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Title: History of the Forty-second regiment infantry, Massachusetts volunteers, 1862, 1863, 1864
Author: Bosson, Charles P.
Language: English
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  HISTORY
  OF THE
  FORTY-SECOND REGIMENT
  _INFANTRY_,
  MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEERS,
  1862, 1863, 1864.

  BY
  SERGEANT-MAJOR CHARLES P. BOSSON.

  BOSTON:
  MILLS, KNIGHT & CO., PRINTERS, 115 CONGRESS STREET.
  1886.


  COPYRIGHTED BY
  CHARLES P. BOSSON.
  1886.



PREFACE.


This history of the regiment was undertaken by me at the special
request of several officers who knew I had written, soon after the term
of service expired, considerable matter relating thereto, for my own
amusement and instruction. Without this foundation to work on, written
when memory was fresh, it is doubtful if a history of the regiment
could be written, for references to many soldiers’ diaries disclosed
the fact that nearly all did not contain detailed accounts of events
occurring at the time entries were made. Few soldiers thought any
memorandum of theirs would ever become useful for a purpose of this
kind. Access to the regimental books and files of papers has greatly
facilitated this history.

I have not been able to write a satisfactory account of Companies C and
H on detached service, or of Company K on detached service, in charge
of pontoons. I found it impossible to obtain information in a way to be
of service.

I proposed to publish _Descriptive Lists_ of each company of the
regiment. Upon investigation, and a comparison of lists in possession
of the War Department, the regimental descriptive books, and orders
of detail, I found such a marked difference in Christian names and
surnames the idea was abandoned; besides, such lists would prove
misleading, as many men enlisted under a false age; those who were too
young gave in their age several years older than they were, others,
too old, made their age to meet the requirements of law. The original
_Descriptive Lists_ were made up in a hurried, loose manner, few
officers realizing their importance in after years.

It is probable certain facts in these pages will appear to some
readers at this day far different than they would had the history been
published within a few years after the war closed. We have grown older
and wiser than we were in 1862 and 1863.

If any of my old comrades in arms shall have passed a pleasant hour in
reading this history, I shall feel amply repaid for time and trouble in
its preparation.

  CHARLES P. BOSSON.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

                                                                 PAGE.

  ORGANIZATION OF REGIMENT--CAMP AT READVILLE--DEPARTURE
    FOR NEW YORK                                                     1


  CHAPTER II.

  EN ROUTE--CAMP AT EAST NEW YORK--ON TRANSPORTS                    19


  CHAPTER III.

  ON BOARD TRANSPORTS--THE SAXON--QUINCY--CHARLES
    OSGOOD--SHETUCKET--QUINNEBAUG                                   38


  CHAPTER IV.

  GALVESTON                                                         61


  CHAPTER V.

  AT CARROLLTON--BOUND FOR GALVESTON--ARRIVAL OF COMPANIES--CAMP
    MANSFIELD--DETAILS                                             140


  CHAPTER VI.

  FEBRUARY--AT BAYOU GENTILLY--MORE DETAILS                        154


  CHAPTER VII.

  ENLISTED MEN PRISONERS AT HOUSTON--MARCH FOR THE FEDERAL
    LINES--ARRIVAL AT NEW ORLEANS                                  173


  CHAPTER VIII.

  AT BAYOU GENTILLY--MARCH--APRIL                                  197


  CHAPTER IX.

  AT BAYOU GENTILLY--MAY                                           226


  CHAPTER X.

  BAYOU GENTILLY--JUNE--FAREWELL TO GENTILLY CAMP--IN NEW ORLEANS  239


  CHAPTER XI.

  BRASHEAR CITY                                                    252


  CHAPTER XII.

  ACTION AT LA-FOURCHE CROSSING                                    286


  CHAPTER XIII.

  JULY--IN NEW ORLEANS--AT ALGIERS                                 310


  CHAPTER XIV.

  COMPANIES C AND H ON DETACHED SERVICE AT CAMP PARAPET            331


  CHAPTER XV.

  COMPANY K IN CHARGE OF PONTOONS--BATON ROUGE--TECHE
    CAMPAIGN--SIEGE OF PORT HUDSON--DONALDSONVILLE--RETURN
    TO REGIMENT                                                    352


  CHAPTER XVI.

  AUGUST--AT ALGIERS--BOUND NORTH--ON BOARD
    “CONTINENTAL”--ARRIVAL HOME                                    378


  CHAPTER XVII.

  ADVENTURES OF CORPORAL WENTWORTH AND PRIVATE HERSEY              389


  CHAPTER XVIII.

  OFFICERS IN CONFEDERATE PRISONS--HOUSTON--STATE PRISON--CAMP
    GROCE--CAMP FORD--EN ROUTE HOME--AT HOME                       415


  CHAPTER XIX.

  IN SERVICE FOR ONE HUNDRED DAYS--ORGANIZATION--READVILLE--OFF
    FOR WASHINGTON--AT ALEXANDRIA--AT GREAT FALLS--RETURN HOME     442



ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                                 PAGE.

  FIELD AND STAFF OFFICERS                                           1

  KUHN’S WHARF, GALVESTON                                           81

  HEADQUARTERS AT BAYOU GENTILLY                                   161

[Illustration:

  LIEUT-COL. STEDMAN.      COL. BURRELL.      CHAPLAIN SANGER.]



CHAPTER I.

ORGANIZATION OF REGIMENT--CAMP AT READVILLE--DEPARTURE FOR NEW
YORK.


At the time (August 4th, 1862) a draft was ordered by President
Lincoln for three hundred thousand militia to serve for a period of
nine months, Colonel Isaac S. Burrell was in command of the Second
Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia--an old militia organization
of the State. General Orders No. 25, issued July 1st, 1862, by the
Commander-in-Chief of the State troops, Governor John A. Andrew,
notified the militia to prepare for a call to service. General Orders
No. 34, issued August 13th, 1862, by the same authority, notified the
volunteer militia they would be accepted for nine months service.

In common with other organized and uniformed militia organizations
in the State, the colonel was instructed by officers and men of
his command to tender the regiment as volunteers for nine months
service, and to obtain permission to recruit up to the requisite
strength. Public opinion was opposed to a draft at that time, and
Governor Andrew, by accepting the services of such militia bodies as
volunteered, affording every facility in his power to enable them to
recruit up to the full maximum of strength, avoided the necessity for
a draft, made available the services of those officers who eventually
recruited their companies to a war strength, and the rank and file
already enlisted in the militia--a very fine nucleus to commence with.
The intermixing of raw recruits with men of some experience of the
duties of a soldier tended to greatly facilitate the mobilization of
the States’ quota, and hastened the departure of regiments to the field
in a tolerable good condition for immediate duty.

The Second Regiment, M. V. M., was one of the regiments accepted.
As there was already a Second Regiment (three years troops) in the
field, orders were issued designating the regiment as the Forty-Second
Regiment, M. V. M., and was ordered into a camp of instruction at
Readville, August 26th, 1862.

The old Second Regiment, M. V. M., a part of the First Brigade, First
Division, State Militia, had just completed the five days camp duty
with the brigade at Medford, required by law, from August 13th to
18th, and the regimental guard, Company C, Captain Leonard, left at
Medford in charge of the camp equipage, since that encampment ended, in
anticipation that the regiment would be immediately ordered back, was
ordered August 22d to strike camp, proceed to Readville early next day,
and pitch tents upon high ground very near to the Boston & Providence
Railroad track. The camp was laid out by Quartermaster Burrell and
Adjutant Davis, assisted by men of Company C. Colonel Burrell assumed
command of all troops rendezvousing there until Brigadier-General
Peirce was placed in command.

In addition to this guard, the first detachment of about one hundred
men, occupied this camp on the afternoon of August 26th, and from that
time until the regiment was complete (November 11th), recruiting,
equipping, and instruction occupied the time. The Ninth Battery,
Captain De Vecchi (enlisting for three years), Eleventh Battery,
Captain Jones, Forty-Third Regiment, Colonel Holbrook, Forty-Fourth
Regiment, Colonel Lee, and the Forty-Fifth Regiment, Colonel Codman
(all enlisting for nine months), were encamped in tents and barracks
at the same place and at the same time. The whole force formed a post,
commanded by Brigadier-General R. A. Peirce, of the State Militia.

The officers of the old Second Regiment, M. V. M., that went into camp
with the intention of entering the service, if successful in recruiting
men to complete their companies and the Forty-Second Regiment, were:--

Colonel--I. S. Burrell.

Lieutenant-Colonel--T. L. D. Perkins.

Major--George W. Beach.

Adjutant--Charles A. Davis.

Quartermaster--C. B. Burrell, _vice_ James W. Coverly, resigned.

Surgeon--John A. Lamson, resigned August 28th, 1862.

Company A--Captain, Wm. A. Brabine; Lieutenants, Wm. Kilner and John H.
Stevens.

Company B--Captain, Albert H. Townsend; Lieutenants, Artemas Webster
and Wm. B. Rand.

Company C--Captain, O. W. Leonard; Lieutenants, I. B. White and Geo. H.
Drew.

Company D--Captain, George Sherivé; Lieutenants, Wm. H. Cowdin and D.
F. Eddy.

Company E--Captain, Samuel C. Davis; Lieutenants, David Hale and Henry
Pierce.

Company F--Captain, Wm. H. Russ; Lieutenants, Wm. A. Clark and James C.
Singleton.

Company G--Captain, A. N. Proctor; Lieutenants, A. E. Proctor and
Charles Jarvis.

Considerable time elapsed before the regiment was full. The system
adopted by the Governor, of assigning quotas to cities and towns, was
found to work to the disadvantage of the seven original companies
comprising the regiment in gaining recruits, as such quotas preferred
to enlist in a regiment, as a body, under officers of their own choice,
whenever the quotas were sufficient to form a company, or companies.
It became evident, early in September, that the Forty-Second Regiment
could not be filled to ten full companies unless some of the original
companies gave way to such city or town companies as could be secured.
Colonel Burrell, with his officers and their friends, spent time and
money, visiting various cities and towns endeavoring to have them join
the Forty-Second.

There being a vacancy of three companies in the regiment, Colonel
Burrell, although having offers of five full companies to join at one
time, thought he could conscientiously accept of only three, viz., one
from Weymouth, one from Medway, and one from Dorchester, preferring
to let the other two join some other regiment, and to wait a short
time longer, in hope that officers recruiting for the original seven
companies would have full commands in a short time, although recruiting
was very, very dull at the time for four of those companies. When two
of the old companies, D and G, were full to the maximum, and the third,
Company C, was progressing favorably, it was evident Companies A, B,
E and F could not be recruited, and were delaying formation of the
regiment.

Company H, recruited by Captain Bailey, was about full. This company
was not in the old Second Regiment. Bailey had some sort of authority
to recruit a company, and expressed a desire to become a part of the
Forty-Second. He made his headquarters at Readville, and sent men into
camp often. There was a great deal of bounty jumping in this company
before it was mustered in. The keeping of a correct list of men sent to
camp by the captain was a tough job, as the adjutant and sergeant-major
well remember. What blunders were made, or obstacles met and overcome
by Captain Bailey, no one can tell, for the captain kept his own
counsel.

In Company B, Captain Townsend was very troublesome. In September he
carried his supposed grievances so far as to remain away from camp, and
order his men to keep away also. This culminated on the eighteenth,
when Colonel Burrell requested the adjutant-general to discharge him;
also recommended that Companies B and C be consolidated, and that
Company C be the nucleus and letter of the new company. Orders were
issued by the Governor disbanding A, B, E and F, transferring the men
to other companies. The Weymouth company was designated Company A;
Medway company, Company B; Dorchester company, Company I; and steps
were taken to try and secure town quotas to fill the three companies
required to complete the regiment.

During October the Governor decided to consolidate certain regiments,
in order to remedy an apparent evil, and get the troops into the field
as soon as possible. More regiments were being recruited in the State
than could be filled by the State quota of nine months volunteers. The
Forty-Second and Fifty-Fourth regiments had the smallest number of men
mustered into service; the Forty-Second having seven companies, the
Fifty-Fourth, six companies. Three companies from Worcester County,
viz., from Leicester, Captain Cogswell, Worcester, Captain Stiles,
Ware, Captain Davis, of the Fifty-Fourth, were transferred to the
Forty-Second regiment. One company of the Fifty-Fourth was transferred
to the Fiftieth Regiment, two companies of the Fifty-Fourth to the
Fifty-First Regiment, and the Fifty-Fourth Regiment was disbanded.

All through the attempt to recruit the regiment to its maximum
strength, Lieutenant-Colonel Perkins and Major Beach, instead of
rendering any valuable service in that direction, were hampering the
efforts of others. A jealousy sprang up in the breasts of these two
officers against the colonel, born from what no one seems to know,
and it is doubtful if they knew themselves. This jealous feeling was
intensified when Companies A, B, E and F were disbanded, opening
the way for three new companies from city and town quotas to take
their places. With only three companies remaining of the old Second
Regiment, a triangular fight sprang up for the positions of colonel,
lieutenant-colonel and major; elective in all nine months troops from
Massachusetts, line officers casting the ballots. Officers of the
three Worcester County companies held the balance of power. They were
desirous of obtaining for field officers the best men they could find
in the regiment. A council was held one evening, seated in a circle
upon the grass some distance from quarters, where the matter was
fully discussed. It was finally decided to vote for Isaac S. Burrell
for colonel, as he was well known to most of them as an old militia
officer; for Captain Stedman, Company B, to be lieutenant-colonel, as
he had been highly recommended to them by officials connected with
the Norwich, Vermont, Military Academy (where Stedman formerly held a
position as instructor in military tactics), with whom a correspondence
was carried on without the knowledge of Captain Stedman; for Captain
Stiles, Company E, to be major, as they all knew him to be an excellent
officer. The question of proportioning the field positions so as to
recognize the new companies that had joined the regiment did not enter
into their discussions at all.

The election occurred on Thursday afternoon, November 6th,
at regimental headquarters. Every line officer was present.
Brigadier-General Peirce was presiding officer, with acting
Post-Adjutant Lieutenant Partridge, Company B, recording officer. The
vote for colonel stood twenty-eight for I. S. Burrell and two for T. L.
D. Perkins. The vote for lieutenant-colonel stood sixteen for Captain
Joseph Stedman, ten for Lieutenant-Colonel T. L. D. Perkins, two for
Major George W. Beach, and two for Captain A. N. Proctor. The vote for
major stood seventeen for Captain F. G. Stiles, three for Major George
W. Beach, and ten for Captain A. N. Proctor.

Friends of Captain Proctor based his claim for the positions of
lieutenant-colonel and major on the fact that he was the senior
captain, a valid claim, which would have had weight with officers
holding the balance of power if they had known more of his military
history at that time. His friends did not press his claim until it was
evident Perkins and Beach could not be elected.[1]

[1] The wounds of disappointment inflicted by this election were never
fully healed, but did not interfere with all of the officers doing
their duty as they understood it. In very small things did any feeling
show itself afterwards, and not then until the lieutenant-colonel was
in command, while the colonel was a prisoner.

The dates of muster into the United States service are as follows:

  Company A--September 13, 1862.
     “    B--    “     13,  “
     “    C--October   11,  “
     “    D--September 19,  “
     “    E--    “     30,  “
     “    F--    “     30,  “
     “    G--    “     16,  “
     “    H--    “     24,  “
     “    I--    “     16,  “
     “    K--October   14,  “

The field and staff were commissioned November 6th, 1862, and mustered
in November 11th, 1862. The time of the regiment commenced from October
14th, 1862.

It would be a hard task to pick out a finer body of men than composed
the rank and file of the Forty-Second Regiment as it now stood,
containing men from all ranks of life and all grades of society. A few
bad men were enlisted, ’tis true, but less than the usual proportion
found in regiments formed and enlisted as this was. About one-tenth, or
say nearly one hundred men, were of that disposition and temperament,
in case of going into action the very best thing to be done with them,
for the safety of the regiment, would be to hurl them into a ditch
with orders to stay there until the fighting was over. That the record
of the regiment does not equal the best from Massachusetts was due
to events over which it had no control. The material was there, the
courage was there; it needed merely a baptism fire to fully acquaint
the rank and file with the smell of powder, and then opportunities to
prove their metal.

Life in camp at Readville was by no means monotonous. During August,
September, and part of October, the men were under canvas. Regular
routine duties of camp were performed, and the hours after duty were
passed in social pleasures, which only those who have a natural taste
for the life of a soldier, or young novices in camp life, know how to
enjoy. The weather, for a large portion of the time, was glorious. The
surrounding scenery at Readville is very fine, as any person who has
visited the ground can testify. As the facilities for visiting from
Boston were very good, _via_ the Boston and Providence Railroad, also
by splendid drives over excellent roads, all of the troops concentrated
there, over three thousand men, had many visitors to while away the
time when off duty, causing the various camps to have a gala appearance
at all parades of ceremony, such as guard mounting, dress parades and
reviews. Bands of music were specially engaged at various times to
assist in these parades, much to the gratification of the men. All day
long the rat-a-tap of the drums was to be heard, as the newly-organized
drum corps attached to the regiments went on with their practice. It
was a continual scene of excitement, without danger, until orders
came for the various bodies to move. Between other regiments and the
Forty-Second there was not much social intercourse, except in a few
instances. There appeared to exist a feeling that the Forty-Second did
not amount to much.[2]

[2] Among the members of a band occasionally engaged for duty on
Sundays at Readville Camp was Mariani, the old drum-major of Gilmore’s
Band when at the zenith of its fame in Boston. Signior (as he was
called) Mariani was a man of commanding presence, very tall and very
heavy in build. He was a jolly companion, full of anecdote regarding
his native land, Italy. His one time, two time, three time story has
never been forgotten by those who had the pleasure of hearing it.

Surgeon Cummings, appointed _vice_ Lamson resigned, commenced his
duties and reports September 6th, at once taking hold of matters with
a will and devotion to the interests of men in camp characteristic
of him.[3] With a sharp eye kept on the rations, cooking, sanitary
condition of grounds and quarters, hardly a day passed without his
embodying some suggestion of importance in his daily reports to the
colonel. At first he had great difficulty in getting first-sergeants
of companies to answer properly the surgeon’s call at his quarters in
the morning, whereby some men were neglected who were sick in quarters
and were not reported. He maintained his right, by virtue of the army
regulations then in force, demanding that the first-sergeants, or those
acting in their stead, attend the call punctually, report in writing
all on sick furlough, all sick in quarters and unable to attend, and
cause all who were sick so as to incapacitate them from duty, or
claimed to be so, to appear at his quarters, where each company would
be called in turn, prescribed for, and the men sent to quarters, to
hospital, on furlough, to easy duty or full duty; and if after the
morning call any were taken sick, a sergeant or corporal in all cases
be sent with them to his quarters, or to summon him to see them at
their own quarters when too sick to go to his tent. By hammering away
he finally got this system at work to his satisfaction. He calculated
to keep the run of all sick men in the regiment, as was his duty, and
did not want any one to say he had been neglected. Companies C and H
gave the surgeon much trouble, and ruffled his temper, because not able
to obtain any report from them, day after day, even after they were
mustered into service.

[3] Cummings served in the Army of the Potomac, between Yorktown and
Richmond; also did duty in the Yorktown and Portsmouth Grove general
hospitals.

The regimental hospital tent was one of the first things to occupy his
attention. By constant efforts on his part and of Colonel Burrell, he
was able to report on the twentieth of September that he was supplied
with all the medicines needed; on the eighteenth of October that the
hospital tent was ready for such patients as needed treatment there,
with accommodations for ten patients--in his opinion the best at the
post. On the second of October, and up to that date, accommodations in
regimental hospital had been such, and those unfit in the estimation of
the surgeon, that only two men could be received. Until the hospital
was ready, the practice was to allow sick men to go home on furlough if
unfit for duty. A few of the men attempted to play “old soldier,” but
very soon exposed themselves in some way, and had to do double duty as
the penalty. Surgeon Cummings could not be fooled very long.

In the matter of police duty in the camp, he kept a careful watch to
see whether the officer of the day had sinks properly attended to. Cook
houses, cooking utensils and their care were often inspected by him;
also the cooking and food for rations. The guard quarters frequently
had his inspection, nor was he forgetful of the sentries on night duty,
many times recommending that hot coffee be served to them when the
nights were cold. With constant persevering efforts and rigid rules the
camp was kept very free from filth and vermin, that curse of military
camps in general.

Most of the sick cases were from slight ailments. All serious cases
were furloughed home, and for a greater part of the time the average
sick was quite small; the camp continued to remain in a healthy
condition. Some cases of scarlet fever appeared in October and
November. Prompt isolation of persons affected prevented any spread
of this disease. One fatal case occurred in the regiment previous
to leaving the State--Private Robert T. Morse, of Company B, died
October 4th, 1862. While in regimental hospital his symptoms not being
favorable he was taken home by relatives and died there. In October
the surgeon discovered that Private Warren J. Partridge, Company B,
twenty-three years old, had an aneurism of the right subclavian artery,
liable to burst and destroy his life at any moment, and recommended a
discharge from the service. Private Partridge was discharged October
22d. The surgeon also reported on October 22d that one of the cases in
hospital he believed to be feigned, Private Abner Ward, of Company C.
He had learned Ward was determined to get a discharge at all hazards,
and was fifty-two years old. Ward enlisted as forty-four years of age,
never went with the regiment, and did obtain a discharge for disability
March 12th, 1863.

Assistant-Surgeon Hitchcock was appointed and assigned to the regiment
by the surgeon-general of the State, reporting for duty in September.
Before leaving the State there were no opportunities to judge of his
capacity. He made a favorable impression on some and was not liked by
others. His appearance and conversation was that of a young graduate
from college. The reason he failed to satisfy men of the regiment while
in the field may partially be traced to early impressions he made upon
them at Readville.

The rations furnished while in camp were good, and could not cause
complaint. So near home, with many friends, pocket money plenty, the
regular rations were supplemented by extras to such an extent that it
may be said most of the men fared sumptuously. Notwithstanding all
this, the natural instinct of a soldier in camp or on active service,
to forage, would make itself manifest in spite of extra precautions
taken to prevent it. A supper, participated in by a favored few one
evening, was one of the pleasant events of this camp. Those invited
were pledged not to ask questions. As chicken after chicken was brought
forth from a ground-hole inside of the tent, the reason was obvious.
It would have been awkward for some persons present to have asked
questions and been told the truth, for frequent complaints of despoiled
henroosts had been made by residents in adjacent farm-houses, and all
officers, commissioned and non-commissioned, were ordered to keep a
sharp lookout for chickens served as rations, and to follow up the clue
so obtained.

The non-commissioned staff made an attempt to form a mess, with an
arrangement made with one of the company cooks to attend to the
cooking. The plan worked well for a short time. The sharp appetites
of all who composed that mess got the better of their willingness to
allow fair play and a fair chance for all to sit down and have a proper
share of what was on the mess table, so the unlucky member who was late
would find nothing to eat. Dissatisfaction was expressed by the unlucky
member at such times, which was to be expected, but precious little
satisfaction could he get. One after another withdrew until there was
not enough left to stand the expense, when the non-commissioned staff
mess became a thing of the past. No attempt was ever made to revive it.

To vary the monotony of company and battalion drills, that had been
pushed ever since camp was located, short practice marches were made
from camp in different directions over the various roads in the
vicinity. The day after a march made October 9th, Surgeon Cummings,
in his morning report, commented as follows: “The march of yesterday
had its usual effect upon those not in perfect health, of which class
there are always more or less in every regiment. A larger proportion,
however, than usual, will, I believe, be found in this regiment capable
of enduring severe and exhausting hardships, which are unavoidable in
the field.” Throughout October the weather could not have been better.
What with the bracing air, constant out-door exercise, plain food,
strict regularity of meals and good hours for sleep, it was astonishing
to see how tough and hardy those men became who had heretofore led a
sedentary and confined life in counting-rooms. The greater number of
this class of men afterwards stood fatigue of campaign service much
better than those who appeared to be healthier and stronger. In fact,
the men who were strong, from having out-door occupations, were among
the first to break down when hot weather set in, while serving in the
Nineteenth Corps.

On the departure of the Forty-Fourth Regiment for North Carolina,
October 22d, the Forty-Second struck its camp, occupied the barracks
vacated by that regiment, and rapidly improved in discipline and drill.
On going into the barracks of the Forty-Fourth they were found to be in
a dirty and filthy condition. It was hard work policing the grounds
and cleaning up quarters before the surgeon would be satisfied with
the sanitary condition of grounds and barracks. The regimental camp
hospital was removed to the barrack hospital on the twenty-third, much
against the judgment of Surgeon Cummings, who expressed a preference
for his tent as long as the weather was not too cold. In his morning
report of October 23d, Cummings says, “The removing of the camp from
its present site to that lately occupied by the Forty-Fourth Regiment
in this weather will, I fear, cause more or less sickness from
exposure; but the men stand camp life remarkably well--much better
than we had any reason to expect. The field, barracks, cook-houses,
hospital, wells, and especially the sinks, lately occupied and used
by the Forty-Fourth Regiment were left in the most dirty and filthy
condition imaginable. I was astonished to find a camp which had been
reported to the surgeon-general as a pattern of neatness and excellent
sanitary regulation in such an exceedingly filthy condition, especially
the sinks. They evidently have not been filled in for more than a week,
to say the least. I shall report to the surgeon-general the exact
state, as near as possible, in which the camp was left for us.”

November was a cold month. On the seventh a severe north-east
snow-storm was experienced, causing much inconvenience and suffering,
as stoves had not been placed in the barracks. The next day this was
remedied by obtaining stoves from the Forty-Fifth Regiment barracks.

Orders were originally prepared for the regiment to proceed to
Newbern, N. C., but Colonel Sprague, Fifty-First, who had served
under General Foster, wishing to do so again, an interview was held
with Adjutant-General Schouler by the two colonels, and as Colonel
Burrell expressed a preference to serve under General Banks, the
original orders were destroyed; orders were then issued to report
to Major-General N. P. Banks in New York, to form a part of his
expedition, or “Banks’ expedition” as it was publicly known.

The regiment left Readville at one o’clock in the afternoon, Friday,
November 21st, in a heavy rain-storm, _via_ Boston and Providence
Railroad, by cars to Groton, Conn., thence by steamer _Commodore_ to
New York.

The original mustered strength of the regiment was as follows:

  Field and Staff, 9 officers,                   9 total.
  Non-Commissioned Staff,       5 enlisted men,  5   “
  Company A,       3 officers, 94        “      97   “
    “     B,       3    “      92        “      95   “
    “     C,       3    “      88        “      91   “
    “     D,       3    “      86        “      89   “
    “     E,       3    “      79        “      82   “
    “     F,       3    “      88        “      91   “
    “     G,       3    “      96        “      99   “
    “     H,       3    “      88        “      91   “
    “     I,       3    “      92        “      95   “
    “     K,       3    “      86        “      89   “

The following men had been discharged for disability before leaving the
State:

  Company A, Private Joseph Viger,        November 18, 1862.
     “    A,    “    Bernard Doherty,         “    18,   “
     “    A,    “    James C. Wendall,        “    18,   “
     “    B,    “    Warren J. Partridge,  October 22,   “
     “    F,    “    James O. Boyd,       November 19,   “
     “    F,    “    Henry W. Pratt,          “    19,   “
     “    F,    “    Anthony Sherman,         “    19,   “
     “    K,    “    William B. Gould,        “    18,   “

There were left behind, in the State, the following officer and
enlisted men, on detached service, sick, or in jail:

Lieutenant D. A. Partridge, Company B--Remained at Readville camp by
orders of Colonel Day, issued October 27th, 1862, on detached duty,
looking out for deserters; six men were returned to the regiment
through him. There was some difficulty and correspondence relating to
his rejoining the regiment. A feud existed between Lieutenant-Colonel
Stedman and Partridge, occasioned by the election for captain in
Company B, when Partridge was jumped over by Cook, through interference
of Stedman, so Partridge claims. Stedman lost friends in the regiment
by his action. Lieutenant Partridge was mustered out of service March
5th, 1863, to accept a commission in the Fifty-Fifth Regiment.

Private Newman B. Luce, Company E--Sick in hospital at Camp Wool,
Worcester, since October 2d, 1862. Rejoined his company April 9th, 1863.

Private Frederick A. Mahan, Company E--Sick in hospital at Camp Wool,
since October 10th, 1862. Rejoined his company April 9th, 1863.

Private Asa Breckenridge, Company K--Sick in hospital at Readville.
Sent home to Worcester, November 12th, 1862. Did not rejoin the
regiment.

Private John W. Sheppard, Company K--Sick in hospital at Readville.
Sent home to Warren, Mass., November 12th, 1862. Discharged for
disability April 8th, 1863.

Private Abner C. Ward, Company C--Shot himself to escape duty. Left at
Hopkinton, Mass. Discharged for disability March 12th, 1863.

Private George A. Davis, Company D--Sick at home in Roxbury, Mass.,
since November 21st, 1862. Rejoined his company May 16th, 1863.

Private John O’Harran, Company D--Confined in Dedham jail on sentence
for manslaughter; killing a citizen in a drunken brawl at Mill Village,
Dedham, Mass. Never rejoined his company.

Private John Nolan, Company D--Confined in Dedham jail as a witness in
O’Harran’s case. Released and joined the regiment February 4th, 1863.

Private Thomas H. Rillian, Company D--At home sick. Discharged for
disability March 7th, 1863.

Private John A. Pierce, Company H--At home sick. Discharged for
disability March 5th, 1863.

Private Charles H. Hill, Company I--Sick in hospital at Readville,
November 22d, 1862. Discharged for disability March 28th, 1863.

Others were also left, but they reported in camp at East New York
before the regiment sailed for New Orleans.

The roster of the regiment was as follows:

Colonel--Isaac S. Burrell.

Lieutenant-Colonel--Joseph Stedman.

Major--Frederick G. Stiles.

Adjutant--Charles A. Davis.

Quartermaster--Charles B. Burrell.

Surgeon--Arial I. Cummings.

Assistant-Surgeon--Thomas B. Hitchcock.

Assistant-Surgeon--Rush B. Heintzelman.

Chaplain--George J. Sanger.

Sergeant-Major--Charles P. Bosson, Jr.

Quartermaster-Sergeant--Henry C. Foster.

Commissary-Sergeant--William H. Hutchinson.

Hospital-Steward--Charles J. Wood.

Drum-Major--Richard A. Neuert.

Company A--Captain, Hiram S. Coburn; Lieutenants, Martin Burrell, Jr.
and John P. Burrell.

Company B--Captain, Ira B. Cook; Lieutenants, David A. Partridge and
Joseph C. Clifford.

Company C--Captain, Orville W. Leonard; Lieutenants, Isaac B. White and
Joseph Sanderson, Jr.

Company D--Captain, George Sherive; Lieutenants, William H. Cowdin and
Darius F. Eddy.

Company E--Captain, Charles A. Pratt; Lieutenants, John W. Emerson and
Brown P. Stowell.

Company F--Captain, John D. Cogswell; Lieutenants, Timothy M. Duncan
and Lyman A. Powers.

Company G--Captain, Alfred N. Proctor; Lieutenants, Albert E. Proctor
and Thaddeus H. Newcomb.

Company H--Captain, Davis W. Bailey; Lieutenants, Charles C. Phillips
and Augustus L. Gould.

Company I--Captain, Cyrus Savage; Lieutenants, Samuel F. White and
Benjamin F. Bartlett.

Company K--Captain, George P. Davis; Lieutenants, Henry A. Harding and
J. Martin Gorham.



CHAPTER II.

EN ROUTE--CAMP AT EAST NEW YORK--ON TRANSPORTS.


On arrival at Groton, the men were immediately marched aboard the
steamer _Commodore_, owned by Commodore Vanderbilt, exclusively used
for transport service since the war commenced. Owing to a dense fog
which prevailed and stormy character of the weather, it was near two
o’clock Saturday morning before the boat left her pier.

At this place the regiment came near losing the sergeant-major. After
the men had filed aboard and been assigned positions upon the boat,
he went ashore to take a look around the wharf, to ascertain if all
stragglers had reported on board; while doing so, the darkness causing
all lights to be very indistinct, he was about to walk off the dock
when a friendly voice of caution was heard just in the nick of time.
Dressed in a great coat, with belt and sword, and heavy knapsack
strapped upon his back, to have dropped into the chilly water on that
cold night was almost certain to have ended his life.

Only those who have participated in like occasions can imagine the
scene that presented itself on board the _Commodore_. One would think
this body of over nine hundred men were bound on a picnic rather than
a duty which involved life or death. No one could foretell what the
future had in store for him, whether a victim to disease, maimed or
diseased for life, death upon the field, temporary sufferings from
curable wounds, or a return home in as good health and spirits as when
he left. They took the risk. They should have credit for the courage to
do so.

A trip through the cars while _en route_ from Readville Camp showed
the men to be in rather a sober state of mind. Nothing gloomy about
them, but very thoughtful. The car containing the field, staff and line
officers, had the appearance of a silent prayer meeting. The colonel
was quite meditative. Parting with wife and children was no easy matter
to a man of his noble disposition. Many men had been married only a few
weeks or months, and to them the enforced separation was keenly felt.
As the day was rainy a very limited number of friends were present in
camp to say good-by, and affecting parting incidents were not so many
as they otherwise would have been. All homesick feelings passed away
when the regiment reached Groton, and each man was himself again.

The quartermaster and commissary stores, ammunition and horses were
in cars on the fore part of the train, in charge of detailed men. The
jolliest crowd upon the train was in the ammunition car, composed of
Sam Hersey, the colonel’s clerk, Sergeant Courtney, Sergeant-Major
Bosson, and Sergeant Wentworth.

With singing, dancing, card playing, frolicking, and cutting up pranks
of various sorts, time passed rapidly. There were parties who did not
sleep at all that night. Those who have ever been on excursions such as
used to be indulged in by the old militia organizations, can form some
idea of the manner in which the night was passed.

Owing to the late hour of leaving Groton the _Commodore_ did not arrive
at New York until noon of Saturday. Rations had been issued, to be
carried in haversacks, sufficient to last three meals to each man; but
with that carelessness so habitual to a raw soldier the rations lasted
a majority of them for one meal; the consequence was, that on arrival
at New York, the men were tired, very hungry, and very cross. About
dusk orders were received to proceed to the Union Race Course at East
New York, and report to Colonel Chickering, Forty-First Massachusetts
Volunteers, commanding the post. The steamer _Commodore_ was then lying
at Williamsburg. The baggage wanted immediately was packed and sent
forward; the troops filed out of the steamer, forming regimental line
in South Second Street. The citizens (noble hearted people) furnished
the entire regiment with hot coffee, crackers, fresh bread, cheese and
cold meats. Some ladies went so far as to furnish hot pies, baking
and dealing them out while the men were halted, refreshing themselves
in their neighborhood. By eight o’clock the entire body was amply
refreshed and ready to commence the ten-mile march which was before
them. All through the City of Williamsburg the regiment was greeted
with cheers, wavings of handkerchiefs, expressions of good-will, and
all those demonstrations which proved a people’s interest in the cause
for which the men were enlisted. While this excitement continued the
column was steady enough, but after the populous part of the city
was passed and the muddy road was reached, with all quiet outside of
the column, straggling commenced. The weight of knapsack, gun and
ammunition pouch began to be felt; feet became sore; silence reigned
in the ranks, and nought could be heard save the rattling of the drums
at the head of the column, the solid tramp, splash, tramp, splash, or
words of command from officers.

The night was dark as black pitch, the road rapidly became worse as the
regiment advanced, the weather became very cold, with strong, chilly,
wintry blasts, so that by the time Hiram Woodruff’s hotel and stables
was reached the men were not in the best of spirits to receive the
intelligence imparted to them. It was here Colonel Chickering had his
headquarters. When Colonel Burrell reported himself and command for
instructions, he was ordered to the race-course to feed the men, and
procure the best quarters possible. There were some four thousand
men already in camp and bivouac. No ground had been allotted the
regiment, and no tents were to be had, so that soon after reaching the
race-course the regiment countermarched back to Woodruff’s stables, and
the men were ordered to find shelter for the night in the horse-stalls,
hen-houses, etc., to the best of their ability. The One Hundred and
Sixty First New York Infantry had arrived but a short time previous,
and were placed in a similar position. How the various companies of the
regiment passed the night would be an interesting history by itself,
suffice it to record every man survived, and in the morning, on forming
regimental line, none seemed the worse for a little hard experience
so early in his military career. On arrival at New York the colonel,
quartermaster, and adjutant, reported to General Banks. Requisition
was made at once on Post-Quartermaster Colonel Van Vliet for camp
equipage. Adjutant Davis was left to get this camp equipage _en route_
for the camp-ground, and had a tough time to obtain drays and induce
the drivers to start for East New York. The late hour when all was
ready made it necessary to persistently stick to the work, or else it
would not have been accomplished. This camp equipage arrived during the
night, ready for use the next morning.

Camp was pitched on Sunday, a bitter cold day, and from this time until
the day it was vacated the regular routine of camp life was done. At
first the cold weather occasioned much distress, but moderating in a
few days comparative comfort was experienced. Most of the men, with
“Yankee” ingenuity, built underground ovens in their tents with a
passage to the outside for escape of smoke. Towards night these ovens
were filled with wood and a fire started, which generally would last
all night, enabling occupants, with the aid of straw bedding, to keep
tolerably warm. Every night huge bonfires were made at the head of each
company street, and around them the men would cluster and discuss their
treatment, talk of those at home, crack jokes, sing songs, tell stories
(some of them good, others not good), while few of a philosophical turn
of mind indulged in speculations as to the future. The poor fellows on
sentry duty had a hard time; the guard reliefs would gather about a
bonfire in front of the guard tents roasting the side of their bodies
nearest the fire while the other side was freezing, then reverse this
position and thaw out one side while the other froze again. During the
eleven days in camp here a large amount of wood was consumed, in order
to keep warm. Many trees in rear of the camp were cut down and burned,
besides the amount of wood allowed by Government and drawn through the
quartermaster, for the nights would be cold even when the days were
comfortable.

There were two evils under which the troops suffered while at this
post: rations, and officers on leave of absence. Instead of allowing
rations to be drawn in kind, a post-kitchen had been established;
somebody having contracted with some United States official to furnish
cooked rations at so much a ration. This somebody must have realized
a very large amount of greenbacks by the operation. Frequently the
food was not fit for dogs to eat. Not once could the coffee be drank
without creating a nausea. This necessary article would be drawn by the
company cooks from the post-kitchen in pails, and then thrown away,
alleging, as a reason for doing so, that so much was stopped from
delivery to the rest of the troops in camp. At times the meat served
out was eatable, but often better fitted to be used as manure than
to sustain life in a human being. The bread was good, and on this,
with clear, cold water, most of the men subsisted. Some companies did
manage to obtain a little good coffee and cheese, from New York City,
on their private account. To such a pitch had the feelings of men been
wrought by this one item of bad rations, when the post commissary
building caught fire one day, not a soldier would lend a helping hand
to quench the flames until it was announced that the post hospital was
over the cook-house. They then worked with a will to stop the fire. In
the month of December, a few weeks after the regiment had left, this
same cook-house caught fire again, and was burnt to the ground. It is
supposed to have been designedly set on fire by soldiers then in camp.
After this was done Government rations were issued according to army
regulations. When the Forty-Second got orders to leave camp, Colonel
Burrell had a wordy fight with the contractor who furnished rations, as
he refused to sign a receipt for full rations, telling him the whole
scheme was a fraud. Time was precious, and a compromise was arrived at
by Burrell consenting to sign a receipt for one-third the number of
rations claimed to have been issued.

All furloughs or leaves of absence had to be granted by Colonel
Chickering. Battalion commanders had no right to grant them. Field
officers were obliged to be absent more or less on business. Line
officers of the regiment were continually away on furlough, to visit
New York City, often without leave, taking the liberty without
applying for it in the regular way. At this time the discipline of the
enlisted men was far ahead of that shown by their officers. Orders
were frequently received from post headquarters when no commissioned
officer could be found in camp to take them. The regular drills would,
in most cases, have to be conducted by non-commissioned officers, in
the absence of those in commission. Is it to be wondered at, with such
a state of things existing among the officers, that the men should
adopt the same policy? If a furlough was not granted run the guard and
be absent on “French leave,” as it was termed. There were some forty
cases, on an average, each day, of men absent without leave.

True to his duty and profession, Surgeon Cummings had the hospital
tent put up and placed in order immediately after the camp-ground
was selected. Those who were under his treatment can testify to his
care of them, and the amount of work he did to keep the sick in good
spirits. He labored under extraordinary difficulties at this particular
time, with several serious cases on his hands. Four of them had to be
left in hospital when the regiment proceeded to embark on transports,
viz., Private Abijah S. Tainter, Company E, Private Charles S. Knight,
Company F, Private Paschal E. Burnham, Company G, and Private George A.
Cushing, Company A.

Cushing, Knight and Burnham did not rejoin the regiment, being
discharged and mustered out of service during the Spring of 1863.
Tainter never rejoined his company, and was not mustered out until the
expiration of service by the regiment.

One peculiar case under the surgeon’s care deserves mention. A private
from one of the companies was in hospital sick. It was difficult
to diagnosis his case. There was no trace of disease except his
complaint of being sick. He was in the hospital about two days, eating
heartily, sleeping soundly, generally enjoying the snug place like
an epicure. The surgeon got mad. It is usual to make convalescents in
camp hospitals do some light work when there is any to do and they are
capable of doing it. He set this fellow to do some light chores in
the tent, when his peculiar disease developed itself suddenly. It was
laziness. To square accounts with the impostor, Cummings pronounced him
cured, but, before discharging him from the sick-list to duty, said he
must take a bath; upon disrobing himself his shirt and flannels were
found literally alive with vermin; they could not be cleaned; a hole
was dug in the ground, a fire made, when the clothing, with vermin, was
burned. The fellow was too lazy to keep himself clean.

Cummings enjoyed a good smoke before going to sleep. A look into his
tent any night after he had retired would show him to be covered up
to his chin with coverlids, a night-cap on almost covering his eyes,
and from the small exposed part of his face volumes of smoke would be
rolling upward from an old clay pipe seen in his mouth. Those who were
aware of this habit used to think it a good joke to invite anybody to
take a peep into the tent and see the surgeon at his devotions.

Thanksgiving Day found most of the companies with enough turkey and
chicken to go around. Where they came from is not a mystery. Some from
home, but not all. The complaints of farmers near by, who had poultry
to lose, destroys all mystery about it. To the credit of the regiment
be it said that this was the only time when any foraging was done
clandestinely while at East New York. The justification must rest on
the ground of neglect by proper officers to furnish proper food.

The City Government of Boston having generously furnished the regiment
with a complete set of band instruments, which were received December
1st, while at East New York, a band was organized from the rank and
file, consisting of the following members, viz.:

1. Bugler Joseph R. Parks, Company D, Leader.

2. Drummer Frederick L. Bowditch, Company A.

3. Private George A. Morse, Company B.

4. Private Joseph Clark, Company B.

5. Bugler Bernard McKenna, Company C--in February, 1863, gave up his
connection with the band and joined his company at Camp Parapet, La.

6. Corporal Frederick S. McIntosh, Company D--was completely prostrated
by long sickness, and discharged from the service in June, 1863, for
disability.

7. Private Edmund L. Chenery, Company D.

8. Private Francis L. Howard, Company E.

9. Drummer Frank Lamb, Company F.

10. Corporal Charles H. Woodcock, Company F--gave up his warrant in
March, to join the band.

11. Corporal Edward A. Spooner, Company F--attached in March.

12. Private Orrin F. Bacon, Company I.

13. Fifer Thomas Bowe, Company I.

14. Bugler Henry B. Sargent, Company I.

15. Corporal William A. Cowles, Company I.

16. Bugler Cyrus S. Loud, Company K.

The places of sick members were temporarily filled by others from the
ranks. A queer compound of human flesh, Sergeant Charles A. Attwell,
Company G, was made band-major March 2d, magnifying his position and
duties to such an extent that his appointment was revoked July 18th.
Parks, the leader, was another queer fish. He worked hard in his own
way, ably seconded by Tom Bowe, to improve the band. The talent could
not be called first-class, while his own ability to instruct members
was limited. He should be congratulated for such a tolerable degree
of proficiency as was attained. Notwithstanding the band did not have
a good selection of band music for a long time, it was a source of
pleasure while in service. Old Parks, as he was called, was a great
tobacco chewer, with a cud in his mouth at all hours. One afternoon he
forgot to remove this article from his mouth while on regimental dress
parade in New Orleans, and blew the same into his instrument when the
band commenced to sound off down the line. He played, or tried to play
away, without success, and set the boys laughing by his look of wonder,
and attempts to remedy the evil. Not until this parade was over, amid
bantering by his comrades, did he discover what was the source of
trouble.

Long since has it been demonstrated that regimental bands are not
desirable during active service. The attention, the accommodations and
privileges they require, are not commensurate with the service they
render. Field music, where there is in addition a band, is sure to be
neglected. Out of fourteen to twenty drums in the Forty-Second Regiment
that should always have been in good working order, from two to five
only were usually found fit for use, while the band was kept supplied
with everything it required. The long roll has been beaten by one drum
because all other drums were without drum-heads. Often the same drummer
has had to first beat drummers call at guard quarters, then beat the
stated signals in front of the camp.

Drum-Major Neuert must have been very much disgusted with his position
and duties while at Bayou Gentilly Camp in Louisiana, to have devoted
so much of his spare time in teaching some of the young darkies who
hung around the camp how to drum. These youngsters learned very rapidly
how to beat a drum, using a piece of board to practise upon. An
excellent drum corps of from twelve to fifteen drummers could easily
have been formed from these camp followers, who, in a short time, would
be almost as proficient as the regular drummers.

At noon, on the second day of December, orders were received from
General Banks directing the regiment to proceed at once to Brooklyn
and embark upon transports, that were to be in readiness. Camp was
struck at once, baggage packed and sent forward, cooked rations for
twenty-four hours issued, or supposed to have been, for what was
received from the post-kitchen was not reliable, and by three o’clock
in the afternoon the regiment was _en route_. Just before leaving the
camp-ground to take the road the Twenty-Eighth Connecticut Infantry
Regiment passed by, on the way also to take transports. From the
music given by the Twenty-Eighth regimental musicians, that could be
distinctly heard for some minutes as the regiment came along the road
hid by the woods, it was supposed they had a very fine band. Great
was the surprise to those who were near enough the road to see when
the head of the column came in sight, that the music was rendered by
drummers, fifers and buglers only. With those who were interested in
such matters it was the opinion, that the music rendered by these field
musicians equalled, and in some selections of pieces played surpassed,
anything the band of the Forty-Second ever did.

Passing through Brooklyn, a similar demonstration greeted the regiment
as when passing through Williamsburg. It was a fine evening, about
dark, as the men marched upon the sidewalks (the streets were quite
muddy) along some of the most pleasant thoroughfares of Brooklyn.
Houses appeared to be in a blaze of light, the people crowded at
windows, on door-steps and sidewalks, full of enthusiasm. Many requests
were made by young ladies to be favored with a letter after taking
the field; many little necessaries were given to the men; neatly
folded within the packages were found _billet-doux_, with the name and
address of the writer, saying the donor expected to hear again from the
recipient. Some of these notes fell into rather queer hands. So far as
could be ascertained, no undue advantage was ever taken by the men of
the Forty-Second from this epidemic of nonsense.

On arrival at the South Ferry, foot of Atlantic Avenue, at seven
o’clock, one transport was found at the designated pier, accommodating
two companies, and she was not ready to embark men. Quarters for the
night were generously tendered Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, for the
regiment, by the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Regiments, N. Y. National
Guard, in their armory. The colonel, major, and quartermaster went to
New York on business at General Banks’ headquarters. Refreshments were
furnished by the same regiments, and by citizens. Many of the men were
entertained in private residences with supper, lodging and breakfast.
To the postmaster, and Mayor of Brooklyn the regiment was especially
indebted for favors extended. State Agent Colonel Tufts, in charge of
the New England rooms in New York, supposing the Forty-Second would
embark at foot of Canal Street in that city, had provided a full supply
of hot coffee, sandwiches, crackers and cheese, at that point. On
learning this fact the sergeant-major was dispatched to have the food
brought over to Brooklyn, which was done late in the evening, arriving
after the men were all fed. The supply thus obtained was dealt out in
the morning to those who needed it.[4]

[4] After sentinels were posted, to prevent men from straggling away
from quarters, many ludicrous scenes occurred in attempts made to get
out. The most ingenious contrivances were adopted; some men even risked
their lives in these attempts to evade the guard, by windows, and from
the armory roof. They tried to crawl through ventilators, and to tunnel
into the street from the cellar. Nearly all these devices failed, and
by midnight all were fast asleep. Private Gusebio, Company C, was
caught by a police officer, as he emerged from a coal-hole in the
sidewalk, and beaten with a club until the guard took charge of him.
These policemen on duty did not exercise any judgment whatever. They
were finally taken away from the neighborhood to prevent a collision
with the men, who were enraged at their bullying behavior.

The greater part of the regiment behaved finely on this occasion. There
was some straggling and some desertions. The worst case of neglect of
duty that occurred was Color-Sergeants Vialle, Company G, and Humphrey,
Company D, who had in their charge the State and United States colors.
Instead of leaving them in the armory where the regiment was quartered,
they were left in a low groggery on Atlantic Avenue, and found by the
sergeant-major, by the merest accident, late in the evening, taken
to the armory, and placed in charge of the color company. It was the
intention of Colonel Burrell to have had an inquiry into this case
of neglect, when circumstances would permit. The separation of the
companies and his being retained a prisoner of war for a long time
alone prevented.

Early on the morning of December third the embarkation commenced,
transports having arrived. Owing to the large number of stragglers
during the day it was dark before all were got aboard, and the vessels
hauled into the river.[5] It was now evident that the three steamers
upon which the regiment was embarked were not sufficient for the
purpose. Upon the _Charles Osgood_, _Shetucket_, and _Saxon_, at least
one hundred men upon each vessel were obliged to sleep on deck. Proper
representations were made to General Banks the next day, who placed a
fourth transport, the _Quincy_, at the colonel’s disposal, when three
companies were transferred to that vessel.

[5] Among these stragglers was Private Wilson Curtis, an _alias_,
of Company C, a professional bounty jumper, who had deserted from
Readville Camp, a tough customer every way. He was spotted in New York
by Lieutenant White, over there for the purpose of picking up stray
men from his company, as he was on his way to board the _Shetucket_.
Lieutenant White accosted him, and expected to have a fight before he
could get him on board, but Curtis, who at first denied his identity,
soon deemed it best to rejoin his company, as White covered him with
his pistol besides using an argument on him, the substance of which
was, that his life was not worth a cent if he was handed over to the
military authorities. Curtis served faithfully with his company to the
end.

Perhaps those men who on the night of the third of December were so
loud in their denunciations of the colonel and his staff, laying all
the blame for the hardships then suffered on those who strove in
every way, and used every means within their power, to benefit their
condition; perhaps those men, when time had given them a chance to
reflect and compare their whole experience with what it was that night,
would acknowledge that they were wrong in their snap judgment. If they
could have seen the work done that night, and heard the opinions of
their officers, they would then have known that the colonel and staff
had their welfare and good condition at heart.

Shame on all men who will endeavor to foment a mutiny on the strength
of fancied wrong, or incompetency of those in command, on such
occasions as the one in point presented. There were men on board the
transports that night who should hang their heads in shame.

The regiment was finally distributed as follows:

On the _Saxon_--Colonel Burrell, Adjutant Davis, Quartermaster Burrell,
Surgeon Cummings, Chaplain Sanger, Quartermaster-Sergeant Foster, and
Companies D, G and I. On the _Quincy_--Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman,
Sergeant-Major Bosson, Commissary-Sergeant Friend S. Courtney, who
had been promoted from a private in Company D, _vice_ Hutchinson,
discharged at East New York on account of sickness, Drum-Major Neuert,
Assistant-Surgeon Hitchcock, the band, and Companies A, B and F, with
fifty men of Company C, Twenty-Eighth Connecticut Volunteers. Upon
the _Charles Osgood_--Companies E and K, and Hospital-Steward Wood.
Upon the _Shetucket_--Major Stiles, Ward-Master Lewis, of Company
D, Ordnance-Sergeant Wentworth, Company G, and Companies C and H. A
few officers and men were detached for special duty on transports
_Quinnebaug_ and _Eastern Queen_.

The regiment departed South in these transports, leaving behind the
enlisted men named in the following table, who straggled from their
colors or deserted them while in camp at Readville and East New York,
and while embarking for the South: a mere handful ever returned.

There may have been some excuse for the desertion of a few of the
younger men. Often a young man, after enlisting, has had such a
pressure put upon him by family relations as to cause his desertion.
In other cases cowardice was the true reason. While in a camp of
instruction, and in no danger, all is well; when marching orders
are received and preparations made to reach the seat of war, then
weak-hearted young or old men are apt to desert. The greater portion
of deserters from the Forty-Second Regiment were professional bounty
jumpers under assumed names.


  ===================+===============+==+==+==+============
          NAME.      |     RANK.     | CO. |      DATE.
  -------------------+---------------+-----+---------------
  William Hoes,      |    Private.   |  C. | October 15.
  George Gray,       |       “       |  “  |    “    16.
  William Nickerson, |       “       |  “  |    “    18.
  John Osborne,      |       “       |  “  |    “    18.
  Henry Phillips,    |       “       |  “  |    “    20.
                     |               |     |
  James Boyd,        |       “       |  “  |    “    20.
  David Coleman,     |       “       |  “  |    “    20.
  Herman Hemming,    |       “       |  “  |    “    28.
  John Single,       |       “       |  “  | November 2.
  John Gordon,       |       “       |  “  |    “     2.
  Edward Harrison,   |       “       |  “  |    “    15.
  John Isensee,      |       “       |  “  |    “    15.
  Patrick Murphy,    |       “       |  “  |    “    15.
  John Stevens,      |       “       |  “  |    “    17.
  James Haley,       |       “       |  “  |    “    17.
  Hugh Cameron,      |       “       |  “  |    “    29.
  Thomas F. McKenna, |       “       |  “  | December 2.
  Alexander Campbell,|       “       |  D. |Time not known.
  Henry Doyle,       |       “       |  “  |      “
  William H. Ellis,  |       “       |  “  | December 4.
  Michael Hagan,     |       “       |  “  |Time not known.
  John Hathon,       |       “       |  “  | December 4.
  Samuel Holmes,     |       “       |  “  |    “     4.
  James Johnson,     |       “       |     |    “     4.
  James Long,        |       “       |  “  |    “     4.
  Trueworthy L.      |       “       |  “  |    “     4.
    Moulton,         |               |     |
  Henry Morrill,     |       “       |  “  |    “     4.
  Henry O. Williams, |       “       |  “  |Time not known.
  Christopher Smith, |       “       |  “  |    “
  Thomas Burns,      |       “       |  “  | December 4.
                     |               |     |
  John Nolan,        |       “       |  “  |    “     4.
                     |               |     |
  Thomas Mathews,    |       “       |  “  |    “     4.
                     |               |     |
  Patrick Goughan,   |       “       |  E. |  October 4.
                     |               |     |
  Samuel E. Lull,    |       “       |  G. |    “     1.
  William Mullen,    |       “       |  “  |    “    12.
  Robert Cunningham, |       “       |  “  |November 10.
  Joseph Reed,       |       “       |  “  |    “    18.
  Henry Bridges,     |       “       |  “  | December 3.
                     |               |     |
                     |               |     |
                     |               |     |
                     |               |     |
  James M. Marston,  |       “       |  “  |    “     3.
  Joseph V. Colson,  |       “       |  “  |    “     3.
                     |               |     |
                     |               |     |
  Rufus C. Greene,   |       “       |  “  |    “     3.
  John Luzardo,      |       “       |  “  |    “     3.
  George G. Nichols, | 1st Sergeant. |  “  |    “     3.
  James L. Vialle,   | 2d     “      |  “  |    “     3.
  Charles A. Atwell, | 4th    “      |  “  |    “     3.
  Edward Bliss,      |    Private.   |  H. |September 25.
  John Fitzsimmons,  |       “       |  “  |    “     25.
  John Flanigan,     |       “       |  “  |    “     30.
  William Gorman,    |       “       |  “  |    “     25.
  Joseph W.          |       “       |  “  |    “     26.
     McLaughlin,     |               |     |
  John Quinn,        |       “       |  “  |    “     30.
  William Thompson,  |       “       |  “  |    “     30.
  Charles Stewart,   |       “       |  “  |  October  1.
  Henry Canivan,     |       “       |  “  |    “      1.
  George Cook,       |       “       |  “  |    “      1.
  Francis Curly,     |       “       |  “  |    “     20.
  Samuel D. Gregory, |       “       |  “  |    “      1.
  Charles Kenney,    |       “       |  “  |    “     18.
  Timothy Linehan,   |       “       |  “  |    “     18.
  Patrick Maline,    |       “       |  “  |    “     10.
  Patrick McNally,   |       “       |  “  |    “      5.
  John C. Anels,     |       “       |  “  | November 29.
  Thomas Cahill,     |       “       |  “  |    “     18.
  Joseph H. Gleason, |       “       |  “  |    “     14.
  John Higgins,      |       “       |  “  |    “      1.
  Florence Crowley,  |       “       |  “  |    “     24.
  John McCarty,      |       “       |  “  |    “      1.
  Dennis O’Connors,  |       “       |  “  |    “     17.
  Thomas H. Ryan,    |       “       |  “  |    “     17.
  Benjamin F. Wilde, |       “       |  “  |    “     25.
  Hans F. Hansen,    |       “       |  “  |    “     29.
  Alonzo Jones,      |       “       |  “  | December  4.
  James Baxter,      |       “       |  I. |September 24.
  Nathan Green,      |       “       |  “  |    “     25.
  James Gorman,      |       “       |  “  |    “     25.
  David Gracy,       |       “       |  “  |    “     25.
  Frederick Ernell,  |       “       |  “  | November 18.
  John Snier,        |       “       |  “  |    “     18.
  Levi Elmer,        |       “       |  “  | December  3.
  Edward Fisher,     |       “       |  K. |    “      2.
                     |               |     |
  George A. Whitney, |       “       |  “  |    “      2.
                     |               |     |
  Dennis O’Mara,     |       “       |  “  |    “      3.
  Andrew J. Horton,  |       “       |  “  |    “      3.
                     |               |     |
  ===================+===============+=====+===============

  ===================+============================================
          NAME.      |                 REMARKS.
  -------------------+--------------------------------------------
  William Hoes,      | Deserted from Readville Camp.
  George Gray,       |    “       “     “       “
  William Nickerson, |    “       “     “       “
  John Osborne,      |    “       “     “       “
  Henry Phillips,    | Deserted from Readville Camp, and also
                     |   was a deserter from the First Mass.
  James Boyd,        | Deserted from Readville Camp.
  David Coleman,     |    “       “     “       “
  Herman Hemming,    |    “       “     “       “
  John Single,       |    “       “     “       “
  John Gordon,       |    “       “     “       “
  Edward Harrison,   |    “       “     “       “
  John Isensee,      |    “       “     “       “
  Patrick Murphy,    |    “       “     “       “
  John Stevens,      |    “       “     “       “
  James Haley,       |    “       “     “       “
  Hugh Cameron,      | Deserted from camp at East New York.
  Thomas F. McKenna, | Deserted at Brooklyn, N. Y.
  Alexander Campbell,| Deserted.
  Henry Doyle,       |    “
  William H. Ellis,  | Deserted at Brooklyn, N. Y.
  Michael Hagan,     | Deserted.
  John Hathon,       | Deserted at Brooklyn, N. Y.
  Samuel Holmes,     |       “           “
  James Johnson,     |       “           “
  James Long,        |       “           “
  Trueworthy L.      |       “           “
    Moulton,         |
  Henry Morrill,     |       “           “
  Henry O. Williams, |Time not known.| Deserted.
  Christopher Smith, |    “
  Thomas Burns,      | Straggler at Brooklyn, N. Y.; rejoined
                     |   Feb. 4, 1863.
  John Nolan,        | Straggler at Brooklyn, N. Y.; rejoined
                     |   Feb 4, 1863.
  Thomas Mathews,    | Straggler at Brooklyn, N. Y.; rejoined
                     |   Feb. 4, 1863.
  Patrick Goughan,   | Deserted from Camp Wool, Worcester,
                     |   Mass.
  Samuel E. Lull,    | Deserted from Readville Camp.
  William Mullen,    |    “       “     “       “
  Robert Cunningham, |    “       “     “       “
  Joseph Reed,       |    “       “     “       “
  Henry Bridges,     | Deserted at Brooklyn, N.Y.; apprehended
                     |   at Albany; sent to regiment Dec. 31, by
                     |   Major I. T. Sprague, 1st Inf., U. S. A.,
                     |   Supt. Recruiting N. Y. Vols., but never
                     |   joined; deserted again.
  James M. Marston,  | Deserted at Brooklyn, N. Y.
  Joseph V. Colson,  | Straggler at Brooklyn, N. Y.; reported
                     |   himself to the proper officer, and
                     |   rejoined the regiment Feb. 18, 1863.
  Rufus C. Greene,   | Straggler, } Came to New Orleans on the
  John Luzardo,      |     “      }   transport _Quinnebaug_;
  George G. Nichols, |     “      }   rejoined the regiment Feb.
  James L. Vialle,   |     “      }   3, 1863.
  Charles A. Atwell, |     “      }
  Edward Bliss,      | Deserted from Readville Camp.
  John Fitzsimmons,  |    “       “     “       “
  John Flanigan,     |    “       “     “       “
  William Gorman,    |    “       “     “       “
  Joseph W.          |    “       “     “       “
     McLaughlin,     |
  John Quinn,        |    “       “     “       “
  William Thompson,  |    “       “     “       “
  Charles Stewart,   |    “       “     “       “
  Henry Canivan,     |    “       “     “       “
  George Cook,       |    “       “     “       “
  Francis Curly,     |    “       “     “       “
  Samuel D. Gregory, |    “       “     “       “
  Charles Kenney,    |    “       “     “       “
  Timothy Linehan,   |    “       “     “       “
  Patrick Maline,    |    “       “     “       “
  Patrick McNally,   |    “       “     “       “
  John C. Anels,     | Deserted from camp at East New York.
  Thomas Cahill,     | Deserted from Readville Camp.
  Joseph H. Gleason, |    “       “     “       “
  John Higgins,      |    “       “     “       “
  Florence Crowley,  | Deserted from camp at East New York.
  John McCarty,      | Deserted from Readville Camp.
  Dennis O’Connors,  |    “       “     “       “
  Thomas H. Ryan,    |    “       “     “       “
  Benjamin F. Wilde, | Deserted from camp at East New York.
  Hans F. Hansen,    |    “       “      “         “
  Alonzo Jones,      | Deserted at Brooklyn, N. Y.
  James Baxter,      | Deserted from Readville Camp.
  Nathan Green,      |    “       “     “       “
  James Gorman,      |    “       “     “       “
  David Gracy,       |    “       “     “       “
  Frederick Ernell,  |    “       “     “       “
  John Snier,        |    “       “     “       “
  Levi Elmer,        | Deserted at Brooklyn, N. Y.
  Edward Fisher,     | Straggler at Brooklyn; was sick, and
                     |   discharged the service March 12, 1863.
  George A. Whitney, | Straggler at Brooklyn; was sick, and
                     |   discharged the service March 5, 1863.
  Dennis O’Mara,     | Deserted at Brooklyn, N. Y.
  Andrew J. Horton,  | Straggler at Brooklyn, N. Y.; rejoined
                     |   the regiment February 3, 1863.
  ===================++============================================



CHAPTER III.

ON BOARD TRANSPORTS--THE SAXON--QUINCY--CHARLES
OSGOOD--SHETUCKET--QUINNEBAUG.


“Headquarters” transport _Saxon_, so called because the colonel with a
majority of his staff were on board, was commanded by Captain Lavender,
and remained in the harbor until the morning of Friday, December 5th,
the men subsisting on crackers and cold water. At eight o’clock she
proceeded to sea, the boys giving a round of cheers to a lady upon
the ramparts of Fort Columbus, who waved a United States flag as they
passed. All arrangements were promptly made for the voyage: cooks
detailed to cook rations, and men assigned to bunks below deck.

Rough weather experienced the first night out soon became a gale,
which lasted for two days, playing the deuse with company cooks, and
prevented any use of the galley situated between decks. Those who could
eat at all had to subsist on hard bread and raw, salt pork. Nearly all
of the men and all of the officers were very sea-sick. The galley fire
was started several times, but rolling of the steamer would cause fat
in the pans to run over upon the galley stove, and blazing up quick
would set fire to the deck. Quick work with buckets of water would put
the fire out and prevent any serious damage.

The gale moderated during the night of December 7th. On Monday,
December 8th, after passing Cape Hatteras during Sunday night, the sea
became smooth, when men began to show themselves on deck. Somewhat
hungry, and not liking the regular allotted fare, on Monday night a few
men broke open the ice-chest and stole some fresh beef, cooking it at
the galley. Next morning the culprits were picked out. Corporal Sanford
Wood, Company I, was broke, had his chevrons stripped from his uniform,
and was put in irons by order of the colonel, as he was ringleader in
the affair. Privates J. Colson, Company I, Frank McConlow and Fitzallen
Gourley, both of Company D, detailed cooks at the time, were also put
in irons for not revealing the thieves names.

The _Saxon_ proved to be the safest and fastest boat of the four
vessels. She made a fine run to Key West, where anchor was cast at
six o’clock December 11th, without anything of an exciting nature to
enliven the trip except striking a school of finback whales about ten
o’clock on the morning of the tenth. The orders to transport-captains
were, to sail forty-eight hours out to sea and then open their sealed
orders, which were to rendezvous at Ship Island, Gulf of Mexico, with
permission, in case of distress, want of coal, water or provisions,
to stop at Port Royal, Tortugas or Key West. Taking in a supply of
fresh water and coal the steamer left Key West at six o’clock on the
morning of December 12th, bound for Ship Island direct; but early on
the morning of December 15th, which was very dark, the mate in charge
of the deck lost his course, and at full speed almost ran by the
blockading fleet off Mobile Bay. The gunboat _R. R. Cuyler_ hailed them
at two A.M., and was answered, when a blank shot followed by
a cannon-ball from the gunboat _Montgomery_ caused the mate to slow
up and heave to. Not provided with a steam whistle there was nothing
to do but to wait for something to develop, and soon the _Saxon_ was
boarded by naval officers, who gave the unwelcome intelligence that
the transport was off her course, heading direct for Mobile, and was
then past the inner line of picket boats, about one and a half miles
from Mobile Bar.

The _Saxon_ then proceeded on the correct course for Ship Island,
arriving there at nine o’clock A.M. About twenty-five tons
of coal was taken aboard from coal vessel _General Berry_, that had
lain at Ship Island for four months without a bushel of coal being
removed until the _Saxon_ took her small supply. After receiving orders
and coaling, at five o’clock in the afternoon a start was made for
New Orleans, encountering a severe northerly gale during the night,
which caused the vessel to roll worse than at any time previous on the
voyage. At seven o’clock, December 16th, the bar at South-West Pass
of the Mississippi River was in sight, and at nine o’clock she was on
her way up river, passing Forts Jackson and St. Philip at noon, tieing
up at the left bank at nine o’clock for the night; two sentinels were
placed upon the river bank as a protection from any possible guerilla
attack.

Early on the morning of December 17th, say about three o’clock, the
vessel proceeded to New Orleans, arriving at seven o’clock, after a
trip of twelve days from Sandy Hook, New York harbor. At four o’clock
in the afternoon the _Saxon_ steamed up river to Carrollton, arriving
at seven o’clock, and anchored for the night, the men landing to go
into camp late in the afternoon of next day, eighteenth.

The _Quincy_ was the first transport to get away, passing Sandy Hook
at night December 4th, in face of a threatening gale that lasted about
three days. While passing Cape Hatteras the gale became so severe that
the vessel was in great danger of not being able to weather it, as
Captain George W. Clapp, an old and experienced navigator, afterward
acknowledged. Had she foundered, few, if any, could have survived to
tell the tale. Except the crew and Captain Cogswell, all hands were
in that state of sea-sickness they did not care whether they lived or
died. The _Quincy_ was an old freight propeller with two light masts,
and one small upright boiler to work her machinery, previously in the
merchant marine on one of the western lakes. She was lost December
12th, 1863, while making the voyage from New York to New Orleans,
having sprung a leak during a violent gale, going down in sight of
Hatteras Light. Out of twenty-five persons aboard nine were saved.
Captain Clapp was lost.

On the evening of December 8th a leak in the boiler was discovered. The
fire was put out to admit of repairs being made; the steamer drifting
through the night. Fortunately the weather was all that could be
desired, and no bad results from the accident were to be feared. Steam
was got up on the morning of the ninth, but the same evening another
and worse leak in the boiler was discovered. At a council of officers
convened it was decided to instruct the captain to put into Port Royal
for repairs. The weather continued magnificent, with a smooth sea.
Port Royal was reached at noon on the eleventh under circumstances
which did not admit of a doubt that had the steamer been delayed twelve
hours longer her engine could not have been used at all. A Board of
Survey, granted by Brigadier-General Brannan, U. S. A., commanding the
District, and Commodore Dupont, pronounced the vessel sea-worthy, while
the boiler and engine were altogether too small for ocean service,
besides being very much out of order.

The troops were landed and quartered at Hilton Head while repairs
were made. Lieutenant Powers was sea-sick from the start, refusing
nourishment part of the time, and not able to retain any on his stomach
when he attempted to take it; wrapped in his blanket he lay a picture
of helplessness, losing strength day by day until it became a question
whether he would survive to reach Ship Island. The landings at Hilton
Head and Tortugas enabled him to recuperate sufficient strength to
stand the strain while upon the water, for when going to sea after
each landing he was flat on his back again the moment the long ocean
swell was reached. While the gale lasted for the first days out from
New York, sick as they were between decks, in an atmosphere almost
stifling from combined effects of stench from the cooking-range and
stench of another character, the men did not miss the funny scenes
that constantly occurred, causing laughter from men too sick to raise
their heads. One of these scenes was when the vessel gave a lurch,
that came near putting her upon her beam ends and threw the men below
promiscuously out of their berths, when one of them scrambled to the
other side, clung to a bunk and shouted, “for God’s sake, boys, all on
this side and right her!”

Buckets of water were kept in readiness for use in case of fire,
because in a heavy sea fat in stew-pans on the galley would be thrown
out and flash up in a blaze, causing danger to constantly exist of
a fire breaking out among inflammable material. This was so in all
transports conveying the Forty-Second, notwithstanding every precaution
was taken to guard against such a danger when cooking ranges were
placed on board.

Surgeon Hitchcock had a few severe cases of fever under his care,
attending to them faithfully, with a loss of one man by death. To his
care and attention many men owe a debt of gratitude, and for assistance
he rendered in placing them on their sea-legs; dealing out nourishment
suited to the debilitated condition they were in until sufficient
strength and appetite was gained to go on with the army ration. When
fairly over their sea-sick attack appetites of men became voracious.

