Saturday. Turned out & got breakfast before daylight, but did not start till after sunrise. I staid behind nearly two hours making a descriptive list of Edwin Young, & writing a letter to secure lodgings & board for him at Brashear City, where he is going. He has never entirely recovered from the sickness he had at Baton Rouge, & now has a chronic diarrhea that is reducing his strength. He might get a discharge if the Medical Director were here, or even our own Surgeons, I think, but nothing can be done as things are. After getting through with Edwin I mounted one of the Chaplain’s horses & rode on in company with him after the Reg. but did not come up with it till we got to Washington—five miles from Opelousas. Here the Reg. turned into the woods but the side of the road & stacked arms. We hear today that Commodore Porter is at Alexandria with a portion of his fleet, & that we hold the place. We are to stop here till the arrival of a large provision train from Barre’s landing on the Atchafalaya 12 miles from here. We are to go to guard the train to Alexandria, about 90 miles from Opelousas. Just before dark we marched through the streets to a fine smooth field in the suburbs & encamped for the night. The officers lodged in a fine house that had been deserted by its late rebel occupant, (Dr. Prescott) & where we found beds & mattresses to lie upon. A well of excellent water was found in the yard & fence rails afforded fuel. Much of the splendid furniture of the house still remained, defaced though, by rude hands. A large lot of valuable books lay scattered about the house, exposed to mutilation & plunder. Had a good night’s sleep & did not turn out till after sunrise.
Thursday. Got into line about 6 ½ o’clock passed through Vermillionville (about 24 miles from New Iberia) & to a beautiful grove on the plantation of M. Mouton, father of Gen. Mouton of the rebel army. Lt. J. & I took dinner in the mansion with Col. J. & his staff, Col. of the 114th, & some other officers—each contributing something for the table—the dishes being found in the house. The men were allowed to help themselves to sugar, ad libitum, & did help themselves to geese, chickens &c. about as they listed. Started again at 1 ½ p.m. & marched some seven or eight miles & camped. Plenty of fresh beef was soon brought in by the hundreds, & frying pans were in great demand, & in constant use till late in the evening. Lt. J. & self slept on the ground—most of the men pitching their tents. Many of the men are pretty footsore but I have stood the march well. The weather has been cool & comfortable.
Wednesday. Reveille beat at 3 o’clock this morning. Turned out & had a warm breakfast of baked beans from the Co. Commenced the march just before sunrise. The road for the first two miles was very dusty, but after that we marched across the prairie, & there being a cool north wind blowing we got along very comfortably. The 114th N.Y. marched ahead of us, & we halted about 10 o’clock in a fine grove of China trees 10 miles from New Iberia. Made coffee & ate our dinners & then many of us lay down in the shade & took a nap. Started about 2 p.m. & marched across the prairie about seven miles further. Stacked arms before sunset & permission being given to draw fresh meat, the boys soon brought in fresh port, & young pigs enough for all. Corp. Herrick went out with Houston & got a fine veal calf, but as we had made a supper on fresh port, kept the veal for breakfast. Lt. J. & Myself camped down in our blankets without any tent & slept well in spite of the fleas that tried their best to keep us awake.
Sunday. Attended Sabbath School at the Methodist church at 9 o’clock. Only about 20 scholars present. The teachers all ladies, & no man present but the Superintendant & the preacher. Just before the close the roll of the School was called, 10 classes & about 50 Scholars’ names on the roll I should judge. At 10 ½ [a.m.] attended meeting in the same house. Preaching by the Methodist minister from Rev. 21: 3d & 4th, subject “Heaven.” The sermon was written & was a very good one. The Singing was Congregational—hymns—“There is a land of pure delight”, “Jerusalem my glorious home”–& to conclude “Lord dismiss us with they blessing.” In the Sabbath School as well as the meeting, the Congregation knelt during prayer—think everyone in the School, Scholars & teachers knelt. Notice was given that there will be preaching every Sabbath—next Sabbath by the Chaplain.
