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Earl Schenck Miers 

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in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 

^(yt4M. tru*^ Zuc*>^ 






New Haven, Conn. 
the tuttle, morehouse & taylor company 


Copyrighted igio 


Lawrence Van Alstyne 









In the multitude of books written about the Civil War, 
very little is said of the enlisted man. His bravery and 
his loyalty are admitted and that is about all. Of his every-day 
life, the very thing his family and friends cared most to 
know about, there is hardly anything said. 

It is to remedy this omission in some degree that the 
following pages are published. They were written by an 
enlisted man and are mostly about enlisted men. They are 
filled with details that history has no room for, and for that 
reason may have an interest quite their own. 

They were written at different times, in different places, 
and under a great variety of circumstances and conditions. 
Some were written as the line halted for rest while marching 
from place to place, some while waiting for trains or other 
modes of transportation, but the most were written by the 
light of a candle or a smoldering camp-fire while my comrades, 
no more weary than I, were sleeping about me. All were 
written amid scenes of more or less confusion, and many times 
of great excitement. They were written because of a promise 
made to my parents that I would make notes of my wander- 
ings and of the adventures I met with. 

^At first I found it an irksome task, taking time I really 
needed for rest ; but as time went on the habit became fixed, 
and I did not consider the day's work done until I had written 
in m)'' diary of the events that came with it. 

The diary was kept in small pocket notebooks, of a size 
convenient to carry in my pocket, and be ever ready for use. 
There was never a lack of subjects to write about. Events 
crowded upon each other so fast that each day furnished 
plenty of material for the time I could give it. I had never 


been far from home. The sights I saw were new and 
strange to me and made deep impressions. These, as best 
I could, I transferred to the pages of my diary, so the 
friends at home could, in a way, see the sights I saw and 
that seemed so wonderful to me. When pages enough were 
written for a letter, I cut them out and sent them home to 
be read by any who cared to, after which they were strung 
together on a string and saved for me to read again, should 
I ever return to do it. When I did return I found the leaves 
had so accumulated as to make a large bundle. There was 
no need for me to read them at that time, for the story they 
told was burned too deep in my memory to be easily forgotten. 

So I tied them in a bundle and put them away in an 
unused drawer of my desk, where they lay, unread and undis- 
turbed for the next forty-five years. 

But while the old diary lay hidden in my desk a new genera- 
tion had crept upon the stage. We no longer occupied the 
center of it. One by one we had been crowded off, and our 
ranks were getting so thin we had to feel around for the 
touch of a comrade's elbow. Every year there were more 
comrades' graves to decorate, and every year there were fewer 
of us left to decorate them. At last we had met an enemy 
we could not even hope to conquer. With sadness we saw 
first one and then another called out, and they did not return. 
They had answered the last roll-call, and it was only a ques- 
tion of a little time when the last name would be called, and 
the muster-out rolls be folded up and filed away. 

It was with a feeling of ever-increasing loneliness that I 
untied the bundle and began to read the long-forgotten diary. 
In a little while I was a boy again, one of that great company 
that helped to make history read as it does. Almost half a 
century had suddenly rolled back and I was with Company 
B — "Bostwick's Tigers" we were called, not altogether on 
account of our fighting qualities, but because of the noise 
we sometimes made. I was having my share of the fun that 


was going, and was taking my share of the hard knocks as 

I was never so absorbedly interested. I even forg-ot my 
meals. For weeks I thought of little else and did little else 
than read and copy those dim old pages. I read from them 
to. any who would listen, and wondered why it did not stir 
their blood as it did my own. 

But the reason is plain. To the listener it was hearsay. 
To me it was real. So it may be with the diary now it is 
printed. In the nature of things it cannot be to others what 
it is to me. It is a part of my life. My blood would not 
tingle as it does at the reading of another man's life. It is 
what historians had neither time nor space to write, the every- 
day life of an enlisted man in time of war. 

L. V. A. 
October, 1910. 



Chapter I — The Recruiting Camp I 

First steps as a Soldier — The five-day furlough. 

Chapter II — The Journey South i6 

The march through Hudson — The stop in New York — 
Breakfast at "The Cooper Shop" — Arrival at Baltimore — 
When we first heard the "Long Roll." 

Chapter III — Camp Millington, Md 23 

School of the Soldier — On picket at Catonsville — Trip to 
Gettysburg — Dinner at Hanover — Meeting the 150th — 
Roast chicken — Stuart's Mansion Hospital. 

Chapter IV — On Board the Arago 61 

A morning on Chesapeake Bay — At Newport News — At 
Fortress Monroe — The journey South continued — Sick- 
ness and death on board — A burial at sea — Quarantined. 

Chapter V — Quarantine Station, La y^ 

Cooking gray-backs — A big catfish — Starting a grave yard — 
The most trying circumstances war can bring. 

Chapter VI — Camp Chalmette, La 80 

Spying out the land — Foiling an attempt at suicide — Clash 
with the 28th Maine — An interrupted sermon — Brownell's 
last words. 

Chapter VII — Camp Parapet, La 87 

Captain Bostwick gets married — In the hospital at last — 
Good care and treatment — The slow process of getting 
well — The Ponchatoula trip — Mosquitoes and alligators. 

Chapter VIII — Port Hudson, La 108 

Good-bye, Camp Parapet — Going up the river — Stop at 
Springfield Landing — Before the works — Capt. Gilford 
missing — The first assault — Stealing honey — Scared by a 
snake — The second assault — The "Forlorn Hope" — Cap- 
tain Gifford comes back — Vicksburg surrenders — Port 
Hudson follows suit — The laying down of arms. 

Chapter IX — Donaldsonville, La 149 

Leaving Port Hudson — Stop at Baton Rouge — At Donald- 
sonville — Living on the fat of the land — How sugar is 
made — Hickon.- Landing — Plaquemine — Baton Rouge. 



Chapter X — At New Orleans, La 173 

Good-bye to the 128th — Down the river to New Orleans — 
Looking for General Grant — Finding General Grant — 
Joined the Corps de Afrique — Franklin's expedition to 
Texas — The return trip — Pilot Town, La. — Easy times. 

Chapter XI— Brashear City, La 184 

Mustered into the service again — Waiting for orders — Up 
the Bayou Teche — Stealing a horse — Meeting the owner — 
At Mouton's Plantation — The return across the praarie — 
A sham battle — One kind of southern hospitality — 
Another kind of southern hospitality — Camp life at 
Brashear City. 

Chapter XII — The Louisiana Steam Cotton Press. . 230 

In winter quarters — Dull times — The fortune-tellers — An 
old man's blessing — A pleasant surprise — Leave of 
absence — On board the steamer Creoje — Seasick — Losing 
Henry Holmes — Wholesale visiting — Finding Henry 

Chapter XIII — On Board the McClellan 272 

The start for Dixie — The McClellan is not the Creole^ — A 
tough crowd — Man overboard — Martial law proclaimed — 
Arrest of the rioters — Storm at sea — Stop at Key West — 
In New Orleans again. 

Chapter XIV — The Red River Campaign 286 

Camping on The Laurel Hill — At Port Hudson again — 
Meeting the 128th — Up the Red River to Alexandria — 
Two trips to Grand Ecore — The river falling — The dam 
at Alexandria — The burning of Alexandria. 

Chapter XV — The Red River Retreat 322 

Guarding the pontoon train — Sleeping on feathers — Killing 
the goose — Forced marching — The fight at Yellow 
Bayou — Crossing the Atchafalaya — Another forced 
march — A raw beef supper — Footsore and weary. 

Chapter XVI — Camp at Morganzia, La 332 

On picket with the western men — Smallpox appears — A 
pay-day misunderstanding — Building Fort Morgan — 
Fourth of July dinner — General Order 88 — The army 
moving away. 

Chapter XVII — Our Last Camp in the South 346 

Leaving Morganzia — In camp near New Orleans — Good- 
bye, Dixie — Homeward bound. 

The Recruiting Camp 

First steps as a Soldier— The five-day furlough. 

August ip, 1862. 

HUDSON Camp Grounds. I have enlisted! Joined 
the Army of Uncle Sam, for three years, or the 
war, whichever may end first. Thirteen dollars 
per month, board, clothes and travelling expenses thrown 
in. That's on the part of my Uncle. For my part, I 
am to do, I hardly know what, but in a general way under- 
stand I am to kill or capture such part of the Rebel Army 
as comes in my way. 

I wonder what sort of a soldier I will make; to be honest 
about it, I don't feel much of that eagerness for the fray I 
am hearing so much of about me. 

It seems to me it is a serious sort of business I have engaged 
in. I was a long time making up my mind about it. This 
one could go, and that one, and they ought to, but with 
me, some way it was different. There was so much I had 
planned to do, and to be. I was needed at home, etc., etc. 
So I would settle the question for a time, only to have it 
come up to be reasoned away again, and each time my reasons 
^ for not taking my part in the job seemed less reasonable. 
Finally I did the only thing I could respect myself for 
doing, — went to Millerton, the nearest recruiting station, and 

I then threw down my unfinished castles, went around and 
bid my friends good-bye, and had a general settling up of 
my affairs, which, by the way, took but Httle time. But I 
never before knew I had so many friends. Everyone seemed 
to be my friend. A few spoke encouragingly, but the most 


of them spoke and acted about as I would expect them to, 
if I were on my way to the gallows. Pity was so plainly 
shown that when I had gone the rounds, and reached home 
again, I felt as if I had been attending my own funeral. 
Poor old father and mother ! They had expected it, but 
now that it had come they felt it, and though they tried 
hard, they could not hide from me that they felt it might 
be the last they would see of their baby. 

Then came the leaving it all behind. I cannot describe that. 
The good-byes and the good wishes ring in my ears yet. 
I am not myself. I am some other person. My surround- 
ings are new, the sights and sounds about me are new, my 
aims and ambitions are new ; — that is if I have any. I seem 
to have reached the end. I can look backwards, but when 
I try to look ahead it is all a blank. Right here let me say, 
God bless the man who wrote "Robert Dawson," and God 
bless the man who gave me the book. "Only a few drops at 
a time, Robert." The days are made of minutes, and I am 
only sure of the one I am now living in. Take good care 
of that and cross no bridges until you come to them. 

I have promised to keep a diary, and I am doing it. I have 
also promised that it should be a truthful account of what 
I saw and what I did. I have crawled off by myself and 
have been scribbling away for some time, and upon reading 
what I have written I find it reads as if I was the only one. 
But I am not. There are hundreds and perhaps thousands 
here, and I suppose all could, if they cared to, write just 
such an experience as I have. But no one else seems foolish 
enough to do it. I will let this stand as a preface to my 
diary, and go on to say that we, the first installment of 
recruits from our neighborhood, gathered at Amenia, where 
we had a farewell dinner, and a final handshake, after 
which we boarded the train and were soon at Ghent, where 
we changed from the Harlem to the Hudson & Berkshire 
R. R., which landed us opposite the gates of the Hudson 


Fair Grounds, about 41'. m. on the 14th. We were made to 
form in line and were then marched inside, where we found 
a lot of rough board shanties, such as are usually seen on 
country fair grounds, and which are now used as offices, and 
are full of bustle and confusion. After a wash-up, we were 
taken to a building which proyed to be a kitchen and dining 
room combined. Long pine tables, with benches on each 
side, filled the greater part of it, and at these we took seats 
and were served with good bread and fair coffee, our first 
meal at Uncle Sam's table, and at his expense. After supper 
we scattered, and the Amenia crowd brought up at the Miller 
House in Hudson. We. took in some of the sights of the 
city and then put up for the night. 

The next morning we had breakfast and then reported at 
the camp grounds ready for the next move, whatever that 
might be. We found crowds of people there, men, women 
and children, which were fathers and mothers, wives and 
sweethearts, brothers and sisters of the men who have enlisted 
from all over Dutchess and Columbia counties. Squads of 
men were marching on the race track, trying to keep step 
with an officer who kept calling out "Left, Left, Left," as 
his left foot hit the ground, from which I judged he meant 
everyone else should put his left foot down with his. We 
found these men had gone a step further than we. They 
had been examined and accepted, but just what that meant 
none of us exactly knew. We soon found out, however, 
Every few minutes a chap came out from a certain building 
and read from a book, in a loud voice, the names of two 
men. These would follow him in, be gone a little while and 
come out, when the same performance would be repeated. 
My name and that of Peter Carlo, of Poughkeepsie. v.-ere 
called together, and in we went. We found ourselves in a 
large room with the medical examiner and his clerks. His 
salutation, as we entered, consisted of the single word, "Strip." 
We stripped and were examined just as a horseman examines 


a horse he is buying. He looked at our teeth and felt all 
over us for any evidence of unsoundness there might be. 
Then we were put through a sort of gymnastic performance, 
and told to put on our clothes. We were then weighed and 
measured, the color of our eyes and hair noted, also our com- 
plexion, after which another man came and made us swear 
to a lot of things, most of which I have forgotten already. 
But as it was nothing more than I expected to do without 
swearing I suppose it makes no difference. 

The rest of the day we visited around, getting acquainted 
and meeting many I had long been acquainted with. In the 
afternoon the camp ground was full of people, and as night 
began to come, and they began to go, the good-byes were 
many and sad enough. I am glad my folks know enough 
to stay away. That was our first night in camp. After 
we came from the medical man, we were no longer citizens, 
but just soldiers. We could not go down town as we did 
the night before. This was Saturday night, August 17th. We 
slept but little, — at least I did not. A dozen of us had a 
small room, a box stall, in one of the stables, just big enough 
to lie down in. The floor looked like pine, but it was hard, 
and I shall never again call pine a soft wood, at least to lie 
on. If one did fall asleep he was promptly awakened by 
some one who had not, and by passing this around, such a 
racket was kept up that sleep was out of the question. I 
for one was glad the drummer made a mistake and routed 
us out at five o'clock instead of six, as his orders were. We 
shivered around until roll-call and then had breakfast. We 
visited together until dinner. Beef and potatoes, bread and 
coffee, and plenty of it. Some find fault and some say noth- 
ing, but I notice that each gets away with all that's set before 
him. In the afternoon we had preaching out of doors, for 
no building on the grounds would hold us. A Rev. Mr. 
Parker preached, a good straight talk, no big words or 
bluster, but a plain man-to-man talk on a subject that should 


concern us now, if it never did before. I for one made some 
mighty good resolutions, then and there. Every regiment 
has a chaplain, I am told, and I wish ours could be this same 
Mr. Parker. The meeting had a quieting effect on all hands. 
There was less swearing and less noise and confusion that 
afternoon than at any time before. After supper the question 
of bettering our sleeping accommodations came up, and in 
spite of the good resolutions above recorded I helped steal 
some hay to sleep on. We made up our minds that if our 
judge was as sore as we were he would not be hard on us. 
We spread the hay evenly over the flloor and lay snug and 
warm, sleeping sound until Monday morning, the i8th. 

The mill of the medical man kept on grinding and batches 
of men were sworn in every little while. Guards were placed 
at the gates, to keep us from going down town. I was one 
of the guards, but was called off to sign a paper and did not 
go back. Towards night we had to mount guard over our 
hay. Talk about "honor among thieves," what was not stolen 
before we found it out, was taken from under us while we 
were asleep, and after twisting and turning on the bare floor 
until my aching bones woke me, I got up and helped the 
others express themselves, for there was need of all the cuss 
words we could muster to do the subject justice. But that 
was our last night in those quarters. 

The next day the new barracks were finished and we took 
possession. They are long narrow buildings, about lOO feet 
by i6, with three tiers of bunks on each side, leaving an alley 
through the middle, and open at each end. The bunks are 
long enough for a tall man and wide enough for two men 
provided they lie straight, with a board in front to keep the 
front man from rolling out of bed. There are three buildings 
finished, and each accommodates 204 men. We were not 
allowed either hay or straw for fear of fire. As we only had 
our bodies to move, it did not take long to move in. Those 
from one neighborhood chose bunks near together, and there 


was little quarrelling over choice. In fact one is just like 
another in all except location. Walter Loucks and I got a 
top berth at one end, so we have no trouble in finding it, as 
some do who are located near the middle. These barracks, 
as they are here called, are built close together, and ordinary- 
conversation in one can be plainly heard in the others. Such 
a night as we had, story-telling, song-singing, telling what 
we would do if the Rebs attacked us in the night, with 
now and then a quarrel thrown in, kept us all awake until 
long after midnight. There was no getting lonesome, or 
homesick. No matter what direction one's thought might take, 
they were bound to be changed in a little while, and so the 
time went on. Perhaps some one would start a hymn and 
others would join in, and just as everything was going nicely, 
a block of wood, of which there were plenty lying around, 
would come from no one knew where, and perhaps hit a 
man who was half asleep. Then the psalm singing would 
end up in something quite different, and for awhile one could 
almost taste brimstone. I heard more original sayings that 
night than in all my life before, and only that the boards 
were so hard, and my bones ached so badly, I would have 
enjoyed every minute of it. 

But we survived the night, and were able to eat every- 
thing set before us, when morning and breakfast time came. 
After breakfast we had our first lesson in soldiering, that is, 
the men of what will be Captain Bostwick's company, if he 
succeeds in filling it, and getting his commission, did. A West 
Point man put us through our paces. We formed in line 
on the race track, and after several false starts got going, 
bringing our left feet down as our instructor called out, "Left, 
Left," etc. A shower in the night had left some puddles on 
the track, and the first one we came to some went around 
and some jumped across, breaking the time and step and 
mixing up things generally. We were halted, and as soon 
as the captain could speak without laughing, he told us what a 


ridiculous thinj^ it was for soldiers to dodt(e at a mufi i)uddle. 
After a turn at marching-, or keepinj:^ step with each other, 
he explained very carefully to us the "position of a soldier," 
telling- how necessary it was that we learn the lesson well, 
for it would be of great use to us hereafter. He repeated 
it, until every word had time to sink in. "Heels on the same 
line, and as near together as the conformation of the man 
will permit. Knees straight, without stiflFness. Body erect 
on the hips, and inclining a little forward. Arms hanging 
naturally at the sides, the little finger behind the seam of the 
pantaloons. Shoulders square to the front. Head erect, 
with the eyes striking the ground at the distance of fifteen 
paces." Every bone in my body ached after a little of this, 
and yet our instructor told us this is the position in which 
a well-drilled soldier can stand for the longest time and with 
the greatest ease. This brings my diary up to this date and 
I must not let it get behind again. There is so much to write 
about, it takes all my spare time ; but now I am caught up, 
I will try and keep so. 

August 20, 1862. 
Capt. Bostwick came from Albany last night. He has his 
commission, and is to be captain of Company B, his being the 
second company filled. I can now style myself of Co. B, 128th 
N. Y. State Volunteers. He got us together and gave us quite 
a speech. Told us what he would do, and what he expected 
us to do. I imgaine none of us know very well yet what 
we will do. He said if he had not got his commission he 
would have gone in the ranks -wath us. We gulped this 
down, but I doubt if man}^ believed it. But at all events 
we are one family now, and Ed. Bostwick is the head of it. 
We have known him so long as just Ed. Bostwick, that it 
will take some time to get used to addressing him as Capt. 
Bostwick. One of our company, Jim Wasburn, who hails 
from Sharon, was put in the guard-house three times yester- 


day for fighting. He ought to make a good soldier, for he 
had rather fight than eat. He is a "mean dog," always pick- 
ing at some one smaller than himself. To-day he pushed 
Eph. Hammond over, as he was getting some water from a 
pail. Eph. is one of our smallest men, but he gave the bully 
a crack on the jaw that sent him sprawHng, and took the 
fight all out of him. One of the Poughkeepsie boys has gone 
on the war path too. He began Sunday night by running 
past the guard, and then waiting until arrested. Just as he 
got inside he gave his captor the slip and hid in the barracks 
until the search was given up. Then he came out and dodged 
past another guard and gave his pursuers a lively chase over 
the fields before they caught him. He might be going yet 
if he had not stopped and let them take him. He was brought 
in, put in the guard-house, and before ten o'clock was out 
and down town, where he got into some mischief and was 
locked up by the police. Yesterday he was brought back 
under guard and again put in the guard-house, which by 
the way is only a tent, with a soldier stationed by it. Last 
night, as I was coming from the city I met him going down, 
and probably by this time he is in jail again. 

6 p. in. Have just drawn our coats, drawers, stockings and 
shoes. Ben Rogers is here. He belongs to a Kinderhook com- 
pany. Jim Rowe and John Pitcher have just come. Twenty- 
five of the company are old acquaintances, all from the same 
neighborhood. Besides, I have made lots of new acquaintances 
here. Men are coming every day and almost by every train, 
and the prospect of our regiment being soon filled seems 
good. The President's call for 300,000 volunteers is being 
nobly responded to here, and probably it is the same all over 
the North. 

August 21, 1862. 
Last night I was one of those detailed for guard, and was 
put at one of the gates. This morning at 8.30 was what 


they call "guard mount." The men so detailed arc divided 
into three squads, called first, second and third reliefs. The 
first goes on at 8.30 and remains until 10.30. Then the 
second relief goes on and stays until 12.30, when the third 
relief, to which T belong, takes the place until 2.30. This 
goes on until each relief has had four turns of two hours each 
on duty, and four turns each of four hours' rest, when 8.30 
A. M. again comes around and a new guard is put in place of 
the old. The next day after being on guard, no duty is required 
of them. Nothing very hard about that so far as I can 
see. I begin to like it, and I am glad it is so, for there is 
no such thing as calling the boss up to settle. 

August 22, 1862. 

I caught cold last night, and feel a little slim to-day. Lew 
Holmes got a pass for himself and me to go down town 
and that cured me. The run about in Hudson with the nice 
fresh air of to-day, together with a five-day furlough, which 
was given out to-night, has worked wonders for those that 
were lucky enough to get them. It seems the men are all 
to have a five-day furlough, but not all at once. The Amenia 
crowd drew first prize. I am delighted to go, and yet there 
will be the good-byes to say again, and I don't know after 
all whether I am glad or sorry. 

August 23, 1862. 
- Night. Home again. We left Hudson at 5 a. m. Were 
delayed in Chatham, waiting for the Harlem train, long enough 
to make quite a visit with brother William and his wife Laura. 
Uncle Daniel was there also. There is little else talked of 
but the war. Men are arranging their business so as to go, 
and others are "shaking in their boots" for fear they will 
have to go. I don't waste any sympathy on this latter class. 
There are some I would like to see made to go. They belong 
in the Southern army, where all their sympathy goes. 


I found our folks well and glad to see me. I have no sort 
of doubt of that. Just as we had had supper, Obadiah Pitcher 
came with his bug'gy and offered to take me to call on some 
friends ; this I thought too good a chance to lose, and we 
went south. We found so many, and there was so much 
talking, it was Sunday morning when we came back. 

August 24, 1862. 

Sunday at home. Herman and John, Betsy and Jane came 
to dinner. Such a dinner, too, as mother cooked for us. Dear 
old soul, how I wished I could eat enough to last until the war 
is over. Daniel McElwee came up and wanted me to go with 
him to Mabbettsville and see Mr. and Mrs. Haight. I put the 
best side of soldiering out, as Mrs. Haight wanted to know 
how her boy was faring. This seems to me the saddest side 
of war. Those that go have excitement enough to live on, 
but those that are left can only wonder how it is with their 
loved ones, and imagine worse things than may ever happen. 
I reached home in time to visit with father and mother awhile 
and then went to bed tired out. 

August 25, 1862. 
Amenia Union, N. Y. The days of my stay being num- 
bered, I am improving the time as best I can. Have been to 
John Loucks's, Isaac Bryan's, Daniel McElwee's, Hugh 
Miller's, Jason Hull's (where I had another good dinner), and 
then came on to this place and put up at Mr. Dutcher's. Met 
John Van Alstyne, who was on his way to Sharon, and was 
told I was a fool for enlisting. Maybe I am, John, but I have 
lots of company. 

August 26, 1862. 
Mary and I took a long ride, and then I left for Millerton. 
Saw the effects of a railroad smash up at Cooper's Crossing. 
The engine and cars were scattered along the front of the 


embankment and many of them only good for kindling-wood. 
The carcass of a cow, the cause of the accident, lay in one 
place and her hide in another. Attended a meeting at Miller- 
ton, heard some patriotic speeches and saw lots of people who 
seemed glad to see me. Was paid the town bounty of $ioo 
and towards night wended my way over the hills home again, 
and am writing about it in my diary. This is my last night 
home. To-morrow we are due in Hudson again. I have seen 
none of the others who came home with me. I suppose each 
one, like myself, has crowded the time full of visiting, for 
who knows when we will have another chance? We each try 
to act as if we had no thought for the morrow, but it is hard 
work and not very successful. 

August 2/, 1862. 

Off for Hudson. The good-byes have been said again, may 
be forever. We are at Pine Plains now. This time we go 
by horse power instead of the cars. By "we," I mean Walter 
Loucks and myself who are chums in camp, as we have long 
been chums at home. Herman and John* take us up. We 
have a good team, a beautiful day, and have been stopped at 
nearly every house long enough to say "how are you?" and 
"good-bye." As soon as we stopped here, out came my diary 
and pencil. The habit is getting fixed, and there is little danger 
of my forgetting it. The trouble is there is so much to write 
about I will fill my book before I come to the real thing. May 
be some one will some time be glad T wrote so much. It is 
like blazing one's way through the woods. My trail can be 
followed, and it behooves me to behave myself, for I claim all 
I write in my diary is true. 

Night. In camp at Pludson Fair Grounds again. We had 

dinner at Blue Store, made several stops on the way, one at 

Wagonhagers Churchyard, where Leah Loucks lies buried. 

We had supper at Miller's Hotel, where we spent our first night 

* Herman C. Rowley and John C. Loucks. 


in Hudson, and where Herman and John stay to-night. It was 
just a Httle bit hard to crawl up into our bare board bunk, after 
the nice soft beds we had slept in, but it is part of the contract 
and we took the dose with as good grace as possible. 

August 28, 1862. 

Have been down town and had my picture taken to send 
home by Herman and John. Have also been drilling, and 
altogether have had a busy day. The ladies of Hudson (God 
bless them) are going to give us a supper to-night, and H. 
and J. are going to stay. 

Later. It is all over, except an uncomfortable fullness. 
Biscuit and butter, three kinds of cake, beef tongue, fruit of 
several kinds and LEMONADE. We gave the ladies three 
cheers that must have been heard across the river. There are 
lots of people here now. It seems as if I knew half of them, 
too. We entertained our visitors until they had to leave camp, 
and then had a prayer meeting and after it a stag dance, both 
of which I attended. 

August 2Q, 1862. 

Received $25.00 to-day, which is half the State bounty. 
Friends of the soldiers are coming and going all the time. One 
day is much like another, and yet there is an endless variety. 
We have guard mount in the morning and then drill for a 
couple of hours. Then we are free to visit with our friends. 
We have lots of them nowadays. No one seems to lack for 
them. It reminds me of how well people are apt to speak of 
the dead. While alive we say all sorts of mean things to them 
and about them, but when they are gone it all seems forgotten 
and we only remember their good qualities. Some way tlje 
very kind attention we receive reminds me of that. 

August 30, 1862. 
$25.00 more to-day. How the money comes in ! Many" 
people were here to-day, some from our neighborhood. 


Between our camp duties and so much visiting the time flies 
fast. The ladies of Hudson presented us with two beautiful 
flags to-day, and Colonel Cowles with a horse, saddle and 
bridle. It was estimated that five thousand visitors were in 
camp to-day. We are the 128th Regiment the State of New 
York has sent out. I wonder if such a time was made over each 
one. There was good speaking when the presents were made 
and accepted. We certainly are having a grand send-off. 

Night. There is a circus in Hudson to-night, and the guards 
have their hands full keeping the 128th in camp. Many get 
out, and the guard-house is full of those who were caught 
making the attempt. 

August 57, 1862. 
Sunday. Spent the day in camp and a very quiet day at 
that. A paper has been circulated among us asking that the 
Rev. Mr. Parker, who preached for us once, be sent with us 
as chaplain. I understand every regiment has a chaplain (a 
minister) to look out for the spiritual welfare of the regiment. 
Judging from this one, they must find plenty to do. 

September i, 1862. 
A rumor is afloat that we leave here soon. The 128th is 
about full, and no doubt we will go soon. But often a report 
is started by some one without the least reason or foundation. 
They do it I suppose to see how fast a lie will travel. Just 
the ordinary camp routine is all that came along to-day. 

September 2, 1862. 
We are all togged out with new blue clothes, haversacks and 
canteens. The haversack is a sack of black enamelled cloth 
with a flap to close it and a strap to go over the shoulder, and 
is to carry our food in, — rations, I should say. The canteen 
is of tin, covered with gray cloth ; in shape it is like a ball that 
has been stepped on and flattened down. It has a neck with 


a cork stopper and a strap to go over the shoulder. It is for 
carrying- water, coffee or any other drinkable. Our new clothes 
consist of light blue pants and a darker shade of blue for the 
coats, which is of sack pattern. A light blue overcoat with 
a cape on it, a pair of mud-colored shirts and drawers, and a 
cap, which is mostly forepiece. This, with a knapsack to carry 
our surplus outfit, and a woollen blanket to sleep on, or under, 
is our stock in trade. I don't suppose many will read this who 
do not know from observation how all these things look, for it 
seems as if all creation was here to look at them, and us. 

September j, 1862. 

Heigho ! I'm a corporal ! — whatever that may be. The 
appointments were made to-day, and I just caught on to the 
bottom round of the ladder. As I did not expect anything I 
suppose I should feel pleased. May be I do, I am not sure 
how I feel now-a-days. There is such a hubbub, I wonder we 
don't all go crazy. Some say we leave Hudson to-night. None 
of us know when or where we go, but there is a lot of guessing. 

Night. Laura Loucks was in camp to-day. She is on her 
way home from her sister's, in the western part of the state. 
She greeted me with "There's another fool !" A great many 
good-byes were said to-day, and tears enough shed to drown 
a cat. 

September 4, 1862. 
We go to-day, sure; that is, if reports are true. The Gov- 
ernment bounty was paid to-day, and the oath of allegiance 
taken by the regimental officers, as well as the men. Every day 
the net is drawn a little tighter. No use in kicking now. We 
are bound by a bond none of us can break, and I am glad to 
be able to say, for one, that I don't want to break it. But it 
seems as if things dragged awfully slow. I suppose it is 
because I know so little about the many details that are neces- 
sary for the full organization of a regiment. 


Night. Here yet. I wish we mij^ht ^o. We are all ready 
and the sooner we go the more patriotism will be left in us. 
Too much of it is oozing out through the eyes. People keep 
coming to have a last word, a last good-bye and usually a last 
cry over it. I am heartily glad my folks have sense enough 
to keep away, for it is all I can stand to see the others. No 
doubt for many it is a last good-bye. In the nature of things 
we cannot all expect to come back, but God is good, and he 
keeps that part hidden from us, leaving each one to think he 
will be the lucky one. To make matters worse, the change of 
water, food, and mode of living is having its effects on many, 
myself among the number, and I feel pretty slim to-night. I 
will spread my blanket on my soft pine board, and, if my 
aching bones will let me, will try what a good sleep will do, 
for we are of all men know not what to-morrow may have in 
store for us. 

September 5, 1862. 
Still in Hudson. Was routed out twice last night, for no 
particular reason as far as I can discover, unless it was to make 
a miserable night still more miserable. After forming in line 
and standing there, half asleep, for awhile, the order, "Break 
Ranks" would come and we would go back to our bunks, and 
so the night wore away. At 4.30 we were called again, 
marched out for our morning ablutions, and then marched 
back again, wide awake, but pretty cross and ugly. We signed 
receipts for one month's pay in advance, and then had break- 
fast. We did nothing more until dinner time and were then 
told to take our haversacks and canteens wath us. After dinner 
we were each given a day's supply of bread and a canteen 
full of coffee, and told to be ready to march at any minute. 

The Journey South 

The march through Hudson — The stop in New York — Breakfast at 
"The Cooper Shop" — Arrival at Baltimore — When we first heard the 
"Long Roll." 

SIX P. M. On board the steamship Oregon, bound for 
New York City. We had a busy time getting off. 
Crowds upon crowds of people lined the way from the 
camp ground to the steamboat landing. The windows and the 
house tops were also full. I don't see where so many people 
came from. Men, women and children were waving flags, 
handkerchiefs or anything else that would wave. They cheered 
us until hoarse. Bands played, every steam whistle in Hudson 
was blowing, in fact every thing that could make a noise did so. 
Through it all we marched, reaching out every little while for 
a final handshake, and a last good-bye. Everyone seemed to 
know everybody else. I presume I shook hands with a hun- 
dred that I never saw before and may never see again. But the 
heartiness of it all, and the sincerity showed so plainly, that 
by the time the landing was reached the tears were washing 
the dust from our faces. I am glad it is over. No matter 
what comes next, it cannot be more trying than that march 
through Hudson. 

Later. The sail down the Hudson is glorious. It is all 
new to me. As soon as we were clear from the dock I got 
into the quietest place I could find and told my diary about 
it. I wish I could better describe the doings about me. This 
will do to remind me of it all, if I ever see these scribblings 
again, and if not those that do see them may turn their imagina- 
tion loose, feeling sure that it cannot overdraw the picture. 
But there is no use trying to write any more. Confusion 


reigns, and I am going to put away my dairy and take a 
hand in it, 

September 6, 1862. 
New York City, and my first peep at it. We are in City 
Hall Park, but I must go back and tell of our getting here. 
We had an all night's ride, passing many large places. So 
many knew the names of them, we greenhorns only had to 
listen to find out where we were all the time. Some did 
not want to sleep, and the rest were not allowed to. The 
boatmen must be glad to see the last of us. We passed 
laws for their observance as well as for our own. The officers 
kept out of sight. I suppose they were asleep somewhere. 
May be it is well for both them and ourselves that they did 
not interfere, for the devil in each man seemed to have got 
loose. We didn't try to run the steamer but we ran every- 
thing else in sight. We took turns riding the walking beam. 
Some wanted to and the rest had to, and the wonder is no 
one was killed, or at least crippled. We landed at the foot 
of Harrison Street, and marched to the City Hall Park, where 
I am now seated on the front porch of a tremendous great 
building, writing about it in my diary. Everything is clean 
here, and everything to me is new. I have never been in 
New York before, and I don't suppose I shall see very much 
of it now. I am on business for the boss, and cannot fpol 
away the time running around the city, even if I was allowed 
to, which I am not. The officers have us shut in here, with 
a high picket fence, made of iron, around us on every side. 
Soldiers, — real soldiers, — are on guard just outside, keeping 
a close watch that none of us crawl under or jump over. 
We first had a good wash, then a good breakfast, and then 
were let alone to read the papers, or write letters or do any- 
thing we chose. I had a good nap. The stone I lay on was 
but little harder than my bunk in the barracks at Hudson, 
and it was a great deal warmer. The papers say the Rebs 


are expected to attack Harpers Ferry to-day. Why couldn't 
they wait until we got there? Maybe they have heard of 
us and are improving the time before we get there. Captain 
Bostwick has gone home for a visit, saying he would meet 
us in Washington. 

Night. On the cars in Jersey City. Part of the regiment 
has gone on another train, and we are to meet in Philadelphia. 
We marched on the ferry-boat in double file, and were made 
to kneel on one knee, leaving the other sticking up for the 
man ahead to sit on. If it was done for our comfort it was 
a complete failure, but if it was to keep us from running all 
over the boat it worked well. Before we left City Hall Park 
I got a fellow on the outside to get me a bottle of black- 
berry brandy, and when we were finally seated in the car 
I out with my bottle and gave it a swing around my head 
to let the fellows see what I had, when it slipped from my 
hand and went to smash on the floor. Much as some of us 
needed it, we could only get a smell, as the fumes rose up 
to aggravate us. 

At Elizabeth, N. J. we halted for a few minutes. Crowds 
of people lined the track, and although all were strangers 
to each other, we talked as if we were old acquaintances, 
Henry House, of Company B, asked a young lady to write him, 
and they exchanged names and addresses, promising each to 
write to the other.* 

September /, 1862. 
Philadelphia. Sunday. We were too crowded in the cars 
to see much, or to do much, coming here. Most of us slept 
nearly all the way. I did for one, but I had dreams of being 
trod on, and no doubt I was, for there are some that never 
sleep, and are constantly on the move. We finally stopped 
and were ferried across a river and landed in this city. 

* They did correspond, and after the war were married, and as far 
as I ever knew or heard lived happily ever after. 


We then marched to a large hall called "The Cooper Shop," 
why, I don't know. We were given a royal meal, breakfast 
I should call it, but it was so dark, and I was so sleepy I 
hardly knew whether it was supper or breakfast. Cold beef, 
sausage, bread and butter, cheese, and good hot . coffee. It 
was far ahead of any meal we have had so far. I am told 
that the place is kept open night and day by some benevolent 
association, and that no regiment passes through without 
getting a good square meal. If soldiering is all like this 
I am glad I am a soldier. If the Rebs ever get as far North as 
Philadelphia, I hope the 128th New York may be here to help 
defend the "Cooper Shop." After breakfast we went out 
on the sidewalk and slept until after daylight. We soon 
after started for a railroad station, where we took a train for 
Baltimore. Our ride so far has been one grand picnic. We 
have lots of fun. No matter what our condition may be, 
there are some that see only the funny side, and we have 
enough of that sort to keep up the spirits of all. All along 
the way the people were out, and the most of them gave 
us cheers, but not all, as was the case in Hudson. We are 
nearing the enemy's country. The change in sentiment begins 
to show, and the farther we go, I suppose, the less cheering 
we will hear, until finally we will get where the cheers will 
all be for the other fellow, and we will find ourselves among 
foes instead of friends. 

Later. We are stuck on an up-grade. The engine has gone 
ahead with a part of the train, and we are waiting for it to 
come back. The train men say we are about forty miles from 
Baltimore. That means forty miles from our fodder, and I for 
one am hungry now. That meal at the Cooper Shop was good, 
but not lasting enough for this trip. The boys are out on the 
ground having some fun and I am going to join them. 

Baltimore, Md. We are here at last. Marched about tvvo 
miles from where the cars stopped, and are sitting on the side- 
walk waiting to see what will happen next. I hope it will be 


something to eat, for I am about famished. Some of the men 
are about played-out. The excitement and the new life are 
getting in their work. The day has been very hot, too, and 
with nothing to eat since some time last night, it is not strange 
we begin to wonder where the next meal is coming from, and 
when it will come. Baltimore is not like New York. I know 
that much now, but I don't know enough about either city 
to tell what the difference is. A regiment, fully armed, escorted 
us here from the cars, and are either staying around to keep 
us from eating up the city, or to keep the city from eating us, 
I don't know which. Some act friendly, but the most of the 
people look as if they had no use for us. Later. — We have 
finally had something to eat. My folks always taught me never 
to find fault with the victuals set before me, so I won't begin 
now. But for that I should say something right now. But 
whatever it was it had a bracing effect and we soon started 
and marched through the city to high ground, which I am told 
is "Stewart's Hill." 

September 8, 1862. 
Monday morning. Our first night in Baltimore is over. 
We had roll-call, to see if we were all here, and then spread our 
blankets on the ground and were soon sound asleep. Walt. 
Loucks and I each having a blanket, we spread one on the 
ground and the other over us. With our knapsacks for a 
pillow, we slept as sound as if in the softest bed. The dew, 
however, was heavy, and only for the blanket over us we would 
have been wet through. As it was, our hair was as wet as if 
we had been swimming. Sleeping on the ground, in clothing 
already wet with sweat, and the night being quite cool, has 
stiffened our joints, so we move about like foundered horses. 
Had the Rebs come upon us when we first got up we couldn't 
have run away and we certainly were not in a condition to 
defend ourselves. But this wore off after a little, and we were 
ourselves again. As it was in Hudson, so it is here. All sorts 


of rumors as to what wc do next are going the rounds. I have 
given up believing anything, and shall wait until we do some- 
thing or go somewhere, and then, diary, I'll tell you all 
about it. 

Night. We put in the day sitting around and swapping 
yarns, etc. None of us cared to go about, for we were pretty 
tired, after our hard day yesterday. Shelter tents were given 
out to-day. One tent for every two men. They are not tents 
at all, nothing but a strip of muslin, with three sticks to hold 
them up. There are four pins to pin the corners to the ground. 
Then one stick is put in like a ridge pole, and the other two 
set under it. The ends are pinned down as far apart as a 
man is long, and then the middle raised up. They may keep 
off rain, if it falls straight down, but both ends are open, and 
two men fill it full. We have got them up, each company in 
a row. It is a funny sight to stand on the high ground and 
look over them. Lengthwise, it is like a long strip of muslin 
with what a dressmaker calls gathers in it. Looked at from the 
side it is like a row of capital A's with the cross up and down 
instead of crosswise, 

September p, 1862. 
Tuesday. About midnight, an officer of some sort rode into 
camp with some word that w^as the means of our being routed 
out by the "Long Roll," the first time any of us ever heard it. 
It appears the "Long Roll" is only sounded when the quickest 
possible getting into line in fighting trim is necessary, as w'hen 
the enemy is about to pounce upon us, etc. But we didn't 
hurry. One after another got up and all the time the officers 
were shouting, and some of them swearing. I thought they had 
all gone crazy. But finally we understood, and then down came 
our tents. The quartermaster team rushed up witli boxes of 
guns, which were broken open and the guns handed out as 
fast as possible. Ammunition, too, was passed out, and 
we were told to load up and defend ourselves. The excitement 


was SO great, and the ammunition so new to us, about half the 
guns were loaded with the bullet end down. The cartridges 
are a charge of powder, a big long bullet and a piece of paper. 
The paper is rolled up with the powder in one end and the 
bullet in the other, and to us, in the dark, both ends looked alike. 
But no great harm was done, for no enemy appeared. Just 
what it was all for I don't know now, and quite likely never 
will. We got a ration of bread and coffee and with our guns — 
great heavy, clumsy things — and our tents added to our already 
heavy load, started off on a brisk pace, which was kept up 
until some began to fall out, completely exhausted. These were 
picked up by the quartermaster and commissary wagons, and 
so we went for about six miles along the road that is said to 
lead to Frederick. Then we halted, and after the stragglers 
had caught up, started back again, soon turning off in another 
direction on another road, and marched for about the same 
distance, where we turned into a field, partly level, and the 
rest a side hill. We halted when a little way from the road 
and were told we were to go into permanent camp there. 
Baltimore is in plain sight, although it is some way off. We 
were so tuckered out by our long tramp in the hot sun and 
with the heavy loads on our backs, we were glad to get up our 
tents, and after a coffee and bread supper, to turn in and sleep. 


Camp Millington, Md, 

School of the Soldier — On picket at Catonsville — Trip to Gettysburg 
— Dinner at Hanover — Meeting the 150th — Roast chicken — Stuart's 
Mansion Hospital. 

September 10, 1862. 

Camp Millington. We were too tired last night to look 
about and see where we were. This morning we were ourselves 
again, and began to take stock of our surroundings. We are 
in a newly seeded field, sloping generally to the east, though 
the upper part of it is nearly level. The place is called Milling- 
ton, so we have named our camp, "Camp Millington." We 
pitched our tents in such a hurry that it had not a very orderly 
appearance, and after breakfast we divided up into companies, 
and each has tried to beat the other in slicking up. 

We have quite an extended view. Towards the east we can 
see for miles across a sandy plain clear to the waters of 
Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore lies to the north. In other direc- 
tions little but trees can be seen. Right in front runs a large 
brook, which turns the wheels of a flour mill, from 'which loads 
of flour are constantly being taken. Back of the mill, and 
not far from it, runs a railroad, said to be the Baltimore and 
Ohio. All day long, trains have been running, and the most 
of them loaded with soldiers. Some go towards Baltimore and 
some the other way. If I knew what it all means I would tell, 
but we are all strangers to the place and there is no use asking 
questions. Guards are posted on every side of us, and outside 
of that another line of guards called pickets are posted. \\'e 
were called up and talked to by Major Parker. A whole lot 
of rules were given out, which, if they are obser\-ed, will make 
the 128th a model regiment and each member of it a gentleman. 
I have sewed on niy corporal stripes to-day, having carried 

24 DIARY 6F an enlisted MAN. 

them in my pocket until now. The only difference I have yet 
found out between a corporal and a private soldier is that a 
corporal does not have to stand guard. If we are really going 
to stay here I expect the next thing will be learning how to 
march, taking up the lesson where we left off in Hudson. 
From the way the regiment that escorted us through Baltimore 
handled themselves, I can see we have a whole lot to learn yet. 

September ii, 1862. 
We heard heavy firing this morning, from the direction 
of the city, which we at first thought must be fighting going 
on there, but which we afterwards learned was practice for the 
gunners at Fort Henry, and on the gunboats, both of which 
lie somewhere off in that direction. We kept on cleaning up 
our camp ground to-day and it begins to look real nice. A 
running vine, which was all over the ground, has poisoned a 
great many, although some that handled it the most did not 
get any. Philip Allen's face looks like a bladder. The doctor 
has fixed up a wash that he says will soon cure it. We had 
just about enough to do to-day to give us a good appetite. A 
storm is brewing, and we are wondering what it will do to us 
with only a strip of muslin to keep it oft'. 

September 12, 1862. 
The storm came. A soaking rain in the night; it soaked 
every one of us. I suppose the officers fared better, for they 
have tents like houses, but we, the shelter-tent brigade, cer- 
tainly took all that came. I got up from a puddle of water. 
The water ran down the hill, under our tents, and under us. 
This softened the ground so we sank right in. The ground is a 
red color, and we are a sight to behold. By looking at a man's 
trousers it is easy to tell whether he slept on his back or on 
his side. In one case he has one red leg, and in the other, two. 
I think it would improve the appearance if the whole trousers 
were soaked in the mud. This sickly blue is about the meanest 


color I can think of. I guess the Government had more cloth 
than color. One fellow says there was only one kettle of dye. 
The officers' clothes were dipped first, then the privates' coats, 
and last the pantaloons. No matter what question comes up 
there are some who can explain and make it all clear. A part 
of Company B was sent out on picket duty to-day. I don't 
know where or what their duties are. All sorts of war stories 
are in the air. One paper tells of a great battle and the next 
one contradicts it. I guess it is done to make sale for papers. 
Newsboys rush into camp yelling "Extra" and we rush at 
them and buy them out. But it gives us something to talk 
about, and that is worth much to us. 

September is, 1862. 

Saturday. Washing day. All who are not on duty were let 
out to go in the stream below the mill and wash. We took 
off our clothes and rubbed and scrubbed them, until one color, 
instead of several, prevailed, and then we sat around and 
waited for them to dry in the sun. From the looks of the 
wash-water, the clothes should look better than they do. They 
fitted rather snug when we got into them, but we will soon 
stretch them out again. 

Night. A letter from father! So far as I know, he never 
wrote a letter before. I do not remember that I ever saw his 
handwriting until now. I expected to hear from him through 
others, but of getting a letter direct from him, I never even 
thought. Another was from my sister. Airs. Loucks. They are 
all well, getting along first-rate without me. I guess I was not 
of so much account as I thought. However, I am delighted to 
hear about them. Captain Bostwick returned this p. m. and has 
told me all the home news. I almost feel as if I had been home, 
he told me so much about every thing I wanted to know, and 
best of all brought me father's letter. I will answer that letter 
right off, now, and then go to bed, where many of the company 
already are. 


September 14, 1862. 
Sunday. My first day on duty as corporal of the guard. 
Two hours on and four off duty gives me lots of time to write, 
and as it may interest our folks to know what guard duty really 
is, I will describe it as best I can. An officer of the guard, a 
sergeant of the guard, four corporals, and four times as 
many privates as there are posts to guard, are detailed the night 
before. In the morning at 8 a. m. the fife and drum sounds 
the call for guard-mount, and the whole detail reports at guard- 
headquarters, which is wherever the call is sounded from. 
Three quarters of the detail go on duty and the other quarter, 
called supernumeraries, have nothing at all to do, unless a man 
on duty is taken sick, when a supernumerary takes his place. 
The corpora] then on duty goes with the one just going on 
with the first reHef, and marches to post No. i, where the guard 
calls out, "Who comes there ?" The corporal says, "Relief." 
"Advance Relief," says the guard on post, when he is replaced 
by a man from the new guard, and he takes his place in the 
rear, marching on to the next post, where the same ceremony 
is repeated until the last post is reached. The new guard is 
then on duty and the corporal marches the old guard to head- 
quarters, where they are discharged and are free from all duty 
for the next twenty-four hours. The corporal of the relief now 
on post remains at guard headquarters for two hours, unless 
some trouble on the line happens, in which case the guard cries 
out "Corporal of the guard !" giving the number of post. The 
corporal then goes direct to that post, .and if the trouble be 
such as he cannot cope with, he calls "Sergeant of the guard !" 
In case it be too serious for the sergeant, the officer of the 
guard is called in the same way, and he is supposed to be able 
to settle the trouble, whatever it may be. At the end of two 
hours, the second relief goes on, and then the third in its turn, 
after which the first relief goes on again. This keeps on until 
8 A. M. the next morning, when a new guard is mounted and 
the old one goes off. This gives each corporal and his relief 


four turns of duty of two hours each, and sixteen hours to lie 
around headquarters and do pretty much as he pleases. The 
sergeant and the officer of the guard rarely have anything to 
do but pass away the time in any lawful manner. But they 
must be ready, on call, at all times. 

Train-load after train-load of troops keeps going past. 
The North must get empty and the South get full at this 
rate. Mosquitoes and flies are very troublesome. We must 
cover up head and hands at night, or if the blanket gets off 
we must scratch all the next day. Some don't mind it, but 
the most of us do, and if the pests would go where they 
are often told to go, they would get a taste of what they 
are giving us. 

We have a sutler now. No peddlers are allowed on the 
camp grounds. It is buy of him now or go without. For 
change, he uses cards with his stamp on, good for from three 
to twenty-five cents, at his tent, and good for nothing at any 
other place. Report says we are to have a chaplain by next 
Sunday, and that it is the Rev. Mr. Parker, who preached for 
us at Hudson. I hope he will bring along all his patience 
and forbearance. He will need it. Bad as we are, I don't 
suppose we are worse than the average, but I think we must 
average pretty well up. We will know if he comes, and won't 
have to watch the almanac to tell when Sunday comes. 

September ij, 1862. 
- Monday. Two men in the guard-house. We are improving. 
Baltimore whiskey got into the camp some way and these 
men found it. At dress parade to-night, a dispatch was read 
to us saying a great battle had been fought and a great victory 
won by McClellan. We gave three cheers that must have 
reached the scene of battle. It has set us up wonderfully. 

September 16, 1862. 
Tuesday. We are getting right down to business now. 
Have company drill and will soon drill with the whole regi- 


ment tog-ether. To-day we practiced the double-quick, which 
is nothing more than a run. The day was hot and these 
heavy clothes buttoned around us made us sweat, and one man 
gave out. He fell down and several fell over him, stopping 
the work long enough for us to catch breath. He was put 
under a tree^ and by the time we were through was able to 
walk back to camp. I went into the mill to-day and asked 
for a job. The miller said he thought I had about all the 
job I could attend to. That is the nearest approach to a 
joke I have heard from a native. They are the dumbest set 
of people I ever met. At least they seem so to me. The 
country is queer, too. There are no roads here. They are 
all turnpikes. Many of the houses set so far back from the 
road, and shade trees are so plenty, that they are not seen 
unless one goes on purpose. To the west and south the country 
looks like a forest, but there are no forests here, only scatter- 
ing trees all over the fields and along the roads. The people 
are Dutch, mostly, and the rest are negroes, — "Niggers" they 
are universally called here. Money has another name, too. 
I bought a bundle of straw for a bed, which I was told was 
a "fip" for a bundle. I tied up a bundle and was then told 
it would be a "levy," all of which meant that if the man 
bound it up it was a "fip" and if I bound it it would be a 
"levy," which is two fips. I found oyt at last that a "fip" 
was sixpence and a "levy" was a shilling. Two fellows got 
too much of the sutler's whiskey to-day. They forged an 
order for it, and as a punishment each had a placard pinned 
to his back, with the nature of his offense printed in large 
letters, and were marched about the camp until sober. 

September ij, 1862. 

Two letters to-day, and two papers, all from home. Seems 

as if I had been there for a visit. I wonder if my letters 

give them as much pleasure ? I expect they do. It is natural 

they should. I know pretty nearly what they are about, but 


of me, they only know what I write in my letters, and in this, 
my everlasting^ letter, as I have come to call my diary. It 
is getting to be real company for me. It is my one real con- 
fident. I sometimes think it is a waste of time and paper, 
and then I think how glad I would be to get just such 
nonsense from my friends, if our places were changed. I 
suppose they study out these crow's tracks with more real 
interest than they would a message from President Lincoln. 
We are looking for a wet bed again to-night. It does not 
rain, but a thick fog covers everything and the wind blows 
it in one side of our tents and out the other. 

Maybe I have described our life here before, but as no 
one description can do it justice I am going to try again. 
We are in a field of lOO acres, as near as I can judge, on 
the side of a hill, near the top. The ground is newly seeded 
and wets up quickly, as such ground usually does. We sleep 
in pairs, and a blanket spread on the ground is our bed 
while another spread over us is our covering. A narrow 
strip of muslin, drawn over a pole about three feet from the 
ground, open at both ends, the wind and rain, if it does rain, 
beating in upon us, and water running under and about us; 
this, with all manner of bugs and creeping things crawling 
over us, and all the while great hungry mosquitoes biting 
every uncovered inch of us, is not an overdrawn picture of 
that part of a soldier's life, set apart for the rest and repose 
necessary to enable him to endure several hours of right down 
hard work at drill, in a hot sun with heavy woollen clothes on, 
every button of which must be tight-buttoned, and by the 
time the officers are tired watching us, we come back to camp 
wet through with perspiration and too tired to make another 
move. Before morning our wet clothes chill us to the marrow 
of our bones, and why we live, and apparently thrive under 
it, is something I cannot understand. But we do, and the 
next day are ready for more of it. Very few even take cold. 
It is a part of the contract, and while we grumble and growl 


among ourselves we don't really mean it, for we are learning 
what we will be glad to know at some future time. 

Now I am about it, and nothing better to do, I will say some- 
thing about our kitchen, dining room and cooking arrange- 
ments. Some get mad and cuss the cooks, and the whole war 
department, but that is usually when our stomachs are full. 
When we are hungry we swallow anything that comes and 
are thankful for it. The cook house is simply a portion of the 
field we are in. A couple of crotches hold up a pole on which 
the camp kettles are hung, and under which a fire is built. 
Each company has one, and as far as I know they are all alike. 
The camp kettles are large sheet -iron pails, one larger than the 
other so one can be put inside the other when moving. If we 
have meat and potatoes, meat is put in one, and potatoes in the 
other. The one that gets cooked first is emptied into mess pans, 
which are large sheet-iron pans with flaring sides, so one can 
be packed in another. Then the coffee is put in the empty 
kettle and boiled. The bread is cut into thick slices, and the 
breakfast call sounds. We grab our plates and cups, and wait 
for no second invitation. We each get a piece of meat and a 
potato, a chunk of bread and a cup of coffee with a spoonful 
of brown sugar in it. Milk and butter we buy, or go without. 
We settle down, generally in groups, and the meal is soon 
over. Then we wash our dishes, and put them back in our 
haversacks. We make quick work of washing dishes. We 
save a piece of bread for the last, with which we wipe up 
everything, and then eat the dish rag. Dinner and breakfast 
are aHke, only sometimes the meat and potatoes are cut up 
and cooked together, which makes a really delicious stew. 
Supper is the same, minus the meat and potatoes. The cooks 
are men detailed from the ranks for that purpose. Every one 
smokes or chews tobacco here, so we find no fault because 
the cooks do both. Boxes or barrels are used as kitchen tables, 
and are used for seats between meals. The meat and bread 
are cut on them, and if a scrap is left on the table the flies go 


right at it and we have so many the less to crawl over us. 
They are never washed, but are sometimes scraped off and 
made to look real clean. I never yet saw the cooks wash 
their hands, but presume they do when they go to the brook 
for water. 

September i8, 1862. 
Mr. Parker came last night, and is to be our chaplain. He 
is the one who preached for us at Hudson Camp Ground, and 
the one we asked to have for chaplain of the 128th. He can 
sing like a lark, and we are glad he is here. There are many 
good singers in the regiment. There is talk of organizing a 
choir or club, and no doubt the dominie will join it. We have 
more good news from the front. McClellan seems to fit the 
place he is in. It is reported that George Flint and Elihu 
Bryan have been taken prisoners. I know them well, but don't 
remember the regiment they went out in. 

September ip, 1862. 
Reports are that a great battle has been fought at Antietam, 
and a great victory won. Do they tell us this to keep up our 
courage, or has the beginning of the end really come? 
To-morrow we have the promise of going on picket duty. 
Good ! anything for a change. It will give me something to 
write about in my diary, if nothing more. Things are getting 
rather monotonous, and any change will be good for us, pro- 
vided it is not for the worse. Prayer meeting every night now. 
Chaplain Parker seems in dead earnest. He wants us all to 
be ready to die. Then, he says, if death don't come, we will 
be in better shape to live. Very few of the officers attend 
prayer meeting, though they encourage the men to do so. 

September 20, 1862. 
In spite of the fact that we are sumptuously fed, I have long 
longed for a good square meal off a clean table. This morning, 


early, I sneaked away to a farm house I had often looked at, 
and wondered if the people there would contract to fill me 
up for such a consideration as I could afford. I told them I 
was not begging, but would like to buy a breakfast. The lady 
was willing, and I was soon sitting in a chair at a clean table 
with a clean table-cloth and clean dishes on it. And such a 
breakfast ! I forgot who or where I was. The smell of the 
victuals made me ravenous, and I ate until I could eat no 
more. They were pleasant people and seemed to enjoy seeing 
me eat. I felt guilty because I had not asked my friends to 
go with me, but I wanted first to investigate on my own hooky 
for I was not at all sure of getting anything when I set out, in 
which case I was going back to camp in time for breakfast, 
and say nothing about it. But when the hostess would not 
take anything for the hearty meal I had eaten, I was glad 
I had not brought my family with me. I gave them my 
heartiest thanks and returned to camp to find Company B 
getting ready for picket duty, and I was soon in my place 
ready for anything. 

10 a. m. We are about six miles from Camp Millington, at 
a village called Catonsville. That is, the company is broken 
up into squads, and the one I am with is here, and in my 
charge as corporal. I am to keep one man on post and change 
him for another every two hours. Not a very hard job for 
any of us. The people seem very pleasant, and as the day is 
not very hot we are simply having a picnic. We are to pick 
up travellers who cannot give a good account of themselves 
and hold them until the officer of the guard comes round, and 
let him decide what to do with them. Coming here we passed 
Louden Park Cemetery, a beautiful place, and the largest of 
its kind I ever saw. Shade trees all over it, great fine monu- 
ments and vaults as large as small houses. I guess only rich 
people are buried there, for I saw no common headstones. 
But then I suppose we only saw a part of it, and the best 
part at that. 


Night. The day has passed quietly. Nothiti!^ starth'iif^ 
happened. The people have treated us royally, j^^ave us all 
the peaches we could eat, and also gave us the credit of being 
the best behaved of any detail that has been here. 

p p. m. Some firing was heard on the post next ours, 
and which is the farthest out of any. I went out to learn what 
it meant. It seems a man came along- and when halted, jumped 
the fence and ran for a piece of woods near by. Mike Sulli- 
van started out to capture him. They shot at each other, but 
the man got away. Mike got a lot of slivers stuck in his face 
by a bullet hitting a post he was passing as the shot was fired. 
This is the only excitement we have had up to this time, 

September 21, 1862. 

Sunday morning. Nothing happened during the night. We 
bought a good breakfast of a family who make a business of 
feeding the soldiers that come here, for I was told there is a 
detail here every day. I wish it might be us every time. As 
soon as the new guard arrives we are to go back to camp 
and camp fare again. 

2 p. in. In camp again. It seems hotter and dirtier than 
ever after our day in the country. Before we left Catonsville 
we filled our haversacks with great luscious peaches. Those 
that ripen on the tree the people cannot sell, so they gave us 
all that would fall with a gentle shake of the tree. How I 
wished I could empty my haversack in your lap, mother. On 
the way to camp we met a drove of mules, said to be 400 
of them, loose, and being driven like cattle. They were afraid 
of us and all got in a close bunch, and the 400 pairs of ears 
all flapping together made a curious sight. We were told they 
came from Kentuck}^ and are for use in the army. They 
were all bays, with a dark stripe along the back and across 
the shoulders, looking like a cross laid on their backs. It 
hasn't seemed much like Sunday. But Sunday doesn't count 


for much in the army. Many of our hardest days have been 
Sundays. But I am sleepy, having- been awake all last night. 
It is surprising how little sleep we get along with. I, who 
have been such a sleepy-head all my life, get only a few hours' 
sleep any night, and many nights none at all. I suppose we 
will sometime get accustomed to the noise and confusion, that 
so far has had no end, night or day. 

September 22, 1862. 

Monday. Knapsack drill to-day, — something new to me, 
though I am told it is to take place every Sunday morning 
when in camp. As we were not here yesterday, it was put 
off until to-day. We marched out to the drill ground with 
our knapsacks on, expecting to practice as usual, except that 
we were loaded that much heavier. As all our belongings 
were in our knapsacks, they were quite heavy. We formed in 
column by companies and were told to "unsling knapsacks." 
We all had to be coached, but we finally stood at attention 
with our knapsacks lying on the ground wide open before us. 
Then the colonel, the major and the captain of the com- 
pany being inspected, marched along and with the tip of their 
swords poked over the contents, regardless of how precious 
they might be to us. And such a sight as they saw ! Besides 
our extra underclothing, some clean and some unclean, there 
were Bibles, whiskey bottles, novels, packs of cards, love letters 
and photographs, revolvers and dirk knives, pen and ink, paper 
and envelopes and postage stamps, and an endless variety of 
odds and ends we had picked up in our travels. 

As soon as the inspection was over with Company A, they 
were marched back to camp and so all along the line until 
Company B, the last of all, was reached. When we got back to 
camp some of the companies had been there long enough to get 
asleep. Nothing more was required of us, and we put in the 
time as we chose, provided always that we observed the 
camp regulations. 


I may never have so j^ood a chance, so I will try and 
explain some of the things we have learned to do and how 
we do it. Begin with roll-call. The orderly sergeant, Lew 
Holmes, has our names in a book, arranged in alphabetical 
order in one place, and in the order in which we march in 
another. If it is simply to see if we are all here, he sings out 
"Fall in for roll-call" and we get in line, with no regard to 
our proper places, and answer to our names as called from the 
alphabetical list. If for drill, "Fall in for drill !" and then 
we take our places with the tallest man at the right, and so 
on, till the last and shortest man is in place on the left. We 
are then in a single line, by company front. The orderly 
then points at the first man and says "One," which the man 
repeats. He then points to the second man and says "Two," 
which is also repeated. So it goes down the line, the one, 
two, being repeated, and each man being careful to remember 
whether he is odd or even. When that is done, and it is very 
quickly done, the orderly commands, "Right face !" The 
odd-numbered men simply swing on the left heel one quarter 
of the way aroimd and stand fast. The even-numbered 
men do the same, and in addition step obliquely to the 
right of the odd-numbered man, bringing us in a double 
line and one step apart, which distance we must carefully 
keep, so that when the order "Front !" is given, we can, by 
reversing the movement of "Right face !" come to our places 
without crowding. When coming to a front, the line is not 
apt to be straight and the order "Right dress !" is given, w^hen 
the man on the right stands fast and the one next to him puts 
himself squarely by his side. The next moves back or forth 
until he can just see the buttons on the coat of the second 
man to his right, — that is, with his head erect, he must look 
past one man and just see the buttons on the coat of the 
second man from him. That makes the line as straight as 
you can draw a string. "Left face !" is the same thing 
reversed. In marching, one has only to keep step with the one 


next in front of him. If this is done, the blame for irregular 
time all comes upon the file leaders, which are the two in 
front ; they must keep step together. If Company B is going 
out to drill by itself it is now ready. If, however, the entire 
regiment is to drill together, as it has a few times, Com- 
pany A marches out first, and as the rear passes where 
Company F is standing the latter falls in, close behind; and 
so each company, until Company B, which is the left of the 
line, and the last to go, falls in and fills up the line, Why 
the companies are arranged in the line as they are is a mystery 
I have so far failed to find out. From right to left they 
come in the following order: A, F, D, I, C, H, E, K, G 
and B. A is said to have the post of honor, because in march- 
ing by the right flank it is ahead, and meets danger first if 
there be any. Company B has the next most honorable posi- 
tion, because in marching by the left flank it is in the lead. 
There is a great advantage in being in the lead. On a march 
the files will open, more or less, and when a halt is ordered the 
company in the lead stops short. The other companies keep 
closing up the files, and by the time the ranks are closed 
"Attention !" may sound, and another start be made. The first 
company has had quite a breathing spell, while the last has 
had very little, if any. If I were to enlist again, I would try 
hard to get in Company A, for all the marching we have so 
far done has been by the right flank. Company A at the 
head and Company B bringing up the rear. When we reach 
the field we are generally broken up into companies, each 
company drilling in marching by the front, wheeling to the 
right and left, and finally coming together again before march- 
ing back to camp. 

September 22, 1862. 
Tuesday. Another inspection to-day. This time our guns 
and accoutrements were inspected, and much fault was found 
because we had not kept our guns from rusting. Only a few 


got off without a scolding, and these were some that seem to 
love a gun and care for it as they would a baby. This, with 
our everyday drill, and a general cleaning and scouring up 
of our guns and the brass on our belts and cartridge boxes, 
has kept us busy all day long. I had kept the inside of my 
gun clean, so I only had the outside to scour up. Little by little 
we learn our lesson, learn to put the best on top, and little by 
little the screws of discipline are turned on. 

September 24, 1862. 
Wednesday. New tents were given us to-day. "A" tents 
they are called ; I suppose because they are in the shape of a 
letter A. They are like the roof of a house cut oif at the eaves, 
and one gable split open for us to enter, with strings sewed 
fast to one side and buttonholes in the other so we can close 
them up tight. A detail from each company has been clearing 
up the ground and laying out for an all winter stay. The 
officers have moved back to the more level portion of the field, 
which brings our lines of tents on much better ground than 
before. A long and wide street has been laid out and is being 
graded off, on the w^est side of which the officers' tents are 
ranged, the colonel's tent in the middle and a little in the rear 
of the tents of the captains and lieutenants, which are directly 
in front of their respective companies. On a line with Colonel 
Cowles' tent are those of the lieutenant colonel (which by the 
way has no occupant yet, he being oft' somewhere on detached 
service), the major, quartermaster, adjutant, surgeon and 
chaplain. Back of these is a big tent called the Hospital, 
which so far has not been of much use. Then in front of 
all these are the companies' quarters, the ten company streets 
running oft' at right angles to the broad street along w-hich the 
company officers' tents are now being- placed. A wide space 
is left in front of Colonel Cowles' tent, and runs clear through 
camp, nothing being on it but a flag-pole, which is to stand 
directly in front of the colonel's tent and in line with the tents 


of the company officers. So many hands make Hght work of 
any job, but I am only telHng how it is to be, for only the 
laying out is completed and the grading begun. 

We that were not detailed for the work were taken out to 
the great sandy plain toward what I am told is Chesapeake Bay 
and given a lesson in battalion-drill. 

The 135th N. Y. was with us, and from the crowds of people 
who were there I suppose battalion drill is something worth 
seeing. But it was anything but fun for us, and we came 
back to camp hungry, tired, and with as much dust on us as 
would stick. We were glad enough to crawl into our old 
shelter tents. It is well I wrote the most of the day's doings 
before we went out, for it is hard work to put this little finish 
to it. Good-night, diary. 

September 25, 1862. 

Thursday. On picket duty at Catonsville again. The peo- 
ple and the peaches are just as good as ever. We are glad 
enough of this outing, after our hard day yesterday. The six- 
mile walk has given us good appetites and the prospects of a 
good feeding when dinner time comes makes us feel like colts 
turned out to grass. 

Night. Some of my squad, when ofif duty, went visiting the 
posts farther out, and having found some whiskey, got glori- 
ously drunk. The sober ones have to do double duty, and the 
drunks are locked in an empty omnibus which stands beside 
the road. What sort of punishment will fit their offense I 
don't know. They have been so happy this afternoon, they 
can afford to be made miserable for a day or two. They are 
sound asleep now, unmindful of coming consequences. The 
fine record we made when here before has gone all to pieces 
and that is really the worst thing about it. 