On shore at Hilton Head the men were allowed to roam at will, an
opportunity they exercised to the utmost,--visiting other troops in
camp; taking daily baths at the sand beach, where they also washed
their under-clothing; feasted on fresh bread from the post-bakery,
equal to any furnished by the best of hotels in Boston; stole apples
at night from under the noses of a guard posted upon the wharf where
the barrels lay; sight-seeing upon the island like school-boys on a
vacation. The quarters were in some empty barracks near a sluggish
bayou, upon whose bank was a small graveyard, covered with ashes, with
a neglected appearance in general, where were interred the remains of a
few sailors who lost their lives at the capture of Forts Beauregard and
Walker by the Federal Navy in November, 1861.

Everything wore a quaint look, not only here but at every stopping
place _en route_ to New Orleans, exercising a peculiar charm over men
from the North who had never visited the South, experienced by all
travellers to parts of this world remote from their own residences,
regardless of any facts bearing on the climatic influences on
unacclimated beings. Until the stern reality of war was forced upon
them, it seemed to each and every man as though he was travelling for
pleasure at the Government expense. The first agreeable impressions of
localities visited on the voyage from New York to New Orleans cannot be
eradicated from minds of men belonging to the Forty-Second Regiment.

After repairs were finished the men reëmbarked December 16th,
proceeding at once to sea, and made a fine run to Tortugas, arriving
at Fort Jefferson on the twentieth, at nine o’clock A.M., to
take in coal. While coasting in sight of Florida Keys the steamer
_Memenon Sanford_, that formerly ran between Boston and Bangor, was
seen upon the reefs with wreckers around her. The _Sanford_ had the One
Hundred and Fifty-Sixth New York Infantry Regiment on board; every man
was saved and taken to Key West, December 11th, with nothing but what
they carried in their hands. The baggage and stores were afterwards
obtained, but the steamer could not be saved.

In Fort Jefferson was a garrison of four companies, Ninetieth New
York Infantry, weak in numbers from heavy losses by yellow fever
during the summer months. There was a large number of military and
civilian prisoners kept at work upon the fort, not then in a finished
state. Occupying a part of the parade within the walls were several
three-story brick dwelling houses with gardens attached, and trees of
large growth under whose sheltering branches several head of cattle,
belonging to the Commissary Department, would collect to escape the hot
sun at mid-day.

As another instance of danger that existed during the transportation of
Banks’ expeditionary corps to New Orleans, while the _Quincy_ was at
Tortugas an old rat-trap steamer came into port in a leaky condition
with New York troops on board. The pumps were kept constantly at
work since leaving New York, so the men stated. How the unseaworthy
transports managed to carry their human freights without loss of life
from dangers of the sea is one of those curious mysteries of God’s
providence.

After coaling and starting again seaward a collision occurred in the
channel with a Government schooner, carrying away the after part of
the steamer’s deck cabin, which caused a detention of several days to
repair damages. At dusk, on the twenty-second, the _Quincy_ put to sea,
arriving at Ship Island on the twenty-fifth, at nine o’clock P.
M. Early on the morning of the twenty-fifth Private W. H. Young,
Company C, Twenty-Eighth Connecticut Volunteers, died of fever, and
was committed to the deep at eleven A.M. with appropriate
services. Before the death of Young was announced, scattered on deck
and below, were knots of men engaged in the pastime of cards. Lounging
around, fishing and card playing were what the men did to kill time
since leaving Hilton Head; a book of any sort in their hands was not to
be noticed. On the announcement--presto--a sudden change; cards were
put away; nearly every man had his Bible, and was intently engaged in
its contents for the balance of the day. A death at sea with solemn
funeral rites was not without effect.

Receiving his orders, Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman had the _Quincy_ sail
for New Orleans on the twenty-sixth, arriving late at night on the
twenty-ninth, after a passage of twenty-five days from Sandy Hook.
The South-West Pass was reached at nightfall; a thick curtain of mist
preventing an entrance then. In company with several other transports
the _Quincy_ lay outside the bar until morning; a continual noise
from fog-whistles causing one to think he was in New York harbor. In
the morning, as the heavy fog lifted, a beautiful mirage was seen in
the sky, showing a brig ashore on a mud bank of the Delta. A perfect
representation of what was soon seen to be actually the case.

The _Quincy_ disembarked her troops at Carrollton, who went into camp
at Camp Mansfield.

The _Charles Osgood_ was an unfortunate vessel. An old propeller
used on Long Island Sound, she was in every respect consort of the
_Shetucket_; each fitted up in the same manner to convey troops,
_i.e._, with a false deck to cover bunks and cooking apparatus. In
a serious blow, with heavy sea running, this deck was liable to be
swept away at any moment. The steamer anchored in the river after
all hands were on board, proceeding to Sandy Hook on the fifth; there
remained until she put to sea at half past five o’clock A.M.
December 6th. Captain Geer never was beyond Fortress Munroe, and knew
little about ocean navigation. He put to sea with one small compass,
no charts, no chronometer, no life preservers on board, and with two
small boats. With clear, cold weather, a high wind and rough sea, the
_Osgood_ ran down the coast and into Cape May harbor during the night
of the seventh, for refuge. While in Delaware Bay a severe blow split
sails and caused a slight displacement of the boiler, causing the
captain to run into Delaware River and anchor off Delaware City at
six o’clock, eighth, then to Philadelphia next day for repairs. She
remained at Philadelphia for five days, to obtain new sails, new boat
oars, life preservers, charts, and repairs on the boiler. The captain
secured the services of an old and experienced navigator, Captain Sears.

As the men were afraid to continue the voyage on the steamer they were
not allowed to go ashore, for fear none would return when all was
ready to start. They grumbled considerably, and when the vessel ran
aground on League Island, about half past seven A.M. on the
fourteenth, some men improved the opportunity to run ashore upon the
ice. They went to Philadelphia, got drunk, but all came back before
she got afloat at the next full tide except Private Chauncey Converse,
Company K. Private Converse did not rejoin his regiment until April
11th, 1863. He surrendered himself to United States officers, taking
the benefit of general orders No. 58, War Department, series of 1863,
granting pardon to all deserters who did so. Regarding this case of
apparent desertion Adjutant-General Schouler wrote Lieutenant-Colonel
Stedman, under date of February 21st, that Converse reported he was
left sick at Philadelphia, and said he had tried and wished to rejoin
his regiment.

At half past eight o’clock A.M. on the sixteenth this
transport got a fair start, after remaining over night inside the
breakwater at Cape Henlopen, proceeding down the coast in sight of
land during the day and running out to sea at night until Key West
was reached at two o’clock on the afternoon of the twenty-third. The
vessel struck on Fernandina Shoals, on the twentieth, about four
o’clock in the morning; fortunately no damage was done, although boats
were got ready to cast off in case of necessity. Leaving Key West
at nine o’clock A.M. on the twenty-sixth, bound direct for
Ship Island for orders, the transport arrived there at seven o’clock
P.M., December 29th, proceeding to New Orleans early next
morning (four o’clock), two hours later running aground and remaining
for a few minutes, off Chandeleur Light; made Pass L’Outre, mouth of
the Mississippi, at four o’clock in the afternoon, arriving at New
Orleans at two o’clock A.M., January 1st.

Ordered forthwith to Galveston, the transport left New Orleans at four
o’clock in the morning, January 2d, and anchored at South-West Pass for
the night, about five o’clock in the afternoon. On the third, at six
o’clock A.M., the voyage was continued, but after a five hours
run gunboat _Clifton_ hailed the _Charles Osgood_ and ordered her back
to New Orleans, because Galveston was lost. She again reached that city
at three o’clock P.M. on the fourth.

Companies E and K were disembarked at Carrollton on the afternoon of
January 5th, and reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, in command
of Companies A, B and F, in camp at Camp Mansfield. Five companies
of the regiment were now united after a month’s separation by the
sea. Greetings were cordial and heartfelt. The _Charles Osgood_ was
twenty-six days making the voyage from Sandy Hook to New Orleans,
although the men had to live on board for thirty-three days.

The _Shetucket_ was another unfortunate transport, with a tedious
passage. She went to sea on the morning of December 6th. The men
had embarked during the day of December 3d, proceeding down the bay
to Sandy Hook on the morning of the fifth, when Captain Philo B.
Huntley, in command of the steamer, was obliged to seek shelter until a
snow-storm, then raging, had somewhat abated.

The officers on board were: Major Stiles in command; Captain Leonard,
Lieutenants White and Sanderson, of Company C; Lieutenants Phillips
and Gould, of Company H; and Lieutenant Duncan, Company F, detailed to
act as commissary. Captain Bailey, Company H, had been granted a two
hours furlough on shore for the express purpose of obtaining oil to
counteract the effect of salt water upon the muskets, and taken with
him acting Commissary-Sergeant Wentworth, Company G. They failed to
report on board at the limitation of time, but took passage for New
Orleans on the _North Star_, conveying the Forty-First Massachusetts
Infantry, General Banks and staff. The _North Star_ left New York
December 4th, before the _Shetucket_ left her anchorage in the
river. Captain Bailey did not assume command of his company until
January 12th. He and Wentworth arrived in New Orleans December 15th.
Wentworth was ordered to join his company on the _Saxon_. No hospital
accommodations was upon the transport, and no medicines, except what
meagre supplies were obtained by Major Stiles at Fortress Munroe and
Hilton Head. Private Thomas M. Lewis, Company D, enlisted from Roxbury,
a man forty-five years old, and a friend of Surgeon Cummings, was
detailed to act as surgeon. He was familiarly known as “old salts,” a
nickname given by the men, suggested by a rule he invariably followed
of prescribing a dose of salts to about every man who complained of
sickness.

The _Shetucket_ was an old two-masted propeller freight boat, plying
between New York and New London. A false deck-house of unsound lumber
had been built upon her main deck, covering the whole vessel from bow
to stern; in this deck-house bunks were built to accommodate near
two hundred men, and cooking apparatus placed. In a rough sea every
wave that struck her sides would send salt water into the bunks, so
much so that when the water was rough very few men would occupy them;
those that did arranged rubber blankets for what protection they would
afford. All of the accommodations were extremely poor. Sailing orders
were the same as on other transports; no one on board knew their
destination until after leaving Key West, except Major Stiles, Captain
Huntley, and Captain Leonard. This commendable secrecy was observed
upon all four of the transports that conveyed the Forty-Second.

Slow progress was made by this vessel when at sea. On the third night,
December 8th, Major Stiles retired early, worn out with loss of sleep,
leaving the command with Captain Leonard, and Lieutenant White on
duty as officer of the guard. About eight o’clock Lieutenant Gould,
conversing with Lieutenant White, remarked that if the captain kept
on in the direction he was going the vessel would be ashore, as he
knew the course steered was wrong from his experience and knowledge,
obtained while serving upon a Baltimore steamer. White paid no
special attention to what Gould said, and it does not appear that the
attention of Major Stiles was called to the matter. Lieutenants White
and Phillips were engaged in a game of cards in the cabin about nine
o’clock when a sudden shock was felt, bringing them to their feet in
an instant. Another shock followed immediately, and on the deck they
went, when another was felt, each one shaking the vessel from bow to
stern. The sky was clear, the sea tolerably smooth, and the shore could
be seen distinctly about one-half a mile away. There were two boats
(one large and one small) upon the _Shetucket_; the large boat was not
sea-worthy, while the small boat was capable of carrying three men. The
old sailors (there were many in Companies C and H) were sharp at work
trying to launch them. Captain Leonard sought the major, who sprang
from his berth on the grating sound awakening him, and was dressing,
and said: “The men have mutinied, and are all on deck. The officers of
the boat up in the rigging assailed by the men and dare not come down,
and the boat is aground; for God’s sake, come on deck.”

There was the usual commotion and confusion incident to such occasions,
and the major, half-dressed, was met by Lieutenant Phillips at the head
of the companion-way, who handed him a rope saying: “Make yourself fast
major, or you will be washed overboard.”

Lieutenant White drove men away from the boats, not until Sergeant
Henry Mann kicked a hole in one of them, and remarked as he did so:
“Only the officers can use it.” They then went for the hatchway, broke
it open, and commenced work on what little cargo there was aboard; for
what reason it is difficult to understand, unless to obtain material to
float upon in case it was necessary to take to the water as the only
means of escape, or to lighten the vessel. This was soon stopped. Major
Stiles ordered the men to their quarters below, answered by a chorus of
voices shouting: “We will be d--d if we will.” A persuader in shape of
a couple of cocked revolvers, with a determination to shoot the first
man who refused to obey his order, settled the business in a very short
time, and they went below.

Captain Huntley came down from aloft and informed the officers his
vessel was on Hog Island Shoals. For half an hour all attempts to back
off ended in failure, until a long, ocean swell lifted her bow, when
she floated into deep water. An examination of the hold proved that the
ship was making water slowly--not enough to be dangerous, as the pumps,
when set to work, were found able to control it. Her rudder was sprung,
two flukes were gone from the propeller, and two of her keel planks had
been smashed. The _Shetucket_ proceeded on, and reached Fortress Munroe
next day.

One of the funny incidents of this adventure was Lieutenant Sanderson
appearing on deck with a patent rubber pillow, for use in case of
shipwreck, at that period sold extensively in New York City, so fixed
about his body near the hips that if he should have been washed
overboard it would be difficult, if not impossible, to keep either head
or feet above water. The lieutenant was obliged to hear many sharp
jokes on this account the remainder of the trip.

At Fortress Munroe the vessel was ordered to Norfolk for necessary
repairs, arriving in the evening at six o’clock. In passing Craney
Island on the way to Norfolk they came to a blockade of piles with bare
room enough for a vessel to pass through, and a gunboat on guard. In
answer to a hail from this gunboat a dare-devil in Company H shouted in
reply: “Go to h--ll!” an answer that aroused the anger of Mr. gunboat
commander, who threatened to blow them to pieces. Apologies were of no
avail; a demand was made for the man who made the insulting reply, but
no one would point him out. The affair calmed down and the _Shetucket_
went on her way.

The men disembarked, quartered in the Seamen’s Bethel on West Wide
Water Street, and gave their officers considerable trouble by pranks
they carried on while in the city. General Vialle at one time
threatened to send a battery and fire into them; they made so much
disturbance ringing the church bell. During their stay Privates Luke
Armstrong and Alexander B. Ralsea, Company H, were taken sick and
placed in the general hospital; neither men rejoined the regiment
during its term of service. Private Ralsea was mustered out of service
at Fortress Munroe, for disability, May 27th.

Repairs finished, on the afternoon of December 21st the _Shetucket_
proceeded to sea, making very slow time, and ran short of coal and
water, causing Captain Huntley to bear up for Hilton Head. In the
attempt to make that port he ran into the blockading squadron off
Charleston, S. C., at three A.M. on the twenty-fifth, sailing
a direct course for Fort Sumter, when hailed by war-vessel _Powhattan_,
whose crew were beat to quarters, with a command: “Stop, or I will sink
you!” The naval officers were out of temper, and used strong language
to Captain Huntley for his stupidity, intimating that he deserved
sinking, and would have got it but for the troops on board. Anchor was
dropped at Hilton Head in the afternoon at half-past five o’clock.

The next day, twenty-sixth, an affair happened that threatened serious
consequences to one of the participators. Coal schooner _J. G. Babcock_
was alongside coaling the steamer. For some time the men had been
chaffing the schooner’s crew in a good-natured manner, and when a
drummer-boy of Company H began to climb the rigging he was ordered down
by the sailing-master, who was in an angry mood. This drummer paid
no attention to the order until the master sprang into the rigging to
force the boy back. He was coming down as the officer passed up, and
was kicked by the latter a few times in the head. That was enough to
make the men furious. Seizing lumps of coal they began to hurl the
missiles into the rigging, uttering threats to kick him overboard if he
came down, and frightened the officer to such an extent that he dare
not do so, but kept on going up to the crosstrees with an intention
of coming down on the other side of the mast. Privates John Davis,
Company H, Con. Dougherty, William Cook and Joseph Cole, Company C, and
others, all rough fighters, jumped on board the schooner and were in
the rigging on that side to get at him, when Lieutenant White, whose
personal courage no one ever had occasion to doubt, sprang to the
schooner’s deck ordering them down. All of the company officers then
got these men aboard the _Shetucket_, and the _Babcock’s_ crew cut the
ropes, letting her drift away to a safe distance. On the twenty-seventh
another schooner finished coaling.

As water was scarce at Hilton Head, the _Shetucket_ was ordered
to Beaufort to replenish water casks, doing so on Sunday, the
twenty-eighth. With a few hours to spare while at Beaufort, Major
Stiles decided to give the men leave of absence on shore until five
o’clock P.M., for at that hour the tide would serve to proceed
to sea. Thoroughly disgusted with the _Shetucket_, the men held a mass
meeting in a square of the town during the day and voted not to go on
board the old boat again. A committee was appointed to notify Major
Stiles of their decision; this committee attending to that duty between
two and three o’clock in the afternoon. No time was to be lost if the
men were to be got aboard that day in season to sail. The quality and
temper of the men was such, that any attempt to persuade them was
useless and merely involved loss of valuable time. Major Stiles called
upon the provost-marshal, informed him of the situation and asked his
assistance, which he was willing to give if the major would assume all
responsibility if trouble ensued. Of course this was done.

With about one hundred cavalry-men and seventy-five infantry the
provost-marshal, almost at the point of the bayonet and sabre, it
might be said, drove the men slowly toward the wharf, and every man
but one (a member of Company H) was got aboard at the appointed time.
The missing man was asleep in a house and overlooked, but found next
morning, brought down to Hilton Head and put aboard. On casting off and
reaching the channel, the provost-guard was saluted with many forcible
compliments, such as can only be given by men in a like situation.

It is not surprising such an incipient mutiny should have occurred when
all the circumstances of the case are considered: an old, unseaworthy
boat; indifferently officered, manned and equipped; consuming days of
valuable time to make a comparatively short voyage; liable to founder,
if caught in a heavy gale; not able to make over four knots an hour at
her best speed. The regimental officers consider it creditable that the
men bore their hardships patiently so long as they did.

Sailing from Hilton Head on the twenty-ninth, the steamer arrived at
Key West January 2d, 1863, for provisions. There was much amusement on
board when the U. S. gunboat _Sagamore_ hailed them in the afternoon of
the day they went into Key West, and the officer in charge of her deck,
when informed what day the vessel left New York, replied: “Where in
h--ll have you been all this time?”

Lieutenant Duncan, who was sea-sick whenever at sea, had a penchant
for collecting leaves and flowers wherever a landing was made, placing
them between leaves of books to press, and thus preserve them. While
at Key West some wags among the officers, who were ashore strolling
around, conceived the idea of carrying on board an appropriate sample
of the product of the soil. A huge cactus plant was obtained, taken
aboard, and presented to Lieutenant Duncan to press and preserve. He
had to stand many a joke about that cactus for a long time.

After obtaining a supply of repacked beef, that tasted well enough when
cooked and cold, but during the process of cooking made such a stench
the men could not remain below, the _Shetucket_, on the fourth day
of January, sailed for Ship Island, encountering a rough gale on the
sixth, that made things lively on board, and blew them fifty miles from
their course. Late in the afternoon on the seventh two steam vessels
were seen, or rather, the smoke they made was sighted on the horizon.
There was some commotion on board, and speculation was rife as to their
identity. The Confederate war vessel _Alabama_ was a nightmare that
haunted the minds of all upon transports conveying troops to the Gulf
Department. The following morning a vessel was in sight giving chase.
Rapidly gaining upon the _Shetucket_, a blank shot, then two solid
shots were fired, the last striking water about two hundred yards away
from the transport, when she was hove to. The vessel in pursuit was
the gunboat _R. R. Cuyler_, who had sighted the afternoon before, the
transport and another steamer, giving chase first to the _Shetucket_,
until finding her to be a slow sailer had gone in pursuit of the other
vessel, overhauling her during the night, capturing a good prize in an
English iron-built blockade runner, and then started for the transport
again, confident she could be found at any time.

This was on the morning of the eighth, and in the evening, at nine
o’clock, they arrived at Ship Island. Receiving orders to proceed
to New Orleans, a start was made at noon the next day, entering the
Mississippi River by Pass L’Outre early on the morning of the tenth,
arriving at New Orleans in the afternoon of Sunday, January 11th, with
only three men sick after such a trip.

The regiment was in camp at Carrollton, and Companies C and H proceeded
next day to that place, disembarked, and joined Companies A, B, E, F
and K, having been thirty-six days on the trip from Sandy Hook to New
Orleans.

The transport _Quinnebaug_ was in charge of Lieutenant Proctor,
Company G. Corporal Hodsdon, Company D, was detailed to report to
Colonel Beckwith, chief commissary, and by him assigned to the
vessel. It was intended at one time to send some horses upon her,
but the accommodations were such that none would have lived, and
it was abandoned. This transport was like the _Charles Osgood_ and
_Shetucket_, fitted up with bunks to accommodate troops. After some
changes of mind in regard to this vessel, she was loaded with stores,
sufficient for twenty-four thousand army rations.

Lieutenant Proctor, while on the way to go aboard his steamer in the
river, ready to proceed, was hailed on Broadway by Sergeants Nichols,
Vialle and Atwell, who said they had been left, together with Private
Greene, all of them members of Company G. Proctor told them to find
Greene and go on board the _Quinnebaug_, which they did.

One of the ridiculous things done in loading this vessel was to put
in a large refrigerator built next to the engine boilers, against
remonstrances of men who knew this would not do, packing it with ice
and fresh beef. As was to be expected, heat from the boilers melted
the ice fast, and by the time they went into Tortugas the beef was
spoilt. The _Quincy_ was there at the same time, but her troops could
not, or would not, eat the meat which Lieutenant Proctor sent on board
to the extent of several tons. The balance he threw overboard after
leaving Tortugas.

This vessel sailed December 6th, proceeding to Fortress Munroe for
orders, as directed, remaining there two days; also touched at Hilton
Head for one day, Tortugas for one day and a half and Ship Island
for one day, arriving at New Orleans December 29th, having been
twenty-three days on the trip from Sandy Hook.

When Captain Beckley, commanding vessel, heard the sailing orders read
at sea, which directed them to Ship Island, he was mad, and said his
boat was unseaworthy and in no condition to go over the Bahama Banks;
he was also without charts for a voyage beyond Charleston, S. C., and
was obliged to send to Baltimore for them, from Fortress Munroe, where
they were obtained with difficulty. The _Quinnebaug_, in July, 1864,
while conveying from Morehead City to Baltimore about two hundred and
eighty discharged soldiers, was driven ashore when off Cape Lookout,
the machinery refusing to work, and became a total wreck. Between
eighty and ninety soldiers were lost.

Other detailed men from the regiment for detached duty were: Corporal
Alfred Thayer, Company I, Wagoners John Willy, Company B, Joseph
B. Ford, Company A, Chauncey K. Bullock, Company D, Nelson Wright,
Company E, Porter Carter, Company K, in charge of horses upon the
transport-ship _Wizard King_. This ship sailed from New York December
8th, and arrived at New Orleans December 31st. Besides a large amount
of stores, about one hundred and sixty horses were on board, belonging
to field officers of various regiments in the expedition. Each
regiment detailed men to care for its own horses. Twenty-five horses
were lost on the trip, among them Surgeon Hitchcock’s horse.

The experience of other Massachusetts troops on the voyage to New
Orleans was varied, as the following condensed statement will show:

Fourth Regiment Infantry--Seven companies and a portion of another
sailed from New York January 3d in the transport-ship _Geo. Peabody_;
arrived February 7th, not landing until the thirteenth; forty-seven
days on board; balance of regiment arrived about the same time.

Forty-Seventh Regiment Infantry--Entire regiment sailed from New York
December 22d on steamer _Mississippi_; had a pleasant voyage of eight
days to Ship Island; arrived at New Orleans December 31st.

Forty-Eighth Regiment Infantry--Embarked December 29th on steamer
_Constellation_, sailing from New York for Fortress Munroe January
4th; after detention of seven days sailed for New Orleans, and arrived
February 1st.

Forty-Ninth Regiment Infantry--Left New York January 24th on the
steamer _Illinois_; arrived at New Orleans February 7th.

Fiftieth Regiment Infantry--Three companies were on steamer _Jersey
Blue_, one company on steamer _New Brunswick_, five companies on
steamer _Niagara_, one company on ship _Jenny Lind_. The _Jersey
Blue_ sailed from New York about December 11th, became unmanageable
at sea and was obliged to put into Hilton Head in distress; troops
were landed and remained on shore about three weeks, then embarked on
bark _Guerrilla_, and arrived at New Orleans January 20th. The _New
Brunswick_ sailed December 1st; arrived at New Orleans December 16th.
The _Niagara_ sailed December 13th, sprang a leak first night out,
machinery became disabled, and it was necessary to put in at Delaware
Breakwater; arrived at Philadelphia sixteenth, where the steamer
was condemned by a Board of Survey as unfit for transport service.
Ship _Jenny Lind_ arrived at Philadelphia January 1st, took the five
companies on board, and on the ninth sailed for Fortress Munroe,
arriving on the thirteenth. As the _Jenny Lind_ was not capable of
accommodating all the troops, three companies were transferred to ship
_Montebello_--she sailed sixteenth; arrived at New Orleans January
27th. The _Jenny Lind_ arrived at New Orleans February 9th.

Fifty-Third Regiment Infantry--Embarked on steamer _Continental_
January 17th, and after a stormy passage of twelve days reached New
Orleans January 30th.

Thirty-Eighth Regiment Infantry--Left Baltimore November 10th on
steamer _Baltic_; arrived at Fortress Munroe November 12th; left
Fortress Munroe December 4th; after a smooth and pleasant passage
arrived at Ship Island December 13th; went into camp on the island
until the twenty-ninth; embarked on steamer _Northern Light_, and
arrived at New Orleans December 31st.

Forty-First Regiment Infantry--Sailed from New York December 4th in
steamer _North Star_, and after a remarkable pleasant passage arrived
at New Orleans, _via_ Ship Island, December 15th.

Twelfth Light Battery--Sailed from Boston January 3d in ship _E. W.
Farley_; arrived at New Orleans February 3d, after a very rough passage.

Thirteenth Light Battery--Sailed from Boston January 20th in ship
_DeWitt Clinton_; arrived at Fortress Munroe February 11th, after a
very stormy passage and loss of fifty-seven horses; after a long,
tedious voyage from Fortress Munroe arrived at New Orleans May 10th:
becalmed off the Florida coast, steamer _Geo. Peabody_ towed the ship
to Key West; from Key West the steamer _St. Mary’s_ towed the ship to
within one day’s sail of the Mississippi River.

Fifteenth Light Battery--Sailed from Boston March 9th in ship _Zouave_;
touched at Fortress Munroe, and arrived at New Orleans April 9th.



CHAPTER IV.

GALVESTON.

OFF FOR GALVESTON--LANDING--OCCUPATION OF THE CITY--ACTION OF JANUARY
FIRST--LOSS OF THE “HARRIET LANE”--DESERTED BY THE NAVY--SURRENDER.


Companies D, G and I went into camp at Carrollton on the afternoon
of December 18th, 1862. A telegraphic order was received from New
Orleans on the nineteenth, sent by General Banks, which read as
follows: “Colonel Burrell, with his three companies of the Forty-Second
Massachusetts Volunteers, will proceed to Galveston forthwith.”
Supposing execution of this order was urgent, preparations to move
were at once made. At three o’clock in the afternoon camp was struck
and the companies ready to move; but, as the transport _Saxon_, at
New Orleans for repairs, did not arrive, tents were again pitched and
occupied until the twenty-first. Next day, twentieth, written special
orders from General Banks were handed to Colonel Burrell by General
Sherman, commanding the post, and read: “Colonel Burrell, with the
three companies of the Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers,
will proceed to Galveston, land and take post.”

Colonel Burrell decided to execute his orders promptly. On the
twenty-first the _Saxon_ was ready to embark his men. Camp was struck
early in the morning. At eight o’clock men, baggage and equipage were
all on board, and the steamer proceeded down river until eight o’clock
in the evening, having anchored opposite New Orleans for about two
hours, while the colonel, accompanied by Chaplain Sanger, went ashore
for an interview with General Banks at his headquarters, to obtain
definite instructions. The only officer to be found at headquarters was
Colonel S. B. Holabird, chief-quartermaster of the Department, who said
full instructions in writing had been prepared, but he could not find
them; during the conversation carefully looking over documents in the
office. Colonel Holabird suggested to Colonel Burrell not to be in a
hurry in proceeding to Galveston, and having heard the subject talked
over in consultations that had taken place among other staff-officers
and General Banks, advised him, on arrival at Galveston, to consult
with Commodore Renshaw, commander of the fleet, in reference to his
course of action; that instructions would be forwarded very soon, as
the balance of the regiment on arrival from New York would be promptly
sent to him. The intention of General Banks, Holabird stated, was to
send there an additional regiment of infantry, a regiment of cavalry,
and a light artillery battery, as soon as it could possibly be done;
that General Banks’ idea was, for the three companies to remain under
protection of the navy guns until reënforcements arrived. Colonel
Holabird cautioned Colonel Burrell, not to be drawn into any scrapes
by Confederate General Magruder, who had lately assumed command of all
forces in Texas.

After lying alongside the river bank until half-past one o’clock
next morning, the transport proceeded on her way. Passing out of the
Mississippi River by the South West Pass into the Gulf of Mexico at
eleven o’clock in the morning, the course was taken for Galveston.

The troops on board the _Saxon_ consisted of:

Colonel--Isaac S. Burrell.

Adjutant--Charles A. Davis.

Quartermaster--Charles B. Burrell.

Surgeon--Ariel I. Cummings.

Chaplain--George J. Sanger.

Quartermaster-Sergeant--Henry C. Foster.

A young volunteer in the engineer corps named W. S. Long, who reported
on board at New Orleans.

Lieutenant Brown P. Stowell, Company E, who was sick when the regiment
left New York, and embarked on the _Saxon_, instead of remaining with
his company.

Private Samuel R. Hersey, Company C, acting as clerk to the colonel.
Frank Veazie, cook to officers’ mess, not an enlisted man. Two colored
boys, Charles L. Amos of Dedham, Mass., servant of Quartermaster
Burrell, and Charles F. Revaleon of Boylston, Mass., servant of Surgeon
Cummings.

The following officers and men of Company D:

  1. Captain George Sherive.
  2. First Lieutenant Wm. H. Cowdin.
  3. Second Lieutenant Darius F. Eddy.
  4. First Sergeant Samuel A. Waterman.
  5. Second Sergeant Charles D. Frye.
  6. Third Sergeant Charles R. Todd.
  7. Fourth Sergeant Wm. E. Humphrey (color bearer).
  8. Fifth Sergeant John W. Davis.
  9. First Corporal Chas. C. Richards.
  10. Second Corporal Benjamin Noyes.
  11. Third Corporal Wm. H. Tileston.
  12. Fourth Corporal Chas. J. Oldham.
  13. Fifth Corporal Benjamin F. Bean.
  14. Sixth Corporal Lewis M. Calhoun.
  15. Corporal Henry W. McIntosh.
  16. Drummer Lewis Eddy.
  17. Private Albert S. Allen.
  18.    “    William H. Brown.
  19.    “    William H. Bullard.
  20.    “    William H. Batson.
  21.    “    Charles Brown.
  22.    “    Charles W. Bailey.
  23.    “    John Barnes.
  24.    “    Edward Boardman.
  25.    “    William Burke.
  26.    “    Major Bacon.
  27.    “    Michael Buckmaster.
  28.    “    John Burns.
  29.    “    Charles H. Cushman.
  30.    “    George T. Clinton.
  31.    “    Dennis Dailey.
  32.    “    John Drury.
  33.    “    Peter Durnam.
  34.    “    Tobias Enslee.
  35.    “    George M. Fisk.
  36.    “    Henry Fisk.
  37.    “    John Fay.
  38.    “    Fitzallen Gourley.
  39.    “    Charles J. Grinnell.
  40.    “    Amos B. Howard.
  41.    “    Thomas C. Houghton.
  42.    “    David Howe.
  43.    “    Wallace A. Josselyn.
  44.    “    Edwin F. Josselyn.
  45.    “    Jacob Kopf.
  46.    “    William B. Larrabee.
  47.    “    Fred Lamote.
  48.    “    Thomas Londergan.
  49.    “    Frank McConlow.
  50.    “    Randolph P. Mosely.
  51.    “    John V. McIlroy.
  52.    “    James Moore.
  53.    “    Francis L. Morrill.
  54.    “    Angus G. Nicholson.
  55.    “    James O’Shaughnessy.
  56.    “    Benjamin Pratt.
  57.    “    George Powers.
  58.    “    Louis Preami.
  59.    “    Gustavus Raymond.
  60.    “    Cornelius Ryan.
  61.    “    Jerry S. Russell.
  62.    “    William Rigby.
  63.    “    Jeremiah Quinn.
  64.    “    Henry C. Sellea.
  65.    “    Joseph H. Stowell.
  66.    “    Sargent L. Stoddard.
  67.    “    Daniel J. Sullivan.
  68.    “    Laban Thaxter.
  69.    “    Josiah Thompson.
  70.    “    James Thomaston.
  71.    “    Daniel H. Vining.
  72.    “    Charles G. Weymouth.
  73.    “    Daniel L. Weymouth.
  74.    “    George S. Walls.
  75.    “    George H. Wight.
  76.    “    Jonathan G. Wight.
  77.    “    Albert P. Wright.
  78.    “    Nathaniel White.

The following officers and men of Company G:

  1. Captain Alfred N. Proctor.
  2. 2d Lieutenant Thaddeus H. Newcomb.
  3. Sergeant Levi W. Goodrich.
  4.    “     Philip P. Hackett.
  5. Corporal John W. Buttrick.
  6.    “     Seth E. Clapp.
  7.    “     John C. Bishop.
  8. Corporal George W. Griggs.
  9.    “     Moses Lincoln, Jr.
  10.   “     Robert G. Thompson.
  11.   “     George G. Morrison.
  12.   “     David L. Wentworth, acting as ordnance-sergeant.
  13. Drummer Horace W. Chandler.
  14.    “    David A. Ireson.
  15. Wagoner Roland C. Judkins.
  16. Private Obed F. Allen.
  17.    “    Joseph Brownlow.
  18.    “    Charles A. Bailey.
  19.    “    John Brown.
  20.    “    William H. Bickers.
  21.    “    Charles L. Barrett.
  22.    “    Charles Barrett.
  23.    “    Charles Boardman.
  24.    “    John M. Barnard, Jr.
  25.    “    William M. Bird.
  26.    “    Gilbert F. Blaisdell.
  27.    “    John H. Cary.
  28.    “    Thomas O. Bryant.
  29.    “    John Carvey.
  30.    “    John T. Cook.
  31.    “    Lemuel S. Copeland.
  32.    “    Frank Covell.
  33.    “    Frederick Corson.
  34.    “    Gilbert Crocker.
  35.    “    Fred T. Clark.
  36.    “    William Carter.
  37.    “    George H. Davis.
  38.    “    John E. Davis.
  39.    “    James L. Davis.
  40.    “    George R. Dary.
  41.    “    Edmund B. Doubel.
  42.    “    Daniel Dinnegan.
  43.    “    James G. Emerson.
  44.    “    John Eaton.
  45.    “    John Eastman.
  46.    “    Richard Ellis.
  47.    “    Thomas Field.
  48.    “    Benjamin Gould.
  49.    “    John W. Gordon.
  50.    “    George S. Hyde.
  51.    “    Albert A. Hayden.
  52.    “    John Harmon.
  53.    “    Henry T. Horn.
  54.    “    Albert A. Holt.
  55.    “    Lucius Higgins.
  56.    “    Charles Hilger.
  57.    “    Alonzo D. Ireson.
  58.    “    Eli P. Johnson.
  59.    “    Francis Knight.
  60.    “    George W. Kibbey.
  61.    “    Arthur Kelley.
  62.    “    Charles B. Lynde.
  63.    “    Amos W. Lynde.
  64.    “    William Logan.
  65.    “    Samuel Marshall.
  66.    “    Joseph Mullen.
  67.    “    James H. McAllister.
  68.    “    Francis L. Nott.
  69.    “    Joseph W. D. Parker.
  70.    “    Charles Paine.
  71.    “    Daniel D. Penney.
  72.    “    John F. Parrott.
  73.    “    Benjamin R. Pierce.
  74.    “    Diomede Roseline.
  75.    “    Martin W. Roberts.
  76.    “    Chas. W. H. Sanborn.
  77.    “    Albert I. Smart.
  78.    “    Thomas T. Sweetser.
  79.    “    Henry O. Studley.
  80.    “    William Stiles.
  81.    “    Charles H. Upham.
  82.    “    Edwin A. Vinton.
  83.    “    Levi Vincent.
  84.    “    James W. Vinal.
  85.    “    James Vance.
  86.    “    Abiel F. White.
  87.    “    Henry J. Wethern.
  88.    “    William B. York.
  89.    “    Josiah R. York.

And the following officers and men of Company I:

  1. Captain Cyrus Savage.
  2. First Lieutenant Samuel F. White.
  3. Second Lieutenant Benjamin F. Bartlett.
  4. First Sergeant Wm. H. Hunt.
  5. Second Sergeant John F. Hewins.
  6. Third Sergeant Chauncy B. Sawyer.
  7. Fourth Sergeant Edward Merrill, Jr.
  8. Fifth Sergeant Cornelius G. Kenney.
  9. First Corporal Frank M. Adams.
  10. Second Corporal Nathaniel H. Bird.
  11. Third Corporal Sanford H. Brigham.
  12. Fourth Corporal David F. Sloan.
  13. Fifth Corporal Daniel H. Walker.
  14. Drummer Albert Schneider.
  15. Private Moses Averill.
  16.    “    Edward F. Bryant.
  17.    “    Jonathan Baker.
  18.    “    Edward J. Baker.
  19.    “    Edward K. Baker.
  20.    “    John K. Clements.
  21.    “    Samuel Crowell.
  22.    “    Jefferson W. Cheney.
  23.    “    Peter Cuddy.
  24.    “    Thomas P. Contillon.
  25.    “    James G. Colson.
  26.    “    David Chapin.
  27.    “    Timothy Dolan.
  28.    “    Thomas Dellanty.
  29.    “    Charles H. Dodge.
  30.    “    Wm. C. Elder.
  31.    “    Horace W. Eaton.
  32.    “    John Elliott.
  33.    “    George K. Farnum.
  34.    “    Willard S. Farrington.
  35.    “    Henry E. Farrington.
  36.    “    James F. Floyd.
  37.    “    George T. Fernald.
  38.    “    Edward S. Gray.
  39.    “    Thomas V. Gleason.
  40.    “    Charles Gleason.
  41.    “    William F. Gardner.
  42.    “    George Glover, Jr.
  43.    “    Charles E. Hewins.
  44.    “    John A. Hodgkins.
  45.    “    Frederick Huggins.
  46.    “    Elijah Hunt.
  47.    “    Lewis A. Hunt.
  48.    “    Alexander Hobbs.
  49.    “    Thomas F. Igo.
  50.    “    Ambrose A. Knight.
  51.    “    Charles Littlefield.
  52.    “    William B. Lambert.
  53.    “    Frank B. Laury.
  54.    “    David W. Lannergan.
  55.    “    James Mulry.
  56.    “    Thomas Morris.
  57.    “    William Morgan.
  58.    “    Dennis Mahoney.
  59.    “    Nathaniel McCreary.
  60.    “    Lawrence Mannix.
  61.    “    James McGee.
  62.    “    Jos. W. McLaughlin.
  63.    “    Thomas A. Noyes.
  64.    “    Solomon Nordlinger.
  65.    “    Albert H. Plummer.
  66.    “    Porter Plummer.
  67.    “    George L. Pitman.
  68.    “    George B. Proctor, Jr.
  69.    “    John B. Pratt.
  70.    “    Charles H. Poole.
  71.    “    Joseph T. Paget.
  72.    “    Evelyn Ransom.
  73.    “    Asa Robbins.
  74.    “    Geo. W. Richardson.
  75.    “    Edwin Smith.
  76.    “    Joseph Scaff.
  77.    “    Charles J. Sumner, Jr.
  78.    “    George W. Sloan.
  79.    “    James E. Stanley.
  80.    “    William Spargo.
  81.    “    John Taylor.
  82.    “    Jacob H. Taylor.
  83.    “    Joseph A. Teeling.
  84.    “    Wm. H. H. Weeman.
  85.    “    George W. Wescott.
  86.    “    Ozias Willis.
  87.    “    Joel F. Williams.
  88.    “    Sanford Woods.

The total force amounting to 15 officers, 249 enlisted men, 1 white
citizen, and 2 colored boys.

The instructions Colonel Holabird could not find were handed to
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman as the steamer _Che-Kiang_ was about to
leave New Orleans for Galveston. They never reached Colonel Burrell.
They were as follows:--


  “HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF THE GULF,
  “NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 3d, 1863.

“LIEUT.-COL. STEDMAN, 42d Reg’t Mass. Vols.:

“_Colonel_,--I am directed by the Commanding General to enclose you
instructions, which he requests you to hand Colonel Isaac S. Burrell.

  “Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
  “W. L. G. GREEN,
  “_Aid-de-Camp_.”


  “HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF THE GULF,
  “NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 3d, 1863.

“COLONEL:

“Your regiment having been ordered to Galveston, you are hereby placed
in command of that post. You will execute such orders as you may
receive from these headquarters. My instructions from the Department
of War forbid me at present to make any extended military movements in
Texas. The situation of the people of Galveston makes it expedient to
send a small force there for the purpose of their protection, and also
to afford such facilities as may be possible for recruiting soldiers
for the military service of the United States. Every assistance in your
power will be afforded for the complete attainment of these objects.

“General Hamilton is appointed Military Governor of the State of Texas,
and will be recognized by you in that capacity, but your orders you
will receive from these headquarters.

“Until the port of Galveston is regularly opened by the Government of
the United States, no trade can be carried on, and no attempt for that
purpose will be recognized, or countenanced by you.

“I rely fully upon your energy, vigilance and capacity, for the
performance of the important duties intrusted to you. Do not fail to
make frequent reports of all that transpires within your command, and
of whatever important facts you may learn from the enemy in Texas, or
from its people.

“It is not probable that any successful movement can be made upon the
main-land until our force shall be considerably strengthened; and
you will take care not to involve yourself in such difficulty as to
endanger the safety of your command.

“Other instructions will be sent to you from time to time, as occasion
may require and opportunity offer.

  “N. P. BANKS,
  “_Major-General commanding_.

  “COLONEL ISAAC S. BURRELL,
  “42d Regiment Mass. Vols.”


  “HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF THE GULF,
  “NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 3d, 1863.

“COLONEL:

“You will immediately cause to be constructed a _tete-du-pont_, to
command the bridge which connects Galveston Island with the main-land.

“I directed an engineer officer to go there some time since, and I
suppose he is there. If so, he will give suitable directions for the
work.

  “Very respectfully yours,
  “N. P. BANKS,
  “_Major-General commanding_.

  “COLONEL ISAAC S. BURRELL,
  “commanding U. S. Forces at Galveston.”

The trip to Galveston was devoid of interest. The weather was fine
and the sea moderately smooth. Few were sea-sick. At half past eleven
on the morning of the twenty-fourth land was sighted; at noon, the
gunboat _Tennessee_ fired a shot across the bow of the _Saxon_, and
she hove to, off Galveston Bar, for about two hours, when a pilot was
taken. The navy had been expecting troops to arrive for some days.
Commander Law, of the _Clifton_, when he ascertained what troops were
on board the _Saxon_ and their purpose, sent a boat to bring the
colonel over the bar, and on board his vessel, which then proceeded
up the channel a short distance. As the _Saxon_ would not be able to
get over the bar at once, an offer from Law, to take Burrell in his gig
to see Commander Renshaw, was accepted. Upon reaching the flag-ship
_Westfield_, Renshaw, who was entertaining Confederate officers in the
cabin under a flag of truce, met the colonel at the gangway, extending
a hearty welcome. He suggested the postponement of a conference at that
time, not wishing the Confederate officers to see Colonel Burrell, and
would meet him on board the _Clifton_ with all commanding officers of
gunboats then in the harbor, viz.:--

_Westfield_--A ferry-boat; eight guns; Commander W. B. Renshaw.

_Clifton_--A Staten Island ferry-boat; seven guns; Lieutenant-Commander
R. L. Law.

_Harriet Lane_--Formerly a United States revenue cutter; eight guns;
Commander J. M. Wainwright.

_Owasco_--Screw propeller; regular war vessel; six guns;
Lieutenant-Commander H. Wilson.

Commander Renshaw, as agreed, met Colonel Burrell on board the
_Clifton_. The situation was explained and discussed. Renshaw strongly
urged landing the troops in the city, and was supported in this advice
by all of his officers. Burrell suggested landing on Pelican Spit, an
island near the harbor entrance, with plenty of space, and buildings
that could be occupied until more troops arrived. Great stress was
placed on the difficulty of obtaining water upon the spit, while
abundance was to be had in the city. Renshaw scouted the idea of danger
to so small a force in the city. A decision was finally made to land
on Kuhn’s Wharf, occupy for barracks the wooden storehouse upon it,
and fully understood by all officers present, that the troops would
be under protection of the navy guns. They were to be protected or
removed. In case an attack was threatened, the _Owasco_ was to take
position on the right, the _Clifton_ on the left of Kuhn’s Wharf, and
these vessels were accustomed to occupy those positions every night.
Assurance was also given that the troops could be taken from the wharf
in five minutes time if it became necessary to do so.

Galveston City in 1861 was a port of entry and capital of Galveston
County. It is situated near the east end of Galveston Island, with the
best and least difficult harbor on the whole Texas coast. It was the
commercial emporium of Texas, with the bulk of its commerce coastwise
with New Orleans and New York. The former port connected with it by
regular steamship lines. The city contained the court-house, a jail,
and other county buildings, several churches, numerous warehouses,
wholesale and retail stores, and hotels; and published several
newspapers. The island in which the city stands, is about thirty-six
miles long, with an average width of two miles. The soil is good, being
a black mould, about a foot deep, resting on sand and shells, and it
has several ponds of good water. Separated from the main-land by West
Bay, it was connected by a wooden railroad bridge, two miles in length,
used by the Galveston and Houston Railroad. No portion of the surface
is more than twenty feet above the level of the Gulf of Mexico, and
with the exception of several groves of live oak, the whole is open
prairie. Before the war the land was said to have been in a state of
excellent cultivation, and the city the residence of many wealthy
farmers. Very few slaves were held on the island, and the population
was about seven thousand.

Federal naval forces had virtually been in possession of Galveston
since October 8th, 1862, in full control of the harbor, but lacking
adequate force to land and occupy permanently the city. Besides the
four gunboats in the harbor when the detachment first arrived, the
gunboat _Sachem_, an altered merchant screw propeller steamer, five
guns, Acting Master Amos Johnson, came in December 29th with her
boilers out of repair, and, securing the services of two boiler makers
from the city, anchored in the channel on the city front to have them
patched up. The small Government schooner _Corypheus_, Acting Master A.
T. Spear, with one gun, and manned by fifteen men, also came into port
with the _Sachem_.

The sailing barks _Arthur_, _Cavallo_, and _Elias Pike_, loaded with
coal for the fleet; the transport steamer _Mary Boardman_, loaded with
hay and horses; and the transport steamer _Saxon_, was all the shipping
that was in Galveston Harbor, January 1st, 1863.

At two o’clock the _Saxon_ passed over the bar, her keel striking
bottom a few times, and at half-past four came to anchor in the harbor
channel.

The troops made a landing December 25th, at ten o’clock in the
morning. The two-story storehouse was occupied on the upper floor for
sleeping, the lower floor to store quartermaster and commissary stores,
ammunition, and intrenching tools, which were removed from the _Saxon_
that day and next. A partitioned room on the lower floor was fitted up
by Surgeon Cummings for a hospital. The commissary supplies consisted
of coffee, hard bread, beans, salt pork, and molasses, sufficient to
last about thirty days for three hundred men. The intrenching tools
were spades, picks and axes, for five hundred men. Three months medical
supplies and about twenty-five thousand rounds fixed ammunition for
infantry was also landed.

Kuhn’s Wharf was the largest on the harbor front, the storehouse end
large and roomy, connected with the land by a bridge-like wharf some
four hundred feet long, about twenty feet wide, built on piling. The
water was quite shallow at any tide almost to the end. Tides in
Galveston harbor and bay ebb and flow very little; the depth of water
is greatly influenced by heavy northerly winds, which blow the water
over the bar out to sea. Heavy draft vessels at such times must keep to
the narrow channel.

A flag-pole was found which belonged on the storehouse, and being
placed in position upon the cupola, the old garrison flag, used by the
regiment at Readville, was run up about eleven o’clock and greeted
with cheers. Sentries were at once posted in the city as far as Market
Square, one of the principal places with all of the main streets
leading into it. They were also posted on the streets to the right and
left, communicating directly with the wharf. At night these posts were
reënforced in such a manner as to constitute picket-posts.

Immediately upon landing and taking post, Colonel Burrell adopted such
measures to secure all the protection possible that in his judgment the
situation demanded. From this time until the morning of January 1st it
was _work, work, work_. Fatigue and working parties were constantly
employed. Guards and pickets were on duty day and night. Reconnoitring
detachments were on duty by day and squads scouting at night. The
Forty-Second Infantry, posted upon Kuhn’s Wharf, were very active
during their short stay, occupying the city so far as the small force
and prudence would allow, and exercising proper surveillance. The men
were barely allowed sufficient time to obtain needed sleep.

Among the first things done was to barricade the interior of the
storehouse facing the city, by placing against that side, on each
floor, barrels of whiting, plaster and hair, found on the premises. For
a temporary shelter to men on picket at night, if forced to seek it,
it was decided to build a breastwork upon the wharf by tearing up and
utilizing the planks. Volunteer Engineer Long saw no use or necessity
for this, not exercising any supervision over the work until operations
had commenced and he saw that the colonel was determined about it.
Commencing at a point some fifty feet from the shore end, the hard pine
planks were removed to make a gap in the wharf for the space of about
another fifty feet, and the first breastwork was erected on the edge
of this gap the day of landing. Fortunately Quartermaster Burrell, in
looking around the city in the morning, had found a keg of large-sized
spikes and ordered them taken to the wharf where they might be found
useful. They were very useful in building this work.

An examination of the ammunition, ordered in a few days after landing
when it was evident the enemy meant mischief, was not a welcome
surprise. Company G was armed with Springfield rifles, and Companies
D and I had Springfield smooth-bore muskets. The bulk of ammunition
landed was found to be for rifles, with only a small supply of ball
and buckshot cartridges for smooth-bores. There was also found to be a
scarcity of caps. This is accounted for by the confused manner in which
the regiment was embarked at Brooklyn on the different transports--a
proper apportionment of the ammunition was not possible under the
circumstances. Sending Adjutant Davis to the fleet for any surplus caps
they had to spare added very little to the supply, as they were short
also. It was found that cartridges and caps sufficient to give each
man eighteen rounds in his cartridge box was all the ammunition that
could be made serviceable when a distribution was made to the men on
the thirty-first. This was kept a secret from the command. The men were
cautioned to husband their ammunition until it could be used to effect
at close quarters, in case of an action. No man was to fire his musket
unless so ordered by an officer.

Commander Wainwright, with a few sailors armed with cutlasses and
pistols, visited the wharf on the twenty-sixth. After a conference
with Colonel Burrell, a _reconnoissance_ through Galveston and its
suburbs was determined upon. Captain Sherive, with about one hundred
men, including the sailors, accompanied by the colonel, adjutant,
quartermaster and chaplain, with Wainwright, started about nine o’clock
in the morning to reconnoitre, proceeding as far as the brick kilns,
some two miles outside of the city. It was not deemed advisable to
go further in the direction of Eagle Grove, about three miles, but
a circuit of the outskirts was made and the city looked over. The
inhabitants had fled. It was almost entirely deserted. Unlike many
other cities and towns occupied by Federal troops, very few colored
people were to be seen. A lookout was established in a four-story brick
building on the Strand near Market Square and within the guard lines,
where all that was going on at Eagle Grove on the island, and Virginia
Point on the main-land, was distinctly visible in the daytime by the
aid of a field-glass. This lookout was constantly maintained.

In the afternoon Colonel Burrell, accompanied by Volunteer Engineer
Long, proceeded in the _Harriet Lane_ towards West Bay as far as the
channel would allow. A good view of Eagle Grove and Virginia Point was
obtained. The earthwork, mounting three guns, thrown up at Eagle Grove
by Confederates, to protect the railroad bridge, was abandoned. The end
of the bridge at Virginia Point was protected by extensive works with
heavy guns in position, and here the enemy appeared to be in force.
Their camps could be plainly seen.

It was while on this trip in the _Harriet Lane_ that Colonel Burrell
made up his mind to destroy the railroad bridge. None of the naval
vessels could get near enough to do any permanent damage, on account
of the narrow, tortuous and shallow channel. The distance from the
fleet anchorage by way of the channel was about four and one-half
miles. Heavy naval guns, fired from a point of anchorage where it would
have been safe to try it, would not have reached the bridge with any
accuracy, the gun-carriages not admitting a sufficient elevation of the
guns to carry shot or shell that distance, while such heavy charges
of powder would be required for the distance that the concussion upon
the gun-decks of such vessels as were then at Galveston would have
caused serious damage to the vessels, had everything been favorable
in other particulars for attempting the destruction of the bridge in
this manner. The bridge could not be effectually severed by the navy
except by sending up armed launches prepared for such duty. These the
gunboats did not have; all of their row-boats were small, not capable
of carrying light guns, even if they had them. This would have been
hazardous service, as the enemy were vigilant and brave. That the
navy could have sent up boat crews and destroyed it when the vessels
first entered the harbor in October, was admitted by a number of naval
officers, because the enemy had precipitately taken flight, abandoning
everything. The Confederate military commander at that time was a
weak-kneed sort of man. In a very short time the Confederate troops
rallied, removed all of their guns on the island, and built the works
at Eagle Grove rendering the attempt hazardous. Destroying the bridge
would not have prevented all communication between the island and the
main-land, only rendered it difficult, as the enemy had plenty of boats
hid in the creeks and bayous adjacent that could be used for ferry
purposes. But no attempt of any sort had been made by the navy since
first entering Galveston Bay to damage or sever this bridge.

Collecting barrels of tar pitch, with other combustible material, and
confiscating a dray (all horses had been run out of town), the colonel
ordered them stored ready for use, intending to move up immediately
on the landing of the balance of his regiment, occupy the works at
Eagle Grove, destroy the bridge as far as possible, mount some heavy
guns, and shell the enemy from his works on the main-land. Those naval
officers who talked the matter over with officers of the Forty-Second
agreed that it ought to be done. Commander Wainwright was especially in
favor of severing this means of communication. Had the seven companies
of the regiment arrived on or before the twenty-eighth of December, it
was thought not much difficulty would have been experienced. The enemy
soon ascertained the small strength of the detachment landed, and on
the twenty-ninth reoccupied the earthworks at Eagle Grove, and mounted
heavy cannon to protect the bridge and approaches. Colonel Burrell
then requested Commander Renshaw to go up the bay as far as possible
with two of his lightest draft vessels, and shell the enemy from the
island, which he refused to do. After the twenty-eighth December, the
destruction of this bridge could not have been accomplished without an
action with the enemy in force at Eagle Grove, but an attempt would
have been made had not the event of January 1st occurred.

During the afternoon of the twenty-sixth, while Captain Sherive with a
small force of men was out on a foraging expedition, to see what could
be found for cooking-stoves, eight Confederate cavalry-men appeared
under a flag of truce, with a request to see the British consul. No
flag-of-truce trick could be played on Captain Sherive. He promptly
halted the party, and notified his commanding officer. One man, under
guard, was allowed to see the consul, and the Confederate captain in
charge was ordered to leave by six o’clock, as after that hour they
would be fired upon. For weeks had the enemy enjoyed the hospitality of
Commander Renshaw under these convenient flags of truce, used freely
for the most trivial reasons; but the military commander stopped all
such nonsense at once. This truce flag was the only one recognized
until the day of surrender.

Supplies of food were not plenty in the city. The Confederates would
not allow any to be brought from the main-land, consequently, what
few inhabitants remained in Galveston, mostly women, found it hard
work to subsist. In a small way, rations were given to them by Colonel
Burrell. Not much could be done in this direction, owing to the small
supply on hand for the troops, who must be fed and kept in fighting
condition. There were quite a number of German women with gold and
silver coin, who wished to purchase provisions from the quartermaster.
Their husbands were serving in the Confederate army, and much valuable
information was obtained from them.

Confederate cavalry commenced to infest the city and suburbs at
night, about three days after a landing was made; but did not attempt
to molest the pickets. These cavalry-men came along the beach,
concealed by a range of sand hills on the Gulf shore; on reaching
the outskirts they would separate to go through the city in squads
of two and three. Before daylight these squads would rendezvous at a
place called Schmidt’s Garden, and return to Eagle Grove by the same
route they came. They easily obtained, during these nocturnal trips,
all information they required, for the men talked freely with such of
the inhabitants as wished to converse. While there were a handful of
Union men, or refugees as they were termed by the enemy, who sought
protection under the Federal flag, the bulk of the small population,
men, women and children, were secessionists to the core.

Lieutenant Eddy and Private Hersey must have had this fact very
forcibly impressed upon their minds when they were _entertained_ by
some Galveston ladies at a house on the Strand, some two miles from
quarters, on the afternoon of Sunday, December 28th. The ladies sang
all of the latest Confederate songs, Eddy and Hersey in return singing
the latest from the North. The conversation was bitter disunion on the
female side, and well calculated to draw out information on military
affairs. On bidding them good afternoon as they left, several young men
were seen loitering in the vicinity, who had undoubtedly been listeners
to the conversation.

While the enemy easily obtained information of the Federal strength,
position and purposes, the men of the Forty-Second as easily secured
definite information of the Confederate strength and intentions. At
this game of cards honors were easy.

On the night of the twenty-seventh a report was brought in that a force
of Confederate cavalry was in the city. Captain Sherive with fifty men
and Captain Savage with fifty men received separate orders to drive
them out. Taking different directions, a thorough scout failed to
discover any traces of this cavalry until Captain Sherive arrived at
the beach road leading to Fort Point, when fresh horse-shoe prints in
the sand were discovered, showing that a force of mounted men had gone
in the direction of Fort Point, where there was an abandoned earthwork
thrown up to command the harbor entrance. Captain Savage came up soon
after, joined forces with Sherive, and was directed to place his men on
the sand ridge of the beach, lying down, while Sherive with his men
covered the beach, and all awaited developments. About midnight Captain
Savage became impatient, if not a little timid, as signal rockets were
seen sent up in the city, and he declined to remain longer, proceeding
back to the wharf. This forced Captain Sherive to retire also, as he
doubted his ability to meet the supposed force of the enemy with the
men left. It was afterwards ascertained that the party was General
Magruder, reconnoitring the entrance to the bay with some eighty of
his officers and men, who would certainly have been captured, killed,
or wounded, if the detachments had remained where Captain Sherive
had them posted. There was no escape, except by breaking through the
detachments, and the enemy could not successfully do that while Captain
Sherive was around. Captain Savage destroyed the telegraph lines
connecting Galveston with the main-land, that had remained intact up to
this time, as part of the night’s operations.

There was a lull in the preparations and rounds of duty on Sunday,
the twenty-eighth, giving the men that rest they sorely needed. Only
two civilians were molested by the troops during their short stay in
Galveston. A German was arrested on this day for uttering seditious
language. He was confined at guard quarters in the wharf storehouse,
remaining there during the action of January 1st, almost forgotten, but
miraculously escaped without a wound. The other was a citizen caught
hanging around the head of the wharf in a suspicious manner, and was
arrested for a spy, retained in confinement some six hours, and then
released. This arrest occurred on the ----th.

Sunday afternoon Colonel Burrell, in a row-boat, proceeded to Fort
Point to inspect a 100 Pr. gun, dismounted in the fort, with the
intention of removing it to the earthwork at Eagle Grove when his
force was increased. The gun was found to be sound, not spiked, and
ready for immediate service, when mounted on a gun-carriage. The story
of the dismounting of this heavy gun, as told by naval officers and
sailors, is said to be true.

[Illustration: KUHN’S WHARF, GALVESTON, TEXAS.]

It seems that when the fleet was sailing towards Galveston Bar the
orders were not to fire, even if fired upon, until the signal was
displayed from the flag-ship. A gunner on the _Clifton_, standing by
his gun, with lanyard in hand, accidentally slipped when the vessel
lurched, causing him to pull the lanyard with a sudden jerk and fire
the gun. Without being trained on the fort, the solid shot took effect
on the gun-carriage of this 100 Pr., near the stanchions, shattering
the carriage, heaving the gun up in the air, tumbling it over backward
in the sand. The garrison became panic struck at the effect of this
chance shot and fled. The fleet then entered the harbor without another
gun being fired.

The situation looked serious, and with a doubt in his mind about
the loyalty of the naval commander, and no news from his expected
reënforcements, Colonel Burrell decided on the twenty-ninth to send
Quartermaster Burrell to New Orleans on the _Saxon_, with despatches
for General Banks. The commissary supplies had dwindled down to
fifteen days rations for three hundred men, and the ammunition was
not available. Engineer Long decided to go also, not being under the
orders of Colonel Burrell, and took passage on the _Saxon_. Much to
the transport captain’s relief, for he had been in a highly nervous
state while lying at the wharf, the _Saxon_ left, proceeding as far
as Pelican Spit, where she had to remain until January 1st. A strong
northerly wind, that continued on the thirtieth and thirty-first, had
blown the water from Galveston Bar so that only three feet of water
covered it, rendering proceeding to sea impossible.


LETTER CARRIED TO GENERAL BANKS, BY QUARTERMASTER BURRELL.

  “HEADQUARTERS,
  “GALVESTON, TEXAS, December 29th, 1862.

“_Sir_: In obedience to orders, upon arriving at this place on the
evening of the twenty-fourth instant, after consulting with the
commander of the blockading fleet, I landed the three companies of my
command, which were with me upon the transport _Saxon_, on the end of
Kuhn’s Wharf, and quartered them in the warehouse there. I have taken
possession of the city as boldly as I could with the small force at
my command, and have thoroughly reconnoitred the built-upon portions
of the city up to within range of their battery at Eagle Grove, which
is apparently well built, mounting three guns. They have also one gun
at the draw, which is about midway of the bridge. Upon Virginia Point
they have a strong battery, mounted with heavy guns. From the best
information obtainable, I judge their force in this immediate vicinity
to be about two thousand strong.

“During the day we control the city, but at night, owing to our small
force (as the balance of my regiment has not yet arrived), I am obliged
to draw in the pickets to the wharf on which we are quartered. I think
there are still living upon the island about three thousand persons,
a large proportion of whom are women and children. A great many of
these people are almost entirely destitute of the means of subsistence,
as the enemy will not allow anything to be brought over from the
main-land, thinking, doubtless, to make them disloyal by starvation.
The naval officer in command has contributed all he could spare from
his stores, and my men have shared their bread rations with them.
I believe the larger part of the residents now here to be loyal and
really desire to remain in the city, and that common humanity calls
upon us to render them assistance. This, in my judgment, can best be
done by placing the city under martial law as soon as my force is large
enough, and forcing the rich, who are mainly the secessionists, to feed
the poor. I would most respectfully urge upon your consideration the
necessity of sending provisions for immediate relief. These can be sold
to them at Government prices, thus conferring a real charity, without
subjecting them to the mortification of being beggars. Under the
existing circumstances I have thought it best to send one of my staff,
Quartermaster Burrell, and Mr. Long, the engineer, who accompanied
us here, to report to you in person. These gentlemen will explain in
detail the state of affairs, and the importance of the knowledge which
they can convey to you has, in my judgment, authorized me in ordering
the _Saxon_ back to New Orleans, which I humbly trust will meet your
approbation.

  “I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
  “ISAAC S. BURRELL,
  “_Colonel commanding 42d regiment Mass. Vols._”

The small schooner _Corypheus_ had lying useless upon her deck two
captured 12 Pr. Howitzer field-guns, with over three hundred rounds
of ammunition for them. Adjutant Davis was sent on the night of the
twenty-ninth to Commander Renshaw, with a request for the guns to
be landed upon the wharf. Colonel Burrell intended to place them in
position in the storehouse, opening port-holes on the land side.
Company D (the old Roxbury Artillery) had many Roxbury men who knew how
to handle such guns, besides having in the ranks a dozen man-of-wars
men, who had enlisted in Boston shortly after their discharge from a
war-vessel, that had arrived from a long cruise. The idea was ridiculed
by Renshaw, who flatly refused the request.

General Magruder, when he assumed command in December of the
Confederate forces in Texas, immediately set about perfecting plans to
recover possession of Galveston, and to capture or cripple the fleet.
These plans were so far matured that he intended to attack on the
twenty-seventh, but was obliged to postpone it until the morning of
January 1st from delay in fitting out his river steamers.

The naval commander heard of these steamers being got in readiness
to attack him, but did not think he would have much difficulty in
blowing them to pieces with his guns; in fact, affected to look upon
such preparations of the enemy as futile. As for the information of
Magruder’s plan of action on land, obtained by the military force, none
of the naval officers, with the exception of Wainwright, placed much
reliance upon it until the thirty-first, as they had heard every day
since they had been there reports of an attack to be made.

Definite news was obtained on the thirtieth that the enemy would
make an attack that day or next. Commander Renshaw had not at any
time since the troops landed been very communicative, or evince any
desire to consult over the situation, although an occasional visitor
to the military headquarters. Determined to protect the men as far as
possible, a second breastwork, close to the storehouse, was commenced
in the afternoon and finished by midnight, tearing up the wharf in
front and opening another gap for fifty feet.

The two breastworks were strong enough to resist infantry-fire, but not
artillery. Composed of two and two and one-half inch planking laid one
upon the other, two planks deep, so that the faces were composed of the
edges only, they were some thirty inches in thickness, built shoulder
high. On this last work the entrance port was protected by a cotton
bale. Not satisfied with this, a raft lying at the wharf, such as is
used by caulkers in working on vessels’ seams near the water line, was
raised from the water by hard labor, and securely placed in position
on the right of the second breastwork, to protect as far as it would a
fire from the next wharf on that flank, one-eighth of a mile distant.
The storehouse protected the left flank from infantry-fire from the
wharf on that side, also about one-eighth of a mile distant.

That night a false alarm, about ten o’clock, brought the entire force
to arms behind the breastworks, and gunboats took positions near the
wharf as agreed--one on the left and one on the right.

While the city was apparently deserted for some days after landing, on
the thirtieth and thirty-first of December it was noticed that many
men in citizen’s attire had returned and were strolling around. It was
believed then, by the officers of the Forty-Second, that these men were
in the Confederate service. No attempt was made to interfere with them
so long as they remained civil, committing no overt wrong. With the
small force on hand, no decisive measures concerning the inhabitants
could be adopted, or any attempt made to govern the city.

During the day of the thirty-first, in company with Commander
Wainwright, Colonel Burrell with a guard patroled some of the streets,
and noticed many of these strange faces, who seemed to shun them. From
the lookout station the enemy were seen assembling on the plain near
Eagle Grove, horse, foot and artillery. Wainwright remarked: “Active
operations going on, colonel; things look squally, and we had better
not remain here. I will go up to-morrow and feel of them.” He intended
to go up in his vessel as far as the channel would permit, and endeavor
to shell them from the island.

Between these two officers a friendship for each other existed from
their first meeting. They were frequently together, strollers around
the city and suburbs, consulting the STATUS of affairs. Many
of the other naval officers were frequent visitors, very courteous and
obliging, but none appeared to take the same interest in matters that
Wainwright did. The Forty-Second officers thought he was the only live
man in the fleet.

In none of their perambulations and confidential talks did Wainwright
breathe a word against his superior officer, although the colonel,
after a few days on shore, could not remain quiet with the conviction
forced upon his mind that Renshaw was not acting in such a manner as
to warrant confidence, and bluntly told Wainwright only a day or two
before the final events took place he thought Renshaw was a traitor.
To this plain and straightforward expression of opinion the naval
captain made no reply. Not so with the sailors; they, coming in contact
with the enlisted men, frequently expressed their suspicion of the
“commodore.”

On the morning of the thirty-first of December the _Owasco_ went
down to the coal bark _Arthur_, lying in the channel near the harbor
entrance, about a mile and one-half from the wharf, for a supply of
coal. Contrary to her usual custom she did not return to her position
near the wharf when night came. The _Westfield_ lay near Pelican Spit,
on guard at the harbor entrance, and covering the Bolivar channel
of the bay. She had lately received a new heavy gun, brought by the
_Tennessee_ to replace one disabled while on the coast some time
previous. Up to midnight the balance of the fleet were distributed
along the water front of Galveston, in the channel, which averaged
at any point only a little less than two hundred and twenty yards
in width. The _Clifton_ was at the right of Kuhn’s Wharf, about one
hundred yards distant; then came the _Sachem_, still at work on repairs
to her boilers; then the small schooner _Corypheus_; and up the
channel, a mile away, nearly opposite the depot wharf, was stationed
the _Harriet Lane_.

At night a conference was held by officers of the Forty-Second.
Positions were assigned for the companies in case of attack. Companies
D and I remained upon the wharf, in the building, to snatch what sleep
they could, while Company G, Captain Proctor in command, was on picket
during the night. The three companies had been held in readiness every
night since landing. Those not on duty slept on their arms. On the
thirtieth and thirty-first only one company at a time was allowed to
sleep. The men were informed of what was expected, their courage and
manhood appealed to, with every point emphasized, that would naturally
tend to inspire them with confidence. Not a word was uttered that could
possibly convey any idea foreign to the fact, that fight was a duty
they were to perform.

Burrell did not like the outlook, nor his position upon the wharf.
Commodore Renshaw had failed to inspire him with any confidence in
his integrity. Seated in his quarters that evening to muse over his
situation, without allowing his officers or men to know his thoughts
for fear of disheartening them, the colonel fully determined to order
the _Saxon_ up to the wharf next morning, embark his men, and remain on
board in the harbor until reënforcements arrived.

About midnight Colonel Burrell, Captain Sherive, and Chaplain Sanger,
visited the picket sentinel posts in the city, finding the men were
drawn in from their original positions, and did not occupy the usual
ground. The original posts were reëstablished. Rumbling noise of
artillery wheels was heard distinctly through the night, together
with the sound of moving railroad cars accompanied by the locomotive
whistles. Captain Proctor had reported in person to inform Colonel
Burrell, “there was trouble ahead”; so when the _Harriet Lane_, in the
moonlight, discovered black smoke from smoke-stacks of Confederate
vessels across the bay, some two miles away, and signaled with rockets,
Lieutenant Stowell, placed in charge of the fireworks signals, burned
some lights for the purpose of giving information to the navy that the
military force was wide awake and ready. Every man on the wharf was
ordered to man the breastworks.

