General, who was making some 
kind of subterranean observations, and sending reports until 
nearly midnight, when just after he received D wight's ultima- 
tum, ' Charge, and keep on charging as long as you have a 
corporal's guard left,' a rebel deserter came running for his life, 
having narrowly escaped several rifle shots from the citadel, and 
sprang into the ditch, alighting astride of the Brigadier, who, 
with the ejaculation, ' O, God !' dropped down like a dead man, 
but finding himself alive, and the unarmed rebel in the grasp of 
two soldiers near him, he immediately put on airs of authority, 
saying to the rebel, ' You wretch, come here, and tell me the 
truth or you are a dead man. What force is there in the citadel 
to-night?' The deserter answered, 'About seven hundred men, 
sir, for an assault has been expected for some time, and rein- 
forcements have been arriving throughout the day.' This was 
spoken a little beyond the leading file of men, and within plain 
hearing of many of the forward company, but Nickerson raising 
his voice somewhat, announced, ' This fellow says that there 
are only forty men in the citadel,' and sending two lucky 
soldiers and an aid to the rear with the deserter, he ordered 
the two regiments to climb out of the trench and charge the 
citadel. The order was so far obeyed that the miserable 
soldiers got out of the trench and climbed up the hill far 
enough to be safe from all communication with the generals on 
our side, and near enough to the citadel to hear rebel officers 
urging their men to reserve their fire, and let the d — d Yankees 
get into the ditch. 

" The two regiments, in confusion, and numbering altogether 
less than three hundred men, with seven hundred of the enemy 



262 AMONG THE 



in the works before them, lay clown to avoid the bullets, which 
in spite of the commands of the rebel officers began to cut 
them down. Fortunately a sinking in the surface of the hill 
side partly sheltered our men from the fire of the citadel, 
which was ready to overwhelm them. 

"The Zouaves and Michigan men were left for a long time on 
that hill side. Whoever rose up was shot. ~No orders of any 
kind, and no reinforcements came. Dwight drunk, and trying 
to look out of the holes in his great safe, expected to behold by 
the light of rifles and cannon all his plans succeed in the capture 
of the citadel, which he was now able to see double, and literally 
nodding to its fall. He was greatly dissatisfied because the 
firing was so irregular, continued so long, and made such a poor 
show. He waited long, drank often, and was heard making 
great promises of promotion to the staff officers who bore him 
away from the field of his fame. He seemed to think that the 
citadel was taken and reduced to his possession, and that all 
was done by himself. 

"Dwight was soon sleeping the drunkard's sleep in his distant 
quarters, and the men of the Sixth Michigan and the Zouaves 
were left on the terrible hill side, without any orders. The 
30th of June began to dawn upon them, and they began to 
realize their condition. They were not half hidden. Nothing 
but the screen of darkness had been between them and certain 
death. Yet their case was clearly within that order of D wight's 
which announced that he himself would be the hangman of any 
soldier or officer who should ever take advantage of any cover, 
or retreat without permission, during any assault. 

" The choice between the dangers must be made immediately. 
One at a time the men began to leave. Some stayed lying 
among the dead bodies and pools of blood, until they had to 
run a gauntlet of rebel fire to escape. A few having the best 
cover stayed, frequently fired at, until about the middle of the 
day, when the last who remained there, being Lieutenant Hare, 
of the Sixth Michigan, and a few others, driven to desperation 
by thirst and the scorching rays of the sun, sprang up and 



COTTON THIEVES. 263 



arrived breathless and covered with dust in the federal trenches, 
miraculously escaping the bullets aimed at them. In the after- 
noon D wight became partly sober, and, with his jug-bearers, 
reappeared in his safe. He at once gave orders for the same 
two regiments to charge the citadel again. The Zouaves, on 
account of their discipline, were put forward in the last night's 
affair, and this time the Sixth Michigan were to go ahead of the 
Zouaves- The former regiment were now about one hundred 
and thirty strong. The Zouaves, still fewer in numbers, were 
led by a sergeant. Every man felt as if he was under sentence 
of death, aud the whole affair was only a military execution in 
disguise. 

" The sun was about to set, when, under the instruction of 
Dwight's staff officers, the mournful procession filled the trench 
leading to the foot of the citadel hill. The instructions as to 
the exact manner of the massacre were precise, so that all the 
killing might, if possible, be seen from the safe. The men were 
to get out of the trench nearest to the citadel, and charge by 
twos. Orderly Sergeant Walker, of Company D, Sixth Michi- 
gan, was to lead the first pair, who were to run up and jump 
into the great ditch of the citadel. 

" Turning to his company, he said, ' I will lead you, boys, 
and I shall never come back here. I will never be brought here 
to charge the citadel again.' 

" The instructions were complied with. Sergeant Walker 
and other brave men were instantly killed. Of course, there 
was a repulse and a hasty escape of all who could escape, but 
not until some daring and reckless men, crowding forward, 
actually sprang into a rebel rifle pit, and from their brief strug- 
gle there brought with them a rebel captain as prisoner. Some 
of the assailants got into the main ditch of the citadel. Of 
these none returned; they fell under the fire of rifles and how- 
itzers that raked the bottom of the ditch, where torpedoes were 
exploding. 

"There was dissatisfaction and disappointment at the safe. 
There had been only the beginning of the sacriiice intended for 



264 AMONG THE 



the benefit of D wight. Bitter curses were uttered against the 
volunteers, who this time had disobeyed orders just as they did 
on the morning of the 14th. Officers who, before the war, had 
been clerks or apprentices, and whose base and contemptible 
qualities had made them staif officers in the Department of the 
Gulf, or given them places among D wight's personal attendants, 
were now prompt in repeating the customary curses on all 
volunteers, and were equally prompt in pouring out and mixing 
numerous drinks for immediate use. 

"Hours passed by, and no orders came to the troops in the 
trenches. At about 9 o'clock in the evening, the council in 
the safe seemed to have come to an important conclusion. Aids 
and orderlies were dispatched with orders that all the officers 
of the Sixth Michigan, the Zouaves, and five other regiments 
of the division, should leave their commands, and immediately 
assemble before the General. 

"They came. D wight sat full of whisky in his safe, like an 
ugly little heathen god in his pagoda. A favorite aid on either 
hand held a lighted tallow candle. Dwight began his speech, 
of which no adequate idea can be formed by those who did not 
hear it. He proceeded with w T onderful gravity, pausing at 
every word. I have written it out. Here it is : 

" ' The citadel is no longer tenable by the enemy, and the fire 
of my batteries has laid open Port Hudson. To take the citadel 
is nothing. All that regulars would have to do would be to 
walk in w T ith arms at right shoulder shift, but you will have to 
take it with a rush. It is to be done immediately. Never stop 
until you get orders from me, for I am going to take Port 
Hudson by storm this very night. Colonel Clark will lead the 
charge — a charge which is to eclipse the glory of all other, 
charges led by that gallant officer, a charge which is to let the 
world know what I can do with white men. On the 27th of 
May I showed what I could do with colored men. 

" ' I will have the two regiments proceed along the margin of 
the river. When they come to the steps cut in the clay leading 
to the rear of the citadel, they must go up. I tell them they must 



COTTON THIEVES. 265 



go up. Former experiments demonstrate that by this way the 
citadel can be surprised at any time, and I will tolerate no such 
disobedience of my orders as there was on the 14th. The rest 
of my division will leave the trenches at the foot of the hill, 
and will march on the road up the valley along the base of the 
hills on which are the enemy's fortifications. As soon as they 
shall have gained the rear of the citadel, they must rush up 
with manly cheers, join the two regiments coming up from the 
river side, and form column immediately in rear of the citadel ; 
the handful of men who may yet occupy the citadel, seeing 
themselves cut off, will at once surrender. There are some 
interior works where the enemy are supposed to be still in 
possession. From that direction my column may receive a few 
discharges of grape or canister. I order you to pay no attention 
to any fire that may be opened upon you. .No, you are to rush 
forward with a shout, and carry those interior works at the 
point of the bayonet. The enemy will think there is a perfect 
earthquake, and will fly in all directions before you. Let not a 
foot of ground gained by you be lost. Let no man forget that 
he is under my eye. It is not necessary for me to repeat here 
that a fate like that of John Hamlin, the man I executed sum- 
marily on the Teche expedition, awaits every man who retreats 
without my permission. I am the only General in this army 
who knows how to enforce discipline. What I have ordered is 
easy to perform. I know all about it — I am a West Pointer. 
I would lead the assault in person were it not that my rank is 
such that I must remain here.' 