September 26, 1862. 
Friday. Camp Millington again. A sort of trial called a 
court-martial has been held and the boys who celebrated yes- 


terday, are meditatinp;- upon it in the ^uard-house, which Ijy 
the way is a mule stable on the end of the sutler's shop. Our 
old tents were taken down and our new ones arc up. Each one 
is trying to outdo the other in making- them look homelike. 
Boards are in great demand for flooring, and already com- 
plaints are coming in from the natives, that every loose board 
or one that could be loosened from their fences or outbuildings 
is missing, and they have reason to think they came this way. 
We are delighted with our new tents. Each holds four men. 
Walter Loucks, George and Jim Story and myself make up 
our family. We have to lay straight, and at that there is no 
room to spare. But we are protected from rain, and the heavy 
dews that are almost as bad, and best of all, we can shut up 
tight and keep out the mosquitoes. Those that do get in we 
can smoke out in short order. 

A rumor is afloat that another regiment has been raised in 
Dutchess County and is to come here. We think ourselves 
soldiers now and are planning how we will entertain the green- 
horns when they come. 

September 2y, 1862. 
Saturday. We are looking for the Dutchess County regi- 
ment as if their coming was an assured fact, yet it is only a 
rumor, and even that cannot be traced very far. Aside from 
our daily drill, which is not much fun, we manage to get some 
amusement out of everything that comes along. We visit each 
other and play all sorts of games. Fiddling and dancing take 
the lead just now. The company streets, now that the ground 
has been smoothed off, make a good ballroom. A partner 
has just been swung clear off the floor into a tent, onto a man 
who was writing a letter, and from the sound is going to end 
up in a fight. "Taps" are sounded at 9 p. m., which is a signal 
for lights out and quiet in the camp. 


September 28, 1862. 

Sunday night. Meeting to-day. Chaplain Parker preached. 
He asked those who would stop swearing to hold up their 
hands, and so far as I could see every hand went up. After 
inspection in the morning we had nothing to do except to go 
to meeting and dress parade, which I believe we are to have 
regularly. We march to the parade ground, which is just 
back of our camp quarters, and form in line. The colonel, 
with the major and adjutant on his right and left, station 
themeslves in front, the colonel opposite the colors, which are 
in the center, between Companies C and H. The fifer and 
drummer pass along in front and back again when the colonel 
puts us through the manual of arms. A great many civilians 
come out and it must be a pretty sight, provided the orders 
are well executed. If we do well, nothing is said, but if not, 
we are cautioned to do better next time. 

How I wish I could peep in on the old folks at home 
to-night ! I imagine just how they are sitting around, talking, 
perhaps of me, or better yet, writing me a letter. 

There is no use denying that I am homesick. I have been 
such a home-body, and my home life has been so pleasant. 

The comforts of my home, though humble, have been many, 
and I have never missed them as I do to-night. I have only 
been away a short time, but it seems longer to me than all my 
life before. It has been crowded so full of strange and stirring 
events that it seems as if I would go crazy unless I can see 
and talk with our folks about it. Mr. Parker says confession 
is good for the soul, and I believe it, for after confessing to 
my diary as I have I feel better already. I will crawl in now 
and perhaps dream of home, which I often do, and which 
while it lasts, is just as good as being there. 

September 2g, 1862. 
Camp Millington, Baltimore. On account of the heat we 
were not taken out for drill to-day. We have cleaned up our 


quarters, for since getting our new and comfortable tents we 
are quite particular about appearances. There is a friendly 
rivalry as to which of the ten companies shall have the neatest 
quarters. All being exactly alike to start with, it depends upon 
us to keep them neat and shipshape. The cooks have tents 
as well as we, and altoi^ether we are quite another sort from 
what we were a week ago. It has been a regular clean up 
day with us. The brook below us has carried off dirt enough 
from our clothing and bodies to make a garden. While we 
were there close beside the railroad, a train loaded with 
soldiers halted, and while we were joking with the men, 
someone fired a pistol from another passing train, and a ser- 
geant on the standing train was killed — whether it was by acci- 
dent or purposely done, no one knows ; or whether the guilty 
one will be found out and punished, no one of us can tell. But 
I wonder so few accidents do happen. There are hundreds of 
revolvers in camp and many of them in the hands of those 
who know no better how to use them than a child. 

September ^o, 1862. 

Battalion-drill to-day. It was just as hot as yesterday, and 
some say hotter. The lieutenant colonel, James Smith, came 
last night, and has taken charge of our military education. He 
has been in the service, and was in the battle of Antietam. 
Some say he is a West Pointer. At any rate we have a drill- 
master who understands his business. One thing that has 
already made him dear to us is that he makes the officers 
come to time just as well as the men. He told them, in so 
many words, that they had as much to learn as we. If he 
holds out as he has started off, he will stand well with the 
rank and file, however he may stand with the officers. Hurrah 
for Colonel Smith ! 

October i, 1862. 

Wednesday. Another hot day. How hot I don't kno\\-. but 
it wilted me. I tumbled down, completely used up while at 


drill. Several others did the same. We seem to be getting 
over it to-night, as the air cools off. The nights are cool, and 
that is all that keeps us from melting. Not cool enough, 
however, to stop the mosquitoes. The heat, together with our 
changed condition of living, is beginning to get in its work. 
Several are in the hospital. 

Later. There is great excitement in Company B to-night. 
Orderly Sergeant Lewis Holmes, the one we voted to be our 
orderly, is to be set back and a corporal named Gilbert Kniffen 
is to be put in his place. As soon as the companies were 
organized at Hudson, we were allowed to vote which of the 
five sergeants of Company B should be orderly sergeant. 
We did not know then, but have since learned that the orderly 
sergeant stands next in the line of promotion to the commis- 
sioned officers. Kniffen is only a corporal, but he has friends 
at home who have influence, and this influence has been 
brought to bear so heavy that this move has been decided 

p p. m. It is all over, and Lew Holmes is still orderly 
sergeant of Co. B, 128th N. Y. Vols. We, the enlisted men 
of the company, talked the thing over and decided we would 
not put up with it. We did not know if we would be able to 
prevent it, but we finally decided we would stand by Holmes, 
and fight the thing to a finish, whatever the outcome might 
be. When we spoke to Captain Bostwick he acted as if he was 
ashamed of himself, but he said the change had already been 
made and could not be unmade. We told him we could 
unmake it, and would, or die in the company street. So the 
matter rested until time for roll-call, when Kniffin came out 
with the book and called the name of William H. Appleby, 
the first name on the list. To his honor be it said, he remained 
silent, and was immediately put in the mule-stable, which 
was our guard-house. The next man's name was called, and 
he went to join Appleby. This went on until the guard- 
house was full, when a council of the company officers was 


held, after which the captain gave us a lecture, telling us 
what insurbordination meant, and that the whole regiment, if 
necessary, would be used to enforce obedience. We had 
agreed not to talk back, but to simply refuse to answer to our 
names when called by Corporal Kniffin, or in any way acknowl- 
edge him as orderly sergeant, so we said nothing. The men 
were brought back from the guard-house, and Kniffin again 
called William H. Appleby. He did not answer and was 
again put in the guard-house. After a few more had been 
sent to keep him company another halt was made, the prisoners 
were again brought out, and the captain called the roll, when 
every man responded promptly. We were then ordered to 
break ranks and so the matter stands. But we have won our 
first battle, we feel sure of that, although we are warned that 
a company, and if necessary the whole regiment, will be 
called upon to shoot any who do not answer roll-call in the 
morning. My name is so near the bottom of the list it was 
not reached, and so I had nothing to do but look on and 
listen, but I am as determined as any, and I flap my wings 
and crow just as loudly as William H. Appleby does. 

October 2, 1S62. 
Thursday. Holmes called the roll this morning and we hear 
no more about being shot for mutiny. It may possibly come 
later, but from all I can see and hear the trouble was entirely 
a company affair and did not reach beyond it. If Colonel 
Smith, who is said to be very strict on discipline, had taken a 
hand in it, we might have fared w-orse, but I doubt if he would 
allow such a cowardly trick to be played on so good a soldier 
as Holmes is, and has been, to say nothing of jumping a 
corporal over the heads of five sergeants, who have all been 
prompt and faithful in the discharge of their duties. Our first 
real sick man was sent to the hospital to-night, one of Com- 
pany B, from Dover. 


October j, 1862. 
Friday. Battalion-drill again to-day. That and talking 
about the new orderly is all I have to record to-day. The 
whole thing has blown over, evidently. If the cause had been 
just, I suppose there would have been some way to bring us 
to terms, but as it now appears, I think the company officers 
are ashamed of their part, and Kniffin, if he ever gets to be 
orderly sergeant, will have to come up by the regular route. 

October 4, 1862. 
Saturday. Battalion-drill again. Learning to be a soldier 
is hard work. There has been no rain lately and the sun has 
dried up everything. There are no green fields here as we 
have at home. The ground is sandy, and where there is grass, 
it is only a single stem in a place, with bare ground all round 
it. So many feet tread it all to dust, which the wind blows 
all over us, but mostly in our faces and eyes. The road past 
our camp is a mire of the finest dust, and as hard to travel 
through as so much mud. We eat it with our rations, and 
breathe it all the day long. It covers everything, in our tents 
as well as outside. Our clean new tents are already taking 
on the universal muddy, red color of everything in sight. The 
only good thing about it is, it serves every one alike, piling upon 
the officers just as it does on the men. We are getting to feel 
quite proud of ourselves as soldiers. We learn fast under the 
teaching of Colonel Smith. The 135th N. Y. and a Mass, 
regiment are with us on battalion-drill and sometimes several 
other regiments, so that we about cover the large plain out 
near the bay. We get tougher and harder every day. The 
fodder we so often find fault with, and the hard work we are 
doing, is making us hard, like the work and the fare is. 

October 5, 1862. 

Sunday. On picket again to-day. We are at a new place, 
on the road to Frederick, but not as far out as Catonsville. It 


is plain to see it is only for practice, for we are only a 
little way from camp, and the other posts are far beyond us. 
Cavalry pickets are said to be farther out still. May be it 
is to give us a rest, for that it certainly does. We are out 
of the dust, our duties are light and the day after picket is 
also a day of rest. We also get fresh vegetables, which are 
a treat for us now-a-days. 

Night. We have had a day of rest. Two hours on post 
and the next four at liberty to loaf in the shade, is not hard 
work. We are in a lonely place, no houses near us, but we 
have had what we needed, a real rest-up. 

October 6, 1862. 

Monday. Back in Camp Millington, and the rest of the day 
is ours. A letter from Miss Hull, in answer to one written her 
mother. It was full of home news, and I feel as if I had been 
there. My homesick fit has left me, but it was a terror while 
it lasted. I believe it is more common than we think. I see 
many faces yet that look just as mine felt. Like me they 
keep it to themselves, or possibly tell it to their diaries, as I 
did to mine. I am not the only one who keeps a diary. There 
are plenty of others who do, and others still who say they 
can remember enough of it without writing it down. In the 
afternoon Lieutenant Dutcher invited me to go for a walk. 
We followed the Baltimore & Ohio R. R. for about a mile and 
came to abandoned camp grounds nearly all the way. W^o. 
found some housekeeping necessities which we brought back 
with us. After dress parade, we visited about until roll-call, 
and are going to bed early, for to-morrow the grind begins 
again. Good-night. 

October 7, 1862. 

Tuesday. On duty at a place called "Monitor ISIills." Have 
three men with me. It is only a little way out of camp, and 
all we have to do is to stay here for twenty-four hours, and 


change the guard every two hours. I have no idea why it is, 
but it is fun compared to drilHng, and I am glad to be here. 

A soldier has just gone from here who was in the battle 
of Antietam. He filled us full of tall stories, some of them 
so tall they would hardly go down. But if the half he said 
is true, we know little of real soldiering. Life in camp, he says, 
is a picnic compared with field duty. If he was as good at 
fighting as he is at talking about it, the Rebellion should have 
been squelched long ago. He made me think of some men 
I know, who can hardly wait to get at the Rebs, and yet who 
have managed to shirk everything they can in the way of 
duty or danger, 

October 8, 1862. 

Wednesday. Have loafed about camp all day. Have not 
been out for drill since Saturday. But I am finding- no fault. 
The weather keeps hot and dry, and the boys were a sight 
to behold when they came in from drill. Hot, dirty, tired and 
hungry. What would we do without the brook running past 
us? I wonder it doesn't choke up with the dirt it washes 
from us. 

To-day has been election day in Baltimore, and to-night the 
city seems to be on fire. We have a fine view of the city by 
day, and of the lights by night. To-night everything seems 
to be ablaze, and we are wondering what it can mean. We 
will know in the morning when the papers come. 

October p, 1862. 
Thursday. Bonfires in honor of the election of Mr. Chapin, 
for Mayor of Baltimore, was what so mystified us last night. 
The latest reports said there were riots in the city and it was 
being burned by the rioters. It was quite a relief to find out 
the truth, although we knew the city was there as soon as 
daylight appeared. The first death in our regiment occurred 
to-day in the hospital at Baltimore ; it was that of John H. 


Smith, Hudson, N. Y. He was sick when we came here and 
was taken to the hospital at once. There are a few sick in 
our camp hospital, but nothing very serious as yet. At dress 
parade, a notice was read that we had been placed in General 
Emory's Brigade. I am sorry I cannot remember what 
other regiments make up the brigade, but I know the 150th 
N. Y. was not one. The Dutchess County regiment, lately 
organized, is the one hundred and fiftieth that New York has 
sent out, and we are greatly in hopes they may be with us all 
through the war, 

October 10, 1862. 
Friday. The air is full of rumors to-day that we are to 
go somewhere, and that very soon, yet no one seems to be 
able to trace them. Experience has taught us that we won't 
know for certain when we go until we start, nor where we 
go until we g-et there. Train-loads of soldiers keep going past, 
and have been going past nearly every day since we came here. 
Seems to me I never saw such a dry place. Everything is 
so coated with dust it is impossible to tell its original color. 
From appearances, the country all about us is dried up and 
dead. A wounded soldier has been here from the hospital. He 
was at Antietam — was shot through the arm, which is still in a 
sling. But the most wonderful thing was that as he was going 
off the field another ball hit him, or rather hit a pocket Testa- 
ment in his breast pocket, and was stopped ag"ainst the back 
cover, after going through the front cover and the rest of the 
book. He had both the ball and the Testament to show. What 
a sermon could be preached with that book and bullet for a 

October 11, 1862. 
Saturday. Before daylight. We have been turned out, for 
some purpose, and are standing in line with our guns and 
accoutrements on. 


Later. Are back in quarters, waiting to see what comes 
next. It has at last begun to rain and has every appearance 
of keeping it up. I don't suppose it will interfere with our 
movements, though it can make it unpleasant for us. 

8 a. m. The papers have come, and say Stuart's Cavalry 
have invaded Pennsylvania, and are taking all the horses 
they can lay hands on. 

Later. We have orders to pack up two days' rations, and 
have just been given forty rounds of ammunition. Begins to 
look like business now. We are in line waiting for further 
orders, and I am improving the time by keeping my diary 
right plump up to the minute. One man is missing, absent 
without leave. Not a soul of us knows which way we are 
to *go or what for. If we were mounted I would think we 
were going to stop Stuart's horse-stealing, but as we are on 
foot that can hardly be. 

Noon. At the foot of Biddle Street, Baltimore, waiting for 
transportation. From all I can learn, our movements depend 
on dispatches from some higher authority, yet to be received. 
Major Foster's horse fell and hurt the major's leg, but he 
has caught up with us, though he has quite a limp. 

Night. Here we sit, or stand, just as we choose, still wait- 
ing for a train. It has rained nearly all day, and we are wet 
and cold, and everyone is cross, even to the officers. Just 
then our regimental post-master caught up with us, and gave 
me a letter from Mrs. Loucks, also one from uncle Daniel. 
My sister says a box of good things is on the way for us. Too 
bad it didn't come before we left. No telling whether we 
get it now or not. Well, such is war. 

October 12, 1862. 

Sunday. Relay House Station, on the Northern Central 

R. R. Just where that is I haven't yet found out. We stood 

up or laid down in the street from noon yesterday until 3 a. m. 

this morning, when cars came and we went on board. They 


are box cars, no seats, but they have a roof, and tliat is what 
we most needed. We shivered and shook so our teeth chattered 
when we first got on board, and it was 5 a. m. before the train 
started. We were no longer curious to know where we were 
going. We were wet, cold, hungry and thirsty, and from 
lying on the pavements were so stifif we could hardly get on 
our feet. The major had to give it up — his leg was hurt 
worse than he thought. We are sorry not to have him along, 
for next to Colonel Smith, he is the most soldierly soldier in 
the regiment. Our two days' rations are gone and we are 
wondering when we will get another feed. 

Noon. We are at Hanover Junction, Pa. We now feel sure 
we are after the rebel horse thieves, but unless we get a 
faster move on than this, they will get away with all the horses 
in the country before we get there. We are waiting for 
further orders from General Wool. The 144th N. Y. just 
stopped here, on their way to Baltimore. They are just out, 
and to hear them complain about being kept on the cars a 
whole day and night made us laugh. 

5 p. m. We are full once more. Doesn't seem as if we could 
ever get hungry again after the feed we have just had. We 
are at Hanover, Pa. As the train stopped it seemed as if the 
whole population were standing beside the track, and nearly 
everyone had a basket of eatables or a pail of cofifee. Alen, 
women and children were there and they seemed to enjoy see- 
ing us eat, even urging us to eat more, after we had stuffed 
ourselves, and then told us to put the rest in our haversacks. 
But they are terribly scared at the near approach of the rebel 
cavalry. We told them to fear no more. We were there, and 
the memory of the feast we had had would make us their 
special defenders. They distributed tracts among us, some of 
them printed sermons, and wound up by asking us to join 
them in singing the long-meter doxology. We not only sang 
it, we shouted it ; each one took his own key and time, and 
some, — I for one, — got through in time to hear the last line 


from the others. We left them with cheers and blessings that 
drowned the noise of the train, and I prayed that if I ever 
got stranded it might be in Hanover. 

Gettysburg, Pa. Night. The train has stopped outside the 
village, and a citizen says the Rebs are just out of the village 
on the opposite side. It is pitch dark and the orders are to 
show no lights and to keep very still. I have a candle and am 
squatted in the corner of the car trying to keep my diary going. 

The officers are parading up and down along the train try- 
ing to enforce the order to be quiet. I am hovering over my 
candle so it won't be seen, for I must write, for fear I won't 
get a better chance. 

October 13, 1862. 

Monday. Orders got too strict for my candle and I had to 
put it out. We made so much noise that the doors were shut 
on us finally and we were in pitch darkness in a closed car, 
with only room to lay down in. As the noise could be traced 
to no one in particular we kept it up until tired out and then 
slept as well as the circumstances would allow. Company B 
has a new name, "Bostwick's Tigers." It seems the colonel 
sent to find out who was making such a noise and was told 
it was Bostwick's tigers.* However, morning finally came, 
and the people of Gettysburg came down with a good break- 
fast, which in spite of our Hanover stuffing we began to need. 
They say the Rebs have gone on about five miles beyond the 
place. Lew Holmes and I got permission to go into the village, 
and I took the opportunity to write a letter home and to catch 
up with my diary. 

Night. Just as I had written the above a horseman dashed 
into town and said the Rebels were on the way back to attack 
us. We ran for it and got back in time to fall in place, and 
had marched back into the village when another order stopped 

* The name stuck to us ever after, and came from this silly circum- 


US and we remained all day loni^ in the streets, not daring to 
leave for fear of an order to fall in. About 5 o'clock we were 
marched out of the village into open fields, to the north, I 
think, but as the sun has not shown himself all day, it may be 
in any other direction. Here we were broken into companies 
and guards posted. Not being on the detail for guard, Walt. 
Loucks, Len Loucks, Bill Snyder and myself have hauled up 
a lot of cornstalks beside a fence and I have written up my 
diary while they have made up the beds. Good-night. 

October 14, 1862. 
Tuesday. Well, I have had a good sleep, if I did have a 
hard time getting it. Our cornstalk bed which promised so 
well, did not prove so. The stalks were like bean poles, and 
the ears big in proportion. After turning and twisting every 
way, Walt and I left the others and started on an exploring 
expedition. It was pitch dark, and we had to feel our way, 
but finally came to a building. We felt along until we came 
to a door and went in. It appeared to be an empty barn, 
but soon after we spread our blankets and got into bed 
we found we were in a henroost. W^e got outside much 
quicker than we got into the building and soon after came 
against another building. This we felt our way around, and 
on the opposite side found it to be a house, and the people not 
yef gone to bed. We urged them to let us sleep on the floor 
by the fire, but while the man seemed willing, the wdfe objected, 
and there was nothing to do but try elsewhere. Finally we 
decided to try and iind the cornfield again, and by taking the 
back track we succeeded in getting back where we started 
from. We made a bed under the fence and at last got asleep, 
being too tired to be very particular. We w-ere not going to 
say anything about our adventure, but the others woke up first 
and in some way found out about it. We had breakfast, the 


Stragglers were called in, and were soon in line waiting for 
the order to march.* 

2 p. m. In Hanover, Pa,, again. About 8 o'clock we 
marched through Gettysburg and tumbled into the cars. We 
soon reached Hanover, where we have since been. Along 
towards noon, we began to wonder if we would get another 
such feed as they gave us on Sunday. Somehow the people 
didn't seem as glad to see us as they did then. In fact they 
seemed rather to avoid us. Not all, for some were handing 
out everything eatable they had. Rather than ride these free 
horses to death, Snyder and I decided on another plan and 
it worked beautifully. We saw a house where the people were 
ready to sit down to the table — a man and a woman were 
already at the table — when we set our guns by the door and 
walking in, took seats at the table without as much as saying 
"by your leave." I passed my plate to the man, who all at 
once seemed to see a funny side to our impudence and burst 
out laughing. We had a good dinner and a jolly good time, 
and felt as if we had gotten even with one of them at any rate. 

Night. Have stopped, and the report is that a bridge is 
broken down somewhere ahead of us and that we must stay 
here all night; a lonesome dismal spot, not a house in sight 
and only the remains of our army rations for supper. 

October 15, 1862. 
Have laid on the ground alongside the track resting and 
sleeping, waiting for the bridge to be repaired so we can go 

October 16, 1862. 
Thursday, 5 a. m. The cars shrink, or the men swell, for 
certainly everybody had less room last night than before. 

* I was in Gettysburg in 1909 and was told by people who remembered 
our visit in 1862, that there were no Rebels anywhere near Gettysburg 
except in the imagination of the people, who were scared out of their 


Cross and crabbed, sore in every joint, and mad at everything 
and everybody, we crawled out of our beds (?) and shook 
ourselves together. In spite of strict orders to the contrary, 
some, fresh pork and some poultry found its way past the 
guards during the night. The owners needn't come looking 
for it, they would find only bristles and feathers if they did. 
I suppose the partaker is as bad as the thief, but I didn't feel 
guilty at all for accepting a slice of pork. I soon found a 
canteen with no owner, melted it apart over a fire and fried 
my pork and divided with my chums. There was no question 
about its being fresh, for we had no salt to make it otherwise. 
About 9 o'clock we tumbled into the cars and with no more 
adventures reached Camp Millington late in the afternoon. 
Can any one imagine our surprise and our great delight at 
finding the 150th N. Y. in camp right across the road from 
our camp? In a twinkling we were together. Discipline went 
to the winds. The officers tried to make a show of authority, 
but might as well have ordered the wind not to blow. All 
being from the same neighborhood, we were one great happy 
family, reunited after a long separation. I doubt if there is 
a man in either regiment who has not a friend, if not a brother, 
in the other. They have passed through about the same experi- 
ences in the recruiting camp and passed over the same route 
to this place. They knew the same people we knew and could 
give us late information about them. My own brother, John 
Van Alstyne, the same John who scolded me for enlisting, 
who called me a "fool" and lots of other bad names, had made 
the same sort of a fool of himself and was here with Uncle 
Sam's uniform on. Dozens of others I knew almost as well, 
and the same was the case all through, officers and men alike. 
As soon as the first round of handshaking w-as over and our 
volleys of questions about home and home people were 
answered, we took our turn at answering as to w^iere we had 
been and what we had done, and how we liked it, etc., etc. 
Then we couldn't help standing up a little straighter, and show- 


ing as best we could the superiority of old bronzed soldiers like 
us over raw recruits like them. We had just returned from a 
sally against the enemy. The enemy had run off and given 
us no chance to show what we might have done, but that was 
no fault of ours. But soon the pangs of hunger, which had 
been forgotten for the time, came back, and as soon as the 150th 
took in the situation, over the fences and into their deserted 
camp they went, and soon everything eatable that their camp 
contained was transferred to ours, and soon afterwards to 
our stomachs. And how much good it did them to see us eat ! 
They bought out the sutler and fed us until we could eat no 
more. And then we smoked and talked and chatted until late 
into the night. Surely I have never seen so much supreme 
satisfaction crammed into so small a space of time. But we 
finally separated and have quieted down, and now that I have 
written up my diary I will crawl in with my snoring comrades. 

October 28, 1862. 

Camp Millington, Baltimore. Tuesday. From the time 
of our home-coming and the royal welcome given us by the 
150th, I have only made notes which I will try now to write out. 
Nothing out of the ordinary routine of a soldier's life in camp 
has transpired. I am getting more and more used to this, and 
the trifling occurrences that at first made such deep impres- 
sions are soon forgotten now. StilU as some one may read 
this who will never know of the details of a soldier's life in 
any other way, I shall try and keep to my promise to tell the 
whole story. 

The box of good things that was mentioned in the letter 
I received while we lay in the street at Baltimore, waiting 
for a train to take us to Gettysburg, came a few days after 
our return to camp. In it was a great big package for me. 
I opened it and there lay the roasted body of our old Shanghai 
rooster. He was minus head, feet and feathers, but I knew 
him the minute I laid eyes on him. 


I at once began to figure how many stomachs like ours he 
would fill, and then gave out that many invitations. All came, 
and brought their plates. With mouths watering, they stood 
about as I prepared to carve. 

At the first cut I thought I smelled something, anrl at the 
next was sure I did. The old fellow, tough as he was, was 
not able to stand close confinement in such hot weather, and 
had taken on an odor that took away all appetite for roast 
chicken. Terribly disappointed, we wrapped him up again, 
and taking him out of camp, gave him as near a military 
funeral as we knew how. He was a brave old bird. I have 
seen him whip Cuff, mother's little guardian of the garden 
patch. "He sleeps his last sleep. He has fought his last battle. 
No sound shall awake him to glory again." 

Requests for passes to visit the camp of the 150th are the 
pests of the commanding officers of our regiment, and the 
same can be said of the 150th, As soon as guard-mount is 
over, and the other details for camp duty made, the old guard 
(those who were on duty the day before, and who are excused 
from all duty except dress parade for the next twenty-four 
hours) try for a pass to visit the city or the 150th, the two 
attractions now. John Van Alstyne often visits me, as well as 
others with him with whom I am well acquainted. These 
visits I return as often as I can get away. Our camp ground 
has been laid out in regular order and the company streets 
graded and made to look very respectable. There is a broad 
street, along one side of which are the officers' tents, the 
colonel's in the center. Back of these are the quartermaster's 
and the commissary's stores, the sutler's tent and the mules and 
horses. In front of the colonel's tent is the flag-staff, and run- 
ning out from the street are ten shorter streets, one for each 
company, v^dth cook-houses or tents at the bottom. Men are 
detailed every day to clean up and keep in order all these and 
are called supernumeraries, ^^llen it rains we that are not 
on duty lie in our tents and amuse ourselves in any way we 


can, or visit from tent to tent as the fancy takes us. In fair 
weather we have either company-drill or battalion-drill, and 
every now and then the regiments are put together for bri- 
gade-drill. Any of it is hard work, but it is what we are here 
for, and we find little fault. The weather is chilly. I notice 
but little difference in the weather here and as we usually have 
it at home. There we expect it, while here we do not and 
that I suppose makes it seem harder to put up with. 

One of our company, Elmer Anderson, deserted and enlisted 
in an artillery regiment a few days ago. He came into 
camp showing his papers and was arrested and put in the 
guard-house. What the outcome will be I don't know, but it 
seems as if there should be some way of preventing such things. 
Sunday mornings we have what we call knapsack-drill. Why 
they save this for Sunday I don't know, but I suppose there is 
some reason for it. We pack our knapsacks, brush up our guns, 
clothes, shoes, etc., and march to the drill ground and form in 
columns by companies. Company A on the right and B on the 
left. This brings Company A in front and the first company to 
be inspected, after which they march back to camp and are 
through for the day. Company B being the last, it is something 
like an hour we stand there with our knapsacks open before us 
on the ground, everything in them exposed to view of the 
passer-by, who is the inspection officer and the captain whose 
company he is inspecting. With his sword tip he pokes over 
our belongings, and if any dirty socks or handkerchief or any 
other article a soldier ought not to have is found, a lesson 
is read to him on the spot and repeated in plainer terms by 
the captain afterwards. As we must take everything we own 
or have it stolen while we are away, we take a great many 
chances. I shall never forget the first inspection. We knew 
nothing of what was coming, and such an outfit as that 
inspection officer saw I don't think any other one ever did. 
Little by little we learn the lesson, learn to put the best on 
top, for not all knapsacks have their contents stirred up. A 


great deal of allowance was made for us at first, but as we 
go along the screws of discipline are slowly but surely turned 
on, and finally I suppose it will be easy to obey. That one 
word, "obey," seems to be all that is required of us. No 
matter how unreasonable an order seems to us, we have only 
to obey it or get in trouble for not doing it. 

November i, 1.862. 
Have sent home my diary and am beginning another. I 
must be more brief, for the great mass just sent off covers 
but little ground and will tire the patience of any who read it. 
A cold I took the night we lay in Baltimore seems determined 
to make me sick. I have quite a sore throat and some days 
feel as if I must give up. Dr. Cook of the 150th has seen 
me and thinks I should be reported to our doctor. There is 
talk of our going farther south and I hope we may, for the 
ground is getting pretty cold here. 

November 2, 1862. 
Feel slim to-day, but am still able to do duty. There is so 
little to write about, as long as we make no change. I am 
going to wait for something to turn up worth noting. 

November 5, 1862. 
Something has happened. Last night, just as we were set- 
tling down for the night, orders came for a move. Dr. Andrus 
came round looking us over and ordered me to the hospital, 
as well as several others. Where the regiment is going is a 
secret from us yet. While the tents were coming down and 
packing up was going on, an ambulance drove in and with 
others I did not know^ I was carted to what I understand is 
called "Stewart's Mansion Hospital." It is in the city, and 
I think near the place of our first night's stay in Baltimore. I 
was assigned a bed and for the first time since leaving home 


took off my clothes for the night. It seemed so strange I 
was a long time getting sleepy. 

I am in a large room full of clean cots, each one with a man 
in it more or less sick. Not being as bad off as many others, 
I have written some letters for myself and some for others who 
washed me to do so. The room is warmed by two big stoves 
and if I knew where the regiment was, I would be willing 
to put in the winter right here. Nurses, men detailed for 
that purpose, are here just to wait on us and ladies are coming 
and going nearly all the time. They bring us flowers and are 
just as kind as they can be. I am up and dressed and have 
been out seeing the grounds about the place. One building is 
called the dead house, and in it were two men who died during 
the night. As none were missing from the room I was in, I 
judge there are other rooms, and that the one I was in is for 
those who are not really sick, but sickish. John Wooden of 
our company is probably the sickest man in the ward. John 
Van Alstyne came in just at night to see how I came on. Snow 
is falling and the natives call it very unusual weather for the 
time of year. 

November 8, 1862. 
Snow going fast. A day more like May than November. 
Hear the regiment is on a vessel off shore waiting for some- 
thing, I don't know what. 

November p, 1862. 

Sunday. Four men died last night. A major from one of 
the regiments came to see some of his men here. He doesn't 
enthuse much over the conditions on board ship. 

Night. Hear the vessel with the 128th has sailed. I am 
left behind, but I am getting along so nicely I will surely 
be able to go soon. Am a little weak and have a troublesome 
cough, but upon the whole am much better. 


November lo, 1862. 
Two more deaths last night. As I have nothing better to 
do I will describe what I saw of a military funeral. It was an 
artilleryman in a plain pine box over which the U. S. flag was 
thrown. His comrades with guns reversed went first. Then 
came the gun-carriage with the cofifin strapped on and six 
horses hitched to it. After a prayer by the chaplain the proces- 
sion started in order as follows : First, the fife and drum, play- 
ing the dead march. Then an escort of guards, after which 
the body, followed by the horse the man had ridden, led by a 
soldier. He was saddled and bridled and his dead master's 
boots were strapped in the stirrups heels foremost, with his 
sword hanging from the pommel of the saddle. A corporal 
was in charge of the whole. At the grave, three volleys were 
fired across the open grave after the body was lowered, and 
then the procession marched back in reverse order, the fife and 
drum playing a lively march. The soldiers' graves are as close 
to each other as possible and a pine board giving the man's 
name and that of the command to which he belonged is placed 
at the head of each. 

November 11, 1.862. 
John Van has been over again and says his regiment is 
going into winter quarters in the city outskirts. I hear the 
i28th has sailed for Fortress Monroe. The papers are all 
headed, "Removal of McClellan," and ever3^one is giving 
his opinion of the change. I say nothing because I know too 
little about it to venture an opinion. I went out and treated 
myself to a good square meal to-day and begin to think I was 
more hungry than sick, for I feel fit and ready for anything. 
Chaplain Parker has been here to see his boys, as he calls them. 
Says he left the regiment oft Fortress Monroe on board the 
Arago. He reports them well and in fine spirits. 


November ij, 1862. 
Yesterday and to-day I have been fixing to get away from 
here and join the regiment. Captain Wooden's mother from 
Pine Plains came in to-day and I am full of home news. I 
kept her answering questions as long as she staid. Dr. 
Andrus says I must not think of going yet, but if I get a chance 
I'll show him. Doctors don't know it all. I have had such 
good care and such nice warm quarters I am really myself 
again, only not quite as strong as I was once. My clothes 
don't fit very close yet, and if the looking-glass in the ward- 
room is correct I have had something that has made me look 
rather slim. 

November 14, 1862. 

Friday. Dr. Andrus is going to-day. He says I ought not 
to think of leaving here yet. But he does not forbid it, so if 
I get a chance I shall try it. I have burned my big pile of 
letters and discarded every thing my knapsack was stufifed with 
except what belongs to Uncle Sam. 

5 p. m. Mail in and a five-dollar bill came in a letter from 
home. I went right out and bought a pair of boots with it, 
which beat the low shoes I have so far worn. 

7 p. m. On board the steamer Louisiana. I had a hard time 
getting here, making two miles in twenty minutes with my 
gun and accoutrements all on. Dr. Andrus went and as soon 
as the chance came I sneaked out and started. I was just in 
time, as the gang-plank was being pulled aboard when I came 
to it. Dr. Andrus was on deck and saw me and had them wait 
until I was on board. Then he scolded some and made me get 
into a berth where he covered me up in blankets and made me 
drink a cup of hot stuff which he prepared. I was nearly 
roasted by this treatment, but I am away from the hospital and 
on the way to be with the boys again and so did not complain. 

On Board the Arago 

A morning on Chesapeake Bay— At Newport News — At Fortress 
Monroe — The journey south continued — Sickness and death on board — 
A burial at sea— Quarantined. 

November ij, 1862. 

WE are nearly out of sight of land. Wild ducks and 
geese cover the water. The sun is just coming up, 
and seems to me I never saw such a lovely morning. 
Besides the ducks and geese on the water, the air is full of 
them, some alighting on the water and others rising from it. 
They are so tame they only get out of the way of the boat, 
and if shooting was allowed, hundreds could be shot from 
where I stand. I am sore and stiff from my run to catch the 
boat, but I am thankful to be here and take in these new 
sights on this glorious morning. Chaplain Parker is on board 
and is pointing out places and vessels, and helping us to enjoy 
it all. 

II a. m. We are sailing over the spot where the Monitor 
and Merrimac fought. An eye-witness who is on board has 
been giving a vivid description of it, to which I listened with 
the deepest interest. 

Noon. We have landed at Newport News ; so they call it, 
but there are only a few shanties in sight, and beside each 
one is a huge pile of oyster shells. The boys are here, having 
been brought off from the Arago, which lies off shore. Oysters 
are plenty and cheap, and I am full of them, the best I ever 
tasted, fresh from the water, and so large many of them make 
two good mouthfuls. The Monitor, which saved the day when 
the Merrimac same out of the James River, lies near by, and 
the wrecks of the Cumberland and Congress which were sunk. 


show above the water. The Arago hes just outside and at 2 
p. M. we go on board. The only white men I have seen are 
soldiers. The negroes and their shanties are all I can see of 
Newport News. 

November 16, 1862. 
Sunday night. The day has been cold and blustery. We 
have spent it in reading tracts the chaplain gave out, writing 
letters and swapping yarns. I am new to it all, and the boys 
have shown me all over the Arago where they are allowed 
to go. Our sleeping quarters are between decks, and are very 
similar to those on Hudson camp ground. That is, long tiers 
of bunks, one above the other from the floor to the ceiling 
above, just high enough for a man to sit up in and not hit 
his head. They are wide enough for four, but a board through 
the middle separates each into berths for two men each. They 
are the whole length of the room, with just enough space to 
walk between them. Along the sides is a row through which 
are small round windows which can be opened, and which 
give the only light the room has. For ventilation, a huge 
bag hangs down from above deck which ends up in a big tin 
or iron funnel which is kept away from the wind and so is 
supposed to draw up the air from our bedroom when it 
becomes heated. Where fresh air comes from I have not yet 
found out, but suppose it drops down through several open- 
ings in the deck above. A swap was made with one who 
bunked with Walter Loucks so my crony and I could again 
be together. It is on the side, and has a window in it. Walt 
has kindly given me the light side so I can keep up my scrib- 
bhng. What we are here for, or where we go from here, is 
not yet told us. In fact I don't know as it is yet determined. 

November 17, 1862. 
Monday. On shore again. The well ones are drilling and 
the sick are enjoying themselves any way they can. Mail 


came to-day and I have a long letter from home. Every mail 
out takes one from me and often more. I have so many 
correspondents, I seldom fail to get one or more letters by 
each mail. On 'the bank or shore, up and down as far as I 
have seen, are negro shanties which look as if put up for a 
tew days only. They dig oysters and find a ready sale to the 
thousands upon thousands of soldiers that are encamped on the 
plains as far as the eye can reach. This gathering means 
something, but just what, we none of us know, A case of 
black measles is reported on board ship and if true we may 
be in for a siege of it. I hope I may get entirely well before 
it hits me. Jaundice is quite common too, and many men I 
see are as yellow as can be and look much worse than they 
appear to feel. 

November i8, 1862. 
Orderly Holmes and myself have been on shore again. We 
went up the beach and found a soldiers' graveyard. We got 
breakfast at a darky hut, mutton chops and onions, hot biscuit 
and cofifee, all for twenty-five cents. The boat that takes us 
to and from the Arago is a small affair that used to run up 
and down the James River. The Rebs have left their mark 
upon it in the shape of bullet holes most everywhere, but 
most often on the pilot-house. 

November ig, 1862. 
-Have been paid off; $24.70 I got, and we all w^ent ashore 
and washed up. The bunks on the Arago have been used 
so long by so many that they are lousy and most everyone 
has them. I, however, have found none as yet. W'e are 
kept on shore as much as possible, as a guard against disease, 
which would surely come when so many are crowded in so 
small a space. As there is no way to spend money here 
except for oysters, a great many gamble it away, then borrow 
again from those that win and pay any interest asked for. 


There is more and more sickness every day. Many are taken 
to a hospital at Fortress Monroe, which I am told is not far 


November 21, 1862. 
A death on board last night. The guns are being taken off 
the Cumberland and Congress by divers. Lieutenant Colonel 
Smith let himself out to-day, and says if there isn't land 
enough in the South for his men, he thinks they should be 
disbanded and sent home. Hurrah for Colonel Smith! He 
is a soldier all over and knows what is fair treatment better 
than the new officers, and acts as if he meant to have it. We 
have been on board all day and have put in the time trading 
watches and anything else. Everything goes here. Richmond 
is taken, so we hear, and hope it may be so. 

November 22, 1862. 
The sun rose clear this morning, and the air is just right. 
Our lower regions are hot and stuffy, but on deck it is delight- 
ful. Great birds, sea-gulls I hear them called, are all about 
and pick up, or pick at, everything that floats on the water. 
We went ashore and while there saw General Corcoran and 
staff. If he amounts to much he is, Hke a "singed cat," better 
than he looks. My throat troubles me yet and to-night is 
about as bad as ever. Good-night, diary. 

November 2^, 1862. 

Off Fortress Monroe. We left Newport News about six 
this morning, and came here where lie many other vessels 
loaded with soldiers. There's a big move going on, which I 
will know about when it comes off. Coal and hard-tack are 
coming aboard by the boat load. The colonel's horse died last 
night and went overboard. Poor things. They have more air 
than we, but have no chance to move. They do not lie down 
at all. 


November 2/], 1862. 
Monday. All ni.^ht the coal kept rattling down, and it 
would seem this old craft would sink. There are about 1300 
men on board. 

November 25, 1862. 

Tuesday. If I have kept track right, this is Thanksgiving 
day up north. My mouth waters as I think of the good things 
they will eat to-day. I suppose we should feel thankful for 
the fare we have, but it is hard to do it, and is harder yet 
to eat it. Still I know how impossible it is to do much 
better by us than they do. The family is so big, the individual 
member of it must not expect pie and cake with every meal. 
Some drilling in the manual of arms is done on the quarter 
deck. It makes something to do, and anything is better than 
nothing. A gun feels pretty heavy to me these days. It is 
curious to see how we divide up into families. Men who 
were friends and neighbors at home are even more than that 
here. Our duties may separate us, but when they are over we 
hunt each other up again. We know and talk with others, 
but confidences are all saved for the few^ Our beds are next 
to each other, but with the fellows next to us on the other 
side we have little to do. 

The waves run high to-day, higher than any I ever saw, 
and yet the sailors say this is almost a dead calm. Still the 
ves-sel pitches and dives, so we run against some one or some- 
thing every move we make. 

November 26, 1862. 
Wednesday. Rainy to-day. This keeps us below and such 
a racket as we make! I begun to wonder if I didn't make a 
mistake in leaving Stewart's Mansion. Dr. Andrus is dosing 
me and when it clears ofif I hope to feel better, 


November 2/, 1862. 
Thursday. This is really Thanksgiving day. So by my 
mistaking Tuesday for it I really have two holidays. The 
men are ashore for a Thanksgiving sermon. I am taking 
mine in my bunk. Have less fever but more sore throat. 

November 28, 1862. 

Lots of sick men to-day. I am better and was on duty 
again. Had only to attend sick-call and take the men to the 
doctor. There were only six from Company B, while some 
companies had twenty. Sergeants Noble and Kniffin were 
sent ashore to the Chesapeake hospital to-day. 

Night. John Thompson and Isaiah Dibble, fresh from the 
North, came on board to-night. Gave us all the home news 
and many loving messages from those we love so well. But 
the way they spoke of our quarters was scandalous. Said 
hogs would die if confined in such a pen as this, 

November 2g, 1862. 
Hurrah for camp once more ! Our tents are being sent 
ashore and a detail from each company goes to put them 
up. This began just at night and lasted all night. Nobody 
slept, for some were working and the rest were thinking of 
living outdoors again. 

November 30, 1862. 
Sunday. Camp Hamilton, right in sight of Fortress Mon- 
roe. The last day of fall and as perfect a day as ever was. 
We are on the ground again and it feels cold after the heated 
quarters on the boat. God help us if it rains, for this bare 
ground would soon be like a mortar bed. But we are not to 
cross any bridges until we come to them. Still I think we 
had better pray for a dry spell. 


December i, 1862. 
Monday. Winter. Just think of it, and yet but for the 
almanac I should call it Indian summer. 

December 2, 1862. 
Tuesday. On board the Arago again. That is, most of 
us are. Some were sent to the hospital instead, Leonard 
Loucks among them. Orders came in the night, we were 
routed out, tents struck and tied up. We waited until morn- 
ing and then till 9 a. m., when we were put on a boat and 
taken back here, just what for nobody knows that will tell. 
I declare this "hog-pen," as Thompson called it, seems like 
home. There is a familiar smell to it, and the beds are 
dry too. 

December s, 1862. 
Wednesday. Rainy day. Many have taken cold from our 
stay in camp and coughing and sneezing is going on all over 
the boat. I manage to keep up at this, and for coughing I 
think I take the lead. I am lucky in one thing though. Dr. 
Andrus once knew a Van Alstyne who he says was a very 
decent sort of a man, and often stops to talk of those of the 
name he knows, and to ask me about those I know. In that 
way he is able to keep track of my condition and give me 
more of his attention than he otherwise would. 

December 4, 1862. 

Judging from appearances we are to move again. The 
anchor is coming up and there is hustling and bustling about 
all over the boat. Anything by way of excitement is good 
and I am glad something is going to happen. I miss a great 
many boats that were lying about us yesterday and everj^ 
now and then one goes past us towards the open sea. 

Later. We're off, heading in the only direction where no 
land is in sight. 


Later still. Have learned this much. The Baltic is the 
flag ship, with General Banks and staff on board. She has 
stopped and all the other vessels are forming in lines. Each 
vessel has orders which are only to be opened in case of 
separation from the flag-ship. It is too dark to see or to write 
and the ship pitches and dives terribly. Water dashes on 
deck sometimes, and this was almost thirty feet above water 
before we loaded up with coal. 

December 6, 1862. 

Saturday. Wind and waves both much higher. Nearly 
everyone except myself is seasick. Before it reaches me I 
am going to try and describe what is going on about me. 

To begin with, our cabin quarters. I have told how the 
bunks are arranged, so just imagine the men hanging over the 
edge and throwing whatever is in them out on the floor or 
on the heads of those below them. The smell is awful. I 
was afraid to stir for fear my turn would come, but after a 
while did get out on deck. Here everyone seemed trying to 
turn themselves wrong side out. The oflicers bowed as low 
as the privates, and except for the sailors, there was no one 
in sight but seemed to be determined to gaze upon what they 
had eaten since the war began. 

No one could stand without hanging fast to something, and 
fast to a rope that came from above to a ring in the deck 
were four men, swinging round in a circle, each one every 
now and then casting up his accounts on the back of the man 
in front. The deck was slippery and not being sailor enough 
to get about I climbed down again and after some narrow 
escapes reached my bunk to tell my diary the sights I had 
seen. I cannot tell of the smells. There is nothing I can think 
of to compare it with. 

December y, 1862. 

Sunday night. My turn came, but did not last long. I was 
able to see the others at their worst, and came out of it 

ON liOAKI) Till': ARAGO. 69 

before the others were able to take much notice. Some are 
as sick as ever, but most of them are getting over it, and 
cleaning house is the order of the day. The sea is very rough, 
though not as bad as in the night. It seemed sometimes as 
if the Arago was rolling over. Lieutenant Sterling of Com- 
pany D died a few hours ago. He had some sort of fever. We 
have a variety of diseases abroad if reports are true. I am 
getting careful about putting down what I cannot see for 
myself. It takes but little to start a story and by the time 
it has gone around the original teller would not believe it 
himself. For myself, I am all the better for my seasickness, 
and think those that are over it feel the same way. Rockets 
are going up from the different vessels in sight. I suppose 
someone knows what for, but I do not. 

December 8, 1862. 
Monday. The storm is over and it is warm and pleasant. 
Lieutenant Sterling's funeral sermon was preached this morn- 
ing on the quarter-deck. On account of lack of room only 
his company and the commissioned officers attended. His 
body will be sent home when we land. 

December g, 1862. 
Tuesday. Land ho ! I was on deck by the crack of dawn, 
saw the sun come up from the water ; a beautiful sight. Saw 
two vessels going towards home and wished I was on board. 
Wm. Haight of our company is very sick. He is a general 
favorite and we all feel badly at the possibility of losing him. 

December 10, 1862. 

Off the coast of Florida. We must be going to New 
Orleans as has been reported. I did not believe it at first, as 
there was a report that Charleston was our destination. 

Haight died about sunrise, and his death has cast a gloom 
over Company B. He was one of the best fellows I have 


met with in the army. He was a Httle wild at first but later 
seemed to change. Talked of the trouble his habits had caused 
his parents and seemed determined to atone for it by a right 
about face change. We shall miss his cheery voice. Such 
is war. It is over thirty-six days since the 128th and two 
companies of the 1 14th New York came aboard this vessel. It 
is a wonder so many are alive to-day. We get on deck now 
and the nights are so warm some of us sleep there. We 
suffer for good water to drink. What we have may be good, 
but it is distilled water, and there are so many of us we use 
it before it has time to get cold. On the quarter-deck, where 
we are not allowed to go, are barrels which contain real water, 
for officers' use only. I was let into a secret last night, how 
to get some of it, and I drank all I could hold. With a long 
rubber tube I crawled up behind a barrel and let the end 
down the bunghole, which is left open for ventilation, and 
sucked away as long as I could swallow. This will go on 
until someone is caught at it, and then the game will be up. 

December 11, 1862. 
In the Gulf of Mexico. Flying fish and porpoises are in 
sight. The sailors say the porpoises are after the flying fish, 
and they skip out of the water and go as far as they can and 
then drop in again. It is a beautiful morning, and the water 
is smooth as glass on top. Under it, however, there seems 
to be a commotion, for the surface is up and down like hills 
and hollows on land. Ground swells, the sailors call it. In 
spite of the nice weather a great many are yet seasick. Three 
cases of measles are reported this morning. Every one who 
has never had them seems to be having them now. Only 
a few new cases of fever were reported. A big shark is 
following the vessel, after anything that is thrown overboard. 
It keeps up easily and as far as I can discover makes very 
little effort to do so. 


December 12, 1862. 
At daylight Company B was called on deck and made to 
form in a three-sided square, the open side towards the rail. 
Poor Haight was then brought up in a rough box, which was 
set across the rail, the most of it projecting over the water, 
the end towards us being fastened down by a rope fastened 
to an iron on the deck. The chaplain made a prayer, and 
just as the sun rose out of the water the rope was slipped 
off, and the box plunged down into the water. I should have 
said that the engines were stopped and except for the chap- 
lain's words the utmost silence prevailed. I shall never forget 
this, my first sight of a burial at sea. It has all been so 
sudden, and so unexpected. He was only sick a few days. 
Never complained no matter what came, but always was 
foremost in any fun that can be got out of a life like this. 
It was at his father's house I took tea when home on my five- 
day furlough, and I am glad I could give his mother such 
a good account of him. It is hard for us to understand why 
Lieutenant Sterling's body can be kept for shipment home, 
while that of Haight could not. 

December ij, 1862. 
Yet in the Gulf of Mexico. Company C lost a man last 
night. Company G has been turned out of their quarters 
and a hospital made of it. That crowds the others still more, 
but at the rate we go on the whole ship will soon be a hospital. 
" 10 a. m. We have stopped at a sandy island, which they 
say is Ship Island. The man who died last night has been 
taken off and they are digging a hole in the sand to put 
him in. 

Ship Island so far as I can discover is only a sand bar with 
a small fort on it, and with some soldiers about it the only 
live thing in sight. We weighed anchor about 4 p. m. and the 
next morning, Dec. 14th, stopped off the mouth of the iMissis- 
sippi for a pilot. I am told this is called the South West Pass, 


being one of several outlets to the great Mississippi river. It 
looks like a mud flat that had been pushed out into the Gulf 
farther in some places than others. As far as the eye can 
reach the land is covered with a low down growth of grass 
or weeds that are but little above the water. We passed a 
little village of huts near the outlet, where the pilots with 
their families live and which is called "Pilot Town." What 
they live on I did not learn. The huts are perched on piles 
driven in the mud, with board walks from one to the other 
and water under and about the whole. 

December 15, 1862. 

Went on up the river until hard ground appeared. Passed 
two forts. Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip they call them, 
and say Butler's men had hard fighting to get past them when 
they came up. The secret is out. Banks is to relieve Butler 
in the Department of the Gulf. I wonder what harm it would 
have done had we been told this long ago. Chaplain Parker 
went ashore and brought off some oranges. A small limb 
had twenty-four nice oranges on it and this the Dominie said 
he would send home to show our friends what sumptuous fare 
we have. Some one suggested his putting in a few wormy 
hard-tack with the oranges. 

We have anchored opposite a large brick building with a 
few small wood buildings near it. 

December 16, 1862. 
The U. S. surgeon from the Marine Hospital has been on 
board looking us over. Found only four diseases, measles, 
scurvy, typhoid fever and jaundice. He did not put down the 
graybacks that keep us scratching all the time. For a long 
time after they appeared they left me alone, but one morning 
as I lay on my back in bed writing in my diary one came 
crawling up over my knee and looked me straight in the face ; 
from that on they have seemed to like me as well as anyone. 

Quarantine Station, La. 

Cooking gray-backs — A big cat-fish— Starting a grave yard — " The 
most trying circumstances war can bring." 

TOWARDS night the Arago swung up to the bank 
near the big brick building and we went ashore and 
piled into it. It was built for storing cotton, and is fire- 
proof. The lower floor is of brick and the upper one of iron 
and so cannot well burn. The bricks seem hard and cold 
and are water-soaked. Still we spread our blankets and got 
some sleep and woke up hungry. The cooks have established 
themselves between us and the river so as to be near water. 
We have room to stir about at any rate and some went in 
bathing, but the water is cold. The only good quality the 
body lice possess is a habit of letting go of us when we move 
and grabbing hold of our clothes. Taking advantage of this 
we took the camp kettles as soon as breakfast was cooked 
and boiled our clothes. Those that had no change — and that 
was the most of us — ran about to keep warm until our garments 
were cooked and then after a wring out put them on and let 
them dry as fast as the wind and sun would do it. By night 
we were dry and slept without a scratch, and strange to say 
none of us took cold. But not all would try this heroic remedy 
and consequently we expect to have to repeat the operation. 
A negro came across the river with his boat loaded with 
oranges. We bought the whole of them as fast as he could 
count them out, fifty cents for lOO, and the doctor says eat 
all you want. The sick are in the wooden buildings outside, 
except in one, which the officers have taken. We acted like 
colts just turned loose and already are forgetting the close 
quarters we were in so long. Along the river is a narrow 
strip of hard ground and beyond that is a swamp which so 


far as I can see has no end. Sluggish streams flow with the 
tide back and forth from the river to the gulf, and between 
these the ground is covered with what is here called wild rice. 
Birds of all sorts are plenty; ducks and geese all feed upon 
the seeds that abound everywhere, 

December ly, 1862. 
Have explored the country up and down and back from the 
river to-day. Found much that is strange to me but met with 
no startling adventures, 

December 18, 1862. 
The officers gave a dance in the upper part of the store- 
house last night and the iron floor was fine for dancing. 
All hands were invited to join in and all that felt able did. 
Two men died yesterday, and last night another, all fever 
patients. Two were from Company A, and the other from 
Company I. They were buried just back of the quarters on 
hard ground, for this place, A catfish was caught by one of 
Company A's men to-day, that looked just like our bullheads, 
only bigger. As he was pulling him in over the mud the line 
broke, and I got the head for hitting him with an axe before 
he got to the water. The head weighed 143^ lbs, and the 
whole fish 52 lbs, A native that saw him said he was a big 
one, but not as big as they sometimes grow. My family had 
a meal from the head and Company A had fish for all their 
sick and part of the well ones. 

December ig, 1862. 
Fifteen cases of fever reported this morning, A dead man 
was taken out very early and buried in a hurry. This has 
given rise to the story that small-pox has come, too. It looks 
as if it might be so, for it's about the only thing we haven't 
got. Those that seemed strongest are as likely to be taken 
now as the weakest, I have been half sick through it all and 


yet I hold my own, and only for my sore throat and this 
racking cough would enjoy every minute. 

December 20, 1862. 
One day is so much like another that the history of one will 
do for several. I think about everything that can be done 
for our comfort is being done. There must be some reason 
for our being kept here and it is probably l)ecause of so 
much sickness. It would not do to take us where others would 
catch our diseases and yet it is tough lines we are having. 
Chaplain Parker does everything he can to keep up our spirits, 
even to playing boy with us. A new doctor has come to take 
the place of one that died while we lay off Newport News. 

December 21, 1862. 
Inspection of arms to-day and a sermon by the chaplain. 
We are thinking and talking of the letters we will get when 
we have a mail. Uncle Sam keeps track of us someway and 
sooner or later finds us. We have a regimental postmaster, 
who is expected every day from the city with a bag full. W^e 
have enough to fill him up on his return trip. The Arago is 
unloading all our belongings, which looks as if we were to stay 
here. Good-bye, Arago ! I wish there was a kettle big enough 
to boil you and your bugs in before you take on another load. 
So many are sick the well ones are worked the harder for it. 
I still rank amoung the well ones and am busy at something 
all the time. Just now I have been put in place of fifth 
sergenat, who among other duties sees that the company has 
its fair share of rations, and anything else that is going. I 
also attend sick call every morning, wdiich amounts to this. 
The sick call sounds and the sick of Company B fall in line 
and I march them to the doctor's office, where they are exam- 
ined. Some get a dose of whiskey and quinine, some are 
ordered to the hospital and some are told to report for duty 
again. Dr. Andrus and I play checkers every chance we get. 


We neither play a scientific game, but are well matched and 
make some games last a long time. He is helping my throat 
and my cough is not so bad lately. Our quarters were turned 
into a smoke house to-day. An old stove without a pipe is 
going and some stinking stuff is burning that nothing short 
of a grayback can stand. It is expected to help our condition, 
and there is lots of chance for it. 

Christmas, 1862. 
Nothing much out of the ordinary has happened since I 
wrote last. A man went out hunting and got lost in the tall 
weeds. He shouted until some others found him and then 
had great stories to tell of narrow escapes, etc. Harrison 
Leroy died this morning. He was half sick all the way here 
and did not rally after coming ashore. Dr. Andrus poked a 
swab down my throat with something on it that burned and 
strangled me terribly. But I am much the better for it. We 
have all been vaccinated, and there is a marked improvement 
in the condition of those not in the hospital. The chaplain 
preached a sermon and Colonel Cowles made a speech. He 
thanked us for being such good soldiers under what he called 
the most trying circumstances war can bring. Loads of 
soldiers go up the river nearly every day. As the doctor allows 
them to pass the quarantine, I take it they are not in the fix 
we are. 

December 26, 1862. 
Leroy was buried early this morning. My part in it was 
to form the company and march it by the left flank to the 
grave. For fear this may not be plain I will add, that the 
captain and orderly are always at the right of the line when 
the company is in line for any purpose and that end of the 
line is the right flank. The tallest men are on the right also 
and so on down to the shortest, which is Will Hamilton and 
Charles Tweedy, who are on the left, or the left flank as it is 


called. This arrang-ement brings the officers in the rear going 
to the grave, but when all is over the captain takes command 
and marches the company back by the right. I got through 
without a break and feel as if I was an old soldier instead of 
a new one. But it is a solemn affair. Leroy was a favorite 
with us and his death and this, our first military funeral, has 
had a quieting effect on all. Last night the chaplain and some 
officers, good singers all, came in and we almost raised the 
roof singing patriotic songs. Speeches were made and we 
ended up with three cheers that must have waked the alligators 
out in the swamp. Sweet potatoes and other things are begin- 
ning to come in and as they sell for most nothing we are 
living high. But we are in bad shape as a whole. Mumps 
have appeared and twenty-four new cases were found to-day. 
Colonel Smith, our lieutenant-colonel, has been up the river 
to try and find out if better quarters could not be had and 
has not succeeded. He is mad clear through, and when asked 
where we were to go, said to hell, for all he could find out. 

December 28, 1862. 

We have had a rain and the hard ground made the softest 
kind of mud. It sticks to our feet and clothes, and everybody 
is cross and crabbed. The sun came out, however, and our 
spirits began to rise as the mud dried up. There was preach- 
ing and prayer meeting both to-day. 

Our chaplain's courage is something wonderful and many 
of us attend the services out of respect to him when we had 
much rather lie and rest our aching bones. The captain of 
the Arago sent word he will be along to-night on his way to 
New York and would stop for letters. He will find some, 
judging from the writing that has been going on. 

December 2g, 1862. 
John Van Hoovenburg, another Company B boy, is about 
gone. The men are getting discouraged and to keep their 


minds from themselves it is said drilling- is to begin to-morrow. 
The seed sown on the Arago is bearing fruit now. Some- 
thing to do is no doubt the best medicine for us. I know I 
should die if I laid around and talked and thought of nothing 
but my own miserable self. 

January i, 1863. 
The Arago did call for our mail and the body of Lieutenant 
Sterling was put on board to go to his family in Poughkeepsie. 
We gave the old ship three cheers, and then some one sang 
out three cheers for the lice you gave us. John Van Hooven- 
burg died last night. We made a box for him out of such 
boards as we could find. Though we did our best, his bare 
feet showed through the cracks. But that made no difference 
to poor Johnnie. The chaplain was with him to the end, says 
he was happy and ready to go. This is how we spend our 
New Year's day. We wish each other a happy New Year 
though just as if we were home and had a good prospect of 
one. After the funeral Walter Loucks and I went up the 
river quite a distance, so far it seemed as if our legs would 
not carry us back. Negro huts are scattered along. I suppose 
white people cannot live here and so the darkeys have it all. 
Some cultivate patches of ground and in one garden we saw 
peas in bloom. We bought a loaf of bread and a bottle of 
molasses of an old woman, and though the bread was not 
what it might have been, it tasted good. There are some 
orange trees, but no oranges. The darkies say they will blos- 
som in about a month. A man in Company E, a sort of poet, 
who was always writing songs for the boys to sing, was 
cutting wood to-day and the axe flew off the handle and cut 
the whole four fingers from the right hand. There were no 
witnesses and some there are who say he did it so as to get 
a discharge. The doctor has dressed the hand and he is going 
about in great pain just now. 


January 2, i86j. 
Friday. Peter Carlo, the one who went through the medical 
examination at Hudson with me. died last night. He was 
found dead this morning and appeared to have suffered terri- 
bly. His eyes and mouth were staring wide open and his face 
looked as if he had been tortured to death. Companies A and 
B keep in advance on the sick list. 

January s, 186^. 
Two more men died last night, but not from Company B. 
We sent off another mail to-day. I wish we might get some 
letters. We ought to have a lot of them when they do come. 

Camp Chalmette, La. 

Spying out the land — Foiling an attempt at suicide — Clash with the 
28th Maine — An interrupted sermon — Brownell's last words. 

January 4, 1863. 
UNDAY. Hip, Hip, Hurrah! The Laurel Hill, a 
steamer, has stopped at our camp and we have orders 
to pack up for a move. All that are able are to be 
taken to Chalmette, the old battle ground below New Orleans. 
Anywhere but this God-forsaken spot, say I. Chaplain Parker 
preached hot stuff at us to-day. Says we don't take proper 
care of ourselves, that we eat too often and too much. That 
made me laugh. Dominie, if you lived with us a while, ate at 
the same table and had the same bill of fare to choose from, 
I think you would tell another story. Poor man, it is getting 
on his nerves sure. But it sets me to wondering if our officers 
all think that way. If they blame us for the condition we 
are in, who brought these conditions about? Did we from 
choice herd in between decks like pigs, while the officers, 
chaplain and all had staterooms and a bed and good food 
to eat, well cooked and at regular hours? If they blame us 
for our condition to-day, I can only hope that at some time 
they may get just such treatment and fare and that I may 
be there to remind them it is their own fault. Chaplain 
Parker must do some tall preaching to make good what he 
has lost by that tongue lashing. It was uncalled for and a 
sad mistake. 

January 5, 186^. 
Chalmette. Monday. Said to be just below the city of 
New Orleans. We left quarantine about 11 p. m. and reached 
here about 8 this morning. Many were left behind, too sick 


to be moved. We have put up our tents, and have been look- 
ing about. It is a large camp ground and from all signs was 
lately occupied and was left in a hurry. Odds and ends of 
camp furniture are scattered about, and there are many signs 
of a hasty leave-taking. A few of us went back across the 
country to a large woods^ where we found many trees covered 
with long gray moss, hanging down in great bunches from the 
branches. We took all we could carry to make a bed of, for 
it is soft as feathers. 

Later. The doctor won't allow us to use our bed of moss. 
Says it would make us sick to sleep on it, and much worse 
than the ground. This is said to be the very ground where 
General Jackson fought the battle of New Orleans and a large 
tree is pointed out as the one under which General Packenham 
was killed. Ancient-looking breastworks are in sight and a 
building near our tents has a big ragged hole in the gable 
which has been patched over on the inside so as to leave 
the mark as it was made, which a native tells me was made 
by a cannon ball during the battle of New Orleans. The 
ground is level and for this country is dry. The high bank, 
or breastworks, cuts off the view on one side and a board fence 
cuts off a view of the river. Towards the city are enough 
trees to cut off an extended view in that direction, so we have 
only the swamp back of us to look at. But this beats quaran- 
tine and I wish the poor fellows left there were well enough 
to get here. There are several buildings on the ground, which 
the officers are settling themselves in, while a long shed-like 
building is being cleared out for a hospital. It has been used 
for that, I judge, and is far better than the one at quarantine. 
We brought along all that were not desperately sick and have 
enough to fill up a good part of the new hospital. Walter 
Loucks has rheumatism in his arms and suffers all the time. 
He and James Story are my tent mates. We have confiscated 
some pieces of board to keep us off the ground. Company 
B has been hard hit. We left seven men at Baltimore, seven at 


Fortress Munroe and seven at our last stopping-place. It 
seems to go by sevens, as I find we have seven here in our 
new hospital. This with the four that have died makes thirty- 
two short at this time. 

January 8, 1863. 
To-day is the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans 
and is celebrated here like the Fourth of July at home. Drill 
has been attempted, but only about 200 men were fit for it 
and our camp duties are about all we are able to do. 

January p, 1863. 
Were paid off to-day and the peddlers that hang out just 
across the guard line have done a thriving business. Walter 
gets worse every day. His courage seems to be giving out 
and it is pitiful to see him suffer. 

January 11, 186^. 
Meeting to-day. Some way they have lost their force. We 
attend because we have to. The sermon at the quarantine 
is remembered. We seem to have lost faith, not in God, but 
in ministers. Colonel Smith with all his cursing has done 
more for our care and comfort than those that profess so 
much and do so little. 

January ly, 186^. 
Saturday. On account of my cough, which is worse when 
I lie down, I have walked about evenings or sat and chatted 
with others about the camp fire until tired enough to sleep, 
and last night crawled in near midnight where my two bed- 
fellows were asleep. Soon after I got into a drowse from 
which I was awakened by a coughing spell and saw Walt 
standing by the help of the tent pole and groaning in agony. 
Soon I heard him say "I'll end it all right now," and with that 
he pitched over towards his knapsack and by the noise I 

CAM!' ( irAr.Mi'.TTr-:, la. 83 

thought he was after his revolver. I jumped across Jim, who 
lay asleep in the middle, and snatched the gnn out of his 
hand hefore he had it out of the case. Out in the company 
street I threw the three revolvers and then grabbed for a sheath 
knife which I knew was there, getting hold of the handle 
just as he grabbed the sheath. By this time Story was in 
the game and we both had our hands full getting him down 
and quiet. I went for Dr. Andrus, who after lighting a candle 
and looking in Walt's eyes, told us to take him over to the 
hospital. The struggle had put him in agony and it was pitiful 
to see how he suffered. We staid with him the rest of the 
nig-ht and by morning he was helpless. Every joint seemed as 
stiff as if no joint was there. For the next five days I did 
little but watch him and help in any way I could to make him 
more comfortable. Then he and others were taken to the 
general hospital in the city, where they will at least be warm. 
We have had a cold rain and the camp is a bed of mud. 
The wind sifts through the cracks in this old shed and although 
a stove was kept running-, it was too cold for comfort. I have 
slept but little in the last five nights, but the doctor has kept 
dosing me and I feel better than when this time with Walter 
began. Letters from home have made the world seem brighter 
and the men in it better. 