It was at this time the colonel noticed that the _Clifton_ had left her
position. She was signaled by Renshaw from the _Westfield_ that he was
aground, and gone to her assistance between twelve and one o’clock.
The _Westfield_ discovered these Confederate steamers about the same
time as the _Harriet Lane_ and got under way, but very soon was hard
and fast ashore at high water. The absence of both the _Owasco_ and
_Clifton_ left the military upon the wharf unprotected on the flanks
for some hours.

The _Bayou City_ had left Choppers Bar, at Morgan’s Point, between nine
and ten o’clock Wednesday night, December 31st, with the _Royal Yacht_
and _J. F. Carr_ in tow. The _Royal Yacht_ got aground at Redfish Bar
and had to be left behind. The Confederate boats being light draft
steamers could navigate the shoal waters of the bay, and were not
obliged, on arriving opposite the city, to keep to the ship channel.
Upon being discovered these steamers withdrew out of sight to Half Moon
Shoals, six miles distant. The military force went into their barracks
again to sleep on their arms.

Captain Sherive, with the chaplain, made a second visit to the city,
by a mistake getting outside of the lines; they had been drawn in
once more without any notification to the rest of the command. They
found the city full of people; and had the enemy been ready then for
operations, both officers would have been killed, or wounded and taken
prisoners. Not ready to act, the Confederates kept in hiding as much as
possible.

About half-past three o’clock in the morning, masses of moving men in
the streets were discovered by the picket sentries, who fired at them
and slowly fell back toward the wharf, without eliciting a fire in
return. The troops asleep in the barracks, equipments and overcoats
on, for the night was cold, and guns by their side, were immediately
ordered up, and to line the work built on the thirtieth. The order was
promptly obeyed: Company I upon the right; Company G upon the left;
while Company D was to be stationed in line, with its left resting at
the breastwork, the right prolonged towards the harbor, ready to wheel
either to the right or left up to the work. As the picket detail came
in over the single plank left upon the openings in the wharf for that
purpose, they took position with Company G. Lieutenant Newcomb was
the last man in. Up to between one and two o’clock a bright moonlight
enabled objects to be distinguished for some distance, but after two
o’clock darkness had shut in to such a degree that objects ten feet
off could not be seen. A few cheering words were rapidly addressed to
his men by the colonel, who cautioned them not to forget the State
they represented, and to reserve their fire until orders were given to
commence. The enemy lost no time in getting into position. Magruder
must have expected to be able to cut off the whole or part of the
picket from reaching the wharf by placing his first gun at the large
open door of the Star Foundry, a building at the head of the next
wharf to the right of Kuhn’s Wharf, for the position gave him a chance
to rake the wharf. It was this gun that was first fired, having been
rapidly placed in the foundry after the pickets gave warning he was at
hand.

A city clock had a few minutes previous struck four o’clock when this
gun was fired by General Magruder in person, the ball glancing over the
edge of the breastwork, crashing through the storehouse, and the action
opened. All of the enemy’s artillery opened fire shortly after with
solid shot, shell and canister. Before he fired the first gun, Magruder
remarked: “Boys, now we will give them hell,” and after firing left for
his headquarters, established on Broadway, saying, “Now boys, I have
done my part as private, I will go and attend to that of general.”

A number of men not exactly sick, but worn out and tired from continued
hard work, together with a few lazy fellows, remained in the building
when the rest filed out. They did not stay long. Private Mosely,
Company D, who was lying down when told by Sergeant Waterman to get up
and come along, said it was “d----d nonsense,” and proposed to have
some sleep. The cannon ball crashing and smashing things over his head
sent Mose rolling down the run that lead to the second story. Private
Dave Howe, Company D, who claimed to be sick, climbed out of a window
to a pitch roof, that covered the water tank, straddling along until
the end was reached, when he found himself looking down into the water;
a shell over his head just then sent him wriggling back and through the
window again, and down he tumbled over the run to the wharf. One of the
incidents the men can never forget was the chaplain finding Privates
Thompson and Vining[6] had got into a large iron tank, used to catch
rain-water from the storehouse roofs, that was set upon its side close
to the building, drove them out and got in himself. Not a very safe
place to take shelter if a solid shot happened to strike it.

[6] Daniel Harvey Vining, of Weymouth, an odd character, was sixty-five
years old. He tried to get mustered with Company A, but the mustering
officer rejected him as too old. When Company D was mustered into
service Vining dyed his hair, fixed up to look young, and tried it
again with that company. The officer knew him however, and asked: “How
old are you to-day?” Vining answered promptly, “Forty-four years old.”
No further questions were put and he was mustered in, to his delight.

The Confederate land force under General Magruder, consisted
of infantry commands of Colonels Green, Bagby and Reily,
Lieutenant-Colonel L. A. Abercrombie and Major Griffin; Colonel Pyron’s
regiment dismounted dragoons; Colonel X. B. Debray’s cavalry regiment;
and cavalry companies of Captain Bowles, Atkins, Andrews, and Durant;
Colonel J. J. Cook’s regiment artillery; and Wilson’s six-gun light
battery. The country for miles around was thoroughly scoured for
volunteers, who flocked to Magruder’s force, in this way swelled to
about five or six thousand men of all arms. The brigade commanders
were Brigadier-General W. R. Scurry and Colonel Reily. General Scurry
had command in the immediate vicinity of the wharf. Besides Wilson’s
light battery the enemy had six siege guns, fourteen field pieces--some
of them rifled--and a railroad ram, armed with an eight-inch Dahlgren
mounted on a railroad flat car. Most of this artillery arrived from the
Mississippi River a week before. In regard to the numbers of his men
General Magruder, in conversation with the officers some time after
they were prisoners of war, admitted he had no means of officially
knowing the strength of his force, and then placed it as about five or
six thousand men because such large numbers of volunteers joined him.

Details of the attack were made at Pyron’s camp. Three heavy guns were
ordered to Fort Point in charge of Captain S. T. Fontaine, of Cook’s
artillery regiment, supported by six companies dismounted dragoons,
under Colonel Pyron. Major Wilson was to open fire on the wharf with
his battery. The railroad ram was to take position on railroad wharf to
fire at the _Harriet Lane_. The remainder of the artillery, manned by
Cook’s regiment, was to be posted in eligible positions on the Strand
and water front, and warehouses along the edge. Artillery was hauled
by mules and by hand half way to the city from the railroad bridge, at
one o’clock that night. A large quantity of cotton was also carried
by rail to railroad wharf for use in building a breastwork, besides a
large quantity of intrenching tools, for the purpose of Magruder was to
throw up intrenchments at the ends of streets leading to the water if
his plan of action did not succeed before daylight. Signals agreed upon
were: white light--enemy in sight; blue light--order to prepare; red
light--make ready for action; at twenty minutes intervals.

General Magruder is credited with sending this dispatch to Major Leon
Smith from Summit Station, thirty-five miles from Galveston, on the
Galveston and Houston Railroad, as his soldiers commenced the march to
take positions assigned them: “I am off, and will make the attack as
agreed, whether you come up or not. The rangers of the prairie send
greeting to the rangers of the sea.”

Upon reaching the city, shortly before four o’clock, the Confederates
placed a 32 Pr. gun at the cotton press near McKinney’s Wharf, to
engage the _Harriet Lane_. This point was the left of the Confederate
battle line. A 42 Pr. gun was placed at the head of Kuhn’s Wharf, near
Social Hall, and a section of Wilson’s battery was near Hendleir’s
Wharf. Why they did not attempt to place guns upon ends of the wharves
on each side of Kuhn’s Wharf, where an enfilading fire upon the
soldiers of the Forty-Second could have been obtained, is a mystery,
unless they feared the positions too much exposed.

Of the navy, the _Sachem_ was first to open fire, followed by the
_Corypheus_ and the _Harriet Lane_. For an hour did shot and shell fly
all around the troops upon the wharf, accompanied with musket balls,
causing them to think they were to get “h--ll” sure, as Magruder said,
and to hug the planks and huddle close to the breastwork in such a
manner that the original position planned for them to take at that work
was lost. After a few rounds had been fired at them with no wholesale
slaughter occurring, many of the men began to gain that confidence old
soldiers possess, and to note progress of the action.

The navy fired high and made hot work in the city, but did not for some
time do any execution among the enemy’s guns. Seeing this, Captain
Sherive shouted to them: “Fire lower, and not so high,” In spite of
the distance, sailors of the _Sachem_, who were afterwards taken
prisoners at Sabine Pass, said they distinctly heard the warning,
and then depressed their guns as much as possible. The Confederates
admitted that the firing from heavy guns on the naval vessels was hard
to stand. The crashing of walls and falling timbers, and a constant
rain of bricks, mortar and roofing, as the shot and shell plunged
through buildings, added to the crash of many hundreds of window panes,
assisted to make the night hideous.

At the first shot from the enemy Colonel Burrell ordered every man
to lie down. During the first hour the colonel walked the wharf,
taking careful notice of all that occurred. Many shells would drop
upon the wharf and explode, or burst overhead, pieces flying forward
and overboard, yet he did not receive a scratch. A shell exploded in
the storehouse and, seeing flame and smoke, he ran in, but a wooden
partition prevented his reaching the fire. He shouted: “Is any one in
there?” Private Hersey, with a few others, was lying down close to one
of the rain-water hogsheads in the building when the fire started among
the tents stored there, and at once endeavored to put it out. Hersey
answered that HE was and that the tents were on fire, when
Colonel Burrell ordered them thrown into the water by a back door, that
could be easily reached. Part of the burning tents were soon floating
in the harbor; but finding an empty pail, and drawing water from the
hogshead, Hersey soon extinguished the fire. The ammunition that lay in
dangerous proximity to the tents was at once attended to. A call for
men to “come in here and rout out this ammunition” was promptly obeyed
by a squad of men, who soon placed the boxes near the end of the wharf
where they could easily be pitched overboard in case of necessity.

It was still dark at five o’clock when the enemy suddenly ceased
their artillery fire. This was ominous; everybody felt an assault was
premeditated. Not a shot had been fired from the wharf, which must have
deceived the enemy as to the condition the Forty-Second detachment was
in to repel an assault. They supposed many were killed or wounded. A
sharp lookout from the breastwork was ordered. Somebody sung out that
they were coming in boats to the left of the wharf. Colonel Burrell
called for men, and ran to where the storehouse abuts the wharf-edge,
but could not see or hear anything. Leaving the men to watch, he
rapidly passed back to the breastwork to see that the men there took
position ready to open fire, and again ran back to the left. He was
there when the first fire was opened to repel the assault.

The assaulting column (about five hundred men) under Colonel Cook, said
to have been composed of two small regiments, could be heard splashing
in the water as they waded out. The understanding among the officers
was, in case of an assault they were to wait until the enemy came
within easy range before firing.

Adjutant Davis, Captains Proctor and Sherive, and Lieutenant Newcomb,
were anxiously looking over the breastwork into the darkness to catch a
glimpse of where the enemy were. Captain Proctor sang out that he could
see moving objects in the water, when Adjutant Davis gave the order to
fire. A volley was given, followed up by some rapid firing at will, as
fast as the men could load. Those in the front ranks had to look out,
for in the excitement men from the rear would crowd up and blaze away
regardless of friend or foe. As the line of fire was mostly straight
away from the shoulder, very few firing downwards into the water, the
casualties to the attacking force was not heavy. Some of them attempted
to come out upon the wharf, by placing planks over the openings where
they had been torn up. They did get to the first breastwork, and showed
their heads above it, as the musketry flashes lit up the scene, but no
further.

The _Sachem_ and _Corypheus_, attracted by this fight, sent shot and
shells toward the head of the wharf among the enemy in such a manner
that they were glad to fall back, with such scaling ladders as they
carried, taking most of the dead and wounded ashore. A few bodies were
floating in the water during the morning hours.

After this repulse the enemy retired behind the protection of
buildings and side streets, out of musket range. The combined fire
of the three gunboats, who continued to send their compliments among
the enemy’s artillery placed to cover Kuhn’s Wharf, prevented the
Confederates from anything more than random artillery firing after
this assault. Some of their batteries they had previously found great
difficulty in keeping manned; the gunners were forced to return to
their pieces many times by cavalry patrols stationed in the rear.

As daylight dawned, a scattered musketry-fire was opened on both sides.
The Confederate riflemen took positions in windows, and upon the flat
roofs of such warehouses as overlooked the wharf within range. The
small field-gun, stationed at the Star Foundry, was sending some shells
which exploded underneath the wharf, making it a question whether the
piling would not eventually be severed and destroy the wharf. The
gunners had also got the range where the men lay, and by a little
elevation they could sweep them. Hastily calling for some good rifle
shots, Colonel Burrell posted them near the flanking raft, with orders
to prevent that gun from being served. This detail did the duty well,
effectually putting a stop to the Confederates dodging from around the
street corner to load and fire. Major Dickinson, General Magruder’s
assistant adjutant-general, lost an eye while gallantry trying to
attach a drag-rope to the gun in order to draw it away, when they found
it dangerous to keep at work; a nephew of the general, Lieutenant
George A. Magruder, aide-de-camp, also made the attempt after Dickinson
was wounded--all of no avail, the gun had to be abandoned by them.

An attempt was made about seven o’clock to launch a boat that was upon
the wharf for repairs, and then supposed to be in condition for use, in
order to send Captain Sherive, who volunteered to go, on board one of
the vessels with a request that they come up and take the troops off.
Colonel Burrell, Captain Sherive, Adjutant Davis, Lieutenant Cowdin
and Private Morrill, Company D, had got the boat launched from the
end of the wharf, but it filled with water and sank at once, because
some bullet holes had not been noticed, when the riflemen from a brick
building at the head of the next wharf commenced to fire at them. As
the bullets began to whistle over their heads the men shouted: “Look
out, colonel, they are firing at you!” Private Morrill was severely
wounded in a hand, Captain Sherive and Adjutant Davis dodged behind
hawser posts, Lieutenant Cowdin jumped for shelter, and the colonel
disappeared in a hurry down a sloping freight gangway that was handy.
The men thought he was shot until he called to them: “I am all right.”

In a few moments the _Owasco_ was seen in the slight foggy mist of the
morning coming along from the coal bark, and when off the wharf sent a
few shells into the building, driving the annoying riflemen out. The
_Clifton_, ordered by Renshaw to return to the city when the action
opened, with difficulty kept the channel, and returned from Pelican
Spit soon after daylight, opening fire upon the enemy’s guns placed in
position on the sand beach near Fort Point by Captain Fontaine, driving
the gunners away, and continued on past the wharf a short distance,
taking position near the _Sachem_. In passing, a solid shot was fired
over the wharf obliquely, into the brick building used for a lookout
station, one quarter of a mile distant, tearing a corner out and making
a bad wreck of the building.

With the exception of a few shot and shell fired into the city by
the gunboats nearly all firing had ceased when it was about broad
daylight. The enemy had removed most of their artillery; only a few
pieces remained that they could not and dare not persist in attempting
to take away: the rifles of Company G could reach them and prevented
it. Captain Sherive asked permission to take his company out and
secure them, but the colonel would not allow it, fearing an ambuscade.
Volunteers were called for, to go out and ascertain the position of
the enemy. Several volunteered, but the selection fell upon Private
Colson, Company I, a rather tough customer, who had been put in irons
for misbehavior and confined in the guard-house for some time, but been
released. He went out, soon returned, and reported the enemy hid behind
buildings and massed in the yards not far away.

The naval force, excepting the _Westfield_, all assembled on the harbor
front, daylight to assist them in discovering the enemy’s position;
the front of Kuhn’s Wharf cleared of their presence, it did seem for a
short time that a victory would eventually be won.

In less than fifteen minutes the whole aspect of affairs was changed.
The State authorities had taken the _Bayou City_, a Houston and
Galveston packet steamer, made bulwarks of cotton bales upon her sides
and armed her with a 68 Pr. rifled gun, placed in the bow. The river
steamer _Neptune_ was also fitted out in the same manner and carried
two Howitzer guns. Steamers _Lucy Govirn_ and _Royal Yacht_ were used
as tenders to collect wood for the gunboats, and steamer _John F. Carr_
was fitted up for a hospital boat.

The _Bayou City_ was commanded by Captain Henry Lubbock, with Captain
M. McCormick for pilot. Colonel Green had command of troops on board,
about one hundred and fifty men. Captain A. R. Wier, Cook’s regiment
artillery, was in charge of her artillery. Captain Martin, of the
cavalry, was a volunteer on board. The _Neptune_ was commanded by
Captain Sangster, with Captains Swift and McGovern for pilots. Colonel
Bagby had command of troops on board, about one hundred men. Lieutenant
Harby, in command of a company infantry acting as artillery, was in
charge of her artillery. The _John F. Carr_ was commanded by Major
A. W. McKee. General Magruder called for three hundred volunteers
from Sibley’s brigade, armed with Enfield rifles and double-barrel
shot-guns, to man this flotilla.

The entire flotilla was under command of Captain Leon Smith, a man of
great experience in steamboat management, who was employed by Magruder
in the Quartermaster Department, made a volunteer aide on his staff
with rank of major, and afterwards called _commodore_ by the general.
Major Smith had charge of all work in preparing these steamers for
action. He had orders to be ready to attack the Federal vessels at
midnight.

At half-past four o’clock the Confederate flotilla, at Half Moon
Shoals, fired up with rosin and proceeded towards Galveston, arriving
within a mile of the Federal gunboats at daylight.

When a lookout on the _Harriet Lane_ soon after midnight first
discovered the Confederate flotilla, Wainwright, asleep in his
stateroom, was notified and assumed charge of the deck. After this
flotilla disappeared the _Harriet Lane_ retained her position, with
steam on, while her officers, on the watch for further developments,
leaned over her rails listening to sounds from on shore, that indicated
some movement there by the enemy, until the first gun was fired at the
wharf. Her anchor was then raised to the cathead, but not secured, and
attempts made to turn around for the purpose of proceeding towards
Kuhn’s Wharf to occupy the place made vacant by the _Clifton_, gone to
Renshaw’s assistance. To do this without getting aground necessitated
a use of great skill and consumed much time, for the vessel had to
forward and back to gradually swing her bow around. Why she should
have been stationed at this point--head of the ship channel where it
was impossible to manœuvre her--when the _Westfield_ or _Clifton_ (old
ferry-boats) were better adapted for the position, had often been
discussed by naval officers at Galveston.

While working his vessel around Wainwright opened fire on the city.
Her bow was headed towards the wharf when signs of an approach by the
flotilla were again seen, which caused him to abandon proceeding down
the channel and to work his vessel around again in order to present her
bow to the enemy. Fairly around she steamed up to meet the _Bayou City_
and _Neptune_, who showed a disposition to attack, other cotton boats
keeping out of harm’s way. A fire was opened upon them with shells from
her eight-inch forward gun, sending three shells and a cannon shot into
the _Bayou City_; the shells passed through her engineer’s room, one
exploding near the engineer, doing some damage; the cannon shot passed
through her messroom and pantry.

Within one-half a mile the _Bayou City_ opened fire. Her second shot
struck the _Lane_ plumb behind a wheel, close to the magazine, making
a hole large enough for a man to crawl through; when fired a fourth
time the gun exploded, killing Captain Wier, with others, and wounding
Captain Schneider, with other men.

As it was plain that the enemy’s intention was to close with him,
Wainwright backed his vessel some distance in order to get a good
headway, for it was understood on board, the _Lane_ was to try and ram
her bow into the _Bayou City_, cut her down even if it crippled the
_Lane_, then reach the _Neptune_ and capture her by boarding. This was
not to be, because just before reaching the _Bayou City_ her bow ran
aground, barely allowing the Confederate pilot time to put his helm
hard around in season to prevent his boat going on to the _Lane’s_ bow
in a strong ebb tide, which also prevented his running against the
_Lane_ so as to strike forward of the port or left wheel-house, which
was his purpose to enable the Confederates to board. He did carry away
the _Lane’s_ port cathead, whereby an anchor was let go, and ran out
fifteen fathom of chain attached. The _Harriet Lane_ was now at an
anchor and also aground.

Wainwright, from his position upon the bridge with Third Assistant
Engineer Mullen by his side, ordered the crew forward upon the
forecastle ready to repel boarders. As the _Bayou City_ struck a
glancing blow in passing, about twenty of her men jumped for the
forecastle deck. Many fell into the water, and those that reached the
deck were met by sailors armed with pistols, cutlasses and boarding
pikes, to be hurled overboard. One colored sailor, Nick Wheeler, caught
a man upon a pike, which entered his body near the stomach and came out
between his shoulders, and had to shake him off into the water. All
this occupied very few minutes.

As the _Bayou City_ passed to shoal water off in the harbor beyond
the channel, with her outside planking of port wheel-house and sides
torn off from contact with the _Lane’s_ strong upper works, her men
from behind cotton bales opened a scattering musketry-fire upon the
blue-jackets. The blue-jackets trained a gun upon her, and at a
favorable moment Acting Master Hamilton pulled the lanyard, which
broke; he reached for a hatchet that had lain beside the gun-carriage
a few moments before, intending to strike the percussion-cap to fire
the gun, but it was gone; some one had seized that hatchet for a weapon
when Wainwright called for boarders to be repelled.

It was then thought she would be taken in hand by other naval vessels,
and attention was given to the _Neptune_, that came up immediately
afterwards and struck the _Harriet Lane_ upon the starboard (or right)
side, intending to board, but did not succeed, and passed by, her men
firing from their rifles. At this time Commander Wainwright was killed
upon the bridge where he had remained a mark for the enemy, paying no
attention to suggestions from his officers not to expose himself. He
received one ball in the forehead, that went out back of his head, and
four balls in the body. Lieutenant Lea was also mortally wounded in the
abdomen and carried below, and Acting Master Hamilton was wounded in
the arm. Fire was returned by the _Lane’s_ crew as fast as they could
load their small-arms.

The _Neptune_ passed astern, turned, and came back making for the port
side, with a brisk musketry-fire maintained by her men, when a shot or
shell from one of the _Lane’s_ nine-inch port guns, fired by Engineer
Mullen (who broke the lanyard on the first pull, quickly tied it
together and tried a second time with success), smashed the _Neptune’s_
bow, causing her to take water fast. She got on to the channel’s edge,
and soon sank in about eight feet of water. Many of her men jumped
overboard to reach land, and for a time the Confederate riflemen on
shore opened a fire upon their own men escaping from one of their own
vessels.

When it was seen that the _Neptune_ was out of the fight a round of
cheers went up on board the _Harriet Lane_, and her men threw their
caps in the air with joy, supposing all was ended. But the vessels
below had not attended to the _Bayou City_, and she had rounded and
again approached the _Lane_, swung diagonally across the channel,
aground, with her anchor out, for sufficient time had not elapsed to
remedy either mishap. As she came along evidently intending to board,
the pivot gun forward was trained upon her and fired; the shot struck
her wheel-house without inflicting any perceptible damage, and before
another gun could be brought to bear she struck the _Lane_ abaft the
port wheel-house, running her bow so far under the gunwale and wheel
that both vessels were stuck fast.

After a short exchange of shots with small-arms the enemy, headed by
Major Leon Smith, Colonel Tom Green and Captain Martin, commenced to
jump into the boarding nettings that were up in place, cutting them
apart with their long knives. They got aboard in three places, on the
wheel-house and aft; met with a gallant resistance by the _Lane’s_
crew, who fought upon deck until driven under the gangway, forecastle
and hurricane decks by superior numbers, where they still kept it up,
and hurled at the enemy their pistols, boarding pikes, and whatever
they could find suitable for such a purpose after their small-arm
ammunition had been expended.

No formal surrender of the _Harriet Lane_ was made, and no man can tell
just when her capture could be considered complete. It is said that
her pennant was hauled down by James Dowland, Jr., clerk to Captain
Wharton, assistant quartermaster, and it is a settled fact, the claim
made by Major Leon Smith that he killed with his own hands Commander
Wainwright is not true, and could not be, as Wainwright was dead some
time before.

Why the casualties upon the _Harriet Lane_ and _Bayou City_ were
so light as they proved to be, is one of those rare circumstances
impossible to explain. While it lasted the fighting had been of
a desperate character on both sides; shot and dangerous missives
of destruction flew in all directions. Upon a comparison of notes
afterwards, officers of both sides considered it a miracle so few were
seriously injured. Many men suffered from bruises and light wounds,
easily healed, who are not mentioned in the official report of killed
and wounded.

Like their companions on shore the Confederates upon the _Bayou City_
were without discipline, and for a time after they had obtained control
of the _Harriet Lane_ her officers and crew were in danger of being
shot down in cold blood. Sailing Master Munroe, as he came down from
the hurricane-deck to surrender, had a shot-gun levelled at him, and
was shot in the face by a drunken Confederate loafer. He could not be
called a soldier, for soldiers do not act in such a cowardly manner.
This loafer met his deserved punishment then and there, by being
instantly shot through the head by Engineer Mullen.

Among the _Lane’s_ crew were several colored sailors who fought
nobly; and little Robert Cummings, a second-class white boy, with two
revolvers in his hands danced about the deck, continually yelling at
the top of his voice and sending a shot at the enemy every opportunity
he got, full of fight as any man aboard.

Beside the crew, made prisoners, were the following officers: Commander
Wainwright, killed; Lieutenant-Commander Edward Lea, mortally wounded
in bowels; Acting Master Charles H. Hamilton, wounded in arm; Acting
Master Josiah A. Hannum; Acting Master W. F. Munroe, seriously wounded;
Second Assistant Engineers M. H. Plunkett (in charge) and Charles H.
Stone; Third Assistant Engineers A. T. E. Mullen, Robert N. Ellis and
John E. Cooper; Assistant Surgeon Thomas N. Penrose; Paymaster R.
Julius Richardson.

When it was seen that the _Harriet Lane_ had been captured, the
_Clifton_ and _Owasco_ tried to get near enough to so disable her as
to be unfitted for use to the enemy. One of the eleven-inch shells,
fired while on the way, struck close to her stern-post, and opened a
hole in her hull large enough for a man to walk in. When this shell
from the _Owasco_ went into the stern, Paymaster Richardson was about
to open his stateroom door to obtain his watch. The entire shell passed
crashing through his room, while he was turning the door handle; a
moment sooner and he would have been killed or wounded.

The Confederates then placed the captured officers upon the
hurricane-deck, with a threat to shoot them down if another gun was
fired by the _Owasco_, an act of barbarism they would have carried out
in their state of excitement. The _Owasco_ got too close and within
easy range of the Confederate riflemen, who fired a volley that killed
and wounded several of the crew, including every man serving the rifled
gun. In consequence of this loss, all of her guns could not afterwards
be manned. The gunboats were short of a full complement of men; none of
them could suffer much loss without being seriously crippled.

None of the Confederate steamers were a match for any United States
vessel present. They were considered mere playthings by naval officers,
upon which an officer of sound judgment and discretion would not
have risked his life or reputation in attacking the Federal navy. An
ordinary man-of-war steam launch, armed with a light bow gun, could
have coped successfully with them. They took the chances, and by
nothing but good luck were saved from an ignominious defeat. Look and
see how this luck favored them: first, the _Harriet Lane_ should not
have been placed where she was, while two other vessels were present
who could have been more easily handled at this point of the channel;
second, she ran aground when on the verge of ramming the _Bayou City_,
and that steamer barely had time to save herself; third, the gun
missing fire that Hamilton had trained upon the _Bayou City_, which
undoubtedly would have sent that steamer where the _Neptune_ went.
Everything favored the Confederates at critical moments during the
engagement, and they had nothing to brag about, except good fortune,
for their dare-devil bravery.

After the volley had been fired the _Owasco_ fell back, opening fire
upon the city. In passing Kuhn’s Wharf, within thirty feet, she was
hailed by Colonel Burrell, to take his men off. This request was heard
on board, but no response given. The _Owasco_ kept on.

The _Bayou City_ and _Harriet Lane_, entangled and aground, disabled
for any service they could render in this fight, with the _Neptune_
sunk, were at the mercy of the Federal vessels if they acted promptly.
The _Lucy Govirn_ and _John F. Carr_ remained out of danger. In
this emergency Major Leon Smith ordered a white flag run up at 8
A.M., and adopted bluff tactics. Captain Lubbock was sent on
board the _Clifton_ and _Owasco_ to demand an immediate surrender of
the fleet. This demand was made of Lieutenant-Commander Law, who asked
what terms of surrender were offered, and received for a reply “that he
would be allowed a ship to remove his people, the balance of the public
property to be surrendered.” Law was also informed by Captain Lubbock,
that Wainwright and Lea were killed, with two-thirds of the crew killed
and wounded, a statement Acting Master Hannum, who was with Lubbock,
confirmed. The truth was, only ten out of a crew of one hundred and
twenty men were seriously injured. Hannum had lost his head and did not
know what he was about.

Commander Law asked for three hours’ time to consult with Commander
Renshaw, still aground near Pelican Spit, and a three hours’ truce was
then agreed upon at about eight o’clock. Law proposed to go with his
vessel, but Lubbock insisted he should go in his gig, anchoring the
_Clifton_ exactly where she was until the truce was over. Law thought
it was rather rough, but agreed. The senior officer of the _Harriet
Lane_ fit for duty, Acting Master Hannum, was allowed to go with Law,
on his parole of honor to return. All of the gunboats then displayed
white flags.

Renshaw refused to accede to the Confederate proposition, and ordered
Law to get every vessel out of port with despatch while he blew up the
_Westfield_, as all attempts to float her had failed.

Not receiving any communication from the navy, and at a loss to
understand what was going on, while the _Clifton_ and _Owasco_ had
dropped down the channel far enough to be out of direct range of the
enemy’s desultory musketry-fire which was kept up on the troops upon
the wharf, Colonel Burrell ordered Corporal Henry W. McIntosh, Company
D, to stand up upon the breastwork, with a piece of sail-cloth attached
to an oar-blade. Several handkerchiefs were also attached to bayonets
and raised in the air.

Corporal McIntosh was fired at several times, the bullets whizzing
very close, before the truce flag was acknowledged. General Magruder
afterwards apologized for this breach of the usages of war, explaining
the difficulty of managing the unruly men that formed his command, and
the personal exertions made by himself and staff-officers to stop the
firing. Magruder was called to account, for this action of his men, by
the Confederate War Department at Richmond. He had a personal interview
with Colonel Burrell, while a prisoner at Houston, and produced an
order calling upon him to report forthwith to the War Department, and
requested a signed document from the colonel stating the facts.

A cessation of hostilities for half an hour was asked, for the
express purpose of communicating with the fleet. This was granted
with the understanding that only one man was to leave the wharf. The
intention of Colonel Burrell was to prevail upon the naval commander
to send a gunboat to the wharf, embark his men at the expiration of
the half-hour, and assist the navy with his men if the fight was to
continue. No idea of a surrender entered his head at this time.

Selecting Adjutant Davis to see the naval commander, a difficulty
presented itself in obtaining a boat, as the one held at the wharf
was sunk. The Confederates had managed quietly to remove from the
neighborhood all of the row-boats without attracting any attention.
Fortunately two refugees just then passed towards the gunboats,
were hailed, ordered to the wharf, and took the adjutant into their
boat, proceeding towards the _Clifton_. While on the way a row-boat,
containing some Confederate officers and flying a flag of truce, tried
to overtake them. One of the officers ordered them to stop, when the
adjutant shouted: “I will see you d----d first,” and with his revolver
in hand ordered the refugees to row for all they were worth to the
_Owasco_, the nearest vessel, fearing some treachery.

On reaching the _Owasco_ he found that Commander Law, the ranking
officer, had gone to see Renshaw. Commander Wilson refused to do
anything until Law’s return, as the truce flags were up. No amount of
entreaty was of avail. Wilson’s attention was called to the fact that
the Confederates on shore had again manned their guns and moved others
into position, even while truce flags were up on shore--a violation of
the truce on their part. It was of no use, Adjutant Davis had to remain
until Commander Law should return.

The time agreed upon for cessation of hostilities expired. The
Confederates had replaced their artillery in favorable positions to
fully command the wharf. No reply had been received to the request
sent the naval commander, and the naval vessels had left the troops
without protection. Thus abandoned by his only support, not a sign
of succor from any source, his position completely at the mercy of
the enemy’s artillery, with riflemen posted in commanding and covered
places, when the Confederate truce flag came to the wharf, at the
expiration of the time agreed upon, Colonel Burrell proceeded to meet
it. After a discussion of terms of surrender, it was agreed that upon
an unconditional surrender the officers and men were to retain all of
their personal effects and all private baggage. Only property of the
United States, except knapsacks, haversacks and canteens, was to be
delivered up. The very best terms the enemy would concede.

Colonel Burrell then offered General Scurry his sword, which that
officer refused, saying: “Keep your sword colonel, a man’s done what
you have deserves to wear it.” The Confederate troops came down yelling
like mad people when the surrender was completed, and soon swarmed upon
the wharf. When Major-General Magruder, in a gorgeous uniform, met
Colonel Burrell, he remarked: “Don’t be cast down colonel, it is the
fortune of war; you will soon be paroled.” On his appearance upon the
wharf, Surgeon Cummings courteously offered him a glass of whiskey, but
Magruder declined with thanks. The numerous “colonels” and “majors,”
who seemed to be thick as bees, were not so backward, for they sampled
a case of fine liquors, the private property of the officers, in such a
manner that it was never seen afterwards.

To their anxious inquiries about the killed and wounded, when informed
none were killed with but few wounded they expressed great surprise,
expecting to find a heavy loss had been sustained. Magruder remarked
that they would probably never again be subjected to such a heavy fire
and suffer so small a loss.

An inspection of the breastwork disclosed that it was marked in
hundreds of places by bullets, while the storehouse looked like a
sieve. The officers occupied quarters in the storehouse on and after
the twenty-ninth. Previous to this time they had lived aboard the
_Saxon_, while she lay at the wharf. The enlisted men were in the
building. Some cooking was done on the _Saxon_ at the cooking-range;
but stoves having been procured on the twenty-seventh they were set up,
but not fully protected so as to prevent setting fire to the building
until the thirty-first, when they were ready for use. A pot of beans
was being baked in one of the stoves for the officers, who expected
next day to have a royal meal; a shot cut the stove funnel in two; the
stove sustained no damage; the next day Confederates enjoyed that royal
meal with the savory dish of New England.

The regimental flags were placed in the barracks between two heavy
beams. Lieutenant Cowdin received instructions, when landing, to keep
a sharp eye on the colors, and in no event allow them to be lost. Why
Lieutenant Cowdin at this period did not think of some way in which
to avoid their capture is excusable only on the ground that he was
severely wounded in the back and under the surgeon’s care. Why other
officers, or men, did not arrange to save them is a puzzle. To be
sure it was a time of intense anxiety and excitement; but the colors
should not have been forgotten. It was an easy matter to take them
from the staffs and either placed in somebody’s knapsack or have been
wound around the body of some man, under his clothing, and the staffs
destroyed, or, what would have been better, the flags could have been
torn into pieces and distributed amongst the men for keepsakes. The
enemy did not know so small a force had colors with them until they
were found after the action.

Confederate Major Shannon, who had been a prisoner of war in the
Federal hands and received kind treatment, as a mark of his gratitude
for that treatment, asked for and received permission to take care of
private baggage of the command, and prevent unruly men of Magruder’s
force from despoiling it. This was not an easy matter to do, but the
major succeeded in his purpose; the baggage was properly delivered in a
few days to the prisoners at Houston. The officers’ swords were passed
over to the provost-marshal at Houston, properly marked, to be returned
when the owners were paroled or exchanged. They never were seen again.

About nine o’clock arms had been stacked, knapsacks slung, and the
Forty-Second detachment marched from the wharf, passing between lines
of General Magruder’s force drawn up in the streets of Galveston, and
proceeded to some empty houses in the suburbs, where the men remained
until one o’clock in the afternoon. The captured crew of the _Harriet
Lane_ joined them during the forenoon.

As the troops marched from the wharf Commander Law returned. When
Adjutant Davis asked him what was going to be done, he replied: “The
_Harriet Lane_ is captured, Wainwright dead, and the fleet will
proceed to sea immediately.” Orders were sent to the little schooner
_Corypheus_ for the captain to scuttle her and take his men on board
some of the remaining vessels; but he asked permission to set sail, and
did so, saving her. With truce flags flying, the gunboats proceeded
to sea. The _Clifton_ lead, followed by the _Owasco_, then the
_Corypheus_, and last was the _Sachem_, whose commander, by diligent
work during the action, had patched up her boilers and got steam
started.

Renshaw sent the _Westfield’s_ crew on board transports _Saxon_ and
_Mary Boardman_, and a slow-match was applied to a train of powder
leading to her magazine. As no explosion took place at the expected
time, he went back in a row-boat with Lieutenant Zimmerman, Engineer
Green, two quartermasters, four firemen and five sailors. As Renshaw
was about coming over her side into the row-boat again, a premature
explosion took place. The _Westfield_ fell to pieces, and not a
vestige of the boat’s occupants was ever seen again. This was about
ten o’clock A.M. Her guns were afterwards recovered by the
enemy, and placed in battery to protect the harbor from another visit
by Federal vessels. News of Renshaw’s death reached Law when the
_Clifton_ was half-way towards the bar, placing him in command of the
navy, and that officer concluded to proceed at once to New Orleans,
abandoning the blockade from fear of an attack by the _Harriet Lane_,
although an officer on board the _Mary Boardman_ informed him another
transport-vessel would be down in forty-eight hours, and ought to be
warned. In the race for New Orleans the _Mary Boardman_ reached the
city first, followed next day by the _Clifton_, and afterwards the
_Saxon_ and _Honduras_.

The following account of how the _Westfield_ was destroyed is taken
from a letter written by William L. Burt, aide-de-camp to General
Hamilton, to Major-General Banks. Major Burt was on board transport
_Mary A. Boardman_, lying at anchor near the flag-ship _Westfield_:
“Captain Law had an interview with Commander Renshaw. Our vessel, the
_Mary Boardman_, was then alongside the _Westfield_, having endeavored
to haul her off. As soon as Captain Law left for his own vessel
Commander Renshaw sent an officer to us saying, that he was going to
blow up the _Westfield_, and requesting us to assist in taking off her
men and whatever could be saved. I remonstrated with this officer, that
it was unnecessary, and that the whole force could lie by and protect
the _Westfield_ until the tide turned (which was then running out),
when she would float, and we could save her, and as she was heavily
armed and of light draught she was invaluable. I also requested the
commander to come on board. This remonstrance was repeated to every
officer that came to my vessel with men. We received on board the men
and their baggage, with property of the ship, until our decks would
hold no more, and the rest was placed on the transport _Saxon_.

“At about ten A.M., while the commander’s boat and crew and
second cutter and crew were at the _Westfield_ to receive the last men,
the commander, having poured turpentine over the forward magazine and
just over where she was aground, set her on fire with his own hand.
He stepped down into his boat, in which were Lieutenant Zimmerman,
Chief-Engineer Green, and two oarsmen. The magazine immediately
exploded, tearing the bow of the vessel open and blowing her to pieces
to the water’s edge and back to the smoke-stack. After the explosion
no living thing could be seen. She did not sink, being aground; her
guns aft, which were double-shotted and run out, as the flames should
reach them, threatened us, at the short distance we were from her, with
destruction, which might have been foreseen when she was fired.

“Acting Sailing-Master Smalley took charge of us as pilot, and we
started for the bar. It was evident that we could not get over with
what we had on board, and we threw overboard everything on deck except
what belonged to the men of the _Westfield_. We went over the bar,
striking very heavily, followed by the _Saxon_, two small schooners,
the _Clifton_, _Owasco_ and _Sachem_, gunboats, leaving the _Harriet
Lane_ in the hands of the rebels, with two barks loaded with coal, and
one small schooner.”

The behavior of Colonel Burrell is spoken of in the highest terms by
officers and men who were under him. He walked the wharf during the
entire time the action continued, with shot and shell flying around in
unpleasant proximity. While risking his own life in this manner, in
order to be able to observe all that was taking place, he kept his men
under shelter as much as possible. They rose to their feet from behind
the breastwork only when ready to fire on the enemy.

All of the officers are entitled to credit for their gallant conduct
under the trying circumstances of this their first fight. Gallant
Captain Sherive especially showed marked courage and bravery.

The men, as a whole, behaved like veterans; not that there was no
quivering--there was; but no display of childish fear took place. Every
order given was obeyed with marked promptitude, and in such a manner to
show that they stood to their duty like men.

Many comical incidents happened during the engagement, and if all could
be remembered they would make a respectable-sized chapter. A few, that
the men often talked and laughed about, are here given: Frank Veazie,
officers’ cook, during the hot firing, kept up a promenade inside the
storehouse with his coat collar up and bent over as if rain was falling
upon him. Private Billy Burt, Company D, when all hands were crowded
for shelter near the breastwork, during the first hour, shouted: “For
God’s sake, get where the sergeants are and we will be safe!” The
quartermaster’s colored boy, Charlie Amos, fell asleep early in the
evening, sleeping through all the uproar, and did not awake until it
was over.

The loss by the United States naval squadron was:

_Clifton_--One wounded.

_Owasco_--One killed; fifteen wounded, including Commander Wilson.

_Harriet Lane_--Five killed; five wounded; exclusive of officers, one
hundred and ten sailors were made prisoners.

_Westfield_--Fourteen killed.

The Confederate loss is hard to ascertain. From the character of their
raw volunteers many men slightly wounded must have never been reported,
besides, their administration department was too loose for an exact
official report of casualties. While not so heavy as would be supposed
from the naval cannonade of the city, it is officially reported by
General Magruder to have been about twenty-six killed and one hundred
and seventeen wounded, but Surgeon Cummings, who had excellent
opportunities for knowing, places it at about three hundred killed and
wounded.[7] A part of the Confederate loss was known at the time to be
as follows:

[7] Andrew Parish, a lad of fourteen or fifteen years, Magruder’s
colored servant, who was with the general in Virginia and Texas, says
he saw at Galveston from fifty to seventy-five Confederate dead after
the action was over. With the usual proportion of wounded to killed,
Mr. Parish almost corroborates Surgeon Cummings.

Colonel Pyron’s regiment--Two killed; six wounded.

Captain Wilson’s battery-- ---- killed; four wounded.

On steamer _Bayou City_--Five killed; two wounded.

On steamer _Neptune_--Seven killed; twenty-eight wounded.

Among the Confederate officers placed _hors-de-combat_ were:

Surgeon Fisher, Colonel Cook’s regiment, killed.

Captain Weir, Company B, Texas artillery, killed on _Bayou City_.

Lieutenant Sidney W. Sherman, Texas artillery, killed.

Lieutenant Harvey Clark, Colonel Cook’s regiment, mortally wounded.

Major Dickinson, wounded in eye badly.

Major A. M. Lea, C. S. engineers, wounded.

Captain Schneider, slightly wounded.

Lieutenant Madden, slightly wounded.

Captain McMahan, slightly wounded.

Property captured by the enemy was as follows: the _Harriet Lane_ with
her fine battery, the guns on the _Westfield_, three sailing vessels
loaded with coal, viz., _Arthur_, _Cavallo_ and _Elias Pike_--these
vessels were said to have been burned by the navy, or set on fire--one
set regimental colors, one garrison flag, arms and ammunition, tents,
intrenching tools, commissary supplies, and quartermaster stores of
clothing, etc., etc., that the detachment carried to Galveston.

The garrison flag was afterwards found upon a Confederate Texan
soldier, made prisoner at Thibodeaux by Lieutenant Alf. Halstead,
Company K, One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York Infantry, on the
twenty-third June, 1863, a few days after the action at La-Fourche
Crossing, in which a detachment of the Forty-Second Regiment took part.
This soldier had got possession of the flag, and carefully preserved
it. By request of Lieutenant Halstead the flag was forwarded to
Governor John A. Andrew, to be placed among other State _mementos_ of
the war.

On the day of surrender the following vessels, with reënforcements and
military stores, were on the way to Galveston. Had the action been
delayed one week quite a respectable military force would have been
assembled upon the island.

Transport steamer _Cambria_, with Governor Hamilton and troops.

Transport steamer _Honduras_, with detachment First Vermont Battery,
Captain Hibbard.

Transport steamer _Charles Osgood_, with two companies Forty-Second
Regiment.

Transport steamer _Che-Kiang_, with three companies Forty-Second
Regiment, one company Texas cavalry, and a number of Texas refugees.

The _Honduras_ and _Charles Osgood_ were spoken in the Gulf by gunboat
_Clifton_, and returned to New Orleans. The _Che-Kiang_ lay at the
United States Barracks below New Orleans January 3d, ready to proceed
the next day, when the news was telegraphed from the Passes, and her
orders were countermanded. The _Cambria_ arrived off Galveston January
2d, and was fortunate to escape capture from well-laid plans of General
Magruder.

The following accounts were given by Sergeant Nichols, Company G,
Forty-Second Regiment, and by Purser Bach, steamer _Cambria_, before
it was known what steps were taken by the Confederates to catch the
transport steamer:


STATEMENT OF SERGEANT NICHOLS.

“The _Cambria_, Captain Sumner, arrived off Galveston Bar at three
o’clock P.M. January 2d. On board were three hundred men First
Texas Cavalry, Colonel Davis, recruited in New Orleans from Texas
refugees, and equipments for a full cavalry regiment; a detachment
First Vermont Battery with guns; Sergeants Nichols, Vialle, Attwell,
and Private Greene, all of Company G, Forty-Second Regiment, _en
route_ to join their company. A small brass cannon on deck was fired
several times to signal a pilot and notify the navy, without attracting
attention. Several refugees, ‘Nicaragua’ Smith, Foley, big ’Jack’
and others, volunteered and went in a row-boat to notify the fleet.
As his volunteers did not return, Captain Sumner remained off the
bar until morning without suspicion of any danger. About ten o’clock
A.M. next day a sloop, pilot flag up, with three or four men
aboard, approached and made an attempt to entice the steamer on the
bar, reporting she could follow, and they would take soundings. There
was ten and one-half feet of water on the bar, and the _Cambria_ drew
eleven feet. Not one of the men would come on board. After some talk
Captain Sumner became suspicious, and, in a loud voice, ordered: ’Men,
stand by the ports!’ although the steamer was not armed. Just then
a few refugees on board recognized Confederate Captain Payne on the
sloop, told Sumner of the fact, who ordered him to come on board the
_Cambria_ or the sloop would be blown to pieces. Captain Payne came
aboard, and, in answer to questions, said, Captain Wainwright was in
command of the fleet, with several other false stories, playing his
part well until he, in turn, recognized several faces on board. He
then knew he was trapped, and said: ‘The game is up, I am lying; the
Confederates are in possession of the city and harbor.’ The whole story
of what had occurred was then told, including a tale of the capture
of Smith and his comrades. Payne reported that the _Harriet Lane_
was about ready to come out after the _Cambria_, so Captain Sumner
allowed the other men on the sloop to get away, while he made haste
to reach New Orleans. This Captain Payne was placed in confinement on
a war-vessel at New Orleans. He was afterwards seen on the streets of
that city apparently a free man.”

“Nicaragua” Smith was tried by a court-martial, declared a traitor,
and shot January 8th, game to the last. Six balls entered his body.
A characteristic speech made by him when face to face with the firing
party would not bear repetition here. Two of his comrades escaped, but
Foley and big “Jack” managed to be paroled when the enlisted men were
sent to the Federal lines.


STATEMENT OF PURSER BACH.

  “ON BOARD STEAMER CAMBRIA,
  “January 7th, 1863.
  “MAJOR-GENERAL BANKS,
  “Commanding Department of the Gulf:

“The steamer _Cambria_, with two companies First Texas Cavalry, horses
of the Second Vermont Battery, and a great number of men, women and
children (refugees), left New Orleans for Galveston December 31st,
1862, at 9 P.M. Arrived outside the island January 2d, at
7 P.M. Strong wind and high sea running. No sign of pilot,
consequently came to anchor.

“Next morning, third instant, weather very hazy and high sea. We
commenced beating about, in the hope of a pilot coming to us, up to 12
M. No such success, during which time several of the refugees,
being well acquainted with the bar, were desirous of piloting us
in. The captain would not listen to any such suggestions. They then
offered to take one of the life-boats and go for a pilot, to which
he also dissented; but, upon the earnest solicitations of officers
and refugees, amounting almost to a demand, he reluctantly consented,
and the boat left, manned by six men, two of whom were soldiers and
four refugees. This was about 12.30 P.M. The colonel sent a
pressing letter to the officer in command, stating that we were in
distress, the horses on board suffering from the rough weather, and
demanding assistance.

“About 7 P.M. the weather cleared to bright moonlight; sea
more calm. The boat did not return, and hopes for her safety were given
up, as it was supposed she might have swamped in crossing the bar. At
this time three shells were plainly visible as having been fired from
near the city, which was the first cause of uneasiness on the part of
our captain. On the supposed warning the colonel had his men called
together and put in readiness in case of emergency. Nothing further
transpired, however, during the night.

“The next morning the day broke clear, the sun shining bright, with
the city and its surroundings in full view. We hoisted pilot-jack and
blew the whistle about eight o’clock, which signal was answered by
pilot-boat inside the bar, near a schooner, and a bark with American
colors flying, which proved to be the bark _Cavallo_. After the boat
came toward us she tacked, apparently running and sounding the bar.
She then went toward the bark and lowered her jack, signifying that
she had put the pilot on board. In the meantime the pilot-boat shot
up alongside and asked: ‘How much water do you draw, captain?’ To
which he replied: ‘Nine and a half to ten feet.’ The answer then
was: ‘You can go in; there is plenty of water on the bar.’ ‘Are you
a pilot?’ was then demanded. _Reply._--’No, but you can follow us
in.’ _Question._--’Where is the pilot?’ _Answer._--’On the bark.’
_Question._--’Why does he not come out for us?’ _Answer._--’Because
he had special orders to take the bark out first.’ In the meantime we
separated some distance. Again the pilot-boat shot up alongside, when
the captain ordered the pilot on board, when he replied: ‘There are
too many men there for me.’ He then immediately hauled jib-sheet to
windward, slacked off the main-sheet, and put his helm hard to port,
with the intention of getting clear. Seeing this, the captain ordered
the steamer backed, which placed the steamer between the pilot-boat
and the bar. The captain then called out: ‘Stand by your guns, fore
and aft, and be ready to fire. Do not open your port-holes before
the colonel gives the word.’ The pilot-boat then came to, and the
pilot said he would come on board. The colonel asked him who was in
command. His immediate reply was: ‘Captain Wainwright.’ After several
unimportant questions and answers he was recognized and called by
name by one of the refugees, by which he was apparently confused and
lost his presence of mind. Seeing that the captain looked upon him
with marked suspicion, he said: ’Gentlemen, I cannot lie any longer;
Galveston is in the hands of the Confederacy.’ The captain, hearing
that the _Harriet Lane_ was in their hands and as she was reported
uninjured, immediately put the steamer to sea. The counterfeit pilot,
T. W. Paine, was, of course, detained on board as prisoner. The
pilot-boat and crew were permitted to depart, as the colonel thought by
their returning it would give us more time to escape.

“About nine o’clock on the evening of the fifth instant we met the
United States sloop-of-war _Brooklyn_, and was boarded by an officer
from her, to whom we gave the foregoing information. We afterward
learned that the boat sent ashore with the six men was detained and the
men taken prisoners.

  “Respectfully submitted,
  “LEWIS BACH,
  “_Acting-Purser Steamer Cambria_.”

What steps were taken to entrap the _Cambria_, or any transports
unlucky enough to arrive while the United States gunboats fled to
New Orleans, is described by General Magruder in his official report
of the action. He says: “Having buried the dead, taken care of the
wounded, and secured the captured property, my exertions were directed
to getting the _Harriet Lane_ to sea. The enemy’s ships fled to New
Orleans, to which place one of their steam transports was dispatched
during the action. I knew that a large naval force might be expected to
return in a few days. I therefore ordered the employment at high wages
of all the available mechanics to repair the _Harriet Lane_, her main
shaft having been dislocated and her iron wheel greatly disabled, so
that the engine could not work. The United States flags were ordered to
remain flying on the custom-house and at the mast-heads of the ships,
so as to attract into the harbor any of the enemy’s vessels which might
be bound for the port of Galveston. A line of iron buoys, which we had
established for the guidance of his ships in the harbor, were displaced
and so arranged as to insure their getting aground.

“On the third of January, I being then on board of the _Harriet Lane_,
a yawl-boat, containing several men, in command of a person named
Thomas Smith, recently a citizen of Galveston, and who had deserted
from our army, was reported alongside. He informed me he was sent from
the United States transport-steamship _Cambria_, then off the bar, for
a pilot, and that they had no idea of the occupation of the city by us.
I forthwith ordered a pilot-boat, under command of Captain Johnson, to
bring in this ship, but, through a most extraordinary combination of
circumstances, the vessel which contained E. J. Davis and many other
apostate Texans, besides several hundred troops and 2,500 saddles for
the use of native sympathizers, succeeded in making her escape. The
man Smith, who had, it is said, several times set fire to the city of
Galveston before he deserted, had been known as Nicaragua Smith, and
was dreaded by every one. He returned to Galveston in order to act as
Federal provost-marshal. His arrival produced much excitement, during
which some one without orders sent a sail-boat to Pelican Spit, now
occupied by our troops, to direct the commanding officer there not fire
on our pilot-boat, although she was under Yankee colors. The sail-boat
thus sent was at once supposed to be destined for the Yankee transport.
The pilot-boat gave chase to her, and the guns from the shore opened on
her within hearing of the ship.

“Night coming on, I thought it surer, as the alarm might be taken, to
capture her at sea before morning; but the _Harriet Lane_ could not
move, and our cotton gunboats could not live on the rough sea on the
bar. Therefore one of the barks, the _Royal Yacht_, a schooner of ours,
the pilot-boat and the _Leader_, a schooner loaded with cotton, which
I had ordered to be sent to a foreign port, with a proclamation of the
raising of the blockade at Galveston, were directed to be prepared
and armed with light artillery. This was done by two o’clock the same
night, our little fleet being manned by volunteers, under the command
of Captain Mason, of Cook’s regiment of artillery.

“Unfortunately the wind lulled, and none but the pilot-boat could
reach the enemy’s ship. The pilot-boat went out under the command of a
gallant sailor, Captain Payne, of Galveston. The enemy’s ship proved
to be a splendid iron steamer, built in the Clyde. I had ascertained
from her men taken ashore that she had only two guns, and they were
packed on deck under a large quantity of hay, and I anticipated an easy
conquest and one of great political importance, as this ship contained
almost all the Texans out of the State who had proved recreant to their
duty to the Confederacy and to Texas. The pilot-boat was allowed to get
close to the ship, when the boat was hailed and the pilot ordered to
come on board. Captain Payne answered that he thought there were rather
too many men to trust himself to; whereupon he was directed to come on
board, or he would be fired into. He went on board as ordered, and soon
after the steamer sailed in all haste seaward, leaving the pilot-boat
and hands to return to us.

“I am thus particular in this narration as the friends of Captain
Payne fear that he may meet with foul play from the enemy. I shall
ascertain, through Commodore Bell, his fate, and act accordingly.
Smith, the deserter, was tried regularly the next day before a general
court-martial, and, being convicted of deserting to the enemy, was
publicly shot in Galveston, in accordance with his sentence. The
proceedings, which were formal in all respects, legal and regular, are
forwarded.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The following papers, connected with this action, are here given. The
first, a dispatch from William L. Burt, was the first news sent North
of the action, and naturally caused many a heart to ache for relatives
and friends supposed to be at Galveston:


  “SOUTHWEST PASS, LA.,
  “January 3d, 1863, 1.45 P.M.

“MAJOR-GENERAL BANKS:

“I have received the following dispatch, which I hasten to communicate:


  “’ON BOARD MARY BOARDMAN,
  “’January 3d, 1863, 12 noon.
  “’N. P. BANKS,
  “’Commanding Department of the Gulf:

“’Galveston was attacked by land and water on the morning of January
1st. Colonel Burrell and his men were all killed or taken prisoners.
Four rebel rams made an attack on the _Harriet Lane_, and carried her
by boarding. Captain Wainwright and Lieutenant Lee killed, and all
the men killed or prisoners. The captain of the _Owasco_ (Wilson) was
killed. Commander Renshaw blew up the flag-ship _Westfield_ to prevent
her from falling into the hands of the enemy. He was killed, and also
First-Lieutenant Zimmerman. Two barks loaded with coal fell into the
hands of the rebels. We have some seventy men from the _Westfield_
on board. They must have some arrangements for taking charge of them
immediately on our arrival, as we have only our own crew.

  “’WM. L. BURT,
  “’_Major and Aide-de-Camp, Staff of General Hamilton_.’
  “C. HUGGINS.”

General Banks, in a letter to Major-General Halleck, gives as his
reason for sending Colonel Burrell to Galveston, the following:


  “HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF THE GULF,
  “NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 7th, 1863.
  (_Extract._)

“_Sir_: The detachment of troops was sent to Galveston upon the
suggestion of Admiral Farragut, and upon the statement of General
Butler, that he had contemplated ordering a small force there to assist
in recruiting Texas refugees. It was supposed that the fleet made the
occupation of the part of the island adjacent to the gunboats perfectly
secure. It would not, however, have been sent forward so soon after my
arrival had it not been for the impatience of General Hamilton. When it
became known that our destination was New Orleans and not Texas, which
was not until our arrival here, those connected with him became very
violent, and denounced unsparingly the Government and all connected
with the expedition for what was called bad faith in its management.

“General Hamilton is not a bad man, but he does not manifest great
force of character, and is surrounded by men who came here on the
Government transports, unbeknown to me, for base, speculative purposes,
and nothing else. I notified him of the conduct of these men, and he
promised to correct it, but has not yet done so. He explains their
presence by saying, that in the North he became indebted to them for
pecuniary assistance. I sent him notice that they would be required to
leave the Department if their course was approved by him.

“It was mainly the impatience of these people that prompted me to
forward the detachment to Galveston; but only upon the concurrence of
Admiral Farragut and General Butler as to its expediency and safety.
Such is a full statement of my participation in this affair.

“I have the honor to be, with much respect,

  “your obedient servant,
  “N. P. BANKS,
  “_Major-General commanding_.
  “MAJOR-GENERAL HALLECK,
  “_Commander-in-Chief U. S. Army_.”

The flag-of-truce scheme, so fortunately put into use by Major Smith,
led to some correspondence on the subject between General Magruder and
Commodore Bell, commanding United States forces off Galveston. None
of this correspondence is of material interest to the Forty-Second
Regiment, except the following extract from a letter by Colonel Debray
to Commodore Bell, January 22d, viz.: “As to your complaint of a breach
of truce in connection with the Forty-Second Massachusetts, I would
respectfully state that the land troops were not embraced in the terms
of truce on the 1st instant, either directly or indirectly. As soon as
daylight came they could have been destroyed by our guns and musketry
in five minutes. To avert a misunderstanding on this subject with you,
which Major-General Magruder would much regret, he will send a full
statement by to-morrow morning.”

The full statement of Magruder to Bell is embraced in the following
papers sent to the Confederate War Department in Richmond, Va., by
Major-General Magruder, in justification of himself. It is proper to
state that the statement signed by Colonel Burrell, was drafted after
a long consultation between his officers, and, while not correct in
every respect, the officers felt under obligations to Generals Magruder
and Scurry, for favors granted and expected, and were disposed to help
Magruder out of his muddle with the Confederate War Department. The
documents were:

“The following document is not to be considered or used as official in
any way, but as strictly personal.

  “ISAAC S. BURRELL,
  “_Colonel 42d Regt. Mass. Vols._

    “_Statement in relation to the surrender of a portion of the
    Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, at Galveston,
    Texas, on the morning of January 1st, A.D. 1863, to the
    Confederate forces under the command of Major-General J. B.
    Magruder, with the circumstances attending the surrender_:

“After the steamer _Harriet Lane_ had raised the white flag in token
of surrender, the white flag was also raised by the Forty-Second
Regiment by order of the colonel commanding; but the fire continuing
for ten or fifteen minutes from the wharf and the brick building above
Kuhn’s Wharf, where the said Forty-Second Regiment was stationed, when
Brigadier-General Scurry came down to Kuhn’s Wharf and demanded the
unconditional surrender of the troops on the wharf the firing ceased
and was not resumed so far as the wharf is concerned.

“The surrender was made immediately, and the battle terminated, so far
as said Forty-Second Regiment was concerned. Between the time the white
flag was raised on the wharf and the cessation of the firing only one
man was wounded and none killed.

“This statement is made in justice to Brigadier-General Scurry, who, by
his gentlemanly conduct and uniform kindness to officers and privates,
is entitled to the grateful remembrance of the whole command. We
believe that the firing after the white flag was raised was unknown to
him and against his will or orders.

“The flag of truce was not raised on the wharf by the Forty-Second
Regiment until every vessel in the harbor had raised one.

“When the demand for surrender was made by Brigadier-General Scurry,
the colonel of the Forty-Second Regiment asked to be allowed the same
time given to the fleet for consideration (three hours), but his
request was refused.

“Having carefully examined the above statement, I believe it to be true
in every point, and accordingly I have affixed my signature thereto.

  “ISAAC S. BURRELL,
  “_Colonel 42d Regt. Mass. Vols._”

This was enclosed in a letter sent to Richmond, Va., by General
Magruder, of which the following is an extract:

  “HOUSTON, TEXAS, January 23d, 1863.

“This statement made by Colonel Burrell, commanding the detachment
of the Forty-Second Massachusetts Regiment Volunteers, captured at
Galveston on the 1st instant, it will be seen agrees in every important
particular with the statement furnished by me in my communication to
Commodore Bell. Our naval officers distinctly state that the white flag
hoisted on board the ship did not apply to the land force. Captain
Lubbock, the commander of one of our gunboats, who arranged with the
senior officer in command of the Federal fleet the terms of the truce,
stated, on his return from the Federal flag-ship, to Brigadier-General
Scurry, in the presence of Colonel Burrell, that the land troops were
not embraced in these terms, directly or indirectly, he having been
sent by Captain Leon Smith, commanding our fleet of gunboats, to demand
the surrender of the rest of the Federal fleet, and to give the Federal
commander three hours’ time to accept or decline his demand, during
which time the fire was to cease between the ships. I knew nothing
of the arrangements, nor did any officer ashore, and when Captain
Lubbock, on his return, touched at Kuhn’s Wharf, where the Forty-Second
Massachusetts Regiment was stationed, he gave the above information to
Brigadier-General Scurry in the presence of Colonel Burrell, and the
latter surrendered unconditionally, after his request to be allowed the
same time given the ships was refused. Had the Federal commander of
the land forces been in superior force to myself and engaged in battle
ashore he would certainly have prosecuted his advantage to the utmost,
regardless of a truce between two fleets, which he had not authorized.
If necessary, I think it can be fully established also that the Federal
troops ashore were ready to surrender the moment daylight gave them an
opportunity of doing so, and would have done it even before daylight
had it been possible.

“I have also to state that I am informed by Brigadier-General Scurry,
who was in that portion of the battle, that the white flag displayed
from Kuhn’s Wharf was respected the moment it was seen.”

With the exception of Private Hersey, left to help take care of
baggage, wounded men taken to hospital, Surgeon Cummings, left to
attend them, and naval officers to attend the funeral of Wainwright
and Lea, all of the prisoners marched to Virginia Point in the
afternoon, where they were obliged to wait until half-past one o’clock
A.M. next day, January 2d, for cars to transport them to
Houston.

On arrival at that city, about noon, the depot was reported to be
crowded with people, and the train was stopped half a mile out. The
men then marched, under guard, through Houston to their quarters in
a cotton warehouse near Buffalo Bayou. The officers were confined in
Kennedy’s building, corner of Travis and Congress Streets.

On the march through crowded streets, many bantering remarks were
made, mostly by women, who were exceedingly bitter and sarcastic. The
men had been cautioned by their colonel not to pay any attention to
insults, which they must expect to receive, but carry themselves as if
on parade. They did march through the City of Houston as if on parade,
giving the people a sight of good marching, military bearing and good
manners such as they had not seen before.

In passing the _Houston Telegraph_ newspaper office, where from the
windows was displayed the captured regimental colors underneath the
Texas Lone Star Flag, the men got mad, some of them threatening to “go
for them.” Cool counsel prevailed, and no trouble occurred.

The _Houston Telegraph_, in giving an account of the arrival of the
prisoners, said they were acknowledged Americans, with an occasional
foreigner to be seen among them, either Irish or Dutch. Gave them
credit for being well dressed and good looking. Spoke of Colonel
Burrell as a tall, slim specimen of a man, who was much stared at by
the people, but he never lifted his eyes from the ground during the
march. As the prisoners of war marched up Main Street they were well
treated, and received from the Houstonites the compliment of being a
fine-looking body of men, who ought to be ashamed of themselves for
volunteering their services in the villainy of trying to subjugate a
chivalrous people.

At the hospitals in Galveston Surgeon Cummings remained until the
eighteenth of January, attending Federal wounded, also assisting the
Confederate surgeons. Sisters of Mercy, attached to the Convent of St.
Leon, rendered service to the wounded of both sides impartially. On the
tenth, while a gunboat was shelling the city from the Gulf side, some
shells exploded in the convent yard, necessitating removal of patients
to a small, wooden school-house, when a hospital flag was raised, which
stopped further mischief.

Commander Wainwright and Lieutenant Lea, of the _Harriet Lane_, were
buried with Masonic and military honors on the second. Major Lea, C.
S. A., father of the lieutenant, officiated at the grave, reading the
Episcopal Church burial service in a firm, unfaltering voice to the
end, when he gave way to his feelings and wept like a child. The rest
of the killed were buried on the third.

Surgeon Cummings, on the twentieth of January, found time to make the
following official report of the killed and wounded:


  “HOUSTON, TEXAS, January 20th, 1863.
  “COLONEL I. S. BURRELL,
  “42d Regt. Mass. Vols.:

“_Sir_,--The following is a correct list of the wounded of said
Forty-Second Regiment at the battle of Galveston, January 1st, 1863:

  =====================+====+==========+===================+============
          NAME.        | CO.|   RANK.  |   HOW WOUNDED.    |   RESULT.
  ---------------------+----+----------+-------------------+------------
  Francis L. Nott.     | G. | Private. | Shell in left     | Died in 17
                       |    |          |   side of bowels. |   hours.
  Jos. W. D. Parker.   | G. |    “     | Ball in arm.      | Recovering.
  Edmund B. Doubel.    | G. |    “     | Ball in left      |     “
                       |    |          |   hand, severe.   |
  George R. Dary.      | G. |    “     | Ball in left arm, |     “
                       |    |          |   above elbow.    |
  Thos. T. Sweetser.   | G. |    “     | Buckshot in chin, |     “
                       |    |          |   slight.         |
  James L. Davis.      | G. |    “     | Splinter in face, |     “
                       |    |          |   slight.         |
  John M. Barnard, Jr. | G. |    “     | Spent ball in     |     “
                       |    |          |   left leg,       |
                       |    |          |   slight.         |
  John T. Cook.        | G. |    “     | Splinter in leg,  |     “
                       |    |          |   slight.         |
  David L. Wentworth.  |    | Act-Ord. | Shell in leg.     |     “
                       |    | Sergt. of|                   |
                       |    |  regt.   |                   |
  Wm. H. Cowdin.       | D. |1st Lieut.| Ball in back.     |     “
  Francis L. Morrill.  | D. | Private. | Minnie ball in    | I fear loss
                       |    |          |   hand, severe.   |   of arm.
  Tobias Enslee.       | D. |    “     | Splinter in head, | Recovering.
                       |    |          |   slight.         |
  Edwin F. Josselyn.   | D. |    “     | Shell in head,    |     “
                       |    |          |   severe.         |
  Daniel J. Sullivan.  | D. |    “     | Minnie ball in    |     “
                       |    |          |   hand, severe.   |
  Jas. O’Shaughnessy.  | D. |    “     | Shell in both     |     “
                       |    |          |   legs, right     |
                       |    |          |   leg amputated.  |
  =====================+====+==========+===================+============

“These are all the casualties in our regiment in the late severe
battle, in which the only wonder is that one of us lived to tell the
story. It seems indeed providential that so few are wounded and none
killed on the spot. We have to mourn the loss of one noble fellow, Nott
of Company G, a brave soldier and an excellent man, and to regret the
loss of a leg of Company D, O’Shaughnessy, who is recovering rapidly. I
amputated his leg just below the knee, in order to give him the benefit
of the joint, which was not injured.

“I have the honor to be, dear sir,

  “Yours faithfully,
  “A. I. CUMMINGS,
  “_Surgeon 42d Mass. Regt. Vols._”

Besides the above, there were wounded, who did not report to the
surgeon: Private John Barnes, Company D, slightly in leg; and Private
James W. Vinal, Company G, slightly in hip.

Quartermaster-Sergeant Foster was standing by the breastwork in
conversation with Private Hersey when the first shot was fired,
glanced on the breastwork and passed into the building. In a moment
of excitement Foster fell wounded, so Hersey thought, but on an
examination of a wound he received, a bad cut of a thumb, it proved
to have been made by oyster shells upon which he had fallen. It was
jocularly reported Foster had received a shell wound in the action.

Private Nott was wounded during the first hour. He had got behind a
hawser-post, where Colonel Burrell found him moaning faintly, with a
terrible wound in the side and bowels. He was not apparently suffering
any intense pain. To the question, if he was badly hurt, he replied,
“Yes, in the side,” and begged for water. Private Hersey went into
the building and got it, which appeared to revive him somewhat from a
state of apathy. When the surgeon got an opportunity to examine his
case, Nott was told he could not live many hours, as he was bleeding
internally, and any message for home had better be given then.

Private O’Shaughnessy was wounded during the first half hour. He yelled
like an Indian on the war-path, and was carried into the hospital-room,
where the surgeon remained at his post the entire time that the enemy’s
fire was concentrated upon it.

Privates Enslee and Josselyn were wounded at the commencement, while
standing ready to fire before the order was heard to lie down. A solid
shot, or a shell, struck and crashed through the breastwork, splinters
wounding Enslee in the head. A fragment of shell ruined Josselyn’s
musket, knocked it overboard, then glanced to his head. The wound bled
profusely, but Josselyn did not know he was hit until blood was running
down his face. Upon reporting at the hospital he was so covered with
blood Surgeon Cummings was unable to recognize him. Binding his head up
with a handkerchief, Josselyn returned to his post.

Private Morrill, when wounded, tied a handkerchief around his hand and
kept his place in the ranks until the action was over before reporting
to the surgeon.

Lieutenant Cowdin was wounded while lying down, during the first
hour. A canister shot struck the storehouse brick chimney, knocking
it to pieces, the debris flying in all directions. Supposing he had
been wounded by a falling brick, on standing up he was surprised to
find several small shot ran down his clothing into a boot; they had
struck him in the back, low down, going through coat, shirt, pants and
under-drawers.

Company I, from its sheltered position, had no casualties. Private
Eaton had his bayonet cut in halves, another man received a ball in
his hat, and Private Paget had a ball cut his haversack straps.

An official report of the action was not made to General Banks, until
July, 1864, when Colonel Burrell arrived in New Orleans, paroled and
exchanged.


