Wednesday. No beef has yet arrived for the Regt., & only pork & bread enough are on hand for the day, so at present two days cooked rations are out of the question. Sent for storage the box of Co. cooking utensils & my large mattress, so that we now have nothing on hand but what we are to take with us when we march. A small mail arrived from N.O. bringing Northern dates of the 26th of March, but there was nothing for me from home. Rec’d notice from the Marine Hospital, New Orleans, of the death there, on the 27th of March, of Stephen S. Buzzell, of consumption, & of the discharge from service of Albert Brown, on the same date, on surgeon’s certificate of disability.
Saturday. This morning all the companies of the Regt. marched down to the railroad & brought up the tents, cooking utensils, & other baggage, & then pitched the tents on the ground we occupied last night. Got the cook’s things out of the boxes & got a warm meal for the men, the first “regular meal” they have had since Monday. Had dress parade at 5 o’clock.
The weather this weak has been the most delightful we have experienced since we have been in the state. The sky has been entirely cloudless nearly all the time, the sun was out but not oppressive, & a gentle breeze from the West most of the time, while the evenings made light by the full moon, and just cool enough for comfort in our ordinary clothes, have been charming indeed. I am almost reconciled to the country, & were it a land of freedom, of free schools, free speech, free churches, & live, industrious, enterprising, moral & intelligent New Englanders, and were all the near friends I have comfortably settled here, I don’t know but I would consent to fix my own residence even here in this land of cotton & cane!! Continue reading
Turned out & got breakfast before daylight. Our boys had dug a “bean hole” before night, & for breakfast had a fine lot of baked beans. Started at 7 & marched down through the same rich country that we have been passing through for two days. Reached Thibodaux, quite a pretty village, about noon, but made no stop there. Saw huge piles of baggage that had been landed from the steamer. Kept on to the R. R. Station, three miles distant, & camped in a field a little to the south of it. This was the hardest day’s march of the three, & several of my Co. dropped behind & sat down by the woodside between Thibodaux & the camping ground. I could not blame them, for we were hurried along at an unreasonable pace. The last four miles I carried the knapsack of one of my men, & the last two miles the gun of another. I was glad when we got the order to halt, though I could have gone further without giving out! I went & had a pretty thorough wash, & felt better for it. My feet have stood this three days march wonderfully—have not raised a blister or chafed the skin in a single place, while many of the men have very large blisters on the bottoms of their feet that give them great trouble & pain. Sergt. North has gone very lame today, tho’ he never complains.
About sunset we had orders to pack up & be ready to take the [railroad] cars in ten minutes! We struck & rolled up tents, & got ready to go, but were at last ordered to pitch them again to start at 6 in the morning.
Had a good nights sleep, but the men got up rather tender footed, and went limping about camp as they have not been obliged to do before.
Sent off the tents & baggage to the steamer “Empire Parish” late in the afternoon, & pitched shelter tents to spend the night in. the weather today has been cool, & this evening there is a very cold wind from the north. Stowed ourselves in the little tents & passed a tolerable night, tho’ some of the men suffered with the cold. The Chaplain returned yesterday from B[aton] Rouge & informed me of the death of Corp. Titcomb. He died at the Measles Hosp. & the Chaplain attended his funeral. Lt. Richards took charge of his effects & will send them to Titcomb’s uncle in Bangor. Wrote a letter to T. H. Wiggin of Levant, informing him of T’s death, & giving him some account of his sickness. I also wrote to Mrs. Gerald in regard to the sickness & death of her husband.
Finished my letter to Father, & sent it off.
Had a Reg. inspection in the morning & no other duty for the day. No religious services, the Chaplain having returned to baton Rouge yesterday. Wrote a long letter to Father in [the] afternoon.
At Donaldsonville the Bayou Lafourche flows out of the main river to the S. W. & South entering the Gulf considerably to the west of the principal mouths of the Mississippi. We are to march from this place to the N. O. O .& G.W. Railroad, near Thibodaux, some thirty odd miles distant, our tents & baggage to go by steamer.
Spent a quiet day in camp, the only exercise being a short Batt. Drill in the afternoon.
Took my place on the Court Martial, Col. Bissell, 25th Conn. Reg. President. Tried several cases, & adjourned till tomorrow at 9 o’clock. The Reg. moved to a firm spot on the other side of the road, but a short distance from the mud hole that we have lived in for the last three days. When I got back to camp everyone looked cheerful, & certainly the grounds we occupied were the pleasantest we have had since we came to this place. The grass was fresh & green, & there were several fine shade trees that contributed much to the beauty of the spot. On our way to camp this afternoon I went to the Measles Hospital & saw the men of our Co. who are there, Lovejoy, Shores & Sawyer appeared to be doing well, but Farmer looked poorly, & thought he was losing strength. Titcomb had got pretty well over the Measles but had an attack of Erysipelas in his face & head, & I fear he will not recover. I talked with the Assist. Surgeon in charge, & asked him to try to get them removed to the Genl. Hospital. He said he would try to have it done.
Spent part of the day in town, waiting to take my place on the Court Martial, but as a case was going on that was commenced yesterday, was not needed today. Lt. J. went to his late boarding house in town, being unable to stay in camp with safety. He has a sudden attack of rheumatism which will probably confine him within doors for some time. The Col. is strongly threatened with measles, so we shall be in a bad condition to march, if ordered away soon. Neither of the Lieuts. will be able to go at present, but as I feel so much better today, I will not complain. A mail came today, but there was no letter for me. May last letter from Pamelia was mailed March 2d. up to which time all had been blessed with health & prosperity. May I be grateful to our father in heaves for all his mercies.
The men awoke pretty well rested, but many of them rather foot-sore. Spent the day quietly in camp, getting rested. This march was altogether the hardest we have ever had, & was no doubt designed partly as a “toughener” for others that are to follow. A long train of empty wagons followed us up yesterday, & turned off toward the river a little to the rear of the spot where we formed in line & brought out 100 bales of cotton which they carried to Baton Rouge on acct. of Government. It would probably have seen been burned by guerillas had it not been secured as it was. Some think that the sole object of our move was to secure this cotton, & perhaps it “paid” aside from the discipline the men received. A company made up by details from all the companies of our Reg. & commanded by Capt. Wood, was sent this afternoon to Baton Rouge to bring up all the men of the Brigade that were left behind either sick in tents or hospitals that may now be able to march, & all stragglers that are there.
Sergt. Chapman & two men went from our Co. The man have got pretty well rested today, & by another day will be all ready for another March if wanted. Through the goodness of God my health & strength have been continued to me, and I have borne the fatigue of our marches as well as the strongest man of my company.
Soon after breakfast our Reg. moved back a few rods into the woods to dryer ground, where we pitched our shelter tents, & [illeg. word] out our clothes to dry, & had a general cleaning up, & an inspection of arms & ammunition. At 3 P.M. packed up & marched about ¾ mile to a field not far from the river, where our Brigade pitched their tents & spent the night.