Thursday. We then returned to our old company ground, & got breakfast, Co. “E” came in with the reserve, but Co.’s “A” & “B” were left behind. “A” is still (1 o’clock) absent. Co. “B” has got in this forenoon, & report that they went into the enemy’s works during the rain, where they lost two men killed, who were left there, & two wounded that were brought in. Lt. Anson is thought to be a prisoner, as he was not known to recross the intrenchments. There is much anxiety about Co. “A”, but they are supposed to be in the timber, where they will have to stay till dark. Lt. J. had a ball pass through the sleeve of his blouse. My prayers for the preservation of my Co. have been richly answered. May we all be grateful to our heavenly Father. The 8th Vt. Regt. is said to have suffered severely, & the 90th N.Y. also lost a few men. Continue reading
Friday. One of the large rebel guns sent a dozen shells over to our right last evening, but whether they did any harm, I do not know. Our guns replied but two or three times, very little musketry firing in the night. This morning there is the usual amount, but no big guns yet. The weather continues the same day after day—clear & pleasant with a hot sun in the middle of the day. How the Siege progresses we do not know, as we are confined to a small spot. We hope, however, that some progress is making[!], & that we shall soon be able to rejoice over the capture of this last stronghold of rebellion in this State. May God grant us this great favor, & spare life if consistent with his holy will. At 9 A.M. went out on the breast works in command of half the picket guard, Capt. Crosby having the other half. Posted the men in the rifle pits, 7 behind the shelters, three or four men on a post. Each man stands at the breat work an hour & is then relieved by another. We are perhaps a third of a mile from the rebel breast work, from which an occasional rifle shot comes, but no one has yet been hit. During the forenoon Gen’ls Banks, Grover & Weitzell came along the line, & inspected the batteries. Preparations are making for placing more guns or mortars on this part of the works. Continue reading
Had a quiet night, very little artillery firing, but about the usual amount of musketry. Slept well & turned out at sunrise, Breakfast of bread, & a small ration of boiled pork & beef brought in. Our three days are out this forenoon, but do not know whether we are to be relieved today. Finished up my letter to Pamelia and sent it by the Chaplain, who is going to the landing this morning. He saw Capt. Blodget of the 14th Maine yesterday. He was well, & sent regards home. The Chaplain has ridden the whole length of our lines, & says there is great activity in mounting guns & mortars, & that there is the utmost confidence felt in regard to the result of the siege. God grant that we may realize our highest expectations & may be spared to see the old flag waving over these rebel works. Lt. R. arrived about noon with Edgar Holbrook, Stevens, Baker & Ramsdell, having come in yesterday. We have now 42 enlisted men present, including Ames, who [illeg. word] back near the cook’s quarters. Wm. Brown, & Small, we left at Baton Rouge, but presume they will soon be able to come up. Little artillery firing today, but preparations appear to be making for some soon. I am to go on picket tomorrow for the first time since we have been here.
Tuesday. Had some hot coffee & boiled pork & bacon brought in for breakfast about 7 ½ o’clock. While lying here this morning some bullets have dropped among us within a few feet, one of them just grazing the leg of one of the men, but He who observes the fall of the sparrow has preserved us—praises to his holy name. Commenced a pencil letter to Pamelia, describing our situation. Shall add more when I know more. The folks at home are ignorant of our whereabouts, & for that reason cannot have the anxiety they otherwise would. Lord, preserve them all, & give them full trust in thee. Had salt beef & coffee brought in for dinner, & this P.M. have issued two days rations of bread. Our guns have been pretty busy this afternoon, but they get no reply. About dark we moved our position a little as the shells are expected to fly thick & fast tonight. I put my trust in thee, O God. Slept quietly, few large guns being fired during the night. Was waked once by a pretty sharp musketry fire.
Turned out at 3 ½ o’clock, made coffee, & started about 4 ½. The morning was warm & sultry, but we made good time & reached the “Meeting House in the Woods”—the limit of our march, on the 14th of March—at 9 o’clock. Here both Regiments halted two hours to put the arms in order & have them inspected.
The big guns have been thundering away for the last hour (9 o’clock now) & I suppose there is soon to be work for us. May God grant great success to our arms, & “cover our heads in the day of battle.” May he verify his promise to us “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, & thou shalt glorify me.” I feel that I ought to glorify Him for his past mercies to me & mine, & should he spare my life, I will try to glorify his holy name through all my life. May he help me to do so, Amen.
Moved again at 11 & marched [illeg. word] across the plains some six miles to a plantation about 3 miles from our batteries that have been playing upon the rebel works all day. We are to spend the night here, but whether we are to go into battle tomorrow we know not.
We are here about opposite the centre of the works, 7 shall probably be in Grover’s Division. The impression seems to prevail that the rebels cannot hold out more than a few days at most, but that their works will not be taken without much loss of life. God grant that we may succeed without much further sacrifice of life. Lay down early & slept well. The big guns were roaring all night, though I did not hear them.