  “NEW ORLEANS, July 27th, 1864.
  “TO MAJOR GEORGE B. DRAKE,
  “_Assistant Adjutant-General_:

“_Major_,--Pursuant to orders, I proceeded with my command to
Galveston, Texas, and took post. I arrived there December 24th, 1862,
landed next day on Kuhn’s Wharf, and fortified by building barricades,
and tearing up the bridge, making my position as strong as possible.

“I took possession of the city as far as my small force would allow;
my scouts destroyed the telegraph running to Houston; and I took such
precautions as I thought necessary for holding the place. Commander
Renshaw, who had command of the fleet, laid four months within musket
shot of this telegraph and had allowed it to remain in working order.
We found the railroad in good condition. Signals were thrown up every
night, giving the enemy all the information they wanted.

“I requested Commander Renshaw to go up the bay with two of his
lightest draft steamers and dislodge the enemy. I also requested the
use of two howitzers, which were on board of a schooner, and of no use
to the schooner. Both requests he refused to grant.

“I landed my command on the wharf with the distinct understanding that
I was to be supported by the steamer _Harriet Lane_ on my right and
the steamer _Clifton_ on my left. On the morning of the first January,
1863, about four o’clock, I was attacked by a force of infantry and
cavalry, amounting to over six thousand men, with thirty-two pieces of
artillery. The only support I received was from the steamer _Sachem_,
and the schooner _Corypheus_ manned with fifteen men and one gun.
The steamer _Sachem_ was out of order, with her fires out to repair
boilers. The _Harriet Lane_ laid so far up the stream she was unable
to retreat, and became easy prey. The steamer _Owasco_ was two miles
below the city, with little or no steam up. The steamer _Westfield_,
with Commander Renshaw aboard, managed to get aground three miles below
the city, and signaled for the _Clifton_ to come and get her off. At
this time the enemy opened their heavy guns upon me from the head of
the wharf, and continued to throw shot and shell for one hour, when
they made an assault with two of their regiments to drive me from my
position. We repulsed them, and they retreated with severe loss. My
officers and men fought with great gallantry. Being without artillery I
had to rely upon the _Sachem_ and a little schooner for support.

“At this time two cotton boats attacked the _Harriet Lane_, driving the
men from their guns, killing Captain Wainwright. The steamer _Owasco_
came up and fired a few shots, also the _Clifton_, who had fired but
seven or eight shots when a flag of truce was entertained, and they
agreed to cease hostilities for three hours, and immediately dropped
down stream without consulting me at all in the matter. At this time
the enemy were in full retreat from the wharf; the artillery had
limbered up and withdrawn.

“In a short time they returned, and immediately put their guns in
position and opened fire. I had no alternative but to surrender after
the fleet had left. Entirely deserted by the navy in a cowardly manner.
They had agreed to take my command off the wharf if we were hard
pressed. The steamers _Clifton_ and _Owasco_ passed by, but refused
to render any assistance. After receiving the fire of the enemy for a
half-hour, and receiving no assistance, I was compelled to surrender
myself and my command.

“The fleet, at the expiration of the three hours agreed upon by flag
of truce (except the _Westfield_, which was blown up), ran out of the
harbor without firing a shot.

“It is my opinion and belief that Commander Renshaw was a traitor, he
being in constant communication with the enemy. Commander Law proved
himself unworthy of his command. In not holding Galveston we lost the
key to Texas.

“Enclosed please find the report of my excellent and lamented surgeon,
Dr. A. I. Cummings.

“The following is a list of the amount of property lost and
surrendered: two hundred and seventy small-arms, (one hundred and
eighty Springfield smooth-bores and ninety Springfield rifles);
equipments for two hundred and sixty men; medical stores to the amount
of $1,000; one set of surgical instruments; twenty A tents and three
wall tents; five boxes of ammunition; twenty days’ rations for two
hundred and sixty men.

  “I remain, major,
  “Very respectfully,
  “I. S. BURRELL,
  “_Colonel 42d Regt. Mass. Vols._”

Admiral Farragut severely censured the naval officers for their conduct
in this action, and would not listen to any explanations. He was
chagrined at the capture of the _Harriet Lane_. When her crew, under
parole, reported to him, on their return to the Federal lines, he gave
them a severe lecture, and accused each and every man of cowardice,
threatening to punish those who tried to offer an excuse. The sailors
said they had never seen the “old man” so mad. A bitter feeling existed
among the _Harriet Lane’s_ crew against the _Clifton’s_ crew, which led
to several fistic encounters in New Orleans, when they met each other.

A full inquiry into the cause of the disaster had been made by Admiral
Farragut. A court-martial, held on board the flag-ship _Hartford_,
had resulted in condemning Commanders Law and Wilson. The blame for
this defeat had been placed where it belonged, and when the exchanged
officers of the regiment left New Orleans for New York, General Banks
placed in the colonel’s hands the following letter:


  “HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF THE GULF,
  “NEW ORLEANS, August 5th, 1864.
  “TO HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR ANDREW,
  “Of Massachusetts:

“_Sir_,--Colonel Isaac S. Burrell, of the Forty-Second Massachusetts
Volunteers, left New York with the troops under my command at the time
I entered service in this Department. Two days after I assumed command
here he was sent with his regiment to protect the island of Galveston,
which had been for three months in the possession of the naval
authorities of the United States. Two companies of his regiment, under
his own command, arrived there on the twenty-fourth of December, 1862.
The plans of the rebels for the recapture of the island had been so far
matured that before the balance of his regiment could reach the island
(a large part of which was within sight at the time the recapture
occurred), it was impossible for him, with his small force, to defend
the post or effect a retreat with his men. By an arrangement with the
commanding officer of the naval squadron the rebels had maintained a
railway communication from the main-land to the island, and upon the
night of the attack they ran their forces of five or six thousand, with
heavy artillery, to within a quarter of a mile of the position occupied
by Colonel Burrell. It is unnecessary for me to recount the facts
connected with this disaster to our arms, but it is just to Colonel
Burrell, to say, that it is in no wise attributable to him, but that
his conduct and that of his men, from the testimony of all parties, was
highly creditable to the service.

“He has been held prisoner of war by the enemy from the first of
January, 1863, until recently exchanged. He has suffered greatly in
health, and is entitled to consideration from the officers of the
general government, as from the officers of the State of Massachusetts.
I commend him to the favor of your Excellency, as in all respects
worthy of favorable consideration.

  “I have the honor to be
  “Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
  “N. P. BANKS,
  “_Major-General commanding_.”



CHAPTER V.

AT CARROLLTON--BOUND FOR GALVESTON--ARRIVAL OF COMPANIES--CAMP
MANSFIELD--DETAILS.


Brigadier-General T. W. Sherman was in command of all United States
forces assembled at several camps in and about Carrollton, a suburb
of New Orleans, distant a few miles north of that city. The town did
not contain many houses or white inhabitants, and was situated on low,
wet, swampy ground. The vacant squares of building lots was ground on
which the troops pitched their tents. Camp Mansfield contained the One
Hundred and Tenth New York Infantry, One Hundred and Fifty-Sixth New
York Infantry, One Hundred and Sixty-First New York Infantry, Third
New Hampshire Infantry, Twenty-Fifth Connecticut Infantry, detachment
Forty-Second Massachusetts Infantry, Twenty-Fifth New York Light
Battery, Reed’s Massachusetts Rifle Rangers--in all about four thousand
men; Colonel Littlejohn, ----th New York, commanding the post.

The release from close confinement on board transports was, for a time,
enjoyed by everybody, regardless of weather changes. The days were warm
and pleasant, but the nights freezing cold, causing much suffering,
as no boards could be obtained for tent floors, or firewood to build
bonfires. Why diarrhœa and dysentery did not attack more men while at
this camp, than was the case, is surprising. Camp regulations in regard
to men being out of quarters after taps had to be set aside, for,
finding it impossible to sleep without getting chilled, many of them
would cluster around the cooking-stoves, that were kept heated, and
endeavor to keep warm until day, with its bright, southern sunshine and
warmth, should dawn, when they could be comfortable. The rattling of
drums beating reveille in the various camps caused many a man of that
four thousand to feel thankful.

According to orders received the evening of January 2d, 1863, the
detachment (Companies A, B and F) struck camp on the morning of January
3d, went to the river levee and embarked on board steamer _Che-Kiang_,
at nine o’clock, _en route_ for Galveston, Texas, to join Companies
D, G and I. While lying at the United States Barracks at night on
the third, where most of the day was passed in taking aboard stores,
ammunition, horses, and a detachment First Texas Cavalry, recruited
from Texas refugees, a furious thunder-storm occurred. Rain fell in
torrents; the lightning seemed to be everywhere and constant, with
deafening peals of thunder. It was a scene not to be forgotten, and
although showers of the same magnitude were afterwards experienced,
none made so vivid an impression on the memory as this first
thunder-storm witnessed in the sunny South.

During Sunday, the fourth, there seemed to be a strange foreboding in
the minds of a great many that some unfortunate occurrence had taken
place. The transport was not in a hurry to proceed on the voyage, and
there was an ominous silence among officers who were supposed to know
the cause of delay. At noon the truth became known. Galveston had been
captured by Confederates, with Companies D, G and I, and the regimental
colors. All the mad projects, which found vent in words, that started
in the brains of men on board the _Che-Kiang_ would not be believed if
they were given here. A dare-devil spirit to do something that would
recapture their comrades, restore their colors, and wipe out the stigma
which they felt would be against the regiment, animated every breast.

When Lieutenant M. Burrell, Jr. with First-Sergeant Henry White,
of Company A, came on board and recited their story of the affair,
although not very elaborate or satisfactory, it was listened to with
marked attention. They had started a few days before in the transport
_Honduras_ for Galveston, with the First Vermont Battery on board,
arriving off the harbor on the morning of the capture, and been ordered
back to New Orleans by a naval officer commanding a gunboat that was in
the action. The companies disembarked a second time at Carrollton in
the afternoon of January 4th, and went into camp at Camp Mansfield on
worse ground than before.

Next day Companies E and K, from the _Charles Osgood_, reported for
duty and pitched their tents. Quartermaster Burrell and Adjutant Davis
also came into camp, having just arrived from Galveston after escaping
capture. They were received with cheers and congratulations.

This camp was situated on very swampy ground with two ravines running
lengthwise through it, made to drain the water during rainy seasons.
The arrangement of tents was made as symmetrical as possible, but
formation of the ground completely spoiled its beauty. To reach the
color-line a deep water gully had to be passed, marring the good
appearance of a dress parade. The hospital was located in a vacated
school-house, distant half a mile from camp, because it was impossible
to accommodate patients in the hospital tent. Assistant-Surgeon
Hitchcock was quite sick with typhoid fever soon after reaching
Carrollton, and Assistant-Surgeon George C. Smith, One Hundred and
Fifty-Sixth New York Infantry, was detailed to occupy his position
temporarily, serving the regiment from January 17th to 27th.[8]

[8] While at Carrollton the average daily sick in the regiment was:
taken sick, five; returned to duty, five; sick in hospital, twelve;
sick in quarters, eighteen; an average of thirty men each day under a
surgeon’s care.

On the twelfth, Major Stiles, with Companies C and H, reported for duty
at camp, receiving a warm reception. The men were as much pleased to
tread dry land once more as their comrades were to see them. The day
and night was occupied by the men in reciting each other’s adventures
since they parted in New York.

An aggravating case of desertion occurred January 2d, when Private
Lewis Buffum, Company B, deserted the service and his regiment under
circumstances proving him to be an arrant coward. Placed in a position
as acting-engineer on board the transport _Quincy_, while on her
trip from New York with the three companies, he received the best of
treatment, lived in the same manner as the officers, at no cost to
himself, and on arrival at New Orleans received extra pay from Captain
Clapp of the _Quincy_, for his services on the voyage; this Buffum,
regardless of all feelings of honor and duty, improved the opportunity
thus given him, detached and away from his company for a few days after
landing, to procure a change of clothing and bribe the first-engineer
on the _Quincy_ to conceal him on board upon her return trip to New
York.

Several orders sent him to report for duty with his company and not
obeyed caused a search to be made, when his desertion was discovered.
An overhauling of the _Quincy_ failed to find him. It was ascertained
some months afterward (April 24th), when he came into the hands
of provost-marshal Captain John Pickering of New Orleans, having
surrendered himself at Fort Columbus, New York harbor, March 31st,
under the promise of pardon made by President Lincoln in General Orders
No. 58, War Department, issued March 11th, 1863, to all deserters who
returned to duty, that Buffum was on board the _Quincy_ during the
search, stowed away on the top of her boiler. As the searching party
passed one side of it he would slide down the opposite side until they
had passed, and then return to the top.

There are no extenuating circumstances connected with Buffum’s
desertion. He was a married man, with wife and children living. As a
man he should have had some respect for their feelings, even though he
was without honor himself. He never was ill-treated by his officers.
His profession placed him in a position to be of great service to
the Government, by performing detached duty as engineer on some of
the railroads and steamers controlled by United States officers in
Louisiana. Private Buffum was so detailed by orders from Department
headquarters, to which detail answer had to be returned: “Deserted in
New Orleans, January 2d, 1863, and has not since been apprehended.”

In connection with this case of desertion may properly be stated the
three cases of enlisted men who were disciplined at this camp. Corporal
Denny, Company E, was, January 22d, ordered to be placed in arrest
by Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman. A captain objected to some statements
that had appeared in a communication sent home by the corporal for
publication, and preferred charges against him. Denny remained in
arrest until after his trial by a division court-martial held January
27th, in New Orleans, and the proceedings of the court could be passed
upon by General Sherman. The charge and specification was as follows:


CHARGE.

“Conduct to the prejudice of Good Order and Military Discipline.”

       *       *       *       *       *

_Specification_--In this: that he, Corporal Denny, was author of, did
write and cause to be published in the _Worcester Daily Spy_, on the
morning of December 29th, 1862, an article containing sentiments false
and calculated to mislead the public with reference to the acts of
Captain George P. Davis, then commanding troops on board the _Charles
Osgood_, and reflecting censure on his (Corporal Denny’s) superior
officer, which article was, in form and substance, as follows:

       *       *       *       *       *

“Considerable feeling was created by the refusal of the privilege, but
a quantity of _whiskey_ provided by the officers allayed the feeling
with some, while it only added intensity with others. It was looked
at by many as a kind of _bribe_, while others were conscientiously
opposed to the indiscriminate distribution of whiskey by even superior
officers. It is to the credit of a large number that they threw the
stuff overboard as soon as received. There is a general feeling
that whiskey drinking is already too prevalent to have it so openly
countenanced, and all well-wishers of the Union army hope the practice
may soon be abandoned.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Said article, of which the above is only an extract, was written after
the departure of the steamer _Charles Osgood_ from New York and before
her arrival at New Orleans.

To which charge and specification the accused pleaded as follows:

    To the specification--Not guilty.
    To the charge--Not guilty.


FINDING OF THE COURT.

The Court, after mature deliberation on the evidence adduced, finds the
accused, Corporal Everett A. Denny of Company E, Forty-Second Regiment
Massachusetts Volunteers, as follows:

    Of the specification--Guilty.
    Of the charge--Guilty.


SENTENCE.

And the Court does therefore sentence him, Corporal Everett A. Denny,
Company E, Forty-Second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, to be
reduced to the ranks, to forfeit ten dollars of his pay, and to be
publicly reprimanded by the commanding officer of his regiment.

       *       *       *       *       *

The sentence was approved in General Orders No. 16, Defences New
Orleans, March 7th, 1863, and Corporal Denny released from arrest and
returned to duty with his company March 17th.

Whether the offence was worth the trouble and expense of a trial is a
debatable question. Corporal Denny was young and inexperienced at the
time; with more years upon his shoulders he would probably have been
more discreet. There were many young correspondents with the army who
did not always confine their letters to matters of public interest,
but dabbled with surmises of probable movements by the troops, their
strength, positions occupied, and _morale_ of officers and men. This
is against army rules, and not to be tolerated. It is indirectly
furnishing information of value to the enemy.

Private James White, of Company A, while at Carrollton, disobeyed
orders, using disrespectful language towards his superior officer. A
regimental court-martial convicted and sentenced him to forfeit one
month’s pay and to walk six hours a day for fourteen days--three in the
morning and three in the afternoon--with a log of wood tied across his
back, weighing not more than fifty pounds and not less than twenty-five
pounds, and to do fatigue duty every morning. As provided in orders for
regimental courts-martial, the sentence was approved by the brigade
commander.

Private Jotham E. Bigelow, of Company K, was placed in arrest for
sleeping on his sentry post. By regimental General Orders No. 11,
issued January 30th, he was released from arrest and ordered to duty,
because, “from his previous good conduct as a soldier in all matters,
and being the first case of the kind in the regiment.” A warning was
issued in the orders that future cases would not be dealt with so
leniently.

All proceedings in cases proper for a regimental court-martial had to
be before a field-officer of the regiment, by General Orders No. 91,
issued July 29th, 1862, from the War Department. Major Stiles was in
every case detailed to hear the evidence.

At Carrollton several heavy details were made of working parties to
unload vessels at the levee, besides attending to a regular routine of
camp duty. Short marches were taken out on the shell road to accustom
the troops to that exercise. When Brigadier-General Emory assumed the
command he watched sharply these marching drills, also the company
and battalion drills of each organization. As some field-officers
were inclined to consume time in executing fancy tactical movements
when they had their regiments on drill, a general order was issued
indicating a more rapid mode of instruction for the field. The
following points were enjoined as of the first importance:

1st. The firings--to be executed with facility, promptness, and good
order.

2d. Rapid ployments and deployments while marching as well as from a
halt.

3d. Sudden and rapid formations of squares against cavalry.

With these instructions carefully and faithfully carried out, any
troops could soon be made fairly efficient for field service, with
discipline also enforced.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, on several occasions, as field-officer
of the day, had to make the grand rounds. The start was usually made
between eleven and twelve o’clock at night. Considerable ground had to
be covered to reach various bodies of troops occupying scattered camps,
while the outpost stations would consume much time. Acting under verbal
orders to thoroughly do this duty, numerous attempts were made to catch
sentries off their guard; in some cases quite successfully, but it
resulted in creating bad feeling between the organization so caught,
and the regiment from which the field-officer of the day belonged. One
of the most notable cases was a surprise of the Fifteenth New Hampshire
camp. Upon approaching a sentry he failed to challenge, and seemed glad
to take part in a casual conversation, which was commenced, when it
was seen the man was not reliable in his duty. Finally, he was seized
without resistance and his musket taken away, frightening the poor
fellow to such an extent it was with difficulty the grand rounds’ party
could remain by him while proceeding towards the guard quarters, where
everything was found to be all right, with the men alert.

The One Hundred and Tenth New York camp was entered one night without
a challenge, or being seen by any sentinels; on stealthily approaching
the guard quarters, where a log fire was burning, no sign of life was
seen excepting a solitary sentinel pacing to and fro before a line
of stacked muskets. Watching a favorable opportunity he was made a
quasi-prisoner, much to his chagrin, and on inspecting the guard
tents a few men were found sound asleep, with no officer of the guard
present. Routing out the regimental officer of the day to investigate
the matter, it appeared that the reliefs, together with officers of the
guard, had gone to their quarters for sleep.

After a few incidents like these were reported to post headquarters, it
was not long before sentries were wide awake for surprises. It became
dangerous business to attempt any fooling with sentries, and such
attempts were abandoned. Whenever a field-officer of the Fifteenth New
Hampshire or One Hundred and Tenth New York had the grand rounds, in
retaliation, they tried various ways to catch the Forty-Second guard
napping, but never succeeded.

On one of these grand rounds’ tour of duty, while proceeding along
the levee road towards outpost stations, the road was found to be in
an impassable condition, owing to a small break in the levee, not
known to exist, as during the early afternoon one of the officers
had found the road in good condition. An occupant of a house near at
hand was awakened to obtain directions how to proceed: the man either
intentionally or by mistake directed the party to take the levee
embankment, his reasons for the bad condition of the road not creating
any suspicion that a crevasse existed in the levee. Proceeding along
the embankment with Sergeant-Major Bosson leading the mounted party,
his horse suddenly stopped, and no amount of urging could induce the
animal to move forward. In the pitchy darkness it was impossible to see
what was the matter, so the party with difficulty (the embankment top
was very narrow) turned about, going back, finally reaching another
road leading to the outposts. The next morning, upon examining the road
at this point, there was found a small break in the levee. Had the
horse kept on for a few feet, both horse and rider would have been in
the Mississippi River.

A sharp report from several muskets, fired by sentinels, followed with
a cry of fire, roused the camp at two o’clock on the morning of January
26th. Not far from the camp lines was a small frame house, used by
officers of the Forty-Second for messing. This had caught fire, burning
to the ground. The primitive fire department of Carrollton rallied,
consisting of several white men, a gang of negroes with an old worn out
double-deck hand fire-engine, requiring not over ten men to man the
brakes, without suction hose, water being furnished the engine by hand
buckets, and a small hose carriage. A detail of men from the regiment
soon took possession of this fire apparatus, relieving the local
firemen of any responsibility, and earnestly endeavored to stop the
flames. What was in rain water cisterns attached to the nearest houses
was all the water that could be used. There was great sport in fighting
this fire, as well as some sharp and brave work in saving what was in
the house. For the purpose of obtaining indemnity from the Government,
the owner implicated officers of the regiment with this fire. A council
of investigation was ordered by Brigadier-General Emory into the
circumstances; the detail consisted of Captains Cogswell and Cook and
Lieutenant Gorham, who found that the fire was accidental.

Lieutenant Proctor was without a command, as his company were prisoners
of war. Upon landing, with men of Company G who were with him, he met
Colonel N. A. M. Dudley, an old friend, in the city, who requested
him to join his brigade, then at Baton Rouge, as he wanted a brigade
quartermaster, and wished to appoint the lieutenant to that position.
Although attached to another brigade and division, Colonel Dudley
thought he could arrange the matter with his division general, Grover,
and the Department headquarters. Lieutenant Proctor proceeded to Baton
Rouge, but Dudley could not carry out his plan, as Adjutant-General
Irwin stated it was against the rules of the service. This was true.
Lieutenant Proctor and his men reported back to the regiment February
3d.

First Sergeant Nichols, Company G, was detailed acting lieutenant of
Company E, _vice_ Stowell, a prisoner of war.

Sergeant Attwell, Company G, remained unattached.

Private H. C. Green, Company G, was attached to Company K for duty.

Private John Luzardo, Company G, was attached to Company K for duty.

Sergeant Vialle, Company G, remained unattached.

War Department General Orders No. 5, issued January 5th, 1863, had
made the troops in the Gulf Department to constitute the Nineteenth
Army Corps, to date from December 14th, 1862. Orders were issued from
Department headquarters on the thirteenth of January attaching the
Forty-Second to the Second Brigade, Second Division, Nineteenth Army
Corps. In the brigade were the Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts Infantry,
three years men; Forty-Second Massachusetts Infantry, nine months
men; Forty-Seventh Massachusetts Infantry, nine months men; Ninth
Connecticut Infantry, three years men; Twenty-Eighth Maine Infantry,
nine months men. The brigade was then under command of Colonel Farr,
Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts Volunteers, and constituted part of the
garrison in the Defences of New Orleans.

The regiment remained in camp at Carrollton until January 28th,
receiving marching orders for five companies to take post at Bayou
Gentilly, on the Ponchartrain Railroad crossing, on the twenty-seventh.

Up to this date the following changes by detail and sickness had
occurred:

January 17th--Companies C and H left for duty in engineer service.

January 25th--Quartermaster Burrell was detailed by brigade orders as
acting brigade quartermaster. Lieutenant Albert E. Proctor, Company G,
by regimental orders, was detailed as acting regimental quartermaster,
on the twenty-sixth.

Assistant Surgeon Isaac Smith, Jr., Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts
Volunteers, was detailed to act as surgeon during Surgeon Hitchcock’s
sickness, relieving Surgeon Smith, One Hundred and Fifty-Sixth New York
Volunteers, and joined the regiment for duty on the twenty-ninth, at
Bayou Gentilly.

Captain George P. Davis, Company K, and Lieutenant T. M. Duncan,
Company F, by department orders, were detailed for duty in the
provost-marshal general’s office, on the twenty-first.

Captain Charles A. Pratt, Company E, had been absent from camp on sick
leave, and not on duty since his company landed from the _Charles
Osgood_. Captain Pratt did not see any service with his company. He
resigned, and was discharged for ill health by Special Orders No. --,
Gulf Department, March 28th, 1863.

January 3d--Corporal Alonzo I. Hodsdon, Company D, was appointed
acting quartermaster-sergeant, in place of Foster, taken prisoner
at Galveston. Hodsdon, with the pay of his rank as corporal to July
12th, performed the arduous duty of the position in a most admirable
manner during the term of the regiment. Special mention is made in
his case over that of other non-commissioned staff-officers, because
of his devoted attention to the duties with no prospect before him
of any promotion to the position. While Foster lived, Corporal
Hodsdon remained a corporal. Foster’s parole, when released by the
Confederates, did not allow him to take his position until exchanged,
which did not occur during the term of service.

January 1st--Private Eldridge G. Harwood, Company B, was appointed
regimental carpenter.

January 15th--Private Clark K. Denny, Company F, was detailed as
orderly and clerk at regimental headquarters.

January 15th--Private Leavitt Bates, Company A, was detailed as clerk
to headquarters of General Emory, at Carrollton. Relieved February 3d.

January 15th--Private John A. Loud, Company A, was made regimental
armorer.

January 30th--Private Winfield B. Tirrell, Company A, was detailed as
orderly at brigade headquarters, by brigade orders.

The Quartermaster Department was advanced a stage in its appointments,
by organizing the wagon train, as follows: Private John Willy, Company
B, chief wagoner; Private Porter Carter, Company K, Corporal Alfred
Thayer, Company I, Privates Chauncey K. Bullock, Company D, G. G.
Belcher, Company F, Joseph B. Ford, Company A, as wagoners.

On moving to Bayou Gentilly the following sick men were left in general
hospital at Carrollton: Privates Adin P. Blake, Company B, George E.
Pond, Company B, Lucius M. Turner, Company B, and Surgeon Hitchcock.



CHAPTER VI.

FEBRUARY--AT BAYOU GENTILLY--MORE DETAILS.


That part of Bayou Gentilly where a portion of the Forty-Second was to
remain in camp for nearly five months was, at the time of arrival, a
most desolate looking place. The Gentilly road passed the camp ground,
leading to Fort Macomb, on Lake Ponchartrain, and at this point, at
this time, was in a wretched condition. Each side of the road was lined
by small plantations and pasture lands, extending back for a short
distance to swamps. Most of the plantations were uninhabited, the land
covered with rank vegetation, and showed every sign of abandonment.
Occasionally some hut or rude cabin would give signs of life--occupied
by charcoal burners, who carried on their vocation in the swamps.
The Ponchartrain Railroad, from New Orleans to Lakeport, on Lake
Ponchartrain, five miles long, in a direct line through the swamp to
the lake, ran only two trains a day. Save the regiment, scarcely a
person would be seen for days.

A sugar-cane plantation near the camp, belonging to a Mr. Lee, was used
to pasture private and Government cattle, and recruit the strength of
horses and mules run down by hard service in the army. The private
residence, negro cabins, stables and work houses remained in very good
order. The sugar-house was a mass of ruins. An extensive grove of plum
trees was in good condition.

Pent up in this flat spot of land, with nothing to relieve the eye
but a mass of trees situated in the swamp, their limbs covered with
light-colored moss, had a depressing effect on the spirits of some men,
who began early to show signs of home-sickness.

The ground selected for the camp was upon the old Louisiana
race-course, the best to be found in the neighborhood. This race-course
had been surrounded by a high board fence, such as enclose similar
grounds, but had disappeared, leaving the ground as open as the land
about it. Adjoining the Gentilly road and Ponchartrain Railroad, the
side towards New Orleans was on the border of a swamp. This ground
was formerly occupied for a camp by Confederate troops. The famous
Washington Artillery, of New Orleans, first went into camp at this
place at the commencement of hostilities. A portion of the Confederate
garrison of New Orleans, when General Butler landed, were also encamped
here. What few inhabitants were to be seen said that a large number of
men had at various times been in camp at this point, and was a general
rendezvous for many of the Louisiana troops when organizing for the
war. Many an hour has been pleasantly passed inspecting the writings
and pictures upon the walls of a building used by them as a hospital,
placed there by men from the Thirtieth and Thirty-First Louisiana
regiments.

By railroad the distance from New Orleans to Gentilly Station was
three miles, and from Gentilly Station to the Lake End, or Lakeport,
was two miles. A short distance up the track towards Lakeport and back
from the Gentilly road, which the railroad crosses at grade, was an
earthwork mounting four heavy guns, called Battery Gentilly, flanked
by extensive breastworks for infantry, with wide and deep ditches in
front filled with water. Trees in the swamp in front had been cut down
for a considerable distance to give good range to the guns. Another
earthwork, mounting nine guns, was situated on the Gentilly road,
towards Fort Macomb, some two and one-half miles from the railroad
track, and was in all its surroundings similar to Battery Gentilly.

On the twenty-eighth of January, when the regiment changed camps,
the roads were in very good condition in spite of cold weather, and
rain falling for two days previous. Great coats were worn; the men
were in excellent spirits, and the distance, about three miles, was
accomplished early in the afternoon. Very few men straggled; most of
those that did were suffering from diarrhœa. The line of march embraced
a circuit of New Orleans on its immediate outskirts, affording few
opportunities to see subjects of interest to strangers in a new land.
A greater part of the houses were either deserted or occupied by the
poorer class of people; only a few were evidently the property of
wealthy individuals. Some handsome residences were seen, but their
occupants were decidedly unfriendly. They could be seen looking slyly
through blinds and from door corners, but none threw their windows open
in a bold manner to look out of them, as the regiment marched past.

The houses were generally in good repair, many of one or two stories in
height, with large windows and doors; nearly one-half had a veranda in
front of each story. The gardens were in a deplorable condition. Few
people were seen on the roads, and they, except the negroes, evinced
no interest in the regiment. There was one knot of women collected
together who would frequently hiss: “d----d Yankees,” “ain’t you
ashamed,” “hope you will all die,” and similar words of welcome. None
of the men paid any attention to them. Coffee houses and apologies
for restaurants, located on the route, were generally closed for want
of business; their signs were retained, put up when the secession
excitement was in full blaze. _Beauregard_ was the favorite name for
use on these signs.

Having arrived at Bayou Gentilly, by night-time camp was pitched and
everything made as comfortable as possible. The hospital was located in
a wide and long one-story wooden building, formerly used for a liquor
and refreshment saloon, attached to the race-course. Headquarters was
also established in the building. The quartermaster and commissary
stores, and the horses, occupied a similar building, which had been
built or refitted for the purpose, a short distance away towards the
railroad crossing.

General Banks, having issued a general order calling for volunteers
to fill the Second Vermont Battery, Captain Holcomb, the next day,
twenty-ninth, Corporal Thomas Hanson White, Company K, Private John B.
Williams, Company K, Private Addison J. Williams, Company K, Private
William F. Howard, Company K, Private Horace M. Cowles, Company K,
Private Oscar J. Stockwell, Company E, and Private Oliver King, Company
E, who had volunteered, received their descriptive lists, final orders,
and left camp to join the battery then stationed at Donaldsonville, to
remain until their term of service expired. This battery was in the
army before Port Hudson, and the men saw some hard service. None of
them died from disease, or were wounded or killed. They rejoined the
regiment at Algiers, July 23d.

The month of January closed with five companies on duty at Bayou
Gentilly, showing a strength of sixteen officers and four hundred and
forty-nine men present, with sixteen of the men sick in hospital.

In February the regiment was still further scattered by several
details. Cold and rainy weather, combined with these continual details,
rather dispirited for awhile both officers and men, who gradually
became convinced that as a body the regiment was not destined during
its service to perform any gallant deeds, or be placed in a position to
try and do so.

A detachment of one sergeant, three corporals and twenty-five privates
from Company A, under command of Lieutenant Martin Burrell, Jr., was
ordered February 3d to take charge and guard the battery situated on
the Gentilly road, towards Fort Macomb. At the time of taking charge
of this battery it mounted nine guns. Battery Gentilly did not have an
armament. During the month, as nothing was to be feared from the enemy
in this direction, and the Confederates could attempt a demonstration
against New Orleans from the direction of the lake in the neighborhood
of Lakeport, Bayou St. John and Hickok’s Landing, General Sherman,
commanding Defences New Orleans, had his ordnance officer, Captain
Pease, Forty-Seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, remove the guns from
this battery and use them to equip Battery Gentilly on the railroad
track and Battery St. John on St. John Bayou. Removal of these guns
and putting them into their new positions occupied about one month. On
the eighteenth the transfer had so far advanced that the detachment
under Lieutenant Burrell was ordered to the battery on the Ponchartrain
Road. It was not until March 10th that Battery St. John was occupied
and taken in charge by the remaining men of Company A, under command of
Captain Coburn.

Pay day were talismanic words to the soldier. Visions of a pocket full
of “Uncle Sam’s” greenbacks float before the eyes of those men who had
not allotted their money. Depending altogether on his frugality, for
days or weeks after being paid off a soldier can visit the sutler, and
at enormous prices buy little delicacies and necessaries to go with
his Government rations, to make them more palatable. Tobacco and pipes
were the most popular articles of purchase. Liquor had peculiar charms
for a great many.

The first muster for pay of the regiment took place at Carrollton on
the twenty-seventh of January, when the troops at that place were
mustered to December 31st, 1862. Government always has its troops
in arrears two months at least, to cover any overdrafts on clothing
account, or fines charged them by sentence of courts-martial for
misdemeanors. The troops are mustered for pay on the last day of the
month every two months during the year, when all men present are
reported on the muster and pay rolls, who draw their pay when the
paymaster makes his appearance. Absent men, except on detached service
by orders, do not get mustered, but have to wait until the next
muster and payment before obtaining any money; this, to most men, is
sufficient punishment for their absence without leave.

Companies A, B, E, F and K were paid off at Bayou Gentilly on February
2d, by a major in the Paymasters’ Department attached to the Department
of the Gulf. Companies C and H were paid a few days later at Camp
Parapet. Payments to all companies of the regiment (except Company K)
were made with regularity and promptness during the term of service,
because, stationed in close proximity to New Orleans most of the time
afforded paymasters easy access to them. Company K, while on duty
with the army in the field, was not so fortunate. The paroled men of
Companies D, G and I were first mustered for pay on the regular muster
day, February 28th, and first paid April 27th, when they were paid from
the date of their enlistment to March 1st.

Those who did not allot any of their pay, received what seemed to be
at that time large sums of money. The nine months troops were allowed
regular pay from time of signing the enlistment rolls, and a large
number had done so early in August and September, 1862; they had,
therefore, some six and seven months pay due them. The allotment system
never found much favor with men of the Forty-Second, so that nearly
every soldier received the full amount due him without any deductions.
Many men, with families at home, availed themselves of an express
arrangement at low rates with the Adams & Co. Express, to forward most
of their pay, every pay day, to those in need of it.

The unmarried men, with those of a spendthrift character, retained
their money, spending the larger part of it in a bar-room, otherwise
called a sutler’s shop, situated in the same building used for
headquarters and for a hospital, kept by a man called Charley Ellis.
This man Ellis, in all outward appearances a well-meaning man, was at
heart a perfect rogue. Formerly lessee of the New Orleans race-course
(the grounds occupied by the regiment for a camp), at the time
Louisiana seceded he was a professed Union man, suffering a short
imprisonment in the Parish jail, and was treated to a coat of tar and
feathers for his sentiments. Nothing definite is known of his former
history except that he was a professional horse jockey, an admirer
of sports of the turf, and a regular sporting man. As lessee of the
race-course he ran in debt, and was unable to pay. Upon the occupation
of New Orleans by troops under General Butler, he enlisted the
sympathies of that general. He kept a regular drinking saloon in the
city, and whenever troops occupied the race-course for a camp opened a
branch establishment on the ground, if he was lucky enough to hoodwink
the commanding officer, nominally to furnish sutlers’ stores, but
practically as a drinking saloon.

[Illustration: HEADQUARTERS AT BAYOU GENTILLY, LA.]

Ellis, by his plausible stories and seductive manners, completely
blindfolded the eyes of officers in the Forty-Second at first, and was
allowed to open his saloon. By rendering little favors and trifling
services to the officers he managed to keep in their good graces, and
became intimate enough to borrow considerable sums of money from them,
much of which was never repaid. He once got a loan from the hospital
fund that created some trouble in the hospital by his not paying back
the money at the stipulated time, thereby preventing the surgeons from
obtaining those little extras they were in the habit of furnishing to
their patients, until, by threats, Ellis was made to pay this borrowed
amount.

The building occupied for headquarters and hospital Ellis endeavored to
make the officers believe belonged to him, as lessee of the grounds,
although it was known his lease was void from non-fulfilment of its
conditions on his part. On the departure of the regiment from Bayou
Gentilly he presented a bill for rent of the building, at the rate of
five hundred dollars a month, for the length of time it was occupied
by the regiment, to Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, for his approval. It
was never approved. Why Ellis was allowed to remain inside of the
regimental lines with his stock of bad liquors for sale was a mystery
to those who had learned his character and saw what mischief he was
doing. The surgeons were opposed to his being allowed there, and
remonstrated against it, and Chaplain Sanger, who could not help seeing
that not alone disease of the body but disease of the mind was one
of the results sure to accrue from this sutler’s shop, joined in the
remonstrance.

Two other liquor saloons on the road, in close proximity to the camp,
were also doing mischief. Verbal orders were at one time given their
proprietors not to sell liquor to a soldier, on pain of having their
stock demolished; but as no extra vigilance was exercised in detecting
offences against the orders, they were not considered as of any account.

February 4th, Privates Thomas Burns, John Nolan and Thomas Mathews,
stragglers in New York from Company D, returned and were assigned to
duty with Company E. On the eighteenth, Privates Greene and Luzardo,
of Company G, on duty with Company K, were detached and assigned to
duty with Company E, and Private Joseph V. Colson, Company G, was
assigned to Company E. Private Colson was a straggler in New York from
the regiment. He had a varied experience on his trip to New Orleans.
Reporting to the proper officer in New York, he was put aboard the
ship _Planter_, with some two hundred other men belonging to various
regiments of the Nineteenth Corps. The ship went upon the reefs at
Grand Abaco Island, in the Bahama Channel, during good weather, about
four o’clock in the morning. All hands were saved by the ship’s boats,
landing them upon the island, where they remained seventeen days,
subsisting on pork and water saved from the wreck and shell fish
obtained on the island. Finally a few wrecking schooners carried the
troops to Key West, and from there they were sent to New Orleans to
rejoin their several commands. Of the two hundred and fifty horses
aboard, all were lost. The vast amount of medical stores and other
property was mostly saved by wreckers; some fifty wrecker sails were
counted by Colson hovering about the ship in three days after going
upon the reef. What was saved by these wreckers was taken to Nassau.
Aboard the ship it was believed that the captain, a Southerner,
purposely wrecked the vessel. Colson reported having a good time on the
trip, but it seemed like home to him when he reached the regiment.

The only case in February before Major Stiles, for discipline, was that
of Private James Minz, Company K, for disobedience of orders and using
disrespectful language to his superior officer. Conviction and sentence
followed, the sentence meeting the approval of the brigade commander,
which was, to forfeit eight dollars a month of his pay to the United
States for two months and to remain a prisoner at the guard tent for
seven days, doing fatigue duty each day.

A system of rocket signals was arranged between the brigade
headquarters in New Orleans, the Gentilly Station and Lakeport. In case
the enemy appeared at night upon the lake, three rockets at Lakeport,
or in the city, was the signal for the regiment to get under arms and
await orders from the general commanding Defences of New Orleans.
Several times the sentries mistook shooting stars for rockets, and
raised alarms in the camp; even the officers have been led at times to
think these stars were signal rockets. They certainly did have that
appearance when seen for a moment in the remarkable clear atmosphere
prevailing during the early part of the night, just above tall trees
of the swamp, and would be apt to mislead any person who was on the
lookout for such signals.

Among the several _new sensations_ experienced at Bayou Gentilly were a
few night alarms. Only those who have for the first time in a hostile
country heard the drums beat to arms near the midnight hour can form
any idea of the sensation it gives to a raw soldier. The heart beats
quick; he can feel his blood warming up; every nerve is strung to the
highest tension in anticipation of stirring events about to happen.

The regiment, for several nights in succession, during February, was
under arms for what, at the time, were thought to be good causes, but
at a later period partook of the ludicrous and provoked a smile. The
first alarm was started one night by Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, for
the purpose of testing the guard in a knowledge of its duty. At a
distance of about one-quarter of a mile from camp he fired his pistol
some three or four times towards the camp and then quickly returned to
his headquarters. The officer of the guard aroused the camp at once by
causing the long roll to be beaten, and reported the circumstances to
the officer of the day, who proceeded to report to Lieutenant-Colonel
Stedman, and entered headquarters a moment after his return. The
regiment was always in line from five to ten minutes after a call to
arms, ready to obey orders.

On the occasion narrated a detachment of thirty men was sent down the
road leading toward Fort Macomb, with orders to scour the plantations
upon each side and ascertain the cause of firing. Sergeant-Major Bosson
was fond of giving his experience on this, his first night on a scout.
In detail he gave the _peculiar_ feelings that came over him when
prowling around and looking into every nook and corner of a ruined
sugar-house, accompanied by two men, expecting to find a body of armed
men secreted there; how he afterwards joined the detachment on the
road, and then with another detail of two men searched plantations
upon the left of the road as far down as the battery, where Lieutenant
Burrell with his detachment was stationed, saving the life of a cow
one of his companions mistook for a man dodging around among the swamp
trees and made ready to fire at.

A number of officers had with them patent-armored vests, that were sold
extensively when the nine months troops were enlisting. Those iron-clad
arrangements were put on with such alacrity at every night alarm that
the officers who unfortunately owned them must have laughed when, at
home safe and sound after their term of service expired, they thought
over the _dangers_ they passed through in Louisiana, especially at
Bayou Gentilly. Some of the officers have slept at night with these
iron cases on, and it came to be a fixed custom until the hot weather
set in for owners of iron vests to don them when the regiment was under
arms for any supposable emergency, more for the purpose of making
some use of them, or, as they jocosely remarked, “get their money’s
worth out of them at any rate.” Officers who were in the Galveston
action also had these iron vests. They were forgotten when trouble was
expected and no use made of them.

A private in Company F, a troublesome fellow and great shirk,
endeavored to pass a sentinel without giving the countersign on
the night of February 14th. He was properly challenged but paid no
attention to the call, “Who goes there!” repeated a number of times,
when the sentry, also a private of Company F, aimed his musket and
fired at him for his temerity. The ball whistled by his head and passed
through the hospital without damage. The fellow did not receive any
sympathy, nor did he deserve any, and the fright given him was deemed
sufficient punishment and warning not to repeat the blunder.[9]

[9] Adjutant Davis had a similar adventure at this camp. A sentry
challenged him without receiving a reply, made ready and levelled
his gun at him. The click of the trigger woke Davis from a reverie
to instantly comprehend his situation and answer the challenge. This
sentry acknowledged he recognized the adjutant, and yet maintained he
should have fired at him in a moment after taking aim. As Davis was
inside the camp on official business, such action on the sentinel’s
part would not have been humane or proper, while it might have been
justified. As he recognized his officer and thought, as he admits, that
his challenge was not heard, to have stopped the adjutant at the point
of his bayonet was sufficient.

Quite a number of men in Company F were sick. Two of the cases baffled
the surgeon’s skill until it was decided, after an inspection of
company quarters, that in these two cases signs and symptoms of scurvy
was manifested, and fresh meat in place of “salt horse” ought to be
provided. The brigade quartermaster was unable to fill a requisition
for fresh meat, while the camp was serenaded night and day by constant
tinkling of a hundred cow-bells, attached to as many cows. The idea
of going without fresh meat when it was needed, with a herd of cattle
within reach, was more than the officers could stand, and a council
was held at regimental headquarters. The result was, Captain Cogswell
received authority to take some of his men, who understood how to
slaughter and dress cattle, and go to work that night.

The party consisted of Major Stiles, Captain Cogswell, Sergeant-Major
Bosson, Sergeant B. A. Bottomley, Corporal Sylvander Bothwell, Privates
Harvey Allen (company cook), George Mann and Charles Sanderson, of
Company F. They selected a fine animal, placed a rope around her horns
with difficulty, and dragged the cow towards a grove of trees, selected
as a proper place to dress her. Everything was done in a workmanlike
manner, as the butchers knew their business, and after the fresh beef
was carried upon a confiscated ladder to the regimental quartermaster’s
depot all hands returned to Company F’s quarters, to partake of broiled
steak and liver, cooked by Harvey Allen about one o’clock in the
morning.

Not satisfied with this supply of beef, Lieutenant Harding and men
from his company (Company K) again made a raid on the herd of cattle
shortly after and slaughtered cow number two, without authority. In
this case the hide and entrails were buried in the swamp, while Captain
Cogswell’s butchers threw the head, hide and entrails into a well of
water used by the cattle, near the paroled camp. No one supposed these
cows would be missed, until the owner appeared and made inquiries about
them. He was not satisfied with his reception in the camp, proceeding
to prowl around to ascertain where they were. His attention was
attracted to the well of water, where all that remained of cow number
one had been placed, by the moaning of several head of cattle that
stood near smelling of the water and tearing up the turf with their
feet, when a hundred men of the regiment, who had been watching him
with curiosity from the camp line, saw the owner fish out the head and
hide with a long pole.

He then made complaint to the provost-marshal in New Orleans, who
invited the regimental officers to explain. In order to prevent an
unpleasant inquiry the affair was settled by the officers making up a
purse of about three hundred dollars to pay the owner’s claim; this
fresh meat costing them dear in the end. No cattle were molested
afterwards.

Before Assistant-Surgeon Smith, Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts, was
relieved from charge of the hospital a curious case came under his
care, ending in a manner discreditable to him. Private Francis N.
Prouty, Company F, was sick in hospital with malarial fever. No one
thought the case serious until, one morning, Surgeon Smith came into
the headquarters office excited and breathless, reporting Prouty as
dying. Word was sent to Captain Cogswell and his company officers,
who at once repaired to the sick-room, accompanied by Chaplain Sanger
and several others, to witness the dying scene. There Prouty lay upon
his cot, with head and shoulders bolstered up by pillows, breathing
short and quick, no sign of death in his face, that had an intelligent
look, and his eyes their natural appearance. The other patients in
the room were resting upon elbows on their cots watching Prouty with
wondering eyes, as the solemn procession filed in and took positions
near the supposed dying man. While the surgeon kept one hand upon the
patient’s pulse, Chaplain Sanger offered a fervent prayer in his behalf
that only served to produce a look of wonder in Prouty’s eyes, that
appeared to say, what in the devil is this all about? He did not die,
and afterwards said, had no intention of doing so, to please any one.
The whole scene ended, after waiting about half an hour, in the solemn
procession retiring from his side, pleased to find that the end was not
to come, and somewhat mad with the surgeon for his opinion on the case.
Smith had not been considered a surgeon of any skill before this event,
and this case served to deepen the distrust of his ability.

During February New Orleans was alive with army officers and men, on
furlough and without leave, indulging in all sorts of wild dissipation.
The evil became so great that special orders were issued by General
Banks to General Sherman to stop it. Stringent orders relative to
passes, rigidly enforced, soon put an end to this demoralizing conduct.
Another source of trouble was the presence of large negro contraband
camps in the vicinity of the city, requiring other stringent orders
to be issued for their government, and regulating the behavior of
soldiers towards them. In January the ladies in New Orleans had shown
a disposition to indulge in petty insults to soldiers whom they met on
the streets, and caused a circular, dated January 13th, to be issued,
which put a stop to much of this silly nonsense, but did not do away
with it entirely. The circular read as follows:


  “HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF THE GULF,
  “NEW ORLEANS, January 13th, 1863.

“Notice is hereby given by the commanding general of this Department
that offensive personal demonstrations, by language or conduct of any
character, by persons of any class whatever, with the intention of
giving personal offence, or tending to disturb the public peace, are
forbidden, and will be punished with relentless severity. Parents will
be held responsible for the respectful conduct of their children, and
prompt measures will be taken to fasten upon the proper parties any act
of this character. All persons who may be witnesses to such conduct,
are directed, as a measure of public peace, to give information thereof
to the provost-marshal, or at these headquarters.

  “By command of
  “MAJOR-GENERAL BANKS.
  “RICHARD B. IRWIN,
  “_Lieut.-Col_., _Assistant Adjutant-General_.”

Brigade drills under Colonel Farr, and a brigade review and inspection,
by Brigadier-General Sherman, commanding division, were had while at
Gentilly Bayou. The brigade drills were interesting, and considering
the short time most of the regiments had been in service were quite
satisfactory. Three drills were all this brigade ever had, on account
of its being posted over a large extent of ground, and at posts that
could not be left exposed by gathering the men together for such a
purpose.

It was the custom to leave camp at eight A.M. on brigade drill
days, in light marching order, as a march had to be made of about
three miles to the drill ground. The weather would be hot and sun
very scorching; on one drill only did the weather prove treacherous,
and then the regiment was caught in a thunder shower. After several
hours devoted to drill, and then a march back to camp with but short
intervals for rest during the time, no rations in haversacks to make
a dinner from, when the regiment arrived in camp, usually about
half-past three to four o’clock in the afternoon, the men would be
thirsty, hungry, hot and dusty. While such service may not be equal to
a day’s march in an active campaign, yet for the regiment to perform it
with so few men falling out of the ranks from fatigue, as was the case,
shows what good material for service composed the regiment.

These drills were not without their attendant scenes and excitements.
Crowds of negroes, of both sexes, would hover around the ground to
hear the bands of music and witness the evolutions. Colonel Farr would
frequently lose his temper and damn both officers and men; Colonel
Marsh, Forty-Seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, particularly meriting
the displeasure of the brigade commander, and received many of that
officer’s choice remarks. Colonel Marsh was not a military man. The way
in which he managed to twist his regiment around, mix the companies
up and the brigade also, caused more laughter among the men than any
other incident. It was amusing to see the expression of wonder on the
face of Colonel Marsh when his regiment would be out of place, with the
brigade standing at ease, waiting for him to place the regiment where
it belonged, and Colonel Farr, accompanied by his entire staff, coming
up at a full gallop to know “What in h--ll is the matter now?” Captain
“Ned” Bird, Company I, Forty-Seventh Massachusetts, acting as major,
would always have to give the correct orders that brought his regiment
into proper position.

At a brigade drill which took place on the twenty-sixth of February,
the new colors, which had been sent to the regiment by Governor Andrew,
to replace those lost at Galveston, were unfurled and carried in the
ranks for the first time. This second set of regimental colors never
trembled from the whistle of bullets or fluttered amid smoke from
powder during the term of service. They were seldom used, consequently
on the return home of the regiment they looked new, bright colored and
clean, as though fresh from the designer’s hand.

Brigadier-General Sherman impressed an observer very favorably. He
was a regular army officer, familiar with all details of the service,
courteous in manner towards all officers--a thorough soldier and
gentleman. When inspecting the brigade assembled for a drill, February
19th, on reaching the Forty-Second, in position for inspection, he
noticed the regimental colors were missing. He sharply called the
attention of Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman to the fact, and when informed
they had been lost at Galveston his tone of voice quickly changed;
lifting his hat he replied: “I beg your pardon, colonel.” There is
no importance attached to this incident, except that it showed the
thoroughbred officer, and made quite an impression on those near enough
to hear the conversation, engendering a feeling that here was an
officer to be trusted, and his orders could be obeyed with confidence.
Not many volunteer officers display such tact and discrimination.

During February the following additional changes by detail occurred:
Private Martin Proctor, Company F, was made steward for the field and
staff officers’ mess at regimental headquarters; on that duty until
relieved in July in consequence of sickness.

February 2nd--Private Henry E. Putnam, Company E, was detailed as clerk
at brigade headquarters by brigade orders, where he remained until
July, and then returned to his company.

February 18th--Private Edward J. Worcester, Company E, was made
regimental armorer, a position he held until his term of service
expired, _vice_ Private Loud, detailed to assist Lieutenant Pease.

February 18th--Company K left the regiment to act as pontoniers to the
Nineteenth Army Corps.

February 25th--Captain Cogswell, Company F, appointed as corporals
George L. Stone and Sylvander Bothwell, in place of C. H. Woodcock and
E. A. Spooner, who preferred to join the regimental band.

At the close of February there were present for duty in the four
companies at Gentilly Bayou, and Company K, in New Orleans, twenty
officers and four hundred and twenty-five men. Present sick in
hospital, seventeen men. The average sick per day of the regiment
during February was: taken sick, five; returned to duty, five; in
hospital, fourteen; in quarters, eleven. Two men were sent to general
hospitals in New Orleans. Surgeon Hitchcock returned to duty on the
twenty-fourth, relieving Surgeon Smith, and Surgeon Heintzelman
reported for duty March 1st.



CHAPTER VII.

ENLISTED MEN PRISONERS AT HOUSTON--MARCH FOR THE FEDERAL
LINES--ARRIVAL AT NEW ORLEANS.


The rank and file of the Forty-Second, with captured sailors of the
_Harriet Lane_, were confined in a cotton press, situated in close
proximity to Buffalo Bayou. The officers were quartered in the third
story of Kennedy’s brick building, upon one of the streets not far from
the cotton press.

While in Houston the men received good treatment and were allowed a
furlough in the city every day, four men at a time, under guard. Their
officers were allowed to visit them frequently, and cheering words,
coupled with good advice, was not wanting. The food furnished was
the same as issued to Confederate soldiers, consisting of corn meal,
rice, sugar, dried and fresh beef, corn coffee, and occasionally a
small supply of salt. The coarse ground corn meal was baked and made
into what was called corn-dodger, to take the place of the Federal
ration of hard bread. Until General Magruder left Houston, when the
ration was taken away, the officers were favored with extra rations of
flour. A German baker, formerly of Roxbury, Mass., was found, who took
this flour in exchange for bread. Diarrhœa and dysentery were quite
prevalent under this diet and a change of water, with sudden, sharp
changes of weather that occurred, from warm to cold, and _vice versa_.

Surgeon Cummings, whose ability was acknowledged at all times by the
Confederate officers, was, for a time, given his parole of honor,
and assisted in taking care of the wounded and sick, Federals and
Confederates. It was asserted that many of the Confederate wounded
would not allow their own surgeons to attend them, preferring the care
of Surgeon Cummings, in whose honor be it said, friend or foe, who
needed his services, shared alike.

A jolly, social set of men, who made everything pleasant as possible,
composed the guard--a dismounted company of cavalry, known as Captain
Clipper’s company. Their discipline and drill was very, _very_ crude,
and often a subject of comment and amusement to the prisoners, who
heartily enjoyed the ceremony of guard-mounting as done by this
company; soldiers continually chewing tobacco, spitting the juice
freely, talking with each other, and laughing all through the parade.
The unsoldier-like conduct and poor quality of Sibley’s men, and
the entire Confederate force under General Magruder, was a noted
fact throughout the State: poorly armed and equipped, indifferently
officered, without honor, discipline, or _esprit de corps_. After the
fight at Galveston, Magruder issued an order to his command calling
attention to these facts, entreating them to reform and be true
soldiers, reciting, as an example of what well-disciplined, efficient
troops could accomplish, the stubborn defence of Kuhn’s Wharf by the
Forty-Second Massachusetts Volunteers.

The prisoners busied themselves with card playing, singing, making
little trinkets from bones left from their meat, and in various other
ways; selling their bone trinkets in large numbers to the ladies and
others of Houston at good prices in Confederate money, which was
used to buy what extras for food they could purchase. Many of the
inhabitants would gather in the vicinity of the cotton press to obtain
a glimpse at the northern barbarians, as the prisoners were termed;
people from the country for miles around came to Houston for this
purpose. It is related for a fact, by a sergeant who overheard the
conversation, that a little girl who had been brought by her mother to
see them, said to her: “Why, mother, they haven’t got any horns; you
said they had!” This was about the idea Texan people had of northern
troops at the time.

Previous to leaving Houston positive information was obtained relative
to the fate of Amos and Revaleon. They had been sold as slaves to
Texan planters, bringing somewhere near five hundred dollars each.
They were bright, intelligent colored lads, cousins, fascinated with
camp life, and notwithstanding the bitter opposition of their parents
were determined to see service in the army in some capacity, finally
prevailing upon the surgeon and quartermaster to take them as servants.
Revaleon was owned by several masters, receiving good treatment, until
at last he was taken for a servant by Major Leon Smith, who intended to
send him into the Federal lines if he ever got near enough to do so.
A few colored men that were in the _Harriet Lane_ crew did not fare
so well, suffering harsh treatment by being treated as convicts, with
incarceration in the State Prison at Huntsville. All were released at
the close of the war and came home in the summer of 1865.

Orders were issued at five o’clock on the morning of January 22d for
the men to be ready to move at ten o’clock. Permission was given the
captains to visit their companies and bid them good-by. Captains Savage
and Sherive did so. Captain Savage said a few words of regret at the
necessary separation, and was expressing his fervent wishes for their
future safety and prosperity when obliged to stop short, his feelings
having completely unmanned him. Captain Sherive was full of fight, and
exhorted them to pitch in and “give them h--ll” whenever exchanged
and again armed. Colonel Burrell (who was refused the privilege of
seeing his men) and the other officers, after an interview with the
orderly-sergeants at officers’ quarters, sent by them a farewell to the
companies.

Delays occurred in the preparations, and it was two o’clock in the
afternoon before the men fell into line for roll-call, proceeding at
once, after repeated cheers for the officers were given, to the depot,
where platform cars with seats built upon them were in readiness. With
a good-by to the guard a start was made about six o’clock for Beaumont.

The following sick and wounded men were left behind, not able to stand
the fatigue and exposure of the journey: Private Edwin F. Josselyn,
Company D, wounded; Private Francis L. Morrill, Company D, wounded;
Private James O’Shaughnessy, Company D, wounded; Corporal Henry W.
McIntosh, Company D, sick; Private Dennis Dailey, Company D, sick;
Sergeant David L. Wentworth, Company G, wounded; Private Joseph W. D.
Parker, Company G, wounded; Private Joseph W. McLaughlin, Company I,
sick, returned to Houston from Beaumont; Private Samuel R. Hersey,
Company C, remained with the colonel; Citizen Frank Veazie, cook to
officers’ mess, remained with the colonel.

Corporal McIntosh, suffering with diarrhœa, was so weak he had to be
supported by two soldiers when led out to say good-by to his comrades
he never expected to see again, and never did.

At first General Magruder intimated his intention to march the men
across Texas to the Red or Mississippi Rivers. Such a march was
condemned by prominent officers in his Department as certain death to
a large number, and transportation was furnished for part of the way.
It was stated in a boastful manner by the guards and citizens, that
few would live to reach the Federal lines. This may have been mere
boasting and only an expression of what they wished would occur, for
the condition of the country passed over, and hardships endured by the
men, were in no measure to be compared to what they had been led to
expect by the representations of these parties, and it may safely be
said their enemies were ignorant of what would have to be encountered.

With enlisted men and Chaplain Sanger, of the Forty-Second
Regiment, were the sailors of the _Harriet Lane_, Assistant-Surgeon
Thomas N. Penrose, Paymaster R. Julius Richardson, and the third
assistant-engineers of that vessel, who had been allowed to go upon
a claim made by all the captured officers, that these officers were
non-combatants and could not be classed as commissioned officers.
Considerable argument had to be used before the Confederate officials
were made to acknowledge the point and let them go.

There was one smart affair managed successfully by a few warrant
officers of the Forty-Second that saved the life of Andrew Romain, a
Texan refugee, who was smuggled through as a member of the regiment
with great difficulty, and when detection was almost certain. Romain,
who formerly had lived in one of the New England States, was at the
head of a little band of refugees who quartered on Kuhn’s Wharf under
protection of the naval guns, and was of great benefit to the fleet
before land forces arrived as a spy, from his intimate acquaintance
with the inhabitants and country in the immediate vicinity of
Galveston. His person, character, and the service he rendered United
States officers was well known to the Confederate leaders, hence he was
a marked man. Of medium size, he wore an immense black beard of great
length, almost covering his face to the eyes, and up to the time of
surrender wore citizen’s clothes.

After the surrender, and when names of prisoners were taken by the
Confederate officers, Romain was not to be seen, and it was surmised
by the boys he had escaped to the fleet. By some lucky chance he had
safely hid away, until, at a favorable moment, he joined the ranks on
the march through Galveston towards Virginia Point, clad in a blue army
blouse, buttoned close to the neck, covering the long, flowing part of
his beard, wearing a fatigue cap, and with knapsack upon his shoulders.
On arrival at Houston he was partly shaved by Sergeant Frye, Company D,
who left him with whiskers of the mutton-chop style. Each successive
shave was improved to alter the style of cut to the hair upon his face.
A sailor from the _Harriet Lane_ assisted at times in these tonsorial
duties.

Shortly after arriving in Houston the Confederate officers began to
inquire after Romain, their actions indicating they suspected he was
among the prisoners.

A great difficulty to overcome was passing him through the roll-calls,
as Confederate officers attended these calls of names, which were
made one company at a time. Romain would dodge from one company in
line, ready for roll-call, to the ranks of a company whose roll-call
was over, assisted in this by various devices of those most active in
getting him through, and managed with success for some time in this
way. Feeling confident he was among the prisoners, a last effort was
made to detect him when the men were ready to march for the depot.

The companies were separately ordered into line, outside of quarters;
as each name was called the man stepped to the front and had his name
checked. Romain, who saw that his chances to get off with the rest
were very slim, prudently remained in the building, and the rolls were
found correct. Company G had passed out of the gate, leaving the other
companies inside, when Sergeant Phil. Hackett obtained permission to
go into the quarters for some few things he stated were left there,
and in a short time came out followed by Romain, whom he rated soundly
with abuse and curses for having left the ranks to go back to quarters
without leave. On his approach towards Confederate Lieutenant Todd,
who stood at the gate, Romain was the picture of a devil-may-care sort
of man, puffing away at a large pipe, with a broom thrown over his
shoulder. Lieutenant Todd sharply asked why he was there, and Romain
replied that Sergeant Goodrich had sent him back to get a broom to
sweep the cars, because they were covered with charcoal dust. Todd
asked his name, and Romain gave one suggested to him by Hackett.
Calling for Sergeant Goodrich, Todd inquired who he had sent back, the
Sergeant answering with the same name that Romain used, for Hackett and
Goodrich were acting in concert. Examining the roll of Company G the
name was found, and Romain was ordered to “get out of here.”

The whole thing was so neatly planned and carried out by the two
sergeants that the Confederates were completely hoodwinked, and Romain
got off with the prisoners. After leaving Houston it was easy work to
pass him along.

He left a wife and child at Galveston, who probably thought him dead.
He was able to give valuable information to General Banks regarding
Texas, and Andrew Romain was afterwards in the secret service corps of
the Gulf Department. He was a brave man. It required uncommon fortitude
to bear up under the constant dread of capture which must have haunted
him, as death was certain were he discovered. From the fact that
Romain was armed with a revolver, furnished by some friendly hand, it
is surmised, if discovered, he would have sold his life dearly, if
not contemplating suicide rather than fall into Confederate hands. A
man of quiet reserve, seldom making any conversation with others, it
was thought by the paroled men he had no gratitude for the assistance
rendered by them, because he never expressed any. When Phil. Hackett
was buried at Gentilly Camp, Romain was present, and his presence at
those last sad rites is good proof he was grateful for what had been
done to save him.

The train left Houston with a speed of about four miles an hour,
crossing San Jacinto Bayou at midnight, not reaching Beaumont until
four o’clock in the afternoon next day--distance eighty-three miles by
rail. This was a tiresome ride for it rained all night, rendering sleep
impossible, besides the charcoal dust upon the cars became wet, and in
the shifting and turning about hands would get covered with it; these
same hands were often applied to faces, and in the morning the men were
a sight to behold. As the locomotive could not draw the entire train
at once, sections were taken and run until a siding was reached, when
the engine would go back for the remaining cars. There appeared to be
plenty of cattle in sight grazing on the prairie lands through which
the railroad ran, and this was also noticed to be the case on the trip
from Galveston to Houston.

At Beaumont the men remained until the twenty-ninth, awaiting the
return of a steamboat that had preceded them with baggage, horses, beef
cattle, commissary stores, and wagons brought from Houston, to be used
on the march to Alexandria. Occupying several abandoned shanties near
Drake’s Bayou, the time was made to pass quickly by various expedients.
Pigs were plenty in the neighborhood, so that pork was not a luxury,
four or five being killed each day, the owners not missing them.
They were caught by the lassoing process from a trap-door in an old
blacksmith shop, underneath which they congregated. Wild mules were
also plenty, whose backs the soldiers and sailors did not miss any
opportunity to ride, affording great amusement to spectators by their
antics.

Finally the steamer _Roe Buck_ arrived, and a start was made at
half-past one o’clock in the afternoon down the narrow Neches River
to Sabine Bay; proceeding up the Sabine River, at daylight on the
thirtieth, the steamer tied up at Novell’s Bluff, Louisiana, for a
short time, and then proceeded to Morgan’s Bluff to remain over night,
arriving there at half-past six o’clock in the afternoon.

After wooding-up the trip was resumed early next morning on the crooked
and narrow river, lined with forests upon either bank, causing the boys
to keep a sharp lookout, as the boat would often snap limbs off the
trees to fall upon the deck. At six o’clock in the afternoon a stop
was made at Possum Bluff for the night. Here the men had to use fence
rails, near at hand, for fuel to cook rations, as all of the cut wood
was required for the boat.

The boat steamed along, with occasional stops to take in wood and tie
up each night, until half-past four o’clock in the afternoon, February
4th, when the journey by boat was over, on arriving at Burr’s Ferry
Landing. The weather had been cloudy, rainy and cold almost the entire
trip, creating great inconvenience to the men, who were obliged to
use rubber and woollen blankets to stop rain-water leaks in their
sleeping-places. Several were quite sick. Private David Chapin, Company
I, nineteen years old, died at night, February 2d, at quarter-past
eleven, when the boat was stopped at Starks’ Ferry Landing, Newton
County, Texas. Chapin was not well when he left Houston, and was down
with intermittent fever in a few days. After breakfast, on the third, a
beautiful spot in the woods, under cypress and pine trees, was selected
for a grave. The funeral took place at half-past nine o’clock in the
morning, with three volleys fired over the remains by the guard, as
poor Chapin, in a rough-made coffin, the best his comrades could make,
was lowered into the grave.

At Burr’s Landing the prisoners went into bivouac in a pine grove
about one-half a mile from the river. To make a shelter from the cold,
northerly winds, some men made tents with rubber blankets; others built
shanties made of bushes, pine boughs and such other material as they
could gather, in a manner peculiar only to the “Yankee” soldier. All
hands had washed their flannels during the fifth, leaving them out over
night to dry, to find them frozen stiff the next morning, and a white
frost covering the ground.

Private Henry C. Sellea, Company D, had been sick on board the boat
for four days with intermittent fever, and, as his case seemed
hopeless, arrangements were made by his comrades to remove him to a
farm house owned and occupied by Mrs. Burr, who came from Springfield,
Mass., where he would be sure to receive the best of care. This was
accomplished at two o’clock on the afternoon of the sixth; but poor
Sellea, only nineteen years old, died at five o’clock P.M. the
next day.

As in the case of Private Chapin, a rough coffin was made by his
comrades, the burial services taking place at eleven o’clock
A.M. on the eighth, with Privates Charles G. Weymouth, Daniel
L. Weymouth, R. P. Mosely and Henry Fisk acting as pall bearers.
The grave was in Mrs. Burr’s private burying ground, where the boys
sang “There will be no more sorrow there,” and the guard fired the
customary volleys. A neat head-board, with name, age, company and
regiment inscribed thereon, was placed on both graves.

Chapin and Sellea were delirious the last days of their life, not
recognizing anybody. Every attention possible was paid to them by
the members of their companies, and if the sympathy of their fellow
soldiers could have saved them they would not have died. These two
deaths were the only losses suffered on the trip, but several laid
the foundation for diseases, which subsequently carried them to their
graves.

Orders were issued on the eighth to be ready to commence the march for
Alexandria at four o’clock A.M. on the ninth. Extra rations
were given out to the cooks, who were at work all night attending to
cooking. Mess kettles were few in number, and the practice on the
entire trip, either on board boat or on the march, was to detail each
night four men to cook until midnight, relieved by four men from that
hour until daylight. The rations consisted of corn meal, pork, and
fresh beef killed about every day, with such vegetables as the boys
could forage, or buy from the few inhabitants living near the route of
march.

The Confederate guard consisted of thirty men from the Fourth Texas
Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant W. J. Howerton, a pompous, overbearing
individual, without military knowledge or manners. On the march the
enlisted men were mounted upon Texas mustang ponies, tolerably well
armed and equipped, but without drill or discipline. At any time
they could have been overpowered by the prisoners. The guard were
well disposed and well behaved towards their prisoners with a few
exceptions; one private, a large, fat, red-headed man, whose looks was
enough to condemn him to be a coward, was very bitter in speech and
treatment of the men. In turn, the prisoners neglected no opportunity
to work him up by badinage, partaking more of a sacrilegious tone than
the chaplain thought was proper.

With the exception of a few fights among themselves to settle old
scores, and retaliating in kind for any taunts made by members of the
guard, the conduct of the prisoners was good. Lieutenant Howerton had
his good and ill-natured days. At one place where a halt was made for
the night some of the prisoners obtained permission to get food and
lodging in a so-called tavern, neglecting in the morning to pay for
the accommodation. This neglect put the lieutenant in a rage, when the
landlord complained about it. Previous to this occurrence the men had
been allowed to march in disorder, but on forming column that morning
the lieutenant ordered column of fours, and made a speech from his
saddle, the substance being, that a citizen of the Confederate States,
whom one of his own men would not dare to wrong, had been grossly
insulted by some “scabs” of Northern soldiers. He had given orders
that the march that day would be in column of fours, and any man who
straggled from that formation of column would be shot down or cut down,
“by G--d.” One of the sailors slyly shouted S-H-O-W, when the
enraged lieutenant rose in his stirrups and yelled: “I’ll show yer!”
swinging his sabre over his head to suit action to his words. Several
men did get struck for not obeying the orders, although none were
seriously hurt. This did not help Howerton, in the estimation of the
boys.

No tents were carried, and the men were obliged to sleep in the open
air, through fair or foul weather. No rivers were in their path, but
several swamps had to be passed, one of them while a heavy rain-storm
was in progress. The train, in charge of a wagoner, consisted of four
wagons, each drawn by six mule teams. The feed for horses and mules was
chiefly wild sugar-cane.

Doctor Penrose acted as surgeon for everybody when he could obtain
medicines, for the escort carried none. He attended Chapin and Sellea,
doing the best in his power, travelling some miles to obtain a supply
of medicine to treat their cases. The sick had to suffer and get along
as best they could; those very sick were taken in the wagons, while the
men who did not feel strong enough to be encumbered by the weight of a
knapsack, but able to march when not encumbered, could purchase from
the guard the privilege of stowing away what they wished in the wagons.
Frequently a ride upon the ponies belonging to good-natured men of the
guard was to be had by parting with some article of value to them,
as the Texans were always ready to trade or steal when they could. A
Sergeant Bradford is said by the boys to have been a “tip-top fellow.”