" As the General closed his sentence, a shell from the enemy 
came screeching, over the safe, fortunately failing to explode 
until it had passed over the heads of the assembly. Dwight, 
securely protected by many feet of earth, seeing others crouch 
suddenly, said in the drollest manner, ' Do not dodge. If it 
had been meant for you, you would never have heard it. Go 
execute my orders, and in the morning Port Hudson surrenders 
to me.' 



34 



266 AMONG TEE 



11 The demoralized remnants of regiments, under the direc- 
tion of Dwight's staff officers, were crowding into the trenches. 
The enemy, looking on, and thoroughly prepared, were ready 
to make a speedy destruction of human life, that would at least 
be sufficient to insure for Dwight the Major- General's commis- 
sion which he coveted. But all at once there was a halt, and 
it soon became known that orders had come from General 
Banks stopping the whole performance. The regiments went 
back to their places, and thus ended the charge which, under 
standing orders, had been proceeding for two days, and which 
has already taken the name of the 'Whisky charge,' a name 
likely to be remembered by those who know what quantities 
of the fire-water were consumed at the safe. I think that 
recent events, like those of the 14th of June, tend to prove our 
General's greatest merit, namely, that his absurdities are likely 
to defeat his wickedness." 

The Lieutenant, belated by his lengthy narration, took hasty 
leave of us. I satisfied to some extent the curiosity of my 
friends at the house, who were waiting to hear the news. 
Madame De Gournay was most anxious to have me explain to 
her all that had happened, and as she could speak no English, 
and made earnest promises to give no information to others, I 
gave her as good an account of Dwight's whisky charges as I 
could give in her language. She appreciated well all that 
I said. Her expressive face could not conceal the joy which 
the politeness of her nation did not permit her to express in 
words. For a moment she seemed to be at a loss what to say, 
and then said : 

" Laissez moi YQus chanter un^de nos chansons. Je vous 
prie d'oublier qu^est un peu rebel.*£ 

I answered that she could not be held responsible for the 
sentiments of song writers. She sang in a manner that was 
worthy of applause, and gave me a copy of the song, as fol- 
lows : 



COTTON THIEVES. 267 



Aprfis vingt ans de sonrdes trahisons, 
Le Nord enfin ose lever la tfete ; 
Brisant nos lois, ruinant nos maisons, 
II veut du Sud consommer la dfifaite. 
Fiers de nos droits jusqui'ci respectes, 
Enfants du Sud, voulons nous etre esclaves? 
Laisserons-nous charger nos mains d'entraves ? 
Laisserons-nous p6rir nos libertSs? 

Formons une sainte alliance ; 
Levons-nous contre l'oppresseur; 
Et, glaive en main, jetons en choeur 
Le noble cri d'independance. 

La paix regnait an sein de nos cites, 
Et l'abondance, au milieu de nos plaines. 
lis sont venus, ces tyrans c!6test6s, 
Semer partout la ruine et les haines. 
Jouissez done du fruit de vos exploits, 
Noirs artizans de crises politiques ; 
Repaissez-vous des misfires publiques, 
Et contemplez la patrie aux abois. 

Formons une sainte alliance ; 

Levons-nous contre l'oppresseur ; 

Et, glaive en main, jetons en chosur 

Le noble cri d'independance. 

Entendez-vous ces devots orateurs? 
lis vont du Christ invoquant la doctrine. 
Mais le sophisme a corrompu leurs cceurs ; 
La bible en main, ils prfichent ia ruine. 
Alerte done ! enfants de l'Union ; 
Armez vos coeurs d'un saint patriotisme. 
Et dans les rangs d'un obscur fanatisme 
Portez le trouble et la destruction. 

Formons une sainte alliance; 

Marchons sur les blasphemateurs; 

Et renversons les oppresseurs 

De notre vieille independance. 

O Libert^ ! combats sous nos drapeaux, 
Et chasse au loin cette peste publique, 
Rfiveillez-vous, sortez de vos tombeaux, 
Peres sacrds de notre r6publique ! 



268 AMONG THE 



Dans les dangers servez nous de soutiens ; 
Et, s'il nous faut perir dans la tempete, 
Mieux vaut tomber que cle courber la tete, 
L'independance est le premier des biens. 
Formons une sainte alliance ; 
Marcbons contre les oppresseurs, 
En evoquant les fondateurs 
De notre vieille independance. 



CHAPTER XX. 



Dwight Writes a Letter; A Bill of Complaint; News Items; Dwight's Last Charge; 
Difficulties and Dangers of River Navigation; The Sixth Michigan Interested in 
Naval Artillery Practice; The Fourth of July. 

On the next day, July 2d, I received from a friend who had 
access to a letter-book at head-quarters, a copy of a letter writ- 
ten by Dwight himself to General Banks, requesting that 
Colonel Kingman, of the Fifteenth New Hampshire Volunteers, 
Lieutenant- Colonel Porter, of the Fourteenth Maine Volun- 
teers, and Lieutenant-Colonel Bacon, of the Sixth Michigan 
Volunteers, might be summarily dismissed from the service 
of the United States, and setting forth reasons for the request 
substantially the same as in the order for my arrest, namely, a 
want of respect ior Dwight, but adding these words as to 
Colonel Porter and myself: "Both have constantly expressed 
their opinion that the generals in command were incompetent, 
and that they would be massed and exposed at long range to 
the fire of artillery." No doubt that to express an opinion that 
those generals " would be massed and exposed at long range to 
the fire of artillery," was great wickedness in Dwight's estima- 
tion. I thought that my chance was good for the only really 
honorable discharge I could ever hope to receive from such a 



COTTON THIEVES. -69 



reprobate as now had a whole division of Northern men in his 

Tresolved to be bold, and during the — **»«£*; 
following address to General Banks, for myself and Colonel 
Porter, was written : 

« A private recommendation for our summary dismissal from 
the military service of the United States, without any form of 
trial, has been forwarded to you by General D wight. 

« We offer no defense tetany accusation which seeks to avoid 
and cut off all opportunity for hearing or defense. Such an 
accusation carries with it a sufficient defense for the accused, 
and really accuses no one but the accuser. 

« It is true that the West Point aristocracy, taking advantage 
of the confidence and the calamities of their country, have 
assumed the power of dismissing at will any officer tor any 
crime they please to mention. 

"It is also true that this same aristocracy are everywhere 
endeavoring to create an artificial importance for themselves at 
the expense of others, by establishing for citizen soldiers a 
system of cruel and unusual corporal punishments forbidden by 
the laws of the land and the laws of civilization. It is intended 
that for volunteers, there shall be no such thing as military 
iustice It is intended that there shall be no rest, security or 
reputation, except such as shall be wholly dependent upon 
arbitrary will and favor-this, when the events of every day 
prove the truth of the maxim that < Hatred is as often incurred 
bv aood actions as by evil.' _ 

"The insults, wrongs and outrages which our regiments and 
ourselves have suffered, are such as justify us in presenting to 
you a statement of some of those grievances which American 
citizens, serving their country in this army, have suffered from 
certain officers who have suddenly been made generals, and who 
seem to believe that it is for their interest to ruin you, and to 
gratify their hatred of volunteers by dooming those in their 
power to slaughter or disgrace. Educated to believe tyranny 



270 AMONG TEE 



the chief of virtues, then- sympathies, if they have any, have 
naturally been with the South, and with that institution which 
they were taught to respect. It would not be strange if the 
South had had her choice among the officers of the old army. 
It would not be strange if interest and not principle is all that 
Can be depended upon in the most of those left for the North. 

" We may safely admit all that these regulars claim as to the 
advantages of their education, and yet assert that all they know 
of real war is what they have leauped since April, 1861, and 
that the events of this siege argue as little for their attainments 
as for their principles of heart. The events of this siege assert 
better than we can that these generals have never intended that 
there should be any success of which the lame would be yours. 
They intend that our country shall carry on war for the benefit 
of a certain privileged class, or else carry on war in vain. Each 
of them appears to have made it his business in this siege to 
prevent all such success as would honor anybody but himself, 
the honor sought for himself to be measured by the numbers 
of his killed and his wounded. 

" There has never been any co-operation of divisions. Each 
commander, no matter hew weak his division, must have a 
separate column and a separate assault, all for his own benefit. 
One case excepted, not a division commander has led an assault 
on Port Hudson. It can hardly be said that any general from 
the regular army has exposed himself to any real danger before 
this place ; their anxiety to take care of themselves has equaled 
their eagerness to rush others into danger." 