January 18, 1863. 
- Sunday. Yesterday the chaplain's tent for public w^orship 
came and this morning we were all gathered there and the 
chaplain was praying, when snap went something in the top 
and down came the tent upon us. He didn't have time to 
say "Amen," to say nothing of the benediction. In the after- 
noon Isaac T. Winans, Jim Story and I went to see ^^'alter and 
found him in a good bed and in a warm room. He is much 
better, but his wrists are swollen yet and look as if the joints 
had been pulled apart. 


January tq, i86j. 

It rained hard last night and before the tents got soaked 
up enough water sifted through to wet our blankets and we 
hardly slept at all for the cold. Not being called on for any- 
thing I lay all day and dosed, trying to make up for the 
miserable night. Isaac Brownell, of Company B, who has 
done more to keep up the spirits of the men than anything 
else, is down and very sick. He is a mimic and could mimic 
anyone or anything. His antics have made us laugh when 
we felt more like crying, and we are all anxious about him. 
A case of smallpox was discovered yesterday and the man 
put in an outbuilding, where he died this morning. Dr. Andrus 
so far has been alone, and he looks like death. 

Later. He has given out and another doctor from the 
hospital is coming to take his place. The sick list grows all 
the time. 

January 2/, i86j. 
Two doctors came to take the place of Dr. Andrus and 
they have had plenty to do. For several days the weather 
has been hot, which opens the pores in our tents so the first 
rain sifts right through. Last night it rained and we had 
another night of twisting and turning and trying to sleep 
and with very poor success. I cough so when I lie down that 
I keep up and going all I can, for then I seem to feel the best. 
Dr. Andrus still looks after us. He is getting better and we 
are glad, for he is the mainstay in the family. Brownell 
died this forenoon and I shall never forget the scene. He 
was conscious and able to talk and the last he said was for 
us to stick and hang. "But boys," said he, "if I had the 
power, I would start north with all who wanted to go and 
as soon as we passed over four feet of ground I would 
sink it." 


January 28, 186^. 
Cold day. Ice formed on puddles last night. I am staying- 
in my tent, keeping as warm as I can, I begin to feel I am 
going to give out. I have kept out of the hospital so far and 
hope to die right here in my tent if die I must. But to-morrow 
may be warmer and my cough better, and under such condi- 
tions my spunk will rise as it always has. So good-bye, diary. 
I am going to try for a nap. 

January 2g, 1863. 
For excitement to-day a man in the tent next ours tried 
to shoot himself. He is crazy. He rolled himself up in 
his blanket and then fired his revolver, on purpose maybe, 
and it may be by accident. At any rate he put a ball in the 
calf of his leg which stopped under the skin near his heel, 
and the doctor cut it out with a jackknife. He has acted 
half crazy for some time and should be taken care of before 
he kills himself or someone else. 

January so, 186^. 
The 28th Maine Regiment has encamped close beside us. 
The}'^ are well advanced in the art of taking care of them- 
selves, for they stole everything loose in a short time after 
their arrival. Have been vaccinated again. This makes the 
third time since we left Hampton Roads. 

January 31, 186$. 
One of the Maine men put a bayonet through Charlie 
Tweedy's arm as he came from the river with a pail of water. 
CharHe crossed his beat, which he had no right to do. But it 
made bad blood and quite a quantity flew^ from the noses of 
the Maine men and some Company B blood flew too. Tweedy 
is the smallest man in the regiment, and has been plagued 
by all hands until he is very saucy and on account of his size 


is allowed to do about as he pleases. But it didn't work 
on the Maine men and may teach the Bantam a lesson. 

February 6, 1862. 
Friday. The days are so much alike I have given up noting 
the doings of each as it comes. Since February ist our meet- 
ing-house tent has been repaired and raised again. Rumor 
of a move came early in the week and has kept us guessing 
ever since. I think it means something, for the sick in camp 
hospital have been sent to the general hospital in New Orleans. 
The weather has been of all sorts. Cold and windy and then 
a thunder and lightning storm that shook the very earth. The 
hospital is filling up again, too. Twenty men from Company 
K were reported to-day, and five from Company B. I fear 
my turn is coming, for in spite of all Dr. Andrus does, my 
cough does not let up. 

Camp Parapet, La. 

Captain Bostwick gets married— In the hospital at last— Goo'l care and 
treatment— The slow process of getting well— The Ponchatoula trip- 
Mosquitoes and alligators. 

February ii, 1863. 

JUST at night, as I had finished the above, the Laurel Hill, 
the boat that brought us from quarantine to Chalmette, 
tied up in front of camp and down came our tents 
and on board we went. We came up the river past New 
Orleans and between that city and Algiers, which is quite a 
large place on the left hand shore. New Orleans seems a 
big city, but lies as low as the river. A high dock all along its 
front is built up with timber and is so high only the upper 
parts of the buildings show from the river. No streets are 
seen at all. We also passed a place called Carrolton and very 
soon after landed at what is said to be Camp Parapet. 
There are no tents near the river but there are thousands a 
short distance back. The outskirts of Carrolton come close 
up on the down river side, while the up river side has a 
high bank reaching from the river back as far as I can see. 
Beyond that is an unexplored country (to me), and away 
in the distance appears to be just such a forest as w^as in sight 
back of Camp Chalmette. A good-looking dwelling house 
and a few small buildings are near by and the ground is 
tramped bare of all vegetation, as if soldiers had just moved 
away. We came down the Levee and put up our tents and 
crawled in, for it was night by that time. We have had some 
rain and some sunshine, but the w^eather is w^arm and alto- 
gether I Hke our present place of abode the best of any we 
have yet had since we left Camp Millington. Another case 
of smallpox has developed, but he was hustled to a tent way 


back of camp and I suppose our arms will have to be pricked 
again. Mine looks as if a setting hen had picked it now. 
Miss Kate Douglass, from Amenia Union, came to camp yes- 
terday and Captain Bostwick and several officers have gone 
to the city with her. Report says the captain and she are 
to be married to-night. Six months in the service and I 
have so far been only an expense to Uncle Sam. But I have 
seen something of the big farm the Rebs hope to rob him of 
and I hope I may yet do something to put him in full posses- 
sion of it again. Letters from home, also one from Walter 
Loucks, who is in the hospital at New Orleans. 

February i6, 1863. 
In the hospital after all. Dr. Andrus came last night to 
our tent and ordered me into the house I spoke of. I had a 
warm, dry bed and a good night's rest and feel much better 
to-day. The doctor has his office downstairs and the upstairs 
part is crammed full of sick men. A big tent is being put 
up and cot beds put in to put the fever patients in. Captain 
Bostwick was married last night, so it is said. Corporal Knox 
died in a fit this afternoon. It tires me to write so I must 
stop. Good-night. 

February 20, 1863. 
Captain Bostwick came to see me to-day. Two men died 
last night, one in the hospital and the other in his tent. I don't 
feel as well to-day. 

February 21, 186^. 
Think I am really better to-day. If I keep on I'll soon be 
out of this and with the boys again. But they all come in 
to see the sick as often as they can and so we keep track of 
each other. 


March 4, 186^^. 
Wednesday. I have been very sick. This is the first time T 
have felt al)le to make a mark with a ])encil. I was taken 
in the nig-ht, after the day I thoug^ht myself so much better. 
Was taken out in the tent, from which I judg'e I have had 

March 5, 1863. 
Am very weak yet. A little tires me out. A letter from 
Herman just a month old. Coon died last night, but we none 
of us knew it till we saw him carried out. 

March 6, 1863. 
Getting better fast, but can't write much yet. 

March 7, 1863. 
Was carried back into the house to-day and put among- 
the convalescents. I must be getting well, but it is slow. Most 
all the time I was worst off Dr. Andrus let me have anything 
I wanted to eat, but then I couldn't eat it. Now I can eat, 
he has cut me down to nothing. What he allows me only 
makes me crazy for more. 

March 8, 1863. 
Had a wash and a shave and am tired out. The regiment 
has marching orders. Wish I was out of this to go with 

March g, 1863. 
Gunboats are said to be going up the river ever}- day. I 
wonder what's up. 

March 10, 1863. 
Don't feel quite so smart as I did. This getting well is 
slow business. 


March ii, 1863. 
The boys say they are ready to march, but don't get any 
further orders. Letters from home. Have written to father — 
wish I could see him. 

March 14, 1863. 
Not feeHng so good these last few days. 

March 15, 1863. 
Sunday. Have my pants on and have made up my bed. If 
this keeps on I'll soon be able to hunt for something to eat, 

March 16, 1863. 
Ben Crowther is awful sick. He is a fine fellow and we 
hate to lose him. He is of better stuff than the average of 
us. I wish I could kill his nurse, for he has him tied down 
to the bed and stands laughing at his efforts to get loose. 
But it is the only way to keep him in one place, for he is 
out of his head. Talks to his wife as if she was right by 
his side. 

March 17, 1863. 
Last night I got a little box from home. That I may never 
forget a single thing in it I'll put them right down now. On 
top was a New York Sun, next a dear little letter from Jane. 
A little package of tea, a bottle of Arnold's Balsam, a pipe, a 
comb (wish it had been a fine tooth comb), a little hand 
looking-glass, a spool of thread, a lot of buttons, a good lead 
pencil, a pair of scissors, a ball of soap, half a paper of pins, 
a darning needle and a small needle, a steel pen and way down 
in the bottom a little gold locket which made the tears come. 
God bless the dear ones at home. How thoughtful and how 
kind of them to think of so many things, and all useful, too. 


March i8, 1863. 
Too much excitement yesterday and I feel like two weeks 
ago. The doctor says I will have these setl)acks thoii!L(h anrl 
it is only a part of the process of getting- well. A man named 
Kipp died to-day. I don't know how many die out in the 

March IQ, 1863. 
Poor Crowthers died very peacefully about noon to-day. 
His cot is next mine and he seemed like one of the family to 
me. The company has undertaken to raise money to send his 
body home. 

March 20, 1863. 
Orderly Holmes is very sick. His discharge is under his 
pillow (or knapsack). He lies in a room next to this and I 
can hear him talk, giving orders to the company as if he were 

March 21, 1863. 
Saturday. This is a hard spot to get well in. Two poor 
fellows are near their end to all appearances, and it is trying 
to hear then rave about home and their families. I am glad 
their friends cannot see and hear them. And yet the hardened 
wretches called nurses find something in it to laugh at. I 
wish I could change places between them and the sick ones. 
Wrote three letters to-day and don't feel so very tired. Begin 
to think Dr. Andrus was right. If he would only let me eat 
about four times as much, what a jewel he would be. 

March 26, 1863. 

Thursday. The finest morning yet. The air is just right. 

The birds are singing, the sun shining bright and everything 

seems just right for getting well. A man named Barker died 

last night about midnight. He has seemed to be dying for 


a week and we have watched to see him breathe his last any 
minute. Orderly Holmes is better and may get well after 
all. Some of the boys killed an alligator to-day and cooked 
and ate his tail. They say it is just as good as fish and looked 
like fish. 

March 2^, 1863. 
Have been downstairs. My legs just made out to get me 
there and back. Will they ever get strong again? But I 
am getting there, slow but sure, as I can see by looking back 
only a short time. 

March 28, 186^. 
Another fine day, and another trip downstairs. My legs 
behaved better this time. Am not near so tired. Now that 
I can write without getting tired I must put down some things 
I remember, but which I could not write at the time. I 
shall always remember them of course, but I want to see how 
near I can describe them on paper. First I want to say how 
very kind my comrades have been all through. I can think 
of many acts of kindness now that I paid little attention to 
then, but they kept coming along just the same. Whatever 
else I think of, the thought of their care for me and how they 
got passes and tramped miles to get me something to eat, 
always taking it to Dr. Andrus first to see if it would do 
for me — these thoughts keep coming up and my load of 
gratitude keeps getting heavier. Can I ever repay them ? God 
has been good to me, better than I deserve. 1 was first taken 
to the room where I am now writing. I remember but little 
of what happened before I was taken out and put in the big 
hospital tent. It is a large affair, made up of several tents 
joined together endwise and wide enough for two rows of 
cots along the side, with an alley through the middle, towards 
which our feet all pointed. 


I remember the head medical man coming throug-h every 

day or so and the doctors would take him to certain cots, 
where they would look on the fellows lyint,'- there and put 
down something- in a book. I soon noticed that most always 
such a one died in a short time, anrl I watched for their coming 
to my cot. One day they did, and I rememlier how it made 
me feel. Dr. Andrus was so worked down that a strange 
doctor was in charge, but under Dr. Andrus, who had charge 
over all. When he came through I motioned to him and he 
came and sat on the next cot, when I told him I would get 
well if I could get something good to eat. "All right," said 
he, "what will you have?" I told him a small piece of beefsteak. 
He sent one of the nurses to his mess cook and he soon came 
back with a plate and on it a little piece of steak which he 
prepared to feed me. But the smell was enough and I could 
not even taste it. The doctor then proceeded to eat it, asking 
if I could think of anything else. I thought a bottle of beer 
would surely taste good and so he sent to the sutler's for it. 
But he had to drink that too, for I could not. He laughed 
at me and though I was disappointed, it cheered me up more 
than anything else had done for a long time. When I got 
so I could eat, I surely thought he would starve me to death. 

A poor fellow across the tent opposite me got crazy and it 
took several men to hold him on his cot. The doctor came 
and injected something in his breast which quieted him for 
the night, but when it wore off he was fust as bad and he 
fin-ally died in one of them. On my right lay a man sick unto 
death, while on my left lay another whose appetite had come 
and who was begging everybody for something to eat. His 
company bo3rs brought him some bread and milk which he 
ate as if famished. The next morning wdien I awoke and 
looked about to see how many faces were covered up I found 
both my rig-ht and left hand neighbors had died in the night 
and their blankets were drawn up over their faces. The sights 
I saw while I was able to realize what was sfoinsr on were 


not calculated to cheer me up and how I acted when I was 
out of my head I don't know. At any rate I got better and 
was brought back to this room, where I have since been. 

March 2p, 1863. 
Sunday. Had a thunder shower in the night and some sharp 
lightning. Was not allowed to go out to-day on account of 
the ground being- wet. We hear of hard fighting up the river, 
but reports get so twisted I put little stock in them. Still I 
hope they are true, for they are most all favorable to our 

April I, 1863. 

Nothing worth writing for a few days. To-day those we 
left at quarantine came up looking hale and hearty. Most of 
them have had smallpox or varioloid. The weather is warm 
and the boys who have been out of camp report alligators 
are plenty in the swamp back of us, and snakes of many 
kinds also. I am rambling about camp nowadays, but am 
not discharged from the hospital yet. General Neal Dow 
found a place next door to camp to-day where liquor is sold. 
He took every bottle he could find and smashed them across 
the porch rail after first locking up the landlord. Camp is 
being cleared and every precaution taken to keep away yellow 
fever. There is none of it yet, but it is expected this summer 
on account of so many soldiers that are new to the climate. 
Lew Holmes has been worse for some days and we fear we 
shall lose him yet. 

Midnight. I am sitting up to let a tired out nurse get a 
nap. Holmes died a few minutes ago. He tried to tell me 
something, but his tongue was so swelled I could not under- 
stand what he said. He pulled me clear down to his face and 
his breath was awful. I pretended to understand, and he 
settled back as if satisfied and only breathed a few times 


more. His troubles are over, and those of his old father and 
mother and his wife and child will be.c^in when the news 
reaches them. I am glad they did not see the end. 

April 2, i86s. 
Company B chipped in for a metallic coffin and Holmes will 
go home. A hearse from the city has just been here and taken 
him away. He was one of the best of fellows, and very popular 
with the men. I wonder now if Kniffin will be tried on us 
again. There is some reason for it now, but it should go 
to Riley Burdick, who is next in line. 

April 3, 1863. 
Two funerals to-day. We have quite a graveyard started. 
From all I can hear, by talking with soldiers of other regi- 
ments, none of them have been hit as hard as the 128th New 
York. And it all comes from our being stuffed into the hold 
of the Arago a month before we sailed. A big responsibility 
rests somewhere. 

April 4, 1863. 
Saturday. Cleaning house day in the hospital. I have been 
helping so one of the nurses can get off for a walk outside. 
We found a burying ground where I counted fifty from the 
1 2th Connecticut Volunteers. Nearly all died in August and 
September last. So we have not had all the sickness and 
death. I will try and not complain as much as I have. There 
were only eight from our regiment besides two we have sent 
home. From there we followed the parapet to the Jackson & 
Mississippi R. R., which runs not far back from camp. Saw 
a regiment of negro soldiers, who seemed to feel fine, were 
having all sorts of games and were in first-rate spirits. Their 
camp was clean and at the head of each company street were 
flower beds. Just outside they had planted a garden and 
onions and other things were growing. The commissioned 


officers were white. Everything- else was black. But for 
get-up and style they beat any white reg^iment I have yet seen. 
It made me ashamed to go home. When I get out of the 
hospital I mean to try and get the boys to be more like them. 

April 5, 1863. 
Sunday. Some time while I was sick Chaplain Parker left 
us. I hear he had some differences of opinion with the officers, 
but don't know what. Major Foster was in it in some shape, 
for his name and the chaplain's are the most common in the 
yarns that are told about camp. I used to believe all I heard, 
but I have learned to wait for the truth, and that doesn't 
always come out. Lieutenant-Colonel Smith is a rough and 
ready customer and stands in no more awe of the officers than 
of the men. So long as we behave half way decent he is 
kindness itself, but disobey orders and he is a raging lion. 
But he is our best friend, and is the only real soldier in the 
whole outfit. He is a regular army officer and his chief 
concern seems to be the welfare of the enlisted men. Now 
that I am able to be about camp and have no duties to per- 
form, I enjoy seeing the captains and lieutenants put through 
their paces as well as the rank and file. For meeting to-day 
Major Foster read a chapter from the Bible, read a hymn 
and then sang it, after which he pronounced the benediction. 

April 6, 1863. 
One of Company A's men died to-day. His name was 
Burch. A boat-load of negroes landed here to-day and were 
taken down towards the city, what for I did not learn. Many 
of the men in camp are having diarrhea, and some have to go 
to the hospital, where the diet can be regulated. Some corn 
and contraband goods were seized to-day a short distance up 
the river. A man has been suspected for a long time and 
to-day was seized upon with all his goods. We are expecting 


letters every day now. We watch the papers for the mail 
steamers, and if we get no letters are much disappointed. 

April J, 1863. 
Two steamers due and yet no letters. Been loafing- about 
camp so long I feel as if I was an unprofitable servant. But 
as there is nothing doing I am about as profitable as the rest. 

April 8, 1863. 
A little excitement to-day. An attempt was made to spike 
some guns near the negro troops headquarters. A few shots 
were fired but no one hit, hurt or captured. A letter from 
my sister, Mrs. Rowley. All well at home. For a change I 
have a troublesome boil on my leg. The weather is beautiful. 
Everything is growing — I never saw leaves and flowers come 
so fast. 

April 10, 1863. 

Yesterday I took the place of a nurse who was ailing, and 
to-day have been with several others to explore the country 
roundabouts. We came to an orange orchard and found and 
cut some sprouts for canes. General Dow and his staff were 
riding past, and seeing us, rode full tilt towards us, as if 
to run over us. The general was so bus}^ watching us he 
never saw a ditch, and into it he went. The horse went down 
and the general went on his head, landing in the tall grass 
on all fours. He was not hurt, and after his staff had caught 
up and helped him on his horse, he came up and said, "To 
what regiment do you men belong?" Being told, he snapped 
out, "Report to your quarters at once and don't be seen 
cutting orange trees again." It is said he roams about like this, 
driving in any he finds outside, and in other ways making 
himself unpopular with the boys. However, he didn't take 
our canes and we have some nice ones to show for the trip. 

Two letters to-day, and although they were a month old, 
they were full of news to me, 


April II-I2, 1863. 
About camp and hospital yesterday, getting- well every 
minute. Except that I am skin poor and tire out easily, I am 
well. My little looking-glass first told me what a change 
my sickness made in my looks, but I can see my old self 
coming back every day now. A short meeting to-day, the 
only thing besides my diary to remind me it is Sunday, God's 
day. He only asks one day in seven, and it seems as if more 
attention should be paid it. 

April 13, 1863. 
Wrote and mailed some letters this morning. Wm. Part- 
ington died in this room this morning. He and I came here 
the same time and lay side by side. I was taken to the big 
tent and he left here. We were both hard sick and when I 
came back Bill was in just about the same condition I was. 
We both got round together and began to go out at the same 
time. A day or two ago diarrhea hit him and now he is taken 
and I left. So it goes. We plan for to-morrow and to-morrow 
we are wrapped in a blanket and out we go. 

April 14, 1863. 
A letter from John Van, with one in it from George Willson 
and one from T. Templeton of the 150th. They are feeling 
fine and the regiment has little or no sickness to report. 

April 15, 1863. 
Reported for duty with the company this morning, but have 
to report to the doctor every day until I get my discharge 
from there. Have been appointed commissary sergeant. See 
to drawing the rations for Company B, and shall look out that 
they get their share. This relieves me from guard duty and 
from everything that interferes with my duties as commissary. 
It relieves me from duty in the ranks, adds another stripe to 

CAMf i'AKM'lCT, LA. 99 

my arm, and two dollars per month to my i^ay. I am glad 
to have something- to do. At night a citizen tried to go 
through camp and when halted by the guards started to run 
and was shot. What he was, or why he acted as he did I 
don't know, and he can't tell. 

April i6, 1863. 
Thursday. A letter from Walt Loucks asking me to come 
and see him. Shall surely go if I can get a pass. 

April ij, 1863. 

Friday. Went to see Walt. I had a first-rate visit. He 
is about well. I did little but answer questions about what 
has been going on since we parted at Camp Chalmette, who 
is living and who have died and what sort of a place we are 
in. Found three letters for me when I came back. 

Later. Marching orders with two days' cooked rations and 
100 rounds of ammunition, blankets and overcoats. I am 
going-, too, unless Dr. Andrus stops me. Must stop and write a 
letter before taps. 

April 18, 1863. 
Saturday. The regiment has gone and I am left. When 
will I get clear from the hospital? One of the hospital cooks, 
E. Furguson, died to-day. There are hardly enough men 
in camp to bury him, only the sick and convalescent being 

April ig, 1863. 
Sunday. We buried Furguson to-day. The grave was full 
of water and we had to punch the box down with sticks until 
the earth held it. Hear nothing from the regiment. 

April 20, 1863. 
No real news yet. Lots of rumors though, one of which 
is that they are all cut up and the rest captured, ^^'e don't 
believe it. 


April 21, 1863. 
Drew ten days' rations to-day, so I guess there is some of 
Company B left and that they will be back to eat it. 

April 22, 1863. 
Wednesday. The regiment came back to-day. Have been 
gone four days. Had some hard marching and lived high 
on pigs and chickens found by the way. They went up the 
Pearl River, and captured a small steamer loaded with tar 
and rosin. They feel fine and to hear them talk -one would 
think this matter of putting down the Rebellion is nothing if 
only the 128th is given a good whack at it. 

April 23 , 1863. 
The officers have drawn new tents and the captains have 
given the cooks their old ones for cook houses. We tore down 
the old shanty, and put up the new house in short order. 

April 24, 1863. 

The morning paper gives a glowing account of the great 
expedition of the 128th. Speaks well of the behavior of both 
officers and men and their great respect for private property. 
But Colonel Cowles has been lecturing them and his account 
differs from the newspaper reports on nearly all points. 

We were paid off to-day and the money flies. We have 
floors in our tents now. An order has gone forth for camp 
inspection once each day. The tents, the cook houses and 
cooking utensils and everything will be inspected, and must 
be as clean as possible or trouble will come. Taking it all 
in all we have good times. One of the boys has a fiddle, 
and some are good singers. We have only enough to do to 
make us hungry when meal time comes. 


April SO, 186^. 
Walter Loucks has returned to camp and looks well. He 
feels some sore from sleeping on a board, after his stay in 
the hospital, but that will wear off. General Dow has cleared 
the peddlers out of camp and torn down some shanties near, 
where pies, etc., were sold. My throat has got sore again 
and I must get Dr. Andrus to fix it up. We have had marching 
orders a couple of times, but each time they were counter- 

May 6, 1863. 
Nothing unusual has happened since my last entry. I have 
written and have received several letters ; have been on duty 
all the time, although I am supposed to be in the hospital yet. 
Have seen the doctor every day and he keeps tinkering at me. 
We hear all sorts of rumors of big battles and big victories 
and believe what we are a mind to. My office, commissary 
of Company B, is not very exacting while in camp. It keeps 
me out of the ranks though and until I get round again I 
am glad of it. 

May 10, 1863. 
Sunday. Yesterday this regiment and many others were 
reviewed by General Banks. Evidently something is going 
ta happen soon. The health of our regiment is fairly good 
now. I begin to find out that some had rather be sick than 
to be on duty, and they play it till Dr. Andrus sends them 
back to camp. We have some very hot w^eather, and then 
again some not so hot. Mosquitoes are the pest of our lives. 
They hide in our tents, ready to pounce upon us the minute 
we enter, and the only place we are free from them is in the 
hot sun outside. At night and on cloudy days they give us 
no peace. Their name is legion. 


May II, 1863. 

Monday. Charles Wardwell, and a fellow named Hamlin 
made me a call to-day. I was as much surprised as if they 
had risen right out of the ground before us. I did not know 
Charlie had enlisted. He is in the 23d Connecticut, which 
is doing guard duty along the railroad between Algiers and 
Brashear City, which they say is not very far from here. It 
in a nine months' regiment and their time is out in August. 
Though the news they could tell was rather old, I was very 
glad to see someone from God's country again, and we had 
much to tell each other of our experiences. They had only 
about a week on the transport and came through in good 
shape. They swallowed hard and tried to take down what I 
told them of our experience on board the Arago and in camp 
and hospital since, but I don't feel like blaming them if they 
did think I was lying. But in the short time we were together 
the half could not be told. 

Night. Marching orders. Three days' cooked rations and 
ten days' raw, to be packed for an early start to-morrow. 
Wardwell and his friend stay with us to-night. 

May 12, i86s. 
"Pass Man Shak,'" or South Pass, La. Tuesday. We 
left camp in charge of an officer and the convalescents 
and marched out on the plain about a mile, where a train 
stood waiting early this morning, and after a short ride 
stopped here, the most God-forsaken looking place I have yet 
seen. It is a sort of connecting link between Lake Ponchetrain 
and Lake Marapaugh.* Our regiment and the 6th Michigan 
came. We soon came to the woods we had so often looked at 
from camp, and from that on it was one unbroken forest of the 
biggest and tallest trees I have yet seen. There was water in 
pools all along and on every hand as far as can be seen. The 

* Spelled as they sound. 


railroad is built on piles driven in the mud, sawed off on a 
line and huge hewn timbers laid on them to support the ties 
and track. Not a foot of dry ground anywhere and not 
a ray of sunshine could get through. But mosquitoes, I 
thought we had them in camp, but we did not. It was only 
the skirmish line; the main body is here. I am writing this 
with one hand while the other is waving a bush to keep them 
from eating me alive. The men were ferried across on a small 
steamer and they went on out of sight, scrambling over the 
ties as best they could, for in places the woodwork has been 
burned out and then they had to climb down and wallow 
through the mud and then up on the ties again until the last 
of them were out of sight. I have really no business to be 
here as the captain objected, fearing I would be more bother 
than I was worth. Dr. Andrus was not even consulted. \\'hen 
the train started I could not resist the temptation to go and I 
swung on and here I am with the quartermaster and the com- 
missary stores, which are to go up the pass to where the 
men have gone. There is a large space planked over, and w^e 
are in the dry and waiting for the boat to come for us. Men 
are busy rebuilding the burned out places in the trestlework 
and bridging the river, which is narrow here. Everyone calls 
it a "pass," but it has quite a current and is a river just the 

May 13, 1863. 
~ We heard firing this morning and think the boys may be at 
work. A man came back about midnight last night. How^ he 
ever did it I don't see, but he said two soldiers fell through 
the trestlework and were hurt and had to be left behind. 

10 a. m. The men who got hurt have crawled back and are 
here, just bruised up a little. I guess they didn't try very hard 
or they might have gone on. 

2 p. m. Another strag'gler has come back and says the boys 
captured fourteen Indians after a short skirmish. They are 


being sent back under guard and will soon be here. Here they 
come, and a tough-looking lot they are ; fourteen of them are 
said to be Indians, but they look more like plain niggers to 
me. There are three white men. Rebels I suppose, but they 
don't act like very ferocious ones. 

May i8, 1863. 
We slept in a drizzling rain, but the mosquitoes kept us so 
busy we took no cold. A boat came in the morning and we 
loaded the stores and started up the river, reaching a small 
lake called Lake Marapaugh (don't know how these names 
are spelled, so put them down according to sound), which is 
rather a widening of the river than a lake. The river is 
narrow and very crooked. The boat would run up to a bank, 
send a rowboat across with a line, which was made fast to a 
tree and the boat turned around a corner. This was done 
many times on the way up. Alligators lay on fallen trees and 
on the bank and many were swimming in the river. One 
came close to the bow of a barge which was lashed to the 
steamboat, and I hit him a whack on the snout with a piece of 
coal. From his actions he didn't like it. The water and the 
land seem to be on the same level. The tall cypress trees 
grow thick all the way and no opening appeared of any size. 
Some trees hang over the water so it was all we could do to 
get past and one did sweep the commissary's scales overboard. 
We finally came to hard ground and the live oaks and other 
trees took the place of the cypress, which only seems to grow 
in wet ground. A curious thing about the cypress is the way 
the roots grow up out of the ground. Cypress knees, they 
call them. They grow straight up, sometimes as high as ten 
feet and all the way down from that. No branches or shoots 
grow from them and they vary in size as much as in height. 
We finally tied up at a place called Wadensburgh, a small 
village which proved to be the end of our journey by water. 


Sergeant Drake and a couple of men went back in a boat and 
were fortunate enough to hook onto the scales that were lost 
and bring them up. In getting ashore I lanfled right Ijeside 
a cotton-mouth moccasin snake, said to be as poisonous as a 
rattlesnake. He lay in some weeds and raised up as if to 
strike at me. I still had hold of a pole I had used to jump 
off with, and with it I hit him and broke his back. A man 
standing by told me what it was. Quartermaster Mace, who 
came up with the regiment, soon appeared with some teams 
and as soon as loaded we started for Ponchatoula, where the 
regiment is. It was dark when we started. It was said to 
be three and a half miles, but they were long ones. We got 
stuck in the mud, the wagon broke down, and we were wet 
to the skin with rain before we reached our destination. We 
had no lights and only knew we were in the road because 
we were not in the bushes which grow thick along it. We 
reached Ponchatoula about ten o'clock, wet, tired and hungry, 
but not cold, for the weather is quite warm. Our coming 
alarmed the guards and the entire force turned out to receive 
the enemy. We lay down on the floor of an empty building, 
and wet as we were, slept sound until morning. The sun 
shone bright the next morning, May 15th, and as soon as our 
joints began to limber up, hunted for and found Company B. 
They are in good spirits and have enjoyed the outing from 
camp very much. But they were glad when the cook called 
them up for coffee and hard-tack. The ground is high and 
dry for this country. A pine forest of immense trees is close 
by on one side and in sight everywhere. The Jackson & 
Mississippi R. R. goes through here, and is the one that 
the troops came on, A picket line is somew^here outside and 
cavalry videttes outside of that. Fresh beef is plenty and there 
is now and then a chicken. The people are as civil and respect- 
ful as can be expected, when we remember what a lot of 
uninvited guests they are called upon to entertain. 


May i6, 1863. 
A cavalryman came in for a horse this morning, his having 
been killed in the night. We heard firing in the night, but it 
seemed a long way off. Company B went on the picket line 
this morning and I find being commissary in camp and being 
commissary in the field are two different things. The com- 
pany must be fed no matter where they are. I got hold of 
a horse and cart and with it made the rounds. A couple of 
cavalrymen who were wounded during the night have been 
brought in. At night a report came that a rebel detachment 
had got past the vidette guard and would most likely be heard 
from before morning. Orders are being given out and ours 
is to stand fast in case of an attack. That sounds easy at 
any rate. 

May 17, 1863. 
No attack came. The only enemies that found us were 
the mosquitoes and how they did punish us ! My hands, face 
and ankles are swollen full, and this when I was awake all 
night and fighting them off in every way I could think of. 
Seventeen prisoners have just been brought in and after a 
feed started on toward Pass Man Shak. 

May 18, 1863. 

There has been much shifting about to-day. Orderlies rid- 
ing here and there, and a move of some sort is the next thing 
to look for. Have orders to be ready with coffee and a day's 
cooked rations. That doesn't mean a long journey. 

Later. The quartermaster's stores have gone towards 

May ig, 1863. 
Night. Camp Parapet again. We started from Ponchatoula 
about 4 A. M. and at 11 reached Pass Man Shak, by way 
of the railroad. The trestlework is burned in places and 


across these we passed the best we could. One man dro])pcd 
a frying pan he had stolen, and in getting it stirred up an 
alligator, and decided he didn't want the frying pan after all. 
Several fell and were more or less hurt, but we all came 
through and were nearly the rest of the day being taken across 
in small boats. Then without mishap we came on to a point 
opposite camp and were soon here. The trip has done me a 
world of good. I don't ask any odds of any now that I am 
well again. I guess T only needed parboiling, and that I got 
sleeping in clothes soaking wet. The men are all feeling fine 
and the stories they are telling such as did not go are won- 
derful to hear. 

May 20, 1863. 
Camp Parapet, La. We settled down early last night and 
on account of the little sleep we had had were not called this 
morning. I slept right through the night and until after 
twelve to-day, then found orders for another move. Must 
^^t two days' rations ready right away. I wonder where we 
go this time. 

Port Hudson, La. 

Good-bye Camp Parapet — Going up the river — Stop at Springfield — 
Landing — Before the works — Capt. Gifford missing — The first assault — 
Stealing honey — Scared by a snake — The second assault — The " Forlorn 
Hope" — Captain Gifford comes back — Vicksburg surrenders — Port 
Hudson follows suit — The laying down of arms. 

May 21, i86s. 

WE left Camp Parapet about eight last night and 
marched to Carrolton, only a mile or two below 
camp, where we stopped in the street. Getting no 
further orders we, one after another, sat down and finally lay 
down on the cobblestone pavements and slept till morning. 
We then went on board a steamer, the United States, lying 
at the dock and found it crammed full of soldiers. We soon 
cut loose and started up stream, and as we passed Camp 
Parapet, I wondered if it would ever be our home again. 
Lieutenant Pierce is in command, and says Captain B. has 
left us to become major for a negro regiment. Some are 
glad and some are sorry, but all are indignant at his way of 
going off. Never as much as said good-bye. Sneaked off 
in the night, it is said, and it looks like it. Maybe he feared 
we would remind him of his many voluntary promises that 
he would never leave Company B as long as a man was left 
in it. 

At noon I asked one of the boat crew if it was possible to 
buy or beg a cup of coffee and he took me to the forecastle 
and gave me a full dinner. Up the river we went until night 
and then began to look for a spot big enough to lie down on. 

May 22, 1863. 
Friday morning. We awoke from the little sleep we were 
able to get and found ourselves at anchor opposite Baton 


Rouge. The dropping of the anchor nearly scared the life 
out of me. I slept under a built up portion of the deck where 
the anchor chain lay coiled and when it went out it made 
a terrible racket. I wonder none of us were hit by it, U)r 
every space around it was occupied by a sleeping soldier. The 
city lies on higli ground, which gave us a pretty goorl view 
of it. There seems to be a few fine buildings, but the most 
are small and not over two or three stories high. About 
9 A. M. we went alongside the steamer Creole and got 
some rations, which we needed badly. We soon started, 
still going up stream and felt certain Port Hudson would 
be our next stopping-place. We stopped finally and landed 
in the woods. Not a foot of cleared land in sight. There 
are four regiments here with ours. The Sixth Michigan, 
Fifteenth New Hampshire and a negro regiment. Boats kept 
coming and unloading all the afternoon. The Indiana Mule 
Battery is here and it appeared to be a gathering-place for all 
sorts of troops. It rained most of the afternoon, but it rained 
warm water, so we didn't mind it. The troops all moved for- 
ward during the night, leaving only a guard for the commis- 
sary and quartermaster's stores. 

May 2S, 1863. 
In the morning Isaac Mitchell and I set out to find the 
128th. We followed the road, which was now a quagmire, 
but w^ere met by an ambulance with w^ounded men and a 
cavalry guard, who told us that only an armed force could 
get through and that it was eight miles to where our brigade 
was then. We decided to wait. The w^ounded were put on 
the Sallie Robinson, to be taken to some hospital. About 
midnight the mortar fleet, which is farther up stream, began 
firing and made a noise worse than several Fourths of July. 
We could follow the shells by the burning fuse, which looks 
like a shooting star. This we see first, then hear the boom 
of the mortar, then the hiss of the shell through the air and 
last the explosion when it strikes the ground. 


Sunday night. A team for the quartermaster's stores came 
early and we were all day getting through to the regiment. 
Soldiers covered the ground. I have no idea how many there 
were. We were near the breastworks, but a belt of timber hid 
our view of them. We were in a clearing maybe one-half 
mile square, with woods on all sides. There was a house near 
us, the only building in sight. 

May 25, 1863. 

Monday morning. We had orders to advance last night 
and our brigade formed in column, where we remained all 
night, and where we are yet. One by one we dropped down 
and went to sleep on the grass, where the dew soon soaked 
one side while the wet ground soaked the other. A man 
lying near me jumped up and raved around like a crazy man; 
he kept pawing at his ear as if in great pain. A doctor sleep- 
ing near was soon at him and found a bug had crawled into 
his ear. After the sun had dried us off we began to look 
for rations. The mail soon after came, and I had two letters. 
One of them contained a photograph of my dear old father 
and mother. I won't try to tell how rejoiced I am to have this 
with me. I don't think either of them ever had one taken 
hefore. Dear old couple, how glad I am they cannot see their 
boy and his surrounding's just now ! 

Night. Lots of powder has been burned to-day, but Port 
Hudson is still there. Our brigade has been skirmishing and 
one of the Sixth Michigan is wounded. Roads are being cut 
through the woods, and everything looks and acts as if busi- 
ness would soon begin. It does no good to ask questions, 
no one seems to know any more than I do, and I only know 
what goes on right close by me. Generals with their staffs 
are racing about, and everything is in a whirl. Evidently 
something is going to happen. All sorts of rumors are in 
the air. Human nature shows even here. Some news gath- 
erers seem to know all about it, but I notice that what happens 

PORT irunsoN, t.a. hi 

rarely agrees with their predictions. One of Company Ij, I 
won't write his name, is nearly scared to death. The doctor 
says he will die of fright if kept in the ranks. Another is 
nearly as hadly off, and he has been the biggest brag of all; 
has hungered and thirsted for a chance to fight and now 
that he has it, has wilted. I hope he will be kept at it. I have 
often envied him his courage, but I shall never do it again. 
I don't deny that I am a coward, but I have so far succeeded 
in keeping it to myself. The 128th is nearest the point where 
the road enters the woods in the direction of the biggest noise. 
The skirmishers that have been down this road say it soon 
reaches the corner of another open field; that a house and 
outbuildings are on the side next the fortifications and only a 
short distance from them; that rebel sharpshooters are in 
those buildings and it is they who are picking off every man 
that sticks his nose out of the woods on that side. From one 
of the Sixth Michigan who was on the skirmish line I have 
such a vivid description I have mapped out what he says is 
about the thing. 

Every now and then a shell comes tearing through the 
woods, and so far, in the direction of the 128th. None of them 
have yet burst, but from an examination I made of one, they 
are intended to. This one was perfectly round and painted 
black. A big screw head shows on one side, and is turned 
off smooth with the shell. It is about six inches in diameter. 
It hit the ground beyond us and rolled up against the founda- 
tion of the house I have mentioned and stopped. It was then 
I examined it. 

Later. Just as I had written the above, one did burst right 
over Company B. The pieces, however, kept on in the same 
direction the shell was going and no one was hit or hurt. Such 
dodging though I never saw, and I didn't see all of it at that. 
Myself and two others were filling our canteens from a kettle 
of coffee which sat on the ground near a big tree. \\''hen we 
heard the shell coming through the tree tops we expected it 


would go past as all the others had done. But it burst when 
right over us. We all jumped for the tree, and our heads 
came together with a bang. The first thing I saw was stars, 
and the next was men all over the field dodging in every direc- 
tion. This was our first experience under fire. One could 
not laugh at another, for so far as I could see all acted alike. 

Later. They keep coming, and we dodge less and less. If 
they keep at it long enough I suppose we shall get used to it, 
as we have to a great many other things. A cavalryman 
went down the road marked with an arrow, and his horse 
has just come back without him. 

Night. About 5 p. M. a detachment from another regiment 
and Companies A, C, H and I from ours, went down this same 
road, and soon the most infernal racket began. They drove 
the rebels out of the "Slaughter House," and set fire to every 
building there. (The man who owned the house is named 
Slaughter). Only one man was wounded, but Captain Gift'ord 
of Company A has not returned, and we fear the Rebs 
got him. The house near us has been taken for a hospital. 
From appearances we will need it. Our brigade remains 
where first halted, but troops of all kinds are constantly on 
the move about us, some going one way and some another. 
It is plain that a general movement is soon going to be made. 
It seems to me as if all of Uncle Sam's army must be here, 
there are so many. The I28tli is only a small affair just now. 
We have thought our brigade was about all there was of it, 
and that that was largely composed of the 128th New York. 
I will put up my diary, and get what sleep I can with all this 
confusion about me. 

May 27, 1863. 

Was awake early. In fact was often awake all night long. 

No news of Captain Gifford yet. His men have searched 

everywhere it is possible to go, and we think he must have 

been captured, just how, none of his company can imagine, 

POKT HUDSON, I. A. 1 1.3 

for he was with them all through the squabble at the Slaughter 
house, and himself gave the order to fall back. Heavy firing 
is heard to the right and left of us. This must keep the 
Rebs in our front busy, for no shot or shell have yet come 
our way. Commissary sergeants have orders to be ready with 
rations all the time. It looks as if the fight would be over 
and the 128th have no hand in the taking of Port Hudson. 

Later. The noise grows louder all the time. A general 
assault on Port Hudson must be what is going on, and Dow's 
Brigade seems to be forgotten. On the right and left, as 
far as sound can be heard, there is heavy artillery firing, and 
now and then the rattle of musket firing gets through the 
noise of the bigger guns. 

May 28, 1863. 
There was too much going on yesterday for me to write 
any more. Dow's Brigade was not forgotten. Soon after 
noon it went through the woods to the open space beyond, 
and was soon in the thickest of the fight. The guns in our 
front, that had sent us no message all the forenoon, soon began 
to send them rattling through the tree tops again. We non- 
combatants were in a terrible suspense. Finally my curiosity 
got the better of my fears and I started after them, for I 
wanted to see what a real battle was like. When I got to the 
cleared space I saw very little but smoke. I met a wagon 
with a w^ounded man on the seat with the driver, his face 
covered with blood, which ran over it from a wound on his 
head. He was mad clear through, and swore vengeance on 
the Rebs, when he got at them again. In the wagon, lying 
on his back, was another who was groaning terribly, but so 
far as I could see was not likely to die from his wounds, for 
only a little finger was gone from one hand, which he tenderly 
held up with the other. I was glad to note he did not belong 
to the 128th. I ventured on and came upon Sergeant Bell 
of Company G standing beside the dead body of Colonel 


Cowles. Bell said the colonel was killed when the Rebs first 
opened on them, his uniform making him a marked man. Bell 
said he was near him when he fell and helped him to a sitting 
position, turning him about, as he said he wanted to die facing 
the enemy. Captain Keese of Company C was also near when 
the colonel was hit and was directed to take conmiand. 
Several others lay around where they had fallen. Venturing 
on I came to the magnolia grove in which the Slaughter 
mansion stood. Company B was here, in support of a section 
of the Indiana Mule Battery. Having nothing to do but 
defend the battery, if an attempt was made to capture it, they 
were lying close to the ground behind the big trees. The 
battery was shelling the Rebs, and the Rebs were shelling 
the battery, and the shot or shells had furrowed the ground. 
The boys said Philip Allen and Sergeant Kniffin were both 
badly wounded, and had been taken off the field. Riley Bur- 
dick, our orderly sergeant, was missing, as were several others. 
I could see nothing of the rebel works for the smoke, but the 
noise was deafening. As it might be an all-night job, I decided 
to go back and try and get something for them to eat. I got 
back as fast as I could and with the cooks started with a big 
kettle of coffee and some hard-tack. We kept in the edge 
of the woods to a point nearest the company and at right angles 
to the line of fire and then I scuttled across with the coffee. 
After passing it around I returned for the hard-tack, and was 
giving them out when a shell came through, hitting the ground 
and throwing dirt all over us. Soon another one came, hitting 
a big tree a g-lancing blow, and went on into the woods beyond. 
The sergeant of the battery said he could see the flash and 
would sing out, vv^hich would give me time to fall before the 
shell got there, and I legged it for all I was worth. About 
halfway across he yelled, and I tried to fall, but before I 
hit the ground the thing was beyond me. In fact it didn't 
come very near me. I was going at right angles to the line of 
fire, and might have known they couldn't see me for the 


smoke, and would not waste a bif2^ shell on one man. The 
musket firing was on lower ground and nearer the breast- 
works, but I only knew by the popping of the rifles and what 
the boys told me, for the smoke hid everything. We got back 
just in time to see the doctors fix up a shattered shin bone 
for General Sherman. He lay on a stretcher and was talk- 
ing constantly, though the doctors said he knew nothing and 
felt nothing. From the hole in his leg, something bigger 
than a bullet had gone through it. They pulled out the loose 
pieces of bone with pincers, taking hold and yanking at every 
end that showed. Then they ran their fingers in and felt for 
more. Finally they stuffed it full of cotton to stop the blood 
and then bound it up with long strips of muslin. The firing 
grew less and less, but the wounded came faster and faster. 
Colonel Cowles's body was sent under a guard to the landing, 
on its way to New Orleans, where it will be made ready to 
send home. Sergeant Bell went with it, taking his sword, 
watch, and other personal effects, also his dying message, "Tell 
my mother I died with my face to the enemy." General Dow, 
our brigadier, was shot in the foot and taken to the house right 
by us. George Story is detailed for his bodyguard. One 
of the boys said the Rebs began at the wrong end of the 
general. The dead soldiers were left where they fell. After 
we got settled down and the excitement began to wear ofii: 
the question of something to eat came up. The boys on duty 
at the front would be hungry by morning, and we w^ondered 
if we couldn't find something more filling than hard-tack. 
John Pitcher had found out that not far aw^ay some Irish 
potatoes were growing and big enough to eat ; also that 
directly behind the house where General Dow was nursing his 
foot was a yard with a high board fence around it, with two 
bloodhounds on guard inside, and that along one side of it 
was a bench upon w-liich were several hives of bees, and that 
a gate or door in the fence opened out, and only a little way 
from the end of the bench. We got a rope from the quarter- 


master sergeant and set out. The potatoes were easy — simply 
had to crawl into the patch and dig- with our fingers until 
our haversacks were full. The bees, however, were not so 
easy on account of the dogs. As they had barked pretty much 
all the time since we landed in the neighborhood, no one came 
from the house to see about it. We found they would follow 
on their side of the fence wherever we went on ours. John 
then went along the fence, and the dogs followed, leaving me 
at the gate. When they were at the farthest side, I opened 
the gate and having made a slipnoose in the rope, I had just 
time to slip it over the nearest beehive and get out before 
they were there. I kept still and soon John had them on his 
side of the yard again, when by quick work I yanked the hive 
through the gate and closed it before they got to me. The 
hive had landed on its top, and the bees and honey, were all 
smashed together. But enough of them could crawl to make 
it lively for us before we got the mixture into a mess pan. 
We were stung several times before we got home, but we 
got there and all hands had a feast of hard-tack and honey. 
We had no way to strain the bees out, so we spread bees 
and honey on the hard-tack and then picked the bees ofif as 
well as we could. As it was, I got a stinger in my tongue, 
which soon began to swell. It kept on until I was afraid 
I would need a doctor and in that way give the whole thing 
away. But it finally stopped and by morning I was all right 
again. This brings us up to this morning, May 2gtli. 

May 2p, i86^. 
The big guns' firing began early. The detail from Company 
B was relieved and all evidences of honey and potatoes were 
soon out of sight. General Dow sent out to know who had 
stolen the honey, but no one knew anything about it. Philip 
Allen died during the night. The wounded were carted off 
on their way to some hospital. Sergeant Kniffin was badly 
wounded in the head, and it is doubtful if he lives. 


About 8 A. M. an agreement was made to stop fighting until 
2 P. M., so the dead can l^e picked u]) and l)uricd. 

Orderly Burdick's body was found and some others who 
had been reported missing. The Rebs say Captain Gifford is 
a prisoner in Port Hudson. We were glad to know he is alive 
and well, for we will get him when we get the place. Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Smith came up from the city and took command. 
He called the regiment together in the woods and made a 
little speech, some of which was good and some of which 
seemed uncalled for. He said he had been told that some of 
the men hid behind trees and stumps, and, turning to the 
officers said, "If you catch any of them doing that again, 
shoot them down." Then he added, "I have also been told 
that some of the officers hid themselves in that same way," 
and, turning to the men, said, "If you catch them doing that 
again, shoot them down." That evened up matters, so we 
gave him a good hearty "hurrah." Then he said, "Heretofore 
guards have been posted to keep you from running off, but 
that won't happen while I command. You can go where you 
want to, but God help you if you are not here when I want 

The 128th was stationed in the edge of the woods facing" 
the rebel works, to support the Indiana Battery, which had been 
scattered along in the bushes. There being no smoke I was 
able to get a better understanding of the lay of land than yes- 
terday. The grove that stood about the Slaughter house is 
4irectly in our front, where the ground begins to slope towards 
the rebel breastwork, and that accounts for the shells hitting 
the ground where we were yesterday, and then going high over 
our sleeping- quarters. The breastwork looks like a big pile 
of dirt. In shape it is most like the letter U, with the curved 
end towards us and running up hill each way from us, so that 
the ground inside is plainly in sight for some distance. There 
is great activity there as well as on our side, and I suppose 
both are taking advantage of the lull in firing to get in the 
best position when it begins again. 


By asking questions, and by keeping my eyes open I have 
learned that for miles in front of the fortifications the Rebels 
were scattered before we came. They had rifle pits, which 
are nothing but ditches, deep enough so that the ditch and 
the dirt thrown from it will hide a man when standing up. 
They also had mud forts, which are like the rifle pits, only 
wider, and had big guns in them, intending to whip us before 
we got near the main works. Our advance had some sharp 
fighting to drive them out of these and into the main forti- 
fication, where they were before I saw the place. That 
accounts for the wounded men that were sent back before we 
left Springfield Landing, 

May so, 1863. 
The Rebs shelled our quarters at night and we were ordered 
back to our old sleeping ground. Bill Snyder and I had 
such a good place behind a big tree that we staid there and 
slept sound all night, although a big chunk of bark was 
knocked off the tree in the night, and our gunners kept up a 
steady fire all night long. This shows that my reputation as 
a sound sleeper has not suffered. About 8 o'clock our guns 
dismounted the rebel gun that has been our greatest pest, and 
have twice since that knocked it down just as they had it 
almost in position. We have nothing to do but lay here and 
swap yarns with the battery men. From all I can learn, some 
one has made a big blunder, and a great many lives and a 
great deal of expense to Uncle Sam is directly chargeable to 
it. It appears a general assault all along the line was planned 
to come off early on the morning of the 27th. General Weitzel 
on the right began the charge on time, and the Rebels massed 
all their forces against him. When they had nicely disposed 
of him, the left under General Augur went in and they, too, 
were cut up and driven back. The center, under General 
Sherman, about the middle of the afternoon went in and took 
their medicine. This plan of attack allowed the Rebs to 


shift from one point to another, and whip us by detail. What 
would have happened if we had all charged at the same time 
none of us know for sure, but we all think Port Hudson would 
now be ours. Reports say the 128th lost two officers and 
twenty men killed, and the whole army about 300 killed and 
1500 wounded. It doesn't seem possible that so much lead and 
iron could have been fired at us and so few men killed and 
wounded. The mules and horses killed were left where they 
fell. The stench is awful, and seems to be getting worse all 
the time. Great birds, as big as hen turkeys, are tearing them 
to pieces ; turkey buzzards, they call them, and in fact they 
look just like turkeys at a little distance. They are not afraid 
of us, but keep coming and going, quarreling among them- 
selves over the choice bits. General Dwight now commands 
Sherman's division, and Colonel Clark, of the Sixth Michigan, 
takes General Dow's place in our brigade. The Sixth Michi- 
gan and the 128th New York have been so much together that 
we have come to be like one big family and are fast friends. 

May 31, 1 86 J. 
Sunday, p. m. This morning a foraging party, made up of 
a squad from each company, went outside, on Port Hudson 
Plains, a beautiful country, to try for some fresh meat. I 
managed to get on the detail from Company B, We had the 
quartermaster's wagon to bring in what we might find. We 
soon got separated, and each detail going its own way, that 
from Company B were lucky enough to come upon and shoot 
down a two-year-old heifer. We dressed the animal and 
strung the hindquarters on a pole and started back, leaving a 
man to watch the rest until the w-agon came around. Wo. 
lugged the beef home and it was soon being cooked, some 
of it in the kettles and some on the ends of ramrods stack 
in the fire. After we were full we began to feel generous, 
and invited in our friends until only the bones were left. We 
sent some in to General Dow, and asked Colonel Smith and 


the other officers to have some. Nobody refused, not even 
General Dow, who is so dead set against foraging. About 
noon the wagon came in and the whole regiment had a feast. 
I never tasted anything so good as that chunk of beef roasted 
in the fire. This does not reflect on your cooking, mother. 
You never let me get so hungry as Uncle Sam has. No doubt 
you would make it taste even better than it did. I did not 
know I was so hungry until I began to eat. It tasted so good 
I was actually sorry when I could eat no more. There are 
lots of things I have not written about, and now that my 
crop is full, and there is nothing else to do, I will try and 
catch up. In the first place, I must say that this region is 
headquarters for snakes. I don't suppose there is a spot on 
earth where there are so many snakes to the acre as right 
here. We have cleared them off from our near neighborhood, 
but go in any direction on ground that is not occupied and 
there they are. The most common is the moccasin; two 
kinds, one with a white mouth, called cottonmouth moccasins 
and said to be poisonous. The other looks just like our water 
snakes at home. Black snakes and king snakes come next, 
the latter the nearest to handsome of any snake I ever saw. 
They are of a pepper-and-salt color, and grow large, those 
I have seen being between five and six feet long and large 
in proportion. They are said to be deadly enemies to all other 
snakes and that they kill and eat any of the other kinds. 

Several rattlesnakes have been killed, but I have only seen 
one. That was lying across a path we had made through the 
weeds, and I came near stepping on it. Just as one foot was 
coming down I saw him, and managed someway to jump 
clear over him from the one foot that was on the ground. 
I have tried to make such a jump since, but cannot go half 
so high or so far as I did then. I hunted up a club and hit 
him across the back, when I first found out that some rascal 
had killed him, cut off his tail and then placed him across 
the path to scare some other fellow. I left him there to scare 


someone else. Then all over and everywhere are a sort of 
lizard that they call chameleons. They change color, takinj^ 
on the shade of anythinp^ they are on. They are as spry as 
squirrels, and seem to enjoy running- over us when we lie 
down and then darting up a tree, or off through the bushes. 
There are some mosquitoes, but they are not nearly so plenty 
or so bloodthirsty as in other places we have been. The mean- 
est thing is a small black bug, just like what we call at home 
snapping bugs. Their delight is to crawl in someone's ear 
when asleep. We sleep with cotton in our ears every night. 
They make a man raving crazy. The doctors pour oil in first, 
and then syringe them out. Nearly every night there is a 
bug case. The woods are full of squirrels. I have seen black 
squirrels, gray squirrels and a fox squirrel, all in sight at one 
time. The blacks and grays are very common. The one fox 
squirrel I saw was about as big as a half-grown cat. The 
blacks are between our red squirrels and grays for size. Black- 
berries, the high bush kind, are ripe here now and are plenty, 
but we have to go farther and farther to get them, on account 
of there being so many pickers. There are plenty of magnolia 
trees right here in the woods about us. They are in bloom 
now, though the blossoms are so high up we can get none. 
After a shower the scent is so strong as to be sickening. The 
trees are like our large forest trees. The leaves are long 
but not very wide, are a sort of brown on the under side, but 
the deepest dark green on top. We have some hard thunder- 
storms. The loudest thunder crashes and the sharpest light- 
ning flashes I ever saw. Lying in the woods as we do, it is 
strange none of the trees are struck or that nobody is killed. 
We are soaked to the skin on an average once every day. 
Sometimes several times in one day and night. We have only 
the clothes on our backs, so we make no changes. If the sun 
shines we sometimes wring out and hang on a bush for awhile. 
But it is so warm we don't mind it. Some have blankets. 
Everyone is supposed to have one, but many got lost, mine 


among the number. I don't much care, for now I don't have 
to lug it about. Wet or dry we take no cold. We are tough 
as grain-fed horses and in fact we sometimes have to endure 
what a horse could not. God is good to us, otherwise we could 
not live and thrive as we do. 

Night. A new style of a fighting machine has just gone 
from here, on its way to the right wing. There were two 
light carriages, upon each of which were mounted twenty- 
four rifle barrels, all made to be loaded and fired by one opera- 
tion of a lever. Good-bye Johnnies when they get at you. 
It is too dark to write more. 

June I, 1863. 

Monday. The artillery keeps up an irregular firing, and now 
and then the Rebs reply. Major Bostwick and the negro 
troops are busy every night digging rifle pits, and to-day there 
is what looks like a fort, which must have been built in the 
night, and from which there is firing to-day. We hear to-day 
General Sherman has died of his wounds. 

One or two of Company B are on the sick list. I wish they 
would hurry up and do something, for the more there is going 
on, the better we all feel. 

June 2, i86s. 
Tuesday. Another day of doing nothing. A man got up 
this morning and found a big king snake had crawled up 
close to his back for warmth, and was fast asleep yet when 
the man got up. Once this would have made a commotion in 
camp, but little was thought of it, and Mr. Snake was scared 
off into the bushes to look up and breakfast on some other 

June 3, 186^. 
Wednesday. The artillery kept firing all night, and the 
mortar fleet, which is said to be right opposite us, also sent 


shell after shell over into the works. The Reb.s got real care- 
less too, and fired right at our slcc])ing quarters. They seem to 
have a better range on us than ever before. I got behind my 
tree and went to sleep again. One of Company G was hit and 
badly hurt, and it is said a man farther down the line had both 
legs shot off. 

June 4, iS6s- 
Thursday. Last night we had another serenade. No one 
was hurt so far as I can find out. The regiment was routed 
out again and moved back to the other side of the woods, 
on account of the shot and shell which have a way of coming 
right at us lately. I stuck to my big tree, for although it has 
been hit two or three times, nothing can ever go through it. 
The day has passed like the others lately, with nothing to 
do but loaf about. Two deserters came out of the woods 
across the field in our front. They say there is but little in 
Port Hudson to eat, and a great many there to eat it, and 
that they will eat themselves out soon, even if not another 
gun is fired. 

June 3, 1863. 
Friday. The mail went out to-day and I sent a letter, also 
my diary up to this time. The Rebs have done all the shooting 
to-day. Why our side don't answer I don't know. I expect 
something is going on, maybe getting up a surprise party. I 
hope it may surprise the enemy worse than the other did. 
Deserters came out again this morning. They sneak out 
during the night and hide in the bushes until daylight and 
then come in. They are first fed and then sent to the landing, 
and I suppose to some prison down the river. They all tell 
the same story, that Port Hudson must soon surrender on 
account of fodder giving out. The Rebs have been shooting 
a new kind of shot at us to-day. I got hold of one that held 
together and will describe it. There are six iron plates about 


a half inch thick, with a small hole in the middle and a row 
of larger holes about halfway from the center to the outside. 
In these larger holes are cast iron balls, held in place between 
the plates by the larger holes, and the whole thing held 
together by a rod through the center holes. The plates are 
round and fit the bore of the gun. They make a different and 
much louder noise going through the air than anything else 
that has come our way. But like the others, they do little 
more than trim the trees about us. Colonel Smith thinks the 
cook fires show through the trees, and give them our range, 
so he has ordered them back out of sight. 

June 6, 186^. 
Saturday. Nothing more than usual has happened to-day, 
but it is plain to see that preparations are being made for a 
move of some sort. Artillery, infantry and cavalry are con- 
stantly on the move. Officers are riding helter-skelter in every 
direction, and everything and everybody seems to be busy but 
ourselves. So long as the battery is not attacked we have only 
to look on. If that should happen, my diary might read differ- 
ent, if it read at all. We lie here doing nothing but eat, sleep 
and guess what is going on. Whatever it is, is kept mighty 
secret, for we have ways of finding out most everything but 
what the next move will be. Some firing to-day, but not as 
much as for the past few days. 

June y, 1863. 
Sunday. Lieutenant Pierce has gone off sick. This leaves 
Sergeant Hummiston in command of Company B. He is a 
good fellow and no doubt will give a good account of himself. 
The day has been a busy one. Just as if the final preparations 
for some great move were being made. We all expect it 
to-morrow. Now while I have a chance I must tell how a 
snake scared me to-day. Some of the boys told of great big 
blackberries about a mile out, and we went for them. They 


were even bigger than we were told, and we ate all we could, 
and put some in our haversacks for the rest. An old rail fence 
ran into the bushes, which were thick for a rod or more on 
each side. We walked the fence, holding onto the bushes, and 
picking- as we went. I happened to be the farthest in, and 
seeing some that looked even better than any we had yet 
found, I kept crawling along on the rickety old fence until 
I was out of sight fom the rest. Just as I was going to quit, 
I saw such a big bunch that I could not resist getting them. 
The bush was high above me and I could only reach a leaf 
by which I gently pulled it down until I got a better hold, and 
almost had the berries within reach when a great big black 
head and neck raised up and looked right at me. If my eyes 
did not magnify, the head was as big as my fist, and such 
part of the neck as I saw was as big as my wrist. I had only 
my bare hands to fight with, and was at a terrible disadvantage 
on the top of that shaky old fence, with no place to jump off 
for a long ways. I was scared nearly out of my senses. I 
let the bush go back in the same careful manner in which 
I had pulled it down, and then made my way out as fast as 
I could go, which by the way seemed awfully slow to me. 
What the snake did, or what became of him, I don't know. I 
saw the last of him as the bush came between us. I made 
the mistake of telling how big the snake was. The boys were 
ready to believe I had seen one, for they said my looks showed 
I had seen something, but when I told its size they rolled 
on the ground and laughed. The idea of such a thing as I 
described lying on the top of a blackberry bush was too much 
for them. I don't know what he la}' on nor do I care. All 
I know is that he was there. What held him up was of no 
consequence to me. He was the biggest snake I ever saw by 
all odds, and 1 don't yet think I stretched the story at all. But 
the boys added to it every time they told it. It is going about 
with all the variations they can think of. It is the first real 
good one they have had on me, so let them go it. If the 


expected battle comes off to-morrow it is time to go to bed, 
so here goes. 

June 8, 1863. 
Monday. No more signs of a battle than there have been for 
a Aveek back. I may as well finish up my snake story, for there 
is nothing else in the air. The wind-up was the most exciting 
part of it. I dreamed about it as soon as I was asleep. Many 
of us have bush houses to sleep in. Bill Snyder and I were 
partners in one. We had set up poles against our big tree, 
and covered them with weeds and bushes, leaving a hole on 
one side to crawl in. I crawled in first and was soon asleep. 
Just as Bill was crawling in, the snake, which I had seen 
coming for me for hours, it seemed to me, made a jump and 
landed on me. I jumped, and at the same time gave a yell 
that aroused the whole regiment, and the boys say was heard 
on the picket lines. I went clear over Snyder, who grabbed, 
and got hold of me just as I was diving into the bushes out- 
side. The first I knew I was being shaken so my teeth rattled. 
It was some time before we got settled down again. The snake 
let me alone after that. The boys say the snake did come, 
and it was to pay me for lying so about him. The Rebs 
made a move last night farther to the left, and came outside 
their works in quite a body. After a short but rather sharp 
skirmish they went back and staid there. The mail has come 
and I had six letters and three papers. Good news from home, 
or at least no bad news. Am glad enough to hear from them 
and to know they are well. One letter was from John, and 
from its tone he is well and feeHng fine. The 150th is still 
in Baltimore. 

June p, 1862. 
Tuesday. All quiet yet. Now and then a shell comes out 
of the rebel works, I suppose to let us know they are still there. 
We are waiting for the signal to go at them. Things have 


settled down, as if the troops were all in position. I went 
down along- the left wing to-day, but could see nothing but 
soldiers. There are enough here to take Port Hudson, if num- 
bers can do it, and why it isn't done none of us can imagine. 

June 10, 186^. 
Wednesday. There has been considerable firing along the 
lines both to the right and left of us. From all I can find 
out, we, on the center, are the nearest to the rebel works of 
any, and our batteries are able to keep them inside. Both to 
the right and left there seems to be a strip of disputed ground, 
occupied by both sides, who are entrenched in rifle pits, which 
each side keeps pushing forward, and it is the fighting over 
these that we hear most every night. Last night they fired 
on our position for awhile, and at one time they came so fast 
my bedfellow left me and went back with the regiment. But 
my old tree had not failed me yet, and I was not going back 
on it, so I staid and slept like a baby through what, by the 
looks of the trees and limbs, was quite a sharp cannonading. 

June II, i86j. 
Thursday. About three this morning one of the "hardest 
showers we have had broke right over us, and we were nearly 
drowned. So much water ran down the tree that I thought 
I was going to be washed aAvay. So I crawled out and found 
that by standing up I did not catch half as much water as 
w4ien lying down. But a little more or less made no difference, 
for I was soaked as wet as water could make me. The light- 
ning was something awful and the thunder beat even the 
bombardment on the da)?- of the fight. The lightning lit up 
the woods in great shape, and between flashes it was blackness 
itself. As soon as it was over and daylight came, we stripped 
and wrung- the water out of our clothes, after which we had 
some hot coffee, which made it all right again. The batteries 


kept itp their five-minute firing just as if the sun shone, and 
about the usual number of repHes were made by the Johnnies. 
A detail from Company B and another from Company H 
had a wrangle over a spring where the Rebs had been getting 
water in the night. One of Company H was badly wounded. 
Deserters come out every morning, and all tell the same story, 
that Port Hudson is ours just as soon as we are a mind to 
go and take it. 

A Wisconsin regiment marched past our quarters to-day 
going towards the left. Next the colors was a man with a pole 
like a flagstaff, on the top of which was a board about three feet 
square. The board was set on a slant and the staff appeared 
to run through it for a foot or so, and ended up with a short 
crosspiece, upon which sat a live eagle. He looked like a hawk, 
only larger. He had a chain on one leg, the other end of 
which was fast to his perch. Sometimes he would rise as 
high as the chain would allow, and fly along, no faster than 
the man walked. I quizzed one of the men, who said the 
eagle was given the regiment before it left home and that 
they had kept it with them ever since. That a man was 
detailed to carry and care for it, who had nothing else to do. 
There is something mysterious going to happen soon. Loads 
and loads of cotton bales are being piled up to the left of 
our position, and hundreds of picks and shovels and axes are 
stacked up near the cotton. I guess they are going to bury it. 

June 12, 1863. 
Friday. A detail from our regiment was called out during 
the night, and this morning the mystery about the cotton is 
solved. They met other details near the cotton bales, and they 
rolled them out to within about twenty rods of the breast- 
works, and piled them up in fort shape. Then with picks 
and shovels they piled the dirt against them, others filling bags 
with dirt and piling them up where directed, and as directed. 
A "bomb proof" they call it. It is large enough to hold two 


or three re^nments. These were marched in and it is up to 
them to hold the fort until night comes again, when guns are 
to be planted there. The Rebels did not know a thing of it 
until this morning, and then they banged away at it for a 
while, until our guns from above and below took their atten- 
tion. The men kept there are safe enough from the Re])s, 
but the sun will roast them. There isn't a particle of shade, 
and the sun is a hot one in the middle of the day. It is reported 
that another cotton fort was built up on the right, in the same 

One of our men got hit on the arm by another fellow's pick, 
otherwise no one was hurt. Deserters who came out this 
morning say there is great activity in Port Hudson these days, 
though food for man and beast is very scarce. It has been 
an unlucky day for Company B. One man shot his finger 
off and another cut off his big toe cutting wood for the cooks. 
The toeless man went to the hospital, but his toe has been 
going around from one to another and turning up in the most 
unexpected places. Just before night we were called together, 
and an order from General Banks' headquarters read to us. 
In effect it said that the 128th New York Volunteers had so 
far performed their duties in such a manner as to give great 
satisfaction to the commanding general. That in the immedi- 
ate future their duties would be still more hard and dangerous. 
That any member of it whose conduct in the past and in the 
future entitled him to promotion should receive it. It then 
went on to say that any violation of orders would call down 
speedy vengeance on our heads. That looks as if something 
was going to be done, and the 128th would have a hand in it. 