The story of the march cannot be described in a more interesting manner
than is given by Sergeant Waterman, Company D, in his diary, and the
same is presented here:

“February 9th--Breakfast at five A.M. At six o’clock formed
line, and one half an hour later commenced the march for the day from
Burr’s Ferry. The first eight miles were done without a halt, over a
good road, through a heavily-timbered country. Hard pine, very large
and tall, some one hundred feet high to the limbs. After we started
again from a rest, we went through a swamp about three miles in length,
timbered with beach, magnolia and other trees, and at noon halted,
after making eleven miles. On this halt killed and dressed two beeves.
Marched again about two miles through swamps and then came to higher
ground with pine trees again, large and straight, as before. At six
o’clock P.M. arrived at a place called Huddleston and went
into bivouac for the night, with the boys about played out after
marching eighteen miles, and after lying still about two months.

“February 10th--Started at seven o’clock A.M. footsore and
weary, with the sky looking like rain. At noon had marched seven miles.
Dined on corn-dodger and beef; some of the boys felt as if they had
eaten so much beef they were ashamed to look a cow in the face. Weather
became warm and pleasant. At half-past five o’clock P.M.
halted for the night in a pine grove with a brook near by, at a little
place with two houses and one cotton press, called Fifteen Mile Mill.

“February 11th--Started at half-past six A.M. and at eight
o’clock met the mail--a man on horseback with a mail bag. It is trying
to rain, but cannot make out very well. At noon it cleared off and a
halt was made for dinner in a pine forest. Has been nearly all pine
woods so far. Passed over a sandstone ledge this morning so soft that
it could easily be broken in the hand. At three o’clock P.M.
we were halted once more to rest and remain over night, as the march
has badly blistered the feet of the boys.

“February 12th--Rain commenced to fall at four o’clock A.M.,
raining hard until seven o’clock, when, slacking up some, we started
again through a swamp seven miles long, with the water knee deep all
the way. Had to stop in the rain for a bridge to be repaired, so that
the wagons could pass. Passed Hineston, a village of three shanties
and a pig-sty, at quarter-past ten, and at noon halted to cook a pot
of mush for dinner, the rain spoiling all of the corn bread and meat.
The mush tasted good, as we had very little breakfast. Are on high pine
land with wild flowers in bloom. Put up for the night in a very pretty
place with enough old shanties to hold all the men. Had to sit up
until eleven o’clock trying to dry our clothes.

“February 13th--Started at eight in the morning over a very good road
for about three miles, and then came down on to what they call Red
River bottom, composed of a red sand, clay and glue. Such walking was
never seen. Passed by some very fine plantations, where the negroes
were as happy as clams at high water, lining the fences and grinning
like so many Cheshire cats. Halted near a bayou for dinner, where, upon
the opposite side, the mocking birds were singing. Sun came out and it
is warm. The grass is green and looks like the last of May at home.
Plenty of sheep and lambs all around. Passed through a hedge of rose
bushes at least twenty feet high. We are in sight of Alexandria, and at
seven P. M. went aboard the roomy steamer _New Falls City_, in
time to escape the rain.

“February 14th--A pleasant day. Boys feel somewhat sore. Heard
yesterday that we might have to march two hundred miles more, but
I told Lieutenant Howerton to-day that we could not do it any way,
and he says we may not have to march more than twenty-five or thirty
miles--perhaps none at all. At three P. M. it looks like a
heavy shower; the clouds are black and threatening, with heavy thunder.
The river is high and roily; as we use it to cook with, the corn-dodger
looks like a red sweet cake.”

Marching was over when the Red River was reached. The men had done
well, bearing sickness, suffering and fatigue without a murmur; obeying
the orders of Sergeants Waterman, Goodrich and Hunt (who were in
command of Companies D, G and I, respectively), with commendable zeal,
excepting in one instance when Private Fitzallen Gourley, Company D,
defied the authority of Sergeant Waterman, who had placed him upon a
working detail of men while at Beaumont, and obliged the sergeant to
report the case to the Confederate lieutenant, who threatened to return
Gourley to Houston, and place him in jail, before he would yield.

That part of the country covered by the line of march was generally
admired by the men, so different from anything to be seen at home,
and their first sight at pine woods. Small villages on the route,
considerable distance apart, with very few houses intervening, made
it seem as though they were passing through a wilderness. The dense
woods furnished an abundance of wood for cooking purposes, and torches
for light at night. The few inhabitants to be met were well-disposed,
simple-minded, honest people.

It was on Sunday, February 15th, that the Federal war steamer _Queen
of the West_, an inferior looking craft, having safely passed the
Vicksburg batteries to play a flying-devil upon the Red River, gave the
Confederates a great scare at Alexandria. The prisoners were ashore,
when word came at four o’clock A.M. to be ready to start at
any moment as the Federals were coming up river. After breakfast, at
half-past six o’clock, all hands were hurried on board the steamer
_General Quitman_, and a race was run for about five miles, with the
river behind them full of boats skedaddling in a perfect panic. In the
afternoon the panic subsided, and at four o’clock, after news had been
received that two Federal gunboats had been taken--the _Queen of the
West_ captured, and the _De Soto_ abandoned and burnt--all speed was
made for Alexandria again, where mules and wagons were taken aboard.

After starting down the river at daylight next day, the _Queen_ was met
during the morning in tow of a river steamer on her way to Alexandria
for repairs. The crew of the _Queen_ had escaped to the gunboat _De
Soto_ by floating upon cotton bales, except five men who were noticed
on shore, where a fire was started to obtain warmth, and were made
prisoners. Everything went on quiet and smooth until passing three
small one-gun batteries upon the right bank; at half-past two o’clock
P. M., because a signal to stop was not noticed, two rounds
of grape-shot were fired at and almost into them. Shot flew thick all
around the boat, fortunately hitting no one. Turning back, despatches
for the Confederate officer in command were sent on board, causing a
delay of half an hour before the trip was resumed, and continued until
dark. About midnight, orders came from the lieutenant of the guard for
all hands to turn out and help wood-up ship; but his unbearable manner
in giving his order roused the devil in them and they refused to do so.
He threatened and swore, to no purpose, for the men remained obdurate.
He had his revenge, however, in not allowing the prisoners to draw
rations next day until late in the afternoon, thus allowing them only
one meal in twenty-four hours.

On the seventeenth, early in the morning, while proceeding up river
again in wake of three other steamers, all making fast time, the
subject of seizing the transport-boat was again broached by sailors
anxious and ready to try it. While on their way down the Neches River
to Sabine Lake, a seizure of the boat then was talked over by the
warrant officers in command of companies, but was abandoned from a want
of knowledge where to go after obtaining possession. Upon the Red River
there did not exist so favorable circumstances for success as there
was at Sabine Lake. At the latter place they would have had to pass
down the lake to Sabine Pass, and by a fort commanding the channel,
before reaching the blockading vessels. Stratagem could have effected
this purpose, but upon the Red River Confederate gunboats held the
river to the Mississippi after the _Queen of the West_ and _De Soto_
were lost by the Federals. To have passed the enemy’s boats by deceit,
or otherwise, would have been impossible. Frequent consultations of
the men concerned in the plot failed to develop any plan of action all
would give coöperation, and the attempt was wisely abandoned.

After remaining over night above the three batteries before mentioned
waiting the return of a courier, sent to Alexandria early in the
evening for orders, at noon a transport-boat came alongside with a
detachment of two hundred and seventy-eight men, Eighth Infantry,
United States Regulars, who had been basely surrendered in Texas, by
General Twiggs, May 9th, 1861, on the commencement of hostilities
between the North and South, and been retained in close confinement up
to this time. Five or six of the men had their wives with them; one
with a family of two children.

A day or two after these prisoners arrived on board, one of the women
got into a wordy warfare with a private of the guard, who was abusive
in speech and manner. The Confederate soldier had said to the woman
that if she was only a man he would shoot her, when a private of the
Eighth Regulars, who could stand it no longer, made the quarrel a
personal one with himself, calling the Confederate a d----n coward, and
offered to go ashore for a fight with any weapon he would name. To this
bold challenge the Confederate interposed an objection, that he could
not fight with a prisoner of war. Our “bold soger boy” said: “That need
not interfere; I will fight you with pistols, ten paces apart, right
here.” Nothing but sneers were given in reply by the soldier and his
comrades of the guard, who had clustered around. In return the United
States soldier taunted them all with being cowards, offering to fight
the crowd in any fashion they chose, without effect; they finally
slunk away. The women were not molested afterwards.

All of the prisoners were conditionally paroled on the eighteenth
and nineteenth, and a flag of truce raised upon the boat, with the
intention of proceeding to Vicksburg. Horses, mules and wagons were
sent ashore, but a start was not made until the twenty-third, on
account of trouble experienced in obtaining wood. There was a dispute
on the twenty-first, between the officer of the prisoners’ guard and
officers upon the steamer _Grand Era_, in regard to wood that had
been supplied the flag of truce boat by the steamer _La-Fourche_ in
the morning, resulting finally in a compromise, allowing the _Grand
Era_ to have one-half of what was on board. Pistols were drawn amid a
general cursing match in the altercation, and at one time a fight was
imminent between the two factions. Just as the wood was gone the _Grand
Duke_ came alongside searching for the same article, but left without
obtaining any.

At last, during the evening of the twenty-second, a boat load of sixty
cords was received, about half enough for one day’s consumption, for
the _General Quitman_ used from ninety to one hundred and ten cords
each twenty-four hours, when the boat steamed down river at daylight
next day. After stopping at a wood pile to take on about one hundred
cords more, a final start was made for Port Hudson, instead of
Vicksburg as first intended, passing Fort De Russy during the day, when
Romain was able to rough sketch the work. The Mississippi River was
reached at half-past two P. M., and at the sunset hour a high
bluff, lined with cannon and men, was dimly discernible, on account
of the thick misty rain storm prevailing, which the guard called Port
Hudson.

Early on the morning of the twenty-fourth the prisoners were turned
over to Federal naval officers, who sent them and the _General Quitman_
to Baton Rouge, where they landed and were made comfortable, glad to
be once more within the Federal lines. Lieutenant Howerton received
a torrent of abuse as the paroled men left his boat, after revenge
prompted them to throw overboard all movable property they could find
upon the steamer, without any attention to Howerton’s request: “Now,
gentlemen, please stop.” The red-headed soldier of his command did not
dare to show his ugly face, for the prisoners wanted to thrash him.
Several negroes were on the river shores, above Alexandria, when the
sight of blue-coated soldiers upon the _Quitman_ conveyed an idea to
them that the Federals occupied the river. They shouted and sang for
“Massa Linkum’s sogers”--“take us wid yer”--in a manner that upset the
temper of Lieutenant Howerton, who ordered his men ashore to capture
them. They were brought aboard and made to attend boiler fires until
reaching Port Hudson, when they stole a boat belonging to the _Quitman_
and made their escape.

Cloudy, or rainy and cold weather had been experienced about every day
since their arrival at Alexandria. Cooped on board river steamers most
of the time, using Red River water for cooking and drinking, with the
depressing effect of bad weather, caused a great deal of sickness among
the men, chiefly diarrhœa. On the march, or on board river steamers,
through sickness, suffering and fatigue, the men kept up their spirits
wonderfully. Very little recreation in the way of foraging for food
could be done upon the march, although every opportunity that presented
itself was improved to the utmost, many a “porker” falling victim to
their snares. Pigs appeared to be the only animal available when a
foraging party went to work.

Embarking upon the _Iberville_, at nine o’clock on the evening of the
twenty-fourth, the prisoners arrived at New Orleans about daylight on
the twenty-fifth. Through some negligence they were not reported at
general headquarters until the twenty-sixth, when special orders were
issued, stating that “two hundred and forty men of the Forty-Second
Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, paroled prisoners, not having
been reported to the headquarters, and on the _Iberville_ unattended
to and in a starving condition, will be taken charge of by Lieutenant
Farnsworth, Fourth Wisconsin Volunteers, and conducted to the camp at
Gentilly Crossing, and turned over and kept as paroled men under proper
officers.”

They disembarked on the twenty-sixth, and marched to camp under escort
of Companies A, B, E and F, after attending a brigade drill. Many were
the heartfelt greetings exchanged all around, and for days afterwards
the boys were occupied in reciting their adventures and trials.

A communication from General Sherman, commanding Defences of New
Orleans, gives the status of the prisoners as follows:

“The Forty-Second Regiment on the _Iberville_, with the exception
of the chaplain, are paroled but not exchanged; the chaplain is
unconditionally released. The conditions of the parole are thus stated
in the fourth article of the cartel between the United States and the
enemy, promulgated in General Orders No. 146 of 1862 from the War
Department, adjutant-general’s office: ‘The surplus prisoners not
exchanged shall not be permitted to take up arms again, nor to serve
as military police or constabulary force in any fort, garrison or
field work held by either of the respective parties, nor as guards of
prisons, depots, or stores, nor to discharge any duty usually performed
by soldiers, until exchanged under the provisions of this cartel.’”

A reply was made March 6th, which elicited from General Sherman a
response that everything was satisfactory.

  “HEADQUARTERS, 42ND MASS. VOLS.,
  “CAMP FARR, BAYOU GENTILLY, LA., March 6th, 1863.

“_Sir_,--I have the honor to state that your communication of the third
inst., enclosing a copy of letter of instructions from headquarters,
Department of the Gulf, and inquiring whether special orders from these
headquarters, No. 73, current series, February 26th, have been fully
carried out, is just received.

“In reply, I would respectively state, that the two hundred and
forty men of this regiment, paroled prisoners, were reported to me
by Lieutenant Farnsworth, as ordered; and that I have placed them in
a separate camp, at a distance of three hundred and eighty paces, or
seventy-six rods, from the camp of the men under my command. That I
have placed Captain J. D. Cogswell, a competent and efficient officer,
at the camp to take charge of them, with instructions to treat them as
paroled but unexchanged prisoners of war, and to make such rules and
regulations, subject to my approval, as shall conduce to their comfort
and welfare.

“I have also given instructions to Lieutenant A. E. Proctor, acting
regimental quartermaster, to furnish for them proper rations and such
articles of clothing as they are in need of, some of them being quite
destitute of clothing. I would also respectfully add, that I have
required nothing whatever that shall in the least manner effect their
parole, or cause a violation of the ‘cartel’ alluded to.

“I have the honor to remain,

  “Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
  “J. STEDMAN,
  “_Lieut-Colonel commanding_.
  “TO CAPTAIN WICKHAM HOFFMAN,
  “_A. A. General Defences New Orleans_.”

Had the men at Galveston been captured prior to January 1st, 1863,
they would have been declared duly exchanged and ordered to report
for duty immediately, February 9th, 1863; a general order issued that
day from Department headquarters required all officers, enlisted men
and camp followers captured in the States of Texas and Louisiana up
to January 1st, 1863, to return to duty at once, as they are declared
duly exchanged prisoners of war by General Orders No. 10, dated January
10th, 1863, from the War Department, adjutant-general’s office. The
men of the Eighth Regiment, United States Regulars, were exchanged
and organized into a battalion for duty with the army. A portion of
them under command of Lieutenant Copley Amory, Fourth Cavalry, arrived
at Opelousas April 23d to join in the campaign then under way by the
Nineteenth Corps. On the twenty-fifth, they were relieved from this
service and ordered to return North, as an act of justice to those
gallant men. A national salute was fired when leaving Opelousas, and
a similar honor was paid them on their departure from New Orleans;
General Orders No. 34, Nineteenth Army Corps, made honorable mention of
their record, accompanied by a full roster of the men.

The trouble between Federal and Confederate War Departments over the
exchange of prisoners commenced in 1863, so all attempts to effect an
exchange for the men of the Forty-Second failed. At Gentilly Crossing
they remained, until about the time the regiment embarked for home,
in a camp laid out very neat, kept in good order, with ovens and
fire-places for cooking purposes, built of brick obtained from the
ruins of an old sugar house across the Gentilly road, opposite their
camp.

Familiarly nicknamed the “pet lambs,” their military life was one of
inglorious ease, much to their disgust.



CHAPTER VIII.

AT BAYOU GENTILLY--MARCH--APRIL.


The month of March was dull enough to suit an epicure or sluggard.
Additional details from the regiment for service elsewhere was the
order of the day. In response to a call by special orders from
headquarters, Defences of New Orleans, the following men were detailed
from Company E, March 1st, for service in the Fourth Massachusetts
Battery, in need of men:

Privates Alender E. Dorman, Henry C. Tyler, George H. Hathorn, Lyman
Hathorn, Leonard Mahon and Michael Nedow.

On the tenth, Captain Coburn and Lieutenant John P. Burrell, Company
A, with three sergeants, five corporals and forty-eight privates, left
camp to take post at Battery St. John, situated on the Bayou St. John.

The monotony of camp life was relieved by a brigade drill held on the
third. On this occasion Sergeant Charles A. Attwell, Company G, who
had been detailed March 2d to act as band-major, made his first effort
in that line of business. Attwell was a stout, pompous appearing man,
well calculated to deceive anybody on a slight acquaintance, and he
made out of his position all that any man could possibly squeeze. On
the march to and from the drill ground he made love to all the women,
who followed the regiment with pies and cakes for sale. Dropping to
the rear of the column, when a route step was taken, Attwell would be
found, escorted by these women, liberally helping himself to their
goods. There was a reason for all this on his part; a perfect specimen
of a “dead beat,” he never paid for anything, except in compliments.

A ripple of excitement was created on the eighth, when a letter from
Colonel Farr was received, with orders to hold the men in readiness
for marching orders at a moment’s notice. On the thirteenth, when the
paroled men were ordered to get ready for transfer to the United States
Barracks and there quartered, it looked like a general breaking up of
camp at Gentilly Bayou, and the men were in fine spirits again. The
latter orders were immediately countermanded, and the camp soon settled
down to the old state of things.

There existed, among regiments that arrived in January and February,
a heavy sick list, accompanied with a loss of many men by death. An
inquiry into the cause, ordered by General Sherman, produced the
following interesting circular, issued to all commanding officers under
his orders. One reason for incorporating this circular as a part of the
regimental record, is to show certain officers and men of the regiment,
who were accustomed to disregard nearly all of the recommendations
contained therein, what results will follow from not performing one of
the highest duties that belong to an officer on active service, viz.,
personal attention to the health of his men.

  “CIRCULAR.
  “HEADQUARTERS DEFENCES NEW ORLEANS,
  “NEW ORLEANS, March 7th, 1863.

“Upon the following report of the medical director of this command of
February 21st, ult., the brigadier-general commanding has made this
indorsement:

“’It is believed that a publication of Surgeon Sanger’s report, to
the troops of this command, fully approved as it is by me, will be
sufficient to awaken a greater spirit of pride and vigor in attention
to duty.

“’There is no doubt but that a want of attention to personal
cleanliness, of proper police, and of vigorous, hearty, and interested
attention to duty, is the cause of most sickness now prevalent.

“’I call upon all commanding officers to look carefully into this
matter, and endeavor to prevent not only all unnecessary mortality, but
that continued reduction of the duty list, which so much enfeebles the
efficiency of the command.

“’Commanding officers must not take upon themselves to excuse men and
officers from duty on the plea of sickness. The medical officers alone
are to decide who are fit or unfit for duty.’

  “WICKHAM HOFFMAN,
  “_Assistant Adjutant-General_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  “NEW ORLEANS, March 5th, 1863.
  “CAPTAIN W. HOFFMAN,
  “_Assistant Adjutant-General_:

“In obedience to your instructions, I have examined with care and
interest the various hospitals and regiments in this command, to
ascertain the cause of so much sickness. My investigations have been
thorough, having visited nearly every cook-house, street, and tent,
observing drainage, etc., in this command.

“The results of my investigations are not altogether satisfactory,
and in some instances contradictory. The special cause of disease
in individual regiments is hard to arrive at, because what seems to
predispose to disease in one case is harmless in another, and results
are so dependent upon the mental and moral influences exerted over
the men, their special predisposition and resistance to disease, and
their idiosyncracies, and previous habits. I have, however, arrived at
certain general conclusions of importance.

“_First._ There is but little, if any, malarious poison generated at
present. I did not see a characteristic case of intermittent fever,
and but one case of remittent. In many cases where malarial fever was
reported, it was either initiative fever, or one of the species of
the continued form, or the regiments had been previously exposed to
malaria, and the damp weather, or other untoward circumstances had
developed or reproduced it. In confirmation of this may be instanced
the Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts, now suffering from intermittent. This
regiment had fever and ague severely at Forts Philip and Jackson last
June and July, but after being ordered to the Custom House, beyond
malarious influences, recovered. Since the rainy season set in, their
quarters have been dark and damp, and this fever has been reproduced.

“_Second._ The camping ground outside the city is very similar in
character; there is but little choice of grounds, most of the camps are
susceptible of pretty good drainage, and the difference of altitude
does not vary more than twelve to seventeen inches. Some camps are more
accessible to certain conveniences, such as drinking water, sinks and
places for the disposal of slops, and those on the immediate banks of
the river are more exempt from whatever malaria exists at the present
time, yet these differences do not account for the disparities in the
sick reports.

“_Third._ Neatness in cooking and person, and cleanliness of camps,
are powerful agents in preserving health, and in proportion to the
observance of Heaven’s first law, did I see exemption from disease.
It is not sufficient, however, that soldiers should be passive agents
in the accomplishment of this, but their pride and ambition should be
aroused, they should be made to feel that it was not only _necessary
for the preservation of health_, but _laudable_.

“Wherever I found officers who had inspired spirit in their men, and
had taken a personal interest in keeping their soldiers and camps
clean, and where soldiers had been made to feel that excellence in
these points was meritorious, and that a deviation would not only
not be _permitted_ but surely _punished_; and where I found men were
convinced that to complain was unmanly and nursing not the privilege of
the soldier, there I found a healthy regiment.

“The One Hundred and Tenth New York had the largest sick list, two
hundred and ninety-two; this regiment was on shipboard fifty-three
days; after landing had some ship fever and about one hundred cases of
measles; lost fifteen men. The voyage, measles and deaths depressed the
men somewhat, besides men from agricultural districts do not seem to be
so hardy and stand campaigning as well as city soldiers. The camp was
neat, tents floored and cooking good; men looked pretty vigorous; think
the surgeon too lenient, but he said if he did not excuse the men the
colonel would. Should say the sick report might be reduced one-third
with impunity.

“The Sixteenth New Hampshire was encamped near the One Hundred and
Tenth New York, had one hundred and seventy-three sick; only fifteen
days on shipboard; lost ten men; principal disease, diarrhœa; camp was
not so well drained as the One Hundred and Tenth New York. Tents and
streets were very dirty and the men unwashed, some had not washed for
four weeks and the most not for two weeks.

“The One Hundred and Sixty-Second New York, camping on the same ground,
had very few sick. This regiment was enlisted in New York City; were
forty-one days on shipboard, and, I believe, had not lost a man in
camp. The surgeon attended personally to the cooking, drainage and
cleanliness of camp, and the commanding officer had his suggestions
rigorously enforced.

“The Thirty-Eighth Massachusetts had one hundred and fifty-five sick;
tents provided with floors; streets pretty neat, and the facilities for
drainage good; cook tents too much crowded, and cooking not attended
to as it ought to be; principal disease, diarrhœa; think the surgeon a
little too lenient; says there were forty chronic cases, which never
ought to have been enlisted; attributes diarrhœa to sour bread.

“The Fifty-Third Massachusetts had one hundred and thirty-six sick;
sick list swelled by a number of cases of scarlet and lung fever; lung
fever caused by sleeping on the damp ground for the first fortnight
after their arrival. The hospital was not neat; sick were not provided
with comforts, and the surgeon complains that he could not make his
hospital fund available. Both assistant-surgeons sick. Cooking done in
the open air, without shelter from the heavy rains.

“The One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth New York had one hundred and
twenty-three sick; were on shipboard forty-two days; did not pay the
same attention to cleanliness and fumigation that the One Hundred and
Sixty-Second New York did; have had a large number of cases of ship
fever, nearly one hundred; lost thirty-nine men. Principal cause of
disease at present, diarrhœa. Neither the camp nor hospital are in good
condition. The soldiers don’t take pride in grading their streets and
keeping their tents clean. Counted beef bones by the dozen about their
tents. Many of their patients are treated in hospital tents and on the
floor. Suggested to the colonel to take a confiscated house within his
regimental lines, now occupied by the One Hundred and Sixty-Second New
York. A vacant house can be found near the camp of the One Hundred and
Sixty-Second New York, quite as convenient for the latter.

“The Twenty-Sixth Connecticut has one hundred and fifty sick. Diseases,
typhoid fever and diarrhœa. Number of deaths, nine. I think the cause
of so much disease, and _kind_, can be traced to want of cleanliness.
The tents were all disorderly and dirty. Attention was not paid to
keeping the drains and streets free from mouldy bread, meat bones and
orange peel. The men had a listless and indifferent look, as if waiting
the expiration of their term of service.

“The Fourth Massachusetts had one hundred and fourteen sick; on
shipboard forty-eight days; no deaths; diarrhœa prevailing. Through
the energy and attention of their commander, this regiment has escaped
serious disease. Did not see any very sick in hospital or quarters. The
men were enjoying a little respite after long confinement on shipboard.

“The Sixth Michigan is improving; still show the effects of the malaria
of last summer.

“The Fifteenth New Hampshire are rapidly improving; officers and men
becoming very much interested in improving their camp.

“The Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts has a large number in general hospital.
The inclement weather and dark, gloomy and damp quarters give them a
sickly look. I think they would rapidly improve if the regiment was
removed to drier and more airy quarters.

“The One Hundred and Sixty-Fifth New York and Thirty-First
Massachusetts are very free from disease. Much is due in both these
regiments to the spirit, energy and attention of their commanders and
surgeons. The camp of the One Hundred and Sixty-Fifth New York is
scrupulously neat, clean and well drained--best camp in this command;
and personal attention seems to be paid by the officers to everything
conducive to health and comfort. The other regiments of your command
are in very good condition, and present very small sick reports.

“I found very few of the regimental cooks furnished with the little
cook books issued by the Commissaries. Either the Commissaries have
failed to furnish them, or the company to distribute them. Most of the
cooks seemed anxious to be supplied with them.

“The use of mixed vegetables is almost universally neglected. It is
important to accustom the regiments to the use of them, at least once
a week, in soups, as fresh potatoes will soon fail, and the habitual
use of some succulent vegetable is essential to health, as well as to
prevent the cravings of a ravenous appetite, produced by a want of
that variety to which soldiers have been accustomed in private life.
A morbid appetite is created by this neglect, and when soldiers get
access to such food they invariably overload their stomachs.

  “Respectfully, your obedient servant,
  “EUGENE F. SANGER,
  “_Medical Director, General Sherman’s Command_.”

The first vacancy among commissioned officers of the regiment was
caused by the resignation of First-Lieutenant David A. Partridge,
of Company B, who remained in Massachusetts to look after deserters
when the regiment left the State, and was granted a discharge by War
Department Special Orders No. 105, dated March 5th, to enable him to
accept a commission and recruit for the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts
Colored Volunteers. The vacancy was filled March 24th by the
_election_ of Second-Sergeant Benjamin C. Tinkham, Company B, jumping
Second-Lieutenant J. C. Clifford and the first-sergeant, who were in
the line of promotion.

The second vacancy was caused by the resignation of Captain Charles
A. Pratt, Company E. This vacancy was also filled by an _election_
by the company, April 2d. First-Lieutenant John W. Emerson was made
captain, and Second-Sergeant Augustus Ford, Company E, was elected
a first-lieutenant, _vice_ Emerson, promoted (if this can be called
promotion), jumping Second-Lieutenant Brown P. Stowell, a prisoner of
war in Texas, and the first-sergeant, who were in the line of promotion.

This _elective_ system of filling vacancies, one of the inducements
held out to attract men to enlist in the nine months’ troops from
Massachusetts, was a ridiculous system; one of caucus politics in the
army. It was the cause of considerable ill feeling and much trouble in
nine months’ organizations from the State. To allow the rank and file
to choose by an election their company officers was entirely wrong.
Under it any man in the company, no matter what his qualifications may
be, stands a chance, by electioneering, to win an officer’s position
that is vacant. Merit in that officer who has a right to expect the
promotion is overlooked, if that officer has been so unlucky as to
incur the displeasure of a few prominent men in his company, and they
proceed to spread the dissatisfaction to others, and take their revenge
by electing another over him not entitled to the vacancy. What is the
consequence? The officer so jumped forthwith loses the interest he
formerly had in the command, and does not exert himself to work for the
good of the men under him.

It is just to say that in the above cases the selections were good.
Perhaps could not be better.

With the exception of a slight clashing of authority between Captain
Coburn, in command at Battery St. John, and Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman,
concerning some captures of prisoners and seizures of contraband
goods on the night of the fourteenth, which required two peremptory
letters to be sent to Captain Coburn before it was straightened out,
everything worked smooth with the command. This was a case where four
citizens were arrested near Bayou St. John in the act of smuggling
contraband goods across Lake Ponchartrain; three of them were sent to
New Orleans March 17th by orders, and one was discharged March 16th by
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman.

The City of New Orleans so near to many camps, full of enticements
of a varied character, was the place to tempt many a soldier who was
disposed to evade duty and absent himself without leave. Stragglers
from these camps without passes gave provost-guards so much trouble
and the evil grew to such proportions every day, Department Special
Orders No. 61 were issued March 2d to put a stop to it. There were five
hundred men in the city without passes and in confinement reported to
the provost-marshal-general March 2d. In one day the provost-guard
found nineteen men from one company without a pass; but one man from
the Forty-Second is known to have visited the city in this way during
March, and he, Private Owen Fox, Company A, was promptly arrested by
the guard and sent back to the regiment.

Besides the details already mentioned, the following details were made
and changes occurred during the month:

March 4th--Corporal John C. Yeaton, Company E, was reduced to the ranks
by regimental special orders as unfit for the position.

March 4th--Private G. G. Belcher, Company F, was relieved as a wagoner
and ordered to duty in the ranks, and the captain ordered to appoint a
trustworthy person to fill the position of wagoner.

March 5th--Privates Thomas H. Sawyer, Company B, and Joseph V. Colson,
Company G, were detailed as markers.

March 5th--Private John A. Loud, Company A, was ordered to report to
Lieutenant Pease, division ordnance-officer, to do duty as a mechanic
in unspiking guns at Chalmette. He returned to duty in the regiment
June 13th.

March 7th--Private J. Augustus Fitts, Company B, was detailed as
orderly at regimental headquarters.

March 7th--Private William H. Haven was transferred from Company E to
Company F, to date from March 1st.

March 8th--Private Clark K. Denny was relieved from duty as orderly and
made a clerk at regimental headquarters.

March 9th--Special Orders, Defences New Orleans, appointed Corporal
Uriel Josephs and Sergeant Eben Tirrell, Jr., of Company A, as
ordnance-sergeants at Batteries Gentilly and St. John, reporting to the
division ordnance-officer.

March 9th--Private Elbridge G. Harwood, Company B, was made regimental
carpenter, serving in that capacity until relieved in July.

March 9th--Private George H. Greenwood, Company B, was made cook for
the wagoner’s mess, serving as such until relieved in July.

March 31st--Major Stiles and Lieutenant Duncan, Company F, were
detailed on court-martial duty by general orders, Defences New Orleans,
to serve when such court was held. They were not relieved until July
30th.

In addition to these details the chief-quartermaster asked for names
of such men in the regiment as were qualified to act as superintendent
of machine works, and in the manufacture and preparation of lumber.
Upon inquiry there were found quite a number, who were recommended
accordingly, but no detail was made from the regiment.

In this month (March) a few unimportant incidents occurred worth notice
because a few members, who are aware of the facts, cannot forget them.
One was a hunt after dogs, on the night of March 31st, by a few wild,
restless spirits, with a view to exterminate all they could from the
neighborhood infested with them. Another was an old negro who could not
tell his age, but, from facts gleaned in conversation with him, must
have been over one hundred years old. Bent over with age, trembling
with weakness, without a home or friends, this old man was a wanderer
from camp to camp for food and shelter. On a bitter cold night he
struck the Forty-Second camp, and was provided with lodging in the
guard-house. None of his kind would care for him, so he said, “since
old massa had dun gon’ away.”

Sergeant-Major Bosson, and Sergeant Phil. Hackett, Company G, had an
adventure on the Gentilly road on the night of March 10th. A beautiful
moonlight evening it was. As they strolled along the road songs were
heard, sung by a party of men evidently in liquor. To hide and listen,
under the shadow of a board fence, was suggested by Hackett. No sooner
done than a few snatches of a secession refrain raised Hackett’s
anger to such a point that he was ready to whip the entire party.
Bosson advised no interference, as the men had a perfect right to
sing. Hackett’s blood was up, however, and when a citizen (the party
separated a few moments before) arrived opposite their hiding place,
Phil. jumped for him, when the man showed fight. Hackett threw him
into a ditch, alongside the road, and by the time he got out, swearing
vengeance, Bosson was on hand. The two confronted him. He raised one
arm to the back of his neck, when stories, often read in books, of
Southerners with bowie knives carried in that spot flashed across the
minds of both men, and simultaneously they seized him. Hackett held
his arms while Bosson placed a pistol to his head. Frenchman as he
was, excited with anger and liquor, the cold muzzle against his temple
completely cowed the fellow. A search was made for the suspected bowie
knife, but none was found. The man, who gave his name as citizen
Ambrose Leonard, was marched into camp a prisoner. As nothing could
be charged against him, he was released from arrest March 12th by
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman. There was no good cause for this arrest;
the affair sprang from a spirit of mischief and from ignorance of what
they had a right to do.

On March 21st occurred the first loss by death the regiment sustained
at Bayou Gentilly. Private Obed F. Allen, Company G, a paroled prisoner
of war, died in the regimental hospital of typhoid fever. The disease
was contracted on the march from Houston. His body was embalmed by a
city undertaker at the expense of his comrades in Company G, and sent
to his home in Quincy, Massachusetts.

At the close of March there were present for duty in the four
companies at Gentilly Bayou and vicinity, seventeen officers and three
hundred and fifty-five men.

Present sick in hospital, thirty-six. The average sick per day of the
regiment during March was: taken sick, two; returned to duty, two; in
hospital, twenty; in quarters, three.

In April the companies attached to regimental headquarters had some
work to perform. Brigade special orders, issued on the fourth, placed
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman in command of the stations Bayou Gentilly,
Bayou St. John, Lakeport, and the bayous dependent upon the same,
with headquarters at Gentilly Bayou, and he was ordered to relieve
two companies of the Ninth Connecticut Infantry, then stationed at
Lake-end of Bayou St. John and at Lakeport, with two companies from the
Forty-Second.

On the fifth, a fine Sunday morning, about ten o’clock, Captain
Cogswell (who had been relieved from command of the paroled camp by
Lieutenant Powers, Company F) proceeded with his company to Lakeport
and relieved Company E, Ninth Connecticut, Captain Wright, then on
picket duty from Lakeport to Point aux Herbes, fifteen miles. On
the same day thirty-five men of Company A, under Captain Coburn,
proceeded to Lake-end of Bayou St. John and relieved Company G, Ninth
Connecticut. The Ninth Connecticut men behaved in a most unsoldierlike
manner, causing Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman to state the facts to
brigade headquarters in the accompanying letter:


  “HEADQUARTERS FORTY-SECOND REGT., MASS. VOLS.,
  “CAMP FARR, BAYOU GENTILLY, LA., April 6th, 1863.

“_Sir_,--I have the honor to report that I proceeded yesterday,
according to Special Orders No. 54, and moved Company F of this
regiment to Lakeport, and there relieved the Ninth Connecticut, Captain
Wright, who turned over the public property in his possession to
Captain J. D. Cogswell, commanding Company F. The pickets were taken
from Company F for Lakeport and all stations below that point.

“At the Lake-end of Bayou St. John I placed thirty men and four
non-commissioned officers from Company A, leaving thirty men of the
same company at Battery St. John; the whole under command of Captain
Coburn, of Company A.

“I have remaining of Company A, nineteen men, four non-commissioned
officers and one lieutenant, who are now stationed at Battery Gentilly
on the Ponchartrain Railroad, thus making all the stations and pickets
outside of this immediate camp under charge of Companies A and F.

“In connection with the relieving of the companies of the Ninth
Connecticut Volunteers, I am sorry to be obliged to report the ill-will
manifested by many of them at their removal from the lake.

“At Lakeport they broke up and destroyed all the bunks in the building
they occupied as quarters and sold all the boards they could remove
from the building. Several of them were badly intoxicated, and one
drew a knife and another a club on one of the members of Company F for
refusing to allow them to pull out the faucets of the water tanks and
waste all the water at the quarters.

“At the Lake-end of Bayou St. John the Government schooner _Hortense_
was lying, and the crew of that boat managed, before my men took
possession of her, to damage her in several ways. Twelve lights of
glass were broken of the cabin windows, and the cabin furniture
considerably damaged. They sold the hawser, also the launch, or
tender, of the schooner, and many of the cooking utensils were thrown
overboard and lost. The water cask and a few of the ropes have been
recovered from parties who bought them, but the launch and other
things, which they sold, we have not found as yet.

“I would respectfully submit this report as a simple statement of facts
which have come under my observation since relieving the companies
named.

“I have the honor to remain,

  “Your most obedient servant,
  “J. STEDMAN,
  “_Lieutenant-Colonel commanding_.

  “To LIEUTENANT GEORGE E. DAVIS, _A. A. A. General_,
  “_Second Brigade, Second Division, New Orleans_.”

The boat of the _Hortense_ was found May 2d at Hickok’s Landing in the
possession of a coffee house proprietor. There was some correspondence
with the brigade commander about this affair, but it was allowed to
blow over, and no steps were taken to punish the ringleaders. The
Connecticut men were very angry, because taken from a post where they
enjoyed themselves to the neglect of duty.

Captain Cogswell soon found there was business to occupy his attention.
Within two hours after his arrival a man representing himself as J. D.
O’Connell, special detective in Government employ, with a companion,
requested assistance in a case they were engaged in working up. Not
producing any proof, as requested, that they were in the Government
service, a special messenger was sent to the provost-marshal of New
Orleans, who returned with the information O’Connell was “all right.”
While not fully satisfied in his own mind, the captain concluded to
join in the game, intending to arrest them if they did not prove “all
right.”

The case was one in which a party of Confederates wished to get across
the lake. A sail-boat was furnished by Captain Cogswell with one man
disguised as a fisherman, who was to have the boat ready at a certain
lonely spot on the road leading to Bayou St. John where it ran close
to the water. The party of Confederates were to be ready to cross
on the eighth, but did not make the attempt until the night of the
tenth. Requesting assistance from the lieutenant-colonel, eight men
from Company B, under Lieutenant Tinkham, were sent to Lakeport on the
eighth.

A detail of twelve men, divided into two squads, under the commands of
Lieutenant Tinkham and Orderly-Sergeant J. A. Titus, Company F, were
secreted among bushes that bordered upon the road. Accompanied by the
two detectives, who pretended to be Confederates, the party appeared
about nine o’clock P.M. The detectives waited until their
companions had reached the boat, when they gave a pre-arranged signal,
responded to by Lieutenant Tinkham shouting the agreed-on command,
“Rally on centre,” fired his pistol, and the squads dashed out from
their hiding-places with a shout. One detective pretended to be killed,
the other was made a prisoner; all in the plan. It was supposed the men
who reached the boat would make a hot fight, but they shouted not to
fire and they would agree to come in; as there was some delay in doing
so, Sergeant Ballou, Company B, asked and received permission to wade
out and hurry them up, taking possession and remaining upon the boat
until relieved.

Under guard, the prisoners were marched to Captain Cogswell’s
headquarters for examination. They proved to be Major Breedlove, a
Confederate spy within the lines for nearly three months, Captain
Switzer, a Confederate steamboat man, on his way to take command of a
gunboat, and three other men. On the person of Captain Switzer was
found $3,098.00; $2,800.00 was in one-hundred-dollar Confederate bills,
the balance in notes of Louisiana State Banks, located in New Orleans.
Relieved of their personal effects, the prisoners were turned over to
the provost-marshal of New Orleans, and the property also. They were
confined in the Parish prison for several weeks, and then released.
Breedlove and Switzer afterwards visited Captain Cogswell to obtain
their property.

Later, on the same night, a negro reported men loading a boat on the
lake near the “White House.” Sergeant Ballou was sent with a detail
of men to the spot, but did not capture any prisoners. The boat was
secured, and found to contain boots, shoes, cards for carding cotton,
pipes, matches and sundries.

A schooner, under a Confederate flag of truce, conveying one hundred
and thirty-three United States soldiers, sailors and marines, captured
at Vicksburg, paroled for exchange, arrived on the sixth, accompanied
by Confederate Commissioner of Exchange, Colonel Zyminsky. The men were
in a sad condition from detention upon the lake by a severe storm,
three days without food or water. They were supplied with all of the
food at the post, not enough to go around, and some of the men ate raw
potatoes, preferring to do so instead of waiting to have them cooked.
After a few hours delay sufficient supply for their immediate wants was
obtained.

Colonel Zyminsky, a Pole by birth, resided in New Orleans when the war
commenced. His wife was then residing in the city, and came out to the
post to see him. Captain Cogswell allowed her five minutes to exchange
compliments, but that was all the colonel desired, and, in fact, said
he did not want to see her anyhow. Zyminsky was a giant, six feet
four inches in height, as large everyway in proportion. Such a nose!
A pickled blood-beet was pale beside it. He wanted a twelve-gallon
demijohn of Louisiana rum more than he did a visit from his wife. He
got the visit, but did not get the rum, although he clandestinely
ordered it. The demijohn was brought to the wharf, where Cogswell would
not allow it to pass, so Colonel Zyminsky went back across the lake
very dry.

To northern soldiers all southern scenery, cities and towns, so
different in character to what they were accustomed to see North,
charmed the eye and senses of those men who had not travelled far away
from home, until a thorough acquaintance with any locality where they
were stationed produced a desire to get away. After the novelty of
being in a new section of country wore off, the men were unanimous in
praise of their own sections as the proper place to live, enjoy life
while living, and be laid away when dead.

Lakeport was no exception to this first seductive influence. A small
village, with a few one-story houses, two hotels that entertained
dinner parties from New Orleans, repair shops for the Ponchartrain
Railroad, and a school-house was about all there was to it. On Sundays
there were many visitors from the city bent on pleasure, as though no
war was in progress. The hotels for dinners and bath houses to sport
in the lake water were objective points. Occasionally, large numbers
of colored men and women came out early on Sunday mornings to witness
ceremonies of baptism to a score of both sexes who had joined a church.
The religious fervor was always great on such occasions, coupled with
antics of voice and body that cannot be described. White-robed negro
women would become unmanageable when _ducked under_, as the boys termed
it; if two stout assistants did not lead their religious sisters to
where the minister stood and be ready to seize them after baptism for
conveyance on shore they would drown. An exhibition of this character
once seen can never be forgotten. While on duty at Lakeport, Company F
could not complain of a monotonous existence.

Picket duty at the Lake-end Bayou St. John requiring extra attention,
ten privates were sent from Gentilly Battery, on the sixth, to
reënforce Captain Coburn, and on the ninth, Lieutenant Clifford,
Company B, was ordered there to assist the captain, remaining at the
post until the twenty-first.

The schooner _Hortense_ was repaired under supervision of Corporal
Croome, Company F (an old sailor), who was detailed to command her,
with the following crew: Kirkland A. Hawes (an old sailor) was mate;
Privates John J. Upham, cook; George M. Roberts, Thomas H. Robinson,
George Adams, all of Company F, and Rufus C. Greene, Company G, were
seamen. Two picket-boats for night duty were respectively in charge
of Corporal George L. Stone, assisted by Privates Charles M. Marsh
and John Kraft; Sergeant Hiram Cowan, assisted by Privates Albert
W. Cargell and James F. Harlow. These small boats captured many
prisoners with contraband goods, in their attempts to cross the lake.
The schooner was used for picket duty and to carry supplies to such
picket-posts as were stationed on the bayou outlets.

On the fifth, Corporal Rhodes and three privates of Company B, with
rations for one week, were detailed to proceed as a guard, on the
schooner _Concordia_, carrying stores and property to Fort Pike and
Fort Macomb.

When the steamer _N. P. Banks_ was loaded at Lakeport with supplies
for Pensacola, and ready to sail on the twenty-first, Captain A. N.
Shipley, A. Q. M. in New Orleans, called for a detail. Sergeant Ballou,
Corporal Fales and twelve privates from Company B composed the detail,
with rations for one week. The instructions Ballou received from
Shipley were, to go aboard the _Banks_ as a guard, watch the captain,
a southerner, and see that he stopped at all forts on the lake to
leave provisions and various stores, then to proceed to Fort Pickens,
and Pensacola. If the steamboat captain showed any disposition to
do otherwise, then he was to arrest all of the officers and run the
steamer into the blockading fleet off Mobile and report. The transport
vessel that made a similar trip, a short time previous, had been run
through the blockaders into Mobile by her officers, and the cargo
passed into Confederate hands. The round trip was made in five days,
without any event of importance.

These duties of detailed men, with constant activity at the lake posts
to prevent smuggling across to the enemy, gave many men a taste of
active duty that was fatiguing, if it was without glory.

It was hard work to get rolls, returns and statements, required by
army regulations, made correctly and promptly by company officers of
the regiment. A few officers appeared to think these documents were
unnecessary, a species of red tape to be fought down. Still it was said
they averaged as good as any organization in the Gulf Department, if
not better. In the army, among those who knew nothing about it, a great
deal of talk was constantly made about red tape. Among business men the
wonder was, that the vast machinery of an army could be successfully
kept going with such simple returns. There was nothing about them a
school-boy of ordinary ability could fail to understand in a short time
of study. To understand the nature and use of these documents was as
much the duty of an officer as to know how to drill his men. His duty
to the men demanded it. Without them payments could not be made, either
bounties or wages, rations provided, clothing held in readiness for
issue, pensions granted for disability or to the proper relatives of
deceased soldiers. Many a large corporation or business house, in their
method of conducting business, requires a system much more complicated
than the Government has in use for administration of the army. When
delays and trouble occurred in the rolls, returns, etc., it was usually
traced to the inability of some officer to understand them.

The company returns required were: morning reports, company muster
rolls, company muster and pay rolls, company monthly return, returns
of men joined company, descriptive lists, quarterly company returns
deceased soldiers, muster-in rolls, muster-out rolls, enlistments,
re-enlistments, furloughs, discharges, final statements, rolls of
prisoners of war, ordnance returns.

All very simple to fill up properly; each return so printed that there
was no excuse for not understanding how it was to be done.

The regimental returns required were: consolidated morning reports,
field and staff muster rolls, field and staff muster and pay rolls,
muster rolls of hospital, muster and pay rolls of hospital, regimental
monthly returns, lists of officers, alterations in officers, quarterly
regimental returns of deceased soldiers, annual return of casualties.

Careful supervision at regimental headquarters was necessary of company
pay rolls, in order to have them correct before forwarding to proper
officers.

The regimental books were lost at Galveston; it became necessary to
make out a new descriptive book, and could only be done by obtaining
the company descriptive books to copy. Captain Bailey, Company H, had
peculiar ideas of his own in regard to making proper company returns
to regimental headquarters, and when he refused to obey an order from
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, to forward his company book, it was proper
to discipline him.

On the thirteenth a regimental order to Captain Leonard, Company C, in
command of Companies C and H, contained the following: “You will also
forward to these headquarters the descriptive books of both companies
C and H of the regiment, for copying in the regimental records.” What
followed is explained in a letter written to the brigade-commander next
day:--


  “HEADQUARTERS FORTY-SECOND REGT., MASS. VOLS.,
  “CAMP FARR, GENTILLY STATION, LA., April 14th, 1863.

“_Sir_,--I would respectfully report that the enclosed is a copy of an
order sent to Camp Parapet yesterday, by my orderly, and that Captain
Leonard complied with the order at once. Captain D. W. Bailey, of
Company H, absolutely refused to send his descriptive book, saying that
‘the colonel or no other man should have his company books.’ If he was
under my immediate command here at the camp, it would be clear to my
mind how I should act in this case. In the present instance I am not
sufficiently informed what my action should be in the premises, not
knowing fully how the commanding general considers their relations to
this regiment, and more particularly to the commanding officer of the
same.

“I would respectfully refer the case to Colonel Farr, for advice and
information.

“I have the honor to remain,

  “Your obedient servant,
  “J. STEDMAN,
  “_Lieutenant-Colonel, 42nd Mass. Vols._


  “To LIEUT. GEO. E. DAVIS, _A. A. A. General_,
  “_Second Brigade, Second Division, New Orleans_.”

By orders of General Sherman, Captain Bailey was placed in arrest on
the sixteenth, sent to Gentilly Station the next day, an orderly
bringing the descriptive book that caused the trouble. Under orders
from brigade headquarters, charges and specification of charges were
forwarded on the sixteenth. The assignment to quarters, while in
arrest, was as follows:

  “HEADQUARTERS FORTY-SECOND REGT., MASS. VOLS.,
  “CAMP FARR, BAYOU GENTILLY, LA., April 17th, 1863.

“_Captain_,--You having been reported at these headquarters in arrest
by orders of Brigadier-General Sherman, you are hereby assigned
quarters in the large tent to the left of these headquarters, and you
will hold yourself within the following limits, viz.: On the right, on
a line with the guard line and the right flank of this camp. In front,
on a line with the woods in front of the camp. On the left, on a line
with the tents on the left flank of the camp of paroled prisoners. In
the rear, on a line with the road extending along the rear of this camp.

“You are also referred to the Army Regulations in relation to officers
in arrest, in relation to communications, etc.

“By command of

  “LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J. STEDMAN,
  “CHARLES A. DAVIS, _Adjutant_.


  “To CAPTAIN DAVIS W. BAILEY,
  “_Company H, 42d Regt., Mass. Vols._”

Until May 14th the captain remained at Gentilly Bayou, when he was
allowed the limits of New Orleans, until the findings in his case were
promulgated.

The charges and specifications in this case, and findings of the Court,
were as follows--copied from General Orders, No. 48, Nineteenth Army
Corps:


CHARGE FIRST.

“Disobedience of Orders.”

       *       *       *       *       *

_Specification_--“In this: that he, Captain Davis W. Bailey, Company
H, Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, when ordered by
Lieutenant-Colonel J. Stedman, in the execution of his office, and
through Captain O. W. Leonard, senior captain of Companies C and H,
Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, and to whom the order
was addressed, to send to the regimental headquarters his company
Descriptive Book, did absolutely refuse and fail so to do. All this at
Camp Parapet, Louisiana, on or about the thirteenth day of April, 1863.”


CHARGE SECOND.

“Conduct unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman.”

       *       *       *       *       *

_Specification First_--“In this: that he, Captain Davis W. Bailey,
Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, when notified
by Captain O. W. Leonard, senior captain of Companies C and H,
Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, that he (Captain
Leonard) had received an order from Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman
(commanding Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers), to send
to the regimental headquarters the Descriptive Books of said Companies
C and H, did then and there use disrespectful language of his superior
officer, saying in substance as follows: ‘the colonel or no other man
can have my company books.’ All this at Camp Parapet, Louisiana, on or
about the thirteenth day of April, 1863.”

_Specification Second_--“In this: that he, Captain Davis W. Bailey,
Company H, Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, did, on
or about the thirteenth day of April, 1863, at or near his quarters
at Camp Parapet, Louisiana, when waited on by an orderly from the
regimental headquarters of the Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts
Volunteers, which orderly was sent by Lieutenant-Colonel J. Stedman, in
the execution of his office, with a written order to Companies C and
H, Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, to forward their
company Descriptive Books for copying on the regimental records, did
refuse to send his Descriptive Book, and neglect so to do. All this at
Camp Parapet, Louisiana, on or about the thirteenth day of April, 1863.”


CHARGE THIRD.

“Conduct to the prejudice of Good Order and Military Discipline.”

       *       *       *       *       *

_Specification_--“In this: that he, Captain Davis W. Bailey, Company
H, Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, when informed by
Captain Leonard, senior captain of Companies C and H, Forty-Second
Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, that the lieutenant-colonel had
sent an order for the Descriptive Books of said companies, did, then
and there, at or near his quarters at Camp Parapet, Louisiana, and in
the presence of Captain Leonard and at least two enlisted men of the
Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, refuse to send his
Descriptive Book, averring in substance as follows: ‘Lieutenant-Colonel
Stedman or no other man can have my company books.’ All this at Camp
Parapet, Louisiana, on or about the thirteenth day of April, 1863.”

To all of which charges and specifications the accused pleaded “not
guilty.”

The Court, after mature deliberation on the evidence adduced, finds the
accused as follows:

    Of the specification, first charge--“Not guilty.”
    Of the first charge--“Not guilty.”
    Of the first specification, second charge--“Not guilty.”
    Of the second specification, second charge--“Not guilty.”
    Of the second charge--“Not guilty.”
    Of the specification, third charge--“Not guilty.”
    Of the third charge--“Not guilty.”

And does therefore acquit him.

       *       *       *       *       *

The case was clear and charges filed correctly, but, on his trial
before a general court-martial, held in New Orleans, March 25th, the
charges were not sustained; a material witness failed to remember
anything.

The proceedings of this court-martial were approved by General Banks in
General Orders of June 9th, when Captain Bailey was acquitted, released
from arrest and returned to duty; the orders did not take effect until
July 20th, when they reached the regiment.

At a general court-martial convened in New Orleans, January 27th, 1863,
of which Major F. Frye, Ninth Connecticut Volunteers, was president,
the following enlisted men of the Forty-Second were tried, in addition
to the case of Private Denny, Company E, already mentioned:

Private William H. Thomas, Company B, for “sleeping on post.”

Private Frank L. Fisher, Company B, for “sleeping on post.”

Privates Thomas and Fisher when found asleep, were awakened and
cautioned by the officer of the guard as to the penalty they would
incur by going to sleep while on sentry duty. Notwithstanding the
caution they allowed themselves to fall asleep again while on guard,
and in the same relief.

The findings of this Court were not promulgated in General Orders
until March 7th. In the case of Thomas, he was found asleep on post
13, in front of regimental headquarters at Gentilly Bayou, between
the hours of one and half-past one o’clock on the morning of February
12th. He pleaded “guilty” to the charge and specification. His plea was
accepted, and, as it appeared that he was sick at the time and excused
from duty by the surgeon, it was recommended that he be returned to
duty.

Private Fisher was found asleep on post 15, at the stable and
quartermasters’ department at Gentilly Bayou, between the hours of
one and two o’clock on the morning of February 10th. He pleaded “not
guilty” to both charge and specification, and the Court on the evidence
adduced found him “not guilty,” and recommended that he be returned to
duty. Fisher and Thomas, confined since February 12th, were released
from confinement in the guard-house March 18th.

Private Freeman Doane, Company F, was also found asleep on post at
Lakeport on the twenty-ninth of April, and placed in arrest. Upon
examination of the case Captain Cogswell was so well satisfied that
Doane was sick and not fit to have been placed on sentry duty, being
under the surgeon’s care, that he asked for and obtained his release
the next day.

Lieutenant Albert E. Proctor, Company G, acting regimental
quartermaster, met with a very serious accident on the morning of the
twentieth by being thrown from his horse, in front of headquarters,
immediately after mounting, preparatory to proceeding to the city on
official business, sustaining a fracture of the right arm near the
socket of the shoulder, which incapacitated him from further duty with
the regiment during its term of service.

A moment before he left headquarters in fine spirits, and when
brought in looking deathly pale everybody present was dumfounded.
Luckily, Assistant-Surgeon Heintzelman was present on duty with the
regiment, having reported at camp March 1st. He immediately made a
careful examination of the fracture, properly bandaged it, and prepared
everything to make Proctor comfortable until he arrived at the hospital
in New Orleans, where he was sent the same day and had his arm reset.
Lieutenant Proctor showed true fortitude throughout the day. Not a
groan escaped his lips, although the pain he suffered was excruciating.
He gave proper directions for the continued performance of his duties
and what disposition to make of unfinished business he had on hand with
utmost _sang-froid_.

Lieutenant Proctor was a twin brother of Captain Alfred N. Proctor,
Company G, then a prisoner of war in Texas. It was difficult to say
who was who, even when seen together. The lieutenant remarked, soon
after the accident to himself, that his brother Alfred had met with an
accident also. His reason for thinking so was because a sympathetic
feeling had always existed between them. As a matter of fact, Captain
Proctor did have one of the bones of an ankle broken while wrestling
with Sergeant Wentworth, March 27th.

Until May 20th, when Quartermaster Burrell reported back for duty,
having been relieved as acting brigade-quartermaster, when Colonel
Cahill, Ninth Connecticut Volunteers, superseded Colonel Farr,
the active duties of the position were well performed by Acting
Quartermaster-Sergeant Alonzo I. Hodsdon, corporal in Company D.

The regiment was fortunate in having good quartermasters during the
term of service, and in obtaining supplies of proper food. The salt
meats, coffee, potatoes, bread, etc., were of excellent quality. It was
necessary only once (May 15th) during the entire term of service to
call for a Board of Survey to examine into the quality of subsistence
stores received from the Commissary Department. Quartermaster Burrell
was socially one of the best of men, with business qualifications
for his duty of a high order. Acting-Quartermaster Proctor was also
adapted to fill the position, and was a jovial man. Corporal Hodsdon,
without a business training to fit him to hold such a position at once,
had mastered the details to such extent from his connection with the
department that during the time he performed the duties everything went
along smoothly.

At the close of April there were present for duty in the four companies
at Gentilly Bayou and vicinity, thirteen officers and three hundred and
fifty-six men. Sick in regimental hospital: one officer (Lieutenant
Harding, Company K, who arrived April 27th, sick with fever), and
twenty-one men. Thirteen men were sick in quarters. The average sick
per day for the month had been: taken sick, four; returned to duty,
four; in hospital, twenty; in quarters, fourteen. One man died at
the camp hospital of typhoid fever, Private Frank Covell, Company G,
a paroled prisoner, April 22d. The body was embalmed and sent home.
Private Covell, quite young in years, was careless of his health. He
would insist on sleeping at night in the open air instead of under tent
cover, exposed unprotected to change in the atmosphere, usually very
rapid after nine o’clock. Repeated cautions not to do so were given
him. Company G was unfortunate at this camp in the loss of men by death
from disease. The other companies of paroled men, D and I, did not lose
a man.

At Bayou Gentilly the night air was treacherous and dangerous. In good
weather the days, at this season of the year, would be hot and sultry
up to about ten o’clock in the night, when changes would commence to
occur, becoming damp and hazy. About midnight sentinels were obliged
to wear their great-coats. Many men would persist in sleeping upon the
ground in the open air, regardless of repeated warnings not to do so.
When the midnight change took place, if they by chance awoke, they
would occupy their tents. This careless habit caused much sickness in
the regiment from bowel complaints and fevers, that was charged by the
sufferers to bad quality of rations issued.

Discipline of the camp continued good, and the paroled men behaved
well under their enforced idleness. Very few men absented themselves
without leave. Corporal Clapp, Privates Holt, Barnard and Davis, all
from Company G, tried it on and were picked up by the patrol in New
Orleans, April 4th. Privates Dolan, Dellanty, Contillon and Morgan, all
from Company I, were bagged by the patrol on the fifth, and Private
Marshall, Company G, was arrested by the police of New Orleans, April
12th. These men were returned to camp by the provost-marshal in one or
two days after their arrest.

Two deserters reported back to the regiment this month: Private Chauncy
Converse, Company K, on the eleventh; Private Lewis Buffum, Company B,
on the twenty-fifth.

While able to furnish details of skilled mechanics, if wanted, on a
call for telegraph operators, made on the twenty-ninth, to do duty in
the Defences of New Orleans, a careful inquiry failed to find any--the
only request ever made by a general officer, either of brigade or
division, that the Forty-Second Regiment was not able to meet.



CHAPTER IX.

AT BAYOU GENTILLY--MAY.


After hot weather fairly set in not much time was occupied in drill at
Gentilly Camp. When the many details for regular camp and extra duty
had been provided, there were few men left to go on drill. Most of the
drills were by company, after Companies A and F had been detached.
Previous to that time a battalion drill was in order every morning,
after guard-mounting, either in command of the lieutenant-colonel or
the major.

On the seventh General Sherman inspected the regiment in camp and
the detachments at Batteries Gentilly and St. John. The number of
men under inspection was not large, but they looked well and in good
condition. The next day, eighth, to relieve the dull routine of camp
life, Companies B and E, then remaining in camp, were marched along the
Ponchartrain Railroad to Lakeport, there joined by men from Companies A
and F, and an exhibition dress parade gone through with. After lying in
the close camp at the bayou, this change, even for a short time, to the
cool breezes of the lake shore, was very agreeable.

Orders were received at 9.15 A.M., May 9th, from division
headquarters, for all men that could be mustered of the detached
portions of the second division to immediately report, in heavy
marching order, on Canal Street, in New Orleans, for review. The
men were at once got under arms and marched into the city, arriving
fifteen minutes too late to take part. One brigade (the Third) was
absent on a reconnoissance; only the First and Second Brigades were in
line. They made a handsome appearance. The One Hundred and Sixty-Fifth
New York Infantry (Second Duryea Zouaves), Lieutenant-Colonel Smith in
command, carried off the honors for best condition in everything.

Various rumors were in circulation in the city about this review, some
people insisting upon it that the army under General Banks had fallen
back from the Teche campaign, and the troops under review were a part
of that army. Others said that General Banks had met with a bad defeat,
and the troops were under orders to reënforce him. Numerous citizens
industriously asked questions of the men at every opportunity; but, to
give credit where it is due, the news they received must have puzzled
if it did not mislead them. The men got the hang very quickly of what
they were after, and acted accordingly. If instructions had been issued
to cover such an attempt of the enemy’s spies to obtain information,
they could not have been obeyed any better than was the case.

The true cause of such a hurried review of this division was soon
apparent. General Sherman had received orders to report at Baton Rouge
with two brigades. His three brigades, assigned to the Defences of New
Orleans, were scattered along the various forts and entrances to the
city, while the brigade not on review was distant some thirty miles on
a reconnoissance; yet, in thirty-six hours after receipt of his orders,
General Sherman had been rejoined by his Third Brigade, transferred
some regiments of the Second to the First and Third, leaving the Second
Brigade in the Defences, and was on his way, _via_ the river, to Baton
Rouge with two brigades to join General Augur in a demonstration
against Port Hudson.

During the entire month men at Gentilly Camp and picket-stations on the
lake were kept in a condition to move in twenty-four hours’ notice,
in obedience to an order issued by the division commander. This was
supplemented on the twenty-eighth by a confidential circular issued,
to keep a careful watch and supervision at each camp and post, in such
a manner as not to attract attention or excite alarm. All officers
and men were obliged to remain in camp ready for any duty. Nothing
of importance transpired during this time to furnish a key to these
instructions. Perfect order and quiet reigned within the limits of the
Defences of New Orleans.

Some changes in the commanding officers took place: Colonel Cahill,
Ninth Connecticut Infantry, assumed command of the brigade on the
ninth, and General Emory assumed command of the Defences New Orleans on
the nineteenth.

No changes took place in the stations occupied by the Forty-Second.
Companies A and F remained on picket at the lake. By Department General
Orders, No. 35, issued April 27th, registered enemies of the United
States were ordered, peremptorily, to leave the Department on or
before May 15th. Many of them were sent by the provost-marshal-general
_via_ the lake. This placed extra duty on the men of the Forty-Second
stationed there, as all of their baggage had to be overhauled and
inspected upon the wharf before leaving, and guards furnished to
steamers transporting them to points across the lake and on the Gulf
shore. Large numbers were taken to Madisonville, Manderville, Pass
Christian, Biloxi, Mississippi City, Pascagoula, and to Mobile.

Many captures were made of small boats endeavoring to get across the
lake with supplies for the enemy. The occupants in every case escaped,
for Department General Orders, No. 37, issued April 29th, announced
that any person convicted before the commanding general of furnishing
supplies to the enemy would suffer the penalty of death. In spite of
this order attempts were constantly made, but the parties engaged in
such acts lost no time in taking to the swamps when discovered at it.

The routine of guard and picket duty at this time is explained by the
following letter to General Sherman:


“HEADQUARTERS 42D REGIMENT, MASS. VOLS., “CAMP FARR, BAYOU
GENTILLY, LA., May 5th, 1863.

“_Sir_,--I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your
communication of the fourth instant. I would respectfully report the
following facts concerning the guard duties at the mouth of Bayou
St. John. Captain H. S. Coburn, of Company A, has under his command
at that place: one sergeant, four corporals and thirty privates. He
furnishes three sentinel-posts: one, a picket of three men at the
extreme end of the bayou, who are relieved every twenty-four hours, one
man being on duty all the time; the second post is at the quarters of
the captain, and the third on the drawbridge across the bayou. These
two posts are relieved every two hours by rotation of the men in the
command. This manner of relieving the men at the last two posts is
resorted to on account of the small command and to allow the men good
rest between each tour of duty, for it often happens that six or ten
men are called out in the night on extra duty, either to arrest some
suspicious character or to watch for smugglers of contraband goods. One
non-commissioned officer is detailed each day and has charge of the
guard for the twenty-four hours, and his whole duty is to carefully
observe all that is going on and to relieve the sentinels at proper
hours. The reason of only five men appearing to be on duty at the time
of the inspection was because the balance of the command was in line.

“In reference to the absence of the commanding officer at Bayou St.
John, I have ascertained that he was away on Saturday afternoon at the
lake-end of the bayou.

“Captain Coburn has frequently occasion to visit the office of the
provost-marshal-general, and he had been away that day. It is found
necessary to keep one commissioned officer at the mouth of the bayou
all the time, for the purpose of examining passes, vessels, etc., going
into and out of the bayou. Lieutenant Burrell has been in the habit
of aiding Captain Coburn at times when he was in the city, and he was
absent that day for this purpose, Captain Coburn having returned from
General Bowen’s office a short time previous to your visit.

“Lieutenant Burrell has at Battery St. John thirty men. In reference
to the absence of ten of his men, he reports as follows: two were away
at Camp Farr for rations; three were at the lake-end of the bayou for
a few days on account of sickness, and the surgeon considered a change
good for them; two were in the city for a few hours on a pass; the
remaining three were absent for a short time preparing a boat for use,
in duty at the bayou.

“In regard to the strength of the guards within my command and the
posts, I would respectfully report as follows:

“I have in this camp two companies for duty, viz., B and E. The number
of effective enlisted men by this day’s report is one hundred and
eighteen; commissioned officers, five. At this camp and from these
companies I mount a daily guard, consisting of one commissioned
officer, five non-commissioned officers and twenty-seven privates.
This guard furnishes nine sentinel-posts. Five of these posts are a
camp-guard, one at headquarters, one over the quartermaster’s stores,
one at the crossing of the Ponchartrain Railroad and the Gentilly road,
and one picket-station on the railroad in the direction of the city.

“At Battery Gentilly, near this camp, I have a detachment of Company A,
consisting of one commissioned officer, two sergeants, three corporals
and twenty privates. This detachment mans the guns, and for a guard
mounts each day one non-commissioned officer and six men, furnishing
two sentinel-posts: one on the parapet over the guns, and one as a
picket-guard on the railroad and to prevent people from passing within
the lines of the fort.

“At Lakeport Company F is stationed, under command of Captain J. D.
Cogswell. He has at the present time eighty effective men, including
non-commissioned officers. For a guard he mounts daily twelve men,
having four sentinel-posts: two of these posts are on the wharf, for
the purpose of observing all that transpires within sight on the lake
and to detain all boats and persons from leaving the wharf without a
proper pass; the second is at the entrance to the wharf, to keep order
in the day-time, and to keep all persons from the wharf after nine
p.m.; the third post is a picket-post and is rather more than a mile
from the village, on the shore of the lake, at the “White House,” so
called, for the purpose of observing all that transpires within sight
of the lake, and to stop smugglers, etc.

“Besides these he sends a picket of six men and one sergeant to Bayou
Cashon (eight miles distant), and these are relieved weekly. This
picket is supplied with a small boat and sail, and can thus have
communication with the commanding officer at any time.

“The schooner _Hortense_ is sent to this picket-station every other day
with fresh water and rations. In addition to the above sentinels and
pickets, one corporal and four men are kept on the schooner _Hortense_
at all times, ready for duty; also, two picket-boats have each a picked
crew of one non-commissioned officer and two men, ready for duty at any
time; at night they cruise back and forth (one on each side), from a
point off the end of the wharf to points two miles from the wharf, for
the purpose of intercepting smugglers of contraband goods.

“I believe the number of sentinels and location of all the posts in my
command have now been stated, and I respectfully submit this report.

“I have neglected to state the number of sentinels at Battery St. John.
At that place a daily guard of two privates and one non-commissioned
officer is detailed. This guard is increased by one man every night.
The first post is upon the bridge on the west side, the second upon the
bridge on the east side of the fort; the extra man at night is placed
on the parapet over the guns.

“I have the honor to remain,

  “Respectfully, your obedient servant,
  “J. STEDMAN, _Lieutenant-Colonel_,
  “_commanding 42d Regt., Mass. Vols._


  “TO CAPTAIN WICKHAM HOFFMAN, _A. A. General_,
  “_Second Division, 19th Army Corps, New Orleans_.”

From the main camp at the bayou various details of men were made for
all sorts of duty:

On the seventeenth--Company E proceeded to New Orleans and acted as
a funeral escort to the remains of Captain Albert Coan, Company A,
Twelfth Maine, who was buried from the St. James Hospital.

On the nineteenth--Sergeant Turner, Corporals Lowey and Turner, and
seven privates of Company B, Corporal Lovly and five privates of
Company E, in heavy marching order, relieved a guard of the One
Hundred and Sixty-Fifth New York at the University Hospital, on Baronne
Street, New Orleans; relieved in turn, on the twenty-seventh, by
Sergeant Emerson, Corporal Southworth and six privates of Company E,
and Corporals Fales, Wales, and six privates of Company B.

On the twenty-second--Two corporals and two privates from Company E,
with four privates from Company B, were detailed for guard duty at the
headquarters of General Emory, in the city.

The extra-duty detailed men were few:

May 13th--Corporal Henry Mellen, Company E, was made orderly at brigade
headquarters, serving until relieved in July.

May 24th--Private Frank A. Smith, Company F, was made orderly at
brigade headquarters, serving until relieved in July.

April 28th--Private Chauncey K. Bullock, Company D, was placed on duty
as hostler at brigade headquarters until relieved May 19th.

Some men of the paroled camp, to vary the tedium of their life, began
to trespass upon private property in the neighborhood. It was trivial
in its nature, but, on complaint being made, orders were issued, April
1st, to stop such trespassing. This order not having the desired
effect, a Board of Inquiry was held May 10th, at the paroled camp, to
ascertain the basis of complaints that were made of destruction of
fences and depredations upon property. The result was to locate the
breach of orders on a few unprincipled paroled men, and to clearly
establish that the greater number were behaving in a most praiseworthy
manner.