(Here was inserted a concise statement of the crimes and 
absurdities of the siege, set forth in the preceding pages of 
this narrative, and being such as justified the common belief 
of the soldiers that the Department of the Gulf was the Botany 
Bay of brigadiers — a penal colony for such as the powers at 
Washington could not endure.) 

Our address continued : 

" We charge that the staff officers of the generals have gener- 
ally been selected on account of dress, personal appearance and 



COTTOX THIEVES. 271 



sycophancy; that they generally know little or nothing from 
actual service in companies or regiments, and consider it their 
duty to fill their masters' ears with flattery and lies, and to 
supply intoxicating drinks on all convenient occasions. 

"Among the favorite staff officers retained nearest to the 
persons of generals are notorious cotton speculators and thieves, 
whose interest it is that the Mississippi should not be opened, 
for the opening of the river would be likely to deprive them of 
their power and plunder in Louisiana. 

" We charge that these base favorites and sycophants would 
willingly cause defeats and massacres of this army, such as 
there have been, if they supposed that by such means their evil 
interests would be advanced. Such favorites have pretended 
to make daring reconnaissances of the ground over which assault- 
ing columns were to move. The ground has been reported 
open and the way clear, but when the troops were rushed for- 
ward they were suddenly lost in strange ravines, full of fallen 
timber. 

"The worst of these favorites seem to have obtained the 
greatest influence, and to such an extent have evil and absurd 
counsels prevailed with division commanders, that it has been 
officially announced that it is better for the reputation of a 
general to enforce in every volunteer company and regiment 
the barbarous system of degrading corporal punishments and 
tortures used in the regular army, than it is to succeed against 
the enemy without that system, and any true history of this 
siege will only make a horrible farce, which will appear incredi- 
ble to posterity. 

" At last, as a publication of the folly and wickedness of the 
assaults, our division commanders have been digging those 
approaches which, at the beginning of the siege, might have 
insured the speedy fall of Port Hudson, without those losses 
which were intended to detract from your fame, and add to 
that of your subordinates. But in digging approaches General 
Dwight has shown his usual defiance of common sense, and 
although he has obtained the use of the best of the federal 



272 AMONG THE 



artillery, and has wasted a great amount of labor, yet it is 
notorious that the most he can accomplish is to have an assault 
which will be more disastrous than any heretofore. And we 
pray you to decide whether, after such doings and sayings, and 
habitual drunkenness of General Dwight, as are undeniable, it 
is possible that we could do anything that could add to the 
derision and contempt into which he has brought himself and 
his authority. 

" The enemy, encouraged and emboldened by victory after 
victory, take pride in enduring every privation and suffering. 
All plans, stratagems and labor, and all the sickness and 
slaughter before Port Hudson, have not only been in vain, but 
have been for the honor and advantage of the enemy, and have 
brought this army to a state of demoralization unequaled since 
the war began. 

" Those gentlemen of military education who have been 
intrusted with the management of this siege, and who have 
originated every plan, had little to tear on account of disaster 
and defeat — these have been charged to the volunteer Com- 
mander-in-chief. The honor of anything fortunate which might 
happen was to belong to your subordinates, who, in charging 
you with their own infamy, take the same pleasure which they 
have had in the wanton sacrifice of liie — they will gratify the 
evil feelings which they, as regular mercenaries, entertain toward 
all volunteers, and all freemen. 

" For these privileged officials the war has but this chief end 
and object, namely, to prove that volunteers are worthy of 
contempt either as soldiers or commanders, in order that a 
great standing army may be established. Without the estab- 
lishment of such an army, these great men must return to their 
former insignificance. With such an establishment, they hope 
to see their present importance perpetuated and increased. 
Let the danger to republican institutions be mentioned, and not 
one of them can entirely conceal the sinister delight caused by 
the mention of the downfall of that liberty to which they, by 
education and experience, are strangers. A common interest, 



COTTON THIEVES. 273 



a common belief in military despotism, and a common contempt 
for all popular institutions, fill the minds of these newly pro- 
moted generals with great hopes and ideas. 

" They have been educated in a system which implies an 
imperial head. According to that system an army is degraded, 
and can hardly be worthy of being called an army if it is sub- 
ject to a democratic government. They well know that to 
demonstrate that volunteer armies must fail, and to show the 
necessity of a great standing army, is to demonstrate that free 
governments must fail, and that the only form of government 
worthy of respect, and able to prevent civil war and anarchy, 
is imperialism — imperialism such as causes order to reign in 
Paris and in Warsaw. If the rebels have been encouraged by 
repeated victories, and the federal army has been discouraged 
by repeated massacres; if Port Hudson, once abandoned to us, 
must at last be taken in the ancient way, by starvation ; or if 
superior forces of the enemy should cut off communications 
with New Orleans, and you should find your army and yourself 
in danger of being made prisoners of war, many of our generals 
would in their hearts rejoice, for in your ruin, in the disgrace 
of citizen soldiers, and whatever degrades republican govern- 
ment, they think they see just such a state of things as may 
compel America to submit to standing armies." 

For some days I had little to do besides reviewing the news 
and reflecting upon the same. There came to Dr. Burnette's 
house many visitors from various parts of the federal army, and 
there also came visitors from neighboring plantations, ladies 
and old gentlemen, who had lived in planter style until recent 
events had brought them to poverty, which most of them bore 
without any such depression of spirits as I expected to see. I 
had good opportunities to hear from both rebels and federals. 
A summary of the news for the first days of July is as follows : 

The storming column of one thousand volunteers called for 
by General Banks, were likely to enjoy their safe and comfort- 
able quarters and extra rations undisturbed by any real prob- 
ability of an assault. 
35 



274 AMONG THE 



The only successful operations I could hear of were in the 
way of gathering all the valuable negroes in the country far and 
near. These negroes were brought in by our cavalry and by 
expeditions of all arms, and were mostly sent off down the river 
in steamers, to be used up on the plantations in the hands of 
Northern speculators and government agents, and the zeal and 
cupidity with which these negroes were sought for showed 
that the Yankee mind had begun to realize that the wealth 
of the country was its negroes. I heard from credible persons 
that the number of slaves gathered in and appropriated since 
the beginning of operations against Port Hudson was as great 
as thirty thousand, and it is probable that no African seaport 
ever saw so many slaves shipped off in an equal time into 
service where speedy death from suffering was so sure. 

The most important news from my regiment was that after 
the failure of the cotton bale battery and the Avhisky charge, 
Bailey, wishing to keep some great work going on to make 
himself important, and retain his legion of negroes for his own 
benefit, contrived a plan for digging a tunnel under the citadel 
hill, commencing where his approach came nearest to the rebel 
works, on the extreme point of the long nai'row ridge on 
which was the citadel, and along which, for a quarter of a 
mile behind the citadel, were strong interior works, the inner- 
most of which would need mining as well as the outermost. 
Before Bailey's tunnel could do any good, it would have to be 
worked until after the rebel garrison would starve to death 
and molder to dust. But Bailey was getting, as much credit 
for his tunnel as he had received for his cotton battery. 

D wight, since the whisky charge, had been on a big drunk, 
which was likely to last until the end of the siege. He had 
not been sober enough to order an assault except on one 
occasion, when, in company with Bailey and some of his staff, 
he visited the guard in the trench near the entrance of the 
tunnel, and when the lieutenant in command of the guard pre- 
sented himself, D wight swore at him, told him that there were 
men enough in the guard to take the citadel, and, pausing a 



COTTON THIEVES. 275 



moment, said, " G — d d — n you, have your men fall in, and 
make a charge on the citadel immediately. These d — d volun- 
teers have been having a good time in this trench. G — d d — n 
you, get out of here and do something for me. I'll see if I 
never can make you charge. Now, remember you are to 
charge, and keep charging till I order you back here. If you 
don't obey me, I'll hang every one of you." The guard, num- 
bering about thirty men. were hastily preparing for obedience 
and for eternity, when Bailey and the staff officers began to 
exert themselves to get D wight's attention away from his 
suddenly planned assault, and succeeded so well that they got 
him away, and got him to drink till he forgot all about the last 
charge he ever ordered against Port Hudson. Soon after this 
he became almost unfit for duty by reason of a certain unmen- 
tionable affliction which was chronic with him, as it is with 
many others of our military aristocracy. 