June IS, 186 S- 

Saturday. The cotton fort, as we call it, was finished during 

the night. We were left alone, for a wonder. \M-ien the 

big guns were being mounted the Rebs made quite a time 

about it, firing every gun they could bring to bear on it. Also 



at the rig-ht, as well as farther to our left, there was heavy 
firing. It seems as if we are pretty well fixed for it in case 
another try is made. Much better than before. Besides, they 
have lost a great many men by desertion since then. Have 
just learned that two men and a horse were killed on our 
front, and that on our right there was a real stubborn fight 
over the gun planting. 

P. M. About 10 o'clock a terrific fire from our new and old 
batteries began and lasted for an hour. So far as I could see 
not a rebel gun was fired in reply. The 128th was then given 
a taste of the dangerous duty spoken of in the order last 
night. They were marched out in front of the enemy and 
went through several evolutions like a battalion drill, the 
object being to draw the enemy's fire so our gunners could 
get their range. But it didn't work, for not a gun was fired 
at them, and they came back with the fife and drum playing 
a quickstep. 

Later. A white flag is waving over the cotton fort. What 
it can mean none of us know. 

Later still. It is said General Banks by way of the white 
flag has notified the Rebs to get all their women and children 
and non-combatants out of the way, as he intends advancing 
on their works to-morrow. 

June 14, 186^. 
Sunday. The noisiest kind of a sermon is being preached 
here to-day. It has been a busy day. We served rations at 
3 o'clock this morning and have orders to be ready for a 
change in position at any minute. That has kept us picked 
Xxp and waitings but up to this time, 9 a. m.^ have had no other 
orders. The 128th and the Twenty-sixth Connecticut went ofif 
in the direction of Springfield Landing. The firing seems to 
be all along the line. The Rebs must have more guns than 
we thought, for they are talking back at a great rate. 


// a. m. Walter Orr has just come in with a thumb shot 
off. He says they went l)Ut a httle way towards the landinj:^ 
before they came to a road leading to the left, and they went 
into action as skirmishers about a mile from here, through 
bushes and over rough ground. The rebel skirmish line lay 
hid in the bushes until our line was almost on them, and 
then rose up and fired right in their faces. Walt is the only 
one hurt on our side, so far as he knows. 

June 15, 186^. 
Monday. As I heard no more about a move, and as the 
regiment did not show up, I set out to look them up. I got 
the best direction I could from Orr and w^ent and went, and 
kept going, inquiring all the time for the 128th New York. 
No one seemed to know. The troops were all strangers. I 
could not even find our brigade. Darkness came and I was 
completely lost. The firing had about stopped, and men lay 
everywhere, some dead and the rest sleeping. I don't know 
what time it was when I gave up the search, but all at once 
I found myself completely tired out. I was following a path, 
and not daring to lay down in it, I crawled under a bush near 
it and in a minute was sleeping as sound as the rest. When 
I awoke this morning the sun was shining. I lay still trying 
to get my wits to working again, and the first I remember 
was a great buzzing of flies behind me. I mistrusted a dead 
soldier was close by and upon getting up found two, a captain 
and a lieutenant, that had been laid there to keep them from 
being run over in the night. There was only a little picket 
shooting going on, everything else was resting up after the 
hard work of the day before. About 10 a. m. I found the 
128th way down towards the river, and within musket shot 
of the rebel works. Walt Orr's thumb was the only loss 
to Company B, but several were wounded in the other com- 
panies. As this was to be our permanent quarters I hurried 
back to get the commissary stores ready to move. 


June 16, 186^. 
Tuesday. In our new quarters on the field, I had just g'ot 
back yesterday, and had a drink of coffee, when the adjutant 
rode up with orders to pack up, as the wagons would soon 
be there. I was so near played out that I gave the order 
and then went to sleep. Everything was loaded and ready 
for a start before I woke up, and we reached here in time for 
supper. When I get rested and slept out I will tell what sort 
of a place we are in, and how we got here. 

June ij, i86t,. 

Wednesday. We were nearly drowned again last night. 
One of the showers, such as only this place can get up, came 
down on us just as we dozing off. Every hollow became a 
puddle before the fellows sleeping in it could get out. The 
best thing about these downpours is, we don't have to dread 
them. We are soaking wet before we know it. Then they only 
last a short time, and the weather being hot we are not chilled. 
We stand around and growl for awhile and then settle down 
and are soon asleep again. 

I have been to the river and had a swim, also washed out 
my clothes. We are near neighbors with the enemy now. 
Directly opposite us is their water battery, so called because 
it is near the river. Just beyond us, to the right, the ground 
is about covered with rifle pits belonging to both sides, and 
near enough together to talk across. Both sides are resting 
up I guess, for there is next to no firing to-day. A strip of 
road just beyond us, and where we had to go over when we 
came here, is open to the enemy's fire and they made us scratch 
yesterday. They are bad marksmen, for so far they have 
hit no one. The men crossing this open space are the only 
ones they have tried to shoot. 

Night. An order — they call everything an order here — has 
just been read, calling for 1,000 volunteers to go into Port 
Hudson, or die in the attempt. A ''Forlorn Hope," it is called. 


I believe it must be a joke. If the whole 19th Army Corps 
together can't get in, hcnv can a thousand men exj>ect to flo 
it? The order congratulates the troops on their good behavior, 
and the steady advance they have made on the enemy's works. 
We are at all points upon the enemy's threshold. "One more 
advance and they are ours." Then it calls upon the l)old 
men of the corps to organize a storming party of a thousand 
men, to vindicate the Flag of our Union, and the memory of 
the defenders who have already fallen. Officers who lead the 
column shall be promoted, and the men composing the storm- 
ing party shall each have a medal, and have their names put 
on the roll of honor. That is the substance of the order, which 
has raised the greatest sort of a commotion among us. 

Later. Although we have until morning to decide, Company 
B has made up its mind not to try for the medals. We don't 
believe one thousand men can hope to do what all the thou- 
sands of the 19th Army Corps have twice failed to do. I wish 
General Banks and his army of advisers could have been at 
our conference, for we spoke our minds no matter who it hit. 
From the best evidence possible to get, viz., the deserters that 
daily come out. General Banks has at least ten men to the 
enemy's one. We could swarm over the breastworks on some 
dark night and bring every man in Port Hudson back with 
us. We wouldn't send them word to get ready, and have 
their guns pointed at us before we started, neither would w^e 
allow the cannon to bellow the news of our coming for an hour 
jor two beforehand. This was done on May 27, and of the 
last attempt word was sent in by a flag of truce the day 
before. Companies G and E are of the same mind as Company 
B, so if any go from the 128th it must be from the other 

June 18, 186^. 
Thursday. Another squad of deserters came in this morn- 
ing. I suppose they come in on other parts of the line just the 


same. This must weaken the enemy faster than our fighting 
has done. They all tell of hard times and short rations. The 
weather is hot, and a horrible stench comes from the dead 
horses and mules, which the buzzards are tearing' to pieces. 
There is scarcely any firing between the sharpshooters. The 
lines here are so close the men talk with each other, and have 
agreed to warn each other when the officers come around. 
At other times it is more like visiting than anything else. It 
is terribly hot in the rifle pits. I made the rounds to-day, 
and had a chat with a middle-aged Johnnie. He said we 
were not at all like they had been told, and there were some 
who believed we had horns on our heads, and had feet like 
cattle. Now that they know better they don't want to fight us, 
and will only do so when obliged to. Three men were sun- 
struck while in the trenches to-day. 

June ip, i86^. 
Friday. Three more men knocked out to-day. One sun- 
struck and two wounded. The Rebs have men posted way 
back inside the works, with rifles having telescope sights, and 
it is these that do the mischief, rather than those in the rifle 
pits. Now that we are warned of these fellows, we must 
look sharp, and maybe then get a clip. This explains how a 
couple of balls whistled past me yesterday when no sound of 
a gun was heard. 

June 20, i86j. 
Saturday. One of Company B, while poking about yester- 
day, had the good luck to shoot a cow, and last night he came 
in dragging as much of it as he could. So we have had another 
fill up and the world seems well with us now. I went 
for another swim in the river, and g"ave my clothes another 
washing. My one shirt has shrunk so I can hardly get into 
it. Not a button is left on it. The wristbands only come a 

PORT Hudson; la. i.35 

little below my elbows, and tbe bottom only just reaches to 
my trousers. I have no way to tell how I look, l)ut the others 
are about as black as the negro troops, and I suppose I must 
be ditto. The rifle pits are being extended and the Rebs are 
shoving theirs just as fast, each keeping about the same dis- 
tance from the other. No shooting is done, a sort of agree- 
ment having been made not to fire on each other until another 
assault is made along the whole line. 

June 21, 1867,. 
Sunday. My diary says tc-day is vSunday. If I have kept 
my reckoning right it is, but nothing else hints at its being 
the day set apart for rest. Directly in front of our sleeping 
quarters is a high knob or hill, and directly back of that is the 
water battery on ground just as high and only separated from 
it by a V-shaped hollow between. There are men making 
a road up that knob, and I think it is going to be fortified. 
The storming party is said to be full, and are to report at 
General Banks' headquarters to-night. It is said thirty-five 
go from the 128th. If all the regiments send a like number 
there will be several thousand instead of one, as was called for. 
Nearly half from this regiment are from Company C. Com- 
pany A is next, with nine, and the rest are from the other com- 
panies, except B, G, and E, which send none. They go way up 
to the right of the line, but where they will make the attempt 
is not told, if it is known. Captain Keese goes in command 
of the squad from the 128th, and with sixteen from his own 
Company C, nine from Company A, three from Company D, 
one from Company F, two from Company H, three from Com- 
pany I, and two from Company K, making thirty-six in all. 
making a big showing from our regiment. We bid them 
good-bye, for some of them, and perhaps all, have gone on 
their last march. There are men left who have proved them- 
selves just as brave as these have ever done. We don't all 


see it alike, that's all. We feel as if we had had a big funeral 
in the family, and are a sober set to-night. 

Jtme 22, 186^. 

Monday. Another drenching shower last night made our 
night miserable, though the sun soon dried us off this morn- 
ing. A foraging party was sent out for fresh beef to-day, 
and came in minus one man, who it is supposed was picked 
up by guerrillas. Parties of them are said to be hovering 
about outside of our lines. The Rebs asked our pickets 
to-day when that thousand men was to come and get them. 
They would not tell how they knew of it, but perhaps General 
Banks has sent them word, as he has done of every move 
yet. No doubt the exact time and place will be told them by 
some one. I am more glad than ever now, that none of 
Company B went. The general opinion is now that the boys 
that have volunteered have been sacrified, and that if the 
thing was to be tried over again, few, if any, would stir a step. 

All quiet to-day except now and then a gun just to keep up 

June 2^, 186^. 
Tuesday. Another detail for foragers to-day. I made out 
to get on this time. The quartermaster's team goes to bring 
in the beef or mutton or whatever it is we may get. 

June 24, i86s 
Wednesday. It is only by pure good luck that I am in my 
usual place of abode to-day, and able to write in my diary 
of yesterday's foraging expedition. A detail of three from 
each company set out with a four-mule team. We went until 
about opposite our old quarters, on the center, and then turned 
towards Port Hudson Plain. We divided up into squads, 
Smith Darling, the drummer boy, and myself of Company 


B making- one, and each hunting on our own hook. If firing 
was heard, it would indicate a kill, and the wagon was to come 
for the game. We found cattle, but they were wild, and 
very soon the Company I> squad found itself alone and out 
of sight or hearing of the others. Along in the afternoon we 
started to find our way l)ack to camp and soon after came 
upon and shot a two-year-old steer. We fired our guns several 
times and then went to work and dressed the animal as well 
as we could with only our knives. We got the Ijackbone 
apart and strung the hindquarters on a stake. Giving the 
drummer the liver and tongue, we started, hoping the wagon 
would pick us up on its way back. The country seemed new 
to us and we soon made up our minds we were lost, as 
likely to be going- away from Port Hudson as towards it. 
Just about sundown we came in sight of a house, and before 
we got to it saw General Dow and George Story ride up. 
They dismounted, and the General went into the house, leaving 
George to put up the horses. George had pulled the saddle 
from his horse when we came up and hailed him. He was 
as glad to see us as we were to see him. He said the General 
was stopping there and his foot was getting well fast. He 
told us to take a path through the bushes and we would soon 
come to a negro shanty, where he thought we could trade 
some beef for an old mule the darkey had and so get the 
rest of the meat into camp. Just then we heard the clank 
of sabres coming-, and fearing it might be some hungry cavalry 
squad who would want us to divide, we got into the bushes 
as fast as we could. We were just nicely hidden when they 
dashed up. We heard them talking with Story and soon after 
heard them ride on down the road in the direction from which 
we had come. Why the general left the good quarters inside 
the lines for this out-of-the-way place is a query we don't 
understand. We soon reached a clearing and were able to 
trade a chunk of beef for an old gray mule. It was then dark, 
but with directions from the darkey we were able to strike 


the road to camp. Smith rode the mule with the beef strung 
across in front, and the drummer and I followed on with the 
liver and tongue. When we were within a couple of miles 
of home a shower came upon us and soon soaked us through. 
The thunder and lightning was something awful, but except 
for the lightning I don't know how we would have kept 
the road. We reached camp at 10 o'clock, wet, tired and 
hungry enough to eat raw beef. The team with the rest of 
the foraging party had got in about dark, and until we came 
in, it was supposed some wandering squad of rebel cavalry 
had bagged us. Altogether we had a sufficient supply of beef 
to last us for some days. 

June 2^, 186^. 

Thursday. We have been listening and expecting to hear 
the beginning of the third attempt to take Port Hudson by 
storm. But the day has passed without any great excitement. 
Five deserters came in this morning, and said there was others 
that would come if they were sure of good, fair treatment. 
They had agreed upon a signal, which was to be a green bush 
fastened upon the end of an old building close by. If the 
bush was put up it would mean they were well treated, other- 
wise they were to say nothing about the signal, and it would 
be a warning to their comrades to stay where they are. 

A letter from Jane to-day. They have just heard where 
we are, and are very anxious. The newspapers have Banks' 
army all cut to pieces. 

June 26, 186^. 
Friday. Lieutenant Pierce is half sick yet, and ought not 
to be here. He wished this morning he had some black- 
berries, so three of us got permission to go for some. So 
many pickers have cleaned them up, so we found only a few 
here and there. We went a long way out, and made a 
thorough search. A shower overtook us and gave us a fine 


washing". Just after noon we heard the ball open again. It 
seemed to be all along the line from right to left. One said 
it was General Banks' notice to the Rebs to get ready to 
whip him again. We hurried back with what berries we had. 
The shot and shells were flying both ways. Company B was 
out on the skirmish line, and did not get in until morning. 
The firing stopped about dark, and so far as I can find out 
no one has been killed or wounded. 

June 2'/, i86^. 

Saturday. Too many blackberries yesterday have made me 
sick to-day. I certainly feel slim. I don't care who has Port 
Hudson ; I don't want it. I wouldn't turn my hand over for 
the whole Confederacy. 

Later. Am feeling better, but don't hanker after black- 
berries yet. Company B turned up four men short but they 
came in later. They got so close they had to crawl on their 
bellies for a long ways before they dare stand up. 

June 28, 186^. 
Sunday. Am all right again. To-day has been a busy one. 
A big gun, the biggest I ever saw, "Old Abe" it is called, 
was dragged here last night and got up on the point opposite 
the Rebels' water battery. To-day the gun has been got into 
position. Being so near, and having so little to do. I put 
in the day with them, helping in any way I could. The fort 
is made of cotton bales, backed up b}^ bags of earth too thick 
to be shot through. When all was ready it was most sun- 
down. A limb with thick leaves hung over one side, and 
under this I got to see what happened. When "Old Abe" 
finally did speak, the shell went into the ground way under 
the rebel gun, and after what seemed a long time exploded. 
The whole thing went up in the air, and when the dust settled, 
the muzzle of the gun lay sticking over the bank, pointed up 


toward the moon. So ended the famous "water battery" that 
we have heard so much about. "Billy Wilson's" Zouave 
regiment, our left-hand neighbor, then came up the ravine 
dragging a long rope they had got from the gunboats, and 
slipped it over the muzzle of the gun, intending to drag it 
over. But they couldn't budge it, and finally gave it up. Next 
they came back with hand grenades which they fired and tossed 
over. They had cut the fuses too long and they had no more 
than landed on the other side when the Rebs threw them back. 
That made the red legs skedaddle, and all that saved them 
was the fact that in coming up they had come on a slant, while 
the grenades rolled directly down. As it was, a piece hit a 
drummer boy, and he lies here on the ground apparently breath- 
ing his last. The top of his head has a large piece chipped off. 
There has been a good deal of powder burned to-day. What 
has been done besides tearing up the water battery I don't 
know. To-night the mortar boats have been throwing shells 
into the works. They pass directly over us. We are so near, 
the report is almost stunning. The fuse is cut long enough 
to last until they drop. I hope none of them may go off 
while over our quarters. 

June 2p, i86^. 
Monday. The Rebs shelled our quarters last night, and 
kept us huddled in the ravine until some were asleep. The 
weather grows hotter every day. Many give out in the rifle 
pits, though they contrive every way to get in the shade of 

June JO, iS6^. 
Tuesday. Last night the Zouaves made another try to get 
the guns from the water battery. Two of them came back 
on stretchers, and the guns are still there. A man was killed 
to-day while lying on the ground right among us. Pie was 
resting his head on one hand, when a shell burst and a piece 


as large as my hand came down and passed through his 
shoulder and so on through his body, coming out near his hip. 
He merely sank down and did not stir. An order has just 
come from General Dwight for every man to sleep with his 
accoutrements on, ready to move at a minute's notice. 

July I, i86s. 
Wednesday. Nothing happened at our house last night, 
although we were ready for visitors or to go visiting at the 
shortest possible notice. It is reported that a part of the 
Sixth Michigan got into the water battery last night and 
brought out a rebel captain with them, and without loss on 
their part. The enemy are reported gathering in our rear. 
They captured General Dow and George Story yesterday. 
We are sorry about George, but no one feels very sorry about 
the general. A man from the right says General Banks made 
a speech to the storming party last night, and promised them 
that Port Hudson would be taken inside of the next three 

July 2, i86^. 
Thursday. Last night the shot and shells flew thicker than 
at any time. The Rebs seem to be getting madder all the 
time. I got my closest call, too. I was sitting on a plank; 
laid across the ravine when a shell burst in front of me. I 
don't know how I knew, but I did know a hunk of it was 
coming straight for me, and I dove off into the weeds just 
as it struck and tore up the ground behind me. It must have 
gone within an inch or less of the plank, and right where I 
sat. It is reported that General Dow and Story were recap- 
tured last night by our cavalry. We hope for Story's sake 
it is true. An orderly rode in a few minutes ago with an 
order for troops, saying the Rebels had attacked Springfield 
Landing. The Zouaves and the 1626. New York have started, 
and probably others from farther up the line. All our stores of 


supplies are there. The Essex has up with her anchor and 
gone down there and if there is any fighting we shall hear 
it soon. If our supplies are captured we will have to fight 
on empty stomachs or be captured ourselves. How the Rebs 
would laugh at us if such a thing should happen, and who 
could blame them ! 

July 3, 1863. 
Friday. It was only a scare. The troops came back before 
midnight. A guerrilla squad attacked a wagon train and were 
fought ofif by the guards. But it gave us something new to 
think and to talk about at any rate. If General Banks hoists 
the stars and stripes in Port Hudson to-morrow, he will 
probably begin getting ready to-day. No doubt for some of 
us it will be our last celebration. Who will be taken and 
who will be left none of us know, and what a blessed thing 
it is we don't ! Now we can each think it will be the other 
fellow. We have never had any great love for our head 
surgeon, Dr. Cole, and to-night we hate him more than ever. 
Yesterday Corporal Blunt of Company K went to him for 
an excuse from duty, as he was sick. He told him he was 
able for duty and he went back into the rifle pit and died. 
How we wish it had been the doctor instead. Just at night 
a pair of oxen were discovered in the bushes near by and 
Smith Darling and I were sent out to capture them. We got 
near enough for a shot without being discovered, and each 
got his ox at the first shot. The mules came and dragged 
them out where they are handy and to-morrow we expect 
a beef stew. The officers will have beefsteak, of course, 
but we are not particular about the part so long as we get 
some. Three of the Zouaves, who were captured during the 
fight on May 27, made their escape and came in to-night. They 
had got into the river and swam down, coming in as naked as 
they were born, and almost starved. 


July 4, t86j. 

Saturday. Company K lost another man by sickness to-day. 
There are a good many sick. The health of the 128th has, 
up to a very recent time, been good. We have had hard 
usage but seemed to thrive under it until this terrible hot 
weather came on. Two of Company B go to the hospital 
to-day, and several others are grunting. Out of the eleven 
hundred we set out with we have only three hundred and fifty 
now, and the other regiments can tell the same sort of a story, 
and some of them even a worse one. 

Being a sort of jack-at-all-trades, I help out in any way 
I can, for so many being laid off, makes double duty for some 
others. I have been filling out the last two months' pay and 
muster rolls to-day and that gives me a chance to know 
about my own company and regiment. So far as we know, 
General Banks did not take Port Hudson to-day. If I were 
he I wouldn't set any more dates. It has been a very quiet 
Fourth of July. Have heard a bigger noise at the "City" many 
a time. 

July 5, 1863. 

Sunday. Something wrong with the pay rolls, and I have 
been all day trying to find out what it is. 

Captain Gifford, of Company A, who was captured when 
the Slaughter buildings were burned, came in to-day. He 
escaped last night, swimming the river and getting here about 
naked. He says from all he was able to discover, the bulk 
of the enemy's forces are in front of us, here on the left. 
Where is that storming party? Somewhere on the right, I 
suppose, unwinding red tape. I'll bet, if every ofificer in Banks' 
army, and General Banks with them, was tied up in a bag and 
dumped in the river, the privates could take Port Hudson in 
the next twenty-four hours. 


July 6, 1863. 
Monday. Another liitch in the pay rolls, thougli made out 
as they always have been since I had anything to do with 
them. The figures are right, but the form is not. This time 
they are according to the new form and I suppose will stay 
put. The Rebs are getting real saucy again. They have taken 
to shooting at the men who carry rations to the men in the 
rifle pits. Last night a darkey was carrying a kettle of coffee 
to Company E and a ball struck the rim of the kettle, knocking 
one side against the other, and also knocking down the darkey 
and spilling the coffee all over him. Narrow escapes are an 
every-day occurrence. To-day a man took off his hat to scratch 
his head. That brought the hat up in sight and a rebel bullet 
went through his fingers, crippling his hand. Four men died 
from sunstroke to-day. The weather is very warm though 
we have no way to tell just how warm. 

July y, 1863. 

Tuesday. Hip, hip, hurrah ! Vicksburg has surrendered. 
The news has just reached us, although the place surrendered 
on Saturday at 10 o'clock. The gunboats got the news some 
way. The first thing was three cheers from the men, and 
then three broadside salutes. Next, we have shouted ourselves 
hoarse, and the news is passing along up the line to the 
extreme right. The Rebs sent out a flag, to know what ailed 
us, and were told the joyful news. Someway they didn't 
seem as glad as we are. 

Afternoon. Our regiment and the Sixth Alichigan have got 
marching orders. I wonder what is up now. 

Later. The Rebs have again threatened Springfield Land- 
ing and the 128th New York, the Sixth Michigan, and the 
Gray Horse Battery have gone off on the double quick. We 
hear that 27,000 men and over 200 guns were surrendered 
at Vicksburg. There is no doubt about it now. Details are 

PORT TrtinsoN, T.A. 145 

coming in all the time, and a whole lot of powder lias been 
burned celebrating. The Rebs on our front seem as glad as 
we, for they know Port Hudson must surrender or be smashed 
between the forces of Banks and Grant. The detail sent out 
towards Springfield Landing has come in and reports the 
trouble all got along with. They didn't iire a gun. We are 
happy to-night, about as happy as if Port Hudson was ours. 
In fact it is ours, for they must give up now or catch it from 
front and rear at the same time. 

July 8, 1863. 

Wednesday. A flag of truce came out this morning, and 
after a short council went back. We don't know what it 
means, but can guess it is the beginning of the end of the 
siege of Port Hudson. 

Later. The flag was to ask for twenty-four hours cessation 
of hostilities, looking to a surrender. A few hours were given 
them to think it over, and we put in the time comparing notes 
with the Johnnies on our front. They are hard up for 
tobacco, and for bread. They have plenty of corn meal and 
molasses, but very little else. I have given away and swapped 
off everything eatable I have, and am going to make a johnny- 
cake, for a change. The meal is as much of a treat for us as 
our hard-tack is for them. 

Afternoon. Port Hudson has surrendered and possession 
is to be given at once. The story goes that only a few 
regiments will go in with the staff officers to receive the 
surrender. We are so in hopes our regiment will be one of 
that few. I am dying with curiosity to know what the cere- 
mony of a surrender is like, and I also want to see what the 
inside of Port Hudson is like. The outside I know all I care 
to know of, but to go away and not see or know how the place 
looks after the banging it has had, is too bad. But there is 
no use thinking about it. Some higher power will decide, 
and we have only to put up with it. 


July p, 186^. 

Thursday. In Port Hudson. Just as I was wondering what 
regiments would be taken in to receive the surrender, and was 
worrying for fear ours would not be one, the order came to 
pack up and go. We marched up to General Auger's head- 
quarters, and slept in the road last night. There was a driz- 
zling rain most all night, but this morning was bright and we 
soon dried off. 

We marched on towards the right until we came to a road 
that entered the fort, but which did not show signs of recent 
usage. Here we formed in the order we were to go in, the 
storming party at the head, then came the ii6th and 75th 
New York, and then the 128th New York. After us were 
several regiments, about six I think, for I have seen members 
of that many regiments here to-day. At eight o'clock 
we marched in, and I should say went three-quarters of a 
mile, when we found the Rebs in line. We marched along 
their front and halted, faced to the left, and stood facing each 
other, some twenty feet apart. Both lines were at "order 
arms." The officers held a short confab, and then took their 
respective places, as if on parade. Our regiment was directly 
opposite "Miles' Legion," or what is left of it. The command- 
ing general then gave the order, "ground arms." This was 
repeated by the company commanders, and then for the first 
time I felt sorry for the brave fellows. If their cause is not 
just, they have been true to it, and it must be like death itself 
for a brave fighter to lay his arms down before his enemy. 
However, I did not see any signs of tears. A detail was made 
to collect and take care of the guns and ammunition, and the 
order came from both sides to break ranks. In a twinkling 
we were together. I met the man I had the corn meal from, 
and we put in some time together. The Rebs are mostl}' large, 
fine-looking men. They are about as hard up for clothes as 
we are. What clothing they have on is gray, while ours is 
what has been a sickly blue, but is now nearly the color of 


the fi^round on which we have slept so lon,c^. Some of them 
are j^lad the fig'ht is over, and others are sorry, at least that 
is the way they talk. They are askin*:^ all sorts of questions 
about the thousand men who were to storm their works. They 
think it the big'gest kind of a joke. They have known all 
along much more about what went on outside than we did 
about the inside. Their scouts have been right among us, 
wearing the clothes of those they captured on May 27. The 
officers, without an exception, appear like gentlemen, in spite 
of the ragged clothes they wear. They have treated the pris- 
oners as well as they could, giving them the same sort of 
food they ate themselves. Provisions are very scarce, and 
the men say they have had no meat but mule beef for some 
time. A whole wagon-train loaded with provisions has come 
in and they eat as if famished. There are acres of fresh 
looking graves, showing that they have suffered as well as 
we. They say, however, that few have been killed, consider- 
ing the many efforts made to kill them, but there has been a 
great deal of sickness, which has caused the greatest destruc- 
tion among them. There are about 500 in the hospital, sick 
and wounded together. They have suffered for medicines. 
The wounded had to be operated on without chloroform, and 
many died while being operated on. 

The rebel soldiers are to be paroled, but what will be done 
with the officers I have not learned. Some of the men say 
they will fight again as soon as they have a chance, and others 
say they have had enough. The majority of them that I 
have talked with feel that their cause will finally lose, and 
they are for ending it now. There is a large space covered 
with barrels of sugar and molasses and there is quite a quantity 
of corn left. They have a curious mill for grinding the corn. 
A locomotive stands on the track with the drivers jacked up 
clear from the track. On the driver is a belt which turns a 
small mill and it looks as if it would grind a grist as quick 
as any other mill. I have been hunting about the place all day, 


and have seen many curiosities, or at least things strange to 
me. The earth is honeycombed with cellars and tunnels where 
the men hid themselves from our shot and shells. Along the 
bluff facing the river are several savage-looking guns, made 
of logs, smoothed off and painted so as to look exactly like 
cannon. The real guns were all needed for use against the 
besieging army. We are looking for a good night's sleep 
to-night. The guns that have made our nights so miserable 
are all under guard. Things are settling down for the night 
and I must stop writing. I have written every minute I could 
get and the half is not told 3'^et. If all goes well I will try 
again to-morrow. 

Donaldsonville, La. 

Leaving Port Hudson — Stop at Baton Rouge— At Donaldsonvillc — 
Living on the fat of the land — How sugar is made — Hickory Landing 
— Plaquemine — Baton Rouge. 

July 10, 1863. 

PORT HUDSON, LA. Friday. The rebel troops are 
going off by the boat-load. Guards have been placed 
over the sugar and molasses, also the corn. As fast as 
the paroles can be made out the men are going to their homes. 
They each swear they will not fight again until regularly 
exchanged. One of the Rebs has showed me how to make 
johnny-cake. I have made several, and while they don't taste 
like mother's used to, they are really very good. One fellow, 
after filling up on it, said "What's the use of women anyway? 
We cook our own victuals, wash and mend our own clothes, 
make up our own beds — and what more could women do ?" All 
the same there is one woman I would awfully like to see, and 
I flatter myself that same woman would like to see me. 

We were surprised yesterday at the small number of small 
arms surrendered, and wondered how they were able to stand 
us off so long with them. To-day the secret has come out. 
The best arms were buried in the ground and many of the 
newly-made graves in the graveyard contained rifles instead 
of dead Rebels. I don't know how they were discovered, but 
have been told that so many newly-made graves excited the 
suspicion of a Yankee ofificer and he began prodding into them 
and struck iron. 

July II, 1863. 
Saturday. We have marching orders. It is said we go to 
Baton Rouge as escort for the Vermont Gray Horse Battery. 


That means we will have to take a horse's gait, and it is said 
to be twenty-five miles. We have been swimming in the 
river and washing our clothes and are that much better off 
anyhow. We have filled up on corn bread, and are waiting 
for further orders. Our regiment seems to be the only one 
that is going, at least we are the only one getting ready. I 
hope my clothes will get dry before we start, for it is hard 
getting around in them now. I am almost ashamed to say it, 
but we are lousy with all the rest. There are always some 
who don't care for them and they always have them. When 
we get a change of clothing, I'll bury or burn my old ones. 
We hope we are on the way to Camp Parapet, where our tents 
and knapsacks are. Baton Rouge is in that direction and that 
is the only good thing we have in sight. 

July 12, 1863. 
Baton Rouge^ La. Sunday. Here at last and about tired 
out. We left Port Hudson about dark and were all night 
and until noon to-day getting here. Many of the men gave 
out and slept by the side of the road. I suppose they will 
be coming in all the afternoon. Some of them were skylarking 
around Port Hudson and did not get any supper. We were 
all hungry as bears when we got here, and my clean suit, that 
I felt so proud of, shows no sig'ns of its recent washing. It 
had not got dry and the dust we picked up seemed to all settle 
on and stick to me. However, we have had a feed and I 
have shook out the most of the dirt I brought Avith me. We 
hear good news from down the river, that 5,000 P^ebs were 
captured at Donaldsonville. The boys that were wounded at 
Port Hudson May 27 are here, and except those in the general 
hospital at New Orleans, the company is together again. This 
is the capital of Louisiana, and like most all southern cities, 
is built up of low wooden buildings although there are houses 
of all patterns, sizes and shapes. The streets are narrow and 


dirty, and the citizens mostly speak French among themselves. 
Negroes are everywhere, little and big, some jet black and some 
almost white. As we may have to stay here, J won't run 
down the place or the people any more. We are already 
settling down for the night, and hope for an all-night's sleep. 

July 13, 1863. 
Monday. Nothing has happened to-day worth writing 
about. We slept soundly all night, and late this morning. 
Some have gone at it again and act as if they would sleep all 
day. We have been strained up so long, it begins to tell on the 
toughest. I had my sick spell last winter and spring, and 
since that I have been one of the toughest. Have not been 
off duty a minute since I left the hospital and I can't think 
of another man in the company that can say that. But then 
my duties have been light as compared with theirs. Upon 
looking over my diary I find I did not mention a talk we had 
with the prisoners at Port Hudson, We were telHng each 
other our adventures, when one of them asked what regiment 
it was that came out to draw their fire on June 13. When told 
it was the 128th New York, they allowed it was the "dog- 
gondest" piece of impudence they ever saw. They told how 
they begged to fire on us and were not allowed to do it. The 
rebel officers knew what it was done for and had rather let 
us go than expose their position. I can't help thinking it 
was a good thing for us they didn't shoot, but we told them 
they couldn't hit the side of a barn, say nothing of so small 
a mark as a man. The firing they did do comes pretty near 
proving that we told them the truth. 

July 14, 1863. 
Tuesday. All kinds of stories are afloat concerning the fight 
at Donaldsonville. Some say our folks got the worst of it 


and some say the Rebs did. Between the two we are in the 
dark as to what was done. A great many of the men are on 
the sick Hst. There seems to be a sort of letting down all 
around, I begin to think active duty is the best for us after 
all. I got hold of some boards to-day and have put them up 
to sleep under, and to sit under. It is great, for it lets the 
breeze blow through and at the same time keeps off the dew 
at night and the sun by day. The boys are all getting fixed 
up, but they put their boards on the ground and make fun 
of my overhead shelter. 

July 15, 186^. 

Wednesday. Marching orders again. Donaldsonville is our 
destination. They have undertaken a job down there without 
consulting the 128th New York and consequently have got 
into trouble, which we have got to go and fix up. 

Dr. Andrus joined the regiment this morning and we cheered 
most as loud as when Port Hudson surrendered. Dr. Cole 
came soon after and was received in silence. We have not 
forgotten Corporal Blunt yet. He is a murderer, pure and 
simple. How he can hold his head as high as he does, I don't 
see. I hope he will get what he deserves some day, but such 
people seldom do. I saw a New York paper to-day. It was 
full of the fight at Gettysburg. From all I can make of it 
our forces got the worst of it in the first day's fight, but as 
it was still going on when the paper was printed the scale may 
have turned. I suppose the 150th was in it, and I shall want 
to see another paper to know how it ended, and if John was 

4 p. m. On board the steamer St. Charles. We expect to 
make Donaldsonville by eight to-night. The sail down the 
river is glorious. Whatever comes when we reach our destina- 
tion, we are having a regular picnic now. Going with the 
current, the boat cuts the water like a knife. There is too 


much to look at and to enjoy for me to waste the time writing", 
so good-bye till to-morrow. 

July 16, 186^. 
DoNALDSONViLLK, La. Thursday. We landed here about 
midnic^ht last nig^ht. A heavy shower overtook us on the way 
and wet us to the skin, consequently what sleep we hari was 
on wet ground and in wet clothes. This has been a very pretty 
place. The levee hides it from view from the river, but the 
place and the country around it is beautiful. It has been 
fortified, and when the g"unboats foug^ht their way up the 
river a year ago they were oblig'ed to mar its beauty some- 
what. There is a sugar mill near by with lots of sugar and 
molasses in it. The best thing is an immense cornfield right 
beside us, and the corn is just right to roast or boil. It is 
the southern variety, great big stalks, with great big ears on, 
and we can get a mouthful at every bite. There are a lot 
of troops here — I should think at least 10,000. Just what 
we are here for none of us have yet found out. The colored 
population is all I have yet seen. I visited the sugar mill and 
from an old darkey learned all about making sugar and 
molasses. There is a long- shed, and under it is an endless 
chain arrangement upon which the sugar cane is laid as it 
comes in carts from the field. This carries the cane into the 
mill, where it passes between heavy iron rollers, which squeeze 
the cane so dry that it is used for fuel under the boilers that 
furnish steam to drive the rollers. The juice runs into a big 
copper kettle, where it is boiled awhile and then dipped into 
another and so on, until when it comes from the last it is run 
into what I should call a cellar under the sugar house. This is 
made tight in some way, probably with cement, and in it the 
sugar settles to the bottom. I was told that the bottom 
of this cellar slopes from the sides towards the center, 
so that the sugar settles in the center. Over this cellar 
is a floor that slopes from the sides to the center just 


as the cellar bottom does. The getting- of the sugar into 
hogsheads is the next operation. Hogsheads are placed 
on the sloping floor, with one head open. Holes are 
bored in the lower head and into these sugar canes are stuck 
before any sugar is put in. They have immense great hoes, 
with long handles, and with these the men dig up the sugar 
and dump it into the open-ended hogshead. The molasses 
drains out through the holes in the bottom and runs back 
into the cellar, "vat," he called it. The men are all barefoot, 
and when I asked him if they washed their feet before begin- 
ning work, he said the molasses did that just as well as water. 
The hogsheads are left as long as any molasses drains out, 
when they are headed up and are ready for market. The 
molasses is scooped up with long-handled scoops and the 
barrels filled, any waste there may be running back into 
the vat. 

It is said we are here to attract the attention of the Rebs 
until Grant can get in their rear, and so force them to a fair 
field fight. A New York paper has been going the rounds 
until it is worn out. When I got it I made out that General 
Lee got the worst of it at Gettysburg, and that he himself 
waa wounded. Also that his line of retreat is cut off. Good 
enough, if true, and I hope it is. But General Lee ought to 
pattern after some officers I know and keep out of danger, 
when danger is near. After the danger is past then he can 
come out and shout as loud as any. 

July ly, 1863. 
Friday. Nothing new to-day, unless it be a new pair of 
government pants which I was lucky enough to get, and which 
I very much needed. A good swim in the river, and the new 
pants have made me feel like new. The body of a man float- 
ing in the river was pulled out here and buried to-day. He 
had no clothing on and it is not known whether he was a 


native or a northern soldier. We are a lascy set here. We eat 
corn and sleep and that leaves very little to write about. 

July i8, i86j. 

Saturday. The weather continues hot. What would we do 
if our old friend, the Mississippi, should dry up? We wash 
in it, swim in it, drink from it, and boil our dinners in it. 
To-day I borrowed a washtub from a native and washed my 
clothes. I had soap and I gave them the first good one they 
ever had. My shirt is more like a necklace than a shirt. I 
hardly know myself to-night. We have been cutting each 
other's hair. One of the boys borrowed a pair of shears and 
I guess they will wear them out. The best thing though was 
a fine-tooth comb, which has been in constant use to-day. That 
too was borrowed. I am ashamed to tell it, but when I got 
the comb I pulled out five lice from my hair the first grab. 
Strange as it may seem, I got no more, and now that my hair 
is cut close to my scalp the most careful search does not show 
any signs of others. I guess they must have been having a 
picnic in some favorite grove and all got caught at one haul. 
Body lice we don't care for. We just boil our clothes and 
that's the end of them. Their feeding time is when we are 
still for awhile, but at the first move they all let go and grab 
fast to our clothing. But the head lice are more difficult to 
deal with unless it be the kind that I had, which all attend 
one church and at the same time. 

July ip, i86^. 
Sunday. Mail came to-day. We have dodged about so 
lately the mail could not find us. I got two. All well at 
home. I dread to hear, for fear I will hear father or mother 
are sick, and yet I am all the time hoping to get a letter. 
Some stamps too. If I only had some place to keep them. I 
must hurry up and write to every one while they last. How 


different a letter from home makes the world seem. Dear 
ones, how good you are to me and what a debt I shall owe 
you when this is all over with ! We are expecting our pay 
every day. Some of the troops have theirs, and our turn will 
come. We get all sorts of news from the North. First a 
victory, and then a defeat. We are sure of two places, Vicks- 
burg and Port Hudson, and we have almost forgotten them. 
A great many are sick. I am sick myself of corn and have 
gone back to hard-tack. I wish we might go back to Camp 
Parapet, or else our things be sent us. A letter from Walt 
Loucks says he expects a discharge. Several have been dis- 
charged on account of disability. From his letter though he 
is in good spirits and says he will come up and see me before 
he goes home. Poor Walt, he has seen the hard side of 
soldiering, and I hope he will be sent home. 

July 22, 1863. 

Wednesday. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday all passed with- 
out a thing happening worth recording. Except the regular 
detail for guard duty there has been little going on except 
sleeping and eating. It seems as if I would never get sleep 
enough, now that there is no excitement to keep me awake. 

P. M. Have just received a Pine Plains paper which says 
John Van Alstyne was killed at the Gettysburg fight. Dear 
me, what will father and mother do now? George Wilson 
of the same company and regiment is rei)orted wounded. I 
have seen another paper giving the list of killed and wounded 
in the regiment and John's name was not in the list. On this 
peg I hang my hopes of a contradiction of this sad piece of 
news, and shall feel very anxious until I know the truth. John 
Thorn, who deserted before we left Hudson, reached us to-day. 
He says he gave himself up, but more likely some one gave 
him up, as they ought to. He has missed some hard knocks, 
and some fun, but he will get his share of each from this on. 


July 22, 1 86 3 
Tuesday. Have written four letters to-day. At first I 
thought I was fJ^oing- to join the sick squad, but writinj^ the 
letters has cured me. A g-reat many are sick ; quite a number 
from each company attend sick call every morning-. Dr. 
Andrus and I play some desperate g^ames of checkers these 
days. I shall try hard to keep out of his hands otherwise, 
for if I should get down now our folks would have me to 
worry about, and if the news about John be true, they have 
plenty of trouble now. The man Thorn has been transferred 
to Company F. I am glad of it. Company B has no room 
for him. 

New Orleans paper dated i8th says General Lee is not yet 
out of danger from General Meade. How I hope the next 
paper from the North will tell of the capture of his whole 

I have got mixed up on time some way and find this is 
Saturday, July 26. I have let my diary go for some days. 
For one reason, there was only the usual routine of camp life 
to write of, and another reason is I have been too lazy. I 
just lay around and rest, or play checkers with the doctor. 
We have showers most every day, and are either getting wet, 
or getting dry again nearly all the time. We have a great 
deal of what farmers call catching- weather. The sun shines 
clear and bright, and the next thing you know down comes 
the rain in torrents. The only good thing about it is that 
it is warm. Our old sutler, John Pulver, has come back and 
set up his tent. His stock is mostly gingerbread and plug 
tobacco, with some currant wane and live cheese for a change. 
He trusts everybody and his stock wall soon vanish. Biit pay- 
day will come, and his debtors will have to settle w^hether 
it takes all or only a part of their pay. Some of the troops 
have already been paid, but Major \^edder, who pays the 
New York troops, has not yet put in an appearance. 


Major Bostwick came down from Port Hudson to-day to 
settle up his accounts with Company B. He stays in camp 
to-night and is then going- to New Orleans. His regiment 
has remained at Port Hudson since the surrender, doing guard 

July 26, 1863. 

Sunday. Went to church to-day. It was a Catholic church 
and the sermon was in Latin, so I don't know whether he 
prayed for or against us. There were a great many Sisters 
of Charity there. In fact they are everywhere. Black and 
white people were all mixed up and so far as I could see were 
all treated alike. I was ashamed of my clothes, but they were 
my best, and none of them could say more than that. 

We drew a ration of flour to-day and had quite a time 
making pancakes. Lieutenant Pierce took supper with us. 
I mixed up the stuff and Mitchel did the baking. I got some 
saleratus for I remembered mother used that, but I did not 
remember that she also used salt, so I didn't think of it. They 
didn't look much like mother's, and when we came to eat them 
they didn't taste much like them. But it was a change, and 
that is something we are always glad to get. 

Our tents have just overtaken us, and we sleep under cover 
to-night for the first time since we left Camp Parapet. 

July 27, 1863. 
Monday. We have been put in the Third Brigade, in the 
Fourth Division, under Emory. There seems to be a regular 
reorganization going on. I suppose things are being arranged 
for another campaign. The darkeys had a dance in the road | 

last night. I had gone to bed, but there was so much noise 
I got up and went to the ball. They had no music, but one 
of them patted his hands on his leg, at the same time stamp- 
ing his foot, and it answered every purpose. Half the regi- 
ment was there looking on and there was lots of fun. They 


were in dead earnest too, and there are some right down good 
dancers among- them. The dignity of it all, and their extreme 
politeness to the ladies, would shame some white dances I have 

A New Orleans paper says General Lee has got safely back 
into Virginia. We hoped for a different report from that. 
But there is no such thing as suiting both sides in this busi- 
ness. It also tells of a riot in New York City on account of 
the draft. Here comes the mail man, so good-bye. 

Later. I have a letter from Jane and have read it. John 
is dead, killed at the first fire that came his way. The 150th 
marched thirty-six miles to get there, and were put right in 
as soon as they reached the field. Poor John ! I'll bet he was 
in the front ranks, for he always was in anything he under- 
took. He was instantly killed. To know he did not suffer 
as some have to, is a great relief. I had hoped the Pine 
Plains Herald report was not true, but I can hope no longer. 
I feel so for father and mother. I must write them oftener 
now, for they will feel more than ever anxious to hear from 
me. Jane says they are brave, but I know that sort of bravery 
cuts like a knife. Colonel Ketcham wrote them a nice letter, 
telling what a good soldier John had been, and how he 
sympathized with them in losing him. I suppose his body 
can sometime be brought home, that is, if it can be identified. 
If many were killed they were probably tumbled into a long 
ditch together, for that is the way it is usually done. 

Through rebel sources we hear General Dow is in Libby 
Prison. Also that Charleston is taken. Also that Lee, with 
his army, is safe in Virginia. How I wish I knew more about 
the Gettysburg fight. How it came about, and how it came 
out. How Lee and his army came to be in Pennsylvania. 
Why he was allowed to go so far north without a move being 
made to stop him. For all we know or can find out, he dropped 
right down from the clouds, and then our forces were gathered 
about him, some of them from long distances, and were just 
able to drive him back into Virginia. 


July JO, i86^. 
Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday I spent writing letters, 
that is^ all the time I could g-et. The heat is something awful. 
It is almost as bad in the shade as right out in the sun. The 
only comfortable place is in the river. Several have given 
out and if it continues many more will do so. We have signed 
the pay rolls for March and April, and hope to get the money 
to-day or to-morrow. If we do I am going to eat something 
off the top of a table, if it takes the whole two months' pay. 
The story is we are to go back to Baton Rouge, but what for, 
or when, has not yet been told. 

July J/, i86^. 
Friday. Pay day. As I was at the quartermaster's this 
morning, drawing rations, I was sent for to fall in for pay. 
If there is anything good to eat in this town I am going to 
fill up. Seems to me I never had such a dislike for army fare 
as has lately come upon me. 

August I, i86j. 
Saturday. A year ago to-day I cradled rye for Theron 
Wilson, and I remember we had chicken pie for dinner 
with home-made beer to wash it down. To-day I have hard- 
tack, with coffee for a wash-down. Have I ever described 
a hard-tack to you? If not I will try, but I am doubtful of 
being able to make anyone who has not used them under- 
stand what they are. In size they are about like a common soda 
cracker, and in thickness about like two of them. Except for 
the thickness they look very much alike. But there the 
resemblance ends. The cracker eats easy, almost melts in the 
mouth, while the hard-tack is harder and tougher than so much 
wood. I don't know what the word "tack" means, but the 
"hard" I have long understood. We soak them in our coffee 
and in that way get off the outside. It takes a long time to 
soak one through, but repeated soakings and repeated gnawing 


finally uses them up. Very often they are mouldy, and most 
always wormy. We knock them together and jar out the 
worms, and the mould we cut or scrape off. Sometimes we 
soak them until soft and then fry them in pork grease, but 
generally we smash them up in pieces and grind away until 
either the teeth or the hard-tack gives up. I know now why 
Dr. Cole examined our teeth so carefully when we passed 
through the medical mill at Hudson. I tried some of the 
southern cooking to-day and am better contented with army 
fare than I have been for some time. Marching orders. Must 
get the commissary stores ready right away. Good-bye till 
next time. 

August 2, i86^. 

Sunday. My twenty-fourth birthday. We left Donaldson- 
ville about nine last night and marched up the river until mid- 
night. We slept in the road until four this morning, when 
we started and marched at quick time till 9 o'clock, when the 
men began to fall out with the heat, and we halted for the 
stragglers to come up. It is a very warm day, even for this 
country. The doctor is patching up those who gave out, and 
I see no signs of going any farther to-day. 

P. M. We have pitched what few tents we have wnth us, 
which means a stay of some length. There is a large planta- 
tion here, said to be owned by a man who has remained loyal 
to Uncle Sam, and from what I can learn we are to protect 
him from his rebellious neighbor. Big thing that, for the 
crack regiment of Sherman's division. I have been thinking 
of my last birthday, and remember that John Loucks and I 
went fishing on Long Pond, above Sharon. 

August s, i86j. 
Monday. We killed an ox this morning, and are full. The 
hide, horns, head, legs and every other part of that ox that 
we didn't divide up among the companies was seized upon 


by the darkies and is as completely gone as if it had never 
existed. A swarm of flies over the place where the tragedy 
took place is all there is left to tell of it. 

August 5, i86s. 
Wednesday. The sick we left at Donaldsonville have been 
brought on, and I suppose the rest of the stuff will come 
sometime. Landon P. Rider of our company died last night, 
and we buried him in a little graveyard here. It is the first 
man we have laid away in such a place since we came south. 
It is a pretty little plot, and for his parents' sake I am glad 
we happened here at this time. Curtis L. Porter, whom we 
left sick at Baton Rouge, died on July 23. So we go ! These 
last two men were among our toughest and best men. We 
gave Landon a military funeral, and it went off without a 
hitch, even if I did have charge of it. That was my job 
before I was sick at Camp Parapet, and since that this is the 
only time we have done anything more than dig a hole and 
put them in. 

August 6, 1863. 

Thursday. We drew five days' rations to-day, the first time 
in most three months that we have drawn rations in bulk. 
Company savings commence to-day. (Note. I don't remem- 
ber what this statement refers to. L. V. A.). This will add 
to the duties of commissary sergeants. Their accounts must 
agree with the regimental commissary, his with the brigade 
commissary, and so on through each department up to the 
quartermaster general. If errors are found it is safe to say 
they will come back to the company commissary, for he has 
no one below him to pass them along to. 

Walter Loucks came back to the regiment this morning. 
His discharge was not granted and he is greatly disappointed. 
He looks as if he had lived in the shade, he is so white. Our 
faces are so black it don't seem as if we would ever be called 


white again. Poor Walt, he has had the best of it lately, but 
he suffered enough last winter and spring to make up for it. 
Now he will have to take it with the rest of us and it will 
be hard on him for awhile. The mail leaves to-day. I have 
four letters, and some money for father, to go. 

August "/, 186^. 
Friday. We have moved our camp across the road to 
higher and dryer ground. We have the prettiest place for a 
camp we have yet had. We have a fine view of the river, 
up and down, for miles. The river falls every day, and grows 
narrow. I don't think the water is over three-quarters of 
a mile wide. The natives say it will not get much narrower, 
though it may get lower. It is about all channel now. It 
don't seem possible it could ever fill up to the levee. One gets 
some idea of the amount of water it sometimes carries by 
looking across it and imagining it full from levee to levee. 
As fast as the water falls, the mud dries up, and in a few 
days grass sprouts up, and so it is green almost to the water's 
edge. We have some glorious swims. The water is always 
muddy but it loosens up the dirt, which runs off with the water 
when we come out. The callouses on our hips show most 
as far as the man. They are a redder red than the rest of the 
body, and are about as wide as my hand and nearly twice 
as long. They show how hard have been the beds we have 
slept on. 

August 10, 186^. 
Monday. Saturday was a wet one. A tremendous shower 
with thunder and lightning and high winds came up about 
noon, and swept everything before it. It blew over before 
night and left it cool and pleasant. It doesn't seem possible 
that dame Nature could change her face as she did in a few 
hours this afternoon. 


Sunday, yesterday morning, a boat landed about a half mile 
below us, and unloaded our camp equipage. There were about 
forty loads of it, and it kept us busy most all day. The things 
were all mixed up and we pulled and hauled the piles over 
as fast as they came, looking for our individual belongings. 
We put up all the tents that were needed. We don't need 
as many as we did once. 

Marching orders have come. Just as we have got settled 
down in the finest location we have yet had, we must pull 
up and leave for some other. It is too bad, but it is a part 
of the bargain and it does no good to complain. We are 
all torn up and ready to go when the word "march" is spoken. 
The quartermaster's teams have not returned from Donald- 
sonville, where they went for rations. The gunboat Essex has 
dropped anchor opposite us, also another gunboat which I 
cannot make out. A part of the regiment is on picket, and 
until they come in we shall probably remain as we are. Eph. 
Hammond and Will Haskins are quite sick in the hospital 
tent and quite a number are about half sick in the quarters. 

August II, i86s. 

Hickory Landing, La. Tuesday. No move yet. We stuck 
up some tents in the night and crawled in. Fresh orders this 
morning are to keep one day's rations cooked ahead, and be 
ready to go at a moment's notice. Eph. Hammond is dreadful 
sick to-day. He is our acting orderly and one of the best 
fellows that ever lived. 

Later. Eph. is dead. Whatever it was that struck him it 
took him quick and nothing the doctor could do seemed to 
help him. Poor Eph., we shall miss him. He was a leading 
spirit in any deviltry that was going on, but was one of the 
sort that no one could find fault with. He was a general 
favorite. There are a dozen others that would not be missed 
as he will. John Pitcher, the same John who helped me get 
the honey at Port Hudson, was taken to the hospital to-day. 


We have just buried Hammond. I have marked some boards 
for his grave and Rider's, for it is possible they will be sent 
for. What hardened wretches we have become. The word 
came, "Eph. Hammond is dead, hurry up and make a box for 
him." He was one of the best-liked men in the rei^iment. Yet 
not a tear was shed, and before his body was cold he was 
buried in the ground. We will talk about him more or less 
for a day or two and then forget all about him. That is 
what less than a year has done to us. At that rate two years 
more and we will be murdering in cold blood. The day has 
been sultry hot, but for a wonder we have had no shower. 
Good-bye, before I get another chance to write we will be 
somewhere else. 

August 12, 1863. 

Wednesday. What a poor prophet I am ! We are here yet. 
So many are sick, the colonel has decided to wait for a trans- 
port to take us to Plaquemine, about twenty-five miles above 
here. The doctor says anything like a hard march would add 
greatly to the sick list. The plan just now is to wait until the 
heat of the day is over, and if no boat comes along to start and 
march by easy stages through the night, and then rest up 
to-morrow. Company B has but thirteen men now that are 
not sick or ailing. 

August 13, 1863. 
Plaquemine City, La. Thursday. Twelve miles below 
Baton Rouge and on the opposite banks. Last night about 
five we were all packed up for a start on foot, and while in 
line waiting for the word to start, a boat came in sight and 
was hailed. She swung up against the bank and in less than 
an hour we were on board. The well ones took to the upper 
deck and had a delightful sail by moonlight. We reached 
here about 11 p. m. and had a good nap before our wagon 
train came in. 


We have laid out our camp near the river, where we get the 
breezes if any there are. The officers' tents are up and every- 
thing we possess is given over to us again, which leads us to 
think we may stay here for some time to come. We are too 
lazy to do more than loaf to-day, but to-morrow I mean to 
look about and see what Plaquemine City looks like. 

August 14, 1863. 
Plaquemine, La. Friday. Plaquemine is quite a place, in 
spite of its name. There are several stores with quite a decent 
assortment but the prices are way out of reach. I was going 
to buy a paper of tobacco, such as we used to buy at home 
for a shilling, but when I found it was $1.50 I decided to 
wait until our sutler got here and get it for half that. A fine 
large house which was furnished, but not occupied, has been 
taken for a hospital. Colonel Smith is acting brigadier general 
and quartermaster. Mace is acting brigade commissary. 
Several wrecks of steamers lie near the mouth of a bayou that 
enters the river here. I suppose they were destroyed 
by our folks last spring or else by the Rebs to keep them 
from being captured. The people are civil, but not real 
friendly. They do full as well as I could if th^ conditions 
were reversed. 

August 15, 1863. 
Saturday. We have drawn five days' rations and are settling 
down for real living again. A general improvement in the 
sick shoAvs already, probably on account of such good quarters. 
We hear to-day that Major Bostwick has been promoted and 
is now colonel of the Ninetieth United States Colored Infantry. 
I did not suppose there was more than half a dozen colored 
regiments in the field. Lieutenant Pierce has gone to Port 
Hudson to see him. All sorts of stories are afloat about it, 
and one is that Colonel B. will have the privilege of choosing 
his regimental staff from the 128th New York. The weather 
keeps hot and seems to get hotter. 


August 16, 1863. 
Sunday. Whew, what a scorcher this has been ! Not a 
breath of air stirring. The river is as smooth as ^lass. The 
reflection from it is almost bh"nding-. Even the water in the 
river is hot. We have put in the day trying to keep cool. It's 
too hot to even write about it. 

August ly, J 86^. 

Monday. We got cooled off before the day was over, yes- 
terday. A shower came up and a hard gale of wind with it. 
The rain soaked up the ground so the tent pins pulled out, 
and one after another our tents went down until only one 
was left that stuck and hung until a fellow crawled out and 
started one peg, and then that went. We had to lie on our 
tents to keep them from blowing away. 

A darkey caught a catfish to-day that weighed twenty 
pounds and one he called a buffalo fish that weighed ten 
pounds. We have spent a lot of good money for hooks and 
lines, but so far have not had a bite. I got fast to a log or 
something, and broke my hook. The weather is cloudy to-day, 
and there is every sign of a real rain storm. 

August 18, 186^. 
Tuesday. It doesn't rain yet, but it looks as if it would every 
minute. The mud here is as slippery as grease. There is 
hardly a man among us that has not wiped up one or more 
places with his clothes. Never mind, we have plenty of water 
and plenty of time to wash up. A box that was sent Major 
Bostwick last June has just reached camp. It had found the 
major finally, and after taking out what was for him, he sent 
it to the regiment, for several were remembered in it. I had 
four pairs of socks, a shirt, a watch cord, some dried peaches 
and some preserved cherries. Also some paper and envelopes. 
Bless their hearts, how good they are to bother so much 
about us ! I looked long at my bundle, and thought of the 


dear hands that had so carefully wrapped it up. I wish they 
could know how much I appreciate the gift, and how much 
more I appreciate the givers. 

p p. m. Something is up. Companies C and H have been 
called out and the others have orders to be ready at a moment's 
notice, but to avoid all confusion and noise. 

August Tp, 1863. 
Wednesday. Nothing new. C and H have not reported yet 
and we are as much in the dark as ever about their errand. 
There has been some talk of a shift about among the non- 
coms, in the regiment and now it has come. I am still in 
the commissary department. The new order of things, "com- 
pany savings," it is called, will give me more to do, and for 
this I am thankful. 

August 20, 1863. 
Thursday. Ration day again. Heretofore we have drawn 
what was needed, whether it was full rations or half, and the 
quartermaster has credited back what was not taken. Now 
things have changed. We must draw a full ration for every 
man reported on the monthly roll. Some are in the hospital 
and some are dead, but we draw for them just the same. The 
extra rations we are expected to sell, and turn the money 
into the company savings account. I suppose if we should 
all stop eating we would soon be rich, that is, if the company 
savings ever do come back to the men, as they are supposed 
to do. It is a queer arrangement, and I may not under- 
stand the plan, but that is the way I now understand it. 

August 21, 186^. 

Friday. The day has been hot. No hotter perhaps than 

some others, but it has made us more miserable. Everyone is 

crabbed and cross, and finding fault, not only with the weather, 

but with the way the war is conducted, and everything in 


general. There are plenty of men in Company B that believe 
they could have wound up the war before this time, had they 
only been at the head of affairs, or even been consulted. 
Time creeps along. The summer we dreaded will soon be 
gone, and then the winter, which may be ten times more 
uncomfortable, will come. I suppose we shall keep rij^ht on 
finding fault just the same, and it will do us just as much 
good as it does now. 

August 22, 186^. 

Saturday. A boat touched here this morning and we got 
some papers. The Era says General Franklin is to supersede 
General Banks and that General Banks is to supersede some 
one else, and that a regular cleaning-house time is about to 
come. The whole army of the Gulf Department is to be reor- 
ganized. Regiments that are cut down below a certain number 
are to be joined with some other, and the extra officers mus- 
tered out and sent home. We have learned not to swallow 
anything whole that we see in the papers, but there does seem 
to be some sense in such an argument. The 128th has only a 
third of its original number, and if three such regiments were 
put together there v/ould be two sets of officers that could be 
disposed of. If this is the case all through the army, a 
tremendous saving could be made. But what of the good 
record the 128th has gained. If we lose our name and number 
our record would soon be forgotten. Two regiments, one 
white and one black, have just gone down the river. 

Night. We have marching orders. There is a rumor now 
that a great expedition is being made up at New Orleans to 
go and capture Mobile. Of course they can't do it without 
us, and it may be there is where we are to go. 

August 23, i86^. 
Sunday. The regiment was invited to attend church in a 
body and we went. That is the rank and file did, and a few of 


the officers. I knew there was a Cathohc church here, but did 
not know of a Protestant church. The church was in a shady- 
grove, and in spite of the heat of the day it was comfortably 
cool. The preacher was a middle-aged man, and he appeared 
to favor the Secesh cause. At any rate he prayed right out 
loud for it, but failed to get an Amen from us. He explained 
at great length which cause was right, and then prayed that 
the right might prevail. The congregation was mostly of the 
128th, and for specially invited attendants we got mighty little 
attention from preacher or people. 

August 24, 1863 
Monday. Through an interpreter I sold over ten dollars' 
worth of rations to-day, to a Frenchman. Everyone here is 
French though the most of them can talk United States. Sol. 
Drake, the regimental commissary clerk, sent for me to-day, 
and said a list of the names that Bostwick wants to make up 
his official stai¥ had been sent in and that he had seen it. 
Also that his name and my own was among them. Just when 
we will be transferred he doesn't know, nor does he know 
yet for certain that the transfer will be made. I am to say- 
nothing about it outside, nor will he, until further develop- 

Something is going on about here. About noon forty men 
were mounted on confiscated horses and hastily left camp. 
They are probably on picket duty some ways out, and will 
give us warning before trouble can reach us. I presume it is 
some scattering guerrillas, such as gobbled General Dow and 
George Story at Port Hudson. 

August 2j, 1863. 
Tuesday. The mounted men came in and reported no 
enemy in the neighborhood. They brought in some beefsteak 
and have divided up handsomely. They won't tell where 


they got it, but very likely they robbed some butcher shop. 
They showed good taste in the selection, at any rate. 

August 26, 186^. 
Wednesday. Ration day again. As we drew five days' 
rations again it looks as if we might stay some time yet. 
Mail came late last night. No letters, but an old New York 
paper. No news good or bad. Everything seems to have come 
to a stop. A darkey, named Jack, who has been furnishing 
the cooks with wood, came in to-day with a log on his back 
bigger than himself. When he threw it down a cottonmouth 
moccasin crawled out of a hole in it. It made Jack almost turn 
white, he was so scared. The log was full of holes as if mice 
had eaten their way through it in every direction, and was 
most as light as cork. It is strange how the negroes fear a 
cottonmouth, and yet they go everywhere barefoot, and never 
seem to think of a snake until they see one. This is the first 
one I have seen since we left Port Hudson. I thought we had 
got out of the snake country. 

August 28. 186:^. 
Wednesday. Yesterday passed like any other day, trying 
to keep cool. Nothing happened worth telling of. To-day a 
party has been mounted and sent out to gather up the horses 
that are running loose all over the country. They came in 
with quite a drove. They went toward Donald son ville. ^^'hat 
the horses are for we do not know. Perhaps we are to be 
made over into mounted infantry. A mail came in last night 
and I was skipped again. I hope they have not forgotten me. 
Ransom White is now our second lieutenant and Lieutenant 
Pierce is promoted to first lieutenant. Second Lieutenant 
John Langdon of Company K is now its captain. These are 
all good promotions. They are all deserving of them. I sup- 
pose Tom Dutcher will be our captain as he is in line for it. 
He is one of the very best of the whole lot, but has been on 


detached duty so much of the time, we have almost forgotten 
him. A change has come over the weather. It is cool and 
pleasant as it can be. For this we are truly grateful. Lieu- 
tenant Pierce hinted to me about a change in fortune for me, 
but would not let out what it was or when it would come. I 
expect it is what Drake spoke of a few days ago. I hate to 
think of leaving the 128th, and yet I would hate to miss a 
better job. 

p p. m. Colonel Smith, who has been in New Orleans, came 
up on the Thomas about 5 p. m. and soon after the Arago 
came up, having order to report to Colonel Smith. This means 
a move, sure. We went right at it and are all packed up and 
waiting. The Arago has anchored close to shore and seems 
to be waiting for us. (Something wrong with dates here 
for the next is Saturday and yet it appears to be a continuation 
of Wednesday, August 28.) 

Saturday Morning. (No date.) Reveille aroused us from 
an uneasy sleep on the boards that had formed the floor to our 
tents, and before it was fairly daylight, two days' rations were 
distributed, and the finishing touches to our packing up had 
been made. At 9 a. m. we were once more on board the 
Arago, that old prison that held us for those dreary six weeks 
and killed ofif more of us than the Rebels have yet been able 
to. About noon we unloaded at Baton Rouge and went into 
camp just back of the Orphan Asylum. We are in a good 
place, in the city and yet out of it. We can get into the city 
in a few minutes if we want to. A great many seem to 
want to, for Lieutenant Pierce has been busy writing passes 
to go down town. I guess I will go too and see what the place 
looks like. When we were here before we were glad to lie 
and rest, and that is about all we did. 

At New Orleans, La. 

Good-bye to the 128th — Down the river to New Orleans — Looking 
for General Grant— Finding General Grant — Joined the Corps de Afrique 
— Franklin's expedition to Texas — The return trip — Pilot Town, La. — 
Easy times. 

August 31, 1863. 

MONDAY, Was too busy yesterday to even write 
in my diary. A general order from department 
headquarters came and was read to us in the 
morning. Several enlisted men and some commissioned 
officers from the 128th are ordered to report to the 
general mustering officer in New Orleans, for muster into the 
Corps de Afrique for recruiting service, your humble serA^ant 
being one of them. Just when we go I cannot say, but suppose 
as soon as we can get transportation. Reuben Reynolds and 
Henry C. Lay from Company A ; Charles C. Bostwick, George 
S. Drake, George H. Gordon and L. Van Alstyne from Com- 
pany B ; Captain George Parker, Charles Wilson and Wm. 
Platto from Company D ; Lieutenant Ruf us J. Palon, Martin 
Smith and Charles M. Bell from Company G; Garret F. 
Dillon, John F. Keys and George A. Culver from Company H. 
Richard Enoch and Charles Heath from Company I ; Jacob 
M._ Ames from Company K, and several other names of 
people I never heard of before, and have no idea to what 
regiment they belong. The most of us are sergeants, and as 
we are ordered to rip our stripes off and turn them into the 
quartermaster we are expecting to have shoulder straps instead. 
We were not discharged from the service, only from the regi- 
ment, but we are in honor bound to report for this new ser\ace, 
and then the shackles will be put on for three years more, 
if the war should last that long. Just what to think of this 


new move none of us seem to know. Some feel an inch or 
two taller already. I have not fully come to my senses so 
as to know how I do feel. Things have happened so fast 
it has kept me busy to keep up with them. We seem to have 
no choice in the matter. Men are transferred from one 
company or regiment to another every little while, and now 
our turn has come, and that is all there is of it. 