On the seventeenth of June Privates Thomas F. Igo, Thomas P. Contillon
and Thomas Dellanty, paroled men of Company I, were placed in arrest
on a charge of disturbing persons and property near the camp; the only
cases where discipline had to be enforced to stop it.

The bad feeling displayed by the Ninth Connecticut men at Lakeport
towards Company F was renewed by men of that regiment detailed for
provost-guard in New Orleans, towards men from the Forty-Second who
were in the city on furlough. It culminated in a cowardly attack on
Sergeant Waterman, Company D, and was the cause of another complaint
being made on the twelfth of May, this time to the provost-marshal. The
facts are set forth in the following letter:


“HEADQUARTERS FORTY-SECOND MASS. VOLS., “CAMP FARR, BAYOU
GENTILLY, LA., May 12th, 1863.

“_Sir_,--I would respectfully bring to your notice and attention the
manner in which one of the members of the provost-guard treated several
enlisted men of this command after having demanded their passes, seen
them, and pronounced them correct. The circumstances are as follows:

“Orderly-Sergeant Waterman, Sergeants Hewins and Sawyer, Corporal
Merrill, and two privates of this regiment, paroled but unexchanged
prisoners of war, were in New Orleans on Saturday, the ninth inst., for
the purpose of witnessing the brigade review on that day, and, when
coming down St. Charles Street, a soldier with a musket stopped them
and demanded their passes; they were shown and pronounced correct.
This man, representing himself as a member of the patrol, made some
insulting remarks to Orderly-Sergeant Waterman and then seized him by
the throat, whereupon the sergeant shook him off. The patrol then fixed
his bayonet and charged upon Sergeant Waterman, striking him in the
breast and inflicting a slight flesh wound, at the same time calling
the sergeant ’a d--n son of a b--h’; at this point an officer came
across the street and sent the whole party away. Up to the time of the
officer making his appearance no other members of the patrol had been
seen by any of the party alluded to, and the man who stopped them had
no stripes or insignia of office on his clothing. The name of this
patrol has since been ascertained to be Corporal James Gibbens, Company
I, Ninth Connecticut Volunteers.

“The same day of the above occurrence Sergeant Waterman went up to
the square to learn the name of the man who had assaulted him, and
the lieutenant who commanded the guard that day refused to give it to
him. After his interview with the lieutenant, this man, Gibbens, came
along, and seizing Sergeant Waterman by the collar pushed him out of
the square, at the same time calling him ‘a nine-months’ conscript son
of a b--h,’ also using much profane language. Other members of Gibbens’
company stood looking on, advising him to kick the sergeant, break
his head, etc. All this time Sergeant Waterman did not resist in any
manner, or make any retaliatory reply.

“I believe that I can prove that said Gibbens has several times before
this stopped soldiers in the street and demanded their passes, even
when he had no arms and was entirely unaccompanied by any patrol or
member of the provost-guard. Trusting that this matter may receive a
rigid investigation,

“I have the honor to remain,

  “Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
  “J. STEDMAN, _Lieutenant-Colonel_,
  “_commanding 42d Regt., Mass. Vols._


  “TO MAJOR VON HERMAN,
  “_commanding Provost-Guard, New Orleans_.”

The provost-marshal promised to look into the affair and report what
was done about it. Nothing further was heard about the matter.

With warm weather rapidly setting in, the unacclimated officers and men
of the Forty-Second began to swell the sick list. Assistant-Surgeon
Hitchcock, in charge of the regimental hospital, had been ordered to
Berwick Bay on special duty April 19th, where a large number of sick
and convalescent men from the army operating in the Teche district
were in hospitals. On his departure, Assistant-Surgeon Heintzelman
assumed charge of the regimental hospital at Bayou Gentilly, with the
following organization: Private Charles H. Warren, Company F, acting
hospital-steward; Private Thomas M. Lewis, Company D, ward-master;
Private James Mitchell, Company B, nurse; Private William F. Lacount,
Company F, nurse; Private Edwin Rycroft, Company K, nurse; Private John
W. Robinson, Company K, nurse; Private Hiram B. Douglass, Company K,
nurse; Private William Harris, Jr., Company I, cook; Private Archibald
McDollen, Company E, cook. The arrangements of the hospital under
Surgeon Heintzelman were excellent. He won the good opinion of all the
men, with the exception of those who failed to play their points upon
him by playing sick. His experience and knowledge promptly detected all
such cases at surgeon’s call in the morning; the men being promptly
returned back to their companies as fit for duty. These qualities
in any officer never fails to command the good will, respect and
confidence of the majority of men over whom he has control, for they
feel that no shirks can cause extra duty to fall on other shoulders,
because they cannot successfully evade it.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman and Major Stiles were on the sick list; the
major in May and through June. Lieutenant Harding recovered and went
to Port Hudson, May 25th, to join his company.

At the close of May there was present for duty, under orders of
the lieutenant-colonel, seventeen officers and three hundred and
fifty-seven men. Sick in regimental hospital, twenty-five men; and
in quarters, ten men. The average sick per day for the month had
been: taken sick, four; returned to duty, four; sick in hospital,
twenty-four; sick in quarters, thirteen. On the seventeenth there were
fifteen men of Company K in hospital, and on the twenty-third seventeen
men of that company; nine of them were returned to duty on the
twenty-sixth. About all sickness this month was among the men on duty.
The paroled prisoners were in good health. Only one man of Company D
was in hospital May 31st. Companies G and I did not have a case.

One death occurred. Private John H. Cary, Company G, May 6th, from
delirium tremens, and he was buried near the camp. The case of Private
Cary was the result of hard drinking. His body was found, badly
decomposed, in the swamp by the roadside, not far from camp, on the
thirteenth of May. Cary had been a hard drinker ever since his return
from Texas, and shown such symptoms of delirium as to cause a watch to
be kept on him. On the evening of the sixth he managed to get out of
his tent without attracting the attention of any one, and immediately,
it would seem, took to the swamp in the place where found, and there
died. He was missed soon after disappearing, and for a week diligent
search was made to find him. An impure odor, caused by decomposition
of the body, attracted the attention of some members of the regiment
passing by upon the road; they searched the swamp and found him. He
was sitting at the foot of a tree, grasping with both hands the
roots, with his legs immersed in mud almost to the knees. Thick bushes
bordering on the swamp edge, by the roadside, screened him from being
seen and prevented an earlier discovery. Cary was put in a box by the
help of an old colored man, called John, who chopped wood in the camp.
No one else could be induced to touch the body; but old John said: “I
not afraid of a ’Yankee’ soger, sah! No sah, dead or alive, sah!” The
remains were buried the same day with appropriate ceremonies.

This negro, John, was a camp follower from the time the regiment went
into camp at Gentilly until it embarked for the North. He was formerly
a slave, and lived a long distance from camp, but was always on hand
at reveille, remaining until Peas on a Trencher, doing all the hard
work of camp, splitting wood, getting water, etc., etc., and would work
steady in the hottest sun, with perspiration coming from the pores of
his skin like water. He worked for small pay; for a small sum of money
sang the old religious hymns the negroes in that locality sang at
their prayer meetings, danced as plantation darkies can dance, and was
the jolliest old negro there was in camp. Old John’s wife did a large
amount of washing for the boys, which brought additional picayunes
to his wallet, and, although he made a few bad debts--some of the
unprincipled men taking advantage of his ignorance to cheat him--on the
whole, John made a good living from his labor for the Forty-Second.
His boy was also a hanger-on at camp, but could not be made to do much
work. This boy was a great imitator, and would watch attentively the
drummers at practice, and soon became able to handle a drum with skill.



CHAPTER X.

BAYOU GENTILLY--JUNE--FAREWELL TO GENTILLY CAMP--IN NEW
ORLEANS.


The month of May passed rapidly without the occurrence of any event of
importance to the regiment. With the commencement of June affairs in
the Department began to assume such a shape as to lead officers of the
Forty-Second to think the regiment was to get some service.

Affairs at Port Hudson reached a stage when reënforcements were needed
to maintain the effective strength of the army, and to continue the
siege. Troops from Brashear City and Ship Island were ordered to Port
Hudson, and from Key West and Pensacola to New Orleans, while the small
garrison in the Defences of New Orleans had to be ready for instant
service at all hours. It was evident to all hands the regiment was
about to be concentrated, as far as possible, to be able to meet any
emergency, and soon was it verified.

The detachment at Battery St. John, about sixty men of Company A, was
relieved by a detachment Fifteenth Massachusetts Battery, and returned
to the regiment June 1st. On the third the detachment under Lieutenant
Martin Burrell, Jr., at Battery Gentilly, about twenty men, was also
relieved by a detachment Fifteenth Massachusetts Battery, and returned
to the regiment. On the sixth Companies C and H marched into camp
with about one hundred and forty men, from Camp Parapet, having been
relieved from engineer service. With the exception of a detachment
Company A, about forty men, at Lake-end Bayou St. John, Company F at
Lakeport, and Company K at Port Hudson, the regiment was again united.

Upon receipt of orders from brigade headquarters to draw as many
men as possible from the post at Lakeport, in case the regiment was
ordered to move, leaving only a small picket-guard upon the Lake shore
and a camp-guard to look after regimental property and the hospital
at Gentilly, drills were immediately resumed to an extent allowed by
hot weather, and inspections made to see if every man was in proper
condition for duty. All parades of ceremony, drill and guard-mounting
had to be made before eight o’clock A.M. or after six o’clock
P. M. The sentinels had to have sun shelters erected, or were
posted in the shade so far as practicable.

The exact state of affairs was not generally known. A majority of
the men refused to believe that any danger existed, or that the
regiment would do any field duty, arguing that concentration meant the
regiment was to proceed home promptly on the expiration of its time of
enlistment, June 25th, as they claimed. This was not so, and could not
be.

At this time the entire Second Brigade, Second Division, Nineteenth
Corps, composed of two New York batteries, three Massachusetts
batteries, not equipped, one squadron cavalry, the Twenty-Sixth,
Forty-Second and Forty-Seventh Massachusetts Infantry, Ninth
Connecticut Infantry, a detachment One Hundred and Seventy-Fifth New
York Infantry and Twenty-Eighth Maine Infantry, with some smaller
detachments of troops, composed the garrison in New Orleans and
its defences, who were under standing orders to be ready to move
immediately with one hundred rounds of ammunition to each infantry-man.

On the ninth, after a mixed detachment of one hundred men under
Captain Cook had left camp for Brashear City, everybody woke up and
began to think there was music in the air, causing them to feel anxious
for something to come next. Their anxiety was increased when Captain
Cook and Lieutenant Clifford reported at the regimental hospital on
sick leave, and told what a hole the detachment was in.

The case of Captain Cook was singular. Other than a thick-coated
tongue, the captain did not show any signs or symptoms of illness.
He did not go into the hospital, but lived in his company tent, ate
heartily, and acted in every way like a well man. Surgeon Heintzelman
said, as his private opinion, that the case was one of fright. It is
true that Captain Cook did not do any more duty during the regiment’s
term of service, but remained on the sick list.

Two men were noticed lurking around camp on the nineteenth, and were
recognized by some of the paroled men as Texans from the Confederate
army. They were arrested, and claimed to have left the service and had
taken the oath of allegiance. As General Emory had issued orders on the
fourteenth to arrest and send to him any person found lurking around
the forts or intrenched positions, they were sent to his headquarters
for examination. What became of them is not known.

Positive information having been received that the enemy was raiding
on the west bank of the river and threatened to cut communication with
Brashear City, on the nineteenth all troops of the Second Brigade
were again ordered to have two days cooked rations on hand, and be
in readiness to move any moment, and Colonel Cahill was ordered to
concentrate the brigade as much as possible. All officers and men, of
all arms, whether on detached service, provost duty, or other duty,
were under orders to hold themselves ready to move, with cooked
rations and one hundred rounds each man. All outlying companies were to
be ready to move into the city at a moment’s notice, except the guard
over prisoners at Algiers and the troops at Pass Manchac. All leaves of
absence were absolutely stopped, and every officer and man obliged to
remain at their quarters.

By the sudden departure of all available troops at New Orleans to
reënforce Colonel Stickney at La-Fourche Crossing, orders were received
at noon on the twenty-first, at the Forty-Second camp, to immediately
report in Lafayette Square to General Emory, in heavy marching order.
The picket-posts at Lakeport and Bayou St. John were also ordered to be
weakened, that as many men as possible should join the regiment. At two
P.M., having packed baggage and struck camp, leaving behind
the surplus baggage, a hospital-guard and the paroled men of Companies
D, G and I, the regiment proceeded by rail to the city, with a total
effective strength of about two hundred men.

On first receipt of marching orders a general impression prevailed
in the ranks that they were _en-route_ for Port Hudson. The prospect
of active field duty was hailed by every one with feelings of lively
satisfaction. After lying inactive in camp for nearly the whole term of
enlistment everybody thought the regiment was to see a little service
before going home, and perhaps taste powder in a different way than
by biting cartridges when loading for guard duty. These feelings were
dispelled on arriving at Lafayette Square, where the regiment was
ordered to take possession of the Ninth Connecticut Infantry camp and
to do provost duty in the city; a few days after joined by a detachment
Twenty-Eighth Maine Infantry, from Camp Parapet.

All convalescent men and stragglers in the city capable of bearing arms
were collected together and made ready for duty in case of necessity.
Private instructions were given Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, by General
Emory, to have every available man in quarters ready for any emergency
at a moment’s notice. The regiment was kept so, for there could not
have been over five hundred soldiers in the city from the twenty-first
to the twenty-sixth.

The city was remarkably quiet at this time. Movements of the troops
were made so quietly the citizens were not aware of what was going on.
There was no indication among the populace that the enemy were near, or
expected to get near. Some of them must have been aware of it, but gave
no outward sign.

When the enemy ceased to seriously menace New Orleans, on the
twenty-sixth, most of the troops at Boutee Station, on the Opelousas
Railroad, returned to the city, including a part of the detachment
Forty-Second, in command of Lieutenant Tinkham, and the Ninth
Connecticut Volunteers. They brought with them a small number of Texan
prisoners, who looked more like Mexicans than Americans. They looked
clean, were well clothed in loose-fitting trousers and jackets of gray
cloth, with large, slouchy-looking, gray felt hats. Their blankets,
carried slung over the shoulder, were of the best quality, in fact,
better than those in use by men of the Forty-Second. The complexion of
these prisoners was quite dark, and they had a savage look in their
faces.

Some slight disturbances, soon quieted, occurred between men of the
Ninth Connecticut and Forty-Second Massachusetts, growing out of
disputes as to who should occupy the tents in Lafayette Square. On this
occasion the Ninth Connecticut again behaved in a disgraceful manner,
more like rowdies and bullies than soldiers, and it appeared as though
the line officers had no control over their men.

The Forty-Second marched back to its old camp-ground at Bayou
Gentilly, five miles in a hot sun, on the afternoon of June 27th. Camp
was put in order and arrangements made for a long stay, the picket-post
detachments rejoined their stations, when, the next morning,
twenty-eighth, orders were received, by a mounted orderly, to report
at once in the city at the Custom House and occupy quarters vacated by
the Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts Infantry. The entire regiment, with the
exception of small detachments left on picket-stations, arrived at the
Custom House during the afternoon.

This was a final farewell to Bayou Gentilly. The duty detachments left
behind on this second breaking up of this camp were: two sergeants,
four corporals and thirteen men of Company A, under Captain Coburn
(who was not in condition for field duty), on picket at Bayou St.
John; four sergeants, three corporals and thirty-four men of Company F
on picket at Lakeport; Private Rufus C. Greene, Company G, placed on
detached service June 25th, in command of picket-schooner _Hortense_;
a hospital-guard of one sergeant, two corporals, and eighteen men of
Company A. These picket-posts, the Gentilly Camp and paroled men were
under command of Major Stiles, then not well and unfit for active duty.
There were fifty-eight men under the surgeon’s care June 28th; twelve
were returned to duty, and there was left, when the regiment moved,
twenty-six men sick in hospital and twenty men sick in quarters.

The accommodations for troops at the Custom House were not good, and
it seems a pity and a shame men were obliged to occupy such dark, damp
and feverish quarters for any length of time. No surgeon could sanction
the quartering of troops in the manner they were placed at this Custom
House, except under the most pressing circumstances. The men were
distributed in quarters, the guard of the Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts
relieved, and by sunset the Forty-Second was in full possession of the
New Orleans Custom House, with regimental headquarters established in
a room formerly occupied by Major-General Butler. A few officers, who
did not like their quarters, provided for themselves elsewhere in the
neighborhood. This could not be tolerated at the time, owing to the
peculiar position of affairs; General Emory insisted on all officers
quartering with their men.

At midnight, on the twenty-ninth, the long-roll called the regiment to
arms, and crossing Algiers Ferry to Algiers, a reconnoissance was made
for some miles to find the enemy’s cavalry, reported to be on the river
road below that town. None were found, or any traces of them, and at
eight o’clock A.M. next day the regiment was back in quarters
again. On this occasion Company C was thrown out in skirmishing order
to move down the road and over fields that bordered on a woody swamp,
and here they first discovered those watermelon patches which they
afterwards despoiled of the luscious fruit. That night march, who can
forget it? Awakened from a sound sleep, clothes and equipments put on
quick, ferried across to Algiers, and then marched down a lonely road
for several miles on a hunt for an imaginary foe. Lucky was the man
who wore his overcoat, for the air was damp and chilly, though it was
in June. Every sentry on guard at storehouses along the river front of
Algiers was dressed in his great-coat; experience had taught them to
fear the treacherous midnight air.

An effort was made by General Banks to reënlist men from the nine
months’ troops for one, two, or three years, at their option. For some
reason it was not successful. From the Forty-Second the only man who
reënlisted was Musician Bernard McKenna, Company C, who was discharged
May 25th to reënlist as a bugler in the Twenty-Sixth New York Battery.
The same date, Lewis Eddy, drummer in Company D, was discharged by
Department orders, and returned home.

In connection with this reënlistment attempt, more men from the
Forty-Second would have done so but were unable, on account of
disqualifications or irregularity on the part of recruiting officers.
Privates Diomede Roseline, Company G, Luigi Briana, Company D, and John
Brown, Company G, offered to enlist in a battalion called the First
Louisiana Sharpshooters. Roseline and Brown were under parole and could
not do so until duly exchanged, and Briana was not a member of the
regiment. Somebody had given an _alias_ to Captain Salla, commanding
the First Louisiana; who it was could not be ascertained. Privates
Charles Slattery and George Ward, Company C, were claimed by Lieutenant
Whitaker, Second Rhode Island Cavalry, as having reënlisted in that
regiment, but they changed their minds before they could be mustered in.

At the close of June there was present for duty in New Orleans, twelve
officers and three hundred and eighty-two men. Sick in hospital and
quarters, five officers and forty-six men. Twenty-nine of the men were
in the regimental hospital at Bayou Gentilly. The officers sick and not
on duty were: Adjutant Davis, Captain Cook, Company B, Captain Emerson,
Company E, and Lieutenant Tinkham, Company B. Adjutant Davis was absent
from June 25th to July 9th; Lieutenant Powers, who was relieved from
charge of the paroled camp by Major Stiles, acted as adjutant during
that time.

The average sick per day for the month had been: taken sick, five;
returned to duty, four; sick in hospital, twenty-one; sick in quarters,
thirteen.

The extra-duty details for June were:

June 8th--Sergeant T. M. Turner, Company B, and Sergeant George Bell,
Company C, as color-bearers.

June 8th--Privates Everett A. Denny, Company E, and John A. Paige,
Company B, as clerks at headquarters Defences of New Orleans. Private
Paige returned to his company for duty June 26th.

June 14th--Corporal Alfred Thayer was made chief-wagoner, _vice_
Wagoner John Willy, Company B, ordered to his company. Private George
A. Davis, Company D, on duty in Company E, was made wagoner. Private
Warren A. Clark, Company B, was made wagoner.

The deaths in June were:

June 5th--Private Nelson Wright, Company E, typhoid fever.

June 13th--Private Buckley Waters, Company E, chronic diarrhœa.

June 19th--Private Lewis E. Wales, Company B, typhoid fever.

June 30th--Private Benjamin Gould, Company G, congestion of the brain.

The case of Private Waters was not considered fatal up to the time of
his death. The surgeons were inclined to think he was suffering more
from home-sickness than disease. He died quietly in the evening, as the
glee club, composed of Sergeant Hunt, Company I, Sergeant Waterman,
Company D, Quartermaster Burrell, and Lieutenant Powers, Company F,
were singing an appropriate song in the headquarters office, adjoining
the hospital ward. They did not know that Waters was dying, and when
the nurse asked some one in the ward to stop it Waters requested them
not to do so, as he preferred to listen to the song.

Notwithstanding the general orders issued April 24th by General
Sherman, to prevent sending North bodies of deceased persons until
after decomposition had ceased, in order to prevent any quarantine to
Government vessels, the bodies of Privates Nelson Wright and Lewis E.
Wales were prepared and partially embalmed by the regimental surgeons
for transportation home.

The operation was performed in the rear of the hospital, a guard being
posted to prevent men from coming near who had curiosity to witness it.
The skin upon the chest was first cut, and after removing a small bone
in the upper part was laid back upon each side a sufficient distance
for work. Interior parts of the chest were then taken out and examined,
followed by removing the bowels; the vacant space thus left was filled
with charcoal, the skin replaced and sewed together. The body was then
packed in liquor, with the heart separate, and was ready to be sent
home. The parts of bodies removed were properly buried. This process is
similar to that of dressing cattle for market.

Private Wright, according to the surgeons’ testimony who examined his
lungs, could not have lived much more than a year longer, as they were
diseased.

Of those men who were curious to witness these operations, some would
stand, eyes wide open, with no evidence of any feeling more than
of wonder that the surgeons could handle their knives with so much
composure; others would evince so much interest and desire to get near,
in order to learn such secrets of the human system as they could, that
they troubled the guards; while others had a look of sorrow on their
countenances, and after a short stay would saunter slowly away in deep
thought. No man knew whether he would or not be treated in the same
manner in case he sickened and died.

Bodies sent home were invariably escorted a certain distance from camp
by the regular Guard of Honor detail, according to the rank held
by the deceased, with arms reversed, followed by the regiment with
side arms, as mourners, the band playing a dirge. On arrival at the
prescribed distance three volleys were fired over the remains, when
the regiment marched back to camp, while the body was carried to New
Orleans in an ambulance, attended by a few members of the company to
which the deceased belonged, and put aboard some steamer for New York.
In all such cases burial service was held in front of the hospital, in
presence of the regiment.

The dead that were buried near camp were escorted to the grave, and
burial service held there. After the service all passed around the
coffin to take a last look of the remains before committal to the
earth. Burials were solemn occasions, and it was plain to see such
scenes were not without some influence on the men. He must be a
hardened man who can gaze upon the remains of a departed comrade,
perhaps a few weeks and sometimes only days before as full of life
and hope as himself, but now cold, rigid and at rest, without some
mysterious sensation creeping over him. The chances were that any one
was as likely in a short time to be an inhabitant of the same ground as
the one just buried.

All coffins were made of pine board, painted a dark brown color, filled
with shavings on which to rest the body. They were very good for the
kind, and answered the purpose for which they were intended. Each
grave was marked with a head-board, on which was inscribed the name of
deceased, rank, company, regiment, age, and time of death.

Privates John H. Cary, Benjamin Gould, and Sergeant Philip P. Hackett,
of Company G, Private Buckley Waters, Company E, Private Rufus G.
Hildreth, Company C, and Private Thomas J. Clements, Company H, were
buried at Bayou Gentilly. Their graves were situated near three large
oak trees, between them and the swamp, at the end of the Gentilly
race-course, looking towards it from the Ponchartrain Railroad. Some
three or four soldiers of a native guard regiment (Union colored
troops) were also buried at the same spot.

Chaplain Sanger officiated at these burial services. His remarks
were generally to the point and well delivered. A brief resume of
the deceased soldier’s life, as far as known, was usually given, and
a prayer offered for his relations. The chaplain always attended to
notifying relations of their loss, forwarding the personal effects, any
rings or valuables, together with locks of hair taken from the person
before burial. This duty was done well and conscientiously. It is not
pleasant, however, to record that Chaplain Sanger was not popular with
the command. A feeling was first manifested by the Galveston prisoners,
and by them communicated to the rest of the regiment. The only reason
for this, so far as could be ascertained, was that they did not like
his behavior when the prisoners were marched from Texas to the Union
lines. They accused him of neglect to their sick and suffering when he
should have at least tried to do something for them; of currying favor
with the Confederate officers in such a manner to lead them to suppose
he was deficient in manly bearing.

On this march Chaplain Sanger was sick with diarrhœa, and remained so
for some time after reaching regimental headquarters, a fact sufficient
to account for any lack of energy he did display. He always spoke well
of the men, was anxious to do for their good and to gain their esteem.
That he did not do so was a misfortune for both. Many regarded the
chaplain as ranking among some of the best that left Massachusetts.
Except a rather quick temper, his personal behavior was in keeping with
his profession.

Private William F. Lacount, Company F, a hospital nurse, acted as
chaplain on Sundays from the time the regiment arrived in Louisiana,
in December, until Chaplain Sanger returned with the paroled men,
afterwards conducting divine service on the Sabbath at the paroled
camp; the chaplain officiating at the regimental camp. It was thought
proper to have these separate services on account of the feeling
prevalent. Private Lacount deserves much credit, more than he
received, for the able and intelligent manner in which he performed
these volunteer duties. He displayed a true Christian spirit and was
satisfied in doing good.



CHAPTER XI.

BRASHEAR CITY.

ON ACTIVE SERVICE--ACTION OF JUNE TWENTY-THIRD--CAPTURED--PAROLED
AND RETURNED TO ALGIERS.


Colonel Cahill, Ninth Connecticut Infantry, commanding Second Brigade,
Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, issued, June 9th, 1863, Special
Orders No. 97, for Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman to have Company B, with
details from other companies sufficient to make the full strength three
officers and one hundred men, with one day’s cooked rations in the
haversacks and at least forty rounds of ammunition to each man, proceed
at once to Algiers and report to Captain Schenck, ordnance officer
at the New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western Railroad depot, for
transportation to Brashear City, and there report to Lieutenant-Colonel
Stickney, Forty-Seventh Massachusetts Infantry, commanding the post.

Regimental Special Orders No. 107 were immediately issued, detailing
Sergeant Charles L. Truchon, Corporal Francis N. Luce and eighteen
privates of Company E, Corporals Charles M. Marden, ---- Smith and
twenty-three privates of Company H, Corporal John F. Cushing and eleven
privates of Company A, to report to Captain Cook, commanding Company B.
The lieutenants who accompanied the detachment were First-Lieutenant
Benjamin C. Tinkham and Second-Lieutenant Joseph C. Clifford, both of
Company B.

In heavy marching order this detachment left Gentilly Camp about
half-past two o’clock the same afternoon orders were issued, and took
the train for New Orleans, proceeding at once to Algiers, where a train
made up of box and platform cars carried the men to Brashear City.
They started about five o’clock and arrived about midnight, after a
tiresome ride of eighty miles. In passing through New Orleans to the
Algiers Ferry suspicious actions of two privates in the detachment were
noticed, and Sergeant T. M. Turner, Company B, was ordered to keep in
the rear and watch them, to prevent their desertion, an object they
evidently had in view.

When General Banks made his first campaign through the Teche country
towards Red River, in April and May, 1863, a garrison was left at
Brashear City, and Berwick on the opposite side of the Atchafalaya
River; Colonel Walker, Fourth Massachusetts Infantry, in command of the
post, with his own regiment, and the Sixteenth New Hampshire Infantry
forming a part of the garrison. The post was a base of supplies for the
army in the field, and contained general hospitals to relieve the field
hospitals of sick and wounded men, who are always sent to the rear as
fast as possible. Naturally, a large amount of army material would
accumulate at such a post.

From Algiers to La-Fourche the posts upon the railroad line were
occupied by the Twenty-Third Connecticut Infantry, and the posts
from Terrebonne to Brashear were in charge of the One Hundred and
Seventy-Sixth New York Infantry.

All was quiet at these various posts until the latter part of May,
the detachments on duty having what soldiers call “a soft thing.” On
the twenty-first of May Colonel Chickering, commanding Forty-First
Massachusetts Infantry, and other troops, convoying an immense train
of six hundred wagons, three thousand horses and mules, one thousand
five hundred head of cattle, with six thousand negro camp followers,
who expected to locate on Government plantations in La-Fourche and
adjoining parishes, left Barre’s Landing at daybreak on the march for
Berwick, where he arrived May 26th, closely followed by the Confederate
forces operating under the command of Major-General “Dick” Taylor. By
the thirtieth all of this force under Colonel Chickering had proceeded
to Port Hudson, including the Fourth Massachusetts and Sixteenth
New Hampshire Regiments. On June 1st Colonel Holmes, Twenty-Third
Connecticut, assumed command of Brashear City, with portions of his
own regiment and that of the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York in
occupancy of the post.

In a few days Colonel Holmes was taken sick, and, as Colonel Nott, One
Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York, was also sick, the command fell
to Lieutenant-Colonel ----, Twenty-Third Connecticut. He, frightened
by the situation of affairs and deficient in nerve, was relieved by
General Emory, who sent Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney from New Orleans
to take command. Stickney was on detached service from his regiment,
having been made inspector-general of the Defences of New Orleans June
6th, with orders to commence a thorough inspection of convalescent and
other camps.

The troops on duty in Brashear under Stickney comprised detachments
from the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York, Twenty-Third
Connecticut and Forty-Second Massachusetts Infantry, Twenty-First
Indiana Artillery, one company of the Corps de’Afrique (colored
troops), and various cavalry squads, in all about six hundred effective
men. Adjutant Whiting, Twenty-Third Connecticut, was post-adjutant;
Quartermaster Kimball, One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York,
post-quartermaster; Lieutenant Kinsley, Forty-Seventh Massachusetts,
was serving as an aide-de-camp.

The post hospital contained many sick and wounded soldiers, who were
removed to New Orleans when able to undergo the journey. At one time
near one thousand convalescent soldiers, capable of bearing arms in
an emergency, were in camp at Brashear. A large amount of baggage,
commissary, quartermaster and medical stores, cannon, arms and
ammunition was stored in various buildings and places. Part of the
baggage and stores was removed to Algiers previous to June 21st.

Passing the night of their arrival in bivouac about the depot, next
day the detachment was ordered by Stickney to quarter in the depot
building, and do picket duty upon the railroad line and guard a water
tank used by locomotives of the road. Excursions across the river to
Berwick were in order almost every day, to drive out cavalry scouts of
the enemy and obtain cattle. The enemy always returned when the way was
clear for them to do so, and an exchange of shots across the river was
of frequent occurrence. The weather was extremely hot. There was some
movement made by the troops each day, with guard, patrol and picket
duty to be done at night. Mosquitos were thick and blood-thirsty enough
to cause refreshing sleep to be an impossibility. With difficulty could
food be obtained to serve out with any semblance of regularity. Food
was plenty, but there was no system in delivering rations. The men were
gradually becoming worn out.

The time and energy of all troops at the post was frittered away in
this manner without any good accruing from it; instead of devoting
the same time and labor to what was absolutely needed, _i. e._, to
prepare defences for use in case of emergency, with plenty of idle
convalescent men at hand capable of rendering assistance, besides a
large number of negroes whose labor could be utilized. No intelligent
attempt was made to organize the convalescent men for service, or to
render efficient a number of field-guns that were in Brashear, posted
on the river front.

The enemy was active in an annoying sort of way across the river,
on the Berwick side, after it had been abandoned by troops of the
garrison, and on the line of the Atchafalaya River. Danger of an
attack existed from the first day of June.[10] The officers of the
Forty-Second detachment soon learned from various sources that the
situation was rather ticklish. Even privates came into possession of
information, from the many negroes in and around Brashear, that the
enemy was up to mischief, and trying to get in between Brashear and New
Orleans, upon the line of railroad.

[10] The official report of General Banks mentions the fact that the
officials at Brashear City were fully warned of danger, by orders,
and the disaster was due to the carelessness and disobedience of
subordinates. General Emory sent word by a steamer (after the telegraph
line was severed) to hold out to the last. The place was captured
before this steamer could arrive.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney was not a man calculated to inspire
confidence as to his military abilities. He had a habit of riding
around, often alone, to give verbal orders for all sorts of petty
things, and to find fault with trifles. As to perfecting the
organization of what troops he had, or establishing any system out of
the chaos that existed, there seems to be but one verdict from those on
duty under him. He did nothing. No one knew what the position of other
bodies of troops would be in case of an attack; no one knew what was
expected or required to be done in case the enemy appeared. No one knew
where to expect support in case of need, or to whom or how to render
such support if wanted. Lieutenant Tinkham reports that there did not
seem to be a head to anything. First-Sergeant Ballou reports that most
of his time was occupied in finding food for the detachment, and that
it appeared to him as though the Forty-Second were visitors who had
remained too long, but did not leave because there was no one to tell
them to go. The testimony of all the observing men is of a like nature.

All the various detachments on duty had no knowledge of each other,
were acting without concert, had never before co-operated, were
entirely destitute of _esprit de corps_, while a half-regiment on duty
would have had all of these essentials, so requisite to a body of men
expected to defend an important post in daily danger of an attack.
It would be safe to say, not in a boastful spirit, had the four or
six companies of the Forty-Second Regiment, in camp at Bayou Gentilly
and at the posts on Lake Ponchartrain, been at Brashear, that place
would not have been lost without a fight of some duration. Under their
own officers, the companies well acquainted with each other and of
excellent material, cohesion and confidence would have existed, that
made a gallant stand not only possible but almost certain. When Sir
John Moore organized and disciplined the British army at Shorncliffe,
it was on the basis of the regimental system. The object of this system
was to make each regiment a living unit, by making officers and men
thoroughly acquainted with each other. This engenders a feeling of
close comradeship which is exemplified even now in the many regimental
reunions that annually take place, where old times are revived and
talked over without regard to present station in life.

The Forty-Second Regiment, since the days of Readville Camp, had shown
on several occasions this feeling of comradeship. The men knew their
officers (some of those officers better than they knew themselves),
and with the companies at Gentilly Bayou were officers who had only
to say what they wanted done, when the men would have done it without
hesitation or fear.

Under the circumstances, as they existed, the congregation of troops at
Brashear could not be expected to have done any better than they did.

June 14th Captain Cook obtained sick leave, and returned to the
regiment at Bayou Gentilly. The men said, “his boots hurt him.” This
hit can be appreciated by those who remember the elaborate high-top
boots the captain was wont to wear. June 18th Lieutenant Clifford and
a few enlisted men did the same thing. Lieutenant Clifford suggested
to Lieutenant Tinkham how easily he could obtain sick leave also, if
he desired; but Tinkham refused to entertain such an idea, preferring
to stand by his men, and remained, the only commissioned officer with
the detachment. The same day Clifford left, Sergeant Albert L. Clark,
Company B, then at Gentilly, was ordered to his company at Brashear. In
view of what subsequently happened, it seems a pity that two officers
from the regiment of sound judgment and undoubted courage were not
ordered to Brashear also.

The most extended scout in which any part of the detachment
participated was on June 17th, when the steamer _Kepper_ and gunboat
_Hollyhock_, three guns, which had arrived on the sixteenth, carried a
company One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York, a few cavalry, and a
detachment Forty-Second Massachusetts, under Lieutenant Clifford, the
entire force in command of a captain, One Hundred Seventy-Sixth New
York, for a trip up the Bayou Teche to Pattersonville, on a foraging
expedition. This expedition started at four o’clock in the morning. On
landing, a skirmish line was formed and marched inland from the bayou.
The line was then swung around in half-circle form, driving in all live
stock that was found, aggregating some one hundred head of horses,
mules, and cattle of all kinds. The day was, as usual, extremely hot,
and when they arrived on the bayou the cattle were allowed a rest
previous to attempting to make them take the water and be swum across.
When a large bull had been caught, and by aid of boat and rope pulled
into the water, with an encouraging prospect that the rest would
follow, word was given by a lookout on the _Hollyhock_, “the enemy’s
cavalry are coming!” The usual exaggerated stories were afloat at once.
The report gained credence that their force was five thousand strong.
A cool head would have known better. As a matter of fact the enemy
was not over one hundred strong, probably nearer fifty men, while the
Federals numbered about one hundred and fifty men.

Ordered to cease work, the troops hastened on board the _Kepper_,
leaving the cattle to roam back to their homes and be picked up by
the planters, who had followed the troops, protesting against taking
their stock, for they were good Union men; at the same time they
undoubtedly conveyed word to the enemy of what was going on. On arrival
at Brashear, about five o’clock in the afternoon, it was found that
quite a number of men were missing. The _Kepper_ took aboard two guns,
as an addition to her small armament, and volunteers were called for,
to go back as a guard and assist in finding the stragglers. Tired and
hungry as they were, without food all day (rations had not been carried
in haversacks), volunteers were numerous. Going back a few miles, an
exchange of shots with the enemy’s cavalry took place. The infantry
upon the _Kepper_ fired away most of their ammunition without doing
any execution, because the Confederate cavalry kept at a respectful
distance. A hail from the right bank of the river disclosed all of the
stragglers, about twenty and mostly New York men, who were taken on
board.

On the way back to Brashear a sad accident happened to a private of the
New York company, who was leaning upon his rifle, when it was by some
accident discharged; the ball entered his head, causing instant death.
There were no other casualties during the day, unless what happened to
Corporal Lowery, of Company B, can be so called. The corporal was out
with a forage party when they came to a high board fence, and instead
of lending a hand to break it down he chose to jump over at a place
that was rather low, to land on the other side in a bee-hive. The bees
stung him badly before he could get away from them. It was sport for
lookers-on, but no fun for the corporal.

On the morning of the twentieth, shortly after midnight, Sergeant
Ballou with twenty men was sent upon the gunboat _Hollyhock_ to assist
in obtaining and removing three heavy cannon that were in battery upon
an island in the river, some few miles below Brashear City, where
an earthwork had been constructed named Fort Chene, garrisoned by a
detachment of the Twenty-First Indiana Artillery, under Lieutenant
Sherfy, and one company, about thirty men, of the One Hundred and
Seventy-Sixth New York, under Lieutenant Kerby. It was understood that,
by orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney, the fort was to be evacuated
and destroyed, and the garrison, with the cannon, was to proceed to
Bayou Bœuff.

Lieutenant Tinkham, with all the business on his hands that one man
would care to undertake, had not been able to obtain any sleep for many
hours, and had just lain down to take some needed rest, immediately
after the detail of men for the gunboat had started, when a train of
cars was run into the depot. Thinking it strange, with his curiosity
aroused to learn what was taking place, caused him to remain wide awake
while the rest of his men slumbered. Very soon after detachments of
the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York and Twenty-Third Connecticut
Infantry, without music, quietly filed into the depot in light marching
order. Still watching what was going on, Stickney approached and wanted
to know why the men of the Forty-Second were not ready to board the
train. No orders had been received to that effect from any source,
and so Tinkham informed him. Stickney disputed this, and curtly gave
the detachment a limited number of minutes to get ready. The time
was extremely short, and without rations the lieutenant with about
fifty men, all there was with him at the time, took the train and
left Brashear City for La-Fourche. Orders were left with the sentries
on duty for Sergeant Ballou to follow as soon as possible with the
balance of the detachment. General Emory had telegraphed from New
Orleans for Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney, with all of his available
force, to proceed to La-Fourche, as the enemy might attempt to sever
communications.

The departure of Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney left Major Anthony,
Second Rhode Island Cavalry, in command of the post. It seems that
Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney, for some trivial matter, had placed
Lieutenant-Colonel Duganne, commanding One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth
New York, under arrest on the sixteenth, but had released him from
arrest on the evening of the eighteenth, with an understanding that
Duganne would report for duty in a few days, that officer pleading
illness as a reason for not returning to duty immediately. Abruptly
ordered away at midnight, before Duganne was on duty, caused Stickney
to place the post in command of Major Anthony, the next senior officer
fit for duty in Brashear. This should not have prevented Duganne, by
virtue of his senior rank, assuming command the next day, twentieth,
when he returned to duty. Lieutenant-Colonel Duganne was in command
of troops in the garrison; Major Anthony was not. Even if Duganne had
done so, that any prompt measures for defence, backed up by pluck and
determination, would have been attempted is very doubtful. The defence
of Bayou Bœuff by this officer answers the doubt.

Major Anthony did not possess the qualities to make a successful
soldier. There were line officers in the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth
New York, on duty under him, more competent to assume command. A
good idea of the kind of soldier Major Anthony was is afforded by an
incident that occurred on a scout made on the Berwick side. Some of the
Forty-Second detachment on this scout, under Captain Cook, inclined
to have some fun out of it, on the sly would dig the pigs in their
vicinity, that were running around loose, with the points of their
bayonets, causing them to give an occasional squeal. To this amusement
the major took exceptions, and because Captain Cook could not detect
men in the act, or cause them to stop, he was threatened with arrest by
the gallant major.

What did it matter if a few pigs were touched up with bayonets? there
was work to do of more importance than to fret and fume over a thing so
insignificant; but so it was with the post-commanders at Brashear in
June, 1863. Instead of bending their energies and giving their time and
thought to the critical situation of affairs, they preferred and did do
nothing but put on airs about trifles.

Sergeant Ballou, with his men, arrived at the depot from Fort Chene
about daylight with the guns. The guard, about twenty men under
Sergeant Turner, that had been sent out early on the morning of the
nineteenth for twenty-four hours duty at the water tank, situated
nearly a mile from the depot upon the railroad line, came in about the
same time. The men were mustered and found to number forty-five.

Everything had the appearance that morning of an intention to vacate
Brashear. The remaining cars, about fifty, mostly box cars, were made
up into a train, with half of them loaded with stores of all kinds, the
other half occupied by all of the men who could go. With the locomotive
_La-Fourche_ attached, it was about four o’clock in the afternoon when
a start was made. Upon stopping at Bayou Bœuff, seven miles out, the
rumor was current there, among the troops and people, that the force
which left Brashear early that morning had been taken prisoners at
La-Fourche, the track torn up, and the enemy waiting for the next train
to come along. The train was run some thirteen miles further and then
stopped near Chucahoula by some whites and blacks, who signalled the
engineer.

As previously instructed, on coming to a stop, one-half of the
troops formed upon each side of the train and awaited orders. No
reconnoissance was made. A Captain Bailey, deputy provost-marshal at
Houma, had arrived at Brashear during the day and reported “rebs” upon
the road between Houma and Tigerville. This report was undoubtedly
true, for the enemy scouted continually upon all of the roads in
La-Fourche Parish; still an armed reconnoissance by the troops might
have developed a fighting chance to get through by a bold dash. As it
was, no enemy was seen, although they may have been in ambush. Most of
the soldiers were chagrined at going back without an attempt to push
through to La-Fourche Crossing, eight miles further on. Telegraphic
communication had been severed between Brashear and La-Fourche during
the day, and the report that a rebel battery and cavalry commanded
the track was accepted as gospel truth by some of the officers, and
in a short time the train was ran back slowly to Brashear, arriving
about ten o’clock the same evening. The Forty-Second detachment again
occupied the depot building, without orders from any source.

Berwick City was shelled, set on fire, and partially destroyed by
the gunboat _Hollyhock_ during the afternoon, after the train left
Brashear. The light of burning buildings was visible to those upon the
train as they were returning. It is supposed that the gunboat commander
considered the evacuation completed when the train started, and that
it would run through without any trouble; then shelling Berwick, in
retaliation for the annoyance from there by the enemy, and taking on
board a few officers and men, had steamed down the river out of the
enemy’s range and there remained to watch further Confederate movements.

A heavy rain-storm set in the next day, Sunday, June 21st, in the
afternoon, continuing that day and all night. Some of the negroes
were armed, equipped, and organized into a company, by a few of the
non-commissioned officers of the Forty-Second detachment. Late in the
afternoon Lieutenant-Colonel Duganne collected all the men of his
regiment he could and proceeded to Bayou Bœuff, in accordance with
an understanding with Major Anthony. Captain Hopkins, with a company
Twenty-Third Connecticut, was stationed at Bayou Ramos, six miles from
Brashear, to guard the railroad bridge. These dispositions appear to
have been foolishly made. They were thus strung seven miles out from
Brashear, without any food supply except what could be daily sent to
them by cars, instead of concentrating at Brashear, where danger
existed, and all of the necessary equipment was on hand for defence and
to subsist, if properly applied.[11]

[11] Duganne, on his arrival at the Bœuff, received information from
Lieutenant Robens, One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York, who was
deputy provost-marshal at Tigerville, that a Union fugitive from
Alexandria had, on the preceding Thursday, informed him that General
Taylor, with fifteen thousand men (how figures do swell as they
travel), was moving down the Teche River for a movement upon New
Orleans.

When Stickney left for La-Fourche with all of the troops not on
duty as guards, pickets, or were straggling, the force of duty men
left behind was quite small. When Duganne went to Bayou Bœuff, this
force was so reduced that there were in Brashear, on the morning of
the twenty-second, the convalescent soldiers, some colored troops,
about one hundred men of the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York
Infantry and Twenty-First Indiana Artillery Regiments at Fort Buchanan,
forty-five men of the Forty-Second Massachusetts at the depot, and
various small squads of guards over property. The fort mounted ten
heavy siege-guns, for use on the water face only, commanding the rivers
Teche and Atchafalaya, from a point above the fort where they make a
junction. These guns were of no use whatever to repel a land attack,
as they could not be swung around. No attempt was ever made to throw
up breastworks to cover the open rear. The only guard against a rear
attack was to station pickets in the wooded swamp.

During the twenty-second, the Forty-Second men subsisted as best they
could, appropriating provisions found in the depot and vicinity. No
orders from any officer were received by Sergeant Ballou, who was
in a quandary as to what he should do. The post-commandant had two
platform cars arranged with a barricade of railroad sleepers, with
two 12 Pr. howitzers mounted upon them. These cars were sent out late
in the morning, under command of Lieutenant Stevenson, One Hundred
and Seventy-Sixth New York, with a small force of infantry acting as
sharpshooters, to reconnoitre upon the railroad. This train returned
in about two hours, after proceeding to Terrebonne, three miles from
La-Fourche, where the enemy was found tearing up rails, and a few shots
exchanged with a battery commanding the track.

About nine o’clock that night, Lieutenant Robens, One Hundred and
Seventy-Sixth New York, was sent by Duganne from Bayou Bœuff to report
to Major Anthony that a scout had brought in the intelligence of boats
seen crossing Lake Pelourde; a movement which threatened both Brashear
and the Bœuff, in the rear, but no steps were taken to meet it.[12]

[12] The Confederates, under Major Hunter, started at six P.M.
on the twenty-second, in forty-eight skiffs and flats, from the mouth
of the Teche, up the Atchafalaya into Grand Lake, where oars were
muffled, and then a pull of about eight hours landed them in rear of
Brashear City.

Near sunrise on the morning of the twenty-third the four-gun
Confederate (Valverde) battery opened fire from Berwick upon the depot
building, situated upon the river front with a wharf attached. A few
solid shot crashed through that structure, and some shells reached
the wharf and convalescent camp. The men under Sergeant Ballou turned
out promptly, attempting to silence the battery by opening fire from
the railroad wharf, but their Springfield smooth-bore guns would not
carry bullets across. The gunboat fired a few rounds and then proceeded
down the river without further effort to silence the battery. Some
Confederate riflemen, in support of the battery, joined in the fun,
blazing away lively, sending some shots well across the water (about
eight hundred yards), without inflicting any serious loss. Of the
Forty-Second, Sergeant Turner, Company B, had a bullet go through his
blouse sleeve at the elbow. An old iron 6 Pr. gun, which was mounted
upon the wharf, trained upon the Berwick side, was put into use without
effect.

About an hour after this amusement commenced a few men of the One
Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York, under Lieutenant Stevenson,
commander of the provost-guard, hauled a 24 Pr. gun, from the river
front below, to the depot, and placed it into position, opening a fire
with shells, which soon caused the Confederate battery to limber up
and get out of the way. At this period there was a mixed assemblage
around the depot, composed, in part, of infantry men belonging to the
Forty-Second, yet Sergeant Ballou received no orders or instructions.
He was ignorant of how matters stood, or the positions of what
few troops remained at the post, and as to any knowledge if the
post-commandant was in existence an unborn child was as learned.

Not long after this, about six o’clock, Privates Lovell and Redmond,
Company A, who were on their regular tour of duty watching the
surrounding country from the cupola of the depot building, saw the
Confederates dash out from the woods between Fort Buchanan and the
convalescent camp. Fort Buchanan was about two miles from the depot,
while the camp was about one-quarter of a mile away. Giving the alarm,
they joined their comrades below. In not over thirty minutes the enemy
was seen coming from the direction of the fort, while some of the
convalescent soldiers ran down from their camp at the same moment,
shouting: “the rebs are coming!”

Major Sherod Hunter (of Baylor’s Texas Cavalry), with a small force
of three hundred and twenty-five Texans (picked men), had got in from
the swamps, situated in rear of the tented camps that were between the
depot and fort, meeting with a slight resistance. Hunter got through
about four o’clock A.M., when, on arrival in view of an
imposing display made by the tents of the convalescent camps and those
occupied by the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York and Twenty-Third
Connecticut, left standing when the men went to La-Fourche and the
Bœuff, with all of their baggage in them, including knapsacks, blankets
and extra clothing, his men fancied a large army was before them, and
fled back to the swamps from whence they came, but Hunter succeeded in
rallying them in season to make the attack as stated.[13]

[13] Major Hunter does not mention this fact in his official report.
His men did say so, however, and it is the enlisted men who state facts
seldom found in official reports. All of the Confederate documents
relating to Brashear City, Bayou Bœuff and La-Fourche are an eulogy of
their own prowess.

When the alarm by the lookout was given, Sergeant Ballou did not know
what to do. Neither himself or the detachment had been under fire at
close quarters. He thought of the train upon the track, loaded and
ready, to be moved to Algiers if an opportunity offered, but could
not find any matches handy with which to fire it. Then he thought of
deploying the men as skirmishers, hold the enemy in check, retreat
gradually, and try to escape capture. Not knowing the country, he
finally concluded to get his men into line upon the railroad track and
do the best he could with them.

What defence was made by other troops seems to have been in the use
of artillery by small detachments, and scattered squads of infantry.
All of these isolated attempts to fight showed good pluck and courage,
a sure sign that if handled properly in a body it would not have
been a holiday affair for the enemy. Captain Cutter, One Hundred and
Seventy-Sixth New York, on the sick list and in hospital, was killed
while rallying men among the tents. The isolated squads of brave
fellows were soon put to flight. Major Anthony had been down to the
depot when the battery opened fire from Berwick, also Captain Noblett,
artillery commander at Fort Buchanan, but both started for the fort
when the dash was made from the woods. Major Anthony got there; Captain
Noblett had his horse shot, was dismounted, and sought refuge in the
hospital. Beyond an endeavor, crowned with success, to get a gun from
the fort into position to use upon the land side, and firing a few
shots, no defence was made by troops in the fort. Lieutenant Stevenson
and his men in charge of the 24 Pr. gun attempted to use it against the
enemy, but were shot down and captured.

The Forty-Second detachment, with a number of other soldiers on duty,
also some convalescent men, took position in a small ditch alongside
the railroad track, behind box cars, while what colored troops were on
the right occupied the barricaded platform cars, and a few men were
left in the depot building to defend the door.

The enemy skirmished up to within ten paces of the train; a skirmish
fire continued for about half an hour. On the Confederate side, their
firing was wild for a time, most of their shots going over the cars.
From the Federals the firing was also rather wild, but they managed
to do some execution, about forty of the enemy being killed and
wounded.[14] At the end of a half hour the colored troops suddenly
stampeded to the woods, the enemy got into the depot and around the
head of the train, opening a fire upon the flanks and rear. A few men
had fallen previous to this time, and now, under this cross-fire, they
commenced to drop quick, most of the casualties among convalescent men.

[14] Hunter says he lost three killed, eighteen wounded. His orders
were to concentrate at the railroad buildings. He says the forts
made but a feeble resistance, and each column pressed on the point
of concentration. At the depot the fighting was severe, but of short
duration. He claims the Federals lost forty-six killed, forty wounded.

In the absence of any orders, with no sign or hope of assistance,
Sergeant Ballou sang out: “Boys, take care of yourselves!” when the
men broke, some for the woods and swamp, a short distance away, a few
to fall back, under Sergeant Turner, maintaining a fire from behind
trees and buildings until they reached a saw-mill on the river, where
a number of unarmed sick and convalescent men had taken refuge to be
out of danger. Here an officer of the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New
York with some men of that regiment were found, and a fusillade with
the enemy was kept up for some time. Two convalescent men were wounded
by this scattered fire, when the officer, who did not stand up to his
duty (preferring to lie down), raised a white handkerchief upon his
sword-point and surrendered the party about nine o’clock.

Privates Redmond, Company A, and Albee, Company B, in company with a
few One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York soldiers, fell back to a
breastwork to make a further stand. As there was no possibility of
making a successful defence, and no way of escape except by swimming
the river, it was decided to surrender, in turn. A handkerchief was
raised by Albee, attached to his musket, from which the lock had been
shot off without his knowing it, and a surrender was made of this knot
of men.

Private Lovell, Company A, and six men of the One Hundred and
Seventy-Sixth New York escaped in the only boat to be found at this
point, landing at Fort Chene, thence going aboard the gunboat. Lovell
jumped into the boat just as it was pulled off and nearly capsized the
party. Little Franklin Borden, fourteen years old, fifer for Company
B, who was on duty with the detachment, managed to get a small skiff
and also escaped to the gunboat. He was fired upon by Texans, shot
striking the water all around him, their only effect to cause the
little fellow to hurry up and get out of range as soon as possible and
to yell like an Indian. The eight men who escaped were put on board a
steam-transport from New Orleans that was met in the river, bound for
Brashear to assist in removing material of war, and were brought to New
Orleans.

Before he ordered his men to take care of themselves, Sergeant Ballou
was severely wounded by a rifle-ball in the left arm, near the wrist,
and Private Cook received his fatal wound. Ballou asked Private George
Kingsbury, Company B, to assist him in binding up his arm, and while
doing so about twenty Texans made a rush upon them, with a demand for
their surrender. A Confederate lieutenant gave orders to shoot them
down, because there was a flag of truce displayed while the firing
continued. An appeal to Major Hunter was necessary to prevent this
barbarity, the sergeant not being aware of any flag of truce having
been raised, and informed the major that he did not raise one. This was
settled satisfactorily, and the few men left with Ballou were taken
prisoners.

Corporal Fales, Company B, had noticed the flag of truce when it was
raised near the railroad wharf, by whom nobody knew, either at that
time or after. If it was not a trick of the enemy, famous at such
games in small actions, then it must have been done by some of the
other men on duty, or from convalescents who wished to surrender. In
either case it had no reference to or binding force upon the men who
had the courage to make a fight. Each knot of men act for themselves
in an action of this character. Fales spoke to Private Young, Company
B, saying: “It is foolish to stand where we are and be shot down or to
surrender with the flag of truce,” and both fell back behind a house
near by, from there ran into the woods and swamp, and were joined by
Privates Nathaniel Ide, David Robinson, George S. Rice, a private
of the Twenty-First Indiana, and a sergeant of the Twenty-Third
Connecticut. They endeavored to travel southward in the swamp, with
an idea of reaching Shell Island, expecting to be able to escape from
there towards Algiers. Their food gave out, and finally, after trying
to live upon uncooked green corn with salt pork, not daring to make a
fire, they surrendered to Colonel Baylor at Bayou Bœuff, on Sunday, the
twenty-eighth, after five days’ life in the swamp. About eleven men
escaped by the railroad track to Bayou Bœuff, and reported for duty to
Lieutenant-Colonel Duganne, commanding post.

The casualties to the detachment were:

Private Lawson Comey, Company H, twenty-five years old, shot in the
head and killed before the detachment scattered.

Private William E. Cook, Company B, twenty years old, wounded in
abdomen, dying the same day.

First-Sergeant George W. Ballou, Company B, severely wounded in left
arm just before the detachment scattered.

Private George E. Clark, Company B, severely wounded in calf of left
leg.

Several men had narrow escapes from wounds or death, for bullets grazed
clothing, muskets, and accoutrements.

At Bayou Bœuff, on the morning of the twenty-fourth, Lieutenant-Colonel
Duganne found he had only seventy-two infantry and forty artillery
men for duty, instead of two hundred and fifty men with him the day
before. This does not speak well for the officers on duty, that over
one hundred men should have disappeared during the night. Everything
was entangled. When an engineer ran two locomotives into the Bœuff the
morning before, bringing news of the capture of Brashear City, and
men who had escaped capture came straggling in and corroborated the
engineer’s story, the post-commander made some preparatory measures
for a proper defence. He had three siege-guns and one brass howitzer.
Slight earthworks were thrown up. Captain Hopkins burned the bridge
at Bayou Ramos early on the evening of the twenty-third, and joined
Duganne with his men. The situation of the post was bad, with an enemy
in front and rear. An officer of experience and courage who, when his
determination was fixed to defend the post, had decision of character
sufficient to make the attempt, could possibly so arrange his plans of
defence as to enable him to have kept the enemy at bay for a few days
at least. The men were reliable, if under an officer in whom they had
confidence. The food supply was one day’s rations to each man, but
this could have been eked out to last two or three days, if any skill
had been applied. The ammunition was plenty for a proper defence. Many
times in the history of wars have small bodies of soldiers been placed
in worse positions, yet, by a heroic defence, saved themselves and
prevented the intentions of an enemy from being carried out. There was
no defence of Bayou Bœuff. The fact that relief was likely to come from
New Orleans was ignored. On the very day Lieutenant-Colonel Duganne
surrendered, a force of five companies Ninth Connecticut Infantry,
under Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzgibbons, advanced to Chucahoula in the
afternoon, within nine miles of the Bœuff, before a Confederate force
was met. Had Duganne kept them at bay for one day, letting his guns
tell the story, their reverberation along the narrow, densely-wooded
railroad line would have brought down upon them the whole Federal force
then at La-Fourche.

Early on the morning of the twenty-fourth a council of officers was
held and decided to surrender. A sugar-house with outlying sheds,
filled with army supplies, officers’ baggage, arms, and military
appurtenances of all kinds, stored by some of the brigades of the
army, was burned during the evening of the twenty-third. The two
locomotives were rendered unfit for immediate use, but not destroyed.
What negroes had been armed to assist in the defence were disarmed,
that the enemy might have no reason to maltreat them. Some of these
negroes were excellent shots, anxious and ready to fight.

Shortly after dawn the Confederates appeared from Brashear and opened
a parley. While debating whether to accept the terms of unconditional
surrender demanded, Colonel Major and his men appeared on the other
side; a parley was opened, Colonel Major crossing the railroad bridge
with a flag of truce, and while discussing the preliminaries of
surrender, before the truce was withdrawn, Major’s men got into the
post without a gun being fired, and the Federal troops were prisoners
before they knew it. The enemy appropriated everything, as usual,
and the prisoners were marched to Brashear the same day, joining
their comrades at Fort Buchanan the same night. To use an expression
frequently made by the enlisted men, it was a “sell out,” and they
expected it from the method adopted to organize and prepare for defence.

       *       *       *       *       *

About two hundred and fifty enlisted men were taken prisoners at Bayou
Bœuff, and the following officers:

  Lieutenant-Colonel A. J. Duganne, 176th New York.
  Lieutenant Charles Kerby,               “
       “     John F. Kimball,             “
  Captain Julius Sanford, 23d Connecticut.
     “    A. D. Hopkins,        “
     “    Alfred Wells,         “
  Lieutenant John F. Peck,      “
       “     Charles D. Hurlbutt, 23d Connecticut.
       “     John A. Woodward,          “
       “     Frank Sherfy, 21st Indiana.

The following officers were made prisoners at Brashear City:

  Major R. C. Anthony, 2d Rhode Island Cavalry.
  Lieutenant Caleb Brennan,       “
  Colonel Charles C. Nott, 176th New York.
  Captain William P. Coe,        “
     “    S. E. Thomason,        “
  Lieutenant John Babcock,       “
       “   David G. Wellington,  “
       “   J. D. Fry,            “
       “   J. P. Robens,         “
       “   Daniel G. Gillette,   “
       “   T. Foster Petrie,     “
       “   Louis W. Stevenson,   “
       “   Charles Sherman,      “
  Captain F. W. Noblett, 21st Indiana.
     “    Albert Allen, 1st U. S. Vols., “Corps d’Afrique.”
  Lieutenant Charles E. Page, 4th U. S. Vols.,    “
  Captain S. G. Bailey, 23d Connecticut.
     “    George S. Crofut,       “
     “    James R. Jenkins,       “
  Lieutenant O. H. Hibbard,       “
       “     John G. Stevens,     “
       “     Charles Bailey,      “
       “     John W. Buckingham,  “
       “     James DeLamater, 91st New York.
       “     Charles Avery, 25th Connecticut.
       “     George W. Hugg,       “
       “     Henry W. Morse, 4th Massachusetts.
       “     James M. Sampson,       “
       “     Henry Humble,           “
  Surgeon James Waldock,             “
     “    David Hershy, 4th U. S. Volunteers.
     “    A. J. Willets, 176th New York.
  Assistant-Surgeon ---- Throop, 176th New York.

After a full list of the prisoners was made up for parole, there was
found to be between twelve and thirteen hundred, including officers,
enlisted men on duty, sick and convalescent men, some few citizens,
and about one hundred railroad laborers.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following men of the Forty-Second Regiment detachment were paroled:

  _Company A._

   1. Corporal John F. Cushing.
   2. Private Charles S. Redmond.
   3. Private James G. Raymond.
   4. Private George W. Tirrell.
   5. Private Charles S. Williams.

  _Company E._

   6. Corporal Francis N. Luce.
   7. Private Robert Whiteside.
   8. Private Francis T. Jones.
   9. Private David F. Cummings.
  10. Private John H. Hildreth.
  11. Private Patrick Fitzpatrick.

  _Company B._

  12. 1st Serg’t George W. Ballou.
  13. 2d    “    Thaddeus M. Turner.
  14. 4th   “    Frederick D. Morse.
  15. Corporal Henry J. Daniels.
  16.     “    Silas E. Fales.
  17. Private Daniel Akley.
  18.    “    Erastus Adams.
  19.    “    D. Newton Blake.
  20.    “    Albert E. Bullard.
  21.    “    George E. Clark.
  22.    “    Sewall J. Clark.
  23.    “    Frank L. Fisher.
  24.    “    George H. Fisher.
  25.    “    Harrison E. Harwood.
  26.    “    Nathaniel Ide.
  27.    “    George A. Kingsbury.
  28.    “    Charles M. Morris.
  29.    “    George S. Rice.
  30.    “    Henry S. Richardson.
  31.    “    David Robinson.
  32.    “    Orson D. Young.
  33.    “    Albert Albee.

  _Company H._

  34. Private John Davis.
  35.    “    James Healey.
  36.    “    William A. Ragan.
  37.    “    Calvin W. Woods.
  38.    “    Lovett B. Hayden.
  39.    “    Charles McLaughlin.
  40.    “    John Barrett.
  41.    “    Henry A. Watkins.

And Private Joseph P. Snow, Company K, sick in hospital.

After fighting at Brashear City was over the prisoners were collected
at Fort Buchanan and wounded sent to the hospital, where appearances
indicated that as many of the enemy were wounded as upon the Federal
side. The Confederate troops at once commenced to loot the town and
camps, and get drunk. The rank and file were a good-natured, motley
crowd, apparently without discipline or organization. After General
Taylor arrived (twenty-fourth) with the balance of his command, the
force was seen to be well mounted and armed, most of the men owning
their horses and equipments. The general understanding among them
was that each man was entitled to keep what he captured. No attempt
was made to maintain uniformity in dress or arms. Privates were seen
wearing the uniform of a Federal officer, with sword, belt and sash,
while officers were seen dressed in a red shirt and striped trowsers.

Sergeant Turner got Major Hunter to allow him, with a guard for
protection, to look around the post and find the missing men of his
detachment. Visiting the hospital first, Private Cook was found laid
out upon the grass beside a dozen others, having died from his wound.
Sergeant Ballou was found back of the hospital, suffering great pain
from his wound. His blanket had been stolen, and he was very thirsty
and hungry. Turner obtained a blanket and did what he could for his
comfort. At the depot, where he expected to find the knapsacks, the
enemy’s troops were in force, and had seized everything left there.
In the village a few dead New York soldiers were to be seen and one
soldier of the Fourth Massachusetts, supposed to have been shot
down where they lay. Private George Clark was found at a house, in
comfortable condition, receiving good care from two pretty girls. They
were told to keep him there, and kept their promise to do so, baffling
all attempts made to take him to the hospital.

On the way back to the fort a Confederate officer halted the party.
During a conversation that ensued he noticed the figures forty-two
on Turner’s cap, and inquired if he belonged to the Forty-Second
Massachusetts. Turner answered, “Yes;” the officer then said he was
present at the capture of Galveston with the Forty-Second Regiment;
that the men were paroled, and he would have to look into his case. It
was hard work to make the fool understand that only three companies
of the regiment were made prisoners at Galveston, and not the entire
regiment.

Sergeant Ballou went to the hospital about ten o’clock in the forenoon
to have his arm looked after, and was informed that it was done up so
well he could wait better than other wounded men, for an amputation.
It was late in the afternoon and dark when the surgeon requested the
sergeant to get upon the table and have his arm taken off. A request
to save the arm, if possible, caused the surgeon to make another
examination, but he gave an opinion that it was impossible to save it.
Ballou, however, insisted upon making the attempt, and the surgeon
proceeded to its attention. He found about two and one-half inches of
the large bone in the wrist was shot away and the small bone broken.
With the cavity made by the wound stuffed with lint and bound up,
the suffering that night from pain endured by Ballou was terrible.
He fortunately found Surgeon Willets, One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth
New York, the next morning, who carefully removed the lint bandage,
examined the wound, set the broken small bone, put on a board support,
and attended to it assiduously. Sergeant Ballou saved his arm and hand,
but the hand has never been of use to him. In refusing to submit to the
loss of his arm it is probable that he also saved his life, for with
one exception every man died who suffered amputation. Hot weather and
no ice to be had, gangrene would set in and the patients die. With the
exception of a short allowance of food, the wounded were well treated
while in the enemy’s hands.

On Saturday, June 27th, the enlisted men having been paroled, searched,
and deprived of everything except what they wore, a haversack and
woollen blanket, started at five o’clock in the afternoon to march for
the Union lines. A curious feature in regard to prisoners taken at
Brashear is that no negro soldiers were among them. As no one saw or
heard of any cut-throat actions towards colored Federal soldiers, the
supposition would seem to be well founded that they all escaped capture
in some way through the wooded swamps. Sergeant Turner, on receiving
his parole, was complimented by an officer who represented the United
States forces, and thanked for what defence the detachment made. The
tenor of his remarks were, that if there had been a few more men like
those composing the Forty-Second detachment the shameful surprise, with
attendant consequences, would not have occurred.

The following men were left at Brashear, not able to march:

First-Sergeant George W. Ballou, Company B, wounded.

Private George E. Clark, Company B, wounded.

Private George H. Fisher, Company B, sick.

Private Patrick Fitzpatrick, Company E, sick.

Many convalescent and sick soldiers not able to march, but anxious
to reach the Federal lines, attempted to do so with their fellow
prisoners. They gave out day by day from sickness and fatigue, caused
by debility, hot weather, poor drinking-water, and insufficient
rations, to be left on the line of march all the way from Brashear to
New Orleans. Quite a number died. Many were in a condition to give
out any moment, but pluckily kept on and reached the lines. From the
Forty-Second detachment Privates Henry Richardson and George Kingsbury,
Company B, sickened, and had to be left at Thibodeaux.

At first the Confederate guard was a company of Louisiana infantry,
soon relieved by a cavalry company of Colonel Baylor’s Rangers, because
the infantry could not keep up with the impatient prisoners. The guard
was kind in treatment of their charge, while under strict orders to
shoot down any man attempting to straggle or forage without permission.
As to rations, they fared no better than their prisoners, making an
equal division of what they had so long as it lasted.

The route of march was upon the railroad road-bed which ran through
a swampy, thickly-wooded country a greater part of the way. The
atmosphere was stifling. The first night was passed at Bayou Ramos,
about six miles out from Brashear; the second night upon a plantation
beyond Bayou Bœuff, where Corporal Fales and five men came in
and surrendered. Starting at four o’clock on the morning of the
twenty-ninth, after a march of eighteen miles, the prisoners reached
Terrebonne, remaining over night. On the thirtieth they continued on
to Thibodeaux and beyond, to remain over night near the La-Fourche
railroad bridge. July 1st, after an early start in the morning, while
_en-route_, the men found the hospital in which was Private Woodman,
Company B, wounded in the action of June 21st. A halt for the night
was made at Raceland, midway between Brashear and Algiers. Very little
progress was made the next day as rations had given out, causing a
delay until provisions expected from Brashear should be forwarded;
meanwhile the men had to get along with what they could forage.
July 3d the Federal pickets were found just before reaching Boutte
Station--where the advanced troops were stationed charged with the
Defences of New Orleans--and the prisoners delivered over to Federal
officers.

The Confederate guard attempted to play a sharp trick that night. After
turning over their prisoners, with a Texan yell they departed, but not
to go far, for they hung around until night, when they made a raid upon
the picket-posts. Their design had been suspected and the posts were
on the alert, prepared for them; the consequence was that instead of
capturing the posts many of them were made prisoners instead, and sent
to New Orleans, where they arrived before the paroled men whom they had
under guard from Brashear to Boutte.

The duty performed by this Forty-Second detachment, with all the
necessary exposure attending it, told upon the men. On their return,
July 4th, to Algiers, where they were quartered in the Iron Works
building (a very dirty place), receiving poor treatment, most of them
were suffering from diarrhœa, dysentery, or chills and fever, some men
having a combination of these complaints. Efforts were at once made to
have the Forty-Second Regiment men sent to the paroled camp at Bayou
Gentilly, which was not accomplished until July 8th.

Sergeant Ballou, with Privates Clark and Fisher, remained at Brashear
City five days after the Confederate troops departed, on July 22d,
when two Federal gunboats arrived. These men proceeded to New Orleans
by water, going into the University Hospital, and then reported to the
regiment at Algiers July 28th.

With one dollar and forty cents in his pocket when made prisoner,
the sergeant was fortunately enabled to borrow twenty dollars from
a soldier of a Connecticut regiment. With this money he was able to
subsist until carried to New Orleans, securing board with a German
woman, who furnished him with one meal a day for twenty-five cents.
Several of the Texan troops took meals at her house, for which she made
them pay one dollar a meal. She claimed to be a good, true Unionist,
and was not at all backward in saying so. Unlike many of the so-called
Southern Unionists with whom the army often came in contact, this woman
was as outspoken before Confederates as she was before Federals. She
made no attempt to disguise her sentiments.

