May 22, 1863

21Friday.

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.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]

April 23, 1863

23Thursday.  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.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]

April 13, 1863

14Monday.  The Laurel Hill ran in to the landing, & skirmishers were sent out, who soon fell in with the enemy, & we then first heard the crack of rebel muskets.

From our boat there seemed to be a pretty sharp skirmish going on, but as we were a mile distant, could not see much but the smoke of the guns.

Our big guns soon sent some dozen shells into the woods to the N. of the landing where the Laurel Hill was lying, & seen the firing on shore ceased.  Probably there was only a small force of rebels.

We landed about 8 A.M.  My Co. the first of our Reg. to go ashore (only the 7 right Cos. Having come from Brashear City)—we soon marched up through a rough road through the woods & cane brakes, to a plantation about a mile from where we landed.  Continue reading

April 8, 1863

10Wednesday.  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.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]

April 2, 1863

2Thursday.

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.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]