September i, i86j. 

Baton Rouge, La. We are waiting for a boat to come 
along and take us to New Orleans. Our commissions came 
and were passed around last night. We each got one and I 
suppose will get pay accordingly. Bostwick is colonel; Cap- 
tain Parker lieutenant colonel; Lieutenant Palon is major; 
Dick Enoch is a captain; Charlie Heath, Garret Dillon, Rube 
Reynolds, Charlie Bell, Mart Smith, Sol Drake and Henry 
Lay are first lieutenants ; Jacob Ames, John Keys, George 
Culver, Charlie Wilson, Wm. Platto and Lawrence Van 
Alstyne are second lieutenants. I may wish myself back 
looking after the fodder of Company B, but so far my only 
regret is leaving the boys. We have seen good times together 
and times not so good, but we have hung together through it 
all like so many brothers. But every day brings something 
new to think of, and the day before is soon forgotten. 

Sundown. On board a steamer called the Exact. She lies 
at the dock, and is taking on the First Vermont Battery. They 
are the fellows that we supported when posted in the woods 
on the center at Port Hudson. They don't know any better 
than we do what is before them. With good luck loading, and 
no accident going down, we ought to see New Orleans by 

September 2, 186^. 
Wednesday. On board the steamer Metropolitan going to 
New Orleans. We remained on the Exact until midnight 


with no signs of a start. Just then the MetropoHtan came 
along on its way from Vicksburg, and took us off. It is 
said General Grant and staff are on board. I am looking 
out for General Grant, for I have a great curiosity to see him. 
There are so many officers of all grades on board that I may 
have seen him already, but I have enquired out all those that 
make the biggest show and none of them were him. One is 
covered with .badges and medals, but he proved to be a for- 
eigner of some sort. At any rate, he has quite a brogue. 

I finally gave it up and went up on the hurricane deck and 
smoked while watching the sights along the river. A solitary 
soldier, with nothing on him to tell of rank, had his feet cocked 
up on the rail and I joined him. He asked if I knew whose 
fine place it was we were passing, and just then an officer 
came after him and I had the whole deck to myself. I had 
a lot of thinking to do and I was glad to be alone. The news 
to-day is that Charleston is taken. So many are talking of it, 
I began to think it may be true. 

New ORLEi^NS. Night. We landed about i p. m. I watched 
for General Grant but did not see him. If he was on the 
boat he must have kept in his stateroom, but I don't think he 
was on board, for I would surely have seen him go ashore. 
We, late of Company B, left the others and went to the French 
market and filled ourselves full. If I ever had so good a 
meal I have forgotten it. None of us being very well off for 
money, we began to consider a suitable place to stop at. We 
decided on the Murphy House on St. Charles Street for the 
night, and then to look for a place more in accord with our 
pocketbooks. We found Colonel Bostwick at the St. Charles, 
the principal hotel of New Orleans. He looks pale and thin, 
but says he is well. He had no orders for us and will have 
none until we are mustered. He hardly knows what we 
are to do, but supposes we will go with an expedition that 
is being fitted out here, under the direction of General Frank- 
lin. Its destination is said to be Texas, but by what route no 
one that knows has yet told. 


September j, 186^. 

New Orleans, La. Thursday. A mail steamer came in 
last night, and the mail will be distributed at eight this morn- 
ing. We are going to head off the carrier and get our letters, 
if we have any. 

Later. We did it, and I have a letter from Jane. God bless 
her, she writes for all the family. This time she sent me 
her photograph, so I won't forget how she looks. No danger 
of that, but I am glad enough to see her. The folks are all 
well. That's the best news I can get, and is what I am very 
thankful for. Sol and I set out to find cheaper board and lodg- 
ing. We were directed to a place in Gravier Street and made 
a dicker at a very reasonable price. After supper we went 
up to the St. Charles and found it crammed with army officers 
and city officials, and that General Grant was among- them. 
He was sitting at a table covered with papers and was busy 
talking with those around him. I worked my way in, deter- 
mined not to miss this chance, and imagine my astonishment 
when I saw it was the fellow I had sat beside on the upper 
deck of the Metropolitan. A couple of small stars on his 
shoulder was his only mark of rank. Of all the men I saw 
on the Metropolitan he was the last one I should have called 
General Grant. The troops in the Gulf Department are to 
be reviewed at Carrolton to-morrow and I suppose this was 
what they were planning for. 

September 4, 186^. 
We were up early and at the St. Charles to see General 
Grant and staff start for Carrolton. General Banks has his 
headquarters in Julia Street, and soon after we got to the St. 
Charles he and his staff rode up. A horse was led out for 
General Grant, which took two men to hold. He was in full 
uniform now and made a better appearance mounted than on 
foot. It was a fine sight to see them ride off up St. Charles 
Street, and I wished 1 could see the review. I had much 


rather see it than take part in it, for there is a lot of hard 
work about such affairs. Later we went to the musterinj:^ office 
and reported according to order received at Baton Rouge. 
We also got our fatigue uniforms and are now ready for busi- 
ness. This is the first 1 have been off duty since I left the 
hospital at Camp Parapet last spring. We have had quite a 
rest up and upon the whole are anxious to tackle the unknown 
which now lies before us. The strangest thing to me has 
been to undress and go to bed. I have not, and I do not expect 
to sleep sound again, until I can drop down as I am and pulling 
a blanket over my face to keep off the mosquitoes, know 
that however sudden the call I can be ready inside of two 

September 5, 186^. 
Saturday. Our boarding place at 184 Gravier Street has not 
proved to be all we hoped for, that is, the sleeping accom- 
modations are not quite as desirable as we would like. In 
the first place the room is close and hot. The mosquito bars 
shut out what air there might be, but still have holes enough 
to let through the hungry varmints by the dozen. Then there 
were bed bugs that act as if they had been starving all summer, 
and could never get blood enough. The rooms were alive with 
cockroaches, but these we didn't mind so much, for they did 
nothing worse than make a noise running across the floor. 
But on the whole we concluded to move and are in much 
better quarters at a house on Carondalet Street. I told Sol, 
as we had nothing to do but scratch and as our play spell 
might end any day, we should not be so particular, but he was 
decided and we went. 

September 6, 186^. 
Sunday. Sailing down the river on the steamer A. G. 
Brown, the very one our regiment and the Sixth ^Michigan 
captured on Pearl River last May. She has been repaired and 


chartered for the use of Colonel Bostwick and his "nigg-er- 
stealers," as the Secesh call us. The colonel says we are going 
with Franklin's expedition, whose destination is said to be 
Texas. We had a busy time getting off, for we had no hint 
of our departure until afternoon. I attended church this 
morning, but it isn't much like going to church at "The City," 
where every one knows every one else. We were hunted up 
and told where the boat lay, and were none too soon in getting 
to her. We have formed an officers' club, "Officers' Mess," 
it is called here, each one putting in $5 towards the expense 
of grub. We have to board ourselves now. We are each 
allowed one government ration for a servant, and as none 
of us have servants we will live on that until pay day. 

It is a beautiful night, too much so for me to waste time 
scribbling an);- longer. 

September J, 1S67,. 
Monday. In the Gulf of Mexico again. We passed the 
too familiar quarantine station where we landed from the 
Arago, and where we started quite a graveyard, and came on 
down past Forts Jackson and St. Philip, reaching the South 
West Pass early this morning. I don't know how many boats 
there are, but the water ahead of us seems covered. I did 
not suppose the river boats ever went out into the Gulf. We 
rock and roll like chips on the water. It is curious to watch 
the tall smokestacks. They slant in every direction at the 
same time. It is good weather, and the water is smooth. It 
is what the boatmen call ground swells that are tumbling us 
about so. 

September 8, i86j. 
Tuesday. We are just over the bar inside of Sabine Bay. 
The light of camp-fires can be seen on the Louisiana side, 
but whether of friends or enemies we know not. 

NICW OKt.lCANS, \.A. I79 

The captain of the hoat told us to-(hiy what he says is the 
object of this expedition. Thi-ou,L,di his scouts, General Banks 
has learned that the Rebels under (General Dick Taylor are at 
Vermillionville with 20,000 troops. That lianks had sent 
about as larg-e a force up the Ived River to Marksville, from 
which place they were to march upon Vermillii')nville. Another 
force had been sent by rail to Brashear City, and then up the 
Bayou Teche (pronounced Tash) to ,G:et at Taylor from the 
other side, while b^ranklin with his expedition is to land and cut 
off the retreat. I don't know enough about the geography of 
the country to know whether any or all of this can be true, but 
that is the way it is given to us. We had a rough night of it. 
The horses and mules on the lower decks had hard work to 
keep their footing and could not have possibly stood up on the 
deck we are on. There were times when it seemed as if we 
were going over, but the sailors didn't seem scared and so I 
tried to act as if I was not. We came through all right, and 
that is the main thing. 

September p, 186 j. 

Wednesday. I was mistaken last night. We only arrived 
off the bar this morning. The fires I saw and thought were 
camp-fires were dry grass on the prairie, and which is still 
burning. The fleet is lying outside the bar, and unable to 
cross, though these boats are said to run on a good big dew. 
General Franklin is on the Suffolk, and signals are being 
wig-wagged from vessel to vessel. The wind is getting 
stronger every minute, and what will become of Franklin's 
expedition if it really comes on to blow can be guessed to a 
certainty. It will fetch up on the bottom of the Gulf of 

Later. We are going back. What's the matter I don't 
know. We were signalled to go back and that it all we need 
to know. The water is rough, and if it were not for the 
danger, which is becoming apparent to all, the sight of the 


boats pitching and diving, this way and that, would be worth 
sitting up all night to see. We are going farther out from 
land than when we came, but that makes little difference, for 
at the nearest we are too far to swim ashore. The wind is 
dead ahead, and our progress is very slow. 

September ii, i86^. 

Friday. Pilot Town, in the mouth of the Mississippi. Our 
boat is tied up here, repairing damages. We got in early this 
morning after the most exciting twenty-four hours of my life, 
and I think many others can say the same. 

Yesterday the wind kept blowing harder and the water kept 
getting rougher. For sea-going vessels it was nothing, but 
for these cockleshell river boats it was anything but fun. 
Wednesday night the water was rough. I got into my berth 
for a nap and the next thing I knew I was sprawling on the 
floor, where a lurch of the vessel had thrown me. There was 
no more sleep that night. The boat not only rolled, but it 
pitched and dove. The wind and the waves seemed to get 
up more steam every minute and I for one was glad to see 
daylight. But except for the light there was no improvement. 
We could see several of the boats, but not a quarter as many 
as were in sight the night before. Whether they had gone 
to the bottom or were just out of sight none of us knew. 
The Laurel Hill was near by. Both her smokestacks were 
gone, shaken off even with the upper deck. Another boat 
tried to get hold of her, but did not make out. Another 
one, which we could just see behind us, had a signal of distress 
flying and the flagship signalled us to go back to her. When 
we turned broadside to the wind, I surely thought we were 
going over, but we got around and in a short time were close 
to the Laundress, whose flag was flying upside down, which 
was the reason of our being sent back. She was loaded with 
men and animals, and wanted a tow. We made two turns 
about her trying to get a line to or from her, and then gave 

Ni':w r)Nij':ANS, la. i8i 

it up. Ijoth boats were rolling about like chips on a mill pond, 
the great hig-h smokestacks swinging first towards each other 
and then far apart. It did not seem as if either boat could 
stand it much longer. The only thing that kept my spunk 
up was to hear the captain and mate swear. It didn't seem 
possible that men could swear like that if the danger was as 
great as it seemed. We came on and what became of the 
Laundress I don't yet know. By noon the wind was at its 
highest. Life preservers were got out, but not distributed. 
There were islands, or sandbars, all along towards where the 
shore must have been. We could see these only a part of the 
time, on account of the waves. Colonel B., who went to the 
captain and first asked, and then ordered, him to run in between 
the sandbars and so get into smoother water, was told to "go 
to hell. I'll run this boat to the South West Pass or to 
the bottom of the gulf." After that no attempt was made 
by the landsmen to dictate to the boatmen. About noon tlie 
upper cabin seemed to be tearing itself loose. The woodwork 
was splintered in several places, and the groaning of the tim- 
bers added to the alarm that was felt. I went below to find 
a place where I could keep still, but it was worse there than 
above. Everything was soaked. The engines and boilers 
were crusted white with salt water. The live stock was in a 
pitiable condition, scared to death and pulling every way on the 
hawser to which they were tied. The lower decks of these river 
boats are close to the water. On them is the machinery and 
fuel, and freight, when any is carried. Everything, living or 
dead, was soaking wet, including the boxes of hard-tack. On 
the next floor or deck is the dining room and sleeping berths, 
and above that the hurricane deck, on which is the pilot house. 
How he made out I don't know, but the fact that we got here 
shows he stuck to his post. A few got drunk, so drunk they 
could just hang on to something and slam about with it. No 
one thought of eating or sleeping. Some were dreadfully sea- 
sick, and these were the only ones I envied. They just lay 


on the floor and didn't care whether we sank or swam. 
Towards nig-ht we could see the worst was over, though the 
pitching and diving kept up about the same. As night came 
on we settled down as best we could and got what rest we 
could. I did not think I slept any, but I must have, for the first 
I knew we were in smoother water and were soon tied up here. 
The day has been pretty warm, but we are not complaining 
about that. 

Pilot Town is a curiosity to me. It is where the pilots live, 
that pilot vessels out and in the river. They go out in small 
boats as soon as they see a vessel, and the one that gets to 
her first gets the job of bringing her in over the bar, and some- 
times way up the river to New Orleans. Then if they are 
lucky they get a boat to pilot down the river and out into 
deep water again. Some vessels have some particular pilot 
that they will take on, and so this racing out after a job 
amounts to nothing. Then again some captains know the river 
so well they only have use for a pilot while crossing the bar. 
It seems the bar, as they call it, shifts its position, and this 
the pilots keep track of, and so no vessel ventures in or out 
without their aid. They have a little house on poles from 
which some one is always looking by day, and from which 
a light is kept burning at night. There is no dry ground. 
The houses, which are only little small one-room afifairs, are 
built on piles, high above the water, and along in front of 
them is a wooden sidewalk about even with the floor. Here 
they live and raise families. They are as ignorant as can be 
on all subjects except that of their trade, piloting. There is 
a little store, where tea, coffee and tobacco are the main stock 
in trade. I saw what I took to be calico on one shelf. When 
the tide is in they are surrounded with water, and when it is 
out there is nothing but mud. When I told him of the time 
we had had, he said "yaas, it was a bit nasty." The boatmen 
are cleaning up, getting the salt off the machinery and making 
things shipshape. The horses and mules are taking their 


rations and from all appearances have already forji^ottcn the 
uncomfortable trip we have just had. ImsIi of many kinds are 
swimming about the boat, and with .some borrowed tackle 
the men are having great fun catching them. T saw one that 
looked as big around as a barrel. My friend, whom I have 
kept busy answering questions, says it must have been a 
porpoise, and that they often come in for whatever they can 
find to eat. From a boat that has just gone up we learn that 
two gunboats, the Clifton and the Sachem, were captured. 
That an unknown fort, just inside the Sabine River, had 
crippled one, and when the other went to her assistance, that 
was also crippled and both crews made prisoners. That the 
Laurel Hill threw overboard 240 mules. So far as I can find 
out no other boats were lost. What become of the Laundress, 
which w-e tried to help^ no one seems to know. The most of 
them must have got in ahead of us, for very few have passed 
us to-day. Franklin's expedition seems to have been a failure. 

Later. Another boat says a transport, name not known, was 
lost with 700 men. That may have been the Laundress. We 
may never know any more about it. Something else will 
come and take our attention, and this trip will soon be for- 

Night. New Orleans again. We got here about 3 o'clock, 
after a delightful ride up the river. Colonel Bostwick tells us 
he doesn't know what the next move will be, but we are to be 
ready for it at any time. In the meantime we may enjoy 
ourselves in any way we please. That will be eating at a cheap 
boarding place and picking our teeth at the St. Charles, I 
suppose. I wrote nearly all the time we were at Pilot Town 
and have just got caught up. Good-night. 

Brashear City, La. 

Mustered into the service again — Waiting for orders — Up the Bayou 
Teche — Stealing a horse — Meeting the owner — At Mouton's Plantation 
— The return across the prairie — A sham battle — One kind of southern 
hospitality — Another kind of southern hospitality — Camp life at Brash- 
ear City. 

September 24, 186^. 

BRASHEAR CITY, LA. We remained in New Orleans 
until the i6th waiting for orders. Having just enough 
money to live on, we tramped about the city, which I 
find very interesting, especially the part below Canal Street 
which is here called the French part of town. Above Canal 
Street the people mostly speak English, and below Canal 
Street they mostly speak French. The houses in the French 
part are low squatty buildings as compared with those on the 
other side. Canal Street seems to divide everything. It is 
very wide, with a horse-car track in the middle and a regular 
street on each side of it. The cars are all drawn by mules. 
The car tickets each have a picture of a car drawn by a mule, 
and pass for five cents anywhere, just as money does. These 
cars runs as far out as Lake Ponchartrain I am told, but on 
account of the expense I have not been out there. I am told 
it is the summer resort of the people who have money to go 
there. The "shell road" which I have read about is a continua- 
tion of Canal Street. It is wide and as smooth as a floor. 
After a shower it glistens like snow, for it slopes each way 
so the water runs off and leaves it as clean as you please. 
Way out along the shell road is a tremendous large cemetery, 
and this I must tell you about. The old lady where I boarded 
had a son on one of the river boats. He died last week and 
his body was brought home and buried from her house. The 


old lady invited me to attend the funeral and I am f^lad I 
went, for it was all so stranije. The only thin,:;^ that seemed 
real was the mother's grief. There were several carriag'es 
and I had one all to myself. Some others I found out went 
empty. The f^raves in the cemetery are all on top of the 
ground and are like little brick houses, all whitewashed or 
painted white. There was no end to the flowers in the yard 
or at the grave. A wagon load of them went from the house. 
After the burial we came back with just as much pomp and 
ceremony as we went. I was sorry for the mother, and if she 
hadn't such an outlandish name I would give it. I have never 
tried to pronounce it, and not having seen it in print will give 
it up. That is the way with most all the names here. How 
they remember them is beyond me. I, for one, got very tired 
of hanging about. I gave up my diary after we came back 
from our gulf trip, but time hangs so heavy on my hands I 
have started it again and have caught up to this time the best 
I can. Colonel B. brought us here on the i6th and we have 
done nothing but loaf ever since. Brashear City is a small 
place on Berwick Bay. A small place just across the bay they 
tell me is Berwick. Cattle and horses are brought down from 
the country to Berwick and made to swim across the bay to 
this place, where they are yarded and shipped to New Orleans 
for market. There is a store and a restaurant, and some large 
empty buildings that I suppose were used for storehouses. 
We came here by way of the Opelousas and Great \\''estern 
R, R., which begins at Algiers opposite New Orleans, and 
ends here at Brashear City. This is the R. R. that the Twenty- 
third Connecticut were guarding when the Rebels captured 
them, last June. A part of them were here as well as some 
other troops. The restaurant keeper told me of the capture, 
and showed me the bullet marks on his shop to prove they did 
not give up without a fight. He says the bravest fight of any 
was made by a New York man, whose grave he showed me 
near his shop. Just what we are here for or how long we 


are to stay does not yet appear. Colonel B. says that part of 
Franklin's expedition that went up the Teche country by way 
of this place is somewhere along the Bayou Teche, and we 
are to wait here for orders. Last Tuesday I went to the city 
for our mail. I had six letters, all full of news I was rejoiced 
to hear. Our folks are well, and I begin to think they have 
more sense than their youngest son and brother, for they don't 
worry about me as much as I do about them. Walt Loucks 
wrote about the 128th and Dave Cottrell wrote about his folks 
and his regiment. They are doing nothing yet, but resting 
up. When I got back I found our discharges from the 128th 
had come. As we have not been mustered into any other, I 
don't see why we are not just plain citizens again. 

October 3, 1863. 

Brashear City, La. Saturday. Here yet and just as busy 
as ever, doing nothing. A week ago to-day I went to the 
city to be mustered into the Corps de Afrique. At the office 
I was told to come again on Monday, so I went to the old 
place on Gravier Street and spent Sunday writing letters. 
On Monday I went again to the mustering office and was told 
to wait until Tuesday. 

Tuesday morning I made out to swear in. Our boarding 
master had sent by me for a half barrel of pork, and another 
of Fulton Market beef, and had given me two ten dollar bills 
to pay for it. I got the stufif across the river just too late for 
the train, and as another did not go until night there was 
nothing to do but wait. When at last the train was made 
up I settled down in it for an all-night's ride. It ran about a 
mile out and was halted by a signal. Soon after, the train- 
man said we must wait until morning, and I went to sleep. 
In the night it began raining and it ran through the car roof 
about as fast as it came. 

I got out and went to the engine, where I went on with my 
nap, but in such cramped-up quarters that I soon woke up 


again, and then I went to the engine house and finished up 
the night, the most miserable one of any since that night on 
the A. G. Brown. 

On my way back to the ca1)OOse I passed the car on which 
my pork and beef were the night before, and lo and behold 
the beef was gone. I saw tracks about the car where it had 
been taken off and traced it to a house not far away. I then 
went to the office of the provost marshal, who informed me 
that as it was not government property he could not hel]) me. 
I then went back to try and help myself, but the people were 
all French and I couldn't even tell them what I was after. By 
this time the train was ready for a start and I got aboard 
hungry, dirty, and as mad as I could be. I told the man just 
how it was, and whatever he may have thought, he acted very 
nice about it, apparently believing every word I said. If I 
ever get ten dollars ahead, and am where I can do it, I mean 
to make it up to him. Yesterday some of us went fishing and 
had good luck. A¥e also got a mess of salt water crabs, which 
are new to me but which I found to be most delicious. Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Parker and four others have gone up the 
country towards Franklin, to see about new headquarters 
there. Colonel B. is in the city and the rest of us will wait 
here until he comes. 

The last few nights have been cool enough to keep the 
mosquitoes down, so about all we do is to eat and sleep and 
grow fat. Unprofitable servants maybe, but we are obeying 
orders and that is what we agreed to do. 

October 8, 1S63. 
Brashear City yet. We have been expecting to go ever}^ day, 
but someway the order did not come. \A"hat money we had 
among us has played out and we have had to apply to the 
quartermaster for provisions. The cooking we take turns at, 
what little there is to do. We got all ready to go yesterday. 
The A. G. Brown tied up here and we bundled our belongings 


on board, only to take them off again. The captain says 
General Banks has the boat for a special purpose, what, he 
does not know, but had orders to meet him here, and to allow 
no one else on board. The general and a host of other officers 
came towards night and were soon on board and away. After 
they were gone the colonel and a part of his family took a 
walk up the Bayou Beuoff (pronounced Beff), to an island 
on which is a large sugar plantation. We got a boat and 
crossed over, strolled over the grounds, got all the oranges 
we could eat, and take away, and were handsomely treated by 
the people. They seemed real friendly, and I hope may have 
felt so. At any rate we had a pleasant time and got back tired 
enough to turn in and go to sleep. 

October 12, 1863. 
Monday. Nelson's Plantation, on the Bayou Teche. Since 
my last writing we remained at Brashear City, eating, sleeping, 
playing cards and checkers, pitching quoits, running races 
and passing the time as best we could, until the arrival of the 
A, G. Brown just at night on Saturday, We went on board 
but did not get away until midnight. A large fire over in 
Berwick lit up the water almost like daylight. Captain Hoyt 
and Lieutenant Mathers were sent back to New Orleans on 
some business, otherwise our family was all together. We 
stopped at the mouth of the Bayou Teche until daylight and 
then went on as best we could. The Rebs had put every possi- 
ble obstruction in the way. One tree had been fallen across it, 
for the Teche is narrow, in places not as wide as the A. G. 
Brown is long. Two old boats had been sunk in it, and these 
the Brown had to snare and pull around so as to get past. 
We arrived at Nelson's Landing about midnight. Unloaded 
and marched about a mile farther up stream and pitched our 
tents. This Bayou Teche I am told runs through the country 
and comes out into the Mississippi at Plaquemine. 

1!RAsii!-:ar (tty, la. 189 

So far as I have seen it, it is narrow, and in many places 
and for long distances is covered with the leaves of some sort 
of weed that grows up from the Ijottom. Being about on 
the same level as the land, it is for all the world like sailing 
over a green field. The water sliows if you look down upon 
it, but not as you look forward or back. It is said to be 
deep enough for any sort of a vessel. With all the obstruc- 
tions to our passage, it was a much pleasanter one than the 
one we took in the Gulf of Mexico. After a late breakfast, 
there being nothing better to do, several of us went up the 
Bayou to where a lot of negroes were getting the wreck of a 
sunken boat out of the way. They worked from small boats, 
diving down and making fast to anything they could, and then 
with tackle hitched to a tree on shore would tear it loose and 
get it out of the way. One of them fell overboard and went 
down. Another dived for him, bringing up one foot which 
another in the boat took hold of, and without attempting to 
get his head out of water, rowed ashore with him, dragging 
him out on the bank by the one foot. The man was dead, 
but might just as well have been saved, for it was only a very 
few minutes from the time he went in until his one bare foot 
was in sight. They paid no attention to our advice or opinions 
of such work, and I soon found that they only understood 
French, and so did not know what we were yelling to them 
about. We got a boat and crossed to the other side. W"e 
found a used-up cane field, which was hard to get through 
and which seemed to have no end. When we finally did get 
through we found a patch of sweet potatoes. Beyond seemed 
to be an endless open country with groves now and then, and 
everywhere, as far as we could see, were droves of horses and 
cattle. One flock of horses sp)ang us, came up close as if to 
investigate. They were small, but perfectly formed, and of 
almost all colors. Some were spotted, but the most were of 
one solid color. Whether they are real wild horses or whether 
they have owners, we found no one to ask. Both the horses 
and cattle seemed to keep in droves separate from each other. 


By the time we got back we were tired and hungry as if 
we had been on a forced march. We got hold of a nig who 
understood EngHsh, and told him what we were after. An 
even dozen immediately enlisted, so we have made a beginning, 
and feel encouraged. This country is beautiful. Not exactly 
level and yet no hills. I suppose it might be called rolling. A 
good road runs a few rods from the Bayou, and along next 
the Bayou are large live-oaks. These are covered with moss, 
almost every branch having bunches hanging down just like 
an old man's beard. It is a curious sight to me, and I cannot 
say I really like it. I would give more for a good look at 
Bryan's big maple than all of them. Our troops are said to 
be in or near Vermillionville, twenty-five or more miles from 
here, and that a battle may be fought any day. Lieutenant 
Bell is going back on the Brown to-morrow, and 1 will wind 
up this epistle and send it by him. Maybe he will bring me 
a letter when he returns. 

October is, 1863. 
Tuesday. We are to start for Vermillionville to-morrow. 
There is quite a gathering of odds and ends of regiments and 
detached parties that are to join the army there. We have 
been looking for horses to-day, and after a hard day have 
several, but not enough for all. While out looking for them 
we ran upon a squad of our cavalry, who ran down and shot 
a beef, of which they gave us a generous portion. We are 
cooking it now so as to have it to cheer us on the way 
to-morrow. Those of us who must walk will need all the 
encouragement we can get. 

October 16, 1863. 
Friday. On Wednesday morning before we left Nelson's 
there was another try for something to ride, and by hook or 
crook we all made out. Colonel B. loaned me his horse to 


go and look for another. Along the Bayou abrtut a mile 
below camp I f(mnfl several horses hitched to the trees about 
a house, in which the owners were gettint^ a breakfast. Only 
a couple of them had military trappings, the others having 
ordinary saddles and bridles. One of these was hitched to the 
upturned roots of a blown-over tree, the bridle being thrown 
over the root. I noticed this as I rode past, and as soon as I 
was out of sight I turned back, and riding close up to the 
stump I slipped the bridle off the root, and old sorrel followed 
me right along. Everything was ready for a start when I 
got back and away we went. I felt a little guilty, but T know 
by the trappings the fellow had stolen the horse, and the old 
saying, that it's no crime to steal from a thief, came to mind 
and comforted me.* 

We rode until noon and then stopped for something to eat 
and to let the horses fill up on grass. Then we went on across 
the prairie, which seemed to have no end. We kept an eye out 
for guerrillas, but saw none. About 4 p. m. I saw a cornfield 
a little off the way and went to it to get some corn for my 
horse. While I was gone the colonel decided to camp for the 
night in a grove near the road, and went there thinking to 
see me when I came along. But in some way we missed each 

* After the war. and after I was married, my wife and I went on a 
visit to relatives of mine in Albany County. While there it was pro- 
posed that we all go over into Green County and take dinner with 
some of my cousins whom I had never met. We went, and had the 
best sort of a time and dinner. It happened that one of the boys had 
been in the army, and naturally we talked of the war. He had been 
in the Gulf Department, as was I, and he was also in the Teche 
country. This led to my telling about stealing the horse, when he 
jumped up, declaring "You are the man who stole my horse!" He 
supposed the horse had got away, and having no time to look for him, 
rode through on one of the wagons of the Engineer Corps, of which 
he was a member. He described the horse, and some of the others, 
so I knew he was telling the truth. He said they had bargained with 
the people for a breakfast and were too busy eating to notice any- 
thing going on outside. L. V. A. 


Other and I kept on, finally reaching Vermillion Bayou. The 
guard told me no such party had come in. As troops were 
scattered all about I kept up the search until dark, when I 
crossed over into the village, stabled and fed my horse in an 
empty building, and spread my blanket on the piazza of a 
house close b3^ A woman came out, and although it was rather 
late to ask permission, I did so, when she flounced back inside 
and I heard her tell some one not to let such things lie on the 
stoop. I didn't take any such hints and was soon asleep. An 
old dog acted much more friendly, for he sat by me until I 
went to sleep and was still there when I awoke. In the morn- 
ing I fed the rest of the corn to old sorrel and then went on 
to Vermillionville, enquiring everywhere for Colonel B. and 
rest of the gang. Not finding them I came back, and on the 
way traded horses with a colored gentleman who was having 
trouble, his horse going backwards in a circle, instead of 
straight ahead. She was a beautiful black mare, small, but 
wiry, probably one of the thousands that run wild on the 
prairies. After we got the trappings changed I had quite a 
time getting aboard my new craft, but by coaxing I finally 
mounted, and for awhile sat there, while the lady was con- 
sidering whether to go or stay and fight it out. The nigger 
had tried whipping, so I tried petting, and she soon started to 
walk and in a short time was taking a gait that soon brought 
me to the Bayou, where I got some breakfast with the 
engineers who came in late last night.* 

After breakfast I was about to start for headquarters to 
report the probable capture of Colonel B. and party, when in 
they came as surprised to see me as I was to see them. They 
were going to report me captured, for they thought sure I 
had been. The engineers kindly offered a breakfast which the 
party was glad to accept, after which the colonel said we must 

*The man whose horse I had stolen the day before was of this 
company, and if I had not traded horses, no doubt I would have had 
some explanations to make. L. V. A. 


go on to headquarters and report for orders. My "Black 
Bess" was afraid of so many people around her and kept as 
far away as the picket rope would allow. Whether she had 
a grudge against me T don't know, but as she swung around 
the circle she suddenly wheeled and with both her bare hind 
feet hit me squarely in the breast. My canteen had swung 
around in just the right position to receive the blow and that 
probably saved my life. As it was, one side of the canteen 
was smashed against the other and I was knocked flat on the 
ground. I was picked up and in a minute or so was as good 
as ever. The blow had knocked the breath out of my body, 
and as soon as I had recovered that I was all right, with not 
even a sore spot to remind me of the affair. We then pushed 
on about four miles beyond Vermillionville, where we halted 
to wait until our baggage wagon arrived. We encamped near 
a sugar mill on the Rebel General Mouton's plantation. 

From among the negroes that came flocking about we found 
that many of them knew how to cook, so we divided our party 
into messes and each hired a cook. Lieutenants Gorton, Rey- 
nolds, Smith and myself were one, and we immediately set 
out for something to try our new cook with. Smith and I 
got after a pig which ran in General Mouton's yard and all 
the way round the house, but we finally got a shot in the right 
place, and had some of the most delicious fresh pork for 
dinner. After dinner we got hold of the English-speaking 
darkies and explained our mission among- them. They were 
more anxious to enlist than we were to have them. Even the 
women and children wanted to go, and we had more trouble 
to make them understand that only able-bodied men were 
wanted, than we did to get them to enlist. That night they 
built a big bonfire, and hundreds upon hundreds were dancing 
about it, until I got tired watching them and went to sleep. 
They have some good fiddlers among them, and many more 
that are not so good. Those that saw the thing out say they 
finally got to singing, "Glory to God," and "Abe Linkum," and 


wound up with a prayer meeting-, in which Massa Linkum 
and the Linlcum Sogers were the names most often heard. 

October 77, 1863. 

Saturday. To-day Lieutenants Heath, Reynolds, the quar- 
termaster and myself took a long ride about the country 
spreading the news of our headquarters for recruits. The 
white people we met were civil, but their hatred of us could 
not be entirely covered up. I could not find it in my heart to 
blame them, and I much regretted that one of our party saw 
fit to trade horses with one of them and entirely against his 
will. But the blacks are wild with joy, and eager to become 
"Linkum Sogers." 

In the afternoon a detail was sent out with the quarter- 
master's wagon for mutton or beef, for our family is getting 
so large they will soon eat up the government rations at hand. 
They came back soon with a choice lot of dressed mutton. 
The guides apparently knew just where to go. Later in the 
day Reynolds, Gorton and myself made another tour of the 
country towards the Mississippi River. We came to a house 
over towards the Great Cypress Swamp, as the folks here call 
it, and which is a belt of big timber lying between the Teche 
prairie and the Mississippi River, in which outlaws and wild 
beasts are said to abound, and in which bands of guerrillas 
have their hiding places. We have heard much of the Great 
Cypress Swamp and its terrors, and felt quite brave as we 
looked at it from a half mile distance. No one appeared to 
be at home, so we investigated. The weeds were as high as 
our heads, but a path led back to a stable in which was the 
most perfect picture of a horse I ever looked at. He appeared 
to be scared out of his head at the sight of us, and plunged 
and snorted as if a bear was after him. The path continued 
and soon we came to a mulatto and his wife busy digging 
peanuts. We introduced the subject of enlistment and found 
he was ready and willing to go at once if he could take his 

liRASIlRAR CITY, LA. 1 95 

horse with him. They could both talk Enc^lish, and a jarj^on 
we supposed was French. When speaking- to us they used 
English, but to each other they talked French. After a short 
confab he agreed to go with us, and his wife made no objec- 
tion. He got his horse from the stable, and his saddle from 
the house and we set out for camp. 

I thought it strange that either of them showed so little 
concern at parting for what might be forever, and wondered 
the wife did not ask to go also, as so many of the others had 
done. We reached camp just at night, where both the horse 
and man attracted the attention of all hands. Colonel Parker 
at once wanted to buy the horse, and a barg^ain was soon 
struck, the horse to be paid for on the next pay day, which 
was agreeable to the mulatto. He was so frank and open in 
all his talk, that when he asked if he might ride the horse 
home and remain till morning the colonel readily consented, 
telling him to be in camp by noon the next day. 

October i8, 1863. 
Sunday. We lay about camp until noon and the horse and 
his rider did not appear. The colonel was mad clear through. 
He had been told the nigger would not come back, but he 
believed he would, and as the time went on little was heard 
but comments on the slick trick the rogue had played on 
Colonel Parker. After dinner he told Gorton and me to saddle 
up and show him the way and he would see whether he could 
find him. We went to the house but found no one at home. 
We then rode on towards the swamp. We saw a man running 
across a cleared spot and soon overhauled him. It was the 
fellow himself. He said his horse had got away and he was 
trying to find him, had been looking for him all the morning. 
The colonel drew his revolver and told him to march ahead 
of him to a big tree a short distance away, at the same time 
telling me to get my picket rope ready, for he was going to 
find that horse, or else find a dead nigger. The nig was 


scared and beg"an to beg, declaring the horse had gotten out 
of the stable in the night, and he and his wife both had been 
looking for him all day long. After he had got through, the 
colonel told me to throw the line over a limb, for he was going 
to keep his word. Whether he did really intend to hang him 
or not I don't know, but I thought he would stop short of 
the actual deed, so I proceeded to get the rope in position for 
a real hanging. Just then the rascal owned up. The horse 
was in the swamp where he had hidden him, and if the 
colonel would spare his life he would take us to him. We then 
went on and soon came to a beaten path that led directly to 
the dense forest before us. At the first turn in the path after 
we entered the woods the colonel dropped me off. At the 
next turn he left Gorton, and he himself with revolver in hand 
followed the fellow on and out of sight. He was gone perhaps 
fifteen minutes when out they came, horse and all, and we 
made tracks for camp, which we reached about sundown. The 
next morning the man's wife came into camp, and they both 
acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Where 
I waited in the woods the undergrowth was so dense I could 
not see a rod in any direction except along the path. Squirrels, 
both black and gray, came out of the bushes and looked at me. 
I counted five black squirrels in sight at one time. They are 
not quite so large as the grays, and are a dark brown rather 
than black. I wondered if they were as plenty all through the 
woods as where I sat. Gorton says he saw as many as I did. 
If all the stories I have heard about the Great Cypress Swamp 
are true, I don't care for any closer acquaintance than I now 
have. There are wild animals of all kinds common to this 
part of the country — bears, wildcats, opossum, deer and 
snakes as big as any in Barnum's menagerie. I can believe 
the snake part, for I have seen so many that I believe all the 
snake stories I hear. This same Great Cypress Swamp is said 
to be the home of outlaws, both white and black. That they 
have homes there where they live undisturbed by the laws 


made to govern other people. That runaway slaves finrl homes 
there, where they live and raise families which recruit the 
ranks of the lawless set living- there, as fast as they are killcfl 
off by the lights they have among themselves and with the 
officers of the law that attempt to capture or subdue them. 

Night. The work for to-morrow has been mapped out. 
Quartermaster Schemerhorn, Lieutenant Reynolds and myself 
are to start for Brashear City, taking with us the men we have 
enlisted. Two days' rations have been given out, and the 
darkies are having a farewell dance. This has been a busy 
Sunday, one I will long remember. 

October ig, 1863. 

Monday. We were up early and found the dance still going 
on. These creatures have danced all night, and eaten up a 
good portion of the rations, in spite of the fact that they knew 
a hard tramp lay before them to-day. How they will get 
through, or what we will do if they give out on the way, is 
the next thing for us to think of. They don't care. Someone 
has always thought for them and will have to think for them 
for some time to come. 

The quartermaster and Reynolds started off in good season 
but I was kept back for instructions until they were out of 
sight, and I did not overtake them until they had reached 
Vermillion Bayou. A drove of men, women and children, the 
families of the men we were taking away, had follow^ed them 
until now. We had to wait for a wagon train to get off the 
bridge and this gave time for them to get through with the 
good-byes, and most of them turned back. A half dozen or 
more of the younger women kept on and went all the way 
through. The day was warm, and the road was dusty, but we 
went through without accident or adventure, other than might 
be expected when all things are considered. For several days 
the men had been in a state of great excitement over their new 
prospects. They had wound up by dancing all night, and 


eating" up the provisions intended for us on this hard tramp. 
As the day wore on the excitement wore off and they found 
themselves very tired and very hungry. Such few thing's as 
they had beside those on their backs was in a cart drawn by 
a mule, and driven by three wenches. When a man gave out 
we turned out a wench and put the man in her place. Finally 
all three wenches were on foot, and their places in the cart 
taken by as many men. Before long others gave out and the 
cart was loaded until that broke down. Then we held a 
council. We were outside the picket lines and night was 
coming on, and staying there in the road was not to be thought 
of. Three revolvers were the only weapons of defence we 
could muster in case of attack by a guerrilla squad. Capture 
meant death. We explained the situation to such as could 
understand us, and they made it so plain to the others that 
they were all ready to hustle. We patched up the cart so the 
extras could be dragged along and away we went. The quar- 
termaster rode on to find a place to stay at, and something 
to eat. I let one who was worst off ride my horse, and with 
Reynolds at the front to coax, and I at the rear to drive, we 
got up such a gait I had to do my best to keep up. The road 
had been graded for a railroad, and was wide and level as a 
floor. At dusk I saw the steeple of a church, and knew we 
were near our journey's end. Now that the end was in sight, 
the weariness all seemed to disappear. We passed the picket 
line and were soon in the town. 

The quartermaster had got a schoolhouse for a stay over 
and had rations from the commissary. We made short work 
of these and expected to settle right down for the night. The 
men and women filled the schoolhouse full, and after being 
in there a few minutes, we three made up our minds the air 
was better outside, so we each took a board shutter from the 
windows and were soon settled down as comfortable as the 
circumstances would allow. Before we were asleep we heard 
a fiddle tuning up and in a little while a dance was started 


and was in full blast when I fell asleep. How long- it lasted 
I don't know, but when I awoke about sunrise the inmates of 
the schoolhouse were sleeping like the dead. 

October 20, 186^. 
Tuesday. I was nearly blind when I awoke. Something 
like an inflammation in my eyes had troubled me for some days, 
and the dusty tramp of the day before had made it worse. 
However, I soaked them open, and found that it had not 
affected my appetite in the least. While at breakfast Lieu- 
tenant Bell came and joined us. He was on his way to join 
the colonel and his party at the front. The colonel had given 
us an order to stop any boat going towards Brashear City, 
and with it I proceeded to the landing, leaving Reynolds and 
the quartermaster to pick up and bring on our party. At the 
landing I met a party on their way to the front, and gave my 
horse to one of them who was in just such a fix as I was the 
morning I became a horse thief. In reply to his very profuse 
thanks I told him I would have to turn her loose if I didn't 
give her away, for I could take her no farther. I had long 
forgiven her the kick she gave me and sincerely wished her 
well. At Nelson's Landing I found a boat which was being 
held in readiness for General Banks and his staff, so that 
was of no use to us. Soon after the A. G. Brown came up and 
said she would be back that night, and take us. We went into 
camp near the sugar mill and very soon our small army was 
arranging for a sham battle. They talked French, so I could 
only judge what they were up to from what I saw. They 
divided into two squads and proceeded to fortify their posi- 
tions by rolling the empty sugar hogsheads up in two parallel 
rows, behind which they stationed themselves, while the 
generals in command jawed at each other across the field. 
The men each had a hogshead stave for a weapon. For flags 
they used bandanna handkerchiefs, and for drums a piece of 
board upon which one man pounded while another held it 


up. One of the generals made a speech which made the other 
side fighting mad, and they all jumped over the breastworks 
and met in the space between, batting each other over the head 
with their weapons, and yelling with all the power of their 
lungs. We thought sure they would kill each other, for the 
blows they struck broke some of the staves into splinters. Just 
as we were going to try and interfere, one side surrendered 
and were marched off, prisoners. There had been some blood 
shed, and the wonder is that no heads were broken. But the 
best part came after the fight was over, and Vv^hen the final 
settlement was being made. Through an interpreter we 
learned that the general who should win the fight was to kiss 
one of the young ladies that had marched with us all the 
way from Mouton's Plantation, and he now demanded his 
pay. She was led out upon the battlefield, and when the 
victorious ofifiicer came up to claim his reward she slapped his 
face, and then turned her back to him. He then gave some 
orders, when his men grabbed the dusky maiden and turned 
her about. I could not tell whether she blushed or not, but 
suppose of course she did. The general got down on one 
knee and then on both and jabbered French at her until she 
finally relented and stuck out her hand, which she allowed 
him to kiss. This soon led to a full surrender, and the battle 
was over, and peace declared. 

We gave out the rations and began to get ready for a start 
as soon as the boat came along. We even filled a barrel with 
sugar, thinking it might come handy when we got to Brashear 
City. But night came and the A. G. Brown failed to appear. 
There were many here who like ourselves were waiting to 
get out of the country. Among them was a young mulatto 
woman, whom the others called Margaret, and who seemed 
of a higher order than those about her. She was willing to 
talk, and from her I have a story that has fully reconciled 
me to the wisdom of the President's Emancipation Proclama- 
tion. She has started for the North. Our coming among 


them lias given her the chance she had loni^ looked for. She 
has run away from her mistress, and her master is in the 
Rebel army. .She has a picture of her husband, and a fme-look- 
ing- man he was. He was as white as I am. He was the son of 

his master, and her father she says is Jud^-e , now in the 

Rebel service. Tier husband i)icked up enou,G:h education to 
be head man on his father's plantation. He knew too much 
for a nig-g-er, and when the Rebel army came through last 
spring" he was taken out and hanged to a tree right before 
her eyes. After they had gone the slaves cut the body down 
and buried it. Margaret is in hopes to reach New York, and I 
wished I could land her there that minute. If she was dressed 
as well, and if she was educated, she would pass muster with 
any I have seen that go by the name of ladies. 

No boat coming to take us away, we posted guards, giving 
each a stick of v/ood for a weapon. I remained up until mid- 
night, and in going the rounds to see if the guards were 
awake, came near getting a club over my head as I turned the 
corner of the sugar mill. At midnight I called Reynolds, and 
rolled myself in my blanket and was soon asleep. The mos- 
quitoes were about as thick and as savage as any we had 
met with. The horses and cattle had no peace for them. I 
rolled myself up head and heels in my blanket, and yet w^hen 
I awoke found one foot had got out of bed, and the varmints 
had put a belt around my ankle between my stocking and 
trousers that looked Hke raw beef. I don't suppose there was 
an atom of space that had not been punctured by a bill. But 
I "slept right through, and as usual dreamed of home and home 

October 21, 186^. 

Wednesday. Nelly, one of the women who came wdth our 

crowd, has volunteered to be our cook, and besides being a 

good cook has proved herself to be a g'ood forager. When I 

woke up she had fresh pork and chicken cooked and we asked 


no questions about what price she paid for them. Quarter- 
master Schemerhorn rode up to Newtown for rations, and I 
went back to bed to finish up my nap. The mosquitoes had 
not quite finished their job on me, and some actually bit me 
through a thick woollen blanket. My leg was very sore where 
they feasted on it this morning. One of the men mixed up 
some mud for a poultice, which helped it wonderfully. I 
found out we could learn many things from these poor crea- 
tures, not the least being how to live on the fat of the land 
we are in. 

Noon. The quartermaster came back and said the A. G. 
Brown would be along to-day some time. That it will make 
a landing one-half mile above here. Accordingly we pack 
up and move up to Mr. Nelson's so as to be sure of not missing 
it. Mr. Nelson, the owner of everything in this region, is 
here. He has been a merchant in New Orleans, but since 
Banks's order driving all Rebel sympathizers from the city, 
has been here at his plantation home. It is said he owns 20,000 
acres of land, and all the necessary stock and tools to work 
so large a tract. After a supper of hard-tack and bacon. Lieu- 
tenant Reynolds and I went and called on the gentleman. He 
received us very politely, and offered us the best his house 
afforded. The boat not coming we prolonged our visit, sitting 
on the broad piazza and smoking his cigars. He said he was 
a widower, with two children, a son in the army, and a 
daughter at school in Georgia. He told us of the outrageous 
wrongs he had suffered at the hands of the invading armies, 
how they had laid waste his land, torn down his buildings 
and fences, taking away his mules and horses, cattle and sheep, 
until he had nothing but the bare land to live upon, and no 
slaves left him to work even that. It was holding up the other 
side of the picture to our view, and in spite of ourselves we 
were sorry for him. He evidently did not expect sympathy 
from us, for after reciting his wrongs he changed the subject 
of conversation around to topics we could all agree upon, and 


after a sociable chat he invited us to spend the ni^^ht with him, 
agreeing to have us called in case the boat came during the 
night. He urged us to stay and we did. He gave us rooms, 
elegantly furnished, with beds so white anrl clean we were 
some time making up our minds whether after all we ought 
not to sleep on the floor, and leave the beds as they were. But 
the whole mosquito bars and a few nips from our ever-present 
enemies decided us. We undressed and were soon asleep, too 
sound even to dream of home. The boat did not come and the 
next thing we were aware of it was morning. 

October 22, 1863. 

Thursday. We slept late, and when we came out, our host 
was waiting for us, to say that breakfast was ready, and would 
not listen to our going away until we had partaken of it with 
him. We sat down to a beefsteak breakfast, with all the 
extras. I did not think I was so hungry, but the smell of the 
victuals made us both ravenous. Our host seemed to enjoy 
seeing us eat and thanked us heartily for making him the 
visit, g'oing so far as to say that in case the boat did not come 
that day he would be glad to entertain us again. In books 
and in other ways I had heard of southern hospitality and I 
now know it was all true. I wonder if it was ever put to a 
severer test. 

We went down to the landing and found a guard of soldiers 
from an Illinois regiment, keeping watch over a quantity of 
sugar and molasses which the government has confiscated, and 
which the boat was expected to take away when it came. They 
invited us to make one of their party until the boat came, and 
we gladly accepted the invitation. They thought we had 
risked our lives in going to stay with Mr. Nelson, and eating 
food in his house, but we did not believe it, and did all we 
could to make them think better of him than they had so far 
done. The guards shot a hog", which made fodder for our 
folks for the day, together with the government rations we 


already had. The day passed and another night came on and 
still no boat. We crawled in wherever we could get and slept 
as best we could for the mosquitoes, which seems determined 
to eat us alive. 

October 2^, 186^. 
A cold rain storm that has been threatened for a day or 
two came upon us early this morning. A small flock of sheep 
came up the road driven by a man on horseback. The negroes 
from everywhere have gathered here and the rations we give 
our men they give away to their friends and are always hungry 
in consequence. When the sheep came along they surrounded 
them and killed at least a dozen before we could stop them. 
The man hustled along with what was left and those killed 
were soon skinned and being cooked in various ways. We 
had mutton for dinner and for supper, and had enough left 
for breakfast. The day finally passed and we began looking 
for better sleeping quarters. Reynolds and I with a part of 
the guard finally climbed a ladder and got into a loft full of 
cornstalks with the corn on just as it had beep cut and stored 
away. The place was alive with rats and mice, which ran 
over and through the stalks, making a terrible racket, varied 
once in a while by a fight among themselves. We got used 
to the racket and finally were asleep. Just as we were enjoying 
ourselves, along came the boat we had waited so long for. 
We hustled to sort out the nigs that belonged to us and get 
them on board. In a little while we were off. The boat was 
crammed full of people — black and white, old and young, 
men and women all spread out on the cabin floor, or the 
tables. I never saw such a mass of people in so small a space. 
We poked around and after awhile found room to lie down, 
after which getting asleep was quick work. 

October 24., 1863. 
Saturday. Another raw day. Now that the people are 
standing on end there is more room to get about. We made 


out to eat such as wc had; while we wished for more, we 
had to content ourselves with what we had grabbed hold of 
the nig-ht before in the dark. At noon we passed Franklin, 
and about 3 p. m. reached Centerville, where there was a lot 
of sug-ar to load on the lower deck. The captain said if we 
would turn in our men to roll on the sugar he would under- 
take to fill them up. 

I took advantage of the stop to see what the place looked 
like. On one of the streets I saw oranges on a tree and went 
in to see if I could beg or buy a few. As I went into the 
yard a young lady came out and, in a tone and with a look 
that almost froze me, asked what I was doing in her yard. 
To save me I couldn't think what to say, but I did after 
awhile come to enough to say I would like an orange. She 
turned to a negro and motioned towards the trees, when he 
went and picked his hands full and gave me. Then the madam 
pointed her linger towards the street and said, "Now that 
you have what you came after will you please go" — and I 
went. I don't know yet what I ought to have said or done, 
but the only thing I did was to get back to the boat as fast 
as I could. I kept the adventure to myself, and gave the 
oranges away, for I think they would have choked me. That 
is a sort of southern hospitality I never read of in a book, or 
heard of in any other way. I never saw so much scorn on a 
face before. Why I stood there like a chicken thief caught 
in the act, and then carried off the oranges, I don't now know. 
If the Rebels were all like her I would resign and go home 
at once, for she did actually scare my wits all away from me. 
The sugar was on board and true to his promise the captain 
ordered a supper for our army, which must have made his 
stock of provisions look small. Rube asked me what I found 
the town like, and I told him it was different from any I 
had yet seen. We soon got settled down for the night. 


October 25, 1863. 

Sunday. When we awoke we were in sig'lit of Brashear 
City. We landed, formed in line as well as we could, and 
marched to our headquarters, where I found my old crony, 
Sol Drake. We found quarters for the men in an unused 
building, and in a little while their woolley heads were sticking- 
out from every window. 

The quartermaster drew clothes for them, and they were 
soon fitted out with suits of blue, just like the rest of the 
Linkum Sogers. The trouble was to fit them with shoes. I 
doubt if many had ever had a shoe on their feet. Their feet 
are wide at the toes and taper straight back to the heel. No. 
12 was the smallest size we found use for, the most of them 
taking 14 or larger. They insisted on squeezing a No. 14 foot 
into a No. 10 or 12 shoe, but we, knowing what that would 
result in, got them properly shod after a long time. Then 
how proud they were! We then gave them their rations for 
the day, telling them through interpreters that if they wasted 
it or gave it away, they could have no more until to-morrow. 
We moved all our belongings from the boat and filled out the 
day visiting and talking over old times, and at early bedtime 
settled down for the night in a four-room house which has 
been taken for our headquarters while here. 

October 26, 1863. 
Brashear City^ La. Monday. On going out this morning 
who should appear to me but George Story of Company B, 
who was captured with General Dow at Port Hudson last 
summer. He says he was well treated by his captors, and has 
no fault to find with them. They took him and the general 
to Richmond, and put them in Libby Prison. After a while 
he was paroled, and sent to Annapolis, Md. There he was 
kept until exchanged, and then sent south in charge of the 
provost marshal to be turned over to the 128th New York. 
Through a mistake at headquarters he was sent here, as the 


128th was supposed to be at the front in the Teche country. 
If he had not met us as he did, he would have j^one up the 
Teche on the next boat. As it is he will go back to New 
Orleans to-morrow, and look for his rei^iment up the river, 
probably at Baton Rouge, where we left them. 

We commenced teaching- our recruits the rudiments of sol- 
diering. They are awkward, but very anxious to learn, and 
as that is the main thing, we look for little trouble in drilling 
them. By shoving them together, lock-step fashion, they 
soon got the idea of marching in time, and on the whole did as 
well or better than we did at Hudson, when we took our first 
lesson. The quartermaster has gone to the city for equip- 
ments, tents, etc., and when he returns we will soon be at the 
Manual of Arms. We expect Major Palon here to-day to take 
charge, and by the time Colonel B. and the rest get back, hope 
to have our recruits fit for turning over to any regiment that 
needs them. 

October 2'/, 186 S- 
Tuesday. It rained hard all day, consequently no drill or 
other work was attempted. Major Palon and the quarter- 
master came from the city, the latter with rubber blankets and 
shelter tents for the recruits. He also brought some letters. 
one for me telling about the draft at home. Those that are 
drafted can get ofif by hiring a substitute or by paying $300, 
in which case a substitute is furnished them. I am glad I 
enlisted. There have been times when I could hardly say it, 
but I can say it now with all sincerity. 

More women and children have come, wives and children 
of the men we have. Poor things ! I suppose they have no- 
where else to go or to stay, so they have followed on after 
their husbands and fathers. I have heard that the government 
has provided camps for them, where rations are served to 
them just as to the soldiers. It is a very proper thing to do, 
and I hope it may be true that these helpless ones are thus 


provided for. This arming of the negroes is not such a simple 
afifair as it seemed. This is a side I had not thought of, but 
I don't see how it can be dodged. 

October 28, 1863. 
Wednesday. The rain has stopped, and the mud is now 
having its turn. It makes us just as helpless as the rain did. 
We have put in the time making plans for the time when the 
mud hardens. It does not dry up, as it does in the north, 
but the water seems to settle and leave the ground hard even 
if there be no sun or wind. 

October 2g, 1863. 
Thursday. After a council on matters and things in general, 
we have made some changes, looking to a more orderly- 
arrangement of our camp life in these quarters. The hangers 
on about camp have been driven away. The quartermaster's 
stores and those of the commissary department have been 
separated and placed in tents outside, where they can be found 
and got at. The most intelligent among the recruits have 
been appointed corporals and sergeants, and the screws of 
discipline turned on just a little more. Guards are placed, more 
for their instruction than for our safety, and things are 
putting on more the appearance of a military camp than a 
mere lounging place, as it has heretofore been. Just as we 
had got everything to our notion, a boat came, and on it 
were Captains Merritt and Enoch with 120 more recruits. 
Tents and blankets were given them and quarters assigned 
them, which altogether has made a busy day for us. Disci- 
pline, what little there had been, went to the winds when the 
men all got together. They all seemed to be acquainted, and 
such jabbering French as they had. I suppose they had lots of 
news to tell each other. Some can talk English, but all of 
them can and do talk French when talking to each other. 
They came from Colonel B.'s headquarters at Opelousas, and 


were in charge of Colonel Parker, who got left behind at 
Newtown, and will be along on the next boat. At night Dr. 
Warren, our surgeon to be, came from New Orleans, and 
to-morrow will examine the recruits. Sol Drake has been 
sent for to join Colonel B. at Opelousas and expects to leave 
on the next boat. Opelousas is beyond where I have been. 
I have posted Sol in getting as far as Mouton's, where we 
were, and beyond that he must find out for himself. 

October 30, 1863. 
Friday. It has been a rainy day, but we have paid little 
attention to it. Dr. Warren finished up his examination and 
nearly every man passed muster. He was not as particular 
about it as Dr. Cole was at Hudson. As fast as examined 
and passed we gave them their new clothes, and a prouder set 
of people I never saw. Lieutenant Colonel Parker came at 
night with later word from Colonel B. and Drake does not 
have to go. For this he and the rest of us are glad. Colonel 
Parker brought eight men with him and about as many women. 
We have quite a respectable squad, and they are learning 
very fast — faster I think than we did when we first began. 
Those that were rejected by the surgeon as unsound are 
here yet, and what to do with them is a puzzle to us. We have 
each of us taken one, to do anything for us we can think of, 
and they seem perfectly happy. Mine is named Tony, and 
is a great big good-natured soul, ready to do anything for 
me, if I will only let him stay. He came to me at first asking 
ifl would write a letter to his wife, and when I asked him 
what I should write, told me anything I was a mind to. I 
wrote the letter, telling her where he was, and how he was, 
and put in a word for some of the others for Tony's wife to 
tell their folks. This pleased him so much that he hung around 
trying to do me a favor in return, and when he was rejected 
by the doctor he said I must keep him, for he would be killed 
if he went back home, because he had enlisted. The govern- 


ment allows us transportation and a daily ration for a servant, 
so I am nothing out, for he asks no other pay than his board 
and the privilege of staying. 

October 31, 1863. 
Saturday. Lieutenant Colonel Parker and Dr. Warren left 
us to look for a healthier place, as many of the men are getting 
chills and fever. The ground is low and wet and I suppose 
is a regular breeding place for fever and ague. We are 
glad of a prospect of a change, but this country is all swampy 
and wet. The Teche country comes the nearest to dry ground 
of anything I have seen. We are getting into full swing. 
Companies A, B, and C are organized and assigned to Captain 
Merritt, Captain Hoyt, and Captain Enoch. There are thirty 
men left and these are turned over to Lieutenant Reynolds 
for drill. At night, a telegram from Colonel Parker says we 
must stay at Brashear City until our regiment is full. I have 
been out of sorts to-day and have laid up for repairs. 

November i, 1863. 
Sunday. Was detailed for officer of the guard, but not 
feeling well Lieutenant Reynolds volunteered to act for me, for 
which I am very much obliged. I put in another day trying 
to be sick, but toward night gave it up as a failure. However, 
I put in the day by staying indoors, writing letters for the 
men, some to their wives and some to their sweethearts. The 
more love I can put in the letters, and the bigger words I can 
use, the better they suit the sender. What effect they have 
on those that receive them I happily do not know. 

November 2, 1863. 

Monday. I lay down last night thinking if only mother 

was here to fix me up a dose, as she has so many times done, 

I should be well right off. I soon dropped off, and the same 

thought kept right on going through my brain until I awoke 


this morning and found myself in the same position, lying 
crosswise of my bed just as I lay down last night. But my 
dream of home had cured me, and I was myself again, ready 
for whatever might come. 

I found myself again on the detail for guard. After the 
new guard was posted I had but little to do, except to see to 
it that the reliefs were changed at the proper time. There 
was no enemy in sight, though the guards were just as watchful 
as if the enemy had been in the next yard. The worst was 
to remember the names of the sergeants, and that I got round 
by writing them down. Even then I had to guess at some. 
At night Colonel Parker came back from the city, on his 
way to join Colonel B., who is at the front with the rest of 
the gang. He brought me two letters, one saying father is 
sick and the other saying he is well again. I am glad the 
good news came with the bad, though I had much rather no 
news of that kind would come. I also had a list of names 
of those drafted from the town of North East. John and 
Perry Loucks and Amon Briggs were among them. Whether 
they will go or get substitutes the letter did not say. Also 
that another proclamation from the President calls for 300,000 
more men. I wonder if he knows what an army we are raising 
for him here. Report says an accident between here and 
Algiers last night killed twelve soldiers and wounded over 
sixty more. One train broke down and another ran into it, 
both loaded with soldiers. These roads are so straight and 
level it would seem that accidents of that kind might be 

November 5, 1863. 
Tuesday. I made a raise of a postage stamp to-day and 
sent a letter home. The day has passed like all do nowadays, 
with little to do. But it has been pleasant, and that is an 
exception I am happy to make a note of. The quartermaster 
came in to-night with more tents, and more supplies. 


November 4, iS6j. 
Wednesday. The steamer Red Chief came down the Teche 
this morning with more recruits, in charge of Lieutenants 
Gorton, Smith, Heath and Ames. This will make more work 
and I am glad of it. Lieutenant Colonel Parker has been on 
the point of starting up the country again for several days, 
but has not gone yet. To-day he has decided to move our 
quarters to higher ground. This is a wise thing to do accord- 
ing to Dr. Warren, for a great many of the men are sick with 
chills and fever. The site chosen is about a mile away. I 
am detailed to see that the stuff gets off, and the others are 
to be on the new site and receive it, and see to its proper 
distribution. I am temporarily assigned to Company D. By 
noon I had everything on the way, and after reaching camp 
helped to get Company D in as good shape as the others. A 
regular camp is laid out and company streets made. It made 
me think of the laying out of Camp Millington. Grading the 
company streets and other necessary work will give us some- 
thing to do for days to come. I put in so much time helping 
the others get fixed that I forgot my own tent, and as Captain 
Enoch invited me to sleep with him, I accepted, and after fight- 
ing mosquitoes until nearly midnight, I fell asleep and 
remained so until late the next morning. 

November 5, i86j. 
Thursday. Tony was waiting for me when I woke up, and 
was feeling badly because I had to go to the neighbors to 
sleep. After our hard-tack and cofifee were safely stowed 
away, I got my tent out and we soon had it up. Then Tony 
began skirmishing for furnishings. He had seen what the 
others had and set out to beat them all. He got hold of a 
board wide enough and long enough for me to sleep on, and 
soon had legs driven in the ground to hold it up. My modest 
belongings were put under it, and the deed was done. Colonel 
Parker gave a few parting orders and then took boat for 


New Iberia to join Colonel B., leaving Captain Merritt, in 
command. Captain Laird not yet having joined the command, 
I am curious to know what sort of a man I am to serve under. 
Company D is as yet made up of raw recruits, not yet having 
passed through the medical mill, so I have only to keep them 
within bounds until they are examined and sworn in as 
soldiers, when their education will begin. 

At night Dr. Warren and Lieutenant John Mathers came 
from New Orleans. A cold drizzling rain began about that 
time and we were driven into our tents, where the hungry mos- 
quitoes awaited us and war was at once declared. If I had 
a brigade of men as determined as these Brashear City mos- 
quitoes, I believe I could sweep the Rebellion off its feet in 
a month's time. They make no threats as our home mosquitoes 
do, but pounce right on and the first notice you get is a stab 
that brings the blood. I have had at least one bite for every 
word I have written about them, and all in the same time I 
have been writing it. The only escape from them is in the 
hot sun, or under a blanket so thick they cannot reach 
through it. 

November 6, i86j. 
Friday. This morning Lieutenants Reynolds, Smith, Ames 
and myself formed a club of four for mutual protection against 
starvation. We have a rejected recruit for a cook, and have 
made a draft on the commissary for salt horse, hard-tack and 
coffee. If he can't get up a meal on that, then he's no cook 
for us. My company was examined and almost every one 
proved to be sound enough for soldiers. A dozen at a time 
were taken into a tent, where they stripped and were put 
through the usual gymnastic performance, after which they 
were measured for shoes and a suit, and then another dozen 
called in. Some of them were scarred from head to foot where 
they had been whipped. One man's back was nearly all one 
scar, as if the skin had been chopped up and left to heal in 


ridges. Another had scars on the back of his neck, and from 
that all the way to his heels every little ways; but that was 
not such a sight as the one with the great solid mass of ridges, 
from his shoulders to his hips. That beat all the anti-slavery 
sermons ever yet preached. But this is over with now, and I 
don't wonder their prayers are mostly of thanks to Massa 
Linkum. They are verj'- religious, holding prayer meetings 
every night, after which the fiddle begins and dancing goes 
on all night, if not stopped on account of the noise they make, 
I don't know how they get along with so little sleep, or rest. 
After the examination we got blankets and clothes from the 
quartermaster and they were fitted as well as it is possible to 
fit from a ready-made stock. 

Our cook, George, proved to be a jewel. He made salt beef 
taste so much like a chicken we didn't notice the difference. 
Major Palon came from the city at night, and brought some 
letters. One was for me and contained three dollars from my 
old crony, Walt Loucks. This will keep us in extras for a 
little while. We were some time deciding how to use it, but 
a majority thought a part of it should go for flour, so George 
could try his hand at pancakes. 

November y, i86^. 
Saturday. I have never described our camp, and may never 
have a better time than now. We are out of town, to the 
north, on high, hard ground, for this country — so high that 
there is quite a slope towards the water of Berwick Bay. 
Company streets are laid out and the camp kept clean by a detail 
made each day for that purpose. There are many large trees 
in and about our camp, and taken altogether we have never 
had a stopping-place quite equal to it. The sick list has shrunk 
already, though the hospital tent is pretty well filled yet. We 
have company drill every day and there is quite a strife among 
us to see which can learn his troop the fastest. The men are 
as eager to learn as Ave are to have them, which makes it 


much easier for both parties. Berwick, which is directly 
opposite, is quite a place from the looks, larger than Brashear. 
It is the shipping port for the great Teche country that lies 

Just after dinner Colonel Tarbell's orderly rode into camp 
and inquired for me, handing me an order which read, "Lieu- 
tenant Lawrence Van Alstyne, commanding Company D, 90th 
U. S. C. L, at Brashear City, La. Captain Vallance, quarter- 
master, will furnish the bearer with a boat, in which he will 
proceed to Berwick and procure a sufficient supply of lumber 
to floor the hospital tent in said regiment." Signed, "Tarbell, 
commander." I took five men and such tools as we could find 
and called on Captain Vallance, who gave us a boat in which 
we rowed across the bay, which was still as a mill pond. We 
landed near a shanty which easily came apart, and which had 
good wide boards, enough to floor several hospital tents. We 
made these into a raft which we towed back, reaching camp 
without having seen a person, except a guard — who considered 
my order good enough authority for letting the boards go. 
We had boards enough for the hospital tent and all the other 
tents, which as soon as they are dry will be used for the com- 
fort of all hands. At night Lieutenant Gorton arrived from 
the city to take the next boat for Newtown to join Colonel B. 

Lieutenant Smith made me a present of a handsome pair of 
shoulder straps. The groundwork is dark velvet and the 
border of gold cord twisted and woven together. Altogether 
they are as handsome a pair as I have ever seen on anybody's 
shoulders. I shall lay them away until I get a coat fit to put 
them on, and that won't be until after pay day. Thank you, 
Matt, I'll try and not disgrace them. I presume he paid money 
for them that he needed for fodder; but that's just like Matt 
Smith. Major Palon also returned to-night, and made some 
changes. Lieutenant Ames, my partner in Company D. goes 
in the medical department as clerk, and Lieutenant Reynolds 
takes his place with me. 