At Brashear Sergeant Ballou had excellent opportunities to see what
was going on. Taylor and his men came down the river to Brashear in
five steamboats, except the artillery, which marched overland. They had
several batteries; one called the Valverde Battery they considered the
best equipped in the Confederate service. They were five days removing
contents of railroad cars and other material found at Brashear,
carrying the same across the river to Berwick, thence to their various
depots. The cars, when emptied, were ran about half a mile out upon the
track and set on fire. After the fire was well under way the locomotive
_La-Fourche_, under a full head of steam, was started from the depot
and ran into the burning train, jumping some ten feet in the air when
it struck.

The spoils obtained by the enemy consisted of heavy cannon and
field-guns (about fifteen), small arms, ammunition, tents, baggage,
commissary and quartermaster stores, with large medical supplies of
great value to them. The colors of the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth
New York Regiment were also lost.

The gift of Brashear City to the enemy, with this valuable property,
was without an excuse. There is but one explanation of the failure to
properly defend the post: incompetency and cowardice of the senior
officers. A determined stand by half the number of the raiding force
under Major Hunter would have easily driven them back. Had the naval
vessel remained in the river to co-operate whenever an opportunity
offered Hunter would not have had easy work in forcing his men to make
the attack; many of them declared that if the gunboat had not moved
down the river they would not have attempted to get in. This may or may
not have proved to be the case. The Texans under Colonel Green, when
they attacked Donaldsonville upon the twenty-eighth, were not deterred
from it even with three gunboats present, but a defeat was given them
there, with severe loss to them.

A repulse of the attack made by Hunter’s raiding party would have given
time to decide upon a course of action to be adopted before General
Taylor made his appearance. Had it been decided to evacuate, then the
train with its valuable load and other property in Brashear could have
been destroyed, the garrison, with all sick men able to be moved, could
have been taken by water to New Orleans, for ample facilities were at
Brashear. On Monday the _Hollyhock_ had brought around from Bayou Bœuff
a number of flatboats, which were added to those already at Brashear,
then there was the gunboat, the small ferry steamers used to ply across
from Brashear to Berwick, with the transport-steamer that was coming up
river on the morning of surrender. The flatboats were put in use by the
enemy to remove captured property.

The entire force of duty men were nine months’ troops. They were
what are termed raw troops, with unseasoned officers. The freshness
of troops does not matter so much if they can be officered by men of
experience. What fresh troops need most, in action, is to be informed
of the situation of affairs, the location of other troops, and general
instructions as to what they have got to do, or what is expected of
them. Old troops soon acquire the art of finding out all this without
being told, understanding that the least danger lies in holding
together, face to the enemy, and that a stampede is running headlong
into danger.

In consequence of the loss of medical stores in Brashear, the
medical purveyor’s stock became too small for army necessities, with
men rapidly swelling the sick lists and the hot weather in season.
To replenish supplies, the transport-steamer _New Brunswick_, a
light-draft side-wheeler, nine hundred and thirty tons burthen, manned
by a fine crew, was loaded with coal and despatched to New York in July
or August. Her captain had orders to drive her with all possible speed
and spare nothing in order to make a quick passage North, and return.
Fortunately good weather prevailed, with the exception of a stiff
blow off Hatteras and a short gale on the return trip. This transport
made what was then called “the famous passage.” The exact time is now
lost, but it was between six and seven days. Everything on board that
could be utilized was used for fuel; her chief-engineer, Wesley Allen,
to whom the credit is due for her quick passages, although he had as
assistants two efficient men, stood by his engines almost the entire
time, pushing the wheels to twenty-two revolutions a minute, and so
maintained them. They ordinarily made from seventeen to nineteen. Allen
is said to have slept not more than twenty hours on each passage. He
fully understood that many lives could be saved by each day gained, and
was a man, every inch of him.

The _New Brunswick_ arrived at New York early one morning, was loaded
with medical and hospital stores the same day, and at night was on
her way back to New Orleans, passing a mail steamer at Sandy Hook,
bound in, that she parted company with and left at the Passes of the
Mississippi River. Coal and stores were rushed on board with a run.
Coal was dumped upon the open deck forward, instead of wasting time
to fill up her hold. Fires were not drawn from the boilers, and they
only had the water blown out while fresh water ran in. No time was
lost in fancy oiling of machinery, for it was slapped on without regard
to appearances, in order that no part should become heated. Among the
firemen life below deck was a hard lot, as her blowers were never
turned off from the boiler fires.

The round trip was made in a little less than two weeks, ruining her
boilers in so doing.



CHAPTER XII.

ACTION AT LA-FOURCHE CROSSING.


About six o’clock Saturday morning, twentieth June, 1863, the train
which left Brashear City for La-Fourche a few hours before, arrived at
the railroad bridge crossing Bayou La-Fourche, twenty-eight miles from
Brashear, fifty-two miles from Algiers, then a suburb of New Orleans,
upon the west bank of the Mississippi River.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney had under his command on the train:
one hundred and fifteen men One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York
Infantry, Major Morgans in command; seventy-five men Twenty-Third
Connecticut Infantry, Major Miller in command; forty-six men
Forty-Second Massachusetts Infantry, Lieutenant Tinkham in command;
and two pieces of artillery, a 6 Pr. gun and a 12 Pr. howitzer. This
force was in light marching order, having left at Brashear City all
knapsacks, extra clothing, and many of them their blankets.

There was posted at Terrebonne and La-Fourche, guarding the railroad
bridge, a force of about two hundred and fifty men with one 12 Pr. gun
and one 12 Pr. howitzer. This force, joined with the reënforcements
from Brashear, made Stickney’s command about five hundred and two men,
as follows: -- companies, one hundred and ninety-five men, Twenty-Third
Connecticut Infantry; -- companies, one hundred and fifty-four men, One
Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York Infantry; one company, forty-six
men, Forty-Second Massachusetts Infantry; one company, thirty-seven
men, Twenty-Sixth Maine Infantry, under Captain Fletcher; one company,
fifty men, First Louisiana Cavalry, under Captain Blober; and about
twenty artillery-men, mostly from the Twenty-First Indiana Artillery.

Upon disembarking from the train, the commanding officer of the
post appeared to be much surprised at this appearance of additional
troops, and asked what was to be done. When informed that the post was
threatened by the enemy he laughed heartily, and told Stickney no enemy
had been seen around there for six months.

Captain Blober, on his return from a scout made the day before, ordered
by Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney by telegraph from Brashear, reported no
signs whatever of any force on the Bayou La-Fourche. Blober, ordered
to be sure and scout as far as Napoleonville, and beyond if possible,
only proceeded a mile or two beyond Labadieville, about twelve miles
from La-Fourche and nine miles from Thibodeaux. He reported that people
from Napoleonville _said_ no force was in that direction; the reason,
probably, why he did not carry out his orders. This company of the
First Louisiana Cavalry was composed of raw recruits, without much
drill or discipline. In his official report of the action Stickney
says: “Had their scouting been properly done, there was no necessity
whatever of the infantry force at Thibodeaux being captured.”

Colonel Major[15] with three regiments of Confederate Texan mounted
men was at that very moment on his way down from Plaquemine--forty
miles from Thibodeaux--and could not have been many miles away. On the
nineteenth June General “Dick” Taylor was at the Fausse Riviere, an
ancient bed of the Mississippi, some miles west of the present channel
and opposite Port Hudson, in company with Colonel Major and his men.
He had heard from some ladies of his acquaintance there, recently from
New Orleans, that the Federal force in that city was not over one
thousand men, and with the exception of a small garrison in the fort at
Donaldsonville there were no troops on the west bank of the river. This
was not true. There was scattered in the Parish towns on the west bank
a respectable force of detached Federal troops on guard and provost
duty. Taylor ordered Major to proceed at once, for the express purpose
of reaching the rear of Brashear City by the twenty-third, and to pass
Plaquemine at night to escape observation. Major could not do this. His
men, hungry for spoils, raided into that town, capturing some prisoners
and burning two steamers. Lieutenant White, of the Forty-Second
Massachusetts, with his unarmed colored engineer troops barely escaped
capture at the time.

[15] Colonel James P. Major commanded the Second Cavalry Brigade,
composed of mounted infantry, artillery and cavalry. His official
report, dated June 30th, 1863, does not give the strength of his
command, but enough is gleaned from it to know that he had regiments
commanded by Colonels W. P. Lane, B. W. Stone, and Joseph Phillip,
Colonel C. L. Pyron’s Second Texas Cavalry, and Captain O. J. Semmes’
battery.

Major captured Plaquemine June 18th, was at Bayou Goula at daylight on
the nineteenth, at dark sent a force under Colonel Lane through a swamp
direct to Thibodeaux, and at midnight followed with the rest of his
men, arriving at 3.30 A.M. on the twenty-first. The rest of
his report on this action does not agree with the facts.

The men lay around carelessly until afternoon, as it was extremely hot
and nothing could be had to eat. Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney, when he
left Brashear, did not apprehend any attack on that place for some
days, and intended to return as soon as possible. Not hearing from
Captain Blober, who had again been ordered to scout and cover the
roads about Thibodeaux, about four o’clock he got ready to go back
to Brashear upon the same train that brought him. An order was given
Lieutenant Tinkham to remain at La-Fourche with his detachment, as a
reënforcement to the post; Stickney remarked he did not dare to leave
without doing so. Orders had also been received from New Orleans to
return two companies infantry to Brashear.

As the men were about to board the cars up rode a cavalry-man in hot
haste, with bare breath enough to say, “the rebs are coming, three
divisions of them,” and told that they were already at Thibodeaux.
Blober’s cavalry detachment came in shortly after, with a loss of
two men in a close pursuit by the enemy. With no wish to weaken his
force just then, but desirous to increase it, the train was hastily
despatched to Terrebonne, three miles distant on the railroad, with
orders for Captain Barber, Company K, One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth
New York, posted with about sixty men and one piece of artillery in
a stockade, to evacuate. The gun and detachment of gunners left for
La-Fourche during the morning.

Throughout the morning crowds of colored people kept coming along the
road, from the direction of Thibodeaux, with reports that the enemy
were coming. Failing to obtain satisfactory news from these people
Captain Barber rode to that town to find out the facts, arriving just
as the cavalry scouts started for La-Fourche, and with them the captain
went. This left young Lieutenant Phœbus W. Lyon, One Hundred and
Seventy-Sixth New York, in command, without proper information of what
to expect. When the Confederate troopers appeared they did not dare to
attack the stockade, as they expected that the field-gun was there.
They showed the convenient flag of truce. To the sergeant who was
sent out to meet it a demand was made to see the commanding officer.
Lieutenant Lyon, alone, went to meet them some three hundred yards from
the stockade, and refused their demand for a surrender of the post,
when the Confederate commander pulled out a revolver, placed it behind
an ear of the lieutenant and demanded that he should go along with
him. To the charge of violating a flag of truce by such a demand no
attention was paid, and entirely at their mercy Lieutenant Lyon had to
go with them, a prisoner of war. The enemy made a feint to charge upon
the stockade, and then withdrew some distance. Without molestation the
Federal troops embarked upon the train, which arrived shortly after all
this occurred, and Lieutenant Lyon had to witness the evacuation, from
the woods where he was held, with chagrin.

At Thibodeaux the Confederates captured all the infantry stationed
there, also about one hundred men upon plantations in the vicinity
(forty-seven men of the Twelfth Maine, with Lieutenants Freeman
H. Chase and John W. Dana, convalescents sent by Stickney from
Brashear; forty others, also convalescents from Brashear; about ten
men Company D, One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York; and a few
plantation guards). At Terrebonne Captain William H. May, Twenty-Third
Connecticut, was taken prisoner.

When the cavalry-man had made his report all of the troops were ordered
to “fall in,” and a line of battle was formed. The position taken is
described by Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney in his official report as
follows: “The levee of the Bayou La-Fourche is about twelve feet high;
the railroad crosses the bayou over the top of the levee, nearly in a
direction perpendicular to that of the bayou, and is about twelve feet
above the level of the surrounding country. For five or six miles to
the east of La-Fourche Crossing a carriage-road runs up and down the
bayou on both sides close to the levee, passing under the railroad on
both sides of the bayou. We were on the east side of the bayou and
north of the railroad, our front being parallel with the railroad,
extending about one hundred and fifty yards from the levee, and being
about two hundred yards from the railroad. From the right of our front
I had a line of defence running perpendicular to and resting upon the
railroad. I was obliged to have my front farther from the railroad than
it otherwise would have been, on account of trees standing, which could
not be cut down. The country around was level, affording full play for
the artillery, and was covered with tall grass, which I subsequently
had cut down, as it concealed, in a measure, movements in our front.

“A detachment of about fifty men of the Twenty-Third Connecticut, under
command of Major Miller, was posted in the tall grass on both sides
of the road along the levee, lying down, about four hundred and fifty
yards in advance of the battle line.

“The remainder of the infantry was drawn up in line, with the right
flank in reverse, excepting the company of convalescent men, under
Captain Fletcher, Twenty-Sixth Maine, who were posted at the railroad
bridge.

“Captain Blober and his cavalry-men were posted so as to guard against
the turning of the right flank, with the detachment Forty-Second
Massachusetts in their front, and to the rear of the centre of the
battle line.

“The artillery was posted as follows: a 12 Pr. gun upon the railroad
bridge, near the left bank of the bayou; two 12 Pr. howitzers and one 6
Pr. gun on the battle line front, one of the howitzers being so placed
upon the extreme right so that its fire could be directed to the front
or right flank.”

These movements were the first indication of an action in which this
detachment of the Forty-Second had seen an opportunity to participate.
Not without reason Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney rode up to Lieutenant
Tinkham and asked him what he thought about the behavior of his men
under fire; the lieutenant answered, he did not know, but thought
they would fight. Cavalry-Captain Blober, a plucky little German, was
boiling over for a fight. He was just the man to put courage into any
one a little weak in the knees. Later in the day this captain captured
a Confederate bugler upon the road.

With nothing to eat since the evening before, a hot, dusty and tedious
ride in the cars early that morning, lounging around all day in a hot
sun, no wonder there were many anxious inquiries, at all hours of the
day, for some stimulant. Those who had it in their possession kept
still, and the welcome friend was hard to find. However, no sooner had
position in line been taken to meet the expected enemy, when out came
the secreted whiskey, and was passed around to those in need of it.

About five o’clock the enemy came marching down the bayou road,
mounted, in column of fours, and as soon as the head of the column was
in sight a shot was fired from the gun upon the bridge, causing them
to halt and retire. They soon advanced about one hundred skirmishers,
who drove in the Federal pickets and moved on until encountering the
detachment Twenty-Third Connecticut, hid in tall grass, who, after an
exchange of shots, fell back upon the right flank of the main line
without loss.

The artillery gave them a few solid shot and shell, when the enemy
retired towards Thibodeaux with their killed and wounded.

Even here, almost before a gun was fired, the malady which seemed to
have attacked some officers on duty in this section was made manifest.
Major Miller, Twenty-Third Connecticut, during the day had spoken to
Major Morgans and Lieutenant Tinkham about a surrender to the enemy;
said he was in favor of it, and that it was of no use to make a fight.
He got an unfavorable response from these officers, but the major
continued panic-struck, for, after the first fire by the enemy upon the
Twenty-Third Connecticut in the grass, as Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney
says in his official report: “I found Major Miller, some distance to
the rear of his command, crouching in the high weeds on the levee. I
ordered him under arrest, and put in command of this detachment the
next senior officer, who faithfully executed my order.”

Soon after the enemy’s disappearance, instead of promptly throwing
out his skirmishers to follow up their retrograde movement and
ascertain what they were doing, Stickney sent a flag of truce to
obtain permission to remove his hospital stores and sick from the
hospital, which was in front of his lines and exposed to his fire. The
truce party went two and one-half miles on the road before meeting
the Confederate pickets. True to their own cowardly use of flags of
truce, they refused to comply with Stickney’s request. This made no
difference, however, as they could not interfere where they were, and
the hospital contents were removed to the Federal rear, and, just
before dark, the building was burned, to prevent interference with the
range of fire. A building upon the other side of the bayou was also set
on fire, to enable movements of the enemy to be seen, as it was feared
they might come down on that side and attempt to cross the railroad
bridge.

The position in line of battle was maintained all night, ready to repel
at any moment an attack: the men rested upon the ground as best they
could; pickets were thrown out about four hundred yards to the front;
squads of cavalry kept scouting to the right and rear; everything upon
this Johnson Plantation that could be used for fuel was torn down to
keep fires going.

About eleven o’clock at night a train arrived from Algiers with five
companies, three hundred and six men, Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts
Infantry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Sawtelle. Being the senior officer,
Stickney tendered him the command, which Lieutenant-Colonel Sawtelle
refused. The Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts went into line on the front. No
demonstrations were made by the enemy during the night.

The next morning, Sunday, June 21st, Captain Grow with one section of
the Twenty-Fifth New York Battery and thirty men arrived from Algiers.
One gun went into position on the extreme left of the line to cover the
bayou road, and one gun was held in reserve, where it could be moved to
the front or upon the right flank, as occasion should require. Slight
earthworks were thrown up, at no point over two feet high, but they
extended only a few yards in either direction from the angle formed on
the right flank by the two fronts.

During the morning Confederate mounted troops appeared in small bodies
within range of the outposts, to reconnoitre the position. About four
o’clock in the afternoon nearly one hundred and fifty Confederates,
mounted and dismounted, attacked the outposts and pickets, but made no
attempt to advance in force. A desultory fire was maintained for one
hour and a half, when the enemy retired.

Shortly after noon a heavy rain commenced, and continued until about
half-past six o’clock, drenching the men to the skin, who maintained a
battle line the greater part of the day as they had during the night.
Stickney claims this was necessary, as he could not depend on the men
falling into position with sufficient alacrity at the least warning.

The Federal position at dusk was about the same as on the previous day,
except that two companies of the Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts were added
to the front line, two companies on the right flank in reverse, and one
company upon the railroad bridge in support of the gun placed there.

Between five and six o’clock Lieutenant Tinkham was ordered to advance
on the road to a point about one-quarter of a mile in front, with his
Forty-Second Massachusetts detachment and some fifty negroes, to take
down a rail fence that somewhat obstructed the view. While engaged in
this work the enemy could be seen about another quarter of a mile up
the road, somewhat covered by the woods. Captain Blober tried his best
to draw them on, by riding towards them and circling around as the
ground would permit, without effect. Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney rode
up and wanted a volley fired at them, but Lieutenant Tinkham informed
him it would do no good, as his men were armed with Springfield
smooth-bore guns that would not reach the distance. Finally a volley
was fired, without effect, when Stickney told the lieutenant to hold on
and he would send out a field-gun, which was done.

It was shortly after this fence was levelled that the enemy,
dismounted, with a yell, and opening fire at the same time, made
a charge. The field-gun, after three discharges of canister shot,
was abandoned by the Twenty-Fifth New York artillery-men, although
Lieutenant Tinkham suggested to the gunner in command to fire in
retreat. The gunner was either a coward or too frightened to listen
to any orders or suggestions, and the gun was left. As the gunners
retreated Lieutenant Tinkham, who had his men in line to the rear
in support, upon one side of the road, wheeled the detachment into
line across the bayou road and gave the enemy a volley from his
smooth-bores, carrying a ball and three buckshot to each musket, almost
point-blank in their faces. They were not over ten paces distant.
This volley staggered them for a few minutes, as well it might, for
an uglier weapon to face at close quarters than those Springfield
smooth-bore muskets, even in the hands of raw troops, could not be
found in the entire army at that time.

Promptly faced about, the detachment was double-quicked back to the
battle line as fast as the mud and slippery condition of the road
would allow, for the rain had caused the Louisiana soil of that region
to assume the consistency of a sticky paste, so well known to all
campaigners in the Gulf Department. With this uncertain footing, the
close proximity of the enemy, fairly on their heels,[16] yelling and
firing, and the balance of the Federal force in line of battle also
opening fire, placing the detachment between two lines of fire, it is
remarkable that the casualties were so few at this time. Not a man was
taken prisoner. Major Morgans did not expect the detachment would be
able to get back, but reserved the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New
York fire as long as he dared, and then opened an oblique firing, to
prevent any harm to the detachment, if possible.

[16] One of the curious events of the action, which also proves
the close proximity of the enemy, was that a Confederate
lieutenant-colonel, mounted upon an iron-grey horse, who must have
distanced his men in the charge they made, got around and ahead, by
the flank, and led the Forty-Second detachment on its retreat to the
main line. This officer came in contact with men of the Twenty-Sixth
Massachusetts, who made him a prisoner, as related later on in this
chapter.

The Forty-Second detachment was not out as skirmishers, and did not
have that formation. It was on a special duty and had performed that
duty. No orders were given the lieutenant except to support the
field-gun. What had become of the pickets and outposts Lieutenant
Tinkham did not know. The enemy were upon him almost without warning,
for they had crept up in the tall grass on his front. In his official
report Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney says: “The enemy advanced rapidly
and soon compelled the pickets to fall back on the main line, which
they reached in rather a straggling condition at our left wing.” This
could not mean the detachment Forty-Second Massachusetts, for they did
nothing of the kind. The detachment ran in, maintaining as good an
alignment as the slippery soil would allow.

A ridiculous proceeding occurred just after the detachment reached
the line. A second-lieutenant, an acting staff-officer, came up in an
excited manner and ordered Lieutenant Tinkham to go back and retake
the abandoned gun. Tinkham replied he would see him d--d first, and to
go and get it himself. With the darkness, fire opened on the enemy in
front, the bad condition of the ground and the uncertainty just where
the gun was at that moment, made the undertaking foolhardy, without a
chance for success; in reality giving the enemy a present of so many
prisoners. It was another instance of that want of judgment in an
inexperienced officer, of which many examples were furnished in the
whole history of General “Dick” Taylor’s raid towards New Orleans.

After reaching the line the detachment was posted on the extreme left,
resting on the bayou and covering the road. Firing was continuate until
about eight o’clock. The artillery used canister; there not being
any canister for the 6 Pr. gun, packages of musket ammunition were
used instead. The infantry were ordered to fire by rank, and opened
in that manner, soon substituting firing at will. The smoke became
quite dense and would not lift readily, on account of the dampness of
the atmosphere. Nothing could be seen in front, not even flashes of
the enemy’s guns; nothing to be heard, except continued reports of
artillery and musketry-firing.

When the order was given “cease firing,” pickets were thrown out, and
the abandoned gun, near the rail fence, left by the enemy when they
withdrew, was brought in to the Federal lines. The wounded within
reach were carried to a field-hospital that had been established in a
planter’s house, about one-quarter of a mile in the rear. The Federals
rested upon their arms, remaining in line of battle all night, with
what sleep they could obtain under the circumstances. Moans and cries
of the wounded, well to the front, could be distinctly heard. Totally
destitute of provisions, and hungry, having been without food of any
consequence for forty-eight hours, worn out by loss of sleep and
fatigue, nothing but the excitement could have held the men up so long
and prevented them from breaking down completely.

That many of the Confederates were crazy drunk and in no condition
to continue a steady fight seems to be fully established by the
information obtained on Tuesday, when an advance to Thibodeaux was
made. They were capable of making a bold dash, but no more; repulsed,
they could not maintain a destructive fire. What firing came from their
side was wild and high, as the total casualties to the entire Federal
force engaged amply testifies.

Notwithstanding General “Dick” Taylor, in his book called “Destruction
and Reconstruction,” says that Colonel Major had no artillery with
him, they fired a few shots from one field-gun while Tinkham and his
men were at the rail fence. Whether they ceased firing because their
ammunition was bad or damaged by rain, or compelled to do so by shots
from a gun of the Twenty-Fifth New York Battery that was placed in
position upon the right to engage their gun, is not known. Prisoners
stated that they had other guns in position, but the rain prevented
their use.

There were many sensational stories told next day of what was done
along the line. Some men of the One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York
claimed to have performed special feats of valor. A careful inspection
of the ground in front soon put to flight all belief in these camp
yarns. The enemy never got dangerously close, except in a few
individual cases. An attempt made by them to gain the rear and turn the
right flank caused the gunners of the Twenty-Fifth New York Battery to
become panic stricken and abandon their gun, a 12 Pr. howitzer, posted
at the angle made by the front and right flank thrown in reverse. This
made two guns that the Twenty-Fifth New York artillery-men abandoned in
this action, though only one came into possession of the enemy.

The actual Federal force in this action was eight hundred and
thirty-eight men; about six hundred were engaged; the balance were
posted upon the railroad bridge and to protect the right. The Federal
loss in this action was: three killed, ten wounded, Twenty-Sixth
Massachusetts Infantry; two killed, twelve wounded, One Hundred
and Seventy-Sixth New York Infantry; one killed, three wounded,
Forty-Second Massachusetts Infantry; two killed, sixteen wounded,
Twenty-Third Connecticut Infantry.

Lieutenant Starr, Twenty-Third Connecticut, was the only commissioned
officer injured in the action. He was wounded in the thigh, and
afterwards died in consequence of amputation.

The force of Confederates engaged is estimated to have been six hundred
men of the Second Texas Mounted Rangers, Colonel Pyron, claiming to be
the oldest regiment in the Confederate service, and that they never
before had been whipped in action.

As General Taylor has published that only two hundred men under
Colonel Pyron made an attack on La-Fourche Crossing, the attack being
repulsed with a loss to the Confederates of only fifty-five killed
and wounded,[17] the official report of Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney
is again quoted: “The enemy were engaged during the night in carrying
away their killed and wounded who were outside of our lines, and the
following morning fifty-three of their dead were counted inside of our
pickets. When we entered Thibodeaux, Tuesday morning, nearly sixty
wounded were found in the hospitals, from which I conclude that their
loss in killed and wounded must have been three hundred, taking fifty
as the number of their killed, and reckoning the ratio of killed to
wounded as one to four.”

[17] General Taylor relies on the official report of Colonel Major
for this statement. As a specimen of Confederate reports on their
operations west of the Mississippi River during June and July, the
following _extract_ of Major’s report of this action is given:

“At Paincourtville received a despatch from Colonel Lane stating he had
captured the town, taking one hundred and forty prisoners and a large
amount of stores, also a small force at Terrebonne Station, and that
there was a force in strong position, with artillery, at La-Fourche
Crossing. I pushed on and arrived at Thibodeaux at 3.30 A.M.,
on the twenty-first. Pickets reported reënforcements from New Orleans
during the night, and at sun-up reported the enemy advancing. I posted
Pyron’s regiment, West’s battery and two squadrons cavalry on east
bank La-Fourche, and moved them down towards the railroad bridge.
Lane, Stone and Phillip were posted at Terrebonne Station, and they
were moved forward to La-Fourche Crossing. The enemy fell back, and
my pursuit was checked by one of the heaviest rains I ever saw fall.
It rained until five P.M., and having only thirty rounds
of ammunition to the man when I started, and not over one hundred
cartridge boxes in the entire command, my ammunition was nearly all
ruined, and I found myself with an enemy in front, rear, and on the
flank, with only three rounds of ammunition to the man. I directed
Pyron, as soon as it stopped raining, to strengthen his picket and feel
the enemy, find his position, and test his strength, giving him some
discretion in the matter. He advanced his picket, driving the enemy
into his stronghold, and then charged his works, taking four guns and
causing a great many of the Federals to surrender. But night had come
on; it was very dark, the ammunition nearly all gone, and just at that
moment a train with about three hundred fresh men arrived from New
Orleans, and Pyron was forced to retire from a position won by a daring
assault, unequalled, I think, in this war. Had I known his intention to
assault the works I could have sent him such reënforcements as would
have insured success. Pyron’s strength in the attack was two hundred
and six. The enemy’s force, reported by themselves, was over one
thousand.”

Some of these statements will cause a smile to spread o’er the face of
men on the Federal side who were in this action.

Probably this is not an exaggeration, but many of the wounded must have
been slightly so, not going into the hospitals, except for occasional
treatment, else a larger number would have been captured. They left
some badly wounded upon the field. One poor fellow was found bleeding
to death from wounds, in a trench not over fifty feet in front of the
line.

Whether Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney is correct or not, in regard to the
Confederate dead, Lieutenant Cooke, Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts, reports
the following facts, viz.: “On the morning of the twenty-second, when
a lookout, stationed upon a house, reported a flag of truce coming, I
happened to be standing near Stickney, who immediately turned to me and
said: ‘Meet them as far outside of our picket line as you possibly can,
and I will despatch another officer immediately to act as messenger.’
I was upon my horse instantly, and galloped up the bayou road, running
my sword-point through my handkerchief corners to make a flag of
truce, meeting the party so far from our lines as to cause, I fancied,
a shade of disappointment to pass over the face of an officer in
charge, which quickly changed to a smile as we drew rein and saluted;
he introduced himself as Captain Johnson, of Texas, and remarked that
it was a singular coincidence that both sides should start out at the
same time for a truce, and was much astonished when I said that I had
come to meet him, having seen him approaching. He stated that he was
sent by Colonel Major to ask permission to drive upon the battle field
with their wagons and carry away their dead. The request was carried
to Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney, who replied that it was impossible
to grant it, but if they would send their wagons to the point of
negotiation he would receive and return them to the same point loaded.
This was a necessity, for the majority of their dead lay so near
our battle line had they been permitted to come near they would have
gained an accurate knowledge of our position and numbers. Colonel Major
assented to this modification of his request, and wagons soon began to
arrive and the work went on. After the transfer was made I inquired
of those who were engaged in the work how many dead they found, and
was told one hundred and sixty. These are the figures written in my
diary at the time. I was also told that in one place fifteen bodies
were found in such close proximity as to justify the statement that
they were slain in a heap. At my interview with Captain Johnson, he
complimented our forces in very flattering terms for the courage and
steadiness with which they met and repelled the assault; that had it
been known we had such a large and well-disciplined force their action
would have been less hasty and impetuous.”

The ground was cut at regular intervals by irrigating ditches, a
probable reason why the enemy made their attack dismounted. These
ditches made the ground unfavorable for cavalry.

Two of the unwounded prisoners captured (sixteen in number) came in and
surrendered to Lieutenant Tinkham, after the firing had ceased. They
must have secreted themselves under the lee of the bayou bank.

The killed and wounded of the Forty-Second detachment were:

Private Reuben Dyson, Company E, wounded fatally in the abdomen and
hip, and died in a short time after he was carried to the rear. When
wounded he clasped both hands across his abdomen and exclaimed: “What
have I done that they should hit me!”

Sergeant Edmand A. Jones, Company B, was slightly wounded in the left
shoulder.

Private William Whiting, Company B, was wounded by a bullet in the
back of his neck which passed out of his mouth, taking three teeth in
its course.

Private Daniel S. Woodman, Company B, was wounded in the right hand,
losing one finger and part of the thumb joint; also, shot in the right
breast, the ball entering about two inches above the right nipple,
passed through the upper part of his lung and came out through the
shoulder blade.

Private Dyson was buried on the field at La-Fourche. Private Woodman,
too dangerously wounded to be removed, was left in an abandoned
planter’s house in care of an old planter. Woodman had lain upon the
field all night; was carried to the hospital about noon next day, where
his wounds were dressed by surgeons of the Twenty-Third Connecticut and
Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts. His clothes were removed, as they were very
bloody, and he lay naked almost a week, when a comrade procured some
old, ragged clothing for him. He was brought from La-Fourche July 31st,
and came home with the regiment.

Early on the morning of Monday, June 22d, the enemy were found to have
retired near to Thibodeaux. Among the debris picked up upon the field
was found some muskets that were identified as belonging to the three
companies Forty-Second, captured at Galveston. The wounded were cared
for and the Federal dead buried.

A Confederate flag of truce came with a request for permission to bury
their dead and carry away their wounded. This was granted on condition
that all of their wounded men outside the camp lines should be paroled,
that none of their drivers should come within the outposts, and that
all wounded within the camp should be retained. They agreed to these
conditions, and men were engaged throughout the morning, with carts and
wagons furnished by the enemy, in carrying their dead to Thibodeaux.

Very early in the morning there reached the crossing about six hundred
men Fifteenth Maine Infantry, Colonel Isaac Dyer, a fresh regiment
from Pensacola and Key West, under orders to reënforce the troops at
Brashear City, and about eleven o’clock Colonel Cahill arrived from New
Orleans with the Ninth Connecticut Infantry, two additional companies
Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts, and another section of the Twenty-Fifth
New York Battery. Colonel Cahill assumed command of the forces at
La-Fourche.

The men who comprised the detachment Forty-Second Massachusetts behaved
admirably in this, their maiden action, with the exception of Sergeant
Albert L. Clark and Private John Donnelly, both of Company B, who
attempted to desert from their comrades, without leave, and board a
train about to start for Algiers. They threw away their guns, and did
not report to the detachment until Tuesday.

Lieutenant Clifford was not in this action, as he rejoined the
detachment from leave of absence after the action was over.

Other men, attached to the several commands, showed the white feather,
and the official report of Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney says: “Their
wounded in our hands thought that our troops must be regulars, so
steadily did they stand at their posts; but I regret to say that the
train in waiting on the track left at the commencement of the fight,
without orders, carrying away some cowardly soldiers, and that during
the battle some few left their ranks and sought shelter near and behind
the railroad.”

Among those who left by this train was the Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts
color-bearer with his flag. He was ordered back to his regiment in
a peremptory manner by General Emory, commanding the Defences of
New Orleans. A word of defence is due this color-bearer. A brave,
honorable and worthy man; when the darkness came on he was ordered
by his commanding officer to retire from the line and remain with his
color at a house just to the rear. Those panic-stricken men who ran
away from the ranks passed this house towards the railroad, shouting:
“All is lost, the rebs are inside of our lines and gobbling up the
whole force.” He supposed it to be true, and animated with a desire to
save his flag also ran to the railroad, tearing his flag from the lance
to secrete it upon his person. He felt the disgrace keenly, suffered
mental agony, and died from the effect upon him in September following.
None of his comrades thought him guilty of cowardice, rather a victim
to circumstances, for he could not see the true situation.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney officially makes special mention of two
officers and one private. He says: “Major Morgans, commanding the
One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth New York Regiment, through the action
encouraged his men, and to him is due, in a great degree, the fine
conduct that they showed. Captain Jenkins, commanding the Twenty-Third
Connecticut, displayed the greatest bravery and coolness. A Confederate
officer seized him by the throat, demanding a surrender. The assault
was immediately returned in precisely the same manner, when one of
Captain Jenkins’ men bayoneted the Confederate. I desire particularly
to mention Sergeant John Allyn, Company A, Forty-Seventh Massachusetts
Regiment, who has been with me since I was ordered to Brashear City,
and has at all times rendered the most valuable service, going on
dangerous scouts, once inside the enemy’s lines, and showing at all
times the greatest courage and remarkable sound judgment. His thorough
knowledge of the country and habit of reporting facts only were of the
greatest assistance to me.”

Two companion incidents to the hand-to-hand scrape of Captain
Jenkins are these: Lieutenant Cooke, acting adjutant Twenty-Sixth
Massachusetts, the action still in progress, was startled by the sudden
appearance before him, inside of the battle line, of a Confederate
lieutenant-colonel, who said: “Captain, I am badly wounded, will you
be kind enough to take me to the rear.” The lieutenant informed him he
would do so, when he felt justified in taking men from the ranks to act
as a guard, and conducted the wounded officer to a tent, standing not
more than twenty yards to the rear, and saw him comfortably stretched
out upon the straw. After the action was over, with no prospect of its
renewal, Lieutenant Cooke went to this tent for his prisoner, to find
him gone, without a clew to be obtained of his whereabouts. On the
reconnoissance to Thibodeaux, twenty-third, this wounded officer was
found in hospital, and paroled. He stated that while lying in the tent
it occurred to him that in the darkness he might walk out of our lines,
and did so without difficulty.

Another case of foolhardy bravery was exhibited by a fiery Texan
lieutenant, who rushed up to a field-gun, placing his hand upon it, in
face of a dozen men, and demanded its surrender. Three men answered
him; one with a bayonet, one with a musket ball, the other with the
butt of his gun, to send him down to mother earth fatally wounded, and
with curses upon his lips of the men who did their duty. He was carried
to the hospital, and lived four hours.

No further hostile movement was made by either combatants on Monday,
except at about dark the Confederates fired a few rounds from one
field-gun. On Tuesday, June 23d, an advance was made to Thibodeaux by a
part of the troops, now commanded by Colonel Cahill, to find the enemy
had gone. Colonel Major with his Texans were well on their way towards
the rear of Brashear City. At night the Fifteenth Maine Infantry was
sent back to New Orleans.

Wednesday morning, June 24th, at eight o’clock, five companies
Ninth Connecticut, under Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzgibbon, proceeded
to Terrebonne Station as guard to a construction train, repairing
the track for one mile beyond. Proceeding towards Chucahoula, twelve
miles from Bayou Bœuff, the bridge, one mile from the station, was
found to be on fire. This was extinguished, and the bridge repaired.
Skirmishers were then deployed and advanced towards the station, where
the enemy was found on the open land, behind buildings and fences,
who at once commenced a sharp fire. Confined to the narrow track, a
thickly-wooded swamp upon both sides, after engaging the enemy for one
hour Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzgibbon deemed it prudent to retire, also
being recalled by a signal-gun fired at La-Fourche Crossing, nine miles
distant, which the lieutenant-colonel says he heard. The Federal loss
was three wounded, and two men taken prisoners by the enemy.

Port Hudson still holding out, with work enough in prospect to occupy
the attention of all the available forces in the Department, the troops
that composed the force under General Emory, charged with the defence
of New Orleans, reduced to a low number, and Brashear City lost, with
all of the troops on duty between that place and La-Fourche Crossing,
there existed no further necessity for holding the railroad line to
Brashear. The ill-luck experienced by General Emory in losing post
after post, through cowardice and inefficiency of regimental officers,
surrendering without firing a gun, was not assuring as to how far he
could trust the balance of his force. Prudence dictated to withdraw his
troops close to the city where protection of the navy could be given.

The Confederates pushed up from Brashear, bold and fearless,
offering many opportunities to inflict some hard blows against their
undisciplined troops if any equally bold officers had been with the
Federal soldiers. This was not the case, and on June 26th the Federal
force fell back to Boutee Station, twenty-four miles from Algiers,
after they had spiked and abandoned three field-guns and some old iron
guns; an absurd gift to the enemy, without any valid excuse.

With the energy displayed by the enemy, which the Federals did not meet
with counter efforts, it was undoubtedly sound policy to allow them to
dash against the fortified defences whenever they felt so disposed.
They moved quickly from place to place, leaving stragglers and scouting
squads occupying all of the roads in the region of country upon the
left bank held by them, looting where they could. Many of them could
easily have been bagged by small forces equally as bold; by so doing
thrown them into much the same state of uncertainty where to look for a
blow as existed among the Federal officers.

While at Boutee Station orders from Colonel Cahill directed the
Forty-Second detachment to be temporarily attached to the Fifteenth
Maine and to proceed to the Metairie race-course, in New Orleans,
where a camp was formed, comprised of detachments One Hundred and
Seventy-Sixth New York, Twenty-Third Connecticut and Fifteenth Maine,
with Grow’s battery; Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney in command of the
force. These orders were countermanded on the same day and the
detachment ordered to rejoin the regiment, then in New Orleans, and did
so June 29th, bringing under guard to the provost-marshal some sixty
prisoners taken at La-Fourche and vicinity.

On the thirtieth June the Federal force drew back to Jefferson Station,
eight miles from Algiers, where fortifications of a formidable
character were thrown up by large gangs of negroes. This station was
an outpost to the Defences of New Orleans for some weeks, with pickets
upon the roads and railroad line back to Algiers, and the river
patroled by gunboats between Company Canal and Donaldsonville.

While the Confederates under General Taylor raided on the various posts
in the Parishes between the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi Rivers,
picking up all scattered troops found, to send them on parole to New
Orleans, the garrison in the defences of the city was quite small.
General Banks had drawn all the men he dared to take in front of Port
Hudson, even bringing troops from Ship Island and Pensacola. To offset
this General Emory had all troops in the garrison, on whatever duty,
kept ready from the nineteenth June until all danger was over to move
readily at any moment with two days cooked rations and one hundred
rounds per man. The Second Brigade, Second Division, was concentrated
as far as possible; all passes or leaves of absence were absolutely
stopped; convalescent soldiers were got together and organized, and
colored regiments, recruited from intelligent blacks of the city, were
organized for sixty days service, under colored officers. In this
manner were sufficient troops obtained to do the needed garrison duty,
furnish required guards and patrol service, while the regular forces
attended to the extreme outposts. The First Texas Cavalry, Colonel
Davis, did all of the scouting service, under direct orders from
General Emory.

This action at La-Fourche Crossing must not be confounded with the
disastrous engagement of July 13th at Bayou La-Fourche, in which the
Forty-Eighth, Forty-Ninth and Thirtieth Massachusetts Regiments formed
a part of the Federal forces; Colonel Dudley in command.



CHAPTER XIII.

JULY--IN NEW ORLEANS--AT ALGIERS.


New Orleans on a Sunday during the summer of 1863 would have shocked
those staid old New Englanders who believed in a proper observance of
the day. Army and navy officers, soldiers and sailors, who could obtain
furloughs, did not hesitate to use the day for a grand spree. All the
elements were there to have a merry time, and upon the Shell-road there
was seen a cosmopolite crowd bent on enjoyment of the day. The colored
population was always out in full force. Until one got so used to it
that the novelty was gone, all this excitement, in endless variety, was
not to be lost by those who could take part.

The Fourth of July was made a gala-day. Salutes were fired morning,
noon and night. A street parade was made by the Forty-Second
Massachusetts and a few small companies from the One Hundred and
Seventy-Sixth New York, Twenty-Third Connecticut Infantry and
Twenty-Fifth New York Battery, with two squadrons cavalry, as an escort
to a procession of citizens, mostly dark colored. Fireworks in front of
the Custom House at night closed the jubilations of the day.

At the Custom House the regiment remained until July 14th, on provost
duty and on guard over Confederate prisoners, confined in the best
part of the building. The treatment of these prisoners was good; their
food was the same furnished to the regiment on guard, and except
deprivation of their liberty they had no reason to complain. It was a
hot time the day these Confederate officers arrived from Port Hudson. A
large crowd of sympathizers were on hand to welcome them, so boisterous
in behavior the cavalry-men, who assisted the infantry guard, in a
number of cases lost their temper and drove the people into stores and
houses by backing their horses into the crowd; sabres were also used
a few times. The crowd threatened at one time to make an attempt to
seize some stacked arms in a street near the Custom House, after the
prisoners were placed in quarters. In a day or two quiet was restored
and all expressions of sympathy ceased.

While on duty in the city all drills were suspended; parades of
ceremony, guard-mounting and dress parade, took place on the reserved
ground in the centre of Canal Street. These parades were gone through
with in an indifferent manner on account of hot weather and debility,
which began to affect a great majority of the men. Not being acclimated
the extreme hot weather told on their health in a marked degree; not
exactly in a condition to be called sick, they did not feel well; what
duty had to be done was made easy as possible. Guards for hospitals,
men for patrol, funeral escorts, and regular sentry duty at quarters
kept at work every man able to do duty. One funeral escort was
furnished every day, always at six o’clock in the afternoon.

After several assaults had been made upon solitary unarmed soldiers
by the rough element in the city, an order was issued July 11th for
every officer and soldier to wear his side-arms whenever upon the
street. Several men had been roughly handled, and reports were current
of the assassination of two men in the suburbs, but of the truth of
this report there is no definite knowledge. The night patrol had
orders to prevent more than three persons assembling together and to
arrest all officers and men of the army without side-arms. The patrol
furnished by the Forty-Second consisted of one lieutenant and eighteen
men, who covered all streets within the limits of--from St. Mary’s
Market to Eliseum Field Street, to Dauphin Street, to Canal Street, to
St. Charles Street, to Julia Street, to Tchoupitoulas Street, and to
Custom House Street. These limits covered many questionable places of
resort and afforded night patrols an opportunity to see very curious
incidents. At reunions of the regiment these incidents form the basis
of a large number of amusing anecdotes.

To while away care and to lighten the burden of duty a few officers and
men conceived an idea of forming a mock Sons of Malta Lodge. Prominent
in this amusement were Captain Leonard, Lieutenants Sanderson and
Phillips, Sergeant-Major Bosson, Sergeants Nichols, Vialle, Attwell,
and others. The first move was to secure a victim for an initiation
ceremony. It was decided to try Sergeant John Binney, of Company A, a
man well known to all on duty at the Custom House. After broaching the
subject in a careful way to the sergeant, he was anxious to join such
a lodge, which he was informed had already been formed, and thought it
an excellent idea. He was kept in suspense a few days on the plea that
his name would have to go before the lodge, and if not black-balled he
would be admitted on a certain evening. Binney caught at the bait like
a hungry fish.

When everything was ready the _pseudo_-lodge members assembled, masked,
in a dimly-lighted room in the Custom House, prepared for fun. A bugle,
trombone, bass-drum and cymbals were procured from the band, officers
appointed, and the sergeant, blindfolded, was admitted after passing
through certain mock forms at the door. All worked well; the questions
and answers and chorus from lodge members were carried out with due
decorum until the moment the embrace of fellowship was to be given.

There was attached to Company C, as cook, an immense large negro, a
regular old plantation hand, tall, burly looking, black as coal, with
an odor about him as bad as from a skunk. With some difficulty, and not
without threats, this negro was got into the room and made to strip
naked to the waist. As the arms of Binney were placed around this negro
and his head laid upon the bare, black breast the whole ceremony came
near being spoiled by those present bursting into a roar of laughter;
fortunately this was stifled, and amid a crashing din, made by band
instruments, gas was turned on and the bandage removed from the eyes
of candidate Binney. For a moment dead silence reigned, while Binney
stared around and then at the negro in such a manner those present can
never forget. Suddenly he kicked him, and with an exclamation more
forcible than polite he proceeded to kick him out of the room amid
peals of laughter. The negro did not lose any time in escaping from
Binney’s wrath, for the poor fellow had been almost frightened out of
his wits during the initiation; large drops of sweat stood out upon his
face and breast like moisture on a well-filled ice pitcher.

Binney was mad. It was some time before he was cooled down. Finally he
saw the joke, took it good-naturedly, and had his revenge in assisting
at the initiation of others. Quite a number were “put through,” but
as the proceedings leaked out candidates became scarce, and the lodge
adjourned _sine die_.

While at Bayou Gentilly there was much discussion among some officers
and men about their time of enlistment, caused by a regimental order,
issued May 19th, promulgating the time of service for the regiment to
expire on July 14th. Opinions varied, and naturally the men inclined
to believe that theory which made their time for discharge come early.
Some company officers allowed themselves to display their ignorance
by agreeing with the short-term men, and did all in their power to
keep up that belief. Those who knew better did not try to stop this
short-term theory by informing the men of the true facts in the case.
By a decision of the War Department, promulgated at the time when nine
months regiments were called for, and modified at various times so that
it was at last expressly stated that companies could be mustered when
full, the men to draw pay from time of enlistment, though it be a month
or two before their company was mustered; that when ten companies were
mustered and formed into a regiment, then the field and staff were to
be mustered, and the time of the regiment would date from the time the
tenth company was mustered into service. This should have been known
by all officers. Men in the companies who did not have the correct
information imparted to them had an idea their term expired from date
of muster of each company, and thought they could be sent home by
companies. These men seemed to think of nothing but to get home as soon
as possible, and they did not show any pride in the duty of a soldier,
nor any regard for the cause they were in service for.

A few company commanders sent in to Department headquarters a
notification their time would be out on a certain date--which was
required by regulations--and received for reply the information, in
substance, as issued by the War Department. Notwithstanding this
official information they still refused to believe such to be the case,
and took no steps to quell a mutinous sentiment which prevailed to a
great extent; men swearing they would rather be shot than do another
day’s duty, and similar foolish remarks.

This feeling reached a climax on the morning of July 14th. In the
morning orders had been received to have the companies in readiness to
move at a moment’s notice, in light marching order. The men and a few
officers declared the time of the regiment had expired, and refused
to do further duty. It was necessary to notify General Emory. The day
before it was with difficulty a detachment of seventy-three men was
furnished Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzgibbon, who ordered the detail.

The men on duty were assembled upon the top of the Custom House and
addressed by Lieutenant-Colonel W. D. Smith, One Hundred and Tenth New
York Volunteers, acting assistant-adjutant-general on the staff of the
general commanding. The trouble was mortifying, besides interfering
with plans of the general, and it is no wonder Lieutenant-Colonel
Smith could not control his temper, and used threats, combined with
entreaty, to bring the men to a proper sense of their duty. The state
of affairs was told to them, with a warning of what to expect if a
refusal to do duty was persisted in. One officer, Lieutenant Duncan,
Company F, protested, claiming that his time had expired, and asked in
the name of _justice_ that he and his men be sent home. He was promptly
placed in arrest and his sword taken from him. This summary action was
well-timed, for Lieutenant Duncan was a special champion of the “want
to go home” men. It was proof to the men to butt against the Government
was not an easy matter. When the Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts marched
into the Custom House in the afternoon, to occupy their old quarters
and relieve the Forty-Second, ordered to Algiers, the men thought and
so expressed themselves that the commanding officer intended to coerce
the regiment into doing duty, if it was found necessary. Fortunately,
without further difficulty, the regiment went over to Algiers in the
afternoon. Lieutenant Duncan was released from arrest and his sword
returned, after an apology for his hasty, ill-timed behavior.

A history of the regiment would not be correct, and the truth not told,
without recording these events, though it is unpleasant to do so. All
true friends of the Forty-Second have every reason to be thankful
nothing further took place to bring discredit on the regiment. This
ebullition of sentiment about expiration of time of enlistment is the
only act the enlisted men, as a body, have reason to feel ashamed about
during their term of service.

From the fourteenth to the twenty-ninth the regiment was on picket
duty upon the Opelousas and Gulf Railroad. Headquarters of troops
on the west bank of the Mississippi River were at Company Canal,
Brigadier-General McMillan in command (from July 21st, when he relieved
Colonel Plumley) of all troops from Algiers to Des Allemands, and
troops were pushed forward to La-Fourche Crossing, repairing the track
and bridges to that point. The picket-detail usually consisted of from
thirty to forty men, who were out on duty forty-eight hours, carrying
rations for that time, their blankets and mosquito bars. The bars did
not prove effective protection, and it was generally the case these men
could not obtain any sleep, for they were obliged to keep awake and
fight the terribly annoying insects. This was all of the fighting done
on picket.

This picket duty extended to Jefferson Station, eight miles from
Algiers, where two companies of Colonel Desanger’s regiment of
sixty-day free colored troops and a battery of artillery were on
duty. These colored troops were neatly dressed in the United States
regulation uniform, and to all appearances were doing their duty well.
Besides this picket-detail a guard was retained on duty, comprising
nine men from Company A, eight men from Company B, nine men from
Company C, five men from Company E, seven men from Company F, seven men
from Company H, forty-five men in all, and acting Lieutenant George
G. Nichols, Company G, under the command of Lieutenant White, Company
C, who were sent to the Bellevue Iron Works in Algiers, July 13th, to
relieve a guard from the Ninth Connecticut over Confederate prisoners
of war confined there.

Another permanent guard was detailed for duty at Canal Street and
French Market Ferries from New Orleans. Their duty was to prevent
soldiers or citizens from crossing over without passes and to arrest
suspicious persons.

Algiers and vicinity would not have pleased a tourist, with its
dilapidated and uncared-for buildings, abandoned and neglected
plantations and small population. All drills were stopped. Men not on
duty could stroll where they pleased. A mixed contraband camp, not far
away, was a favorite spot for many men to pass their spare hours. The
men raided on all watermelon patches within a radius of several miles
until complaints were made to the provost-marshal. In more than one
case did these melons effect a cure of that scourge in armies--chronic
diarrhœa. Singular as it may seem several men with this complaint,
unable to get relief from the surgeons, were completely cured by eating
these melons.

Quarters were taken in an old salt warehouse close to the river, with
all the companies located in the building, space allotted each company,
every man making himself comfortable upon the floor. Doors and windows
torn out, there was no trouble about ventilation in the extreme hot
weather that prevailed. The guard occupied tents on the opposite side
of the road; the company cooks[18] and kitchens were in tents upon the
levee. A house situated within a fine orchard, not far from the men’s
quarters, was used by the surgeons for a hospital, the grounds in front
for the field and staff-officers’ tents.

[18] One day a negro cook of Company C (the same man who took a part in
the Sons of Malta ceremonies at the New Orleans Custom House) got into
a difficulty with a camp-follower colored boy. Bantered into frenzy by
this little devil the cook got a small dagger, and would have committed
a murder had not the sergeant-major and Private John Davis, Company
H, seized him, as he was about to stab the boy. A short struggle took
place before this dagger was obtained. For punishment the negro cook
was kicked for some distance down the road. Whatever became of the
burly, quick-tempered negro has often been a subject of speculation
among those who remember him.

Each night, after taps, the men made this salt warehouse ring with
fun and music up to midnight. Many rough remarks were passed to and
fro with special reference to the lieutenant-colonel, who, the men
thought, was not exerting himself to obtain transportation home. As
great injustice was done Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman while at Algiers,
it is proper some of the correspondence in relation to securing passage
North should be read by the regiment. At first he endeavored to have
the paroled men sent home; affairs in the Department would not warrant
an application to send home those men able to do duty, as every man was
wanted.


  “HEADQUARTERS 42D REGIMENT, MASS. VOLS.,
  “CUSTOM HOUSE, NEW ORLEANS, LA., July 5th, 1863.

“_Sir_,--I would respectfully present the following facts to the
attention of the commanding general of the Defences of New Orleans:

“January 1st, 1863, three companies of the Forty-Second Massachusetts
Volunteers, viz., D, G and I, under Colonel I. S. Burrell, were taken
prisoners at Galveston, Texas. These men were taken to Houston and
kept several weeks, when they were sent to our lines at Baton Rouge
and paroled. February 25th they arrived in New Orleans and were ordered
by General Sherman to report to me at the camp of the Forty-Second
Regiment at Gentilly Crossing, on the Ponchartrain Railroad, since
which time they have been in camp at that place.

“These men have had nothing to do or to engage their attention, and
as a consequence they have become very low spirited and much reduced
in bodily vigor. Several of them have lately died very suddenly, and
several are daily taken sick. One sergeant taken sick July 3d was
buried July 4th.

“The time of this regiment expires the fourteenth of this month,
according to the rule established by the War Department for the service
of the nine months troops, this date being nine months from the date
of muster of the last company in the regiment. In view of these
circumstances and of the fact that these men have been of no service to
the Government in their present condition, I would respectfully ask the
commanding general that they be sent to their homes as soon as possible.

“Many of these men are from the best families in Boston and vicinity,
and their friends are deeply anxious that they should be sent North,
and personally I am deeply interested that their case may be acted on
at an early day, for if they are kept in this climate even a few weeks
longer many more will be lost by reason of sickness, not only to their
friends but for future use to the country.

“There are also at Algiers forty-four men from different companies of
this regiment who are paroled, having been taken at Brashear City;
these with those first spoken of make a total of two hundred and
seventy-six paroled men of this regiment.

“By allowing these men to be sent to their homes not only a humane act
will be accomplished but a great and never-to-be-forgotten favor will
be bestowed on these men, who faithfully served their country when in
service, and on many true friends of the Union in Massachusetts.

“With the highest consideration,

  “I remain, your obedient servant,
  “J. STEDMAN, _Lieutenant-Colonel_,
  “_commanding 42d Mass. Vols._


  “TO LIEUT.-COL. W. D. SMITH, _A. A. General_,
  “_Defences New Orleans_.”

The transport-steamer _F. A. Scott_ was partially promised
by Provost-Marshal-General Bowen, but on July 11th he wrote
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman as follows: “General Emory, in view of
the altered condition of affairs since the fall of Vicksburg and
Port Hudson, revokes the order for the transportation of the paroled
soldiers of the Forty-Second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers to New
York.” This letter was the first intimation that an early return North
could be expected of all nine months regiments whose time had expired.
Until the two Confederate strongholds surrendered they would have been
retained in the Department.

As a matter of form a letter was sent to the Department commander June
19th, stating the time of expiration of service, with a request for
transportation to Massachusetts.

The two following letters explain themselves:


  “HEADQUARTERS FORTY-SECOND REGT., MASS. VOLS.,
  “LAFAYETTE SQUARE, NEW ORLEANS, June 21st, 1863.

“_Sir_,--I have the honor to report that your communication of the
eighteenth instant, relative to the muster into service of this
regiment, is received.

“I would respectfully state that no formal muster was ever made of
this regiment, and the field and staff were mustered on the eleventh
November, 1862. But the War Department have decided that in the case
of the nine months’ troops their time was to expire nine months from
the date of muster of the last company, which in this regiment was the
fourteenth of October, making our time, as above, the fourteenth of
July next.

“I received a short time since an official order from Governor Andrew,
based on an order from Secretary Stanton, that the time would be
reckoned as above stated.

“I have the honor to remain,

  “Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
  “J. STEDMAN, _Lieutenant-Colonel_,
  “_commanding 42d Mass. Vols._
  “TO LIEUT.-COL. R. B. IRWIN, _A. A. General_,
  “_19th Army Corps_.”


  “HEADQUARTERS FORTY-SECOND REGT., MASS., VOLS.
  “CAMP AT ALGIERS, LA., July 27th, 1863.

“_Sir_,--The time of service of the Forty-Second Regiment Massachusetts
Volunteers having expired the fourteenth instant, I would respectfully
request that transportation be furnished the regiment for their return
to Massachusetts. I would state for the information of the commanding
general that the aggregate strength of the regiment at this time is as
follows: on duty with the regiment and on detached service, including
sick, five hundred and eighty; paroled enlisted men, two hundred and
seventy-five; this making a total of eight hundred and fifty-five
officers and enlisted men, for whom I apply for transportation. Of
this number from twenty to thirty will be unable to travel with
the regiment on account of sickness, and these will need separate
transportation. Of the above number I have only about two hundred men
fit for duty. Many have become debilitated from exposure and from the
effects of the climate (fever and ague being quite prevalent), which
incapacitated them for duty at the present time.

“Of all the commissioned officers I have only the adjutant, one captain
and nine lieutenants for duty, the balance being either sick, on
detached service, or prisoners of war at Huntsville, Texas.

“I have five captains sick, who will probably never get well in this
climate. In view of the present condition of the regiment I would
urgently request that this matter receive an early consideration from
the commanding general, on the ground of humanity, if for _no other
reason_.

“The paroled men have done no duty since their capture at Galveston
January 1st, and they have become much debilitated from this constant
inactivity, and they have lost a large percentage of their number by
death, and many more will be lost, not only to their friends but to
their country, if a change of climate is not granted them soon.

“Nothing has yet been asked of the Forty-Second Regiment that they have
not fully carried out, and if Port Hudson still remained in the hands
of the enemy there is not a man but would volunteer to stay to assist
in any manner in accomplishing so desirable a result, as its capture.

“But having been informed that the exigencies do not now exist for our
services that prevailed previous to the fourteenth of July, and our
time having expired, as above stated, every member of the regiment is
more or less anxious that the Government should allow them their right
of returning to their homes and friends.

“I have the honor to remain,

  “Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
  “J. STEDMAN, _Lieutenant-Colonel_,
  “_commanding 42d Mass. Vols._


  “TO LIEUT.-COL. R. B. IRWIN, _A. A. General_,
  “_19th Army Corps_.”

A letter from Brigadier-General McMillan, dated July 28th, stated
that the major-general commanding the Department would send all nine
months men home in such order as he would select, and as fast as
transportation could be obtained; that he would send all at once if
he could, and that all petitions and representations would fail to
expedite the sending.

July 17th--Paroled men of Companies D, G, I, A, B, E and H arrived at
Algiers from Gentilly Camp and were assigned quarters in the warehouse.

July 21st--Company K rejoined the regiment.

On one occasion while at Algiers an act of insubordination had to
be summarily dealt with. Details for picket duty had been ordered,
and first-sergeants had notified their men for that duty. When
the hour arrived to “fall in” and report to the adjutant, the men
from Companies C, H and E refused to do so. Their company officers
proved powerless to enforce the orders, and the case was reported at
regimental headquarters, when the lieutenant-colonel, major, adjutant
and sergeant-major went to quarters to straighten matters out. Most
of the trouble was in Companies C and H. Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman
ordered the first-sergeant of Company C to order his detail to “fall
in,” fully equipped. The first man called absolutely refused to do so.
He was given five minutes to obey by the lieutenant-colonel, who held
his watch in one hand and a pistol in the other. This man reluctantly
did as ordered before the time expired, and the rest followed suit. No
difficulty was experienced with other company details, and the picket
on duty was regularly relieved. This ended all serious trouble of this
kind, although Private Lawrence Mannocks, Company I, was placed in
arrest July 19th for inciting to mutiny and indulging in blasphemous
remarks; it was also necessary, on the twenty-eighth, to reduce to the
ranks Corporal Thomas P. Hobart, Company A; a regimental special order
was issued to that effect. At Battery St. John Captain Coburn reduced
to the ranks Corporal E. C. Crocker, Company A, June 5th.

The guard-house was filled each day by men temporarily placed there
for being drunk. They were old, hard, chronic cases, poor soldiers,
unfit to be in service. Captain Leonard, Company C, found it necessary,
in June and July, to arrest and confine quite a number of his men for
disobedience of orders. Of his men, Private Charles F. Towle was in
arrest from June 10th to July 13th, for desertion; Private John Myers,
for same cause, from July 1st to the 10th. No further action was taken
in either case.

Confinements in the guard-house while at Gentilly were few. Privates
Owen Fox, Michael Bresneau, Company A, and Thomas Matthews, Company D,
frequently got placed there for drunkenness, disobedience of orders,
and insolence. Private Fox was once sentenced to carry cannon balls for
two days (February 25th and 26th), without a proper hearing into his
case in the regular manner. Private Bresneau was once confined a week
for insolence. At other times they would be released in a few days,
when sober.

At Algiers the men suffered more from sickness than at any other period
of service. The regimental hospital was at Bayou Gentilly until July
18th, Surgeon Heintzelman in charge, leaving that part of the regiment
at Algiers without a medical-officer, as Surgeon Hitchcock was at Port
Hudson on a visit, without orders. Hitchcock always claimed permission
was granted him to go there, but the only order received at regimental
headquarters which authorized his absence was Special Orders No.
207, Defences New Orleans, issued April 19th, 1863, ordering him to
report for duty at Berwick Bay, where he remained for a short time.
Department Special Orders No. 185, issued July 30th, read: “Relieved
from duty at Berwick Bay.” This want of a surgeon caused a letter to be
sent the medical director, Defences New Orleans, which read: “I would
respectfully bring to your attention the following facts: many men of
this command are sick at this camp, and without any medical attendance.
Unless a surgeon can be sent us some of our men will die in forty-eight
hours. The reason of our being destitute of a surgeon will be explained
by Chaplain Sanger, the bearer of this note. Please send us a good
surgeon for temporary service.” Surgeon Hitchcock allowed a personal
matter with the lieutenant-colonel to interfere with his duty.

The medical director had the regimental hospital removed to Algiers on
the nineteenth, in order to secure the services of Surgeon Heintzelman.

The hospital record tells the following story of sickness in July. At
Bayou Gentilly, July 2d, forty-four men were taken sick, most of the
cases among the paroled men recently arrived from Brashear City. On
the third, of sick in quarters: fourteen were in Company A, twelve
in B, six in C, two in D, fourteen in E, and eight in H. July 4th,
ninety-five men were sick: twenty-seven in hospital and sixty-eight
in quarters. The average sick per day at Gentilly up to July 11th was:
taken sick, twelve; returned to duty, ten; in hospital, twenty-seven;
in quarters, fifty-five. At Algiers, July 20th, one hundred and seven
new cases were reported on the sick list; nearly all were sick in
quarters. The largest number sick on any one day was reported by
the surgeon in his morning report of July 22d, when one hundred and
forty-five men were sick and unfit for duty, in and out of hospital,
viz.: Company A, twenty-one; B, twenty-two; C, seventeen; D, two; E,
twenty-seven; F, fifteen; G, two; H, eighteen; I, five; K, sixteen. Not
until the twenty-third did the paroled men from Galveston begin to show
signs of breaking down, when eleven men of Company D, six of G, and
eight of I were taken sick. After this date sick in quarters gradually
diminished, but the sick in hospital kept that building full. The
average sick per day at Algiers was: taken sick, twenty-three; returned
to duty, seventeen; in hospital, thirty; in quarters, sixty-two.

Had the regiment remained in the Department another month the deaths
would have doubled those in July, owing to the debilitated condition of
many men. The deaths were:

July 4th--Sergeant Philip P. Hackett, Company G, congestion of the
brain. At Gentilly.

July 7th--Corporal Uriel Josephs, Company A, jaundice. At Marine
Hospital, New Orleans.

July 8th--Private Rufus G. Hildreth, Company C, dysentery. At Gentilly.

July 12th--Quartermaster-Sergeant Henry C. Foster, suicide. In New
Orleans.

July 17th--Private Thomas J. Clements, Company H, chronic diarrhœa. At
Gentilly.

July 17th--Private Welcome Temple, Company H, disease not known. At
United States Barracks.

July--Private Patrick Fitzpatrick, Company E, chronic diarrhœa. In New
Orleans.

July 26th--Private Ezekiel W. Hanaford, Company H, chills and fever. At
St. James Hospital, New Orleans.

July 25th--Private John M. Gates, Company K, chronic diarrhœa. At
Algiers.

July 26th--Private William H. Bickers, Company G, swelling of glands.
At Algiers.

Sergeant Hackett (at one time an active member of old Barnicoat Engine
No. 4, of Boston) was a clever man, full of life and good spirits. His
disease was the result of hard drinking.

Corporal Josephs was a thorough believer in the cold-water cure. When
his disease first showed its symptoms, about one month before he
died, while on duty as ordnance-sergeant, he refused to report to the
surgeon, but got permission to hire a room in a house not far distant
on the Gentilly road. Every day he would bathe in a tub of water and
then go to bed wrapped up in a wet sheet, until the landlady complained
at headquarters about the corporal acting like a crazy man in her
house, and asked for his removal. As Josephs was found to be very sick,
he was removed to the Marine Hospital in the city.

Poor Hildreth lost all courage and hope a month before his death. He
was then able to move about, and was cheered up by those who met him,
without any effect. Had he shown some strength of will, as others did,
he might have reached home and recovered.

The case of Private Gates was sad. Although blind in one eye and
quite old when mustered into service, being a good marksman, very
enthusiastic to serve, the officers and men of his company assisted him
to deceive the mustering officer that he was only forty-two years old.
He did duty manfully until his disease took such a hold upon him that
he gradually wasted away. At his death he could not have weighed more
than fifty pounds.

Private Bickers was unconscious when he died. He was placed on an
operating chair in an upright position, a nurse standing near with a
fan to stir the air for him to breathe, and drive away swarms of flies
infesting the place. Around the room were beds arranged upon the floor,
occupied by sick patients, all watching with intense interest poor
Bickers draw his last breath. The sight was not calculated to give them
courage, for Bickers was sick in the hospital only a short time.

Privates Temple, Fitzpatrick and Hanaford were sent to the general
hospitals for better treatment than could be given them in the
regimental hospital. During the latter part of July medical supplies
became scarce. With difficulty were sufficient quantities of proper
medicines obtained to treat a majority of cases; the supply of quinine
gave out completely. Such a large quantity of medical stores lost at
Brashear City could not be replaced until supplies from New York were
received.

Private Hanaford lay upon the warehouse floor for some days, suffering
with chills and fever, and nothing could be done for him. When taken
with chills, it seemed as though he would shake the breath out of him.
His removal to St. James Hospital was not made until nearly dead. This
case caused much comment among the men, who freely charged he had been
neglected.

About noon, July 12th, word was brought in to the headquarters
room by a corporal in charge of the guard stationed at a house on
Canal Street, corner of Magazine Street, occupied by the regimental
quartermaster, quartermaster-sergeant and commissary-sergeant, that
Quartermaster-Sergeant Foster had committed suicide a few minutes
before. The news was hardly credited, but an immediate visit to his
room, in which the sad event happened, proved it to be a fact. Foster
lay upon the floor near the centre of the room, not far from a bureau,
feet towards the door, dressed in his flannel shirt, pants and socks,
just as he fell; a small pool of blood upon the floor near his head, a
small bullet wound in the centre of his forehead, encircled by a small
black-and-blue ring, and a pistol upon the floor by his side. Sergeant
Foster had not been in good health for some time, and latterly shown
great despondency. The reason was not known. His sickness was nothing
more than came from extreme debility, and was not dangerous. For a few
days previous he had given some evidence of not being exactly in his
right mind, but there was nothing exhibited to lead any one to think
him not capable of taking care of himself. He occupied a room with
acting Quartermaster-Sergeant Hodsdon, both men sleeping in the same
bed.

That morning Hodsdon thought Foster spoke and acted queer, without
exciting any suspicion however, and when obliged to go out on business
Hodsdon, contrary to his usual custom, laid his belt, containing a
holster and pistol, upon the bureau, intending to be back in a moment
and then wear it. He left the room, leaving Foster upon the bed, and
had barely closed the door when he heard the report of a pistol and
immediately opened the door again, to see Foster lying upon the floor
as described. He never spoke, dying in a few moments.

His effects were taken in charge by the chaplain and sent to his
parents, then residing in Dorchester, Massachusetts, from which place
Foster enlisted. From a partial examination of his knapsack, where
a few letters were found, it was thought the sad act was caused by
unwelcome news from home.

The weather being hot, by orders of the commanding general
all bodies had to be buried the same day that death occurred.
Quartermaster-Sergeant Foster was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, at
dusk, on the twelfth, escorted to the cemetery by a proper detail
becoming to his rank, under command of Sergeant-Major Bosson, and the
customary volleys fired over his grave. The burial party started at
half-past three in the afternoon, and reported back to quarters at nine
o’clock same evening.

Corporal Alonzo I. Hodsdon was made quartermaster-sergeant, July 13th,
_vice_ Foster, deceased.

Special-duty details in July were few:

July 18th--Private William A. Clark, Company B, was placed on duty as a
wagoner.

July 23d--Private Leavitt Bates, Company A, was made clerk at
regimental headquarters in place of Clark K. Denny, returned to duty
with Company F.

July 25th--Private Lewis Buffum, Company B, to be a locomotive engineer
on the Opelousas and Great Western Railroad.



CHAPTER XIV.

COMPANIES C AND H ON DETACHED SERVICE AT CAMP PARAPET.


Special Orders No. 16, issued from headquarters Defences of New
Orleans, January 15th, 1863, detailed Companies C and H for duty in
the Department engineer service. The two companies made a skeleton
battalion, under command of Senior-Captain Leonard, who, after
reporting to Major D. C. Houston, chief-engineer Nineteenth Army
Corps, for instructions, on the seventeenth marched them to Camp
Parapet, three miles up river, with their camp equipage, and pitched
tents upon a level piece of low, muddy land, formerly used as a burial
place for soldiers. This Camp Parapet was so called because a large
number of troops were in camp near earthworks thrown up a few miles
above Carrollton. These works then consisted of a parapet and other
fortifications on the east bank, between the river, the swamps and Lake
Ponchartrain, with an abandoned Confederate redoubt upon the west bank,
re-named Fort Banks.