Thursday. In forenoon finished the case of Theodate Melancon. The witnesses called by him for the defence really knew little about the matter he was tried for. Their testimony being introduced chiefly to prove that the prisoner told them he was going to the negro Capt. to get back a couple of horses that the gang had taken from him. After getting through with the witnesses, he made quite a long statement through the interpreter, asserting that the negroes compelled him to go with them, & that he escaped from them as soon as he could safely. Two members of the Commission decided him to be guilty of that part of the Specification that declared him to have unlawfully joined a band of armed negroes with whom he proceeded to St. Martinsville for the purpose of plundering, & as they were on a majority, they sentenced him to “Six months hard labor with a b all & chain attached to his left leg.” I felt obliged to vote “Not guilty” on both charged & specifications, there appearing to be ground for a very reasonable doubt in regard to his guilt, & I felt bound to give him the benefit of it.
Wednesday. Spent the day as a member of a Military Commission appointed by Genl. Emory, consisting of Col. Jerrard, self & Capt. Long, of the 52nd Mass. Maj. Lieber of Gen’l. Emory’s Staff, Judge Advocate. Engaged all day, trying the case of a creole named Theodate Melancon, who is charged with leading a gang of armed negroes in plundering & outrage on the citizens of St. Martinsville. Examined a large number of witnesses who all testified that the prisoner was with the gang, which was commanded by a negro named Pierre—that they were all apparently in liquor, & that on being fired upon by the people in the village of St. Martinsville when their leader & another negro was killed, the rest took to flight. The prisoner was not seen when the gang was fired on, & was arrested on the prairie a mile east of the Bayou while apparently trying to escape. He was alone, the negroes having fled in other directions. The witnesses were nearly all French & their testimony had to be interpreted to the Court. The case was not closed today and from all the testimony thus far, it seems probably that the accused, as he claims to have been, was compelled by the negroes to join them. Tomorrow is the day of “muster for payment,” but the Col. has decided to omit it.
Thursday. Went into the Hospital where the wounded rebel prisoners are. Found most of them doing well & pretty cheerful. The ladies of the place attend them constantly, & provide many comforts for them which add greatly to their happiness. Most of those I saw looked like intelligent men, and they are apparently among the better class of Southern soldiers. 10 o’clock A.M. Orders have just come to cook 1 day’s ration of beef, & take that, with 1 day’s ration of raw pork and two of hard bread, & get ready to move as soon as possible. It is supposed we are to go up the Bayou by Steamer to New Iberia. Got away—not by Steamer, but afoot—about 2 P.M. Marched about 9 miles to a place on the bayou called “Indian Bend.” Reached there about dusk. Made coffee, ate supper, & camped down. The men nearly all slept on the ground without their tents. Self & Lieuts. slept on the floor in a house with the Field Officers & some others.
Friday. Being a little unwell with diarrhea, have done nothing but rest in camp. Nothing new or interesting going on today, except the sending off the remainder of the rebel prisoners. There is still a larger number of their wounded left in hospital here, tho’ I have not seen them. The Col., St. J. & some others arrived from Brashear City this P.M.
Wednesday. Started on the march up the bayou about 7 o’clock towards New Iberia, towards which the enemy are retreating. About 60 prisoners marched with us under guard of a Co. of the 26th Me. We marched till between 11 & 12, when we halted at Harding’s planta[t]i[o]n, the junction of the road with the straight road from Franklin. Here our Reg. rec’d orders to return to Franklin to do provost guard duty, while the rest of the Brigade pushed on in pursuit of the retreating rebels. We halted an hour for dinner, then marched back by the shorter route, & reached Franklin about 3 p.M. Pitched our tents on the sidewalk, in front of a fine house standing back from the street. Cooked our supper & [two illeg. words]. Just after dark the 3 Cos. That were left at Brashear city marched up the street in command of the Major. They came be steamer to the place when Weitzel began the fight on Sunday, about 12 miles below here, & marched from there this afternoon. They left Brashear Tuesday afternoon.