November 8, i86^. 

Sunday. On duty to-day as officer of the guard. Generally 
that is a light duty, but with these men it is not so much so. 
None of the men can read or write, and so the sergeant and 
corporal of each relief has to have the names of his relief 
repeated to him until he remembers them. Even then there 
are many mixups that have to be straightened out. The names 
are strange to me, and after writing them as they sound, I 
find it difficult to pronounce them. 

I went the rounds during every relief, and never failed to 
find something out of joint. One at the Major's tent, whom 
I had taken extra pains to educate, I found taking his gun 
apart to see how it was made. Another had his shoes and 
stockings ofif and was walking his beat with bare feet. 
Another had taken off his accoutrements and piled them up 
at the end of his beat and was strutting back and forth with 
folded arms. The only thing to do is to call up a man who 
speaks both French and English and through him straighten 
the matter out. 

November p, 1863. 

Monday. To-day an order came to move to New Orleans. 
That is, all the companies that are full. That leaves Com- 
pany D here until more men come. There is a regular jolli- 
fication over the order, as none of us are in love with this 
place. I suppose it would be a proper thing for me to intro- 
duce the officers of the Ninetieth to whom the readers of this 
diary may be, and as there is nothing to prevent I will do it 
now. If I ever get a chance to read it myself it will call them 
up before me as I now know them. 

Colonel Edward Bostwick comes first, and any one who 
will be apt to read this knows him as well as I. But as I want 
the list complete I will begin with him and work down the 
line. He is about five feet ten inches, light complexion, gray 
eyes, with brown hair and beard. He is rather particular about 


his own appearance, and also that of the men under him. Ffe 
is always on the lookout for a higher limb to roost on, and 
after getting there himself, is very good about helping his 
friends up to him. He seldom drinks, never to excess, and on 
the whole is a good soldier. He came out as captain of Com- 
pany B, 128th New York. Was promoted to major of the 
First Louisiana Engineers, May 2, 1863. He served at Port 
Hudson with them and had the name of doing well whatever 
he was ordered to do. In August 1863, was promoted to the 
rank of colonel, with permission to raise a regiment from 
the freed slaves in this department, and this he is now trying 
to do. 

Lieutenant Colonel George Parker is from Poughkeepsie. 
Came out as captain of Company D, 128th New York. On 
Colonel Bostwick's recommendation he was promoted to his 
present rank. He is about five feet seven inches, light com- 
plexion, sandy hair and beard. Is well up in military tactics, 
and is afraid of nothing. Rushes right into anything, regard- 
less of getting out again. Is kind to his men, but a strict 
disciplinarian. When his orders are obeyed he is all right, but 
when he gets angry he acts without judgment or feeling for 
any one or anything. 

Major Rufus J. Palon is from Hudson. Came out as second 
lieutenant in Company G, 128th New York. He has the army 
regulations and military tactics at his tongue's end. Is pretty 
strict on discipline, but never loses his head. Money has no 
value to him. He would give his last cent to any one in need, 
even though he might be just as needy himself. 

Surgeon Charles E. Warren is tall, dark complexion, with 
dark sandy hair and beard. So far as I know he is a good 
surgeon. He is free with his money, and with the hospital 
whiskey. A real good fellow, though not in all things the 
sort one can pattern after with safety. 

Quartermaster Peter J. Schemerhorn left home as orderly 
sergeant of Company G, 128th New York. Acted as second 


lieutenant of his company at Port Hudson, and was after- 
wards detailed as clerk at headquarters, where he remained 
until the formation of this regiment, when he was made first 
lieutenant and acting quartermaster. He makes a good quar- 
termaster, seeing that his stock is kept up and ready for dis- 

Adjutant T. Augustus Phihips is one of the boys. He 
served in the Second Fire Zouaves in the three months' service 
and afterwards came out as orderly sergeant in the 165th 
New York. Was detailed as clerk at headquarters and in 
some way got a recommendation for adjutant in Colonel Bost- 
wick's regiment. He is a New York tough. Gets drunk as a 
lord, and looks down upon any one else who does not do as 
he does. He is not as popular in the regiment as he might be. 

Captain Thomas E. Merritt was formerly sergeant in Com- 
pany I, 128th New York. Was raised to acting second lieu- 
tenant of same company, and finally promoted to captain in 
this regiment. He has traveled a great deal and remembers 
what he has seen. He seems well fitted for the position he 
now holds and stands well with all hands. 

Captain Charles Hoyt is as good an all-round man as is 
often found. He is fine-looking, a line singer, has a way of 
being everyone's friend, and making everyone a friend to 
himself. He is cut out more for society than for the army. 
He takes now and then a drink, but never gets beyond himself. 
Will share his last dollar or his last hard-tack with any one. 
Altogether, he acts as a sort of balance wheel to the rest of 
the machine, keeping some from going too fast, and helping 
others to go faster. He would be missed if taken away, more 
than any half dozen of us. 

Captain Richard Enoch came out as first sergeant of Com- 
pany I, 128th New York. He was wounded at Port Hudson, 
and did not again join his company, being recommended for 
promotion as first lieutenant in the Corps de Afrique, from 
which he came to us with a captain's commission. He has a 


jovial disposition, but has a very quiet way of showing- it. 
He sometimes takes a Httle too much, and then is reckless of 
his money and of the ,G;"ood name he has gained. Every one 
likes him, because they cannot help it. As a military man I 
doubt if he is ever heard much about. He had rather have 
a good time, and no matter what is going on he generally 
manages to have it. 

There are several other officers who have not yet reported 
and of them I know nothing. One of them is Captain Laird, 
who will be captain of Company D, when he comes. 

First Lieutenant Robert H. Clark was promoted from ser- 
geant in the ii6th New York. He is an excellent penman and 
would make a much better clerk in some department office than 
he ever will a soldier. He is rather hasty tempered, and has 
already had several jars with his brother officers, particularly 
with Adjutant Phillips, whose assistant he at present is. If 
Adjutant Phillips kicks clear out from the traces Lieutenant 
Clark will probably succeed him. 

First Lieutenant Martin Smith was formerly an engineer 
on the Harlem R. R. He went out with a three months' 
regiment and afterwards as sergeant in Company G, 128th 
New York. He is open-hearted and outspoken. One can 
always tell where he is, for he is not deceitful. He is well 
liked by his brother officers. Just now he lies on his back on 
my bed making fun of a stove I have manufactured out of a 
camp kettle. He has no idea I am writing his biography. 

First Lieutenant Reuben Re3molds is from Hudson, N. Y. 
He came out as a private in Company A, 128th New York. 
Was promoted to corporal, then to sergeant and then to first 
lieutenant in this regiment. He looks as if he had just been 
taken from a bandbox. No matter what clothes he has on he 
always looks neat and well dressed. He was on a three years' 
whaling voyage before the war, and tells some very interesting 
stories of his life on shipboard. Before he came to us he was 
detailed as clerk in the Y. M. C. A. at New Orleans. He is 


a professor of religion, and I think tries to make his pro- 
fession and his army life jibe. We all respect him, though 
none of us feel as if we fairly knew him. 

First Lieutenant John Mathers is from Fishkill, N. Y. 
He came out as a private in Company F, 128th New York. 
Was promoted to second lieutenant in the Third Engineers, 
and from that to our regiment as first lieutenant. For some 
unknown reason he and I took a dislike to each other while 
in the 128th, and used to pass each other by as one surly 
dog does another. Since we have been thrown together we 
have talked the matter over, and neither of us can give any 
reason for our mutual dislike. We are the firmest of friends 
now, together much of the time we can call our own. We are 
not a bit alike. He is a regular dandy in appearance but the 
commonest sort of a fellow when you get at him. 

First Lieutenant Charles Heath was a sergeant in Company 
I, 128th New York. Was given a commission in the Third 
Louisiana Engineers, and afterwards given the same position 
in this regiment. In my opinion his head is not right. He 
acts strange at times. Sometimes he is as quiet and docile as 
can be, and in a little while as profane and foul-mouthed a 
man as I ever met. Is not ambitious, but seems to take what 
comes as a matter of course. He has no intimates, keeping 
mostly to himself. What influence ever brought him up from 
the ranks I cannot imagine. 

First Lieutenant Garret F. Dillon was promoted from ser- 
geant in Company H, 128th New York. He is a very small 
man, has a lisp, and a mincing walk. He looks and acts as 
if he was cut out for a dandy, but lacked the material for 
making one, and was thrown out in the shape he now is. 

First Lieutenant Charles M. Bell was first sergeant of Com- 
pany G, 128th New York. At the battle of Port Hudson he 
happened to be nearest Colonel Cowles when he fell. He 
received the colonel's dying message to his mother and was 
sent home with the body. He is one of the most capable of 


the whole lot of us. There is no position he could not, fill, 
were it not for his liking- for strong drink. This he does 
not seem able to control. I believe he tries to but lacks the 
strength to resist the temptations that are constantly jjlaced 
in his way. Poor Bell, I pity him more than any other man 
here. With the right influences about him, what a different 
man he might be. He has more good traits than any of us 
can boast, but his one besetting weakness is strong enough 
to overcome them all. 

First Lieutenant George H. Gorton enlisted in the 128th 
New York, as wagoner. Was promoted to commissary ser- 
geant in the Third Louisiana Engineers, and from there he 
came as first lieutenant to this regiment. He is of a strange 
make-up. Is well liked by all, but not greatly respected by any. 
Is a good horseman and would probably make out better hand- 
ling horses than he does men. Put him anywhere, and he 
manages to make mone}^, and manages to spend it as fast as he 
gets it. Is free-hearted and obliging and I never knew of his 
having an enemy. Neither does he make any lasting friend- 
ships. He worked as teamster for Colonel Bostwick before 
going into the army, and it was through Colonel Bostwick 
that he got the position he now occupies. 

First Lieutenant Henry C. Lay was a corporal in Company 
A, 128th New York. I knew him while in that regiment, but 
he has not yet reported for duty with us. He is on some 
special service and I suppose will sometime turn up among us. 
From what little I know of him I should say he will average 
wdl with the rest of us. 

First Lieutenant George S. Drake was also with Colonel 
Bostwick before he entered the army. He was commissary 
sergeant in the 128th New York, and always in close touch 
with Colonel B. He and I have long been fast friends, so it 
will not do to say anything against him. But I couldn't if I 
would. There is nothing but good to say of him. He has 
been in a position that kept him off the field, so I cannot sav 


what sort of a soldier he would have been, but he has always 
done well whatever he has had to do, and probably would have 
done the same had he been in the ranks. He is a fine penman, 
much better calculated for a business career than that of a 
soldier. He is no hand to push himself ahead, but all the same 
he gets there. Does not make friends as fast as some, but 
he keeps those he does make. He is all right, no one need 
worry about Sol Drake. 

Second Lieutenant Jacob M. Ames came out as a private in 
Company K, 128th New York. He was for some time assistant 
hospital steward and afterwards promoted to sergeant in his 
company. From there he came to this regiment as second 
lieutenant. He has not much taste for a purely military life 
and I think he would have done better service as clerk in some 
department. He has fits of blues, when he is rather cross and 
surly, but when these go off he is good enough to make it 
all up. He seems to be out of place. 

Second Lieutenant John Y. Keese was a private in Company 
H, 128th New York. Was made a corporal, and then a second 
lieutenant in this regiment. He has no enemies and few if 
any fast friends. He doesn't seem to have the knack of making 
either. Is not ambitious to get ahead. Some say he is lazy. 
At any rate it seems doubtful if he gets any higher than he 
now is. Still he may be like a singed cat, and come out top 
of the heap. 

Second Lieutenant George N. Culver is another graduate 
from Company H, 128th New York. He has a habit of carry- 
ing his head high up and I have often wondered why he never 
stubbed his toes. He keeps rather to himself, not mixing with 
the others more than he is obliged to. Still he is a good sort 
of chap when one gets up close to him, and tends well to what 
he has to do. 

Second Lieutenant Charles Wilson was a corporal in Com.- 
pany D. He .is of German descent, rather quick tempered, 
and not real well calculated to get along in a crowd like this. 


Still he is a good fellow and I think will make a g'ood officer 
when his patience has had time to grow. 

Second Lieutenant William Platto is from the same com- 
pany and reg-iment. He minds his own business and is well 
liked. So far as I know he neither smokes, drinks, or chews. 
If he has other bad habits I have not yet found them out. 
But he has good qualities enough to make him a favorite with 
all. He is tall and fine-looking and in all-round good qualities 
is above the average of us. 

Second Lieutenant Orrin A. Moody has not yet reported for 
duty and so he goes free. I hope he won't lower the average. 

Second Lieutenant Lawrence Van Alstyne was, like most 
of the others, from the 128th New York. He enlisted as pri- 
vate in Company B. Was appointed corporal, afterwards 
sergeant and acted as commissary of Company B until his 
discharge from the 128th and his transfer to this regiment. 
His spare time is mostly given up to writing letters either for 
himself or for others, and to keeping an account of his travels 
and adventures, which takes the place of letters to his folks 
at home. 

So much for the officers, and now for the men. In color 
they range all the way from ebony to a yellowish white. In 
stature they vary just as greatly, and so they do in intelligence 
and ambition. They are willing to learn and some of them 
learn very rapidly. But there are others that are quite the 
contrary, and that keeps the average rather low. In that 
respect they are like all other recruits, white or black, the 
quick to learn have to do a whole lot of hard Avork to make up 
for the stupidity of the rest. They look well in their uniforms 
and are tickled most to death with their outfit, especially 
their guns. Those that have been in the service long enough 
are good soldiers. When they have fought at all, they have 
fought like demons. If any were ever taken prisoners I have 
not heard of it, and quite likely they did not live long enough 
to tell of it. I have spent a lot of time over the descriptive 
list but am rather glad I stuck to it. 


November ii, i86^. 

Wednesday. Yesterday I had to skip, or else break into my 
description of the Ninetieth, and that I did not want to do. 
Lieutenant Drake went to the city and I attended to his duties 
as well as my own. An order came for the Ninetieth to report 
at New Orleans, leaving a guard here to receive and forward 
such recruits as may be sent in from the front. It does not 
take soldiers long to move, and the entire outfit, officers and 
men, were off on the next train, leaving Lieutenant Smith 
and myself with Company D here to take care of the next 
squad that comes. Soon after they had gone who should 
appear but Colonel Bostwick, Adjutant Phillips and Lieutenant 
Wilson from Newtown with 130 more recruits. They were 
all hungry and we had quite a time filling so many empty 
baskets. The colonel looks well and says he feels well. Wil- 
son, however, is sick, and the colonel decided to go on to New 
Orleans, and to take everything with him except Smith and I, 
and ten men as guards. They got off on the 5 p. m. train. 
We had a hustling time getting them off, and after they were 
gone Smith and I sat down on the platform and smoked. 

The weather is cold for the time of year and v/e lay and 
shivered till after sunrise. Having no tents left we took up 
quarters in the same house we were in once before. Had we 
been out in a tent I don't know how we could have slept at 
all. We put in the day preparing for another cold night. 
With the aid of an apology for a stove, a candle and a pack 
of cards, we passed quite a comfortable evening and night. 

November 12, 186^. 
Thursday. I put in the forenoon writing and Smith in 
running around. After noon an orderly came with an order 
from Colonel Tarbell for us to vacate the house, as he needed 
it for his clerks. As he is boss we had no other way than 
to get out. But we took our stove with us. We got hold 


of a good wall tent which we put up and moved the com- 
missary stores into it, and where we are about as comfortable 
as we were in the house with half the windows out. To make 
the matter worse, Lieutenant Keese came in just at ni.o^ht with 
another batch of recruits. He left Colonel Parker at Franklin, 
and he is about the last one left up the country now. We 
issued rations for the men, and got them in the depot for 
the night. We took Keese in with us and the stories he told 
of his adventures up the country made the evening pass 

November 75, 186^. 

Friday. W^e were up bright and early so Keese and his 
recruits could catch the first train out. After that we went 
into our tent to talk over matters. This just staying here 
with nothing to do but think brought to mind many things 
we had not thought of for a long time. I told Smith what 
Ike Brownell said just before he died. "That if he had the 
power to do so he would start North with every man who 
wanted to go, and as fast as he passed over four feet of 
ground he would sink it." Matt said that expressed his senti- 
ments exactly. 

At noon the A. G. Brown arrived from Newtown and 
reported being fired on between here and Franklin. From 
the way she was barricaded v^ith cotton bales about the pilot 
house and from the bullet holes through it, they must have 
had an exciting time. Lieutenant Reynolds before he left had 
got- hold of a pony, but as he could not take him with him, 
told me to sell or give him away. I found plenty of buyers 
but they had no money, so I let him munch government hay 
until to-day, when I saddled up and started for a trade. I 
found a sutler a little way out of town who offered to buy 
if I VN^ould take it in trade. I made a rap with him, getting 
twenty papers of tobacco, twenty-five cigars, a pound of butter, 
a box of shoe blacking and a brush, and a glass of beer. That 


was the best I could do and it took me a long^ time to do that. 
Matt thought I made a good trade, and I hope Reynolds will 
think so too. A couple of sergeants from Colonel Tarbell's 
headquarters came in at night and we had a euchre party. 

November 14, 1863. 
Saturday. For pastime to-day we went crabbing. We had 
good luck, and a feast to wind up with. The guards under- 
stand fishing much better than we, and they have all the fish 
to eat they care for. 

November 15, i86j. 
Sunday. We kept in our tents nearly all day, writing letters 
and wondering when this dreary way of living will end. A 
man caught a big catfish which we traded some army rations 
for and have been living high to-night, besides having enough 
for some days to come. Our forces up the Teche are said 
to be working back this way. Droves of cattle and horses are 
being driven on ahead of them. They swim them across from 
Berwick, and when they get here are so tired out there is no 
trouble in yarding them. Then they are shipped to Algiers 
and slaughtered for the army. The horses, I suppose, are used 
in some other way, but am not sure, for I have seen bones 
in meat that I well know never grew in a cow, or a steer. 

November 16, 186^. 

Monday. To-night, Lieutenant Wilson came from the city 
with a couple of orders, one for Matt, to go up the Teche 
again and report to Colonel Parker, and the other for me, to 
pack up bag and baggage and report to Colonel B., at New 
Orleans. The Southerner came down last night with over two 
hundred holes in her cabin made by the bullets fired at her 
from the bushes along the Teche. Several passengers were 
wounded but no one killed. They have cut the telegraph 
wires. Our main force seems to have left the ground they 


have passed over, not well enough protected to keep the 
wandering bands of guerrillas from doing a lot of mischief. 
Wilson brought some papers which say Fort Sumter has fallen. 
I supposed that had happened long ago. 

November if, 1S63. 
Tuesday. The colonel left his horse here when he went 
through and that is the reason I am here yet to-night. I could 
not get a transportation order signed in time for the only 
train that carries horses. Matt got left over for much the 
same reason. His order had to be countersigned by Colonel 
Tarbell, and before he could get his signature the boat had 
left. Colonel Parker came in to-day and went on to the city, 
leaving his horse at Berwick, and Wilson is to ride him back 
to Franklin. He has gone across the bay and Matt and I are 
here by ourselves, just as if none of these orders had come. 

November 18, 1863. 

Wednesday. Am in Brashear City yet and alone. I couldn't 
get away with the horse, and not daring to leave him here 
kept the whole outfit. I wrote Colonel B. why I did not go. 
Matt had just the same trouble I did and he got mad and left 
on the s o'clock train for the city to find out what's the 
matter. It is a strange mixup. No one can leave the place 
with any government property without a pass signed by 
Colonel Tarbell, and Colonel Tarbell is out of town and no 
one left in his place. The report is Adjutant Phillips has 
resig-ned and his resignation has been accepted. Also that 
Lieutenant Clark has been put in his place. So much of my 
prophecy has come true, if this report is true. 

Lieutenant Culver came down to-day. Colonel B. left him 
with no orders, and he has been loafing ever since. He came 
down intending to go on to the city and find out about it. 
Lieutenant Mathers came from the city on his way to the 
recruiting camp, which Culver says is at our first camping 


place "near Nelson's Landing-. They staid and took supper 
with me and then went on, leaving me all alone. 

November ig, 1863. 
Thursday. Had a call from one of the Twelfth Connecticut 
to-day. Another man called and tried to sell me a map of 
Brashear City. I told him I had one printed on my brain 
already and did not care for another. I took out my ten 
men and gave them a drill so as to keep them even with 
the others, in fact did anything and everything I could to 
pass away the time. A large force came across the bay just 
at night, belonging to the Thirteenth Army Corps. They 
must have joined the Nineteenth Corps somewhere up the 
Teche, and their coming through this way shows the cam- 
paign is about to wind up. They are western men — great 
big, lusty fellows, and by the way they act are able to get 
a living anywhere, for they have been helping themselves 
to everything that is not nailed fast. No orders coming for 
me, I went and made a call on the Ninety-first fellows, who 
loaded me with oranges and other good things to eat. Some 
of them are from Columbia County, N. Y. and I being from 
Dutchess, we were neighbors right away. 

November 20, 186^. 
Friday. Last night, after I was abed and asleep, I was 
pulled out by the heels and told I had company to entertain. 
It was Matt, with a couple of his old railroad cronies, all 
on their way to the front. One of them was an Irishman 
chockfull of fun and stories. The other was a lieutenant 
in the Second Engineers. After getting them something to 
eat we sat and smoked, and Matt got his Irish friend telHng 
stories. The consequence was we all went to sleep with a 
grin on our faces. Matt had got the transportation business 
fixed up, and at i p. M. I left Brashear City with everything 
belonging to the Ninetieth U. S. C. I. The train was crowded, 


some riding' on top of the cars. One man, a soldier in the 
Ninety-first New York, had a chill that seemed as if it would 
shake his bones apart, and when that passed ofif had a fever 
that almost burned him up. Poor fellow, I pitied him, and 
that was all I could do. I hardly dare write it down, but I 
have never had a touch of that complaint that seems so 
universal in this country. We got to Algiers at 8 p. m. I left 
a man with the colonel's horse and took the rest to the ferry 
and was soon in New Orleans, looking for the "Louisiana 
Steam Cotton Press," where Matt told me was now head- 
quarters. I found the place, but it was so far from where 
I expected that I thought I would never get there. It was 
late, and after a handshake all around, I turned in with 
Sol and was soon asleep. 

The Louisiana Steam Cotton Press 

In winter quarters — Dull times — The fortune-tellers — An old man's 
blessing — A pleasant surprise — Leave of absence — On board the steamer 
Creole — Seasick — Losing Henry Holmes — Wholesale visiting — Find- 
ing Henry Holmes. 

November 21, 186^. 

COTTON PRESS. Saturday. I slept until called this 
morning, and was not through with my nap then. 
I had breakfast with the quartermaster and then set 
out to get acquainted with the place we are now in. The 
Steam Cotton Press is, or has been, quite an affair. It fronts 
on old Levee Street and is about 300 feet long, tunning back 
about the same distance, with buildings all around it. Except 
at the front these buildings all front inside, with a board 
shed or piazza roof along them, under which the cotton as 
it was brought in was stored until pressed. From Reynolds, 
who has inquired into its history, I learned that the four- 
story front, except the space occupied by the press itself, 
was used for offices, and the buildings on the other three 
sides was for the help needed to do the immense amount of 
work connected with re-pressing the cotton for shipment to 
different parts of the world. Cotton was first pressed into 
bales about like hay bales, at the place where raised. Then 
it was brought here and sold to the cotton merchants, who 
re-pressed these bales to about one quarter their former size, 
thus enabling a vessel to take on a much larger load. The 
press itself it a simple affair, but powerful. The bed is of 
railroad iron cut to the proper length, and the follower is 
of the same. Long levers, with a short elbow at the lower 
end, stand at each side. Over these, chains run to a drum 
which pulls the long arms down, and the short arm upwards, 


thus forcing the bed and follower together. The great square 
yard in the center is graded smooth with sea shells, like 
the "Shell Road," and will make a capital drill ground. It 
is large enough for a wliole regiment at a time. It is the 
best quarters we have ever had. Everything is dry and it 
should be healthy here if anywhere is this flat country. My 
first job will be to help get the books and reports in shape. 
But to-day I am allowed to look around and I am doing it. 
The colonel sent me to the ferry landing on an errand just 
at night, after which I got some thing to eat, wrote this and 
am going to bed. 

November 22, 186^. 
Sunday. On duty as officer of the guard. The duties in 
this bricked-in camp are light, and are more a matter of form 
than anything else. Still it must be gone through with. 
I find the men have improved wonderfully from what they 
■were at Brashear City. Nothing at all happened worth writ- 
ing about. 

November 2^, 186^. 

Monday. I came off duty at 8 o'clock, and after breakfast 
settled down for a nap, which was cut short by a call from 
Charley Ensign of Company B, 128th, who has just been 
discharged and is on his way home. We went out for a 
walk, and a talk about the boys of Company B. He says 
George Drury has got an appointment to come to us as 
hospital steward. Let them come. We are pretty much made 
up of 128th boys now, and if they keep coming we will get 
all of them. 

In the afternoon I took Company D out for an hour's drill. 
I found a great improvement since I last had them out. Once 
the hard shell of stupidity is broken through they learn fast. 
The best of it is they are anxious to learn and one can afford 
to have patience. John Mathers came in last night with 


twenty men, which will about make up another company, 
then our regiment will be half full. 

November 24, iS6j. 
Tuesday. The twenty men brought in last nigiit were 
turned over to me to uniform and equip. Dr. Andrus from 
the 128th called on us to-day. He is on his way home on a 
visit. How I wish he could be with us all the time. Of all 
the men I have met since leaving home, there is none I 
admire as I do him. ■ I wish all men were like him. A few 
might have to come down a little, but the most would have 
to jump up to reach his level; and some of them would have 
to jump high. At any rate it would raise the average won- 
derfully. Sergeant McArthur, also of the 128th, made us a 
visit. It seems as if every one that can get a pass to come 
to town are sure to fetch up here. We are glad to see 
them and they act as if they were glad to see us. The rainy 
season is about due now, and from appearances it is about to 
begin. A year ago to-day I was sick, on board the Arago 
off Fortress Monroe. It is a good thing I don't know where 
the next 24th of November may find me. I had rather 
leave it as it is than to know. 

November 25, 1863. 
Wednesday. Drilling the men, and getting settled in our 
quarters, has kept me busy all the day. Borrowed five dollars 
and bought a stove with it. Have had plenty of help and 
advice about it and expect to have plenty of company, for 
we are great on visiting each other. We are in the most 
comfortable quarters for winter we ever had and I hope we 
may not be called out again until warm weather comes. The 
weather is not cold, that is, water does not freeze, but we do, 
almost. There is a chill in the air at night that goes right 
through a blanket. 


November 26, t86^. 

Thursday. Thanksg^iving- day, as sure as I live! I never 
thought of it, until some one mentioned the fact to me. How 
the good things will abound at home. I suppose we should give 
thanks for what comforts we have, hut it would be much 
easier if we had more of them. The day goes by like all 
the others, drilling our men, eating our rations, and sleeping 
in our tents, which are pitched under the sheds nearest the 

November 2"/, t86^. 
Friday. A sergeant in Company K, 128th, who deserted 
while we were at Fortress Monroe, has been arrested and 
sent on here. He is in the Parish Prison, and Ames, who 
knew him, has gone up to see him. I don't know what they 
do with such, but from the fact of his being sent on I 
suppose it will be nothing more than reduced to the ranks. 

November 28, 186 j. 
Saturday. Colonel B. issued his first general order to-day 
and it reads like this : "Roll call at half-past 5 a. m. Imme- 
diately after the sound of the bugle the men will arise and 
arrange their knapsacks, blankets and overcoats in neat and 
compact order. The bunks swept, the blankets folded in the 
knapsacks, shoes polished, clothes brushed, muskets stacked 
and accoutrements hung on them. The company, except the 
police, will form and march to the river and wash face and 
hands. Breakfast call at 7 a. m. Doctor's call at 8 a. m. 
Guard mount at 9 a. m. Drill 9 to 11 a. m. P.oll call and 
dinner at noon. Cleaning of muskets and accoutrements 
from I p. M. to 2 p. M. Drill 2 to 4 p. m. Supper 5.30 p. m. 
Roll call at 8 p. m. Tuesday and Friday evenings a recitation 
in tactics from 6 to 8 p. m. A detail of one man from each 
company and one corporal from the regiment for policing 
camp. A pass to two men from each compay each day, 


to visit the city or call upon friends, time of leaving" and 
returning to be written on pass. Saturdays to be spent in 
cleaning up camp and getting ready for Sunday morning 
inspection. Officers in command of companies will be held 
responsible for the carrying out of this order and accountable 
for any neglect of duty by the men or officers under them. 

By command of 

Charles E. Bostwick, 
Colonel commanding poth U. S. C. I." 

Good for you, Colonel B. It has given me something to 
write in my diary if nothing more. But I think the order a 
most sensible one. We know what to do now and when to 
do it. Besides it will keep us busy and that is what we most 
need. Some sort of deviltry is sure to be hatching soon after 
we get out of work. This being Saturday we have every- 
thing in apple-pie order. Oh dear! how I wish I had some. 
Just writing the words "apple-pie" makes my mouth water. 
I never saw a camp so spick and span as this is to-night. 
An order has just come for 130 men to be turned over to 
the Fourth Engineers. That cuts us down nearly half. Colonel 
B. gave me a handsome inkstand to-day. I suppose that 
would be as appropriate a present as he could make me, con- 
sidering my constant use of one. He also asked me if I 
needed money. I told him I needed it badly enough, but did 
not want it enough to borrow just now; but all the same I 
thanked him and am glad to know I can call on him if 

November 2g, 1863. 
Sunday. Just two months since I was mustered into this 
regiment. Consequently I have two months' pay, $211, and 
am as poor as a church mouse. I am just as handy 
with a hard-tack . and a cup of cofifee as ever, and I presume 
feel better than if I could have anything I want. We have 


a way of telling what we will have for our next meal, fretting 
up a bill of fare that would beat the St. Charles Hotel. After 
we have ordered the meal from George, our cook, we pick 
up a hard-tack and nibble away on it and are just as well 
satisfied, and all the better off. A letter from home tells 
me they are all well, and "the world it wags well with me 

The chills and fever keep at the men. Every day one or 
more comes down. I suppose they brought it with them from 
Brashear City. It doesn't seem as if they could get it here, 
for we are in the dry all the time, and everything about 
camp is as neat as can be. In my short army life we have never 
been in a place where we were so comfortable as here. 

December 2, 1863. 
Thursday. For the past few days I have been too busy to 
even keep my diary going. We have been making out trans- 
fer papers to go with the men. We have 'to enumerate every 
article of clothing and equipment that goes with each man 
and they must all be made in duplicate. An officer from the 
engineers has been here and looked at the men, and seen them 
at drill. He decided to take Companies E, B and D. That 
cleans me out of a job, but I suppose Colonel B. will find 
me another. Charlie Ensign and Henry Y. Wood who have 
been visiting us until their discharge papers were made out 
and transportation secured are to leave for home on the 
Cahawby to-morrow. Charlie has left me his profile, and 
says he will go to Sharon and see the folks in my place. We 
are all on a quiver, for some one has got to go on another 
recruiting tour, and no telling where it will be. Adjutant 
Gus Phillips, who has been under arrest for drunkenness for 
some time, was released to-day and started right off on another 
and a worse spree. This so exasperated Colonel B. that he 
put him under arrest again. I don't know what the outcome 
will be, but hope it will clear him from us for good and all. 


December 4, 186^. 
Friday. Officer of the guard to-day, in place of a sick 
man. I once had the favor done me, and I am very glad to 
pay it back. Still more glad am I that I am well and able 
to do it. We expect our pay to-morrow and then hurrah 
for some new clothes, and a full stomach. Also a photograph 
to send home. Another steamer in and no letter for me. 
What's the matter up there? I guess I'll send them some 
stamps when I get the money to buy them. 

December 5, 186 s 
Saturday. After guard mount this morning I started for 
the paymaster's office, and got pay up to November ist, 31 
days. It came to $110.15, several times as much as I ever 
before got for a month's work. With it I bought a coat, 
$30, a pair of pants, $10, a vest, $4, a couple of shirts, $5, 
four pairs of socks for $1, a cap for $3, invested another 
dollar in collars and a necktie, $4.50 for a trunk, paid the 
balance due Mrs. Herbert for board $2.50, had a dinner that 
cost twenty cents, a cigar that cost five cents, and a paper 
for five cents more. Paid a hack driver seventy-five cents 
to bring me home, paid George the cook $8.50, Lieutenant 
Gorton $7.65, borrowed money, for half a dozen handkerchiefs, 
ninety-five cents, and had $31 left over. I owe others for 
borrowed money, and by the time I get round I fear my pile 
to send home will be small. When next pay day comes I hope 
to make a better showing, for I won't owe so many and have 
so much to buy. 

December 6, i86j. 

Sunday. Lieutenant Gorton and myself took a walk up 

town this afternoon, and at the Murphy House who should 

we meet but Charlie Ackert, one time editor of the Pine Plains 

Herald. Fresh from good old Dutchess County, he was able 


to tell US all about the folks we so often think of. He looks 
and acts just as he did, just as full of fun as any boy. We 
walked about the town for a couple of hours and finally 
stopped at a picture-taking place and sat for photot^raphs. 
We hardly expect they will be hung outside with the show 
pictures, but I have my new clothes on, and that may be an 
inducement. We came back through Rampart Street, which 
from the looks is where the F. F. V.'s live. I wrote a couple 
of letters, wrote the above in my diary and am now going 
to bed. 

December y, i86^. 

Monday. At home I was called a jack-at-all-trades and 
I find they all come in play here. The addition to my family 
by the arrival of Lieutenants Gorton and Smith made addi- 
tional sleeping arrangements necessary. They both helped 
about making the beds, but not liking their work I drove 
them both out and made some that they owned up were 
much better. I also made a rack to hang our clothes on, for 
now that w^e no longer sleep with them on, we have need of 
something better than the floor to hang them on. \Yq get 
good news from the North, nowadays. Grant is up to his 
old tricks again. The Army of the Potomac is on the move 

Towards night Colonel B. came round and said he had 
orders to turn over the rest of our men to the Engineers 
and to start out after more. An expedition is being fitted 
out for some place, supposed to be Texas, and probably that 
is where we are to go. I only hope we won't go by way 
of the Gulf again, for I would dreadfully hate to get my 
thirty-dollar coat wet. If General Banks will leave us as 
we are now until warm weather comes again, I will vote for 
him to be our next president, provided he can get the 


December 8, 1863. 
Tuesday. After a bed, the next thing was to manufacture 
a table, and from that T went to chairmaking. I made some 
little saw-horses, and across the top stretched a piece of 
canvas, and we each have a very comfortable seat. Smith says 
they should be patented. One end up they are chairs and 
turned over they are sawbucks. He says a man with one of 
them could saw wood until tired and then turn it over 
and have a good chair to sit on and rest up. Matt always 
has something to say, but we try to endure him. It has been 
a rainy day, but all being under shelter we care but little. 
No further news about Texas comes and we hang our hopes 
high. The photographs came to-day. Gorton doesn't like 
his and is going to try again. Mine are all right, except that 
Matt says the nose is crooked, but I don't care for a little thing 
like that, and shall hurry one of them home by first mail. 
At night we all gathered at Colonel Bostwick's tent, to show 
him how much we remembered of the army tactics that 
were worked into our noddles at Camp Millington. We filled 
his tent too full for comfort, and he decided to put off the 
school until he found a better place to hold it. He told us 
what lines to be prepared on and after visiting awhile we 
all went to our own homes, I to write and the rest to bed 
and asleep. 

December g, 186^. 
Wednesday. Officer of the guard again; was detailed, but 
soon after excused and another put in my place, all due to a 
mistake the adjutant had made. I went and had more photos 
made, as I found I had more friends than photographs. We 
exchanged with each other, and are each getting up a collec- 
tion that will remind us of each other, when we again go our 
different ways. The officers that have horses are each trying 
to get the fastest one. This is a great place for horse racing, 
and everyone seems to catch the fever. Dr. Warren has the 


fastest one and Lieutenant Colonel Parker and Major Palon 
thought if they couldn't beat him alone, they might do it 
together. So on a back street they tried the experiment 
this afternoon. The doctor and the major started together. 
At the half mile post Colonel Parker struck in and the 
major dropped out. It turned out to be no race at all, for 
the doctor's horse beat them and didn't half try. Colonel 
Parker's horse is the one we searched out from the Great 
Cypress swamp. lie is a beauty, but he can't run as well 
as he looks. The judges said the doctor's horse made the 
half mile in fifty-eight seconds and the mile in two minutes. 
We think the judges may have had a drink of the doctor's 

December lo, 186$. 
Thursday. Staid in my tent all day and wrote letters. 
I won't tell how many I wrote or to whom. At any rate 
there are none that I know of who can accuse me of owing 
them a letter. At night we went again to recite tactics to 
Colonel B. He said we knew our lesson, and I suppose we 
each got a credit mark. After that we went back to our 
tents and yarned it until bed-time. 

December 11, 186^. 
Friday. To-day, after posting the letters I wrote yester- 
day, I regulated things in my trunks, getting rid of the letters 
I care the least about, and having a general house-cleaning 
time. Some of the letters I have read and re-read until they 
are nearly worn out. If the senders knew how I prize them 
I think they would send them oftener. It is rumored that 
Grant has been cutting up more didoes. If half the victories 
we read of were true the Rebellion wouldn't have a leg to 
stand on. Consequently we only believe such as are reported 
several times, and let those that are printed only once go for 
lies, which they generally prove to be. Still it gives us some- 


thing to talk about, and to think about, and that is some- 
thing we are always glad to get. How such stories get 
started is a wonder to me. Some one must make them up 
out of whole cloth, but if they knew how we hunger and 
thirst for the real naked facts I don't believe they would 
do it. At night Colonel B., Gorton and I went for a walk. 
We went up to the stable where the colonel has his horse 
kept, which is way up beyond Canal Street. After looking 
at the horses we went to the Murphy House and filled up on 
oysters, washing them down with beer. After an hour or 
two of this we returned by a roundabout way to the Cotton 
Press, our home. I found my name on the bulletin board 
for officer of the guard to-morrow. As that meant no sleep 
to-morrow night I turned in, and the very next thing I knew 
it was morning. 

December 12, 186^. 
Saturday morning, and almost time for guard mount. Lieu- 
tenant Reynolds pulled me out or I would have lost my 
breakfast. I reached guard headquarters just in time to march 
the new guard out for inspection. Then the colonel reminded 
me that I was not dressed according to regulations, and 
excused me while I returned for my dress suit, sash, sword 
and cap. Not having a sash I took the colonel's and was soon 
on hand, "armed and equipped as the law directs." I met 
with no other adventures, and had little to do, for the men 
show the training we have given them and are not the awk- 
ward things they once were. At 3 p. m. an officers' drill was 
had on the parade ground. Colonel Parker was drill-master, 
and had everyone out. Being on duty, I had only to look on, 
and enjoy seeing the awkward work done by some of them. 
It was not all fun for the drilled, for the driller seemed 
determined to get the last drop of sweat out of them. He 
afterwards said he did it for the good of the service, that 
enlisted men were looking on, and he wished to set them a 


g-ood example. For that same reason none of them dared to 
make any objections until they were back in their quarters 
and then the drill-master g-ot his medicine. He claimed he 
wanted to find out just how long- it took to wilt a paper collar. 
I presume if another drill of that kind comes off Colonel B. 
will act as drill-master and the lieutenant colonel will get 
as good as he gave. 

Midnight. Some of the shoulder strappers have gone to 
the theatre and the others are snoring away in their tents. In 
order to keep awake I am writing up the day's doings. A 
prayer meeting has been going on in the men's quarters since 
dark and is in full blast yet. It would be laughable only 
for their earnestness, which beats all I have yet witnessed. 
They sing more than they pray, and their hymns I have 
never seen in print. One of them I can repeat the first and 
last lines of, the middle being made up of variations. It 
starts "This lower world's a hell for us," and closes with 
"Where Jesus rides on a big white boss." It was not funny, 
they were too much in earnest. Matt, who has just got in from 
the theatre, says he hopes it sounds better in heaven than it 
does here, and I haven't a doubt that it does. Abe Linkum 
comes in for a full share, his name being used as often in 
their praises as that of the Deity. 

December ij, i86^. 
5 a. m. Sunday. The prayer meeting continues. I have 
found out that a negro preacher of great fame among them 
is present and conducts the services. If he does it for pay 
he is certainly earning his money. Reveille sounded before 
the meeting was over. After guard mount, a breakfast and 
a wash up, I turned in for a nap. In the afternoon I set 
out to go to church. Where, I had no idea, but after following 
the sound of bells, and finding some of them on fire engine 
houses, and some on steamboats, I turned and followed some 
people who had books in their hands and had every appear- 


ance of church-g-oers. They finally brought up at a church 
and I followed them in. The church was crowded, and the 
service was in a tongue strange to me, so as soon as I could 
I got out and came back home. Home — what a place to apply 
the blessed name of home to ! Still it is my home. Any place, 
that a soldier leaves, expecting to return to it, is his home. 
If asked where my home is I should say at the Louisiana 
Steam Cotton Press. It's my only home now. That's what 
I say, but yet my heart says "in the little brown house under 
the hill, where the old folks stay." Shall I ever get over 
longing for that home? It is very humble but there is no 
other place on earth that I would rather see. Just as I was 
about turning to indigo, the postmaster came in and gave me 
a letter from Jane. Dear old Jane! If she could have seen 
me grab it, and watched me read it, I know she would write 
oftener. She is the scribe for the whole family. She is a 
fast writer. She knows just what to say for the others as 
well as herself, and the very worst thing I can say against 
her is that she does not write oftener. Still, the pile of 
letters in my trunk, all from her, are a witness that I am 
selfish to ask or expect her to write oftener. I will drop you, 
my diary, and answer this letter before it is cold from my 

December 14, 186^. 
Monday afternoon. Lieutenant Colonel Parker and Lieu- 
tenant Heath went out for a ride, and it was whispered about 
that they were going out on Montague Street for a horse race. 
Gorton and I followed them up and found them already 
at it. A horse-car line crosses Montague Street a few blocks' 
from the Cotton Press, and a car came across just as they 
were almost to it. Heath just missed and the colonel ran 
plump into it. His head hit the edge of the roof, which laid 
his scalplock right back on his head. We picked him up 
and got him into a nearby drug store, and by that time he 


was coming to. But he didn't know where he was or what 
had happened. We got a doctor, who said he should go to the 
hospital, and he is there now with a very sore head, and the 
prospects of a big broad scar to remember his ride by. 

If some of them don't get their necks broken it will be a 
wonder. Gorton has taken one of the rejected recruits to wait 
on him. Someway he had got past the doctor who examined 
him and was sworn in. But he is lame and was afterwards 
thrown out. His name is Henry Holmes, and says he enlisted 
at West Baton Rouge under an officer whose name he has 
forgotten. He was brought to New Orleans for transfer 
into a regiment, and was finally thrown out. He is very 
anxious to go north, and Gorton has promised to take him 
along when he goes home. He and my Tony are chums 
already and I am teaching them their letters. My time not 
being my own, I have no regular school hours, but they 
are always ready and really try hard to learn. As there is 
no prospect of our leaving our present quarters, and being 
of small account here, several of us have applied for leave 
of absence to go home. It is not expected each will get one 
and several bets have been made for and against any of us 
getting one. But wouldn't I be a happy boy if it should 
happen to be me. 

December 15, i86j. 
Tuesday. Our hopes for a furlough are gone. Maybe we 
had no reason to hope, but all the same we did. Just a few 
minutes ago the colonel got orders to start at once for Mata- 
gorda Island. Wliere it is or what we go for, the order does 
not say. We are all in a fluster about it, and wondering 
what we will do with the housekeeping outfits we have col- 
lected. We certainly can't take them along. Some think 
Matagorda Island is off the Texas coast and others say off 
the coast of Florida. Matt Smith is sure it is on a moun- 
tain in Mexico. We expect to know when we get there. 


The best thing I can see in the move is that it will give us 
something to do, and me something to write about in my 
diary. I do hope another mail will come before we go. I 
feel now as I did the night we were marching on towards 
Port Hudson, when the mail carrier ran along the lines 
giving out the letters, and besides a letter gave me a photo- 
graph of dear old father and mother. I felt then as if I could 
storm Port Hudson alone, so much good did they do me. 
It has been my constant companion every minute since, and 
will go with me to Matagorda Island when I go. But I would 
like another letter. We are packed up, and the colonel is off 
looking after transportation. Goodbye diary, for a spell. 

December i6, i86^j. 
Wednesday. Yesterday and to-day we have waited for the 
word "March," and are still waiting. Colonel Parker has 
come back. He has an ugly scalp wound, and his head is 
covered with bandages. But the prospect of active duty has 
brought him around sooner than anything else could do. We 
know no more about our destination than the order, to "go 
at once," says. We are ready, and that is all we can do. I 
have got out my writing traps, but it won't take me long 
to stow them away when the word comes. The stories we 
hear about the place we are going to are wonderful, but as 
none of them are likely to be true I won't waste paper putting 
them down. I am quite an authority on the times and places 
we have visited and am often called in to settle some disputed 
question, but my notes all look backwards and are good for 
nothing when asked about the future. We are still hoping for 
letters before we start. 

December ij, i86^. 
Camp Dudley. Thursday. I have never thought to tell 
the name given our camp here at the Cotton Press. All 
camps have a name, so orders can be sent to camp so-and-so, 


and some one with the proper authority named the Cotton 
Press, "Camp Dudley." We are here yet waitinj:^ for further 
orders. The trial by court-martial of Adjutant Phillips comes 
off to-day, and several have gone as witnesses. The story 
goes now that Matagorda Island is off the mouth of the 
Rio Grande River. If I only knew how long we are to be 
gone, I could tell what to take and what to leave, and would 
be better satisfied. Dr. Warren has given me a book for 
keeping up my diary. It is a physician's visiting list, just 
right to carry in my side pocket and I am just beginning 
in it, having packed up and sent off my diary up to this 
date. We had a hard thunderstorm last night, but it is 
cool to-day, and I have stuck up my stove again and have 
a good fire in it. 

Noon. The court-martial was adjourned and our family 
is together again. Our marching orders have been changed 
and now we are to start for Bayou Sara, just above Baton 
Rouge. We are going to-night. I have been trying to be 
sick for a day or two, and the colonel says I am just the 
one to stay and keep house. Dr. Warren came around in a 
little while and agreed with him, so I am to stay. It is the 
first time since I came out of the hospital last spring, and I 
hate to break such a record, but I do feel miserable for a 
fact. A steamer called the Northerner has just pulled up 
opposite camp, to take us up the river. She shows the marks 
of a skirmish with the Rebs, having a lot of bullet holes to 
show, and a big hole through her wheel house, where a cannon 
ball went through, taking off the head of a man in the cabin. 
They say the guerrillas are very troublesome. 

At night I had a letter from my sister, Mrs. Loucks, and 
in it was a picture of her own dear self, looking just as 
she did a year and a half ago ; also a dozen stamps from 
father; they are all well, and so am I, now that I have heard 
from home, and have this little reminder of my sister to look 
at. A part of the regiment has gone, leaving the rest to keep 


December 18, 186 j. 
Friday. I was awakened this morning" by a terrible com- 
motion in the tent. It was full of smoke, throug"h which I 
could see Gorton flying around and splashing water over 
everything. It appeared he had got up and built a fire and 
such a hot one that a spark flew out and set fire to the tent. 
Colonel Parker has got ofif some of the bandages and he 
looks as if he had been to an Irish wake. I have been writing 
letters and am all caught up now. Georg-e, the cook, has 
mended the tent so we are comfortable again. My letter 
and picture didn't cure me entirely, for I feel almost sick 
to-day. Dr. Warren is dosing me with something" and I expect 
to be better or worse pretty soon. Good night. 

December ip, 186^. 
Saturday. We heard a gun in the night, and are looking 
for letters to-day. We have got the President's message 
and have read it through and through. He has no notion 
of giving up the ship yet. He must be real game, for as 
near as I can make out he not only has the whole South to 
fight, but a part of the North as well. I wish he would send 
the Copperheads down here where they belong. Sim Bryan, 
the mail-man of the 128th, is here, waiting for a boat. He 
says the boys of Company B are in fine spirits, and are still 
at Baton Rouge. If I had staid with them all this time 
I should surely have died with the blues. Besides, what 
would I have had to put in my diary ? My stomach has a trick 
of throwing up the good things I eat as fast as I put them 
down. The weather keeps cool, and I do nothing but sit over 
the stove and shiver. We hear no more of going anywhere, 
and I begin to think we shall put in the winter right here. 

December 20, 186^. 
Sunday. To-day has been my well day. That is I felt so 
much better I got out for a walk and took in a church on the 


way, where I heard a part of a sermon in Eng-lish. Tlie walk 
has made me feel almost like myself. If I don't get another 
setback to-morrow I will be all right again. I got hold of a 
New Orleans paper to-day, printed October 22, 1861. It is 
amusing to us, but it cannot be so to the Rebels, to read what 
they then planned to do and then to look about and see what 
they have done. 

December 21, 186^. 
Monday. Reported for duty this morning, and call myself 
well again. There was nothing for me to do however, but 
I am no longer reported on the sick list. Gorton says I was 
scared at the thoughts of going away and so played sick. 
But he says so much I pay little attention to him. Four 
different mail steamers are now due, and two of them have 
been due for a week. Have been in camp all day, keeping 
things shipshape against the return of Colonel B. and the 
rest of the regiment. 

December 22, 186^. 
Tuesday. The Evening Star came in some time during 
the night and this morning I had business at the postoffice. 
I took my stand by box thirteen, opening it every little while 
to see if anything had got in. This I kept up for a long 
time, and then went across the street, bought a paper a,nd 
read the news. When I next opened the box there lay two 
letters, and both for me. I came back to Camp Dudley, hardly 
touching the ground, and was soon visiting with the folks 
at home. They are all well and seem to be enjoying them- 
selves. So am I. 

December 2^, i86j. 
Wednesday. Have been making out the company returns. 
Also wrote some letters. Nothing new to report. 


December 24, 186^. 
Thursday. Expecting the colonel back any time, and wish- 
ing to show him what good housekeepers we are, we got 
the drummer boys at work to sweep out the quarters and 
slick up the whole camp. Like boys everywhere, they started 
in well, but soon got tired. Gorton and I then took hold 
and helped them finish, and we are ready for anybody's 
inspection. We gave the boys each a pass to go outside, and 
after dinner went out to the race track, to see if any races 
were being run. Nothing much was going on, and after 
looking at the stables and the horses we came back. As 
to-morrow is Christmas we went out and made such purchases 
of good things as our purses would allow, and these we 
turned over to George and Henry, for safe keeping and for 
cooking on the morrow. After that we went across the 
street to see what was in a tent that had lately been put 
up there. We found it a sort of show. There was a big 
snake in a show case and a tame black squirrel running around, 
and sticking his nose into every one's pockets. Then there 
was another show case filled with cheap-looking jewelry, each 
piece having a number attached to it. Also a dice cup and 
dice. For $1.00 one could throw once, and any number of 
spots that came up would entitle the thrower to the piece 
of jewelry with a corresponding number on it. Just as it 
had all been explained to us, a greenhorn-looking chap came 
in and, after the thing had been explained to him, he said 
he was always unlucky with dice, but if one of us would 
throw for him he would risk a dollar, just to see how the 
game worked. Gorton is such an accommodating fellow I 
expected he would offer to make the throw for him, but as 
he said nothing I took the cup and threw seventeen. This 
the proprietor said was a very lucky number, and he would 
give the winner $12 in cash or the fine pin that had the 
seventeen on it. The fellow took the cash, like a sensible 
man. I thought there was a chance to make my fortune and 


was going right in to break the I)ank, when Gorton, who was 
wiser than I, took me one side and told me not to be a fool ; 
that the greenhorn was one of the gang, and that the money 
I won for him was already his own. Others had come by 
this time and I soon saw he was right, and I kept out. We 
watched the game awhile and then went back to Camp Dudley 
and to bed. 

December 25, 186^. 
Friday. Christmas, and I forgot to hang up my stocking. 
After getting something to eat, we took stock of our eatables 
and of our pocket-books, and found we could afiford a few 
things we lacked. Gorton said he would invite his horse- 
jockey friend, James Buchanan, not the ex-president, but a 
little bit of a man, who rode the races for a living. So 
taking Tony with me I went up to a nearby market, and 
bought some oysters, and some steak. This with what we 
had on hand made us a feast such as we had often wished for 
in vain. Buchanan came, with his saddle in his coat pocket, for 
he was due at the track in the afternoon. George and Henry 
outdid themselves in cooking, and we certainly had a feast. 
There was not much style about it, but it was satisfying. 
We had overestimated our capacity, and had enough left for 
the cooks and drummer boys. Buchanan went to the races, 
Gorton and I went to sleep, and so passed my second Christ- 
mas in Dixie. At night the regiment came back, hungry as 
wolves. The officers mostly went out for a supper but Gorton 
and I had little use for supper. We had just begun to feel 
comfortable. The regiment had no adventures and saw no 
enemy. They stopped at Baton Rouge and gave the 128th a 
surprise. Found them well and hearty, and had a real good 
visit. I was dreadfully sorry I had missed that treat. I 
would rather have missed my Christmas dinner. They report 
that Colonel Smith and Adjutant Wilkinson have resigned, 
to go into the cotton and sugar speculation. The 128th is 


having a free and easy time, and according to what I am 
told, discipline is rather slack. But the stuff is in them, and if 
called on, every man will be found ready for duty. The loose 
discipline comes of having nothing to do. I don't blame them 
for having their fun while they can, for there is no telling 
when they will have the other thing. 

December 26, i86j. 
Saturday. The steamer Yazoo came in this morning and 
brought me four letters, one of which was from father. He 
wants me to come home for a visit, for he has been told I 
can come now if I want to. Dear old soul, I wonder if he 
knows how much I want to. I hope now my application for 
a furlough may be approved. It has been so long now that 
I had given up thinking about it. I saw Colonel B. and told 
him how the case stood, that I had neither asked for nor 
received any special favors since I came out, and would not 
now if there was anything to do. He says he approved the 
application I made some time ago, and that he would help 
me by trying to trace it and see what had become of it. He 
says there are so many applications for leave of absence that 
there is nothing strange about their not being heard from, 
but he will try and find mine and will also try and have it 
allowed. Good for you. Colonel Bostwick. But what shall 
I say to father about it? I finally decided to write him just 
how it is, that I will come if I can get away and that I want 
to see him as much as he wants to see me, but I did not 
dare say how many chances there are against my getting 

December 2/, 186^. 
Sunday. A heavy rain began early this morning and kept 
up until 3 P. M. Consequently we have not been able to do 
more than visit each other in our tents, or ramble about the 
Cotton Press. After the rain, the lieutenant colonel of the 
25th Connecticut came and preached to the men. Another 


officer came with him, and also spoke. Altogether it was 
an interesting meeting. After this I settled down to write 
some letters, for a New York mail goes out to-morrow, and 
I don't allow any to go without one or more letters of mine. 
I met with a singular mishap while writing. Lieutenant 
Gorton had thrown his hat on the table and gone out to 
visit his neighbors. To get it out of my way I put it on my 
head and it having a wide brim, my candle set it on fire. The 
thing did not blaze, but just ate its way across the brim. I 
smelled it all the time and even looked about to see if any 
thing was on fire, but never thought of the hat, until I felt 
the heat and then the hat was ruined. Colonel Parker held 
a meeting in the hospital to-night and promises to have 
services in camp now right along. That looks as if our trip 
to Matagorda Island had been indefinitely postponed. 

Father's letter has completely upset me. He needs me 
for something or he would not have written as he did. But 
there is just nothing at all that I can do more than I have. 
If Colonel B. can't bring about my going home I don't 
know of any one who can. Good night. 

December 28, 186^. 
Monday. I had another talk with Colonel B. to-day and 
as he gave me several messages to take to his folks in case 
I do go, I am wild with hopes that he sees a way for me 
to go. I didn't suppose I could be such a fool. If I fail, 
I think less of what the disappointment will be for me than 
for "the old folks at home." But I shall keep right on hoping 
until my application comes back with that awful word 
'"Disapproved" written across it. 

December 2g, 186^. 

Tuesday. I put in a miserable night. I simply could not 

sleep for thinking about my application. I traced it from 

headquarters to headquarters, all the way up to G. Xomian 

Leiber, A. A. A. General, and watched to see what he wrote 


across the back. It was approved at every stopping place up 
to his office, and I thought he merel}'- glanced at the endorse- 
ments and then wrote "Approved." I found myself sitting 
up in my bed with the sweat pouring off my face, and Gorton 
and Smith both yelling at me to know what was the matter. 

So it seems I did sleep enough to have that blessed dream, 
but I was about heart-broken to find it only a dream. Smith 
says he shall tell the colonel to ask that my application be 
approved for the good of the service, and if that doesn't work 
will ask for another place to sleep in. After breakfast I 
was sent with a detail to get some material for brush-brooms, 
to sweep the quarters with. This was something I had long 
recommended, for I had learned from the men that they could 
make them if they had the material, and that could be found 
in any swamp. We went out Montague Street and followed 
it mile after mile till we were out of the city and into the 
Little Cypress Swamp, so-called to distinguish it from the 
Great Cypress which we saw when in the Teche country. We 
found acres of the stuff, and soon had all we could lug back. 
We got back in time for dinner and then the broom manufac- 
ture began. Some of them are fully as well made as any in 
the market, and all look as if they would do good service. 

After dinner I went at the company returns so as to be 
ready for January ist, when we expect to get our pay. What 
if my leave of absence should come before pay day? I don't 
suppose there is money enough in the whole outfit to pay 
my fare to New York. Jim Brant from Company B, 128th, 
came in to-night. He has a furlough and is going home by 
the first boat. Recitation came again to-night and we all 
had good lessons. I am going to try and sleep to-night, for 
I need it. 

December jo, 186^. 
Wednesday. Rain all day, and at it yet, 10 p. m. Have been 
getting my company affairs settled up so as to be ready to 


turn over in case I go home. Have also been lookinj^ U[j so 
as to be ready for the tactics recitation to-morrow night. 

December ji, i86j. 
Thursday. The last of the year 1863. A year ago we were 
at the quarantine station seventy-two miles below here, 
hardly any well ones among us, and from one to three 
deaths every day. All were discouraged and ready for any 
change, no matter what, for nothing could be worse than the 
condition we were in. We were about as hard hit as any 
regiment I have yet heard of. What a heaven our present 
quarters would have been to us then ! Then we came up to 
Chalmette, just below here, where several more died, and 
then on to Camp Parapet, where I was so sick that Colonel 
B., then Captain B., wrote his father I would probably be 
dead before the letter reached him. But God was good to me. 
The next the captain knew I was better, and I have never 
seen any one get well as fast as I did. Before I was discharged 
from the hospital I followed the regiment on a scout to 
Ponchitoula, and that completed the cure. We then went to 
Port Hudson and through the siege of six weeks before the 
works there, and were rewarded by being one of the seven 
regiments to go in and receive the surrender. Then after 
marching back to Baton Rouge, we went to Donaldsonville, 
and then by easy marches up the river to Plaquemine, and 
from there to Baton Rouge again. Then came the split up, 
the 128th to remain where they since have been, and a few 
of lis sent back to this city for discha.rge from the 128th and 
for muster into the Corps de Af rique. An exciting trip to the 
mouth of the Sabine River and back, and then a run up the 
Teche country and back here, brings me round to the present 
time and place. Thus I have summed up the most event- 
ful 5'ear of my life. I have captured no medals for bravery, 
neither have I had a single reprimand for cowardice or lack 
of dut}^ in any place I have been put. This much I am 


telling you, diary, and don't you ever tell how many times I 
have been scared most to death in the making up of this 
record. It is not one to brag" about, neither is it, from my 
standpoint, one to be ashamed of. I have been on duty as 
officer of the guard to-day, but the duties are so light, and 
the sergeants so well drilled, I have found plenty of time to 
write. One of the officers — I won't mention his name, but will 
say he is the one responsible for our muster rolls being' sent 
to the paymaster — got on a spree and forgot to send them. 
Colonel B. has talked him sober and he has gone to deliver 
them personally. If he don't get going again on the way, we 
stand a good chance of getting paid off to-morrow. To-night 
is recitation night, but being on duty excuses me. However 
I have the lesson at my tongue's end, for we have not yet 
got beyond what Colonel Smith pounded into us at Camp 
Millington. I shall never forget how, as knowledge rolled 
in, the sweat rolled out while in that hot and dusty school 
camp at Millington. Good night, 1863, 

January i, 1864. 
Friday. Good morning, 1864. How do you do, and have 
you a leave of absence for me on or about you? This is the 
coldest day I have seen in Louisiana. Ice formed on every 
puddle. The natives say it has not been so cold in seventeen 
years. Good! I have seen ice once more. Now for a snow- 
storm and then it will begin to seem like home. What are our 
folks at to-day? It is easy to guess, that they are together 
somewhere, probably at home to eat some of the good things 
mother knows so well how to cook. Then after dinner they 
will talk the afternoon away and then go home. But I forget 
that the roads may be blocked with snow, and the mercury too 
low for comfort in going out. At any rate it is safe to say they 
will have a good time somewhere and somehow. This idle- 
ness is going to be the ruination of us, I fear. Three officers 
are absent without leave, and Gorton was sent to round them 


Up. He came back first and I mistrust he came on after givinj^ 
them a caution. Soon after the runaways came back and were 
placed under arrest by Colonel B. and they now have only the 
limits of the camp. As nothing- more is likely to happen 
to-night I will stop writing and try and plan how to sleep 

January 2, 1864. 
Saturday. As might have been expected, our half-burned 
tent kept out but little of the cold. To-day we have drawn a 
new one and put it up in a place more protected from the 
wind, and have left the old one standing for a store room. 
It has been a busy day in camp, for all hands have been trying 
to make themselves comfortable in any way they can think 
of. Tactic school again to-night, and that is all there is to 
say for the miserable day it has been. 

January j, 1S64. 
Sunday. There was preaching in the quarters as promised. 
After a good sermon by an old man whom Colonel Parker had 
got hold of, the colonel gave a first-rate talk to all hands. I 
wrote several letters to home folks and had to tell them I had 
heard nothing more about my leave to go home. Good 
night, all. 

January 4, 1864. 

Monday. Pay day to-day. I had $205.25 due me, and now 
let the furlough come. I am ready for it and if it had come 
before this I could only use it by walking. 

Gorton has said so much about a fortune teller he has several 
times consulted, that I went with him and had my fortune told. 
I found the fortune teller to be an old woman, w'hether white 
or black I am not sure. She was black enough, but her 
features were not like an African's. Whether Gorton had 
given her any points about me or not I don't know. He says 
he didn't tell her a thing. She took me in to a room dimly 


lighted and sat me down at one side of a table while she took 
the other. Then she spread out a pack of common playing 
cards, and began. First she said I had received a letter from 
a near relative that had caused me trouble of mind. That 
this near relative had also seen trouble on my account. That 
brought to mind father's letter and I thought, and wanted to 
say, "Go it, old gal, for you are correct so far." Next she 
told me I was going on a journey and would start within 
nine days. That it was partly by water and partly by land, 
but mostly by water. Also that I was going to meet with a 
great disappointment soon. These are the things I remember, 
and are the ones I feel most concerned about. The journey, 
provided she can read my future, and which I don't yet believe, 
may be the long expected trip to Matagorda Island. That 
order has not been countermanded yet. Or it may be I am 
really and truly going home. Either one would be by water 
and land both, but mostly by water. About the letter that 
had caused both myself and a near relative trouble, it must 
have been the letter from father, and Gorton may have told 
her of it. The disappointment is what troubles me most. I 
know of nothing on earth that would be a greater disappoint- 
ment than the disapproval of my application. Gorton knows 
all about that and may have told her, though he swears he 
did not. He says there is another fortune teller he knows 
about, but has never seen, that has a greater reputation and 
charges a greater price. My old woman charged a dollar and 
the other one has five times that, but all the same I am tempted 
to see her just to see how they agree. If they should agree 
I would have to own up they knew something, and if they 
disagreed I would throw the whole thing off my mind, that is, 
if I can. 

Lieutenant Reynolds wanted to go to the theatre to-night 
and I have taken his place on guard. A white regiment has 
moved in with us for winter-quarters. There is room for 
several regiments, and provided we agree, it will be pleasanter 
for all. 


January 5, 1864. 
Tuesday. We had a cold wet rain this morning" and then 
the rain stopped. The cold, however, kept right (^n and we are 
expecting- to shiver all night. Sol, our commissary, had to go 
up town on business, so with his authority I went to the post 
bakery and drew bread for the regiment. Towards night Sol, 
Jim Brant, who is still waiting for a boat, and myself went 
up town and filled up on raw oysters, getting back in time to 
say our lessons to Colonel B. The run home, or the oysters, 
or both, warmed us up so the weather seems much milder, and 
we had a much more comfortable night than we looked for, 

January 6, 1864. 

Wednesday. Another rainy morning, and so cold the water 
freezes on the trees and looks real homelike. The natives 
say it will kill the orange crop and the bananas also. Also that 
the sugar-cane crop will be a failure. From all I can learn this 
is very unusual weather for this part of the country. What 
about the soldiers that are out in tents, lying on the ground. 
They say nothing of them, but I cannot help thinking of and 
pitying them. 

Colonel B. has been to headquarters to-day and heard that 
our Texas trip is likely to come off yet. Just how soon he did 
not find out, but it is not given up. I suppose it would really 
be the best thing for us, for camp life is a very demoralizing 
life for soldiers. What we will be by spring if we stay here is 
hard to tell, but deviltry of one sort or another is sure to get 
a good start. Just at night I went to the post-ofifice to have 
a look in box thirteen. There were some letters, but none for 
me. But I always think no news is not bad news, and then go 
to looking for the next mail. Sergeant Brant is here yet 
waiting for transportation. His furlough will run out while 
he waits, but he doesn't seem to care. I am sure I would be an 
uneasy mortal if I was in his place. 


January J, 1864. 
Thursday. Officer of the guard again and in camp as a 
natural consequence. The weather is quite mild. Rain keeps 
coming. It is the rainy season for this country, and we must 
put up with it. Lieutenant Ames is celebrating his full pockets. 
I am saving mine until I hear from my application and maybe 
then I'll celebrate. 

January 8, 1864. 

Friday. The anniversary of the battle of New Orleans, and 
a great day for the place. They tell me it is nothing to what 
it used to be before the war. Still there is lots of noise and 
the bands are all playing as the people march by on the way 
to Chalmette. 

At night I went to the first show I have attended in New 
Orleans. It was at the Academy of Music and was fine. There 
was a troop of trained dogs that did everything but talk, and 
I expected that would be the next thing. Some were dressed 
like ladies and were posted around the ring on little chairs. 
A coach, drawn and driven by dogs, and with other dogs inside, 
came round making calls on the ladies. The coach would pull 
up opposite a lady, the footman would jump down and hold 
the horses while the lady inside got out and rubbed noses with 
the lady in the chair, and then on to the next until the circuit 
was completed. People could not have acted the part better. 
All that was lacking was the chatter and the smack that would 
have been heard if humans had acted the part. The rest was 
good but the dogs suited me best. 

January g, 1864. 

Saturday. Two letters to-day. Aunt Maria and Jane were 

the senders. They had just got my letters, written Dec. 9, 

so it takes just a month for a letter to come and go. I went 

up town and had my phiz taken again. Jane didn't like the 


one I sent her. Coming back I met with a strange adventure, 
and although there wasn't much to it, it someway impressed 
me so I have thought of httle else since. A fairly well-dressed 
man, old and venerable looking, tapped me on the shoulder 
and asked for five cents to buy some crackers. He did not 
look or appear like a beggar, and something about him and 
his manner struck me as no other such plea ever did. I had 
spent nearly all the money I had with me, but what I did have 
I handed over, and was going on when he stopped me to know 
if I would receive an old man's blessing. I stopped, not 
knowing what to say or do, when he raised his hands above my 
head, and as near as I can recall the words said, "God Almighty 
bless and protect you and yours. The Cross of Christ shall 
stand between you and all harm, a bullet shall never hit that 
head ; you have helped a poor old man, and as you have helped 
him so shall you be helped. You have cast bread upon the 
water and though it be late in life, your reward shall come." 
I thanked him and hurried away. Quite a crowd had collected 
while this was going on. I was all togged out in my new 
uniform, having been to have my picture taken, and I suppose 
the sight was a little unusual. I haven't told a soul but you, 
diary, for anyone but you would laugh at me. But you and 
I are confidants and you have never yet betrayed me. Lieu- 
tenant Gorton is about sick to-night, anl I have been doctoring 
him up the best I know how. Have got him to bed and given 
him a part of my covering, for though the night is cold he 
needs it the most. I don't feel a bit like sleep. In spite of me 
I can't get the old man and his strange conduct out of my 

By way of experiment a squad of sergeants was sent out 
to-night to try their hand at recruiting. They have come in 
with about sixty good-looking negroes. This show^s they can 
beat us at the business, and if they are kept at it we will soon 
have a full regiment. 