The news most important of all was that which reported the 
advance of Dick Taylor with an army superior to Banks' army 
from Western Louisiana toward the Mississippi, to cut off our 
communication with New Orleans. A steamboat arrived at 
Springfield Landing marked by cannon shots, and bringing the 
report of having narrowly escaped being sunk by a formidable 
rebel battery on the west bank of the river, not far from Don- 
elsonville. Some of the fleet went to drive the rebels away 
from their insulting position, and the war steamers returned 
with a report that they had done a great deal, but had, never- 
theless, been unable to get the rebel guns away, and it needed 
no West Point education to understand that the river was 
closed to all intents and purposes, and that the only communi- 
cation with New Orleans must be by running a gauntlet of fire 
from all the artillery of Dick Taylor's army. Sixteen guns 
were said to be admirably placed at embrasures in the levee. 

General Magruder was said to be at hand with an army to 
support Dick Taylor. One vessel passed the rebel batteries in 
the night, and hardly escaped. The darkness proved but poor 
protection, for the enemy had sent parties across to the eastern 



•276 AMONG THE 



bank of the river, and had built fires there, so that they could 
stand by their guns and fire at the moment the vessel passed 
between them and the fire. 

A body of rebel horsemen, variously reported as numbering 
a few hundred or several thousand, come charging down upon 
Springfield Landing in broad daylight, drove the frightened 
contrabands into the river like muskrats, killed and wounded 
men, smashed, burned, blew up or carried off federal property 
at our base of supplies at such a dreadful rate as to operate on 
the fears of the whole army in a manner none of them will ever 
forget. 

Banks' army could not retreat with any prospect of reaching 
New Orleans, and reports of a rebel army, with many thousand 
cavalry, coming to relieve Port Hudson, were beginning to 
assume every appearance of truth. 

All news from federal and confederate sources as to the siege 
of Vicksburg went to show that Vicksburg was no nearer to a 
surrender than Port Hudson was. The siege of Port Hudson 
would have been raised, but there was no chance for doing so. 
The army could not go on transports past the rebel batteries, 
and to retreat by land with the sick and debilitated men that 
filled the ranks, and with the present want of teams and with 
the great siege train on hand, was impossible. 

There was nothing to be done until a rebel army appeared in 
the rear to demand a surrender, and nothing was done except 
that all the division commanders were striving to outdo one 
another working their men in all sorts of digging, mining and 
mound making, described in the text-books on fortification 
as proper for besiegers. But it was probable that the number 
of really effective men in Banks' army was reduced by sickness, 
slaughter and demoralization, to less than that of the effective 
men in Port Hudson, and no reasonable man supposed that the 
digging and mining was for any purpose except for generals to 
report upon to show their abilities. 

About this time the remnant of the Sixth Michigan were 
kept constantly in the trenches near the mouth of Bailey's 



COTTON THIEVES. 277 



tunnel. The rebels in the citadel were now really carrying on 
war, and there were many brave deeds done by the Michigan 
soldiei-s. On one occasion the enemy had been rolling lighted 
shells into the head of the trench, and although the Michigan 
men had managed to dodge these shells when they exploded, 
or to pick them up and throw them out of the trench before 
they exploded, yet they had been greatly annoyed. They per- 
ceived that the rebels would not be likely to get many more 
shells into the trench if it was possible to get rid of a certain 
trough of boards which the rebels had fixed in the ground so 
as to guide the shells toward the trench, for no matter how 
closely the enemy were obliged to conceal themselves to escape 
our sharp-shooters, it was only necessary for a man to reach up 
one hand to the end of the trough and start the shell on its 
course. It was arranged that our sharp-shooters should keep 
every rebel close, and that every man with a breech- loading 
rifle should be ready to do his best. Then three brave Michigan 
men sprang out of the trench, ran to the nearest end of the 
trough, grasped it, and would have drawn it away in an instant 
had not two rebels, keeping themselves well concealed, kept 
hold of the other end of the trough. There was a struggle. 
The Michigan men were too strong for the Southerners. The 
trough was soon in the federal trenches, a trophy that will be 
remembered by the brave men there. But as such deeds could 
not well be claimed by any general for his own credit, they 
were never reported. 

Every day since the rebels had resumed hostilities, the Michi- 
gan sharp-shooters had done wonders. They improved the 
embrasures through which they fired; they kept the breech- 
loading rifles continually pointed, and avoided the necessity 
of giving the enemy any advantage by drawing back the piece 
to load. Officers watched with excellent marine glasses, bor- 
rowed from the navy. No rebel could put his face to an 
embrasure an instant in safety, for on a preconcerted signal, 
telling at what point to aim, half a dozen bullets would strike 
the earth right before the rebel's face. Not a hat on a stick, or 



278 AMONG THE 



anything else for a dummy, could be kept up by the euemy to 
draw fire unless it was immediately detected, and if any shots 
were wasted, it was only to tempt some rebel to expose him- 
self. 

On one occasion some staff officers took it into their heads 
that the long expected sortie was to be made immediately, and 
forthwith the Sixth Michigan were ordered to post themselves 
on the brow of the hill opposite to the citadel, sheltering them- 
selves by means of the fortifications or the trenches as best 
they could. It was a sultry noon, and the officer of the deck 
on board one of Farragut's sloops-of-war lying in sight, almost 
two miles away in the river, saw the hurried movement of 
troops and the colors near where he had been instructed to 
watch for the long expected sortie. He was probably not a 
total abstinence man, and it seemed to him that he saw the 
whole rebel garrison pouring into the federal trenches. He 
gave the alarm, and in a moment every naval gun that could 
send a shot so far began to roar. The astonished Michigan 
men had to exert all their skill to escape the howling shot and 
the bursting shells. These men had been used to see their com- 
rades die to gratify the malice of a drunken general. Every 
man of them was ready to be murdered, as he had seen others 
murdered, but to find those that were left of the regiment 
suddenly shelled by the best guns in Farragut's fleet, was too 
much, and soldiers who had gone through D wight's whisky 
charge without flinching, trembled, and the hair of their heads 
stood erect as Farragut's enormous projectiles came thump- 
ing, bounding and bursting among them for some time, and 
then suddenly ceased. There was never any satisfactory 
explanation of this shelling announced to the regiment, but, 
in conversation, certain naval gentleman said that the officers 
of the sloop-of-war which began the cannonade had that day 
received an unusual quantity of sanitary supplies, which devout 
and patriotic people in New York city had sent for the poor 
sailors who were sickening and being worn out on the lower 
Mississippi and the Gulf. 



COTTON THIEVES. 279 



D wight and Bailey considered the affair a capital joke, and 
the drunken General stammered out, on hearing of what had 
happened, " I wish that was the only kind of sympathy these 
d — d volunteers ever got from the navy." 

My liege, Colonel Clark, about this time was in great favor 
at D wight's head-quarters, and as General Banks had ordered 
D wight's whole division into the trenches close about the cotton 
bale battery, Clark procured the following order as to the man- 
ner of doing the thing, giving the safe a safe place in recorded 
orders for celebrating the Fourth of July, although posterity 
may not understand what the " Look-out" was : 

Head-quarters Second Division, 
Special Orders, ) Nineteenth Army Corps, 

No. 57. J Before Port Hudson, July 3, 18G3. 

1. Hereafter the First and Third Brigades will relieve each 
other in the duties of furnishing the picket and guarding the 
trenches. 

2. The First Brigade, Colonel Clark commanding, will to-mor- 
row, the 4th instant, furnish one regiment for the rifle j:>its and 
one regiment for picket duty in front. The other two regiments 
of the brigade will be held in the immediate support of the 
battery and trenches. Colonel Clark will make his head-quarters 
at the Look-out. 

3. On the 5th instant, the Third Brigade, General Nickerson 
commanding, will relieve the First Brigade, General Nickerson 
making his head-quarters at the Zook-out, and so on, on alternate 
days. 

4. When not on duty, the brigades will rest in the immediate 
neighborhood of their respective commanding officers. 

5. Brigade commanders are cautioned to station their best 
sharp-shooters where most required, and to see that their pickets 
are well advanced in all places, and always as far as may be 
necessary for the support of the working parties. 

By order of Brigadier-General Dwight. 

WICKHAM HOFFMAN, A. A. G. 



280 AMONG THE 



It was certain that General Banks' army would soon be with- 
out provisions. It was uncertain how long the provisions of 
the rebel garrison would hold out, and the demoralization of the 
federal army had begun to work like a pestilence. There were 
but about eight thousand men in the besieging army reported 
for duty. It was said that orders came from Washington to 
raise the siege of Port Hudson, but compliance was no longer 
possible. The besieging army was really nearer to surrender 
than the besieged. 