Did not get up till about 9 o’clock. Were then just passing Donaldsonville. Got breakfast in the Cabin, 12 M. We are just passing Plaquemine 20 miles below Baton Rouge. A boat from gunboat No. 2 has just come on board, bringing the news that the rebels have offered to surrender Port Hudson on condition of being allowed to take away their arms & the big guns! 3 P.M. Have just finished dinner, & we are not opposite the lower part of Baton Rouge. Reached, & moored to the old wharf boat “Hatcher”, about four went on shore, but a hard shower coming on, we took shelter in the Hatcher till it was over. Delivered two days rations of bread & coffee & a little salt port, & then started.
Marched up on the Bayou Sara road 5 miles & camped just below the pontoon bridge. The 26th had reached camp before us, having marched through in the rain. Slept well. Heard many reports of mortars up at Port Hudson during the night. I dreamed of being at home & having dear mother come & kiss me many times! May my kind heavenly Father soon cause the dream to prove a reality.
Reg. formed line near the Depot, stacked arms & the boys made coffee for breakfast. I wrote a short letter, in pencil, to Pamelia, soon after we stacked arms, & put it into the office. Just before I mailed it the Chaplain brought in a late mail containing a letter for me dated May 11 from Pamelia, & having sealed mine, acknowledged the receipt of hers on the back of mine. Mother’s health was much improved when P. wrote, for which I desire to be truly grateful to God.
Drew & delivered to the men a lot of clothing, consisting of 10 prs trousers, 20 shirts, 32 pairs stockings, 5 blouses, 6 pairs Bootees. Our baggage has been going aboard an ocean steamer, with the boxes that were sent down here from Baton Rouge in April. [Blank space for name not inserted] came over from the Hospital to see us this forenoon. He is looking well, but is quite lame. He says our men are all doing well. Sgt. Joseph Wing was very imprudent in eating, which caused his diarrhea to return. I have no doubt that he thus shortened his days, if he did not actually kill himself. Geo. Davis took charge of his effects, & sent them to his father. Went on board the Fulton [steamer] just after dinner, our baggage having been stowed on board in the forenoon. The 26th Me. & part of the 52nd Mass. came down from Brashear in the afternoon train & came aboard about dark, but the boat did not leave till after midnight, Maj. Brackett, Lt. J. & myself accepting a stateroom, & had a good nights rest.
Crossed to Brashear in the morning, got breakfast, & then went to see the boys in the Convalescent Camp. After this, went to the Island Hospital & saw Edwin Young—found him better than when he left Opelousas. The Dr. & nurse both spoke encouragingly about him. His diarrhea is checked, though he still has remittent fever. Returned to Berwick, & at 2 o’clock the Reg. crossed the river, & stacked arms near the 26th Maine. We expected to wait until tomorrow, but about sunset orders came to pack up & take the cars for Algiers tonight. Got on board at 10 o’clock, but did not leave till after 11. Arrived at Algiers about sunrise.
Monday. Turned out at 4 o’clock & got breakfast—the orders being for our Reg. to take the advance & start at 5. Only four passes to be given to a Company to ride on the teams. We marched through Franklin without stopping there, & halted at one o’clock under some wide-spreading oaks 3 miles below Franklin. The forenoon was very hot, & the road dusty. Have had but 3 rests in the 15 miles. Many men fell out & I for one did not wonder at it. I was tired myself, & gladly heard the word “halt.” Started again at 3 & marched through Centreville, & to a fine smooth field a mile beyond (3 miles from last halting place) where we halted for the night. Having two hours of daylight, many of the officers & men took a good wash in the bayou. Had fresh beef & pork for supper, which was cooked & eaten in good season. We are camping 6 miles from Franklin, & about 22 from Brashear, which place we expect to reach by Wednesday noon. As I write this (7 o’clock) the 41st have just dashed by towards Centreville, & the report is that the train has been fired on this side of Franklin, & several of our men killed. Continue reading
Started at 6 a.m. & after marching a mile were ordered to put two men with each wagon, & having thus “deployed” our Company, Lt. J., Capt. Wood, & myself got on a baggage wagon, & “took it easy.”
The plantation where we camped is the largest we have seen, having immense fields of corn & cane growing, all of which is growing well, the negroes having remained till now on the place; but this morning, they are joining in the “Exodous,” leaving home for they know not where. There are said to be more than 200 teams loaded with negroes in our train, & nearly 100 Army wagons. Many of the negroes, male & female, are on foot, & there are constant acquisitions, making to the train.
Stopped at noon in a beautiful oak grove on the border of the Teche, & cooked dinner. Here for the first time a party was detailed to drive in cattle to be slaughtered for rations, a thing that ought to have been done all along. The Col. being unable to ride on horseback on account of a fall yesterday, gave up his horse to me for the afternoon, Lt. J. starting with his little mare. The Quartermaster states that there are now 400 wagons in the train, which must be near 4 miles long. The ride across the prairie this afternoon was a delightful one, & I was even better pleased with the Country than with that on the march up. Halted about 5 o’clock, & the fresh meat—beef & mutton—coming in early, the men had ample time to cook a good supper. Slept finely on the ground. Heard heavy guns in the night in what we supposed to be the direction of Port Hudson.