January lo, 1864. 
Sunday. Serjeant Brant thought sure he would go to-da}'' 
and after a good-bye all round started for the boat. He came 
back soon after, saying he had given up the trip for to-day. It 
seems the boat is held back for some reason and will sail to- 
morrow. That will give me time to write some more letters. 
The quartermaster and I went to church to-day. He knew 
where to go, and though it was a long walk there and back, 
I felt well paid for going. As near as I could tell it was a 
Methodist church. At any rate the language used was United 
States, while those I had before attended used Latin. We 
were seated in a pew with a handsome young lady, who gave 
us a hymn book, even finding the place for us. I was never 
more sorry I could not sing. After church she invited us to 
come again, saying how glad she was we had come to-day. 
We promised her we would, and came back. If I can find 
the way there I certainly mean to go again. We now expect to 
start for Texas this week sometime. Only a part are to go 
and we are all impatience to know who will be taken and who 
left. If I knew my leave of absence wouldn't come I should 
want to go, but suppose it did come and had to follow me up, 
the time would be up before I could get started. I am very 
often thankful for the things I don't know. 

January 11, 1864. 
Monday. I sneaked off this morning, and hunted up 
Madam Black, the "Great Indian Astrologist," as the papers 
call her. I had been boiling over with curiosity to know how 
near she and the other one — I have forgotten her name — agree 
as to my future. I found her without trouble, and was sur- 
prised to find her, not a squaw, as I expected, but one of the 
sweetest-looking and most motherly-acting old women I have 
seen since I saw my own dear mother. She simply took me by 
storm. I couldn't disbelieve her if I tried. I had always been 
an unbeliever in fortune telling, but in the state of mind I was 


in I was ready to catch at any straw she held out. She took me 
into an eleg'antly furnished room, and the only question she 
asked about myself was the day and month of my birth. This 
I told her, and she sat down before me and closed her eyes as 
if going to sleep. Soon she began, and gave me as good a 
history of my past life as I could have told her, without going 
into particulars more than she did. Of course I was then 
ready to gulp down anything she might say, and was tempted 
to run away and leave my future as it had always been to 
me, a closed book. But my desire to hear about my going 
home, or going to Texas was strong upon me, and I held my 
breath while she continued. She told me I was born to disap- 
pointment, that m)'- plans had been upset as fast as I made 
them, and this would continue until after my forty-fifth birth- 
day; that happily for me I was also born with a disposition 
that did not allow disappointments to sink in as it otherwise 
would, and for that reason I had never been so discouraged 
as not to try again. After my forty-fifth birthday things 
would change and I would wind up rich and contented. As 
she said this she added, "but it won't take as much to make 
you rich and contented as it does most people." She told me 
I was to have two wives (she didn't say both at one time) 
and five children. Then she said, as the other one did, that 
I was going on a journey in a few days, from which I would 
return to New Orleans again ; that inside of seven months I 
would go on a journey from which I would never return to 
this place; that after that I would be happy and the world 
would be kinder to me than ever before. Aside from a chat 
we had on other subjects, that was all I got for my $5. I 
believe now I am to go somewhere very soon, but whether to 
Matagorda or to Dutchess County I know no more than before. 
I came back and went to work getting ready for a start, 
because that was what the others were doing, but to save me I 
couldn't put much heart in my preparations. It rained to-day, 
as usual. Altogether it has not been a cheerful dav for me. 


I am five dollars poorer and the little knowledge I swapped 
it for does not cheer me as I hoped it might. Good night, 
diary. Remember you are not to tell a living soul of this, and 
when Gorton next proposes my going to consult my future, I 
shall tell him I don't believe a thing in it, and that the whole 
thing is a swindle. The question, Texas or home, is still 

January 12, 1864. 
Tuesday. "Glory, Hallelujah !" I'm going home. Just as I 
was crawling under my blanket to-night, after a miserable 
cold, wet day of routine duty, the colonel's servant came and 
said the colonel wanted me to come to his tent. I got up and 
dressed, wondering what it could mean. Just then I recalled 
hearing a horseman ride in and out, and I said to myself — that 
means Texas sure. I found pretty much all the colonel's family 
packed in his tent and all with long, sober faces on them. The 
colonel asked me what sort of a caper I had been up to when 
out on a pass yesterday, adding, before I could reply, that I 
was the last one he expected to get such a report about from 
headquarters, at the same time handing me an official-looking 
document and requested me to read for myself. In a sort of a 
daze I opened it and at a glance saw it was my leave of 
absence. I came to life then. Whether they are glad to be 
rid of me for a while, or what, I don't know, but they all 
appeared as glad as I was. Appeared, I say, for it is not possi- 
ble they could feel as I did, and do, about it. We kept the 
colonel up until he drove us off and then the most of them 
went home with me, and we kept up the clatter of talk until 
almost morning. The errands and the messages I have prom- 
ised to do and deliver will make a hole in my vacation, but I 
don't care, for anyone of them would do the same for me. 
The day had been so dull that I was not going to write a word 
about it, but the wind-up was too momentous not to mention 
it on the day and date thereof. And now for a nap, or a try 
for one. 


January /j, 1864. 
Wednesday. In spite of late hours last night T was up early, 
and as soon as I had eaten, was off to look up the matter of 
transportation. If a transport is to sail soon I can go through 
for nothing-. I found it was barely possible one might go 
this week, but it was quite uncertain. Knowing how very 
uncertain these army uncertainties are, I went to the office of 
the Creole and found she sails on Friday. I engaged passage 
and came back and have since been getting ready to go. Gor- 
ton wants me to take his Henry Holmes along to help Mrs. 
Gorton, and says I can pass him through as my servant free of 
cost. I told him if that was the case I would take him along, 
and the darkey is almost as glad to go as I am. Marching 
orders came to-day, and preparations for a move are already 
under way. Two regiments of mounted infantry have come 
in to camp with us and this makes neighbors pretty close. 

January 14, 1864. 
Thursday. Night. Camp is torn up, and the men and 
officers have gone. Part started for Franklin again, for 
recruits, and Colonel B. with the rest have started off towards 
Lake Ponchartrain, what for, nobody here knows. If I have the 
good luck that was wished me, I shall certainly have a fine 
time. I have got my ticket, and my baggage is on board the 
Creole. She sails at 7 a. m. to-morrow morning. I am back 
in camp to stay with Sol and the quartermaster, who are left 
to go on to-morrow with the stores. Colonel B. rode in for 
some final directions. He says they encamp at Lakeport 
to-night, and will receive orders in the morning what to do or 
where to go. He says there is a prospect of our being trans- 
ferred to the quartermaster's department. 

January 15, 1864. 
Friday. On board the steamer Creole, at South West Pass. 
Have taken on a pilot and will soon be across the bar and into 


the Gulf. We left at foot of Toulouse street at half past eight 
this morning. Gorton had managed to get in, in time to swing 
his hat as we started down the river. 

Whether he had something of importance to say I don't 
know, for he was too late for anything but the farewell swing 
of his hroad-brimmed hat. The boat is so nice I don't feel 
a bit at home. The table and staterooms are likewise. How- 
ever I shall try and endure it. The most of the passengers 
are army men with a sprinkling of men and women, some of 
the latter being Sisters of Mercy. No place would look right 
without them, for they seem to be everywhere. We are in the 
Gulf now, and the pilot has just left us. The sea is getting 
rougher every minute and my dinner and supper seem to be 
quarreling about something. I did not expect to be seasick, but 
the symptoms are all here and I think I will go below. 

January 17, 1864. 
Sunday. Yesterday I did not write. I had other business 
to attend to. Friday night I went below, thinking I might 
the better escape an attack of seasickness, which I felt coming 
on. But I did not. After a night as full of misery as one 
night can be, I found myself alive at daylight, but perfectly 
willing to die, if I only could. The stateroom was first swing- 
ing around in a circle, and then going end over end. First I 
would go up, as if I was never going to stop, and then sink 
down until it seemed as if I must strike bottom. My clothes, 
hanging across from me, were going through the same 
motions. I was soon gazing at my breakfast, dinner and 
supper of the day before, and I think I saw traces of my New 
Year's dinner. Life or death, York State or Louisiana, peace 
or war were all the same to me then. Whether the ship was 
on its way to New York or to the bottom didn't interest me 
a particle. Anything would suit me. After a while of this I 
fell asleep, and about 3 p. m. I came to life again, and began 
to take stock, as Sol says. I felt like a dishrag, thrown down 


without being wrung out. vSoon a knock came at the door, 
and I was surprised to find I could say "come in." A colored 
individual with the boat's uniform on came in, and after a 
look at me and then at the floor went after the necessary 
tools for house-cleaning. There were two berths, one above 
the other, and I was in the lower one. He helped me into the 
upper berth and began operations on the one I had occupied. 
After a while he claimed things were once more shipshape, 
and left me saying I would soon be all right. I soon after 
got out on the floor and managed to get into my clothes. 
From that I ventured into the cabin, where I sat down in a 
chair I could not possibly fall out of, and soon got into con- 
versation with a man, whom I found to be a sea captain, on 
his way to New York to take out another vessel. He didn't 
seem to be worried about me, and said there were many others 
on board that had been sick and had not yet showed up. He 
got me a cracker, which I ate, more to see if my stomach was 
still there than because I v/as hungry. This helped me won- 
derfully, and after visiting a while I went back and slept 
sound all night. 

To-day I have been on deck almost all day. The water is 
not smooth, but it is nothing to what it was night before last. 
I looked up Henry Holmes, and found he had been as sick as I, 
and that he was not over it yet. His color had changed to a 
gray, which did not improve his looks at all. All I could do 
was to tell him how sorry I was for him, and that he would 
soon feel well again. But he said he would "never live to see 
the' Noflf, he just knew he couldn't." The day was perfect, 
almost everyone was on deck, and though some were rather 
pale, all seemed to enjoy themselves. 

January i8, 1864. 
Monday. I was all over my sick spell this morning, and 
although there was quite a breeze, and the water quite rough, 
it did not disturb me. Henry was still sick, and wished him- 


self back on the old plantation. I wished I could help him in 
some way, but was told there is nothing to do but grin and 
bear it. About lo a. m. we saw something they called Florida 
Cape, but if it had not been pointed out I should not have seen 
it at all. Altogether the day passed very pleasantly for me. 

January ip, 1864. 

Tuesday. The same thing to-day. Henry is sick yet, though 
I think I see some improvement. We don't seem to move, 
but I suppose we do. There is nothing in sight but water, 
and it seems to go up hill in every direction. The Creole 
keeps chugging away, but there is nothing by which I can 
tell whether we move or not. 

Night. The captain says we are off the coast of Georgia, 
but how he knows I don't know. If we were near enough, I 
would feel just like jumping off and going on foot to New 
York and telling them the Creole is coming. 

January 20, 1864. 
Wednesday. To-day the wind has been against us. At 
noon we were said to be off Charleston. The sea-captain 
passenger has had fun with the landsmen about staggering as 
we go about, but he is laughing no more. This afternoon he 
was getting up from a nap in his room, when a sudden lurch 
of the vessel pitched him head first against a mirror opposite, 
and smashed it fine. He called all hands up for something at 
his expense. We have spent the evening playing euchre and 
had a very pleasant time. 

January 21, 1864. 
Thursday. The day has been warm and pleasant, we are 
past Cape Hatteras and with good luck will be in New York 
by to-morrow at this time. Henry is coming round all right 
but he has been dreadfully sick and shows it. 


January 22, 1864. 
Friday. Was up early, for at nig-ht, or before, we were to 
reach New York. I saw that Henry was ready to grab his 
little bundle, and then kept an eye out ahead. The first I 
saw was Sandy Hook, and soon we were in sight of land and 
numberless other vessels. At 2 p. m. the Creole tied up at 
pier 13, North River, and not long after, Henry and I were 
in an express wagon bound for the 26th Street depot. I had to 
call at 197 Mulberry street to deliver a message for John 
Mathers, and his people urged me to stay all night and tell 
them about John and the war. From there we went to Brook 
Brothers to do an errand for Colonel Bostwick and then on 
for the station. A man jumped on the wagon and wanted 
to hire Henry for a cook in a restaurant, but Henry had all 
the job he wanted, and refused. He offered him $25 a 
month and board, but Henry said no. At 26th Street we 
found the train would soon start and I hustled for tickets. I 
had given Henry a dollar, telling him to get something to eat 
at a place opposite the station and looked all around for him 
after I had my ticket and trunk check. I went to the restau- 
rant and hunted all about until the cry "All aboard" came, and 
then giving his ticket to a policeman, to send him along on 
the next train, got on board, and at 8.20 p. m. landed at Miller- 
ton. No one knew of my coming, and the people gazed at me 
as if I had risen from the dead. I was still five miles from 
home, and as the roads were it might as well have been fifty. 
There was no one in the place from our way, and as I had 
to be there when the train came next day to look for Henry, 
there was no other way but to stay all night. This I did, at 
Sweet's Hotel. 

January 2^, 1864. 
Saturday. I visited about until train time, and managed 
to send w^ord home that I would be there at night or before. 
I took dinner at Jenks' and was scolded for not coming right 


there the night before. At 2 p. m. when the train came I was 
on the platform, but no Henry got off. I then gave him up 
as lost in New York somewhere, but for what reason he had 
left me as he had I could not imagine. I had seen him enter 
the Dutchess County House after a lunch, and in ten minutes 
I was back there looking for him, but he was gone. That is 
all I could tell Mrs. Gorton, or the lieutenant, when I saw 
him again. I jumped in with Joe Hull, stopped at the Center 
and told Mrs. Gorton about Henry, went on, stopping at Mr. 
Hull's for a short call, and was soon after at home. I found 
little change in the dear old couple. I thought they looked 
a little older, but it was the same father and mother who had 
never been absent from my thoughts since I left them a year 
and a half before. They had been told I was at Millerton, on 
my way home. There had been no time to notify them by 
letter for I left New Orleans before a mail steamer did, after 
my furlough came. What was said and what was done con- 
cerns only us three, and we are not likely to forget it. It is 
enough to say we were all happy, and that we talked until 
late bedtime. I found my room just as I left it. So far as I 
could see, nothing had been disturbed. It was a long time 
before I slept, but I did at last, and I suppose they did also. 

February 2"/, 1864. 
Saturday. From January 23 on I was too busy, visiting 
and being visited, to do more with my diary than keep 
notes enough to remind me, when I got time, to write up 
again. Time was too precious to even write about, I had the 
free run of everything. Horses and wagons, or sleighs as the 
case might call for, were free, and the houses of my friends 
were all open for me either night or day. Many times the 
younger set met somewhere for an evening and in that way 
I did much wholesale visiting. I feel ashamed now, as I look 
over the list, to think I spent so much of the time away from 
home. But there seemed no other way. The main object of 


my coming-, that of getting- a ]jlace for father and motlier to 
live after April, was accomplished by buying the place opposite 
Mott Drake's, with which they are well pleased. They will 
be among- old and tried friends, and about central for the 
girls to visit them — near the church and store, and where the 
mail passes every day. With land enough to keep the cow, 
and to raise all the vegetables they need, they have never 
been so comfortably situated since my time began. Through 
Mr. Bostwick's kindness I was able to accomplish all this, and 
I go back to my task with a lighter heart and a heavier debt 
of gratitude then I came home with. I cannot mention all the 
people I visited and that visited me. It would be easier to tell 
those I did not meet. Those who had dear ones in the South 
that I could tell them about were never tired hearing about 
them. Some whose dear ones lie buried where they fell were 
the hardest for me. I could not tell them the worst, and the 
best seemed so awful to them I was glad when such visits were 

Almost at the last I got track of Henry Holmes, and left 
him with John Loucks to pass along to Mrs. Gorton. He 
told me the man who tried to hire him in New York followed 
him into the restaurant and told him I had left a trunk on the 
Creole, and that I wanted him to go and get it. He jumped 
in the same wagon that had brought us there and was taken 
down town to a recruiting office, where he was asked to enlist. 
His being lame prevented that, and he Avas turned out in the 
street again. He asked everyone where the depot was where 
Lieutenant Larry went for tickets. Finally he told his story to 
someone who was humane enough to help him, and in that 
way got back to the 26th Street depot. There the policeman 
to whom I ha4 given his ticket saw him, and, as there was 
no train that night, sent him to some place for the night, and 
saw him on the train the next day. He was asleep on the 
train when it reached Millerton, and was taken through to 
Albany, where he kept up the search and inquir}^ for Lieu- 


tenant Larry. Some kind-hearted people then set about quiz- 
zing him for my last name, and hearing the name Van Alstyne, 
which is common in Albany, he at once said it was Lieutenant 
Larry Van Alstyne. After a while he recalled Major Palon 
and Colonel Bostwick to mind. As neither of these names 
were of Albany, and as the Palons were known to live in 
Hudson, he was sent there. The Palons got him a place 
with a farmer at Johnstown, below Hudson, and also put an 
advertisement in the paper giving the particulars as Henry had 
given them. One of these papers fell into the hands of Colonel 
Bostwick's mother, who sent for me. John Loucks then went 
to Johnstown and found Henry, who had a good place with 
people who were good to him, and he refused to go, saying 
he had been fooled so many times he had rather stay where 
he was. As John was about to leave he happened to say in 
Henry's hearing, "I don't know what Larry will say." At the 
name Larry, v/liich it appears had not been spoken before, 
Henry at once asked if he meant Lieutenant Larry, and upon 
being told he did, he said, "If you know Lieutenant Larry, 
I'll go with you." And so it came about that we came together 
only the night before I was to start for the South again. I 
was certainly glad to see Henry, and if actions are any guide, 
Henry was glad to see me.* 

* After the war I became a citizen of Sharon, and soon after Henry 
Holmes came there to live and so conducted himself that only good 
can be said of him. In the book of Sharon epitaphs, published in 
1903, appears the following: 

"Henry Holmes 

Died May 19, 1887 

Free at last." 

"Henry Holmes was probably about seventy years old at the time of 
his death. He was born a slave and so remained until freed by the 
Civil War. He was last owned by a cotton planter in Louisiana from 
whom he took his name. He came north in the winter of 1S64-5 and 
lived nearly all the remainder of his life in Sharon. He was a Meth- 


odist, and was buried from that church. The ministers from both the 
other churches attended and requested the privilege of taking part in 
the services. They each in turn gave testimony to the help and 
encouragement they had received from the words and example of this 
good old man. He was entirely self-supporting and at his death it was 
found he had laid by a sum sufficient to defray the expenses of his 
burial, and to pay for the enduring monument which marks his grave 
in Hillside Cemetery." 

On Board the McCIellan 

The start for Dixie — The McCIellan is not the Creole — A tough 
crowd — Man overboard — Martial law proclaimed — Arrest of the rioters 
— Storm at sea — Stop at Key West — In New Orleans again. 

1 REACHED New York on my return journey Feb. 23, 
and sent my trunk to the Creole, which was to sail the 
next morning. Returning- to the Washington Hotel for 
the night, I found Daniel McElwee, who told me if I would 
wait until Saturday he would send me through free of 
expense. This was inducement enough for me to send and 
get my trunk and wait. Sixty dollars saved in three days was 
not to be missed even at the risk of a slower boat and poorer 
accommodations. John Thompson was also there. With a let- 
ter from Daniel to George Starr, the head of the transportation 
department, we went and gave him a call. He seemed 
glad of a chance to do his friend McElwee a favor, telling 
me to be on board the transport McCIellan on Saturday morn- 
ing and he would do the rest. I had promised Mrs. Gibson 
to call on my way back and tell her more about her brother, 
Lieutenant John Mathers, and we next went there. From 
there to Brooks Brothers to find out about Colonel B.'s clothes, 
and then back to the Washington, where I met several old 
acquaintances and spent a very pleasant evening. The next 
morning I got to thinking of a donation party that was to 
come off at the city that night, and how nice it would be to 
drop in and surprise them. By train time I had figured out 
a programme that would cost no more than waiting in New 
York, and at 8 p. m. I was in Amenia, and in one of the worst 
storms of the whole winter. Rain, snow, and hail, and a high 
wind to drive it. There was nothing to do but go to Putnam's 
and stay over. The next day I took the stage to the city and 


and found out the donation party did not come off. The storm 
continued and for all I could do it would not stop. I put in 
the day as best I could and the next morning went back to 
Amenia and took the train for New York, havin.^- been within 
five miles of home, when they supposed I was somewhere on 
the Atlantic. I put up at the Washinj^^ton but found no one 
with whom I was acquainted. I spent a dull enough evening, 
and went to bed disgusted with everything, but mostly with 
myself for putting such a miserable finish to the vacation which 
I had so longed for and had so much enjoyed. 

February 2y, 1864. 
I was on board the McClellan at 10 o'clock, as agreed upon, 
and found Mr. Starr already there. He introduced me to the 
captain, the surgeon, and the purser, as his friend, whom he 
wished them to give as good as the boat afforded, and to land 
me safely in New Orleans, as a personal favor to him. They 
appeared to know him well, and seemed glad to do him the 
favor. I told Mr. Starr I felt under great obligations. He 
said as he could not fight for his country himself, he was 
happy to help those who could, and said: "If you ever get 
the chance, just give the Rebellion one blow for George Starr." 
But after all said and done, the McClellan is not the Creole. 
It is a government transport, much after the pattern of the 
Arago. There are a dozen or so of military officers on board, 
one of them with an eagle on his shoulder, several with one 
and two bars, and the rest like myself, second lieutenants, with 
their- bars to get. I was given a stateroom to myself, but not 
very much like the one I had coming home. However, beggars 
must not be choosers. The cargo so far as I could see was 
commissary stores and other warlike material. We went a 
little way out into the stream and anchored, and soon a smaller 
vessel came alongside with the toughest-looking lot of people 
I had ever seen together. There were four hundred of them, 
and they were counted as they stepped on board, as sheep are, 


running through a gate. They were stowed in below, just as 
we were on the Arago, only there being so few they had plenty 
of room. I had never seen such evil-looking faces on human 
beings as some of them had. The purser told me they were 
conscripts, deserters and bounty jumpers; that they had been 
in close confinement, and for safety were not brought on board 
until we were away from the dock. Their language was as vile 
as their faces, and they seemed to have neither fear nor respect 
for the officers who had charge of them. Not all were like 
that, but there was quite a sprinkling of them. There was 
perhaps a compan}^ of soldiers in uniform and with arms, 
which I found to be men who had been sick or wounded, and 
were now returning to their regiments. The last to come on 
board were a couple who it appears had gotten away while 
on their way from prison to the boat, and had been rounded 
up by the police. One of these was accused of robbing another 
of a hundred-dollar bill, and as the accuser had some proof 
the fellow was stripped on deck, but no money was found on 
him or in his clothes. Just as he was to be released, one of 
the soldiers I have mentioned stepped up and running his 
finger in the thief's mouth hooked out what I supposed was 
a chew of tobacco, but which proved to be the hundred-dollar 
bill. He was then allowed to go below. Then we started for 
Dixie. The wind blew like a hurricane and we were soon in 
rough water. Rain kept falling, and altogether it was a most 
dismal setting out. Soon a great rumpus was heard below, 
and something that sounded like shooting. The officers in 
charge of them paid more attention to a demijohn of whiskey 
they had than to the men. So it went till night. Cries of 
murder were heard and such cursing and swearing and quar- 
relling I never heard even in the army. A man came in the 
cabin with a broken arm, and told who broke it, but nothing 
was done about it. A little Dutch doctor undertook to set 
it, but both the doctor and the patient were drunk and got 
to quarrelling, and the man was hustled back with the broken 


bone unset. Altogether it was the blackest picture I harl ever 
looked upon. I shut myself in my little coop wonricrin;^ how 
it all would end, and hating- myself for deserting the Creole, 
for a free ride on this old tub. If I had a chance to swap the 
$60 I had saved for a berth on the Creole, the bargain would 
have been made then and there. 

February 28, 1864. 
Sunday. The wind continued strong and against us, and 
all was quiet below. The whiskey had given out. The man 
with the broken arm was sober now. He had suffered all 
night, and his arm was swollen badly. The Dutch doctor was 
seasick, as were many others. The ship's surgeon fixed up 
the broken arm as well as it could be done in the condition it 
was. The day passed off after a while, and nothing worth 
noting happened. 

February 2p, 1864. 
Monday. The last day of winter. The wind kept dead 
ahead and blew strong. The waves were higher than any I 
ever before saw. I got acquainted with a Captain Reynolds, and 
was surprised to find him a brother to Captain Reuben Rey- 
nolds of our regiment. He was much surprised to find I knew 
his brother and to hear so direct about him. He is so much 
like his brother I seem to have known him a long time. The 
performance below has begun again. The officers have but 
little influence over them. One of them, a captain at that, 
went down to quiet them and was hit with something and his 
eyebrow cut open. There is so little light below, it is 
dangerous going about among the devils down there. Some 
have money and the others steal it like highwa3'men. A man 
who looked and acted like a crazy man came in the cabin and 
declared he was afraid for his life. As the day wore on the 
deviltry grew worse. Captain Gray told the officers in com- 


mand that unless they could control them he would stop at 
the nearest port and land them. He is afraid of fire, as they 
smoke and have open lights all the time. Several of them are 
known to have revolvers, and to have fired them. The officers 
I think are afraid of them and I don't know that I wonder. 
There are six or eight ringleaders, and the peaceably inclined 
have to submit to anything they say. At least a dozen com- 
plaints were made to-day and all were against a few, of whom 
they are in terror. 

March 2, 1864. 
Wednesday. After breakfast, and as we were mostly on 
deck smoking, a man rushed up from below and went out upon 
the guard in front of the wheel house as if to have a wash 
up from the tub standing there. His manner, and the look 
upon his face, attracted the attention of several. He pulled off 
his coat, and throwing up his hands sang out, "Good-bye, all," 
and jumped of¥ directly in front of the wheel. We rushed 
to the rail in time to see him come up behind the wheel, and 
strike out to swim. He had hit something, for his head and 
face were bloody. "Man overboard," was yelled by everyone, 
and chairs or any other thing handy was thrown towards him. 
The vessel was stopped, but by this time the man was far 
astern, and only to be seen as he rose on the waves, which 
were quite high. A boat was lowered and put out after him, 
and that, too, was hidden from view about half the time. The 
man, as near as I could judge the distance, was a half mile 
away by this time, though by watching the place he could be 
made out every time he came up in sight. Those who had 
glasses watched him until the boat seemed almost to him, and 
said that as he lay in plain sight on the uphill side of a wave 
he suddenly went down. One of the crew said sharks were 
always prowling about near a ship at sea, watching for any- 
thing thrown out, and if one of them crossed the trail of blood 
which the man must have left, it would follow him like a 


streak of lightning. He thought it strange he harl been let 
alone so long, and had no doubt that a shark was the cause 
of his going down so suddenly. The McClellan had come 
round so as to face the wind, and waited for the boat to come 
back, which it did just before noon. A rope was thrown out 
and caught, and after several times trying, the boat was got 
close enough to be hauled up, men and all. While this was 
going on, nearly everyone on board had come on deck. A 
few, with the best-looking faces, were brought to the quarter- 
deck and questioned, and the stories they told of the doings 
below could hardly be believed. Everything short of murder 
had been done. The worst of the lot had so terrorized the 
rest that they dared not report them for fear of what might 
happen to themselves. The man who jumped overboard had 
been so abused for coming to the cabin the night before, that 
he took the only other course to get rid of it that seemed open 
to him. 

Now that the whiskey was gone, the most of them were 
willing and anxious to be decent, but were in such mortal 
terror of the ringleaders that they dared not make a move to 
bring them to justice. After hearing the stories, which were 
all of one kind. Colonel Zotroski (that's the way it sounds), 
being the ranking officer on board, took command and declared 
martial law. He summoned every military officer and the 
armed soldiers to the quarter-deck. These soldiers had, by the 
way, kept apart from the others and had not been molested. 
After taking the names, he appointed an officer of the day, 
and I w'as almost paralyzed to hear my name called as officer 
of the guard. A guard was detailed from among the armed 
men, and then I got orders to station them at different places 
below, and to arrest and put in irons any who created a dis- 
turbance or disobeyed an order given them. Also to allow 
no smoking between decks. Scared most out of my wits. I took 
the first relief and went below. I posted them where they 
could see all parts of the room they were in, and one on the 


next deck below, in a smaller room where the cooking was 
done, giving them the orders I had received from the officer 
of the day. I then started back up the ladder, when some one 
caught me by the feet, just as I had my hands on a brass 
railing that ran beside the opening to the deck above. That 
hand-hold saved me. I yanked one foot loose and with the 
heel of my boot jammed the knuckles of the hands holding me 
so they let go and I was free. I said nothing, out loud, but 
went straight to my room for my revolver. I came back just 
in time to see the guard I had posted in the kitchen tumble out 
on deck, all spattered with hot potatoes which had been thrown 
at him, some burning him severely. He was mad clear through 
and was ready to shoot, and I wished we were in the open 
where loaded guns could be used. I took him back to the 
same post and told him to bayonet the first man that attempted 
to lay hands on him. A great big hulk of a fellow stepped out 
from the crowd and coming close up, said, "Good, old hoss, 
if you want any help just call on me." I made all the allow- 
ance I could for his manner of speech, thanked him, and went 
where I could see what went on without being seen by him. 
Pretty soon he started as if going past the guard, and when 
opposite him made a quick grab and got hold of the gun 
barrel, and the fight was on. Before I could get there the 
guard was down and ready to be tumbled on deck again. It 
was just what was needed to bring my Dutch up to the fighting 
point. I grabbed the tough by the collar with one hand 
and with the other jammed the muzzle of a cocked revolver 
against his ugly face, telling him to climb that ladder or die. 
He was a coward after all and went on deck as meek as you 
please, where I handcuffed him to the rigging and went back 
after more. Another was pointed out and when I beckoned 
to him he came right along. The well-disposed took courage 
and in a little while had two more on deck, where I handcuffed 
them fast in different places. I now had four, but the worst 
one of the lot could not be found. He was said to be the 


leader in all the deviltry that had been .e^oin;:^ on. The men 
said they would watch for him and let me know the minute 
he was found. I went on deck, where I found several men who 
had been robbed by the man yet at large, of sums totaling $211. 
Another said the one I got first had stolen a shirt from him 
and was then wearing it. 

My orders said nothing about restoring stolen property, so 
the matter was carried up to Colonel Zotroski, who told me to 
act my pleasure about it. It was my pleasure to take off the 
handcuffs and let the owner of the shirt take it off the thief's 
back. After locking him fast again, I went on with the search 
for the missing one. I wanted to find him while my gritty spell 
lasted, for, from all accounts, he was a desperate character and 
the leader of the gang. Just before dark one of the watchers 
came and told me they had located him under a berth, and 
they thought he was asleep. Sure enough he was, sound asleep 
between the floor and a lower berth. I took him by the leg 
and had plenty of help to haul him out. Fie had a revolver and 
a cheese knife with him, but in the narrow quarters, and in 
the jiffy of time it took to get out, had no chance to use either. 
There were as many hands as could get a hold, and by the 
time I reached the deck he was there. A madder man I never 
saw. The men he had robbed were there and I told them to 
go through him and see what they could find. Although he 
was handcuffed, he was so handy with his feet that shackles 
had to be put on before the search for the money began. 
Wrapped around one ankle was the money, just two hundred 
and eleven dollars. As that amount was what the victims 
claimed to have lost, it was given back to them to divide up. 
As I fastened the villain to the pump, the handiest thing there 
was, he swore all sorts of vengeance on me, sa^dng he would 
see my heart's blood if he had to wait twenty years for it. 
Besides the knife found on him, his revolver had three empty 
shells, showing he had used it, and probably would have 
used it again if he had been found while awake. I was mighty 


glad sleep overtook him before I did, for if it had not the 
day's doings might read differently. 

All was quiet now, and at the supper table I found myself 
to be quite a somebody. Some with whom I had not spoken 
before took pains to speak now and to congratulate me on the 
result of the day's work. But if they had known how scared 
I was when I went at the job, and how little bravery was really 
necessary to arrest four cowards and one sleeping bad man, 
they might have thought differently. But I hope never again 
to feel as I did when I arrested the first man. There was 
murder in my heart, and the man's wilting as he did is all that 
saved me from being a murderer. If that is bravery, I am 
glad I have so little of it. 

After supper Captain Gray asked me to use his room on 
deck for my headquarters, and as I must be up all night I 
was very thankful for such a nice place. The captain's bunk 
was in a room adjoining and he turned in, leaving me alone. 
A map of the ocean's bottom lay on a table. The depth of 
water all along the coast and for a distance from it was 
marked on the mapi The wind came up between nine and 
ten o'clock and howled terribly. The captain came out and 
looked at the barometer hanging on the wall. He said it was 
all right yet, but if it got to a certain point, which he showed 
me, it would mean a much bigger blov*^. I went the rounds 
about once an hour, and found it very difficult to walk on the 
deck. The prisoners were where I put them, and in spite of 
all I began to feel sorry for them. But not knowing what to 
do with them I left them to suffer a little, thinking it would 
be no more than they deserved. 

To stop smoking between decks was not so easy as it might 
seem. On every round I made I had smelled tobacco smoke, 
but had not located a single smoker. Finally I saw what I 
knew was a lighted cigar in an alley along the outside tier 
of bunks, and where the light from the lamp did not reach. It 
was after midnight, and all but those on duty were supposed to 


be asleep. This fellow did not see me until I was right upon 
him. I took the cigar from his mouth, drop];ed it on the 
floor and put my foot on it. Neither of us said a word, 
and I found no more smoking after that. 

At midnight the wind was something awful to hear or feel. 
After one of my rounds I came in and found the barometer 
pointing to the very place the captain had pointed out. When 
I told Captain Gray of it, he jumped up and pulled a bell 
handle. Soon another officer came and they consulted together. 
A change of direction was decided upon, and then there was 
more pulling of bell handles, and they both went out. Soon 
after this the ship seemed to be going over. A tremendous 
thump, a smashing of timber, and a great rush of water all 
came together. I thought the ship was sinking or had run 
afoul of something. I started out and was glad to get under 
cover again. The deck was wet and water was dripping from 
everything. The deck was so high from the water I did not 
think it possible the waves could reach it, and yet as it was 
not raining I had to think they had been very much higher, for 
the water was running down from everything. The prisoners 
were alive yet, for I could hear them yell and swear. After 
a little the ship stopped rolling and only pitched and dove. 
I ventured out and found it raining and the wind blowing 
harder than ever. The poor wretches fast to the rigging were 
repentant now and begged for some better place. I looked 
about and found a sheltered place, and with the help of the 
sergeant of the guard moved them to it. 

Morning finally came, and with it better weather, though 
the sea was something awful to look upon. What I heard in 
the night was now explained. A great wave had gone clean 
over the vessel, taking every loose thing with it. It also 
smashed some of the timbers that form the guard in front 
and back of the wheel-house. These had gone clear over and 
out on the other side. They looked to be six inches square and 
solid at that. The rail was broken where they struck it going 


over. I thanked my stars I was inside when that happened. 
Such waves I had never seen. As the bow climbed up one, 
the stern would sink down in another, until a solid body of 
black water stood up all around it, and seemed ready to fall 
upon and sink the ship, but instead, the bow would go down 
and the stern go high up in the air ; at the same time a sheet of 
water would come swashing over the deck, and running off 
at the sides. I had often wished I might witness a storm at 
sea, and here I was right in one. I asked Captain Gray if 
this was the real thing and he said it was "pretty stiff weather." 
Eight o'clock came and I was relieved. After a wash-up 
and breakfast I turned in and slept till dinner, and since that 
have been writing up my diary. Everything is quiet on board. 
No more cutting up between decks has yet happened. I am 
glad now I had just the part I did in bringing about this state 
of affairs, but to tell the honest truth I didn't suppose it was 
in me to go through the part I did. There was a whole lot 
of good luck, as well as some good management. As I look 
back over the last twenty-four hours I see much more to feel 
thankful for than to feel proud of. 

March s, 1864. 
Thursday. Before the wind for the first time since leaving 
New York. The sea is still rough, the vessel pitching and 
diving all the time. Everything quiet and well behaved in the 
lower regions. At night the captain says we are off Savan- 
nah, Ga. 

March 4, 1864. 
Friday. A fine day and fine weather. Have spent the day 
on deck, smoking, reading and thinking about my two homes, 
the one I am going to, and the one I have so lately left. 


March 5, 1864. 
Saturday. Have been in sight of Florida all day. The 
day has been plenty wann enough for comfort, the water 
smooth and I suppose a good run made. 

March 6, 1864. 
Key West, Florida. Sunday. We stopped here for coal 
about 9 A. M. I have been on shore and looked about. To 
me it is like being in another world. Everything I see is 
different from anything I ever saw before, unless it be the 
people, and they talk a language I never heard, even in the 
French quarters of New Orleans. Cocoanuts grow here, and 
pineapples. The place appears to be the tip end of Florida, 
as the sea shows in all directions but one. The buildings are 
low, squatty, wooden buildings, but the streets are clean and 
the people look so. A few can speak English, but the most 
of them, black or white, talk more like geese than anything 
else. I saw a great many strange sights in the markets and 
shops. Nearly every building is a store on the ground floor. 
Great turtles, some of them a yard long, were sitting up on 
end in the markets and helplessly waving their feet, or fins 
rather, for that is what their feet look like. So much 
misery made me sorry I had seen the place. I suppose they 
are kept that way until they are sold, or die. Last night there 
was a quarrel among the men, and Colonel Zotroski interfered 
and got some talk back that made him mad. He ordered the 
man to be brought on deck, and to be bucked and gagged. 
This was done, and when it was time to release him he was 
not to be found, and has not since been found. It is supposed 
he rolled overboard, but I don't see how that was possible. 
More likely his friends got him and have hid him away. 

March y, 1864. 
Monday. We left Key West about ten last night. \\'e are 
now out of sight of land, and I suppose are in the Gulf of 


Mexico. The weather is hot as blazes. So hot an awning 
has been put over the quarter-deck, and it is now a most 
dehghtful spot to sit and watch the porpoises play. 

March 8, 1864. 
Tuesday. Another perfect day. A shower passed over just 
at night and sprinkled the boat with warm water. I have 
been off my feed for several days, but begin to be myself 
again and think I will be able to crack a hard-tack by the time 
I get into camp. My vacation, or leave of absence, that seemed 
so like heaven to look at, is over now, and the stern realities 
of a soldier's life are looking me right in the face. Well, I 
have a lot to think of that I didn't have then, and a whole 
lot of things to talk about, too. 

March p, 1864. 

Wednesday. When I woke up this morning, we were outside 
the bar, waiting for a pilot. About six o'clock one came and 
we were soon steaming up the river on the last stage of 
our journey. I was again detailed as ofHcer of the guard, and 
so it came about that I was the first and the last to have charge 
of the prisoners, who were still in irons. The fellow who 
threatened me with such dire vengeance was quite docile, and 
said no more about killing me. 

At quarantine we were halted and a medical man came on 
board to look us over. He must have found us all right, for 
he soon went overboard and we proceeded up the river. It 
called up sad memories as we passed the little graveyard where 
so many of our boys are lying. 

I wondered if such a used-up mess had ever struck the 
place before or since. About noon a sharp shower came upon 
us, and drove everyone under shelter. It lasted nearly all the 
afternoon. At 8 p. m. we tied up at the foot of Josephine 
Street. I turned the prisoners over to the provost marshal and 
I suppose they were soon in jail. I wonder what their pun- 


ishment will be. I was soon relieved from duty and went 
ashore. I went first to the Murphy House, where I found Ur. 
Warren's and George Drury's names on the register. They 
were out, but I secured the room next to them and went out 
to see if I could find any one I knew. I went to 184 Gravier 
Street and found the house shut up. Got a shave and then 
went to the St. Charles. Coming out I met a fellow passenger 
looking for a place to stay and took him with me to the Murphy 
House. There I found Drury and from him got the first trace 
of Colonel Bostwick and family. He said they were at Lake- 
port, nine miles away. 

The Red River Campaign 

Camping on The Laurel Hill — At Port Hudson again — Meeting the 
128th — Up the Red River to Alexandria — Two trips to Grand Ecore — 
The river falling — The dam at Alexandria — The burning of Alexandria 

March 10, 1864. 

THURSDAY. Was up early, and after breakfast started 
for the McClellan to get my trunk. I bargained with 
an expressman to take it and myself to the Ponchar- 
train Railroad, where I met Hallesay, our sutler. He said 
the boys had heard of my arrival and were on the way to meet 
me. Soon after this we were together again, and such volleys 
of questions as were fired at me was a caution. They didn't 
give me time to answer one before several more were asked. 
The train was ready for the return trip and we soon reached 
Lakeport, where I found Sol and Matt Smith both having a 
tussle with the chills and fever. The regiment had been across 
the lake at Madisonville nearly all the time I had been away. 
Had had some cases of smallpox among the men, but no deaths. 
Tony was overjoyed to see me, and almost the first thing 
wanted me to write a letter to his wife. I was kept so busy 
answering questions I hardly had a chance to ask any, but I 
found out that the regiment was under marching orders and 
expected to break camp that day. I felt quite flattered to think 
every white man, not sick or on duty, had gone out to meet 
me. After dinner in camp, we all hands took train for the 
city again. Sol and I switched off and went to do some errands 
on our own hook, after which we joined the regiment at the 
foot of Poydras Street and went on board the Laurel Hill. 
I put in the rest of the day and evening, when not answering 
questions, writing letters to the home folks, for I had a long 
list I had promised letters to. 


March 1 1, i86,j. 
Friday. I kept right on scribbling, but was so bothered with 
questions, I finally gave it up and talked till hoarse. After 
dinner I was detailed for guard duty, but as there was only 
one guard to post, 1 had next to nothing to do. We had the 
whole great boat to ourselves, and were in the finest kind of 
quarters. As soon as I had a chance I began to ask questions 
and found out that the muster rolls were sent for before I 
returned, and I had been reported as absent without leave. 
I then figured up and found I had over-stayed my time, owing 
to the long time it had taken to make the trip. Had the rolls 
been called for a few days sooner or a few days later I would 
have been all right. Colonel B. says it will all be made right 
next time. But in the meantime I must live on borrowed 
capital, for I had come back skin-poor. 

March 12, 1864. 
Saturday. I managed to write some letters before I was 
relieved and after the new guard went on I fairly made them 

March ij, 1864. 
Sunday. Started for church with the quartermaster and 
brought up at a fire on St. Charles Street. Nearly a whole 
block was burned. I saw fire engines at work for the first 
time. There were several of them. They threw water enough 
to float a ship, and still the fire kept bursting out in a new 
place until all that could burn had been burned. The side 
streets were full of families and their belongings. At night 
we went again and saw a sailor from one of the boats baptized. 
After the sermon, a trap door was raised and under that was 
a space filled with water, into which the minister and the sailor 
walked by way of steps at one end, and where the convert was 
dipped just as they do it in the brook at Stanfordville. 


March 14, 1864. 
Monday. Two cannon were brought on board to-day and 
mounted on the forecastle. This looks like business, but 
none of us know as yet where we go or when. The Evening 
Star came in with a large mail this morning. I had one letter, 
from my never-failing correspondent, sister Jane. Was glad 
to hear that all's well at home. 

March 15, 1864. 
Tuesday. The Laurel Hill, our present habitation, cut loose 
from foot of Poydras Street this morning and tied up at the 
foot of First Street. Forage for man and beast soon began to 
come on board and kept it up by spells all day. The paymaster 
came and paid everybody but Ames and Van Alstyne. The 
one is under arrest for drunkenness, and the other has been 
"absent without leave." We looked on with wistful eyes, but 
the paymaster never took the hint. Whether out of pity or 
not I don't know. Colonel Parker invited me to go with him 
and Captain Hoyt to the theatre. We went, and enjoyed what 
we saw of it very much. At what seemed to me the most 
interesting part, the captain of the Laurel Hill came in and 
said he had orders to go to Port Hudson as soon as he could 
get up steam. The officers and many of the men were out 
on pass and we started out to round them up. I found Major 
Palon at the St. Charles, and he knew where others were likely 
to be found. He went one way and I another. I found it 
easier to find them than to get them started for the boat. 
Some refused to go ; thinking it a ruse to get them back on 
the boat. I did get one started and we double-quicked it to 
the foot of First Street just in time to get on board. Upon 
counting noses we found sixteen officers were left behind, 
Colonel Bostwick among them. 

March 16, 1864. 
Wednesday. Woke up opposite Donaldsonville, passed 
Baton Rouge a little after noon, and reached Port Hudson at 


4 P. M. Here we received orders from General Andrews to 
land in the morning', as the Laurel liill is neederl for another 
purpose. So we settled down for another night of comfort, 
not knowing- what the next may be. 

March ly, 1864. 
Thursday. We unloaded ourselves and our belongings, and 
teams soon carted them to the high g^round above. We settled 
in the quarters just vacated by the 22d C. D, A., borrowed 
some tents and in a little while were living like soldiers again. 
I could not help thinking how different was our coming this 
time from what it was almost a year ago. Then it took us 
six long weeks to get inside, and now not as many hours. As 
we had no orders, we looked about the place for awhile and 
then settled down, I to my everlasting task of writing. 

March 18, 1864. 
Friday. Same old story. With no idea when I can mail 
a letter I kept right on writing them, and by night was where 
I could begin to see the end. No news from the missing ones 

March ig, 1864. 
Saturday. We found a ball and had a game, which helped 
to pass the time. Colonel Parker tried to find Colonel Bostwick 
by telegraph, but did not make out. At night was detailed for 
guard to-morrow. 

March 20, 1864. 
Sunday. On duty and in camp all day, of course. An order 
came for us to go on board the Illinois, which was tied up 
under the bluff, but before teams came for us the Illinois cut 
loose and went down the river. 


March 21, 1864. 

Monday. We were ordered on board the Laurel Hill again 
until further orders. That suited us much better than lying 
on the ground in camp, and as soon as teams came we loaded 
up and were soon in our old comfortable quarters again. 

Major Hill's sentence was carried out at noon on the parade 
ground, and in as public a manner as possible. He is to forfeit 
a year's pay, and spend the next ten years on Dry Tortugas 
at hard labor. His straps and buttons were also cut off.* 

The Laurel Hill has orders to take on 4,000 sacks of grain 
and then drop down to Baton Rouge for a part of Grover's 
Division, after which she is to go to Alexandria, somewhere 
on the Red River, I believe. 

March 22, 1864. 
Tuesday. Oats kept coming on board all day, and by the 
sound all night as well. The Errickson came up and unloaded 
two regiments of colored troops at night. 

March 2^, 1864, 
Wednesday. Left Port Hudson at 4 a. m., and at 6 were 
at Baton Rouge. I hustled off for a call on the 128th. Found 
them breaking camp to go with us, and at noon we were all 
together on board the Laurel Hill. At i p. m. we started up- 
stream again. I had to go all over the story of my going home, 
for it was very interesting to all of Company B. But they had 
little to tell me, for they had been in the one place ever since 
I left them. Dr. Andrus had also been home. He is the same 
good soul he has been all along. No wonder the boys all love 
him well enough to die for him if it were necessary. Any 
man that can first get, and then keep the profound respect of 
the 128th New York's officers and men alike, is truly a wonder- 
ful man, and one perfectly safe to pattern after. If I die in 

* I have no recollection at this time of this affair more than is here 


the army I hope it will be with Dr. Andrus near me, for it 
would be so much easier. He has spoken for another game 
of checkers as soon as we can find a place and a board to 
play on. 

We kept on past Port Hudson, going- first one way and 
then another, on account of the many crooks in the river, and 
by night entered the mouth of the Red River. I have found 
out why it is called red. The banks are a reddish clay, and 
enough is all the time washing away to color the water so it 
shows plainly after it joins the Mississippi. 

March 24, 1864. 

Thursday. Still going up the Red River. We passed a fort, 
called Fort Derussey, which was until lately in possession of 
the enemy. General A. J. Smith, with portions of the i6th 
and 17th Army Corps, took it with everything in it. These 
troops were w^ith Grant at Vicksburg, and are now ahead of 
us on the way to Alexandria. These with the 19th Corps 
under Banks make a big army. The Red River is mostly 
crooks. Now and then a straight place gives a look ahead and 
backward, and boats of all kinds cover the water. They are 
mostly transports loaded with troops and their equipments. 
It is easy to tell about moving an army, but the amount of 
stuff that must be moved with them is another thing. By 
water it is a question of boats enough, and by land a question 
of enough mules and wagons. Where all these things come 
from is what I often wonder at. Mules and wagons are con- 
stantly giving out, and yet there is never any lack. And I 
have never seen any repair shops for wagons or hospitals for 
mules. Once they give out their places must be taken by 
others. The wonders performed by the quartermaster's depart- 
ment are not mentioned in any reports I have seen, and yet 
it is what the life and success of the army most depends on. 

A man hailed us from the bank and was taken on board. He 
proved to be one of those captured at Sabine Pass last fall 


when Franklin's expedition undertook to land there. He 
escaped, and has been living with the negroes most of the 
time since. From all I can learn we are on the way to Shreve- 
port, where the Rebels are said to be waiting in force. Shreve- 
port is said to be the gateway between this state and Texas. 

March 25, 1864. 
Friday. We reached Alexandria about midnight. The 128th 
went ashore, but we of the recruiting squad remained on board. 
We hear nothing of Colonel Bostwick and the others that were 
left behind. After breakfast I went ashore and looked up the 
128th, and also looked about the place. It is a pretty place, 
not quite so large as Baton Rouge, but in every way a much 
better place to live in. A broad street runs along next the 
levee, and appears to be the principal business street. The 
Court House, a large brick building stands on a square by 
itself, and is the finest building I saw. Alexandria is rather 
a big village than a city. The streets are wide, and the houses 
are not crowded up against each other. Nearly every house 
has a yard and one or more shade trees in it. I saw no forti- 
fications. If there are any they are outside. Altogether it 
is the finest place to live in I have seen in Louisiana. General 
Smith had taken possession, and we had only to walk in and 
enjoy ourselves. Towards night the negroes began to flock 
in and we enlisted quite a number. Dr. Andrus staid with us. 
The pilot let us in his house, where we rigged up a checker- 
board and played till most morning. Neither of us had any- 
thing to brag about when we finally gave it up. 

March 26, 1864. 

Saturday. The boats cover the water as far as can be seen 

both up and down the river. There are rapids a little way 

above town and the gunboats have trouble in getting over, 

there only being places where the water is deep enough for 


them to clear the rocks. The 128th, which went into camp 
a mile or so out, moved back in town for provost guard duty. 
Colonel Bostwick and the other missing ones came up and our 
family is all together again. Captain Laird, who has not 
before been with us, came with them. He was assigned to 
Company D, and if ever we get a regiment, I suppose he will be 
my captain. For that reason, I have looked him over pretty 
closely, and without being able to tell why, yet there is some- 
thing about the man I don't like. I hope I may be mistaken 
in him, as I sometimes have been in others. At any rate we 
won't have much to do with each other for a while, so I am 
not going to worry over it. 

It was expected that the 19th Corps would take the lead from 
this point, but General Smith has gone on with his army. The 
Laurel Hill got sailing orders and we had to leave our pleasant 
quarters. We took a large brick house, where we have all 
the room we want. The dining-room was so large we all ate 
at one table. Dr. Andrus came and staid with us again, and 
we had another tie game of checkers. The last tenants took 
all the furniture with them, so we had to sleep on the floor, 
but we don't mind a little thing like that. 

March -?/, 1864. 
Sunday. Colonel Bostwick sent all hands out to look up 
recruits and we are to make that our business from this on. 
We are to report every night what success we meet with. Not 
one of us got a recruit, but we all got a lecture. 

March 28, 1864. 
Monday. Colonel B. didn't like the house we were in, and 
we all moved into another that he liked better. Moving day 
at home used to be a busy one, and so were several days before 
and after, but we have improved on the old order of doing 
such things. We just pick up what belongs to us, walk out 


of the old house into the new one and throw them down — and 
the job is done. 

Lieutenant Bell and I were set at making out reports, and 
we managed to smuggle in a letter or two apiece. After that, 
Sergeant House from Company B came in and we all walked 
up the river as far as the Falls, as the rapids are here called. 
It was very interesting to watch the ironclads feel their way 
over the rocks into the deeper water above. The hospital boat, 
the Woodford, hit a rock and sprung a leak. She was run 
ashore on the opposite side and the gang plank run out. From 
the way the sick people hurried off I don't think they were very 
badly off. The boat began to settle down, as if the damage 
was serious. 

March 2g, 1864. 
Tuesday. Was detailed for officer of the guard, and was in 
camp all day. There are men coming in every day that have 
escaped the conscript-officers and have been living in the 
woods like wild beasts. They opposed secession and would not 
serve in the secession army. Many of them are owners of 
property in this place, but they left their homes and their 
families and herded together for protection against small bands 
of pursuers, scattering again when a larger force was sent 
after them. Now that the coast is clear, they offer to act as 
scouts or to fight in the ranks for the Union cause. Nearly 
enough for a regiment have reported. They are well armed 
and are ready to use their guns against the common enemy. 
They are not the poor whites, who are as ignorant as the blacks, 
but are intelligent men, and the stories they tell of the wrongs 
they have suffered and the sufferings they have endured have 
made my blood boil with sympathy for them. They swear 
Alexandria shall never again be in possession of their enemies, 
for they will burn it to the ground before that happens. They 
call themselves "J^Y'^awkers" and seem proud of the name. 
It seems wicked to doubt their sincerity, and yet I can't help 


thinking what a slick trick it would be for the Rebels to 
cut these men loose from their army and send them among 
us with just such a story as they tell. Now and then one could 
slip away and not be missed as regular enlisted soldiers would, 
and so every plan and every move we make be carried straight 
to them. 

Rumor says Colonel Bostwick has been detailed at head- 
quarterSj and Lieutenant-Colonel Parker has been appointed 
superintendent of recruiting service in this department. 

March 50, 1864. 

Wednesday. New orders already. Major Palon, with Lieu- 
tenants Bell, Dillon and Van Alstyne, is to go to Natchitoches 
for recruits. The Jay-hawkers say every one of the recruiting 
squad is known by name to General Mouton, and that he also 
has a pretty good description of each one. He has had this 
ever since we camped on his plantation last fall. If any are 
captured we are to be tried by the civil authorities for "nigger 
stealing," the penalty for which is death. How General 
Mouton got all this information the Jay-hawkers say they don't 
know, but if what I have been mean enough to hint at should 
be true, then it all becomes plain. It seems to me they should 
be watched until they prove their sincerity by their works. We 
begin to think we are somebody after all, to be mentioned in 
general orders, even if it is only to advertise us as "nigger 

We boarded the steamer Jennie Rogers at noon. I tried to 
get Tony to stay back, telling him the Jay-hawker story and 
that if he was caught in our company his fate would be as 
bad or worse than ours. At first he decided to stay, but as we 
were going on board he changed his mind and would go, say- 
ing, "If the Rebels get you, then I'm going to die wid you." 
We ran up to the rapids and stopped. The gunboat Ozart 
had got fast in the mud by going too close to the opposite 
bank. A big rope was run across the river to a tree and made 


fast, and the machinery on the Ozart went to winding up on 
it, thinking to pull herself loose. Next, another rope was tied 
to the middle of the big one, and a tugboat began pulling on 
it, the Ozart all the time winding up the slack. The big rope, 
or hawser as they call it, was finally pulled high enough so 
the tug could go under it, and then it went up stream as far 
as the rope would let it, and then, with a full head of steam, 
came down under it, fetching up with a tremendous yank on 
the hawser, which made the water fly from it in all directions. 
This was done several times, but the Ozart was still there. 
Then a tree was cut and one end brought on board, the other 
resting against the bank. In some way, tackles were rigged 
so that the tree was made to push, and the tug giving one more 
pull, the Ozart came loose from the bank and seemed none 
the worse for the tugging she had had. The line across the 
river was then taken in and the Jennie Rogers went on for 
ten or a dozen miles and tied up for the night. 

March 31, 1864. 

Thursday. We started at daybreak and had gone perhaps 
twenty miles, when we overtook General Smith's army, which 
was stopping every boat that came along, until enough were 
had to carry his army. We tied up and I went ashore and 
mixed up with the western soldiers to see how they differed 
from the eastern troops. They are larger men on the average, 
and more on the rough and ready order than ours, but on the 
whole I liked them first-rate. They were at Vicksburg, and 
if they told the truth about the siege of Vicksburg, we of 
Port Hudson hardly know what war is like. As I could not 
match their stories, I told none, more than to give an outline 
of the siege, which they thought must have been pretty tame. 

From an old man, a native, I was told an interesting story 
about a hill that is in sight. He said it is called "The Hill 
of Death," so named by the Indians, who fought a Kilkenny- 


cat battle there until all were killed but a few women and 
children. It is not much of a hill, not more than half as big 
as Bryan's "Sug'ar Loaf," but otherwise much like it. Boats 
kept coming and tying up. Those that came later brought news 
of the capture and destruction of the Lacrosse, just below 
Fort Derussey yesterday. Also that the Mattie Stevens was 
fired on and her pilot killed. Sim Bryan, our mail carrier, 
was on the Mattie, and if the Rebs got Sim and the letters he 
carried they know what our opinion of them is. 

April I, 1864. 

Friday. Moving day at home. Our folks will get into 
their new home to-day, and I wish I was there to help settle 
them down in it. It will be their first move without me since 
I was big enough to help. 

I slept late this morning, till long after breakfast, and then, 
having nothing to get up for, lay and dozed until dinner time. 
Tony had my clothes brushed and my boots blacked and felt 
much worse than I did because I had lost my breakfast. I 
told him I would make it up for dinner, and I did. The river is 
full of boats now. 

April 2, 1864. 
Saturday. About noon General Smith and staff went on 
board the Clarabelle and at 2 p. m. we started up the creek. 
A copy of the code of sig-nals that are to govern us was sent 
to each vessel. The river is so narrow we must go Indian file, 
and are to keep 400 yards from each other. One long whistle 
while tied up means "Get under way." One long whistle while 
under way means "Tie up." Three short whistles, "Close 
order." Four short whistles, "Open order." Five short whis- 
tles, "I wish to communicate." One gun from the flagship, 
"The enemy is in sight." Two short whistles and a long one. 
"I want assistance." Three short whistles and a long one. 


"The enemy has a battery." Four short whistles and a long 
one, "The troops will land." One gun and a long whistle, "All 
right." We got under way and everything went well until dark 
when, in rounding a short turn in the pesky little rivulet, 
another boat bumped into ours and stove a hole in below the 
water line. The Jennie was pointed for shore and by the time 
she struck there, there was such a panic among the Vicksburg 
heroes as I don't believe eastern men ever thought of. At 
any rate none of our party so much as thought of joining in. 
They rushed for the side and began jumping from the upper 
and lower deck at the same time, landing on each other and 
some of them in the water, and then began quarreling and 
fighting over the hurts they had got. The rush to one side 
tipped the hole out of water, and as soon as the men could be 
got on the boat again it was held in that position until the 
damage was repaired. The whole thing was amusing from 
our point of view, and after a good laug"h over it we went 
to bed. 

April s, 1864. 

Sunday. The leak was stopped and the water pumped out, 
and at 4 a. m. we took our place in the line and went on. An 
idea of the number of boats is had from the fact that they had 
been passing all the time this was going on, and the end was 
not in sight when we started again. 

At noon we stopped for wood, and to relieve the neighbors 
of their surplus chickens. The western men are all right on 
a chicken raid, for I don't think one escaped them. At 6 p. m. 
we were under way again, but the Jennie ran onto a sand bar 
soon after and it took a lot of puffing and blowing to get loose 
from it, and to catch up and take our proper distance again. 
This makes thirty out of the last thirty-eight days I have been 
afloat. One in New Orleans, four at Port Hudson, and three 
at Alexandria, is all the time I have been ashore. At that 
rate I will soon be a sailor. 


April 4, t86/}. 
Grand Ecore, La., Monday. We reached Grand Rcore 
some time in the night without further mishap and fmrnd our- 
selves tied fast to a tree on the bank when we awoke this 
morning. About noon the Jennie untied and went a little 
above the town and made fast again. We did nothing but 
watch the unloading of the troops. About 10 h. m., just as 
we were about to turn in, an order came for us to report at 
once at Alexandria for further orders. We were told that 
the Luminary was to start at daylight, and Major Palon told 
me to see if I could verify the report. Between us and the 
Luminary was a creek, without a bridge or other visible means 
of crossing. Tony found a boat and we were soon on board 
the Luminary, where we found the report about her sailing 
at daylight was true. In the meantime, some one had taken 
our boat, and we had to go away along the bayou until we 
could hear the challenge of the picket guards before we could 
get across. We legged it down the opposite side, and in the 
darkness mistook the Hastings for the Jennie Rogers. From 
her we got our bearings and were soon on board the Jennie 
and reported. The Jennie had a small boat, the Little Jennie, 
and with this we crossed the bayou and were soon on board 
the Luminary, only to find that since I was there her orders 
had been changed and she was to go up the river instead of 
down. By this time it was almost morning and we went back 
to the Jennie Rogers and to bed. I had had exercise enough 
to make me ready to sleep almost anywhere, and I was soon 
sound asleep. 

April 5, 1864. 
Tuesday. We were glad we left the Luminar\', for she ran 
into a nest of Johnnies, who fired on her and killed six men. 
Heavy firing was heard in front and skirmish firing much 
nearer. Smith's troops had gone in that direction and had 
probably met some opposition. I went ashore and fell in with 


an old resident who told me that Grand Ecore proper lies four 
miles back in the country now, though it was once right on 
the river bank. It being on the inside of a bend, the water 
kept washing the earth from, one side and leaving it on the 
other, until now the village and river are four miles apart. 
At every time of high water the river moves on a little 
farther, leaving a strip of new made ground on which young 
Cottonwood trees immediately sprout up. This makes the top 
look like a great green stairway, the first step of which was 
made by the last freshet, the next by the freshet before, and so 
on to the top. 

I The firing grew nearer and there was more of it. By ten 
o'clock it was plain that hot fighting was going on, and not 
very far away. The dense growth of cottonwoods cut our 
view down in that direction to a little strip along the river, 
and out of this wounded men and small parties of prisoners 
began to come. By noon it seemed as if the whole of Smith's 
army was coming back and coming in a hurry, too. Batteries 
from below were rushed up and planted in the young cotton- 
woods right in front of us. Artillery horses, with their traces 
cut, came out by the dozen, and there was everything to show 
that a part or the whole of Smith's army was retreating. Soon 
the woods were alive with choppers, and the trees began to 
fall. In a time so short I hardly dare tell it the road and a 
strip each side of it was uncovered for at least a mile. How 
men could live where trees fell as they did there is a miracle. 
All the time men, horses and mules kept coming by the hun- 
dreds, and maybe thousands. Boats began loading with them. 
Forty-seven were put on our boat, three of them commissioned 
officers. A guard of negro soldiers was on the boat and the 
idea of being put under them made them howl with rage. 
Such swearing as one captain did would be hard to beat any- 
where. The trouble in front began to quiet down. Not a shot 
had come our way, and not one had been fired in that direction. 
Whatever had happened was too far away for us to more 


than guess at. But it was plain that General A. J. Smith had 
run afoul of something that was a match for him, and what 
we were looking at was a genuine retreat. From the way 
boats were loading up and moving down stream it looked as 
if the "nigger stealers" were to have plenty of company on 
the way to Alexandria. From an artillery sergeant who was 
not so scared but that he could tell what had happened I found 
out this much. That the road ran through the woods for a 
long way and finally went diagonally across a large cleared 
space and into the woods beyond. That they were not molested 
until, while crossing this opening, they were fired upon and 
a panic was the result. The road was full and reinforcements 
could not get at them from either direction, and they cut loose 
and ran for it. The infantry caught some of the bolder of 
the enemy and brought them in. They could not stop the 
retreat. They had to get out of the way or get run over by 
the crazy men and horses that filled the narrow road. 

One of the prisoners is a Captain Todd. He was quite 
willing to talk. He said he was a cousin to President Lincoln's 
wife, and that he should now take the amnesty oath and try 
to get a job as clerk in some department, i 

Captain Faulkner, another prisoner, is as full of yenom 
as a rattlesnake. He brags of what he has done and tells of 
what he will yet do. H he carries out his present intentions 
we had better skip for the north before he gets loose. He said 
he led the force that riddled the Black Hawk at Morgan's 
Bend, and I think he told the truth, for the pilot on the Black 
Hawk at that time is now pilot on this boat. They knew each 
other at sight. Captain Faulkner said, "Captain Frayer, I 
had four shots at you at Morgan's Bend, and all I ask for is 
one more." 

The main force is somewhere in advance, but a good bunch 
of the rear guard is here. Everyone is blaming even,'one 
else for what happened, and I expect all hands are ashamed 


of it now. When General Smith gets at them I expect they 
will feel worse yet. 

Captain Faulkner's horse came in with others, and as soon 
as the captain saw him he begged to have him taken on board. 
He called him up close to the boat by whistling through his 
fingers. The coming of his horse changed the captain wonder- 
fully. If he hated us, he certainly loved his horse. I felt 
sorry for him and told him so. He asked me to take ofif his 
saddle and bridle and perhaps he would find his way home. I 
stripped him and found a bullet had grazed his back and the 
flies were already at work. The saddle had also galled him. 
More out of pity for the horse than the captain, I took him 
to the river and washed his sore back clean, and at the cap- 
tain's suggestion got some bacon fat from the steward and 
rubbed it well in. The captain said that would stop the flies. 
He was very grateful and told me all about the horse, how 
intelligent he was and how he hated to leave him. Said he 
never needed training, for he knew more than most people. He 
had raised him from a colt and no other white man had ever 
handled him as much as I had just done. Among the soldiers 
I found one that was a fellow passenger on the McClellan, 
and that brought up the subject of the rough passage and the 
rougher passengers. He said the ones I had arrested were tried 
and sent to the Dry Tortugas, which is an island in the Gulf 
of Mexico ofif the Florida coast. 

April 6, 1864. 
Wednesday. Captain Faulkner was up before I, and had 
called up his horse. The pony, for he was nothing else, tried 
to get up the gang plank, and would have come on board if 
the guard had not driven him back. I wished I could see 
them together. I had never seen so much affection shown by 
a horse, and I felt almost as bad as the captain did to see 
them kept from each other. I gave him a good washing with 
soap and water and another greasing with bacon fat. About 


seven o'clock the Jennie untied and went down tlic river about 
a mile, where she stopped for wood. The pony followed, and 
when the gang plank was run out he again tried to come on 
board. This was too much for me. I went to the captain 
and offered him the only five-dollar bill I had in the world 
to take him on. But it was of no use. He resented my offering 
him money to disobey orders, and the door against the pony 
was closed. The last I saw of him he was running off across 
the country as if a new idea had struck him. But Captain 
Faulkner was most grateful to me, and I hope if the enemy 
ever gets hold of me Captain Faulkner will be among them, for 
he says he would just like a chance to get even with me for 
what I have done. 