General Banks had a superstitious belief in his luck. Luek 
had been with him throughout his public life, and he did not 
doubt that something would turn up yet to give him success. 
He visited the camp of the lucky one thousand volunteers for 
the last assault assembled there, and made an eloquent speech 
to them, full of the spirit of Demosthenes. The one thousand 
expected to be led to the charge immediately, but the General 
expected no such thing. He went back to his head-quarters 
and commenced packing up his baggage, intending to move his 
establishment as near to the gunboats as circumstances would 
permit without further delay. The gentlemen of his staff were 
delighted with his intended removal, for false alarms and 
dreams of rebel cavalry had worn upon them until they began 
to look like the demoralized soldiers. After the last false 
alarm, these gentlemen had turned out in the night and worked 
for hours carrying rails from both sides of a highway leading 
back from their rural retreat. With these rails a barricade was 
built across the highway, and although there was nothing to 
prevent the dreaded cavalry from coming through the open 
cotton fields on both sides of the road, the barricade was con- 
sidered a great protection. 



COTTON THIEVES. 281 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Port Hudson Surrenders to a Dispatch Boat from the Northwestern Army at "Vickshurg; 
Closing Scenes — the Performer, Dwight, Reappears for General Applause. 

A stout little dispatch boat arrived at the landing where the 
federal army rested on the river above Port Hudson. The 
military telegraph wires quivered under the hasty dispatch sent 
to General Banks. That something had turned up in accord- 
ance with General Banks' usual luck and expectations was soon 
flying in dispatches to division generals. Hoffman received 
the dispatch for Dwight, and immediately issued this order : 

Head-quarters Second Division, ) 

General Orders, ) Nineteenth Army Corps, \ 

No. 8. S Before Port Hudson, July 7, 1863. ) 

The following dispatch, received to-day, will be read this 
evening at the head of each regiment of this command : 

Department op the Gulp, ) 

United States Telegraph Office, July 7, 1863. \ 

By telegraph from Banks' head-quarters to Brigadier-General Dwight. 

The commanding General directs me to inform you that an 

official dispatch was received this morning from General Grant, 

announcing the surrender of Vicksburg the evening of the 4th 

instant. Twenty-seven thousand prisoners, one hundred and 

twenty-eight pieces of field artillery, and eighty siege guns, fell 

into our hands. 

(Signed) RICHARD B. IRWIN, A. A. G. 

By order of Brigadier-General Dwight. 

WICKHAM HOFFMAN, A. A. G. 

Further orders were soon given to the army and navy for a 
salute of a hundred guns, and every cannon began to bellow 
the news to the rebels, while cheers and shouts from the federal 
forces caused the enemy to spring to their places in expectation 
of a general assault. 

36 



282 AMONG THE 



So many lies had been published officially, that the federal 
army did not believe the news. Rebels shouted, asking whether 
all that noise was Banks' last card ; and if Vicksburg was taken, 
why Grant did not send some help this way, where it was 
needed. 

A flag of truce came out of Port Hudson. General Gardiner 
asked some of his West Point friends to state on their honor 
whether Vicksburg had surrendered or not; and for an answer, 
General Banks sent the original dispatch from General Grant. 
Whether Grant's handwriting and character were known to 
General Gardiner, or whether General Gardiner had received 
news of the fall of Vicksburg from Southern sources, I did not 
hear, but it seemed that it was easier for him to believe 
in the dispatch than it was for most of the federal army to 
believe it. In the course of a few hours the negotiation for 
the surrender of Port Hudson began. 

Not a shot from musket or cannon was to be heard. Hostili- 
ties had ceased. The rebel garrison and the federal army were 
mingling in confusion along the works. The Northern soldiers 
were sharing their hard bread and coffee with those whose 
bullets had killed or wounded so many good men on the same 
grounds where now Northerners and Southerners were in 
society, as though slavery and civil war had never existed in 
America. Many of the wounded left hospitals, and the same 
men whose shots might likely enough have shattered each 
other's bones, were now the most friendly toward one another, 
appearing to appreciate mutually the honor of having been 
wounded. 

At Dr. Burnette's plantation there was grief such as I did 
not expect to see anywhere on account of public affairs. Had 
death struck down the best loved member of the household, 
and had the coffin been before the eyes of the remaining mem- 
bers of that household, there could not have been such grief as 
this. Here there seemed to be woes from which there was no 
escaping; time could not end them, and no happy hereafter was 
offered to hope. All prayers unanswered ; all the victories, 



COTTON THIEVES. 283 



which seemed like so many promises from heaven, were gone 
for nothing, and Banks' army— that army the capture of which 
seemed certain— was to have Port Hudson and all its defenders, 
to dispose of at pleasure. All this was but the necessary 
consequence of a calamity which was far greater than the fall 
of Port Hudson, for the fall of Vicksburg seemed little less 
than the downfall of the confederacy, and the final sentence 
of its citizens and defenders to eternal degradation and 
despair. 

Taking advantage of the gathering up of the federal army to 
march into Port Hudson, and receive the surrender of the 
garrison, I have decided that the limits of my arrest have 
become so affected by the withdrawal of troops that I can 
gratify my desire to be among the first to examine the works 
of Port Hudson, and for fear of being deprived of seeing for 
myself what the inside of Port Hudson is, I have put on a 
blouse, and am approaching the Jackson sally-port, not far from 
the place where Colonel H. E. Paine was wounded on the 14th 

of June. 

The troops are gone, federals and rebels. All is silent except 
the voices of insects and creeping things, singing to the blazing 
noon. I have left behind me the line of woods, along which 
I see the piles of fresh clay and the broken cotton bales, 
indicating where federal batteries have been. At every step I 
am on ground where the blood of worthy citizens has been 
poured out. There has been no rain recently, and the dry clay- 
dust, stirred by the men, horses and wheels that have passed 
along the road, covers the fallen timber and the rank weeds on 
both sides of the level road. Soon my longing eyes rest 
on the ditch and parapet, concerning which so much has been 
imagined. And is this Port Hudson? The ditch is about 
four feet deep in most places, but in many places the clay has 
crumbled down so as to lessen that depth one or two feet. 
The parapet is about four feet high, and about the same number 
of feet in thickness. The revetment is of common fence rails, 



284 AMONG THE 



held in place by stakes. I see where several light artillery shots 
have gone through both parapet and rails. 

The sally-port is an awkwardly made gap, to admit the old 
highway. A little interior breast- work has been raised to guard 
the entrance. A little to my left, as I enter, I am surprised to 
see an old acquaintance, one of the same identical brass twelve- 
pounders which I have often seen on board the Barataria at 
Pass Manchac, and which were left for days on the burned 
wreck of that gunboat for the enemy to get if they pleased. 
Those guns were the cause of my arrest and trial on the charge 
of giving Lieutenant Trask permission to go after them, but it 
is plain now that this gun has lately been the cause of evils 
greater far than any of my misfortunes. Here it is, mounted 
on a carriage let down into the ground, so as to send its shot 
just grazing the surface of the field outside of the narrow 
embrasure before it, while thick piles of earth protected the 
cannoniers. This gun has been aimed at by several of our 
batteries, but it has been hit only once, and then without 
injuring the gun for use. Here it has been from the beginning 
to the end of the siege. Its field of fire includes places of the 
greatest slaughter. 

I look over the ground inside the rebel works. There is an 
open space about fifteen rods wide extending around just inside 
of the works. Then comes that forest which, during the 
siege, screened from federal observation almost everything 
within Port Hudson. The open space is mostly level ground, 
but I see that the forest is full of ravines, where the enemy 
could have fallen back and taken position so as to rake the open 
space within the fortification with their fire, as well as they did 
the open space without the works, over which the assailants 
would have had to come after getting through the web of 
ravines and fallen trees farther off. 

I determined to follow the rebel fortification around to the 
river above Port Hudson. It is easy to perceive the deception 
of the first appearance of these works. They were not intended 
as an obstruction to assailants. The ditch is of no account. 



COTTON THIEVES. 285 



Almost as much of the clay for the parapet was scraped up 
inside of the pai - apet as there was taken from the ditch. The 
intention was to have works, guns and men, as low down as 
possible, to trust to bullets instead of ditches and parapets to 
keep off assailants. The low place along just inside of the 
irregular banquette is dug full of what are called i*at holes, for 
the men to hide in to escape shells. There are similar holes 
made large enough for field pieces to hide in, and be ready to 
run up to narrow embrasures cut in the naked clay. Now I come 
to a twenty-four-pounder dismounted, a piece knocked out of its 
muzzle, and the carriage broken to pieces. Next lies a brass 
twelve-pound howitzer, which has been fairly cut in two by a 
federal projectile. At another place, where there is an angle in 
the works, a great black, rough looking gun, that may be a 
forty-two-pounder, is turned snug against the parapet, which 
has been thickened here. This gun is in good order, and is 
entirely safe from any federal shot. It can easily be swung 
around so as to put its muzzle to an embrasure, from which it 
can rake one of the spaces where an assault would be most 
likely to succeed. At intervals I come to thick and high 
traverses, being long rail pens, filled with clay. The size of 
these traverses show that our raking or enfilading fire was the 
only fire of which the rebels had much fear. The rebel soldiers 
who have gone to the surrender have doubtless carried their 
arms with them, but all along the works I find great numbers 
of old rusty muskets of all kinds. Some have flint locks, some 
are marked " U. S.," and some have marks indicating that they 
came from different kingdoms in Europe. 

However worn and rusty these pieces appear on the outside, 
I am surprised to find the inside generally in good order. 
Most of them are loaded and capped, and there are in boxes 
near by, or often scattered on the ground, many kinds of car- 
tridges, some of them containing twelve or sixteen buckshot, 
and others a ball and three buckshot. These muskets were 
kept here ready, so that every man could have enough of them 
in case of an assault. 



286 AMONG THE 



There are many cannons dismounted and broken by the fire 
of our artillery, and many others in good condition for use, 
and protected in various ways, so that no projectiles from our 
batteries would be likely to hurt them. The ammunition is in 
ammunition chests or caissons, sometimes hid in little magazines, 
and sometimes put close to thick parts of the parapet. The 
powder of the cartridges is not held by flannel of a uniform 
color, such as I have been used to seeing, but is held by all 
kinds of woolen and calico, of every print and color. Much 
of this cloth is worn, and has evidently been cut from articles 
of female wearing apparel. Here is the delaine, the merino, 
the linsey-woolsey, and beside the homespun flannel is seen 
stuff cut from costly shawls, all contributed by Southern women. 
I see, also, that the sand bags on the parapet are mostly made 
of sheets and table-cloths, often of the best linen. Many fine 
pillow-cases, marked with their owners' names, lie filled with 
sand, needing no change to adapt them to their new use. 

The remains of the last rebel ralions issued are everywhere 
scattered among the rat holes — molasses, little black beans, 
unshelled corn, a few pieces of corn bread, made of pounded 
grain, unsifted. And to these men who defended Port Hudson 
comfortable clothing, equipments and pay were unknown. 

The monuments which the federal division commanders have 
left outside of the rebel works, at various distances, are curious 
enough. One general has dug an approach to within a short 
distance of the rebel works, and then apparently not knowing 
what to do next, he has built an enormous mound. Four rows 
of sugar hogsheads were first set up on their ends; three rows 
of the same kind of hogsheads were set on the first, and one 
row more on top of the second tier, all full of earth. Bundles 
of sticks, bales of cotton, and great quantities of earth were 
heaped about the hogsheads. An ascent was made for men to 
go up, and a sort of platform or shelf for them to stand upon, 
so as to fire through sand bag loop-holes on the top of the 
mound. All this structure was to give a few riflemen such a 
position that their fire would command the inside of the rebel 



COTTON THIEVES. 287 



works, which were hardly four feet high anywhere in front of 
the mound. The feeble fire of these riflemen could not do 
as much enfilading as the artillery had been doing, and if an 
assault was made directly in front of the mound, their fire 
would be useless. Close by this mound was the entrance of a 
mine, which was a shaft dug through the clay, under the sur- 
face of the ground, toward the rebel parapet. The opening 
was such that one man could enter it at a time by stooping. 
The mine was to blow up a projecting angle of the rebel 
works, where, during the progress of the mining, the enemy 
had been making all needful preparations. An interior earth- 
work and rifle pit, and piece of ground lull of sharp pickets, 
were ready for any assailants who might come to take advan- 
tage of the explosion of the mine. 

But it appears that this mine came to a sad end by some 
mistake. There was a premature explosion, which blew up 
friends instead of enemies, and made the prospects of further 
mining here very poor. 

At a long distance around the rebel works, on the front of 
another division commander, I find another serpentine approach, 
which has been dug very wide, and yet could not admit more 
than four or five men abreast. Its end is near the rebel parapet, 
but the nature of the ground was such that there could be no 
trenches dug parallel to the rebel line, and no such trenches 
have been made by any of our commanders anywhere before 
Port Hudson. How it could have been expected that a force 
marching four abreast could spring out of their approach and 
make a successful assault, is not easy to understand, especially 
when the preparations of the enemy were no less notorious 
than those of the besiegers. Large shells, hid just under the 
surface of the ground and in the bottom of the ditch, were 
prepared like torpedoes, by means of wires and gun locks, so 
that assailants would find themselves in the midst of infernal 
machines. Here also the rebels have been at work with a coun- 
termine, a shaft going from the inside of their works out under 



288 AMONG THE 



the only space of ground where any considerable number of 
assailants could come at once. 

There has been an incredible amount of firing by federal 
infantry into the trees, which here grow close to the works. 
The bark on every tree was torn and rent by bullets coming 
directly and obliquely, and, to my surprise, I find almost every 
tree entirely dead from the effects of the shot. It would seem 
as if the artillery ought to have injured the trees more than 
the Minie balls, but I see but few trees that have been hit by 
our artillery. Yet it is plain that the projectiles sent from our 
army and navy must have all struck somewhere, and the ground 
is strewed with them. They have plowed up the ground, or 
buried themselves in it in all directions. They seem to have 
spared the earth-works, trees and men, and to have sought only 
to bury themselves. 

Throughout the last half mile before I come to the river 
above Port Hudson, the woods stand close to the parapet. 
The ground is very broken, being cut by deep ravines crossing 
one another in various directions. The rebel parapet is but 
little more than a line of rifle pit work, and is said to have been 
made since the siege began, all this part of Port Hudson having 
been unfortified when the federal army arrived. But there is 
not much need of any kind of fortification here, the labyrinth 
of ridges and ravines affording advantages for defense with 
infantry and artillery both, which no art of fortification could 
give. One twelve-pound howitzer is placed at the head of a 
ravine in such a manner that five men might with it keep back 
five hundred. 

When I arrive in sight of the river I see that the parapet is 
much stronger, and instead of going directly toward the river, 
where there is a broad flat, it follows along the crest of the 
high bluffs, bending southward so as to join the great water 
batteries at some distance down stream. On this flat, toward 
the foot of these bluffs, is the place of the massacro of colored 
troops on the 27th of May. The rebel works are now manned 
by the survivors of those same black regiments whom Dwight 



COTTON THIEVES. 289 



ordered to destruction here on that day. Inside of the works, 
under the trees and in the shady hollows, I see that there are 
several regiments of disarmed rebel prisoners, guarded by the 
negro soldiers. Proud old Southerners and their fiery sons, 
wild Texans and tawny Creoles, are here. Some of them, per- 
haps, recognize their own waiters or field hands among the 
sentinels who march leisurely to and fro, clad in federal blue, 
and carrying Springfield muskets. But what an exhibition of 
human nature. The rebels, one and all, appear to be enjoying 
a comfortable rest, and are talking to the negroes with a 
familiarity which would shock Northern volunteers. These 
Southerners appear glad to see me, and want to delay me with 
conversation. 

I hasten onward, pass through the old graveyard, and come 
to the little white meeting-house, with its four-spired steeple, 
which has been a target for our army and navy. The frail 
building has been struck several times. There are large open- 
ings made by the shot, and by shells that have burst in it. 
I look in and discover that the building has been used for 
storing provisions. There is yet on the floor a large quantity 
of little black beans, which are full of insects and half spoiled. 
Near by is a pile of unhusked corn, exposed to the weather. It 
appears that some of the rebel soldiers have been followed by 
their families. Several old covered wagons are standing under 
the trees, and as I pass so that I can look inside of the covers, I 
see wretched, emaciated women and sick children lying on straw 
and rags. No pen will ever describe what they have suffered. 

Going a little farther, I have before me a long line of rebel 
soldiers lying on the ground. They have opened ranks and 
grounded arms. Their rough looking old muskets lie in two 
long rows, extending into the woods and over uneven ground. 
The accoutrements are laid on the muskets. The officers and 
soldiers are clothed almost alike, and seem to have lived on 
equality. There is a sort of vivacity and spirit in these men 
which no surrender can kill. They are waiting to be marched 
off as prisoners. 
37 



290 AMONG TEE 



I hasten on, intending to go through the middle of Port 
Hudson, and reach the parapet at the sally-port where I entered, 
and then follow it around to the citadel. In passing through a 
wooded hollow, I find two men digging a grave. One is a well 
known soldier of my own regiment, and the other is a stout, 
cotton-clad rebel, wearing an old slouched hat. A piece of 
tent cloth near by appears to be spread over two dead bodies. 
The Michigan man drops his pick in astonishment on seeing 
me. I inquire of him who is to be buried. He answers, 
" One of our Company F boys, who was wounded and taken 
prisoner in the whisky charge," and with that he turns down 
the tent cloth, and tries to keep the flies away. There is the 
face of a brave boy, well known to me through weary years 
of war and suffering. His pallid, emaciated face is marked 
with agony, and his breast, under his blue coat, is strangely 
sunken. 