Another of the prisoners had been overseer on the plantation 
where we were taking on wood. His wife, with their little boy, 
came on board and pleaded for his release on parole. This, 
together with the pony affair, made the day a miserable one 
for me. Someway that sort of suffering hit me in a very 
tender spot. I could have seen the overseer and Captain 
Faulkner both shot and not have felt as badly as I did to 
think of that wife and child mourning for their husband and 
father, and the pony looking for his master, and perhaps fall- 
ing into the hands of someone who would be cruel to him 
without ever knowing how near human he is. It is lucky for 
the government that I am not president, for such things as I 
have seen and heard to-day would tempt me to pardon Jeff 
Davis himself. When the wood was on board we started do\vn 
the river for Alexandria, having done nothing more to earn 
our pay than to spend a few days as spectators of the stirring 
times at Grand Ecore. At a bend in the river by a woodyard 
an old darkey, mounted on an old gray mule, hailed us and 
said the Rebs were waiting for us in the woods about a mile 
below. A boat behind us had some guns on her forward deck, 
and began shelling the woods as soon as they came within 
reach, and Ave went past \vithout a shot being fired at us. The 


river was lower than when we came up, and also narrower, in 
places not much wider than the length of the boat. At 11 
p. M. we reached Alexandria and went to headquarters to 
report. We found the family all abed and asleep. A whiskey 
bottle standing on the table relieved us of any embarrassment 
we might otherwise have felt for calling at so late an hour. 
We soon had them all out of bed to receive us in a manner 
more fitting to the occasion. Dr. Warren got mad and used 
some improper language, for which he was soundly spanked 
and put to bed again. Thus ended our trip to Natchitoches, 
a place we never saw. 

April y, 1864. 
Thursday. There being nothing to hinder, I went to visit 
the 128th. Found that Charlie Travis had died while we were 
away. He was one of the best of the lot, and Company B 
was feeling pretty sober over his sudden taking off. They were 
going to have chicken for dinner and I had to stay and help 
out. After that I came home and wrote a letter. The Polar 
Star came up with 500 prisoners on the way to the front to be 
exchanged. They were delighted at the prospect of a chance 
to fight us again. Those we brought down with us, on their 
way to prison, didn't seem to feel so happy. 

April 8, 1864. 
Friday. While we were up the river the rest of the squad 
have enlisted over 300 men, and have gone in camp just out 
of town. Colonel Parker is in command. After breakfast 
I went to see them. Found Sol shaking yet; cold one day 
and hot the next. From his looks he has been real. badly off. 
I visited them until noon and then went back to headquarters, 
where I found a lot of writing had been saved up for me. 
I wrote till night and then made Sol another visit, after which 
I came home and went to bed. 


April p, 1864. 
Saturday. Orders for up the river aj2^ain. The same four 
go, with Major Palon in command as before. Some way this 
trip smells stronger of danger than any we have taken. We 
have packed our trunks, keeping out an extra shirt apiece, and 
left the keys, with directions what to do with them in case we 
don't come back. At i p. m. we boarded the Laurel Hill, our 
old favorite, and set out. As we were turning about to get 
under way another boat almost touched us, and on it was 
Lieutenant Manning, with a bundle of letters in his hand for 
us. Was ever anything more tantalizing than that? To go 
off, not knowing for how long, with those letters almost in 
our hands, was worse than not seeing them at all. But there 
was no help for it and we went on, swallowing our disappoint- 
ment as best we could. We reached the rapids and got over 
them without mishap, and in a little while had tied up for the 
night. We sat on the deck and smoked, wondering if any of 
the letters were for us, after all, and when we w^ould see them 
in case they were. 

April 10, 1864. 
Sunday. We started at daylight and met with no adventures 
worth telling of on the way. At 6 p. m. w^e were at Grand 
Ecore again, where we learned that a hard battle had been 
fought at Mansfield Plains and at Pleasant Hill — a two days' 
fight and nobody claiming the victory. Some say the Rebs 
had the best of the first day's fight and that our folks had the 
best of the last, which was yesterday. A large body of 
men and animals is here — cavalry, infantry and artillery — all 
mixed up in no sort of order. Wounded men are lying on the 
ground and wounded horses and mules hobbling about. I 
looked until dark, and then listened to the sounds of suffering 
until sleep overtook me. 


April II, 1864. 

Monday. We went ashore and put up our two tents as 
much out of the way as possible, and waited for things to settle 
down. Wounded men were all the time being brought in, some 
on stretchers and some on foot. General Ransom went past 
on a stretcher, with one knee bandaged and bloody. Right 
behind him walked a man with one arm gone, and who was 
joking with another who was carrying his cut off arm in his 
hand. I got out among them to try and hear what had hap- 
pened and what I heard was not altogether complimentary to 
General Banks. But it was Smith's men who were talking and 
some allowance must be made for that. They say it has all 
come of poor management on the part of General Banks. If 
Grant had been in command this would never have happened, 
from all of which I judge the Rebs have given them a dressing 
out and they are mad at General Banks about it. 

A strong rear guard is all that keeps them from coming and 
finishing up the job. Lieutenant Bell has been out taking notes 
and upon a comparison, we have both the same story to tell. 
Everything is in a mixed-up condition. Everyone is full of 
trouble but the recruiting squad, and we have nothing to do 
but look on. The process of unraveling the tangle is very 
interesting to me, but so much suffering on every hand makes 
me sick, and I cannot help wondering if it pays. 

April 12, 1864. 
Tuesday. Having no orders to do otherwise, I kept out 
among the stragglers to learn what I could. The wounded have 
mostly been sent down the river for better treatment than can 
be had here on the hospital boats. It is said that several boats 
are above here, some aground and others helping them off, 
while all the time the Rebs are firing on them from the shore. 
One story is that reinforcements are being hurried up the 
river from Alexandria and other points below. 


April 13, 1864. 
Wednesday. Things have been Hvely here to-day. Firing 
was heard up the river this morning, and a pontoon bridge 
was thrown across here and troops hurried across and gotten 
into position. The Colonel Cowlcs came down and reported 
the boats above here to be in an awkward situation. Troops 
have been going up on the other side all day. They soon go 
out of sight around a turn and are hid by the woods. We 
certainly are having the soft side of soldiering now. There 
is nothing we can do but look on, and we do that all the time. 
But we are obeying orders, and that's all any of them are doing. 

April 14, 1864. 
Thursday. The stranded boats began coming down this 
morning, and were greeted with cheers from the soldiers and 
whistles from the steamers. Several were riddled with bullets, 
and quite a number of dead men were taken off and buried. 
The wounded were taken on board the hospital boats. The 
Black Hawk, as usual, came in for a full share, getting the 
worst shooting up of any. This is the third time she has got 
it on this expedition. The land forces brought 300 prisoners 
with them. We are still watching proceedings, being too 
light handed to do anything more. No recruits are here, and 
they won't dare come in as long as the enemy holds the 
ground all around us. 

April ij, 1864. 
Friday. This has been an interesting day. An attack was 
expected and preparations were made to receive it. Troops 
w^ere shifted from one place to another. The pickets on the 
Nachitoches road were driven in. The woods were chopped 
away to give the artillery a chance in that direction. A negro 
came running out of the woods saying the Rebs were within 
three miles and were coming on the double-quick, but this 


report was not believed, for someone besides him would have 
found it out. At any rate no attack was made and the day 
passed and left things very much as it found them. 

April i6, 1864. 
Saturday. Another day of doing nothing. This looking for 
trouble is worse than finding it. The troops have been shifting 
about all day, as if it was hard to decide what was the right 
position. There were no more signs of trouble to come than 
the getting ready for it. The recruiting squad helped all it 
could by looking on and wondering what it is all about. 

April 17, 1864. 
Sunday. Reinforcements having been coming in for some 
days. I set out this morning to look them over and see if the 
128th was here. Sure enough, I found them about a half mile 
out on the Natchitoches road, feeling fine and ready for busi- 
ness. I staid all day with them, getting back in time for sup- 
per and to talk over the hard times we are having doing 

April 18, 1864. 
Monday. For pastime to-day. Lieutenant Dillon and I bor- 
rowed a skifif from one of the boats and explored the country 
along the river above here. We went ashore and looked for 
something to vary our diet of hard-tack and coffee. After 
dinner we moved our tents back into the woods, where we will 
have shade all the day long. Our duties are so laborious it 
is necessary to have a cool spot to work in. For exercise we 
run, jump, box, or do anything we can think of to keep up cir- 
culation. We have made the acquaintance of a stray mule and 
take turns letting him tumble us off over his head in the sand. 
He is gentle as can be, and lets us do anything with him except 
riding him beyond a certain distance. When he has gone far 
enough he gives a quick jump, stands on his head, and the 
thing is done. 


April ip, 1864. 
Tuesday. Just before daylight the "Long- Roll" sounded 
and such getting up nothing else could have brought about. 
Batteries limbered up and took position. Tha horses were 
taken back and left with harness on. Men took their stations 
at the guns. Ambulances were placed in convenient places, 
and every preparation made for a fight, but no one appeared 
to fight with. The excitement, which was great at first, grew 
less until it was all gone and the same lazy feeling that had 
been with us for days came back. I have been doctoring a 
wounded horse for the last week, and the beggar has got to 
depending on me for his rations instead of hunting for it him- 
self. He eats hard-tack much better than I can, and appears 
to like them better than grass. I have to go across the river 
for grass, and mow it with my knife. He eats it without as 
much as a thank you, and as he is about cured I am going to 
take him across the river and leave him soon. To-night we 
had a grand gymnastic performance and are going to bed. 

April 20, 1864. 
Wednesday. On board the John Warner, bag and baggage. 
When we got up this morning we found everybody pulling up 
and getting ready for a move. We watched and waited for 
orders to do likewise. The major, wdio had gone to investi- 
gate, came back and said the Red River campaign had been 
given up and all hands were going back to Alexandria. He 
secured passage for us on the Warner and here we are. For 
fear someone would press him into the service and forget that 
he was only a convalescent, I took the horse I had patched up, 
and after stuffing his wound with bacon fat, I took him across 
the pontoon bridge and turned him loose in the big grass on 
the other side. When I came back Tony had my few^ things 
picked up and ready to go on board. The bulk of the army 
goes by land and a portion of it is already on the way to Alex- 


andria, our first stopping'-place. Major Palon says the expe- 
dition had to be abandoned on account of the falhng- of the 
water in the river, and if the boats get over the rapids at 
Alexandria they must do it right away. At any rate a retreat 
is now in order and the major says I will have plenty of filling 
for my diary before it is over. 

Night. Four thirty-pounder Parrot guns have been 
mounted on the forward deck, and the men and ammunition 
necessary for their use is on board. Every preparation for 
trouble is being made, whether we have any or not. The cause 
of the retreat is common talk now among the officers. Banks 
is blamed for the failure of the expedition, though I fail to see 
how he is to blame for the falling of the water in the Red 

A man fishing from the boat this afternoon hooked onto 
something which when pulled up proved to be a dead soldier 
with his skull smashed in. The boatmen remembered him as 
one who had a quarrel with a deck hand last night, and as he, 
too, is missing, it is thought he killed this soldier and after 
throwing him in the river cleared out. I could not get his 
name or regiment, but am sure he did not belong to the 128th. 
It is easy to die here and there are many ways of doing it. A 
dead man was found on the upper deck of the Mattie Stevens 
yesterday. He was thought to be asleep until a comrade went 
to wake him up and found he was sleeping his last sleep. He 
was shot through the heart, but as no shot had been fired on 
the boat it is supposed it came from some distance away, miss- 
ing the thousands that are here and finding only this sleeper. 
He was of the 33d Massachusetts. What I have seen to-day 
would fill a book. The major's prophecy that I would find 
plenty of filling for my diary is coming true. I had noticed 
a prisoner handcuffed fast to a post in the cabin, but had paid 
no attention to him until some loud talking in his neighbor- 
hood led me to it. A soldier, one of the Western men, with 
a bloody bandage around one leg, was giving this prisoner the 


biggest kind of a tongue-lashing, and was with difficulty kept 
from clubl)ing him with his cane. I finally got at the Wes- 
ternier and found out what it was about. He said his regiment 
was waiting in the road below here for the line to be made up. 
Noticing a house and other buildings in a grove not very far 
away, he and two of his comrades set out for some eggs and 
perhaps something else good to eat. They were met by this 
prisoner, who acted very friendly, giving them milk to drink 
and to fill their canteens. When they asked for eggs he told 
them there were none in the house but plenty in the loft, 
pointing to a loft with a ladder reaching to it. Without a 
suspicion of treachery they set their guns up by the side of 
the building and went up the ladder after the eggs. When 
they started to come down they found their own guns pointed 
at them, in the hands of this prisoner and two other men they 
had not seen before. There was nothing to do but surrender, 
which they decided to do. They came down and were marched 
into the woods for some distance, stood up in line and fired 
upon. One was killed instantly, my informant was shot 
through the leg and fell more from the expectation of certain 
death than from his hurt. The third man was missed clean 
and started to run with the three devils after him. That gave 
this fellow a chance and he legged it for his regiment and fell 
fainting from terror and the loss of blood. When he came 
to, his comrades were returning with this prisoner, the only 
one they could find. They did find the man that ran away, 
lying where he had been overtaken and stabbed to death with 
bayonets. The wonder and the pity is they ever brought this 
murderer away with them. Why they didn't shoot him full 
of holes instead of taking him prisoner is what none of us 
can understand. I suppose he will live on Uncle Sam for a 
while and then go free. This must do for one day's record. 
It is late and I am almost blind from writing by the light of a 


April 21, 1864. 
Thursday. We were loaded up and ready for a start early 
this morning. We dropped down-stream to our place in the 
long line of steamboats, gunboats and most every kind of 
boats. Got onto a sand bar and had to be pulled off. A gun- 
boat got fast just below us and getting that loose took the 
rest of the day. 

April 22, 1864. 
Friday. We got another start at about daylight and kept 
going until noon, when we struck bottom and had to be pulled 
loose again. We could plainly see that the bottom of the river 
was much nearer the top than when we came up. We stopped 
at the same landing for wood where the old contraband warned 
us of trouble on our last trip down. Sure enough, he was here 
again and with another warning. He said the woods below 
Cane River were alive with sharpshooters, of which he had 
warned the boats ahead, and would warn those to come. We 
heard firing long before we reached Cane River, and as we 
neared the woods the guns on our boat began a raking fire 
on each side and kept it up until the woods were passed. It 
was dark by this time and the boats went little if any faster 
than the flow of the river. We reached the rapids above 
Alexandria about 10 p. m., and so far as I know, not a person 
was hurt on the way. 

April 23, 1864. 
Saturday. When we awoke we were glad to hear it rain- 
ing hard. This will at least stop the river from going any 
lower, and may raise it. We left the boat and took a four- 
mile walk to Alexandria, where we found our folks well and 
enjoying themselves. The regiment is nearly full. If we had 
remained here we might have filled it. As it is, our two trips 
to Grand Ecore have amounted to nothing more than seeing 
some stirring times in which we had no other part than 


spectators. Sol had nine letters for me and a basketful for 
the others. It took me quite a while to read so many. After 
reading them I began writing a reply to each one. I had had 
a grumbling toothache for some days and to-day it has taken 
hold for sure, I suppose my walk in the rain gave it an 
excuse. At night we were relieved from recruiting service 
and ordered back to the regiment, I reporting to Captain T.aird 
for duty. Lieutenant Bell and I were ordered to report for 
fatigue duty in the morning at 7 a. m. 

April 24, 1864. 
Sunday. Agreeable to orders. Bell and I reported to the 
quartermaster at 7 o'clock and were given 134 men and sent 
to the rapids to unload boats and load up wagons for trans- 
portation below the falls. One was to check what came off 
the boats and the other what the wagons carted off. Someone 
else checked again as the stuff" was loaded on the boats below 
the falls, and if anything was lost it was easy to tell who was 
to blame. My tooth ached so badly that the quartermaster 
put another in my place and I went back to camp to try and 
get rid of it. Dr. Andrus talked me off the notion, and gave 
me something to put in it, which helped it so much that I went 
back and finished out the day. When we reached camp at 
night I felt as if I had earned my pay, having walked sixteen 
miles, done a lot of writing, and had suffered severely with 
toothache nearly all the time. 

April 25, 1864. 
Monday. The army begins to get in from up the river. 
The 128th had a brush at Cane River and lost one man. I put 
in the day writing, and at night went and visited with Sol. 

April 26, 1864. 
Tuesday. Kept right on writing. Sim goes in a day or 
two and I want to get even with my correspondents. 


April 2/, 1864. 
Wednesday. Heavy firing up the river. By the sound it is 
ten or more miles away. The gunboats are up there holding 
the enemy from getting their artillery within reach of the 
transports. The Rebs are closing in around Alexandria and 
the pickets begin to clash. Went for a walk with Captain 
Enoch, after which I called on Dr. Andrus to get him to do 
something with that tooth. He put me off with some more 
medicine, but says if it doesn't stop to-night he will pull it 

April 28, 1864. 

Thursday. On duty as officer of the guard, and next to 
nothing to do. So many of the men are helping unload the 
boats, the camp is almost empty. The enemy is fighting his 
way along day by day. The roar of artillery is heard almost 
constantly. Our lines must hold the country for ten miles all 
round us, for that is as close as the fighting appears to be. 
We hear of wrangling among our leaders, one blaming 
another for the fix we are in. A dam is being built below the 
falls to raise the water so the gunboats may slide over. A 
Colonel Bailey is the engineer in charge of the job, and it is 
quite a job. too. 

Night. A ring of fire surrounds Alexandria to-night. It 
is said our forces are working in and burning everything as 
they come. Lieutenant Ames, who has been under arrest 
since last winter for drunkenness, was to-day dismissed from 
the service. 

April 2g, 1864. 
Friday. No fighting here yet. The firing outside is con- 
stant now, but what it amounts to we don't know. Was 
reUeved from duty at 8 o'clock and went for a walk before 
turning in. On a back street a terrible commotion broke out 
as I was passing a backyard with a high slab fence around it. 


I peeked through a knothole and saw a shocking sight. An 
old sow had a little child down on the ground and was trying 
to eat it. Two women, one with a broom and the other with 
a mop, were hammering the sow and screaming at the top of 
their voices, while the old sow was making such a noise as only 
a hog can make when raging mad. Just as I had taken in the 
situation, something struck the top of the fence with force 
enough to shake it from end to end. One of the ugly-looking 
dogs called bloodhounds had jumped and caught his fore feet 
over the top and was scrambling for a hold with his hind feet. 
Just as I looked up he got a toe hold, and quicker than I can 
tell it was over the fence and had the old varmint by the back 
of the neck. The women ran in the house with the child, and 
whether the child or the old sow lived I don't know, but I shall 
always think well of the bloodhound after this. I went back 
home and slept the day away. 

April 30, 1864. 
Saturday. Five letters to-day. All from good friends at 
home. They are all well and know nothing of the predica- 
ment we are in. Every loose board about town is being 
gathered up for use at the dam. The water is already up so 
many of the lighter draught boats are floated over the rocks. 
The gunboats, our main dependence, are there yet. 

May I, 1864. 
Sunday. My tooth bothered me yet, and I went to the 
hospital this morning determined to get rid of it. Dr. Andrus 
was out, but Lew Brooks, the hospital steward, said he could 
do the job just as well. He got a good deep hold and pulled 
on it, but the tooth stood firm. After a second trial and a 
second failure, he called in a man to hold m}' head still and 
tried it again with both hands. The tooth simply wouldn't 
come out. But the character of the pain was changed, and 
that was a little satisfaction. Dr. Andrus gave me some 


chloroform linament which helped some, but has taken from 
my mouth what little skin Brooks left on. I have been in 
agony all day. The tooth sticks out so I can't shut my jaws, 
and is getting sore every minute. 

May 2, 1864. 
Monday. I don't know what has been done to-day, and I 
don't care. I have had troubles enough of my own. Dr. 
Warren has excused me from duty. Tony made me a stew 
that needed no chewing, and I drank it without asking what 
he made it from. 

May 3, 1864. 
Tuesday. Have felt worse to-day than any day. My neck 
and shoulders are so lame and sore I can hardly roll my eyes. 
My mouth is better, and I can begin to use it. 

May 4, 1864. 

Wednesday. I found myself this morning feeling much 
more like myself. Tony stole a chicken and cooked it so I 
could suck the meat ofif the bones, and it made the whole world 
seem better. I got out among folks, and hope by another day 
to be able to manage a hard-tack. The Rebs are coming, for 
the firing sounds plainer than any day yet. There is much 
discussion of, and more cussing about, the situation we are in. 
A party of unarmed men was seen on the other side of the 
river, and a boat was sent over. They proved to be all that is 
known to be left of the 120th Ohio, which was on its way to 
join us. They were fired on from the shore and their boat 
crippled. The men jumped overboard and swam ashore, and 
while the most were captured, some got away and have found 
their way here. Others may come if not picked up on the way. 

Sergeant Nace, who said he belongs to the 176th New York, 
found me to-day and almost claimed relationship. He knows 
the folks in Rowe Hollow, and from his talk and actions was 


very glad to see me. I never heard of the man before. He 
was a good talker, and if the ears of the people in Rowe 
Hollow didn't burn it wasn't because they were not talked 

May 5, 1864. 
Thursday. Reported for duty and was put on as officer of 
the guard. The 128th got in touch with the rebel skirmish 
line and Casey, of Company I, was shot through the mouth. 
The dam is being pushed in every possible way. Trees are cut 
and dragged in the river, and bags filled with earth are thrown 
in to fill up the spaces. Stones are so scarce that brick houses 
not in use are torn down and used for ballast. I bought a 
horse, saddle and bridle to-day for four dollars, and he is 
now eating government hay with the mules. He may come 
handy when we skip out, which we expect to do as soon as the 
gunboats are over the falls. General Smith fought quite a 
battle above here to-day and took some prisoners. It is 
reported to-night that the John Warner, the boat that brought 
us from Grand Ecore, has been sunk in the river below here, 
and Sim Bryan captured. He had our mail, and if the Rebs 
read our letters they know about what we think of them. I'd 
like to hear the comments they make. The tables have been 
turned, and we are now the besieged, instead of the besiegers. 

May 6, 1864. 
Friday. 'Tt never rains but it pours." About noon Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Foster of the 128th and about thirty others came 
in. They are all that are known to have escaped from the 
John Warner. They report the river blocked for anything 
short of our ironclads, which at present are lying above the 
rapids waiting for the dam to be finished. Colonel Foster 
thinks Sim may have destroyed the mail, but the time was 
rather short for it. Our pay rolls and the monthly returns 
were in his bag, and five letters from me to diflferent friends. 


If the captors get any comfort out of them they are welcome. 
Colonel Foster had some dispatches with him, but managed to 
get away with them. As a reminder, he brought with him a 
ball in the calf of his leg which Dr. Andrews cut out with 
his jackknife. It was just under the skin and popped out at 
the first cut. Just at night more came in. They had escaped 
in the confusion of the attack and our cavalry scouts had found 
them and brought them in. These say that Captain Dane was 
hung, but we hardly think they had time to see all they tell of. 
However, it may be true, for he left the Confederate service 
when Butler took New Orleans, and has since been in our ser- 
vice, and true to it. He is the one who ran the A. J. Brown on 
our Texas trip. He has made several trips to Grand Ecore, 
the last of which was when we came down with him. The 
128th had another brush with the enemy last night and took 
several prisoners. 

May 7, 1864. 
Saturday. The 128th and another regiment captured and 
brought in a wagon train loaded with corn and other stuff 
the Rebs had picked up for their own use. They are skinning 
the country below here, so we will have to board ourselves or 
go hungry when we leave Alexandria. 

May 8, 1864. 

Sunday. A very hot day. The men are being examined and 
any not fit for a hard tramp are put on the boats. The dam is 
nearly completed. All but the deepest draught boats are below 
the rapids waiting for the dam to be blown up so they can come 
down and load up for the run down the river. From all I 
can learn the plans are for the gunboats, provided they get over 
the rapids all right, to protect the left flank, which is to follow 
the right bank of the river and go as fast as infantry can 
possibly go. General Smith is to take care of the rear and 
as much of the rigfht flank as he can. General Banks is to 


Open up the way and also to look out for the rip;-ht flank. No 
hard fighting is expected, but skirmish fighting is looked for 
all the way down. I went up to the dam just at night. The 
water rushes over it and through it like a young Niagara. It 
is a big job, and the engineers deserve great credit, whether 
it does all it is expected to or not. 

May p, 1864. 

Monday. The dam broke away in the night ; all the boats 
near the break were swept through by the rush of water and 
are now where they can be used. The accident brought out a 
new idea, which is to repair the break and to build wing 
dams from each side towards it, and to depend on the rush of 
water pulling the whole outfit through. 

Marching orders were issued this morning and every efifort 
is being made for a sudden start. I have only my blanket and 
my diary to carry. Everything else besides my sword and 
revolver is on the Rob Roy. The troops have been moving 
out, getting in position, and everything betokens an early 
departure from Alexandria. We have a regiment of unarmed 
negro soldiers to get away with. They can be handled fairly 
well in camp, but how they will act in case of an attack is not 
yet known. 

May 10, 1864. 
Tusday. A rainy day, a rare thing nowadays. Colonel 
Parker succeeded in getting arms for our men, and thev are 
wild with delight. Few of them ever had a gun in their hands 
before, and are as awkward with them as can be. We have 
been drilling them in the manual of arms and they did as well 
as could be expected. The ai-my is getting straightened out 
for a start as soon as the ironclads are released. The wagon 
train is said to be fifteen miles long now, and the final start 
will add miles to it. 


May II, 1864. 
Wednesday. We put in a solid day of drilling in the manual 
of arms. No loading has been attempted, but the times and 
motions have been drilled into the woolly heads, so that a very 
encouraging improvement is the result. Captain Laird, my 
captain, is missing, and whether he has run away or been car- 
ried away, no one seems to know. At any rate, the care and 
conduct of Company D now comes upon your humble servant. 

May 12, 1864. 
Thursday. Another day of the same. While the most of 
them do as well as can be expected, yet the ignorance and 
stupidity of the others is enough to try the patience of a 
saint. A boat came up to-day and was only fired on at one 
point. This looks as if the Rebs are planning some new move 
which will develop later. The moving preparations go steadily 
on, and the dam is progressing finely. 

May 13, 1864. 
Friday, feight miles below Alexandria. The Jay-hawkers 
kept their promise to burn the place rather than have it go into 
the hands of the enemy again. About daylight this morning 
cries of fire and the ringing of alarm bells were heard on every 
side. I think a hundred fires must have been started at one 
time. We grabbed the few things we had to carry and marched 
out of the fire territory, where we left them under guard and 
went back to do what we could to help the people. There 
was no such thing as saving the buildings. Fires were break- 
ing out in new places all the time. All we could do was to help 
the people get over the levee, the only place where the heat did 
not reach and where there was nothing to burn. There was 
no lack of help, but all were helpless to do more than that. 
Only the things most needful, such as beds and eatables, were 
saved. One lady begged so for her piano that it was got 
out on the porch and there left to burn. Cows ran bellowing 


through the streets. Chickens flew out from yards and fell 
in the streets with their feathers scorching on them. A dog 
with his bushy tail on fire ran howling through, turning to 
snap at the fire as he ran. There is no use trying to tell about 
the sights I saw and the sounds of distress I heard. It cannot 
be told and could hardly be believed if it were told. Crowds of 
people, men, women, children and $okliers, were running with 
all they could carry, when the heat would become unbearable, 
and dropping all, they would flee for their lives, leaving every- 
thing but their bodies to burn. Over the levee the sights and 
sounds were harrowing. Thousands of people, mostly women, 
children and old men, were wringing their hands as they stood 
by the little piles of what was left of all their worldly posses- 
sions. Thieves were everywhere, and some of them were 
soldiers. 1 saw one knocked down and left in the street, who 
had his arms full of stolen articles. The provost guards were 
everywhere, and, I am told, shot down everyone caught spread- 
ing the fire or stealing. Nearly all buildings were of wood ; 
great patches of burning roofs would sail away, to drop and 
start a new fire. By noon the thickly settled portion of Alex- 
andria was a smoking ruin. The thousands of beautiful shade 
trees were as bare as in winter, and those that stood nearest 
the houses were themselves burning. An attempt was made 
to save one section by blowing up a church that stood in an 
open space, but the fuse went out and the powder did not 
explode until the building burned down to it, and then scat- 
tered the fire instead of stopping it, making the destruction 
more complete than if nothing of the kind had been attempted, jf 

Having done all that could be done for the place and the 
people, the call sounded and, as soon as we could get together 
and call the roll, we came on to this place, where we hope to 
stay to-night, for we certainly are in need of a rest. It is 
said the ironclads got over the rapids this morning and that 
we are to start on our long tramp early to-morrow morning. 


The Red River Retreat 

Guarding the pontoon train — Sleeping on feathers — KilHng the 
goose — Forced marching — The fight at Yellow Bayou — Crossing the 
Atchafalaya — Another forced march — A raw beef supper — Foot-sore 
and weary. 

May 14, 1864. 

SATURDAY. Reveille at 3.30 a. m., breakfast at 4.00, 
and at 4.30 we were off. The road followed the river, 
which is very crooked, making it nearly double the 
distance it would be in a straight line. About 9 a. m. the 
cavalry got into a fight on our right. We halted, and for 
the first time had the men load their guns. The enemy had 
come out from the woods and charged a squadron of our 
cavalry as it was passing, and for a time it was hard to tell 
which was getting the best of it. One of our men was shot 
from his horse, but the horse kept his place in the line as if 
nothing of the kind had happened. When the Rebs were 
finally routed and driven through the woods, the riderless horse 
kept his place and distance as long as they were in sight. 
Before leaving Alexandria I had traded my horse for a mule 
that had no brand on him, and I had let a man who was not 
feeling well ride until now. In the skirmish just noted one of 
the mules in the quartermaster's team got hit and the quarter- 
master took my mule to put in his place, putting his rider in 
the wagon. That left me to walk whether I wanted to or not, 
but as I had plenty of company I didn't so much care. We 
kept going at a lively gait until noon, v/hen we halted for 
hard-tack and coffee. The men on the boats kept exchanging 
shots with the Rebs on the opposite shore, but with what result 
I don't know. 


Soon after dinner wc came to a sharp turn in the river 
where the road ran close up to the river liank, and while round- 
ing this on a double-quick we got the first attention from the 
other side that had been paid to us direct. A volley came from 
a thicket on the other side, the most of which went over our 
heads. One shot, however, went through the haversack of 
the man next to me and spoiled his tin cup. The shot came 
as close to me as it did to him, but I have nothing to show 
for it, while he is prouder of his battered cup than he ever 
was before. About 2 p. m. the advance had a sharp .skirmish 
with the enemy, losing ten men killed and forty wounded. 
The wounded were put on a boat and a detail left to bury the 
dead, after which they must catch up as best they can. About 
dark we passed Wilson's Landing, said to be twenty-five miles 
from Alexandria. Soon after we overtook the pontoon train 
and halted for the night. We are detailed to guard the pontoon 
train on the trip and have nothing to do but keep up with it 
unless it is attacked. I found the 128th close by, and after 
comparing notes with the boys of Company B, crawled behind 
a log and went to sleep. 

May 15, 1S64. 

Sunday. I was lying behind the log this morning, rubbing 
my eyes open, when a horseman rode right over it. The horse 
missed me and that was about all, but a miss is just as good as a 
mile. I found we were right by the wreck of the John Warner, 
her burned hull showing above the water. The letters that 
Sim carried were scattered over the ground, the wind having 
distributed them over several acres. I looked for some of my 
own, but did not find any. Some of those I read were curios- 
ities, and possibly mine were carried ofif as such. 

The train did not start until noon, and without any startling 
adventures we reached Marks ville at 8 p. m. I wondered if 
this is the Marksville mentioned in "Uncle Tom's Cabin." 
At any rate, it doesn't seem to be much of a place. The Rebs 


are said to be at Avoyelles Plains* in force, only a little way 
from here. Sergeant Nace of the 176th New York appeared 
to me again, having lost his regiment, as he said. I thought it 
a queer thing for a sergeant to lose on a trip like this, and I 
made up my mind he was a shirk and was beating his way 
through. However, I invited him to share my bed and board 
for the night, and while he went after water I hunted for 
something to eat. He soon after came back, lugging a big 
feather bed, which he said he found at the house where he 
went for water and brought it along for a keepsake. After 
supper we planted ourselves on it and slept so sound that 
nothing short of a general engagement could have roused us. 

May 16, 1864. 
Monday. Reveille at 3.30 did not. awaken the feather bed 
brigade. Colonel Parker pulled me off just in time to fall in 
line, and without a mouthful to eat or drink I started on 
another hard day's tramp. Passing through Marksville, which 
I found to be much more of a place than I thought last night, 
we found the artillery stationed on a rise of ground, beyond 
which was a hollow and thick woods beyond it. We passed the 
artillery and were in the hollow beyond when the Rebs opened 
fire from the woods, and soon a big gun fight was on, the shot 
and shells passing directly over us, but doing us no harm. 
We parked the train and formed in front of it. Soon after 
the lines were pushed forward, and again the enemy opened on 
us and the same performance was gone through with. As 
we lay on the ground in front of the train, a goose, from no 
one knows where, came squawking down the line in front of 
us and I captured it. I cut its throat with my sword, and 
as it was the first blood drawn by the 90th I let the blood dry 
on. Aside from the goose, the only casualty I know of was 
the killing of four artillery horses. They were all killed 

* Better known as the Plains of Mansura. 


instantly by the same shot. Two pairs happened to be standing 
side by side and broadside to the enemy, when what must have 
been a three-pounder went through three of them and stopped 
in the fourth one, dropping the four dead in their tracks. The 
men behaved splendidly. The shots that missed the rise of 
ground behind us went on in the direction from which thou- 
sands were coming, but I don't know what harm they did. 

About noon the enemy was driven out of the woods and 
we went on, I picking my goose as we went. While going 
through the woods we came to a sluggish stream too deep to 
cross without a bridge and a halt was made for some pontoons 
to be put across. I gathered some kindlings and made a fire 
to cook my goose, and was swinging it around my head to 
let all see what a prize I had, when a cavalry officer riding 
past caught it by one leg and riding on, took me and the goose 
with him. The leg I had hold of finally pulled off and the 
rascal went on with all the rest of it While it was roasting, 
I washed my pocket handkerchief in the stream, and was hold- 
ing it by two corners, dipping it up and down in the water 
to rinse it, when, as I pulled it up the head of a great big 
snake came up after it as if he wanted to get hold of it, 
or perhaps to see what it was. He went right back and 
I saw no more of him. Just then "Attention" sounded and 
I grabbed the goose leg and tried to eat it. Hungry as I was, 
raw goose was too much for me. I went around begging a 
hard-tack here and there and in that way got quite a meal, 
and also got the goosey taste out of my mouth. I no longer 
begrudged the fellow that stole my goose, but did wish he had 
to eat it raw. 

The troops were all across at 9 p. m. and the pontoons were 
soon emptied and loaded on the wagons. Then began such 
marching as we never before had done. No attention was 
paid to the files. Those that could keep up did so, and the 
rest fell out by the way. The whole army was ahead of us 
and we must get to the front for the next crossing. We went 


on until midnight and then hahed for an hour. "Fall in" 
again sounded and away we went, passing the thousands upon 
thousands of sleeping men and beasts. At 3 a. m. we reached 
Yellow Bayou, the biggest stream we had so far met with. 
Excepting in the traveled path, men were sleeping all over the 
ground. My blanket was on some wagon, but I was too tired 
to look for it. Crawling in between some men who were sleep- 
ing on a blanket, I made out to get my body out of the wet 
grass and was soon sound asleep. When I awoke the sun was 
shining in my face. My bedfellows had gone and taken the 
bed with them. Whether they pulled me off the blanket or 
pulled it from under me, I shall never know. The heavy dew 
and the chill night air had gone through my clothing, which 
was already wet with sweat, and I found myself about help- 
less, so sore and stiff were my joints. 

As soon as I got my stiffened joints working, I looked 
around for the 90th and found them across the bridge on 
the bank of the bayou. More than half our men were missing, 
having fallen out by the way and been left to sleep it off. 
A detail was at the bridge to pick up stragglers and direct 
them where to go. Tony was among the first to get in and 
was dreadful sorry he had missed me in the night. I started 
right in for another nap and was next awakened by Tony, 
who had found a chicken that the others had missed and had 
it cooked. As soon as that was disposed of, I continued my 
nap, sleeping until night, when I was sent to the bridge to 
pick out our men as they came straggling in. I had five ser- 
geants, and posting one at each end of the bridge, I went and 
sat down on a knoll to watch them work. I finally lay down 
and in spite of myself dropped off again and slept all night. 
The sergeants had relieved each other and had gathered in 
nearly or quite all of our missing men. The troops were still 
crossing the bridge in a steady stream and the end was not 
yet in sight. We of the 90th had nothing more to do but wait 
for the troops to pass and then hustle for the front again. But 


we were rested and ready for it, and put in the day talking 
about our first experience on a forced march. The opinion was 
that if the next was any worse than this had been we wouldn't 
all be there to tell about it. 

May 18, 1864. 
Wednesday. The rear guard was just coming in sight this 
morning when, we heard firing at the rear. Soon aides came 
riding down the line, halting some and turning others out of 
the way. They raced across the bridge and in a little while 
troops were hurrying back across the bridge from the front. 
It beat all how soon the scene was changed. The firing in the 
rear kept increasing- and grew plainer to hear. The 90th 
stood at attention on the bank, which overlooked the whole 
plain where the trouble seemed to be centering. Unless the 
bridge was attacked we had only to look on, and it was a sight 
worth a lifetime to see. The ground, except where worn 
down by the passing army, was covered with weeds and 
bushes, which hid the skirmish line from our view until they 
rose up and fired almost in each others' faces. Smoke soon 
hid the battleground. There was no wind and the smoke rose 
up like a cloud instead of spreading. The smoke came nearer 
and it began to look as if our turn would soon come, but by 
and by it stood still and then began to move back. By noon 
it was plain to see that the fight was ours, for the smoke cloud 
went faster and the firing grew less. By 4 p. m. it was over 
and the troops began recrossing toward the front. The 
surgeons had their shop under a big tree near the bridge. I 
heard one of them say to another that he had never seen so few 
slight wounds among so many. Most of those that were hit 
were either killed outright or mortally wounded. Only a few 
legs or arms were cut ofif. The saddest sight I saw was the 
killing of a boy, son of a colonel somebody, whose name or 
regiment I could not get. I had often seen the boy while at 
Alexandria and wondered whv such a child should be in such 


a plaice. He rode a handsome bay pony, and wore the infantry 
uniform, even to a httle sword. When the fight began he 
was somewhere in the advance, and came riding back at the 
head of his regiment by the side of his father. They went 
into the cloud of smoke and in a few minutes a man came 
leading the pony back with the little fellow stretched across 
the saddle, his hands and feet hanging down on either side. 
He was taken back toward the front and I suppose his body 
will be sent home. What must that father have felt, and what 
will the mother feel when she knows of his death ! It was 
such a useless sacrifice from my point of view. Nothing 
bigger than bullets came our way and they either went over 
our heads or struck in the bank of' the bayou below us. 

May ig, 1864. 

Thursday. Our dead were picked up and brought to the 
bayou, where they were laid in rows on the ground. Those 
that were identified were buried in separate graves, and the 
others put crosswise in a wide ditch, with blankets spread under 
and over them. Our loss was estimated at 500 and that of 
the Rebs at 800. That must mean killed and wounded, for no 
such number was buried. The rebel dead were buried in the 
field, I suppose, for none of them were brought in. 

Later. A couple of our men are sick and Dr. Warren called 
in another doctor to look at them. They called it smallpox, and 
the men were put in a wagon and carted off right away. When 
the team came back the driver said they were put in the first 
house they came to, and a man who has had the disease was 
left to give them medicine. By night everything but the 
rear guard was across the bridge, and we had orders to be 
ready to march. We settled down to get some sleep if we 
could, but the long roll soon sounded and we sprang to our 
places. No enemy appearing, we built fires and made coffee, 
and then sat round nodding our sleepy heads until 4 o'clock in 
the morning. 


May 20, 1864. 
Friday. By 4 a. m. the troops were across and the pontoons 
loaded. We marched at quick time and at 6 o'clock were at 
Simmsport, where we stopped for breakfast of hard-tack and 
coffee. While at it a man rode in saying the Rebs were 
already bridging Yellow Bayou. Simmsport is on the Atcha- 
falaya River, and the same Colonel Bailey who planned 
the dam at Alexandria had built a bridge of boats for us to 
cross over. Twenty-four steamboats were lashed together 
side by side, and reached from shore to shore. Across the 
bows of these the artillery, cavalry and wagons were passing in 
a continuous stream, and infantry was crossing through and 
among them as best they could. Other boats were busy ferry- 
ing the troops, and such getting across a river I never saw. 
The Liberty took us across and we marched down the oppo- 
site side for an hour, and halted for the line to straighten out. 
And so the whole day went, first starting and then stopping 
again, but expecting every minute to set out for good. The 
time we were waiting, if all put together, would have given us 
a good rest, and the marching we did would have been good 
exercise. But as it was, we had a hard day of it. It was 
pitch dark when we finally started. We came to woods and 
the darkness could be felt. The train got stalled in the narrow 
road and then another wait. I was so dead sleepy that twice I 
fell flat on the ground as I was walking along. The fall woke 
me up each time and I kept going some way. Men had gtven 
out and were sleeping all along beside the road like dead 
men. Daylight never seemed so long coming. We got 
through the woods and could see much better. My naps as 
we walked along, and the falls I had in consequence of them, 
helped to drive off the dreadful drowsiness and by daylight I 
was wide awake. 

May 21, 1864. 
Saturday. When daylight came we were passing the mouth 
of the Atchafalaya and were again on the banks of the Red 


River. About sunrise we halted. Lieutenant Moody and I 
sat down and began to figure up how long we had been awake, 
when we both tumbled over on the ground and were sound 
asleep. The next thing I knew Moody was shaking me and 
asking if I was hurt. His face was bloody and I supposed he 
had been shot. But we soon found that a horse had ran over 
us, his hoofs striking between our heads and scraping the 
skin off Moody's forehead as he picked them up. We soon 
after started again, and at 8 o'clock stopped for breakfast, 
after which we took a livelier gait than ever. The day was hot. 
The horses and mules showed the strain as well as the men. 
Soon the men began to give out, dropping like dead men, and 
it was impossible to rouse them from the deathlike sleep that 
had overtaken them. There was nothing to do but pull them 
out of the road and leave them, for every horse and vehicle was 
loaded with all it could carry. No stop was made for dinner. 
On we went, and by 6 o'clock men were lying all along by 
the roadsides. Teams gave out and were left panting, their 
sides showing how cruelly they had been whipped to get the 
very last effort out of them. My feet were blistered, I knew 
by the feeling, though I had no time to see or attend to them. 
The pain each step gave me was, I think, the only thing that 
kept me awake and going. 

About sundown we passed a little village and turned from 
the road across the country, which was said to be the nearest 
way to the Mississippi. It was a beautiful country, much like 
the Teche country, which is sometimes called the "Garden of 
Louisiana." There were some cattle, and a drove of them was 
gathered and driven along for our supper. In passing round 
a body of water that came in our way, a huge snake lay float- 
ing on it and was shot by some of the passing throng. Several 
small snakes lay across the big one, and I suppose it was a 
mother and children taking a bath. Some thought the old 
one was twelve feet long, but it flopped about so it was hard to 
give a close guess. It was the nearest approach to my Port 
LIudson snake that I have seen. 


At 9 P. M. we reached the Mississippi at Morp^an's Bend, 
or Morg-anzia. The cattle had been shot down and were lying 
as they fell. It was everyone for himself. Chunks were cut 
out and were being- eaten before the animal was done kicking-. 
A pack of wolves never acted more ravenous and bloodthirsty. 
1 managed to get my hand between the ribs of one and hold 
of the liver. I couldn't pull my hand out without straighten- 
ing the fingers and so only got shreds, but I kept it up until 
I had taken the edge off my appetite and then lay over on 
my back and was sound asleep. I suppose a hundred men 
stepped over me and maybe on me, but nothing disturbed my 
slumbers. I slept like a dead man. 

Camp at Morganzia, La. 

On picket with the western men — Smallpox appears — A pay-day 
misunderstanding— Building Fort Morgan — Fourth of July dinner — 
General Order 88 — The army moving away. 

May 22, 1864. 

SUNDAY. The sun was shining- bright, and the flies were 
crawHng over my bloody face, and hands when I awoke. 
Tony had got in and had found some hard-tack and 
a piece of beef for my breakfast. The skeletons of the cattle 
were picked clean. The field looked like a battleground. Men 
were stretched on the ground everywhere and in every posi- 
tion, and others were picking their way about among them. 
But unHke a battlefield, the dead began to rise up and move 
about. At 8 o'clock the order "Fall in" came and soon after 
we started again. I had to walk on my heel, for something 
was grinding the ends of my toes off. No attention was paid 
to the order of our going ; it was simply a question of 
going at all. We only went about a mile, when we stopped 
in a grove of big trees between the road and the river, and 
preparations for camping were soon under way. Captain 
Laird appeared and took charge of his company. He said he 
had lost us while fighting fire in Alexandria. I joined the mul- 
titude in the river. The dirt our clothes and our bodies had 
picked up on the way was astonishing. Enough of it to make 
a garden was soon floating down the river. My feet were in 
terrible shape, one much worse than the other. The blisters 
had broken and bled and the dirt had formed a scab, which 
had acted like a grater on the raw flesh underneath. 

A good swim in the river and a good beating of our clothes, 
together with a good dinner after it, made the world seem 
different to all of us. The hard tramp was over and we cared 


little what came next. The 90th had had the hardest time 
of all. We had to hustle from the rear to the front with the 
pontoons, marching mile after mile and hour after hour, while 
others were sleeping- soundly by the way. Upon comparing 
notes I had the satisfaction of knowing I was the only white 
man in the regiment that had walked the entire distance. 
Every other one confessed to having ridden some part of the 
way. From the time we formed in line at Yellow Bayou until 
we stopped at Morgan's Bend was forty-one hours of hard 
marching, 6n scant rations and with less than an hour's sleep 
all put together. I had heard and read of forced marching, 
and now that I had taken part in one, I was ready to believe 
anything that was ever said or written on the subject. Major 
Palon's prophecy that I would find plenty of filling for my 
diary had certainly come true. I have only skimmed over the 
account, but will never forget the rest. It would fill a book 
if written out, and then only give a faint idea of the reality. 
The sufferings of the horses and mules made me sick at heart. 
Men, when they could go no farther, said so and gave up 
trying, but the poor beasts' sufferings went right on until 
neither whip nor spur could get another move out of them. 

May 2^, 1864. 

Monday. The army of stragglers kept coming in. They 
were gathered in a bunch and then sorted out and sent to their 
respective commands. Our tents arrived and were put up, and 
we began to live like folks again. Smallpox had by this time 
begun to develop, and a tent was put up outside the camp and 
such as showed the symptoms sent to it. We have all been 
exposed and may all have it, but a trifle like that does not worr}'- 
us after what we have lived through. Some of the men have 
had the disease and they are to be used in nursing the others. 

A nice little shower came up toward night which washed 
the dust from the leaves and grass, leaving everything about 
us beautiful. The smallpox is the only enemy in sight now, 


and that we can neither shoot nor run away from. The best 
thing about it is that one stands just as good a chance as 
another, and no better. 

May 24, 1864. 
Tuesday. Thomas Dorsey, one of the brightest of my com- 
pany, is dead. Before I knew what ailed him, I had done all 
I could to make him comfortable, even to giving him my 
blanket to keep him off the ground. His death scared the 
others so they could not be got near his tent. As I had been 
exposed as much as it was possible to be, I rolled him up in 
his blanket and dragged him into a hole that had been dug 
outside the tent and covered him up. 

May 25, 1864. 

Wednesday. All hands have been vaccinated. All stood in 
line and as fast as the job was done the line moved up until all 
had had a dose. This is the fourth or fifth time I have been 
vaccinated in the army, and so far nothing has come of it. 
In the afternoon I borrowed the adjutant's horse and went 
with Sol and Gorton for a ride. They both have the shakes 
yet. Stragglers kept coming in, among them being Sergeant 
Nace, who has not yet found his regiment. When he found 
we had smallpox he cut short his visit. He is a dead beat, 
I thought so before and am sure of it now. I hope his regi- 
ment will find him, if he don't find it. 

The picket lines are well out, and videttes are still farther 
out. This gives us a large territory to feel at home in. The 
enemy is said to be hovering around on the outside, but give 
us no trouble. Maybe they, too, are tired and are taking 
a rest. 

May 26, 1864. 
Thursday. Nothing happened to-day worth telling of. I 
am detailed for picket duty to-morrow. 


May 2"/, 186/J. 

Friday. With a horse to ride and a company of men from 
a western regiment, I went out about one and a half miles to 
relieve a part of the picket line. Quite an army goes out every 
day, for the line about our present stopping-place is many 
miles in length. I had about half a mile, almost all the way 
through bushes and wet ground. An empty house near one 
end of the line was my headquarters, and from there I hobbled 
over the line every two hours, the line being too rough to ride. 
I was not called out once, everything being quiet along my line, 
and I heard no calls from those on either side of me. The 
officer of the day came round as often as he could ride the line, 
and at midnight the grand rounds came. 

Sol and Gorton came out and brought me a supper and 
visited me until I had to go over the line. Orders were very 
strict at night to halt everything. An Irishman on one of the 
posts asked me if he should halt a pig if he came along, and 
I repeated the order to "halt ever}^hing." At midnight, when 
I went over the line with the grand rounds, there was fresh 
pork frying at that post, and as the orders were strictly against . 
foraging I said to the man, "You paid for the pig, didn't you?" 
"Yes, sor," said he ; "it's only the loikes of them Indiana 
fellers that'll steal." That almost made me yell, for the grand 
officer was colonel of an Indiana regiment that were noted 
foragers. He grinned at the joke on him, and with that one 
adventure we reached the end of the line, where I turned him 
over to the next and came back. I got a generous shce of the 
stolen pig for my breakfast. 

May 28, 1864. 
Saturday. The night wore away and at 9 a. m. the new 
guard came. After my line was relieved I marched them back 
to guard headquarters to discharge them. A new order, that 
no loaded guns be allowed in camp, had come out, and I took 
them to the river bank to fire off the guns. I noticed that the 


gun next to me did not go off and told the man of it. He 
tried it again and still it didn't go. I then pricked some powder 
in the tube and snapped it, and as it didn't go off I tried 
the ramrod to see if it was loaded. The gun was nearly half 
full of something, and upon taking it to the armorer, who took 
out the breach, found the first charge had the bullet end down. 
The man could not account for it, but probably in the excite- 
ment of the Yellow Bayou fight he had got rattled and kept 
loading every time he snapped the gun. It is said such things 
do happen in volley firing, but I never before saw anything of 
the kind. I was glad enough the first charge was wrong end 
up. There were six charges in the gun and something must 
have happened if the first charge had exploded. 
I then returned to our camp and slept till night. 

Alay 2g, 1864. 
Sunday. This was to be our pay day, and little else was 
thought of or talked about all the morning. A number of us 
were in Colonel Parker's tent when the adjutant congratulated 
me on getting full pay, with no reduction for the time I was 
absent without leave; that the rolls had been passed upon at 
headquarters and no reduction made. Colonel Parker said 
it could not be. The record had never been cleared, and if the 
paymaster was informed of the fact I wouldn't get any pay at 
all. After some talk, in which some took one view and some 
another, the matter was dropped and I thought no more about 
it until told by the paymaster, when I stepped up for my 
$415, that I could get no pay until an investigation was had 
and the rolls cleared. I was mad clear through, and I was 
terribly disappointed, too. I first found out that the colonel 
had done it and then went and gave him a piece of my mind. 
He laughed the matter off, but he was just as mad as I. I 
forgot about his being my superior, and I wonder he didn't 
put me under arrest. I certainly gave him plenty of excuse for 
doing it. I had no right to talk as I did, but I had plenty of 


reason, and I have not yet got to the point where I am sorry 
for doing it. I reminded him that although I was absent from 
my regiment for a few days without leave, I was on duty in 
another, and earning my pay, while he and the rest of them 
were loafing in camp at Lakeport. I can't imagine why Col- 
onel Parker has so suddenly turned against me. So far as 
I know he has no reason for it, and if he knows of one, he is 
not man enough to tell. So I must live on borrowed money for 
another two months, and affairs at home must get along the 
best way they can. Maybe it all comes from his hobby, "The 
good of the service," which he so often quotes. 

May JO, 1864. 

Monday. I made an application for an investigation of my 
reasons for being absent without leave, and Colonel Parker 
endorsed and sent it to headquarters. The matter has blown 
over for the present. From all I can hear, the colonel is 
ashamed of the shabby trick he played me. If Colonel Bost- 
wick had been here instead of at headquarters, I don't believe 
the thing would have been thought of. Colonel Parker is like 
some others I have seen. A little authority makes a fool of 

A fort is being built just above here and our men are to 
work on it. We have a new doctor. Dr. Henry, Dr. Warren 
having been detached. He is doing all he can to stop the 
spread of smallpox, and as no new cases have developed in 
several days now Ave think the w-orst may be over. 

May 31, 1.864. 

Tuesday. Was in camp all day writing. 

June I, 1864. 
Wednesday. Moved camp up the river to where the fort is 
being built, — that is, all the well ones. Hallisy, our new sutler, 
came to-day with a full stock of goods. He belonged to the 


6th Michigan; was wounded at Port Hudson. Shot through 
the arm and the wound would not heal and he was discharged. 
Not wishing to go home, his comrades chipped in for a box 
of cigars, which he peddled out among the soldiers and was 
able to buy more and continue peddling. He was soon able 
to make trips to the city for anything needed by his comrades, 
and in a short time was doing quite a business. He is honest 
and trustworthy in every way, and when he asked to be 
appointed sutler for the 90th. he had all the recommendations 
the officers could give. He is a money-maker and will get 
rich if the war lasts long enough, yet he is so fair and square 
in all his dealings that no one ought to begrudge him the 
money he makes. He brought our mail and in the bundle were 
seven letters for me, and none of them had any bad news 
in them. 

June 2, 1864. 
Thursday. Was on detail at the fort. Officers of the 
engineer corps have the work in charge. They have stakes 
stuck everywhere with marks on them that they may under- 
stand, but surely none of us can. A plan on paper shows it 
to be in the form of a star, with a wide and deep ditch running 
round it. The dirt from this ditch is being carefully piled 
up inside in a bank just like the ditch, so that every foot the 
ditch goes down, the bank rises another foot. There is no lack 
of men or teams. A detail is made every day of as many men 
as can work to advantage. On my section a curious snake 
or animal was dug out. He came out from a hole that was 
cut across as the ditch went down. It looked most like an eel 
at first, but a closer examination showed four short legs, not 
over an inch long, and armed with toes for digging. The men 
called it a Congo snake and seemed to have a superstitious 
dread of it, for they left the ditch as soon as it appeared and 
would not go back until I had killed it and thrown it out of 
their sight. A shower broke off the work in the afternoon and 
flooded the diggings. 


June 3, 1864. 
Friday. Was notified that a commission had been appointed 
to investigate the stopping of my pay and would meet at 
brigade headquarters as soon as practicable. Then we will 
know. If Colonel Parker is right I shall apologize for the 
free speech I gave him. I wonder if he will do as much if 
I win out. 

June 5, 1864. 
Sunday. Captain Laird, who has not been mustered yet, 
went to Port Hudson to see about it, to-day. I put in the 
day visiting and being visited. While in Sol's tent, and as 
we lay talking to each other, we heard a commotion in Colonel 
Parker's tent, which was close by. Just then a big black snake 
slid in under the tent, and stopped when right between us. 
His head was well up and he just slid over the ground like 
a sleigh crook. Sol's sword was within my reach and I crippled 
him before he got any further. Where on earth he could have 
come from and not be seen till he entered the colonel's tent is 
a mystery, for the ground is as bare as a board all through 
the camp, and' men are all the time moving about on it. We 
think he must have crawled under somebody's bunk in the 
night, and not liking the quarters had started for the country 

June 6, 1864. 
Monday. Captain Laird came back, saying he was unable 
to get mustered, and says he shall throw up the job and go 
home. Major Palon, who has been to New Orleans, came 
on the same boat. 

June 7, 1864. 
Tuesday. Was called before the commission to shoAv cause 
why I should not be punished for being absent without leave. 
Colonel Fuller of the 73d, Captain Morton, acting assistant 


adjutant general of the Engineer Brigade, and Lieutenant 
Colonel Parker of the 90th comprised the board. I was not 
put under oath, but just told my story and was acquitted. The 
findings of the court, however, will have to go to Washington 
for approval. Colonel P. was the only one of the 90th who 
did not congratulate me. He appears more cranky than ever. 

June 8, 1.864. 
Wednesday. Borrowed $200 and sent home to pay on the 
place. Went down to visit the 128th and came near a sun- 
stroke on the way. The weather is something awful in the 
middle of the day. I was completely used up when I got 

June p, 1864. 
Thursday. I kept very quiet to-day for the heat is harder 
and harder for me to bear. Colonel Bostwick, Captain Hoyt, 
the quartermaster, Moody and Reynolds all came up from the 
city, where they have been for a visit. Orders were received 
for us to turn over the best drilled of our men to Major 

June 10, 1864. 
Friday. Captain Laird went home to-day, and Company D 
is mine to look after again. I have just been able to keep 
about to-day. 

June II, 1864. 
Saturday. On duty as officer of the guard to-day. The duty 
is nothing, but the wearing of uniform, with a sword, belt and 
sash, for twenty-four hours came near using me up. I thought 
I would have to beg off, but I lived through it. There were 
plenty ready to take my place but were not allowed to. 


June T2, 1864. 
Sunday. A friend in the 128th got in trouble and was 
brought up to see me. I helped him all I could, but 1 can't 
say I pitied him. 

June /J, 1864. 
Monday. Major Paine came and took no of our men. He 
took all of Company D, and I am out of a job unless Colonel 
Parker finds something for me to do, which I have no doubt 
he will. Company D made the best showing in the manual 
of arms and in marching. Captain Laird has either taken 
away or destroyed the company papers, and it took me all day 
to get the transfers made out. 

June 14, 1864. 
Tuesday. On detail at the fort. General Sickles reviewed 
the troops in this department to-day, from which we judge 
another move will soon be made. General Sickles lost a leg 
at Gettysburg but he rides just as well as if he had both. An 
orderly carried his crutches for him, and a pocket built on 
the saddle, in which to rest the stump, answered the purpose 
of a stirrup. 

June 15, 1864. 
Wednesday. Was busy settling up Captain Laird's company 
affairs, which is made much harder on account of the original 
papers being missing. 

After the 15th of June the diary is missing. Whether it 
has been lost, or whether I no longer kept it going, I cannot 
now tell. From papers in my possession, and from quite 
a vivid recollection of the events that made up those last days 
of my army life, I am able to give a pretty good account of 
it up to my home-coming. 


We remained at Morganzia until about the middle of July, 
attending to the routine duties of camp life, and helping at 
the fort that was building as we were called upon. 

On the fourth of July we had an old-fashioned celebration : 
one that doubtless is recalled with pleasure by every survivor 
of the event. We borrowed planks from the fort and built a 
long and wide table with seats along the sides. Having plenty 
of both workmen and materials, we spared no pains to make 
it a very substantial affair. The regimental colors were placed 
in the middle of the table, flanked on either side with stacks 
of muskets, each of which had a flag flying from its top. 
Everything good to eat, drink or look upon that we could 
buy, beg or borrow, was piled upon it. Sutler Hallisy made 
a special trip to New Orleans for such things as we could not 
otherwise get. The planning for it and the carrying out of the 
plans took all our spare time for weeks before. Officers from 
headquarters and from many of the regiments near us were 
invited, and few, if any, failed to accept the invitation. After 
the dinner, all that could, made speeches, and many of them 
were worth going a long way to hear. Lieutenant Bell dis- 
tinguished himself, making what I thought was the best and 
most appropriate speech of all. All joined in singing patriotic 
songs, and many a good story was told. From start to finish 
the affair passed off without a hitch. Not a thing happened to 
mar the enjoyment of any one present. When it was over, 
the men took possession and finished up the eatables, after 
which they, too, had speeches and singing and wound up with 
a dance on the table. Their part v/as fully as entertaining as 
ours had been, and taken altogether, the day was one to live 
long in the memory of those present. 

Soon after the review of the troops by General Sickles, the 
great army that covered the ground for miles about us began 
to melt away, some going up the river and some down to 
other fields of activity. The Red River campaign was over 


and nothing left to show for it but the great waste of men 
and money it had cost. 

The 128th left Morganzia a few days before the fourth of 
July, thus missing our great dinner, at which there were mutual 
regrets. They went into camp at Algiers for a time and then 
came North and served out their time under Sheridan and 
Grant. The men in our camp that had not already been trans- 
ferred were taken to fill up other regiments, and the officers 
ordered to New Orleans for muster-out. (See General Order 
No. 88, Department of the Gulf, dated July ii, 1864.) 

The trouble with Colonel Parker kept sticking up its head 
and was the cause of my only unpleasant recollections of those 
days. I still suffered from the heat, and it seemed as if I was 
detailed for guard or fatigue duty on the hottest days that 
came. On the 28th of Jtine the sun came up blazing hot, bid- 
ding fair to beat any record it had yet made. I felt the heat 
more than common that morning, having been on duty at the 
fort the day before, and was congratulating myself on having 
nothing to do but keep as cool as possible, when an order came 
for me to take Company B out for a two-hours' drill. 

This was such a direct slap in the face that I made up my 
mind it was time for the worm to turn. As politely as. I knew 
how, I refused to obey the order, and was at once ordered in 
arrest and sent to my tent. It was the first time I had ever 
known of an officer being detailed for extra duty two days in 
succession. I believed I was right and was willing to await 
the outcome. In a little while the order for arrest came to 
me in writing. I have it yet and it reads : 

Special order No. 27. Morganzia, La., June 28, 1864. 

2d Lieut. Lawrance VanAlstyne, 90th U. S. C. Infantry is hereby 
ordered in arrest for disobedience of orders. 

By command of Lt. Col. George Parker, 

John Mathers, Jr., 
1st Lt. & Adjutant. 


The next was a copy of the charges and specifications, which 
soon after came and which reads : 

Headquarters qoth U. S. C. I. 

MoRGANZiAj La., June 28, 1864. 
Charges and specifications preferred by Lieut. Col. George Parker, 
against 2d Lieut. Lawrence VanAlstj^ne, 90th U. S. C. I. 

Charge first. 

Disobedience of orders. 

Specification. In this that he, the said Lieut. Lawrence VanAlstyne 

did when ordered by his commanding officer to drill Co. B, 90th U. S. C. 

I., refuse, saying "I refuse to do it," or words to that effect. This 

at Morganzia, on or about the 28th day of June 1864. 

Charge 2nd. 
Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. 
Specification. In this that he the said 2nd Lieut. Lawrence VanAl- 
styne did when ordered by his commanding officer to drill Co. B, 
90th U. S. C. I. refuse, saying "I refuse to do it" or words to that 
effect. This in the hearing and presence of enlisted men. This at 
Morganzia, La. on or about the 28th day of June 1864. 
Witnesses. George Parker, Dr. Henry, Steward Drury, 
Sam Lewis Corp. Co. B 
Henry Jones, Serg't Co. B 

The next was a note from the colonel, saying : 

Lieut. VanAlstyne's attention is respectfully called to Par. 223, 
revised army regulations. Indulgences will be granted upon written 
application, but it can hardly be expected that a sick officer will ask 
for very large limits. 


George Parker, 

Lt. Col. Comm'ng. 

To none of these did I make reply. In the course of an hour 
I received an empty envelope on which was written. 

Lieut. L. VanAlstyne has the limits of the camp. 

George Parker, 
Lt. Col. Commanding. 


Nothing more happened until the 30th, when the follow- 
ing was received : 

Headquarters 90T11 U. S. Colored Infantry, 
MoRGANZiA, La., June 30th, 1864. 
Special order 

2nd Lieut. Lawrence VanAlstyne, 90th United States Colored 
Infantry is hereby released from arrest. 

By order of 
George Parker, 
Lt. Col. Com'dg 
90th U. S. Col'd Inf'y. 
John Mathers, Jr., 
ist Lt. and Adj't. 

Thus the matter of arrest ended. The charges had been 
duly forwarded to headquarters in the field and had been 
sent back with the single word "Disapproved" written across 
the back. I never found out who explained the matter at the 
headquarters office, but some one must have done it, for the 
charge was a serious one and could hardly have been over- 
looked without an investigation. 

From that on I suffered such petty persecutions as could be 
lawfully put upon me, but otherwise had little more to do with 
Colonel Parker. 

Our Last Camp in the South 

Leaving Morganzia — In camp near New Orleans — Good-bye, Dixie — 
Homeward bound. 

OON after the order to report at New Orleans for 
muster-out was received, we left Moarg'anzia and went 
into camp in the outskirts of New Orleans. We 
unloaded our things on the levee one night after dark, and in 
the rain. We felt our way down the embankment, and with- 
out the least idea as to where we were, spread some tents on 
the ground and raising others over them crawled in and made 
ourselves as comfortable as we could. In the morning we 
arranged our camp in a more respectable order and sat down 
to await the pleasure of the mustering officer. The men we 
had with us were used for guards to keep up the semblance 
of a military organization. Those that could afford it went 
into the city to board, and the rest, I among the number, 
contented ourselves with army fare. I had many invitations 
from my brother officers to live with them, and did visit them 
frequently, sometimes staying for a day or two. So the time 
passed until the 24th of August, when we were called before 
the mustering officer and mustered out of the service. 

We were to be paid in New York, and as I was in debt to 
many, I was about to sell my pay to a broker in order that I 
might pay such as were not ready to go home, when the 
quartermaster offered to lend me the money and wait for it 
until we reached New York, thus saving me the broker's 
commission. In due time we reached our homes and the 
eventful life of the soldier was exchanged for the less eventful 
life of the private citizen. The prophecy that the return of the 
soldiers would mark the beginning of a reign of lawlessness in 


the North, did not come true. As law-abiflin^ citizens the 
returned soldiers have averaged well with those who remained 
at home. 

I must not close the book without a word al)out Tony, from 
whom I parted with sincere regret. I am sorry I cannot recall 
his surname, which was that of his owner, a planter in the 
Teche country. .» 

From Tony's own account, he had had a good home and a 
kind master, in fact, had had everything he could wish for 
except the one thing above all others that he longed for, "free- 
dom." Both he and his wife were house servants, born and 
raised in "the house," not in "the quarters." He was always 
careful to make this distinction. He had never been whipped, 
and he had little sympathy for those who had, saying they 
most always deserved all they got. 

My acquaintance with him began while we were at Brashear 
City. He came with others from the Teche country, and was 
looking for some one who would write a letter to his wife and 
tell her how and where he was. I wrote the letter and from 
that on he was all the time wanting to do something for me. 
When the examination came, Tony was thrown out on account 
of an injury once received from the kick of a horse. He then 
came for me to take him to wait on me. More out of pity for 
him than because I wanted any waiting on, I took him on, 
giving him the ration allowed me by the government for such 
a purpose. From that time he was my walling slave. My 
clothes were as clean and my boots as black as if I had been 
General Banks himself. He was never in the way, and yet 
was never out of the way when wanted. 

I became more careful of my personal appearance by finding 
out that in Tony's estimation my only failing was a little care- 
lessness in that direction. I accidentally overheard a conversa- 
tion between Tony and his chums as to the good and bad 
qualities possessed by the officers of the 90th, and when I found 
how little I lacked of perfection, I resolved to be more careful. 


He was a very rapid talker, speaking both French and English, 
When he was angry or excited he would mix the two 
together in a way that was laughable. He loved horses and 
would talk to them as if they were people and understood all 
he said. I shall never forget a scolding he gave one while we 
were at Grand Ecore. Tony had taken a wounded horse into 
the river and washed him clean. As he was leading him back 
to hard ground, the horse dropped in the sand and rolled his 
sore back full of grit. Tony looked at the horse in silence for 
a while, and then began hurling such a mixture of French and 
English in his face as no other horse ever heard. Everyone 
that heard it laughed. The horse looked sober enough, but 
may have understood, for when he was washed again he came 
through the sand without offering to lay down. 

Tony was the best forager I ever knew. He could scent a 
chicken as well as a pointer dog, and many a one he picked 
up where no one else could find a feather. I never fully under- 
stood his devotion to me. It certainly was not on account of 
the pay he got, for much of the time we were together I was 
as poor as he. I have good reason to believe he would have 
stood between me and danger, and perhaps death itself if the 
opportunity had offered. It was little I could do for him 
beyond writing letters for him to his wife, and teaching him 
to read words of one or two syllables. I left him at New 
Orleans with money enough for immediate needs, and suppose 
he went back to his plantation home. 




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