" When did he die ?" I ask. 

" To-day," is the answer, and the soldier beside me continues, 
" He was shot in the shoulder. He lived till we got in after 
the surrender. He said the confederates did as well for him as 
for their own men, but they had no medicine or anything else 
he needed. There were not men enough to attend to the 
wounded. The flies got to his wound, and his shoulder was 
full of worms. He seemed very glad to see us. He said he 
hoped that his death would be for the good of his country in 
some way." 

The sharjD-eyed rebel who stands by says, " Excuse me, sir, 
but I hope you will not think we neglected wounded prisoners," 
and as he points to the corpse of his countryman that lies but- 
toned in gray uniform before us, he proceeds, " This man, too, 
was wounded, but such was our want of everything, and 
especially of attendants, that he died in the same manner that 
your man died. They lay near each other in the hospital tent, 
and were very friendly to each other, so we thought they would 
not be displeased if they knew their bodies were to rest side 
by side in one grave." 



COTTON THIEVES. 291 



As I leave I hear the two picks at work breaking the hard, 
dry clay, deepening and widening the grave. 

I look where the most of the little village was, and through 
an opening in the trees see the Union flag floating from the tall 
flag-staff. Near to me are several small, old houses, by which 
my road goes. I see that several of them have been hit by 
great projectiles, which left large openings in the sides and 
roofs. Every house is empty and bare. I see no furniture 
and no person in any of them, except at one shattered window 
there appears a poorly clad woman holding a sick child. The 
hatred expressed in her face is indescribable. 

I arrive at the same sally-port where I entered the works, 
and follow the rebel line along to the Slaughter field. An 
Arkansas regiment has been posted here, and some of their 
sick men are yet left in huts in the deep ravine, which comes 
winding along the side of the field, and goes inside of the fortifi- 
cations. One of these sick men very willingly leaves his resting 
place and shows me the spot where the colors of the Sixth 
Michigan were planted on the 27th of May by our wounded 
color-bearer, not far from the parapet. Few were those who 
came as far forward as those colors on that day. Not a few 
were those who fell in protecting and in bringing off those 
colors. Vain efforts to capture them cost many a rebel his life. 
I go outside of the works and walk over the field. There are 
yet many traces of the massacre. Blue caps, relics of accoutre- 
ments, cartridges, arms, some of the long, mis-shapen poles, and 
many of the little boards with which Bailey was to bridge the 
imaginary ditch, are scattered here and there, where the most 
of the dead men lay. When I return to the parapet and see 
the ditch, in many places hardly three feet deep, and about five 
feet wide, I appreciate better than ever the merit of the plans 
for capturing Port Hudson — plans which orthodox history will 
praise for their wisdom. 

I stand on the rebel parapet, and look over the Slaughter 
field. A well made federal battery is very near in the 
open field, almost as near as where the Michigan colors were 



292 AMONG THE 



planted on the 27th of May. This battery was manned by 
regulars, 'who had light guns only, but such was the skill with 
which the earth and cotton bales were piled, that there was but 
little danger for those who worked the guns. A long, oblique 
trench, with an embankment on the side toward the enemy, 
reaches back from one end of the battery, and communicates 
with the great ravine along the north side of the field. Here 
federal soldiers passed to and fro almost within pistol shot of 
the rebels during most of the siege. All the neighboring 
ground southward from the great ravine is open and level both 
without and within the rebel parapet, which was here but a 
single line of frail breastwork. There was nothing to hinder 
just such a trench as that communicating with the battery from 
being used for a better purpose. 

Just such trenches might easily have been extended to right 
and left parallel to the rebel works, and near enough to them 
to have enabled assailants, with an unbroken font, to have 
sprung up and swept over the even ground for a few paces, and 
carried the single line of low parapet and shallow ditch before 
them. Federal artillery could, by enfilading fire, do more here 
to prepare for and assist an assault, than could be done in any 
other place. 

One-tenth of the labor, material and life thrown away in 
unreasonable attempts, where but a few men could advance at 
a time, and where carrying one strong line of work was but 
a beginning of what was to be done, would have certainly suc- 
ceeded here, for as I look along the parapet I see that less 
of the rebel artillery is left in working order here than on 
any other part of their Avorks. As I look along the level, 
trodden ground inside of the parapet, I see that the enemy, 
once driven from his line of defense, had no other to fall 
back to. But this siege was for the benefit of generals. The 
individual interests of each of them required the work to be 
done on that part of the front assigned to him. 

Having left the region of the Slaughter field, I come to the 
great southeastern angle of the works. That high embankment 



COTTON THIEVES. 293 



which I noticed here when I first came to the siege is, to my 
surprise, entirely an outwork, with several good brass guns, all 
in order and ready to be used in any direction, the intention 
being to have a powerful fire ready to sweep the ground which 
the great angle and the works receding on either hand might 
have left unprotected. 

I follow the receding line toward the river. One of the guns 
yet remaining in good condition here is a fine piece, like a 
twenty-pounder Parrott, bearing an inscription showing that it 
was made in the State of New York in 1861. I find broken and 
dismounted guns and shattered carriages and caissons here, as 
everywhere along the line. I find, also, traces of the rations 
of unground corn and molasses issued to the rebel soldiers. 
For a drink there was used along the whole line a sort of beer 
made by putting shelled corn into barrels containing water, 
with a little molasses, and leaving it in the hot sun to ferment. 

It is plain that the rebel companies and regiments all 
remained without relief at the parts of the parapet assigned to 
them. Here was their home. Here sick and well generally 
remained together. Only the badly wounded men and those 
who were very sick, were sent to the general hospital in a great 
ravine. Everywhere close within the parapet I find the same 
little dens dug into the earth, and the same little shelters to 
keep off sun and rain. Here the unpaid, half-clothed and undis- 
ciplined starving rebels lived, every man at his post, ready to 
rise up and fight on an instant's warning. Cannon and men 
were alike hid in the earth, seldom showing a sign of their 
existence until some federal commander tried to glorify himself 
by an assault for his own benefit in the newspapers and reports. 
The corn, water and ammunition were generally distributed at 
night. The cooking of mule meat and hominy was generally 
done in the nearest ravine. 

After climbing out of a very deep ravine, I find myself near 
the river, which was a hundred feet lower than where I stand. 
I am surprised to see that I am yet a long way from the 
citadel. I am on that long, high and narrow ridge left between 



294 AMONG TEE 



the ravine and the river, at the extreme outer end of which I 
see the high and thick embankments making the citadel. I 
cross a bridge over a deep gulch, partly artificial and partly 
natural, going straight through the ridge. Next I come to a 
large square redoubt, occupying the top of the ridge. The 
earth walls of this redoubt, and its deep trench, are sufficient 
alone to stand a siege. I have yet to pass a newly made 
embankment, in good repair and of great strength, running 
across the ridge. 

Here are excellent preparations for using both artillery and 
infantry, as well as signs indicating that if torpedoes and 
mines ever became necessary, they would be used. This work 
commanded the inside of the citadel, which stands before me 
vacant, but in better condition to resist an assault than it was 
when I first saw it. Within it a high, thick traverse or embank- 
ment, extending along the crest of the river bank at such an 
angle as to be safe from any enfilading fire, showed that behind 
it the garrison were always safe enough, and yet ready to man 
every part of the work whenever occasion required. Every- 
where there remain cannon enough in good order to meet 
assailants. 

The enormous works and diggings of Bailey and Dwight 
are on the opposite hill. I climb down and pass into the 
mouth of the Bailey tunnel. No common negro driver could 
ever have got such digging done as is to be seen here. The 
clay is piled into a sort of artificial hill, very near to the 
outermost rifle pit of the citadel. The tunnel is probably so 
far along as to reach under the bottom of the main ditch of the 
citadel. If a quarter of a mile of the ridge had been tunneled 
and successfully blown up, the rebels would still have a better 
fortification presented to the besiegers than ever existed before 
the Slaughter field, and all that the tunneling would have accom- 
plished would be to have bored under a long tongue of clay 
ridge extending outside of the proper line of the rebel works, 
and having what we called the citadel as an outwork at its 
extreme end. It was very uncertain what would have been the 



COTTON 1H1EVES. 295 



effect of an explosion in this tunnel. The only result might 
have been to blow out a small opening to the upper air. 

After the siege of Port Hudson, my Colonel, T. S. Clark, 
zealously pressed his claims to be commissioned a brigadier, 
and all necessary recommendations were forwarded. Personal 
valor, and gallant and meritorious services during the siege, 
were the grounds on which his immediate promotion were 
recommended by Dwight. He claimed the command of a 
brigade without delay, but there were not brigades for all the 
heroes of the siege, and by some turn of affairs at Banks' head- 
quarters, Clark was put off with an order changing our regiment 
to heavy artillery, so that he would, probably, be in permanent 
command of a fort somewhere. 

I could hear nothing of any proceedings against me, and was 
yet reported in arrest. No limits were assigned, and no duty 
was required of me. I spent my time in rambles about the 
camps and fortifications, and feeling the irksomeness of having 
nothing to do, I duly forwarded to Banks' head-quarters the 
following communication : 

Camp of Sixth Regiment Michigan Heavy Artillery, ) 
Port Hudson, La., July 22, 1863. J 

Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Irwin, A. A. G. : 

Having been in arrest for a long time by order of General 
Dwight, but receiving no copy of any charges or specifications, 
and being unable to find out what act, expression or neglect 
is to be deemed the ground of any charge against me, I respect- 
fully ask a copy of any charges and specifications on file in my 

case. 

EDWARD BACON, 

Lieutenant-Colonel Sixth Regiment Michigan Heavy Artillery. 

No answer came. I wrote again : 

Camp op Sixth Regiment Michigan Heavy Artillery, ) 
Port Hudson, La., August 6, 1863. J 

Colonel — On the 26th day of June, 1863, I was arrested by 
order of General Dwight, but have received no copy of any 



296 AMONG THE 



charges or specifi cations, do not know what crime I am accused 

of, and have no opportunity to confront my accusers. I pray a 

copy of charges and specifications against me, or to be returned 

to duty. 

Respectfully, EDWARD BACON, 

Lieutenant-Colonel Sixth Regiment Michigan Heavy Artillery. 
Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Irwin, A. A. G. 

At last an answer came in this shape : 

Special Orders, ) Head-quarters United States Forces, ) 

No. 35. J Port Hudson, August 14, 1803. \ 

extract. 

2. Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Bacon, of the Sixth Michigan 
Artillery, is hereby released from arrest. He will resume his 
sword and return to duty. 

By command of Brigadier-General George S. Andrews. 

G. B. HALSTEAD, A. A. G. 

My Colonel was gone to New Orleans. He had secured an 
order detailing him as a member of a court-martial, so as to 
stay in the city until he could obtain an order to go home to 
Michigan on recruiting service, in which he was destined 
to succeed so well that the regiment were never to see him 
again during the war. I assumed command with this order : 

Head-Quarters Sixth Regiment Michigan ) 

General Orders, > Volunteer Heavy Artillery, [■ 

No. 36. \ Port Hudson, August 15, 1863. J 

I, by Heaven's will, successful against enemies, whose schemes 
have come to naught, assume, under the order of General George 
L. Andrews, command of this regiment. 

EDWARD BACON, 

Lieutenant-Colonel Sixth Regiment Michigan Heavy Artillery. 

Knowing that it would be absurd to trust to any kind of 
peace with my enemies, I lost no time in sending to Banks' 
head-quarters the following : 



COTTON THIEVES. 297 



Supplemental and additional charges and specifications preferred against 
Thomas S. Clark, Colonel of the Sixth Regiment Michigan Volunteer 
Infantry. 

CHARGE I. MISBEHAVIOR BEFORE THE ENEMY. 

Specification 1. — In this, that heretofore, to wit, on the 27th day 
of May, A. D. 1863, at or ahout the time that Brigadier- 
General T. "W. Sherman's attacking column first came under 
fire on the Slaughter field, before Port Hudson, Louisiana, he, 
the said Thomas S. Clark, Colonel, as aforesaid, on the field 
aforesaid, through cowardice, did lie down and hide himself 
from danger amongst bushes and behind a log within a ravine, 
and, through cowardice, there remained a long time, to wit, 
two hours, and then caused himself to be carried off the field 
on a stretcher, by men engaged in carrying away the wounded. 

Specification 2. — In this, that heretofore, to wit, on the 14th 
day of June, A. D. 1863, at or about the time that General 
Dwight's attacking column first came under fire before Port 
Hudson, Louisiana, he, the said Thomas S. Clark, Colonel, as 
aforesaid, through cowardice, did lie down and hide himself 
behind a log, and, through cowardice, did get himself into a 
deep hole within a ravine, and did remain there a long space 
of time, to wit, twelve hours, until night, when he did stealthily 
go to the rear. 

CHARGE II. CONDUCT UNBECOMING TO AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN. 

Specification 1. — In this, that heretofore, to wit, on the 27th day 
of May, A. D. 1863, before Port Hudson, Louisiana, he, the 
6aid Thomas S. Clark, Colonel, as aforesaid, did falsely pretend 
and say that he was knocked down and badly injured by the 
wind and concussion of a cannon shot, in the attack on Port 
Hudson, made on the day and year aforesaid on the Slaughter 
field. 

Specification 2. — In this, that heretofore, to wit, on the 15th day 
of June, A. D. 1863, at or near Port Hudson, Louisiana, he, the 
said Thomas S. Clark, Colonel, as aforesaid, did falsely pretend 

38 



298 AMONG TEE 



and say that in the attack made on Port Hudson on Sunday, 

the 1-llh day of June, he did establish his head-quarters as an 

acting Brigadier-General far to the front, near to the enemy, 

agaiust whom he held the field of battle until he was ordered 

to retire, when, in fact, he and others had been hiding in a deep 

hole near to where they were first fired upon in said attack, and 

had not dared to show themselves above ground after about 

the time they were first fired upon in the morning until they 

went to the rear stealthily at night. 

EDWARD BACON, 

Lieutenant-Colonel Sixth Regiment Michigan Heavy Artillery. 

I, of course, had no expectation that these charges and speci- 
fications would do more than those I had filed before. Clark's 
burning of the Barataria appeared to have entitled him to the 
command of a brigade. His pretending to be knocked down 
by the wind of a ball on the 27th of May appeared to have 
been the means of giving him a whole division to command. 
His getting into a hole, and staying there all day on the 14th 
of June, might be supposed to give him a place in the official 
reports which would make him an immortal hero. Northern 
papers had published wonderful feats of arms by the gallant 
Colonel Clark. It had generally been published that on the 
27th of May he had led the assault, scaled the walls of Port 
Hudson, and, while the combat raged, pulled down the rebel 
flag and run up the stars and stripes on the rebel flag-staff. 

I knew that there is a mysterious power in truth. I pitched 
the plain truth right against so many lies to see the effect. 
Thousands of witnesses knew the truth of what I had charged, 
and the falsity of the reports, and I could lose nothing by 
throwing the acid right into the alkali. 

Dwight, as well as Clark, had reaped such a harvest of fame/ 
before Port Hudson, and had gained such a name for genius 
and heroism, that he, too, wanted to go home to enjoy his 
glory immediately. The night before they left for New York, 






COTTON THIEVES. 299 



the long carnival which brigadiers and their favorites had been 
enjoying in -New Orleans had a closing scene in the house of 
a distinguished woman. 

Parisian lamps blazed upon gorgeous furniture and upon 
costly mirrors, in which were reflected starred chiefs and 
cringing staff officers, who had figured in the rear of the fields 
of slaughter before Port Hudson, and were here reveling with 
painted ladies, whose satins and jewels were paid for from funds 
that carried on the war. 

Suddenly the folding-doors were thrown open. All stopped 
and looked. There stood the glittering mistress of. the house ; 
beside her, in haughty state, the majestic, red-faced Dwight, 
wearing his conquering sword and shining star — the star that 
soon must double. 

"Ladies and gentlemen," exclaimed the dazzling Madame, 
" this is Napoleon." 

"And Josephine the Empress," added Dwight, with the same 
grave utterance as when, at his safe, he said, " You must take 
the citadel with a rush." 



[knd of PAST first.] 



ERRATA. 



Page 49, in the quotation, read Tendere for " Teuderc;" talis for " tales;' 
cffundens for " effendens." 

Page 86, thirteenth line, read April 7th for "April 12th." 



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