The camp was moved to a fig grove January 21st, tents provided with
floors, and here the battalion remained until relieved from detached
duty, without suffering any inconvenience except, when a portion of
camp was drowned out, February 15th, by a terrible thunder shower
that forced men to seek shelter in barns not far away. Regular Sunday
and monthly inspections were maintained, with an occasional drill.
The inspections were thorough, as they should always be, and more
drills would have been ordered had the details been less heavy. The
companies suffered from a lack of commissioned officers. In Company C,
Captain Leonard, as battalion commander, occupied the best quarters
obtainable in the vicinity, and exercised command as such. Lieutenant
White, absent on detached duty a greater part of the time, left but one
company officer on duty, Lieutenant Sanderson. In Company H, Captain
Bailey took things easy until placed in arrest April 16th, leaving
Lieutenant Phillips the only company officer on duty; Lieutenant Gould
was on detached service as an acting quartermaster.

There was little sickness among the men in this detachment during their
stay at the Parapet. The position of their camp was more favorable
for health than others at the post, with the additional good feature
of being kept scrupulously neat; the prettiest camp at the post. On
the extreme right of the earthworks, near the Jackson Railroad track,
ground was so unhealthy it was nicknamed “Camp Death.” Here the One
Hundred and Fifty-Sixth New York suffered severely from sickness. This
ground, near the railroad, was also a risky place for the troops there
stationed on account of shells exploding in the neighborhood, fired
from the gunboats when practising to obtain a range of this road. All
shells had time fuses and would explode high in air, but fragments
occasionally fell where not wanted. On one occasion, March 31st, a
shell from the _Portsmouth_ went over the One Hundred and Fifty-Sixth
New York camp to explode nearly half a mile away, as every one thought,
yet a large fragment was flung into camp and took off the head of a
Zouave, who did not dream his death was so near. At another time a
shell in passing over Companies C and H camp prematurely exploded
overhead; pieces were flung into camp, fortunately without injury to
anybody.

Among the few inhabitants who lived near Camp Parapet must have been
some treacherous, be-deviled secessionists. Ammunition was occasionally
stolen, the empty boxes afterwards found in places where they had been
thrown. An attempt was once made by them to cause a break in the levee
above the fortifications, by removing pickets placed to keep the levee
embankment from giving way. This attempt was discovered before any
damage resulted, and guards were afterward placed upon the river banks
to prevent other attempts of a like nature.

Private Charles E. Warren, who had been an apothecary clerk in Boston,
was detailed by Captain Leonard to act as medical-officer for the two
companies. Warren did not take the position from any love for the
medical profession, but did so to advance his personal interest and
comfort. He was a social, jolly, good fellow, with a certain amount
of acquired knowledge how to use medicines, but had no diploma as a
graduate from any medical institute authorizing him to assume the
practice of medicine.

Other details from the enlisted men were made to serve in various
capacities, viz.:

Sergeant Frederick C. Blanchard, Company C, acting adjutant.

Sergeant Edward P. Fiske, Company C, acting sergeant-major.

Sergeant Edward L. Jones, Company H, acting commissary-sergeant.

Sergeant Dennis A. O’Brien, Company H, wagon-master.

Private David N. Phipps, Company H, carpenter.

Corporal William A. Hinds and Private Reuben Smith, Company H, clerks
in Commissary Department.

Privates John Davis, Company H, Larry O’Laughlin, Company H, James
Haley, Company H, Daniel E. Demeritt, Company C, Solomon Kennison,
Company C, and Henry C. Dimond, Company C, overseers of contrabands.
Private Henry C. Dimond was also clerk in the superintendent’s office.

Corporals Charles E. Loring, Company H, Charles M. Marden, Company H,
and George H. Smith, Company H, clerks in office superintendent of
contrabands, Engineer Department.

Private Henry A. Fenner, Company H, orderly to Major Houston, United
States Engineers.

Companies C and H contained a queer mixture of men, that made it hard
to handle them in good shape. No other companies in the regiment were
like them in their _personnel_. There were good men, with excellent
reputations at home and from families of high standing; many men
whose reputations were known to be bad, taken from the rough element
of cities and towns, whose faces and behavior were enough to stamp
them what they were; also many excellent fellows who did their duty
manfully, though they did come from the ordinary ranks of society. This
much must be said about the tough characters: fight as often and hard
as they could among themselves, a frequent occurrence, whenever an
outsider molested any comrade belonging to their companies, they came
to his rescue, and would stand by each other to the last.

The duty performed by these companies was not arduous. It mainly
consisted of guard duty and acting as overseers to gangs of contrabands
at work on the fortifications. There was plenty of this kind of work
to keep in good order earthworks already finished, change the lines
of some portions, raze and rebuild other portions, cut and haul wood,
and, under direction of Mr. Long, volunteer United States engineer (the
same young officer who was at Galveston), a bastioned redoubt, to
form a part of the earthwork defences, was commenced January 30th, and
completed before the companies rejoined their regiment.

There were several large contraband camps maintained at the Parapet,
known as colonies number 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, the Greenville colony and
Brickyard colony. Women and children were kept in camps separate from
the men. These camps received additional negroes brought from abandoned
plantations by details of men sent up river to collect them. A number
of men from C and H were detailed in various capacities to assist such
officers as were in command of these negro camps, for they had to be
governed and fed by the military authorities.

No guard was kept over these contraband colonies, the negroes in them
allowed to go and come as they pleased; but over those able-bodied
negroes in the engineer camp a line of sentinels was placed, whose
orders, at first, allowed them considerable liberty after their day’s
work was done. A great many had what they called wives, who were
domiciled in the colonies, and at dusk would go to see them, frequently
remaining out of camp all night. Sometimes they got on a carouse, and
made things lively. A considerable number would attend the numerous
religious meetings held every night in the swamps. This exodus, at
times, was so great that detachments of men from Companies C and H,
mounted upon mules, would be started to hunt them up and bring them
into camp, a fact Sergeant Meserve well remembers, because on one of
these night hunts his mule became stubborn, and refused to obey the
reins or the sergeant, finally landing him upon a tree-limb, where he
hung until assisted to get down.

It was thought necessary to have more stringent orders than those in
force, and by directions from General Sumner, Engineer Department,
the sentries were ordered to shoot any one that attempted to leave
without authority to do so. Naturally, this created considerable
dissatisfaction among them, especially those who had wives and children
in other camps. This state of feeling led some officers to apprehend
acts of insubordination several times, and the orders caused an
unfortunate affair to happen on the evening of April 17th, when a negro
man, while attempting to creep out of the engineer camp, was detected
in the ditch and challenged; not responding, he was shot in the back
by a sentry from Company H. His wound was an ugly one, and he died the
next day, after receiving every attention that could be given. The
negro camp was thrown into great excitement by this event, requiring
a large force of soldiers on the spot before quiet was restored. Many
officers expressed their indignation at the manner in which negroes
were restricted and guarded in this camp, as they did not consider
these strict rules necessary. To get the case before a court, where
their views could be ventilated, Lieutenant White placed the sentry in
arrest, insisting that he should stand an inquiry into his conduct;
by such action he incurred the displeasure of Company H. The man was
released next day by Captain Leonard, for the case was clear that the
orders compelled him to fire as he did.

Eleven days later, April 28th, an uproar of voices within this same
camp alarmed Private Martin, on sentry duty, who thought trouble
was brewing in the camp and raised an alarm, which caused both
guard-reliefs to turn out and double-quick to the spot, while the rest
of the men also ran down, some with arms, others without, seizing for
a weapon anything they could lay hands on, ready and willing to fight
anybody if their comrades were in danger. An investigation showed that
the contrabands had built a large bonfire, and were singing around it.
After these two events no further trouble was given by the negroes on
engineer duty.

Thrown in contact with such large numbers of contrabands of both sexes
as they were, it would not be Companies C and H if the men did not
manage to find amusement in their surroundings. Perhaps the officers
could tell a good story in connection with the marriage of Captain
Bailey’s negro servant, an occasion they graced with their presence;
while enlisted men could spin startling and true tales of pranks they
played in these camps when off duty.

First-Sergeant Henry C. Mann, Company C, met with a serious and curious
misfortune March 26th. It is surmised he had imbibed freely during
the day, a fault common to many enlisted men at this camp, and as
acting officer of the guard slept at night in the guard tent, upon the
ground, without covering. At daylight he was quite sick from a cold
thus contracted, and was unable to speak above a whisper. Nothing was
thought of this at the time, as every one supposed upon a recovery
from the cold his voice would return. It did not, and Sergeant Mann
was incapacitated from further duty with his company during the term
of service on account of this infirmity. One year after, while walking
on Washington Street, Boston, Mann was seized with a violent coughing
spell, and coughed up two pieces of gristle-like matter, when his
natural voice suddenly returned. Sergeant Mann afterwards served in an
unattached heavy artillery company. He died from consumption several
years ago.

Of the officers from the regiment on detached service, Lieutenant White
had more adventure than the rest. Immediately after the two companies
arrived at Camp Parapet he was detailed, by orders from General Banks,
to visit any abandoned plantations he could find within or without the
Federal lines, gather together what negroes he could and bring them to
the Parapet to work on the fortifications. He usually took from the two
companies a detail of ten men as a guard, finally reducing this detail
to seven men, for his own convenience and to obviate some difficulty he
had experienced in obtaining rations. All of his trips were successful.

The first trip was made January 17th, and resulted in bringing in
about four hundred on the nineteenth. The second trip was made on
the twenty-seventh, when about six hundred were obtained and brought
in January 30th. The third and last trip was made early in February
to Donaldsonville and below. The detail for this trip consisted of:
Corporal Augustus H. Young, Privates Elbridge G. Martin, Jr., Cornelius
Dougherty, and Francis Droll, Company C; Sergeant Joseph J. Whitney,
Company H; Private George H. Brown, Company C; and John Scroder, a
Boston boy, who had been servant to Captain Leonard.

Complaints had been made by old resident planters in the parish, who
remained to work their plantations, that many negroes were gathered
on the plantations committing depredations. Major W. O. Fiske, First
Louisiana Infantry (white troops), suggested to Lieutenant White that a
trip to those plantations be made, and he would be able to get together
a considerable number of negroes to bring down; by so doing benefit
the planters, if they told the truth in their complaint, and also the
Government. Caution was to be exercised, however, as the major did not
fully believe the planters wished to have these negroes disturbed, as
they had work for them to do upon the plantations. What occurred on the
trip would seem to prove this view of the case was correct.

There was a detachment of thirty men, under a lieutenant from the One
Hundred and Tenth New York, stationed at Magnolia Plantation, in St.
John Parish, for what purpose Major Fiske said he did not understand,
but did know this officer was having a fine time there and was on good
terms with the planters, a fact that would make it probable he could
not be counted on to render any assistance. This proved to be so.

Taking a river boat White and his men arrived at a landing two miles
below this plantation about ten o’clock at night. On visiting this
lieutenant a pleasant evening was passed without any mention made of
the business in hand. Quarters were furnished for the night. Early next
morning Lieutenant White, in company of the New York officer, made a
round of adjacent plantations to look over the ground carefully. Upon
their return White explained what he was after, when the lieutenant
stated his position: he was pleasantly situated, well treated, on good
terms with the inhabitants, and did not feel like doing a thing to
disturb his pleasant life. Lieutenant White at once made up his mind
the work must be done without assistance. He quietly gathered his men
together and informed them there was considerable work to do, with a
hint how easier it was to ride than to walk, then left them for the
night. After breakfast, next morning, when he reached the place where
his men quartered, he found seven horses ready, bridled and saddled.
To his inquiry: “What does this mean?” one of the men replied: “It is
White’s cavalry.” As he said it was easier to ride than walk, his men
acted on the suggestion and equipped themselves in the night. Without
difficulty he procured a mount for himself and proceeded to make a
tour of the surrounding plantations, collect the negroes together, and
explain what he wanted to do with them. They received the intelligence
with delight, and were told to bring all of their effects and families
with them, occupy a large storehouse situated by the river bank, where
they could live until he could take them down river. They came in large
numbers.

White left two men to look after matters at the storehouse, with
instructions how to find him in case of need, and with five men started
upon another tour on the succeeding day. While absent, a civilian
provost-marshal, named Marmillon, or calling himself by that name,
rode up to the storehouse, accompanied by a squad of hard-looking
characters, fully armed, and demanded to see the lieutenant in charge.
Word was despatched to White, who returned and confronted the gang.
After some parley, Marmillon demanded that the detail should get out of
the parish; said they had no business there; that he had orders of a
later date than White’s instructions, which stated that all officers on
such detailed duty as his should cease their operations and forthwith
join their commands, insisting that White should read the orders, which
he refused to do in a positive manner, but informed Marmillon no such
orders had been received by him, furthermore, he could not receive them
through him as official, and that he was on a service he meant to put
through to the best of his ability.

The following orders were all that Marmillon could have had at the
time, issued from headquarters of the Department, viz.: a circular of
February 16th, 1863, which explained a system of labor adopted for the
year in utilizing unemployed negroes, and General Orders No. 17, issued
February 18th, 1863, that reads: “No negroes will be taken from the
plantations until further orders, by any officer or other person in the
service of the United States, without previous authority from these
headquarters.”

While the conversation was at its height, with sharp questions and
answers upon both sides, the men of “White’s cavalry” became uneasy and
were ready for a fight, intimating to Lieutenant White their desire
to “clean out” the provost-marshal’s gang. They were held in check,
until finally Lieutenant White notified Marmillon it was of no use to
talk further about the matter, he did not intend to leave the parish
and should not, but the best thing he (Marmillon) could do was to get
out himself with his crowd of scallywag cut-throats, about as rascally
a set of men as he ever saw, for his own men were a little excited,
and if he did not clear out he would not hold himself responsible
for the consequences. This appeared to settle the matter, for the
provost-marshal and his men went away saying they would be heard from
again. That night Marmillon, or somebody, sent to Lieutenant White a
threatening letter, with peremptory orders to leave the parish.

The negroes were attentive listeners to all that passed between the
two parties. During the evening one of them quietly asked White to go
with him to the storehouse, where he found these negroes had made a
barricade, with their bedding, baggage, and sundry traps of all kinds,
on the three sides approached by land (the fourth side was on the water
front), so as to make the building almost bullet proof. In the vicinity
were about two hundred negroes, armed with long sugar-cane knives,
very excited and full of fight. They said, let the provost-marshal and
his gang make an attempt to use force and they would wipe them out of
existence.

The situation was not pleasant to contemplate, not knowing what
Marmillon with his men would attempt to do, and they could not get
away. Repeated attempts to stop boats on the river were failures.
The boats hug the east bank as though they feared some trick was
attempted upon them. This uncertain state of affairs continued for
several days without interference from any quarter, White and his men
in the saddle most of the time, raiding around to prevent any attempt
to surprise them. Finally Lieutenant White and Corporal Young seized
a horse and wagon, drove to Donaldsonville and, by pluck combined
with CHEEK, compelled a steamer bound down river to land at
the storehouse and take the negroes on board. They were landed at the
Parapet and turned over to the proper officers. This detail was absent
about thirteen days, unable all that time to communicate with Captain
Leonard, who thought the party had been captured by the enemy.

Several other short trips after negroes were made at various times by
Lieutenants Phillips and Sanderson without any trouble while performing
that duty.

Preliminary steps were taken in March towards enlisting from the
negro camps a sufficient number of men to organize the First Regiment
Louisiana Engineers, to form a part of the “Corps d’Afrique,” then
under consideration, and later on ordered to be organized as proposed
in General Orders No. 40, from headquarters Nineteenth Army Corps,
issued May 1st, 1863, at Opelousas. In those orders Major-General Banks
proposed to organize a _corps d’armee_ of colored troops, to consist
ultimately of eighteen regiments, representing all arms--infantry,
artillery and cavalry--organized in three divisions of three brigades
each, with appropriate corps of engineers, and flying hospitals to each
division.

Considering the character and standing of many men who received
commissions in these regiments the following part of General Orders No.
40 sounds like _buncombe_. The extract is as follows:

“In the field the efficiency of every corps depends upon the influence
of its officers upon the troops engaged, and the practicable limits
of one direct command is generally estimated at one thousand men. The
most eminent military historians and commanders, among others Thiers
and Chambray, express the opinion, upon a full review of the elements
of military power, that the valor of the soldier is rather acquired
than natural. Nations whose individual heroism is undisputed have
failed as soldiers in the field. The European and American continents
exhibit instances of this character, and the military prowess of every
nation may be estimated by the centuries it has devoted to military
contest, or the traditional passion of its people for military glory.
With a race unaccustomed to military service, much more depends on
the immediate influence of officers upon individual members than with
those that have acquired more or less of warlike habits and spirit by
centuries of contest. It is deemed best, therefore, in the organization
of the Corps d’Afrique to limit the regiments to the smallest number of
men consistent with efficient service in the field, in order to secure
the most thorough instruction and discipline, and the largest influence
of the officers over the troops. At first they will be limited to five
hundred men. The average of American regiments is less than that number.

       *       *       *       *       *

The chief defect in organizations of this character has arisen from
incorrect ideas of the officers in command. Their discipline has been
lax, and in some cases the conduct of the regiments unsatisfactory and
discreditable. Controversies unnecessary and injurious to the service
have arisen between them and other troops. The organization proposed
will reconcile and avoid many of these troubles.”

The First Louisiana Engineers comprised twelve companies of sixty-five
men each, in three battalions, under command of Colonel Justin Hodge,
U. S. A. This regiment was conceived in the following manner: all
negroes employed at work upon the fortifications were in a camp by
themselves, styled “the engineer camp.” These negroes were organized
into gangs of one hundred and twenty-five men each, commanded by two
enlisted men from Companies C and H, each gang numbered one, two,
three and so on, the same as companies in a regiment. The gangs were
further subdivided into squads of twenty-five men, commanded by the
most intelligent negro to be found. Before recruiting for this regiment
was thought of, acting under orders these gangs were often drilled
in marching, the facings, and other exercises without arms, by the
detailed men who commanded them. Contrary to expectation, they took
a great interest in these drills and improved rapidly, manifesting
considerable intelligence for slaves, one reason why it was easy work
to handle them, for they obeyed all orders without causing trouble,
accustomed as they had been to doing so for their late masters.

Opinions differ in regard to whether the negroes enlisted of their own
free will, fully understanding what they were about, when this regiment
was determined upon. Lieutenant White says, that the two companies
taken by him to Brashear City were sent away in a hurry, and the manner
in which they were mustered into the service was this: the men were
drawn up in line, when a German officer, who spoke poor English, said
something to them that White could not understand, though he stood
near him, and then declared the two companies mustered into service.
These negroes afterwards asked what had been going on, and appeared
ignorant of the nature of the ceremony. No enlistment papers had been
made out or signed that White ever knew. On the other hand, soldiers
who were engaged in recruiting for this regiment say, that the men
signed enlistment rolls, nearly all by affixing their mark, and that
they fully understood what was wanted of them, enlisting of their own
free will. This is probably true so far as other companies than the
first two are concerned. At all events, it is a fact, none of them ever
protested against their enlistment, or mode of muster in, and were
wonderfully tickled at the idea of becoming soldiers, proud to belong
to the “machinery department,” as they termed it, in their ignorance
supposing as a matter of course anybody called an engineer must have
something to do with machinery in some manner.

After passing an examination early in April, the following men of the
Forty-Second were appointed officers in this engineer regiment, and
received their commissions a month later, viz.:

Sergeant Moses Washburn, Company C, to be captain. Commissioned May 23d.

Sergeant Frederick C. Blanchard, Company C, to be captain. Commissioned
May 23d.

Private William E. Melvin, Company C, to be captain. Commissioned May
23d.

Sergeant Edward L. Jones, Company H, to be captain. Commissioned May
23d.

Sergeant Samuel H. Everett, Company H, to be captain. Commissioned May
23d.

Sergeant John G. Meserve, Company C, to be first-lieutenant.
Commissioned May 21st.

Corporal Joseph McField, Company C, to be first-lieutenant.
Commissioned May 21st.

Sergeant James G. Hill, Company K, to be first-lieutenant. Commissioned
March 27th.

Sergeant William H. Shepard, Company K, to be second-lieutenant.
Commissioned March 27th.

Corporal Augustus H. Young, Company C, to be second-lieutenant.
Commissioned May 21st.

Private Edwin G. Sanborn, Company C, to be second-lieutenant.
Commissioned May 23d.

Private Charles E. Warren, Company C, made assistant-surgeon, June 24th.

Private George F. Clark, Company C, appointed quartermaster-sergeant,
June 26th.

Other men in Companies C and H had commissions tendered to them,
which they declined for personal reasons. Some of the above-mentioned
promotions were good--men adapted to carry out the spirit of
Major-General Banks’ order.

An expedition made February 12th by the Third Division down Plaquemine
Bayou, for the purpose of capturing Butte a la Rose, at the head
of Grand Lake, was obliged to abandon the attempt on account of
timber drifts in the swollen bayous, that made a passage through
them impracticable, and returned February 19th. Lieutenant Swift,
Thirty-Eighth Massachusetts, had got an idea into his head that he
could, with a proper force, remove the greatest obstacle encountered
by the Third Division: a completely-packed drift of wood like a raft,
about three miles long, situated at the upper end of Bayou Sorrel, in
St. Martins and Iberville Parishes, a narrow sheet of water about nine
miles long. Swift had received permission, with orders from General
Banks, to attempt it.

In winter months it had been the custom for light-draft river boats to
make a short cut from Berwick Bay by way of Grand Lake, Lake Chilot,
Bayou Sorrel, the Atchafalaya River, and Bayou Plaquemine to the
Mississippi River. In summer months this route is almost dry in places,
and not navigable for local boats. From Brashear City, via Grand Lake,
to Lake Chilot is about thirty miles; Lake Chilot to Bayou Sorrel,
about eight miles; through Bayou Sorrel, nine miles; and from Bayou
Sorrel to Plaquemine, upon the Mississippi, is about twelve miles.

On April 26th, at the earnest request of Colonel Hodge, Lieutenant
White consented to take command of two companies, about one hundred and
thirty men, from the colored engineer regiment, under orders to proceed
to Brashear City to assist Lieutenant Swift in his project.

The officers in command of these two companies were: Captain Samuel H.
Everett, Captain William E. Melvin, Acting Lieutenant David C. Smith
and Acting Lieutenant James S. Lovejoy, from Company C, Forty-Second
Massachusetts Volunteers, Acting Lieutenant ---- Purrington, from
Twelfth Maine Volunteers, and Acting Lieutenant ---- McCown, a clerk to
Colonel Hodge.

At Brashear City the expedition had to remain some three weeks, until
suitable steamers could be furnished from boats in use by the army,
then advancing up the Teche. Two small tug boats and two barges were
finally provided, with all the equipment and rations supposed to be
sufficient for the time it would occupy, calculated by Lieutenant
Swift to be ten days. A start was made about May 20th. No surgeon
was detailed or medicines provided, although an attempt was made to
obtain both in Brashear City. The post hospital officers refused to do
anything in the absence of direct orders to do so, although White had a
personal request from General Banks to get a couple of panniers, with a
full set of surgical instruments and medicines. The bags were obtained,
but no instruments and but few medicines. Lieutenant Swift had with
him a detail of thirty men, Twelfth Maine Infantry, all practical
river lumber drivers. He did not conceal his opinion, that the negro
troops were of no use to him in this scheme, and that the men from the
Twelfth Maine would make short work of the obstacle.

On arrival at Bayou Sorrel, where they were attacked the first night
by guerillas, they went to work with a will for some days, sending the
logs right and left floating down towards Lake Chilot, where they again
collected together to form a formidable obstacle in their rear, and
before they were aware of it they were caught between the obstructions;
they could not go ahead or go back. The weather was extremely hot, with
mosquitos and flies terribly annoying, and before many days Lieutenant
Swift was obliged to call upon Lieutenant White to assist him with the
negro troops.

The expedition lay in this bayou between three to four weeks, the
water falling steadily until there were places in their rear fordable
over sand bars. The men sickened rapidly, measles appeared, and all
of the Maine detachment, except five or six men, were on the sick
list unfit for duty. Fortunately none died. About sixty-five of the
negro detachment were also sick and unfit for duty; seven of them
died. Provisions ran short. The few inhabitants in the vicinity gave
information that the Confederates were operating around their rear to
cut them off, not expecting they could get through in front and must
eventually abandon the boats to try and work back by land towards
Brashear.

In this emergency Swift appealed to White for a trustworthy man to go
to Brashear City for provisions, and arms for the negro companies.
Acting Lieutenant McCown was selected, who, with two negroes, managed
by travelling at night to work their way back to Brashear, where
they obtained provisions, also forty muskets, without bayonets or
ammunition, and brought them up upon a small steamer.

Work was pushed day and night by all of the available hands to break
through the obstacle in front, as it had become impossible to work
back. This was at last accomplished, and with a clear passage beyond
this obstacle the steamers were rushed through to the Mississippi,
reaching that river late in the afternoon of June 19th, and the men
were landed on the east bank, opposite Plaquemine.

One boat struck a snag while entering the Mississippi and sank in water
almost up to her deck cabin; all hands, except the captain with a few
of the crew, were taken on board other boats. Next morning Confederate
soldiers appeared on the river bank and captured those who remained
upon the wreck. It was afterwards ascertained that a force of about
two thousand cavalry reached a point on the Bayou Plaquemine very soon
after the expedition had passed, to find they were too late, when they
pushed for Plaquemine Town, capturing the small force stationed there,
burning the hospital building, and committing other acts of vandalism.

At the season of the year it was undertaken this expedition was a
farce. Had an intelligent officer first made proper inquiries to
ascertain the true state of that line of water course, when it was
navigable and when not, the probabilities are that the expedition would
not have started.

Lieutenant White, Acting Lieutenants Smith and Lovejoy proceeded
immediately to the regimental hospital at Bayou Gentilly, sick with
fever, and for a time it was doubtful whether they would recover. The
two companies went to Port Hudson to rejoin their regiment.

The First Louisiana Engineers received orders to proceed to Baton Rouge
May 20th, with General Neal Dow’s brigade. The brigade passed up river
May 21st; on the twenty-second the engineer regiment had its first
dress parade, with music furnished by the Forty-Seventh Massachusetts
regimental band, that regiment having arrived at the Parapet a few
days before. Without arms, clothed in straw hats and uncouth clothing
(regulation uniforms had not been issued), this regiment made an
appearance that agreeably disappointed the military spectator.

On Sunday, May 24th, camp was struck, transports taken, and the First
Louisiana passed up the river for Port Hudson, where it did some hard
work, received well-merited praise for duty actually performed, and
praise for what it did not do. At Port Hudson this regiment did about
all of the engineer hard labor of the army, divided into detachments to
cover the whole Federal front (about five miles), to throw up temporary
fortifications, dig approaches and mines. On the extreme left a work
for twenty-one guns was made by these colored troops. In the first
assault this regiment carried fascines to fill the ditch, and to their
credit it must be said they ran forward, threw them in helter-skelter,
expecting to receive the enemy’s fire every moment. The enemy did not
fire on them (that was reserved for the assaulting columns of white
troops), and they got back without loss. During this siege the regiment
was as much under fire every day as any white regiment, suffered a loss
of about seventy men, and displayed good pluck for untrained men.

While convalescent, Lieutenant White, disregarding the advice of
Surgeon Heintzelman, returned to his company in New Orleans the last
of June. From there he started for Port Hudson to report to Colonel
Hodge. At Springfield Landing, the base of supplies for the army, an
attack was made on the post July 2d, by a raiding party of Confederate
cavalry, just as a party, including Lieutenant White, were about to
start in a sutler’s wagon for Port Hudson, seven miles distant.

The Confederates dashed through a force of some ninety men from a New
York regiment on duty at the landing, and then divided into squads. One
of these squads rode down to the river bank where White, with a dozen
other men, had taken refuge in an old trading boat. After discharging
a few volleys, from the saddle, they rode away. They did not dare to
dismount, because a sharp musketry-fire was springing up behind them
from the New York infantry-men, who rallied, behind shelter, by twos
and fours, as they saw a chance, until they drove the Confederates
away, after a half hour’s skirmish, and before the Thirtieth
Massachusetts, ordered down from Port Hudson, could intercept them.

From the boat Lieutenant White witnessed the capture of his old
companion, Lieutenant Swift, by a Confederate squad who rode up to look
inside a tent occupied by Swift a few moments before busily engaged in
writing, and who had hid, with two men, in bushes close by. They would
have been safe had not one of the men incautiously looked out to see
what was going on and been seen by the enemy, who ordered them out and
made them prisoners.

Lieutenant White was relieved from duty with the engineer troops July
7th, to rejoin his company.

To sum up what these two companies did is to say that they done their
duty well. They were once, April 24th, under orders for Port Hudson,
and held in readiness for two days to proceed there; the nearest they
ever came to going into active field service.

June 5th, Companies C and H were relieved from duty in the Engineer
Department, and marched seven miles to Bayou Gentilly, accompanied by
the regimental band (sent them at the request of Captain Leonard), and
rejoined the regiment.



CHAPTER XV.

COMPANY K IN CHARGE OF PONTOONS--BATON ROUGE--TECHE CAMPAIGN--SIEGE OF
PORT HUDSON--DONALDSONVILLE--RETURN TO REGIMENT.


Company K, under command of Lieutenant Henry A. Harding, a talented
young officer, twenty-one years old, in obedience to Division Special
Orders No. 51, issued February 16th, proceeded to New Orleans on the
eighteenth from Gentilly Camp, and reported to Major Houston for duty
in the engineer service. Quarters were assigned in Shippers’ cotton
press, already partially occupied by the Twenty-Sixth New York Battery,
one hundred and fifty men, eight brass guns and one hundred and ten
horses. This battery remained at the cotton press until March 8th, the
two commands fraternizing without any trouble.

Company K was ordered to take charge of the pontoon train. The
pontoons, in two sizes, were made of rubber, inflated with air by
hand bellows in lieu of air pumps, when all ready for use. Such
miscellaneous articles as planks, guy ropes, oars, etc., occupied a
large amount of space. Thirty wagons, drawn by four mules to each
wagon, were used to transport this bridge and material. Negroes were
employed as drivers, “bossed” by a large, powerful Irishman called “Big
Slattery.” Slattery was a bully, always ready to curse and whip his
negro drivers. His brutality assumed such proportions men of Company K
had to interfere and put a stop to it. The company wagoner, in charge
of the wagon used to convey company property, was Private Jotham E.
Bigelow, until Wagoner Porter Carter was ordered to join his company.

At first sight the men made up their minds they were to see hard
service in handling this cumbersome, clumsy-looking pontoon bridge. To
bridge a river or bayou the requisite number of pontoons were inflated
by hand-bellows, then launched and placed in position, afterwards
planked, and fastened by ropes to remain steady. Company K had eighty
men for this duty, until sickness and death gradually reduced the
number to about fifty. They learned how to handle the pontoons without
instruction from an engineer officer, by practice drills with sections
of the bridge, and gained much valuable knowledge of the property
confided to their care by odd jobs of necessary work done to have
everything in complete order.

Two accidents happened that, for a short time in March, left the
company without a commissioned officer. Lieutenant Harding, kicked by
a horse about a week previous, had to go into hospital March 1st, on
account of the injury. In the afternoon Lieutenant Gorham was thrown,
his horse fell upon him, and he was insensible until taken to the St.
James Hospital next day. He returned to duty March 9th, in season to
command the company ordered to Baton Rouge with the pontoons on March
10th. They went up river upon the steamer _Eastern Queen_ and arrived
at Baton Rouge March 11th at three o’clock P.M., going into
camp about half a mile from the river.

All signs pointed to a forward movement by the large body of troops
massed at this place, commanded by General Banks in person. Great
activity was observed on board naval vessels, which caused the men
to understand they were about to do active field duty and gain some
practical knowledge how to use pontoon bridges for service. Early
on the twelfth the pontoon train was marched to Bayou Montesino,
five miles from Baton Rouge, and the men commenced to throw a
bridge seventy-seven feet long across this bayou. Picket lines
were established some two miles in front until next morning, when
the Forty-Eighth Massachusetts and Second Louisiana Infantry, with
unattached Massachusetts cavalry companies, commanded by Captains
Godfrey and Magee, were sent up river on transports to Springfield
Landing, proceeding to the junction of Springfield Landing and Bayou
Sara roads, driving in Confederate pickets and clearing the roads down
to where the bridge was thrown. At night, work was suspended, but
Company K kept on the alert, as pickets were firing throughout the
night and alarms frequent; the men were formed into line three times,
ready for a defence of the bridge. By noon of the thirteenth all was
made ready, and at night troops commenced to cross on the advance
towards Port Hudson.

The men remained on duty at their bridge until the seventeenth, with
the Forty-Ninth Massachusetts Infantry on guard for a part of the
time, witnessing the constant movement of troops, accompanied by
baggage trains, and listening to the guns from the fleet while Admiral
Farragut succeeded in pushing two gunboats past Port Hudson batteries
March 14th. The retrograde march towards Baton Rouge commenced on the
fifteenth, a rainy day, and on the seventeenth Company K commenced to
take up, load their bridge upon wagons and go in the same direction,
ordered to accompany the Third Brigade, First Division, Colonel N. A.
M. Dudley in command, under orders to reconnoitre the west bank of the
river.

On the eighteenth teams went to the levee and remained until five a.m.
the next day (all hands sleeping upon the levee), when they embarked
on the _Sallie Robinson_ and proceeded to within five miles of Port
Hudson, landing in the afternoon at Hunter’s Plantation. The brigade
foraged, scouted, and opened communication with Farragut, while naval
vessels below Port Hudson kept the Confederate steamers well under
the protection of their own forts. Without having to make any use of
the pontoons, the brigade returned to Baton Rouge on the afternoon of
March 22d, and Company K left the next day, still upon the _Sallie
Robinson_, for New Orleans, where they arrived on the twenty-fourth
at four P.M., and marched immediately, with their train, to
Shippers’ Cotton Press. Several men were taken sick from exposure to
damp atmosphere at night, which almost penetrated their blankets as
they slept upon the river bank.

For two weeks the company was kept busy in making alterations in the
pontoons, found necessary during the short service they had seen,
preparatory to moving with the army, about to commence a campaign in
Western Louisiana towards Red River.

Hospital-Steward Charles J. Wood was detached from the regiment
March 31st, by Department special orders, and joined April 3d, to
act as medical-officer. First-Sergeant J. Gilbert Hill and Sergeant
William H. Shepard were detached, by Department special orders, March
26th, and ordered to Baton Rouge to report to Captain Justin Hodge,
assistant-quartermaster, on recruiting service for the First Louisiana
Engineers, colored troops. They afterwards received commissions as
first- and second-lieutenants. The following sick men were sent to
hospitals: Sergeant George L. Johnson to St. James Hospital in New
Orleans; Privates W. J. Bacon, C. B. Bacon, Samuel Johnson and S. M.
Stafford to the regimental hospital at Gentilly Bayou.

Preliminary movements of troops were in progress as follows: the
Second Brigade, First Division, under General Weitzel, had advanced to
Brashear City from Bayou Bœuff April 2d; the Third and Fourth Divisions
were _en-route_ from Baton Rouge by transports to Algiers, thence
by rail, a portion marching from Donaldsonville _via_ Thibodeaux,
when orders were received by Company K, April 5th, to move with the
pontoons. At eight o’clock P.M. next day, the detachment
took cars at Algiers for Brashear City, where they arrived early next
morning. The bridge was unloaded, piled compactly near the track, and
tents pitched close at hand.

Weitzel’s brigade was transported across the river to Berwick on the
ninth, and the Third Division followed as fast as limited facilities at
hand would admit, occupying two days in crossing. The bridge was put
together about a mile from camp, below the city, on the ninth, using
all of the material, that made a bridge two hundred and eighty-seven
and ten-twelfths feet long. This took an entire day, and completely
tired out everybody. Next day an attempt was made to tow this pontoon
bridge to Bayou Teche, but the tide proved too strong for a tug-boat,
and the steamer _St. Mary’s_ was called on to render assistance, and
then the _Sykes_ had to assist before it could be moved and brought up
to the railroad wharf at Brashear. This day was lost. The _Sykes_, at
two P.M. on the eleventh, took the bridge in tow, with all
hands upon it, bound for Pattersonville, three miles above Brashear.
After a hard pull, obliged once to make fast to the shore, the bridge
reached Pattersonville in the evening and remained all night. The men
remained upon it, in readiness to obey any orders. On the twelfth the
bridge was thrown across the bayou, and one infantry regiment, one
cavalry company and five artillery guns crossed over. While at work
Company K was fired on, and seven men were thrown forward to ascertain
if a force was in the vicinity; a small guard was found, who beat a
hasty retreat. Lieutenant Harding, with a boat’s crew, went up river
at night for orders; Lieutenant Gorham, left in command, tried to
execute an order to bring up the bridge to a spot about three miles
from his position, where a bridge was destroyed by the enemy, but the
captains of steamers _Sykes_ and _Smith_ thought it unsafe to try it,
and the bridge was not towed up until next day, the thirteenth, when
it was placed in position about three-quarters of a mile from the
battle-field. Gorham was placed in arrest by Major Houston for the
delay, and released and ordered to duty on the fifteenth, as it was not
his fault.

The Third (Emory’s) Division, the Second (Weitzel’s) Brigade, First
Division, advanced to Pattersonville, threw out pickets, and went into
bivouac on the eleventh. The enemy was posted behind breastworks on the
Bisland Plantation, about four miles above Pattersonville. On their
left were six hundred men, with six guns, defending the ground from
Grand Lake to the bayou. The gunboat _Diana_ defended the bayou main
road, and there were two 24 Pr. guns in position upon the bank, on
their right, to assist the _Diana_. Sixteen hundred men, with twelve
guns, held the line of their right to a railway embankment, where
General Green was posted with his dismounted men.

After this position was reconnoitred on the twelfth, with skirmishing
and considerable artillery firing in the afternoon, an advance on
the enemy was made about ten A.M. April 13th, by a strong
line of skirmishers, supported by artillery. No attempt was made to
assault. This movement on the enemy was evidently made to occupy their
attention until Grover’s division could gain the roads in their rear
at Franklin. At noon the gunboat _Clifton_ pushed up river to aid the
troops, until she ran afoul of a torpedo. For fear of being blown up
by these machines, she anchored until afternoon, and then commenced
to throw shot and shell dangerously near the Federal troops. This was
soon stopped, for the _Clifton_ was not in a proper place to render any
service. The bridge was in constant use during the day, soldiers and
ambulances crossing and recrossing. The company remained under arms,
on guard, until the fourteenth, squads of men going up river in small
boats to witness the army movements on the twelfth and thirteenth,
collect small boats and carry orders. The enemy retreated to Franklin
on the fourteenth, after destroying their one gunboat on the bayou
(the _Diana_), to escape a threatened rear attack by Grover’s fourth
division, that had by way of Grand Lake, on transports, effected a
landing with difficulty near Hutchin’s Point, not far from Franklin,
and advanced to the Bayou Teche.

In this first Western Louisiana campaign the pontoons did not see much
service. Bridges over the small watercourses General Taylor attempted
to burn or otherwise destroy were repaired without difficulty, as
the pursuit was close enough to prevent much destruction. A great
flood existed, but saving the bridges obviated a call for use of
pontoon-sections. The labor done by Company K was not heavy, but kept
them constantly at work on the river for ten days, exposed at night
to foul air and bad vapor from swamps. This exposure caused a large
proportion of the men to be taken sick. Serious cases were sent to post
hospitals at Berwick Bay, a portion distributed among hospitals in New
Orleans, and those who could travel were sent to Bayou Gentilly.

The company proceeded to Franklin, April 14th, upon the _Sykes_, with
gunboat _Clifton_ for an escort, leaving their bridge where it was in
position, with a detachment on guard. From Franklin the men were kept
moving down and up the river, on the lookout for torpedoes, and at
work to try and remove the wreck of the Confederate gunboat _Cotton_,
blown up by the enemy in January, obstructing free navigation where
she sunk. Plenty of opportunities were found to go ashore on foraging
expeditions.

Orders were received on the twenty-third to join the army, well on
its way towards Opelousas. Small boats took the men down to where
their pontoon bridge lay, when it was taken in tow for Brashear City,
and arrived there in the afternoon. The bridge was taken up on the
twenty-fifth, loaded upon wagons, and transported on the steamer
_G. A. Sheldon_, that left Brashear City on the twenty-sixth for
Barre’s Landing, _via_ Grand Lake, the Atchafalaya and the Cahawba
Rivers, stopping at Butte a-la-Rose to leave supplies for the gunboat
_Calhoun_. On arrival at Barre’s Landing on the twenty-eighth, wagons
were sent ashore and the command went into camp. Bustle and excitement
ruled the hours. A large amount of cotton kept coming in to the army,
and was stored or shipped by steamers to Brashear.

From exposure upon the bayou Lieutenant Harding became sick with
malarial fever, that forced him to leave his company April 21st and
return to the regimental hospital for treatment. The command fell on
Lieutenant Gorham, who was not equal to the task. With a weakness for
liquor he could not control, this one fault completely unfitted him
for such a position as he held. He was reprimanded once by a general
officer, who noticed he was inebriated while on duty and cautioned him
not to repeat the offence. Gorham failed to obey the caution, was found
by the rear guard in a state of intoxication at a rebel’s house on
Carnell’s Plantation, and at Alexandria, May 9th, was placed in arrest.
Captain Smith, First Louisiana Engineers, was placed in command of
Company K until Lieutenant Harding should rejoin. The option was given
Lieutenant Gorham to resign or stand trial by court-martial. He chose
the former, and was discharged from the service of the United States by
Department Special Orders No. 115, issued May 13th.

General orders were issued to prevent straggling and pillage. As these
orders were not promulgated to Company K, and many men never heard read
General Orders No. 29, it is here given:

  “HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF THE GULF,
  “19TH ARMY CORPS,
  “OPELOUSAS, April 21st, 1863.


  “GENERAL ORDERS NO. 29.

“The exigencies of the service, and safety of the troops, imperatively
demand that the disposable force of the corps shall march in column,
except where necessary detachments upon special duty are ordered by
superior officers. The desertion of the column upon the march, or
straggling, for the purposes of pillage and plunder, is an offence made
punishable with death by the Articles of War. The honor of the flag,
and the safety of the men who faithfully discharge their duty, demand
that this law be enforced; and the commanding general gives notice,
absolute and positive, that this punishment will be executed upon
those men, of whatever command, who violate the army regulations and
dishonor the service by inexcusable and atrocious acts of this kind.
All officers, of whatever grade, who shall allow the men under their
respective commands to leave the line of march or the camp, without
authority, will be summarily and dishonorably discharged the service,
as unworthy to participate in the triumphant march of this column. The
army is now hundreds of miles from its base of operations, in the
enemy’s country. The campaign may be made one of the most creditable of
the war, or it may disgrace the troops and dishonor the country. The
commanding general appeals to officers and men to reflect upon their
position, to consider their duties, and faithfully to discharge the
obligations which rest upon them, and is, for himself, determined to
execute the severest sentence of military law upon those who basely
betray the service and dishonor their country in this regard. Whatever
property may be necessary for the support of the army, or may be
prostituted to support the rebellion, will be taken by the Government,
and due reparation will be made therefor. But we do not war upon women
and children, however much and in whatever way they may have erred. Our
contest is with the men and the armies of the rebellion.

“Information has been received at these headquarters that the lives
of officers as well as of the men of the line have been endangered by
the unauthorized and criminal discharge of firearms by persons engaged
in pillage. Notice is given to all officers and soldiers that the
parties engaged in these practices will be held responsible for the
consequences of their acts, and that such offences will be punished
with the severest penalties prescribed by the Articles of War. This
order is not a matter of form, but will be rigidly enforced during the
campaign.

“Officers in every division, brigade and regiment of this command
are directed to place a rear-guard for the purpose of preventing
stragglers from falling to the rear of the column. Where men are sick
or foot-sore, upon the certificate of the surgeon, they will be allowed
such conveyance or provided with such hospital accommodations as their
situation may require. The captured straggler is the best source of
information that the enemy possesses. A soldier who deserts his column
in the face of the enemy will not hesitate to betray his comrades, and
deserves the penalty which the law provides for his great wrong.

  “By command of
  “MAJOR-GENERAL BANKS.
  “RICHARD B. IRWIN,
  “_Assistant Adjutant-General_.”

Several men of Company K got permission of Sergeant Johnson to forage,
and went down the river on the twenty-eighth for the express purpose of
pillage and plunder, returning next day with silver spoons and jewelry
they had taken from a dwelling, whose owner promptly reported this case
of burglary to General Grover. Lieutenant Gorham was ordered to parade
his company in front of Grover’s headquarters, where the property owner
identified Sergeant Baker, Corporal Bates, Privates E. G. Bacon, Luke
Bowker, A. J. Thayer, E. M. Thayer and James Mins as connected with
this affair. They were placed in arrest, sent to Algiers, and confined
for twenty days before released from their dilemma with a reprimand,
because they could give conclusive proof Orders No. 29 had not been
promulgated to them.

Under orders to proceed to Alexandria the company and pontoon
train left Barre’s Landing May 5th, with a column of troops under
Grover, reaching Washington at half-past six in the evening, after a
twelve-mile march, and remained over night. On the sixth, after a march
of twenty-four miles over a rough road, a halt was made at a large
sugar-house for the night. This was a tough day for the men; wagons
broke through small bridges crossing ravines, had to be unloaded,
bridges repaired, wagons repaired and reloaded, fences taken down to
facilitate passing across plantations, and other innumerable vexatious
accidents that make soldiers swear. On the seventh an early start was
made; twenty miles marched before a halt for the night was made at a
sugar-house two miles from Chanaville. On the eighth the march was
continued to Carnell’s Plantation, sixteen miles from Alexandria, and
on the ninth, after an early start, Company K reached Alexandria at
noon. Nothing was done at this place except to guard a ferry across Red
River, where forage parties, negroes and horses were constantly coming
over.

Ordered to Simmsport, with troops destined to invest Port Hudson, the
pontoon train again joined a column that left Alexandria May 13th,
about two o’clock in the afternoon. Fourteen miles were marched that
day; about twenty miles to Cheneyville on the fourteenth; eighteen
miles to Evergreenville on the fifteenth; to Moreanville on the
sixteenth, twelve miles from Simmsport. Simmsport was reached about
noon on the seventeenth, after an average march of fifteen miles a day.
Two pontoon rafts and an abutment were built next day for a part of
the army to cross the Atchafalaya River to take transports at points
on Red River for Port Hudson. The current was too strong and river too
wide to permit the bridge to be used, and flatboats had to be brought
into requisition. A portion of the troops marched to Morganza, on the
Mississippi River, and took transports there.

Lieutenant Harding and Private Austin Hawes rejoined the company on the
twenty-first to find the army had departed that day, leaving a guard
over baggage and trains, that were moved as fast as transportation
could be provided. It was on Sunday, the twenty-fourth, before Company
K could proceed upon the steamer _Forest Queen_, arriving at Bayou Sara
about ten o’clock the same night. The pontoon teams did not arrive
until late in the evening of the twenty-fifth, when they were loaded,
ready for an early start next morning.

The first assault on the enemy’s works at Port Hudson was arranged
for May 27th. On the twenty-sixth Company K, with the pontoon train,
started from Bayou Sara at four o’clock A.M., under orders to
bridge Bayou Sandy (or Sandy Creek) on the Federal right. They arrived
at two o’clock P.M., after a terrible hot and dusty march of
sixteen miles. A light footbridge had been built over the bayou by
pioneers, and one colored regiment was on the other side skirmishing
with the enemy in a cool, collected manner. Work was at once commenced
on a pontoon bridge two hundred and eighty feet long. Shot and shell
from the Confederate works, less than a mile away, would occasionally
fly over the heads of men at work, who ran for shelter when they could.
The enemy’s infantry retired when the Thirty-Eighth Massachusetts
Infantry and Eighteenth New York Battery put in an appearance. At
night the Third and Fourth Regiments Louisiana (colored) Native Guards
relieved the Thirty-Eighth and the battery. Everybody not obliged to be
on picket or guard, slept through the night as only worn-out men can
sleep, without a thought of the morrow, undisturbed by the continual
boom from heavy guns fired by naval vessels bombarding the enemy.

Next day, Wednesday, at half-past five o’clock A.M., two negro
regiments (First and Third Louisiana Native Guards), with other troops
from Colonel Nelson’s brigade and two brass guns Sixth Massachusetts
Battery, crossed both bridges to assault a redoubt. The battery-guns
were handled in the road until withdrawn, with a loss of three horses
killed and two men wounded. The infantry, with great bravery, pushed
up close to the earthworks, where they found an overflow of water from
the bayou a serious obstacle to success, and were obliged to retreat
to cover of woods. One brave mulatto officer was left dead in the
water near the redoubt. Five ineffectual advances through this water
were made by Nelson’s colored brigade to scale a high bluff on which
the redoubt stood, suffering heavily (about four hundred in killed
and wounded), before approaches could be commenced on advanced ground
that was gained and held. A cavalry detachment arrived late in the
afternoon, dismounted and skirmished forward without any result. On
their return an orderly-sergeant was killed while recrossing the
bridge. During the day shells from the enemy came fast, and were
exploding lively among the tree tops about Sandy Creek, where Company
K remained as a bridge-guard. The enemy had the range, but could not
depress their guns to make shot do any execution.

Corporals Lovegrove, Alden and a private were stationed at night on the
exposed end to cut the lashings, so the bridge could be swung to the
other shore by guy ropes, in case the enemy came down in force. The
men not on guard slept in sheltered places, behind trees, anywhere to
escape from shells fired by the enemy throughout the night. Early in
the evening Lovegrove picked out a place, spread his blanket and was
about to lie down when a shell went under his temporary sleeping bunk
without exploding.

In this general assault of May 27th the following (nine months)
Massachusetts troops were engaged at various points on the lines, with
credit to themselves:

Forty-Eighth Infantry, in First Brigade, First Division, had seven
killed, forty-one wounded.

Forty-Ninth Infantry, in First Brigade, First Division, seven companies
engaged, had sixteen killed, sixty wounded.

Fiftieth Infantry, in Third Brigade, First Division, had one killed,
three wounded.

Fifty-Third Infantry, in Third Brigade, Third Division, had none
killed, several wounded.

The Thirtieth, Thirty-First and Thirty-Eighth Infantry (three years
troops) were also in the action.

After this first assault the pontoon bridge was taken up, loaded upon
wagons for an immediate start to any portion of the lines, and Company
K went into camp, near other camps, about one and one-half miles to the
rear. In preparation for a second assault the entire train was moved,
June 4th, to a position near General Banks’ headquarters. On the tenth
three detachments from the company, with sections of bridge work, were
detailed to several division commanders, with orders to be prepared to
bridge the ditch in front of the enemy’s works. Lieutenant Harding,
with about twenty men, remained in camp near general headquarters as a
guard over material not in use.

Corporal Lovegrove, with three men of Company K, was assigned to the
First Division, General Augur. Forty-two men from the Forty-Ninth
Massachusetts and One Hundred and Sixty-First New York Regiments were
sent to him and placed under his orders for practice.

Corporal Bates, with a squad of nine Company K men, was assigned to the
Second Division, General Dwight, until the fourteenth, when Corporal
Hall relieved him.

Sergeant Howe, with about fifteen men of Company K, was assigned to the
Fourth Division, General Grover. Forty men from other commands were
detailed to assist Howe.

A flag of truce was sent to General Gardner on the thirteenth,
demanding a surrender of Port Hudson, which he refused, and the
bombardment recommenced along the entire line from new batteries, a
prelude to an assault on the fourteenth, when an attempt was made by
the Second Division to work up quietly through a ravine and rush over
the works, while the Fourth Division assaulted the enemy’s left, near
Sandy Creek. At daylight Corporal Lovegrove was ordered to load his
bridge on a wagon, and the detachment went to within a short distance
of the works, where they waited for orders. A siege battery in front
and two light batteries maintained a fire nearly all day. The smoke
became so dense nothing could be seen in front. No assault in force
was ordered, and at five o’clock P.M. this detail returned to
camp. Sergeant Howe and his detachment was with a brigade commanded by
General Paine, in the third line, ready to bridge the ditch immediately
after the storming party obtained a foothold within the intrenchments.
This assault was repulsed. After General Paine was wounded, just as
the ditch was reached, the men were ordered to lie down until chance
enabled them to creep away in safety towards the rear. For hours the
men lay in a burning hot sun, shot and shell flying thick around
them. Fortunately none of Company K were killed or wounded; three
men received slight scratch wounds. Two men of other regiments, in
the bridge detail, were killed. Some of the men of Company K with
Sergeant Howe on this day were: Privates Giles Blodgett, Warner E.
Bacon, Benjamin F. Bacon, Amos D. Bond, Asa Breckenridge, Austin Hawes,
R. W. Homer, Samuel King and Charles S. Knight. The Thirty-Eighth
Massachusetts took two hundred and fifty men into this assault, and
lost one officer, seven men killed; five officers, seventy-seven
men wounded; or about thirty-five per cent. of its strength. Eight
companies of the Fifty-Third Massachusetts were engaged, three hundred
men, and lost one officer, thirteen men killed; six officers and
sixty-six men wounded; or about thirty per cent. of its strength.

Other Massachusetts troops at Port Hudson, in this second assault,
suffered as follows:

Fourth Infantry, in First Brigade, Third Division, had two companies
detailed, with three companies from other regiments, to carry hand
grenades in advance of the attacking column. Captain Bartlett, Company
K, had command, and was mortally wounded upon the breastworks. Other
companies of this regiment were in the reserve line. This regiment
lost six killed, sixty-two wounded, a number mortally. Most of the
casualties were in Companies A and K. Captain Hall, Company A, was
wounded.

Thirtieth Infantry was in the reserve column and did not participate.
The color-sergeant was wounded.

Thirty-First Infantry was in the Third Division assaulting column. Lost
thirty men out of two hundred and fifty engaged.

Forty-Eighth Infantry was in the assaulting column and lost two killed,
eleven wounded.

Forty-Ninth Infantry was in the brigade, First Division, that made a
feigned assault, losing eighteen killed and wounded.

Fiftieth Infantry was in the reserve column and did not participate.

Fifty-Second Infantry was deployed as skirmishers between Weitzel and
Grover, to prevent any flank movement on the assaulting columns. Lost
three killed, seven wounded; one officer mortally.

For these two assaults many gallant men volunteered to lead the several
columns. After the second failure it was at once decided to try a third
time, and orders were issued to organize a storming column, after this
style:


  “HEADQUARTERS 19TH ARMY CORPS,
  “BEFORE PORT HUDSON, June 15th, 1863.
  “GENERAL ORDERS NO. 49.

(_Extract._)

“For the last duty that victory imposes, the commanding general summons
the bold men of the Corps to the organization of a storming column of a
thousand men to vindicate the Flag of the Union and the memory of its
defenders who have fallen; let them come forward.

“Officers who lead the column of victory in this last assault may be
assured of the just recognition of their services by promotion, and
every officer and soldier, who shares its perils and its glory, shall
receive a medal fit to commemorate the first grand success of the
campaign of 1863 for the freedom of the Mississippi. His name will be
placed in General Orders upon the Roll of Honor.


  “By command of
  “MAJOR GENERAL BANKS.
  “RICHARD B. IRWIN,
  “_Assistant Adjutant-General_.”

Between the three years and nine months troops from Massachusetts,
engaged at Port Hudson, there was no choice as to which behaved the
best. They all did well in the positions they were placed.

The entire day of the fifteenth was occupied in removing dead
and wounded men to the rear. All sick and wounded who could bear
transportation were sent to Springfield Landing, thence by steamers to
New Orleans, for distribution in the general hospitals. Hot weather
made heavy inroads on the effective strength of besieged and besiegers.

Sergeant Perry, Corporal Bryant, Privates McIntosh, Johnson, Bruce,
Desper, L. Barnes, Wheeler, Flagg and Sibley, who had been in hospital
at Gentilly Bayou, with six other men that were in New Orleans,
rejoined Company K June 15th, in obedience to orders issued June 11th.
Hospital-Steward Wood was sent with them from the camp at Gentilly.
The effective strength on duty during June was: one officer, four
sergeants, seven corporals, one musician and fifty privates--total,
sixty-two enlisted men.

From June 14th to July 8th the duties of Company K were easy. Several
men volunteered and served in the batteries, while the detailed
detachments and sections of bridge work remained with each division,
ready for any movement that should be ordered. News that Vicksburg
surrendered July 4th was heralded to the troops early on the morning of
July 7th, by a heavy artillery salute given by the left battery. This
was followed by an intended salute to the enemy, at noon, by all of
the Federal batteries engaged in the siege. The Confederates answered
by displaying a flag of truce, and an armistice for twenty-four hours
was arranged between the two commanding generals. Soldiers on each side
then met each other half way between their respective lines, without
arms, during the night and morning, and had a jolly good time together,
until a formal surrender took place in the afternoon of July 8th.

Receiving orders to get ready to take the field, the bridge was packed
upon the wagons, and Company K marched into Port Hudson at five
P.M. July 9th, all ready to embark at once on transports from
the landing. For three days, under orders and counter-orders, the
company remained in Port Hudson, while other troops were embarked and
sent down the river.

To open river communication, the entire First Division, General Weitzel
in command (General Augur was ill), was embarked at Port Hudson upon
transports, at night, July 9th, and sent down to Donaldsonville,
disembarking on the morning of July 10th. Other troops marched to Baton
Rouge, for transportation to the same place, and the pontoon train was
ordered to follow at midnight July 12th. Roused from slumber the men
worked hard until morning, when the steamer _St. Maurice_ carried them
to Donaldsonville, arriving in the evening, July 13th, too late to take
part in a reconnoissance made that day by the Third Brigade, First
Division, under Colonel N. A. M. Dudley, Thirtieth Massachusetts.

What few particulars can be gathered of this second action on the
La-Fourche are here recorded:

General Taylor heard of the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson during
the night of July 10th. He immediately concentrated his troops on the
La-Fourche, at Labadieville and Donaldsonville, to offer resistance if
pressed, until sufficient time was gained to clean out his spoils in
Brashear City.

July 11th, the Thirtieth Massachusetts skirmished down Bayou La-Fourche
about four miles, when they met the enemy’s cavalry in force, and
returned to Donaldsonville towards night. At noon the next day this
regiment again marched down the bayou road about one mile before
meeting the enemy’s pickets, who retired after an exchange of shots, a
lieutenant of the Thirtieth being wounded. After proceeding nearly four
miles, this regiment, with four guns Sixth Massachusetts Battery, went
into bivouac on Kock’s Plantation.

Early on the morning of July 13th a few shells dropped into the woods
where General Green’s dismounted cavalry and Semmes’ battery were under
cover, served to elicit a reply from that battery; an artillery-fire
was maintained on both sides for about two hours. Under orders not to
bring on an engagement, the First and Third Brigades advanced down
the right side of the bayou, accompanied by an additional battery
(First Maine), while a detachment from Grover’s division, commanded by
Colonel Morgan, Ninetieth New York, advanced down the left bank. Had
the pontoon bridge been on hand to facilitate the carrying of orders
across, perhaps the disaster of this day would not have occurred. The
bayou was not wide, but no boats or skiffs were to be found. There was
a stupid disposition of the Federal forces, who must have outnumbered
the Confederates, with an absence of intelligent orders from the
colonel in command, that has never been satisfactorily explained.

Upon the left bank, in front of Colonel Morgan, was a wide, open
plain. In front of troops upon the right bank were sugar-cane fields,
the stalks grown about seven feet high, with scattered trees, thick
shrubbery and houses, both on and off the road, completely obstructing
a view of what was taking place along the line. The Thirtieth
Massachusetts, covering the bayou road, could not see beyond two
hundred yards or so. While artillery-fire continued the men were
nonchalant, paying little attention to shells, as they did no material
damage. Some of the men improved the opportunity to bathe in the bayou
and wash their underclothing.

Until two o’clock P.M. skirmish lines engaged the enemy;
companies from the Thirtieth Massachusetts supported a section First
Maine Battery, the One Hundred and Seventy-Fourth New York supporting
another battery. At two o’clock Confederate cavalry on the left bank
were seen to deliberately form line on the open plain and swoop down in
fine style, with a continual yell, on the men under Colonel Morgan, who
fell back rapidly, exposing Federal troops on the right bank to a flank
fire. About the time this cavalry charge was made Confederate infantry
and dismounted men, without the customary yell, carefully skirmished
through the cane fields on the right bank, towards the Federals, who
opened an infantry-fire in support of the artillery. No connected
account of what happened along the line can be obtained, but it is
well known that the Thirtieth Massachusetts suddenly found themselves
receiving a sharp fire from across the bayou, a hot fire in front, and
stray bullets from the cane fields to their right. Part of the regiment
lay down behind a provisional breastwork made by the levee bank, which
was also extended by them over the bayou road, and tried to silence the
enemy seen in their wide-brim slouch hats on the other bayou side.

Though the enemy steadily crept along in front, to rise, fire and drop,
to continue creeping up, no one seemed to think of a retreat. The two
guns, First Maine Battery, were in an open space between the bayou road
and levee bank, just back of the Thirtieth Massachusetts men. Exposed
to the enemy’s fire from across the bayou, the cannoneers sought
shelter by laying upon the ground under their guns. Lieutenant Healy,
in command, was obliged to use his sword on his men to force them up
and serve the pieces; without aid, he loaded and fired a gun several
times. This state of things continued until about three o’clock, when
these guns became heated and could not be used; all the artillery
horses were killed or disabled, with but four artillery-men left fit
for duty, as the rest were killed or wounded.

Orders had been given to retreat, obeyed by some men who heard them,
while others did not obey because they did not hear on account of the
noise made by the musketry, artillery and bursting shells. The men
who remained fought on for a short time, when two small companies
One Hundred and Seventy-Fourth New York Infantry crowded in on them,
pell-mell from the right, and completely filled the space that
sheltered the Thirtieth Massachusetts, leaving bare enough elbow
room to work in; still they kept on fighting (these One Hundred and
Seventy-Fourth New York and Thirtieth Massachusetts men) to hold their
ground, and at this time the heaviest loss of the day occurred.

When it was seen men were in retreat and the enemy was closing in
rapidly, Captain Fiske, Lieutenant Barker, with some dozen men of the
Thirtieth Massachusetts, endeavored to save the battery-guns by hauling
them over a levee bank to the roadway with drag ropes. One gun was
saved; one gun was abandoned, or thrown into the bayou. All of the
troops upon and near the road then retreated in good order, exchanging
shots from behind house corners and such shelter as could be found; in
a few cases individual soldiers almost crossed bayonets with men of the
enemy. The Thirtieth Massachusetts colors were defended by a handful of
men until safe to the rear.

Colonel Dudley endeavored to rally his men for another stand, or
check the enemy’s advance, and succeeded in forming a line of about
seventy-five men. This line fired a few rounds and then continued
the retreat. On the retreat Private Horace F. Davis, Thirtieth
Massachusetts, was cut off in a cane field by Confederate cavalry, made
a prisoner about six o’clock, and with about fifty more prisoners was
corralled under a cluster of trees, guarded by sentries. A rain-storm
set in at night, accompanied with heavy thunder and sharp lightning,
which enabled Private Davis to pass between two Texans, who were
leaning upon their rifles on guard, and escape by crawling along in
the darkness between the lightning flashes, avoiding the enemy, whose
location was shown by their camp fires, around which they congregated,
until he joined a flag-of-truce party, sent out after the dead and
wounded. With this party he remained on duty, no one supposing he did
not come out with them, finally rejoining his regiment at one o’clock
A.M.

Private Davis, while firing from behind the breastwork across the road,
was in range of a battery-gun First Maine. His attention was called
to the fact, and at the moment he looked behind a shell was fired
from this gun, the concussion as it passed over him causing a prickly
sensation in his right eye. Nothing was thought about it at the time,
or for some time after, until he discovered the sight was gone. Not
daunted by this discovery, Davis remained on duty with his regiment,
and reënlisted, with one eye, when his first term expired. The sight to
his right eye has never been restored.

Other Massachusetts troops in this action were the Forty-Eighth and
Forty-Ninth Regiments, attached to the First Brigade, and the Sixth
Battery.

The Forty-Eighth was posted in sugar-cane fields to the extreme right,
with a skirmish line out. In retreating, no orders were sent to the
skirmishers, who were surrounded before they knew it, and lost two
officers and twenty-one men taken prisoners.

The Forty-Ninth was posted in a lane that ran at a right angle with
the bayou, and were lying down when the fight commenced. The regiment
was soon ordered to a sugar-house, seen above the sugar-cane, about
five hundred yards to the right and front, to reënforce a regiment and
battery supposed to be there. No troops were found on arrival at the
place. This regiment caught a moderate infantry-fire from the front,
and saw a mounted force upon its right. Confederate infantry got in on
the left of them, when the regiment fell back to the lane, and there
remained until a staff-officer, Lieutenant Weber, got to them by the
rear and ordered the regiment to save itself, as it was cut off. This
was done by making a detour of some three miles through cane fields
before it could rejoin the command.

The Sixth Battery lost one gun, dismounted and carried a short distance
to the rear for repairs, where it had to be left, because sudden orders
to retreat were given before it could be mounted to bring away.

Total casualties to Massachusetts troops in this action were:

Thirtieth Infantry--Eight killed; thirty-seven wounded; one missing.

Forty-Eighth Infantry--Three killed; seven wounded; twenty-three
missing.

Forty-Ninth Infantry--One killed; twenty wounded; one missing.

Sixth Battery--One wounded.

Other regiments in the two brigades and Colonel Morgan’s detachment
lost in about the same ratio as above, because the enemy must have
captured at least two hundred prisoners, probably more, and men in
Company K saw at Donaldsonville, laid out for burial, about forty
Federal soldiers, picked up on the field by a flag-of-truce party. Most
of these men were shot in the head.

July 14th and 15th baggage and teams were unloaded from the steamer. On
the sixteenth two hundred and thirteen feet of bridge was thrown across
Bayou La-Fourche, under the direction of Sergeant Austin Hawes. The
company remained on guard until July 20th, when they parted from their
pontoons, relieved from further engineer duty by Captain John J. Smith,
with one company First Louisiana (colored) Engineers.

Camp was struck July 21st, when the company proceeded to New Orleans
upon the steamer _Sallie List_ and reported to the regiment at Algiers
late in the afternoon. Department Special Orders No. 181, issued July
25th, formally relieved Company K from detached duty in the engineer
service.

During this tour of active field service sick men of Company K were
left in hospitals at Berwick, Brashear City, New Orleans, and many men
were sent to Gentilly Bayou regimental hospital. Deaths from sickness
were as follows:

March 31st--Private Albert N. Bliss, fever, at Marine Hospital, New
Orleans.

April 26th--Private Charles L. Atwood, fever, at Brashear City Hospital.

May 1st--Private Charles B. Bacon, fever, at Brashear City Hospital.

May 3d--Corporal George H. Shepard, congestion of bowels, at Berwick
City Hospital.

May 24th--Private Samuel A. Knight, ----, at Baton Rouge Hospital.

May 28th--Private Elias H. Cutler, fever, at Brashear City Hospital.

July 4th--Private George H. Allen, dysentery, at New Orleans Hospital.

July 5th--Private William Stone, typhoid fever, in camp at Port Hudson.



CHAPTER XVI.

AUGUST--AT ALGIERS--BOUND NORTH--ON BOARD “CONTINENTAL”--ARRIVAL
HOME.


Major-General Banks having decided to send the regiment home in a
few days, July 29th was devoted to cleaning guns and equipments, and
turning over material to the regimental quartermaster. Orders came
on the thirtieth to embark August 1st on the steamer _Continental_
for New York, thence proceed to Readville, Massachusetts, and report
to the United States mustering officer in Boston. The thirtieth and
thirty-first July were busy days for the quartermaster, who turned over
to proper Department officers arms, ammunition, equipments, camp and
garrison equipage, unissued clothing, transportation and quartermaster
stores, surplus medical and hospital stores. Twenty-five muskets and
five hundred rounds of ammunition for the guard was retained.

All detached service men and convalescent sick men able to travel
were ordered, by Department orders, July 25th, to join the regiment.
Surgeon Hitchcock and Lieutenant Proctor reported back to the regiment.
Major Stiles and Lieutenant Duncan, Company F, were relieved from
court-martial duty July 30th. The detachments from Companies A and F
reported July 25th from picket duty at Bayou St. John and Lakeport,
relieved by Company H, Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts Volunteers. The sick
in regimental hospital not able to travel were removed to New Orleans
and distributed among the general hospitals.

The reveille was sounded at three A.M. August 1st, and every
man was busy putting his personal effects in shape until the time
arrived to eat his last breakfast in Louisiana. At eight o’clock the
embarkation commenced. The _Continental_ lay alongside the levee, near
the warehouse, so no difficulty was experienced in placing aboard what
little baggage was to be transported and the sick men supposed to be
able to undergo the voyage. After all had got aboard, the _Continental_
steamed up to New Orleans for Brigadier-General Cuvier Grover and his
staff officers, Brigadier-General Paine, and a number of officers going
North on leave of absence.

An attempt was made by General Grover to have his horses and those of
his staff sent North upon the steamer. The only place where they could
be accommodated was below the upper deck, where all available space
was already taken up by the men, crowded well together, while space in
immediate vicinity of the main hatch had been fitted up to accommodate
the sick, as it was handy to have communication with the cabin; yet
General Grover insisted that his horses should be taken on board.
No amount of expostulation would change his determination. Captain
Cogswell, Company F, swore that if they did come on board not one would
be alive after one day at sea. His men below deck, packed like sheep
in a railroad car, would have made short work with the animals before
they would suffer the nuisance to remain. By a united remonstrance to
General Banks, from surgeons and officers of the regiment, a Board of
Survey was ordered and soon decided the matter. The horses did not get
on board. General Grover’s conduct in this affair was not humane.

While tied up at the levee until a decision was reached on this horse
business, Sergeant Vialle, who was ashore on some errand, saw a drunken
cavalry-man fall from his horse, and in a kind manner assisted him.
The fellow was on a troublesome drunk, and turned on Vialle, accusing
him of stealing his property. This was all that was wanted to set the
devil at work in a patrol-guard from the Ninth Connecticut, who had a
guard-station near the spot. They arrested Vialle and conducted him to
this station, with an intention to hold him until after his regiment
left. Word reached the boys that one of the regiment had been seized
by the Ninth Connecticut, and on shore a drove of them rushed and
went direct to the guard-station and demanded his release. This was
refused, with a threat to fire into the crowd if they did not go away;
but the boys held their ground, coming in contact several times for a
scuffle with men on the patrol, who used their bayonets once or twice.
While in the act of tearing up paving stones from the street to hurl
at the guard, for the Forty-Second men were now thoroughly aroused,
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, in a carriage, drove between the two bodies
of men and put a stop to it. The patrol-guard set Vialle free by a
back-door entrance of their quarters, when they saw what threatened
them.

Hawsers were finally cast off, and the _Continental_ headed down river
bound for South West Pass. No cheers were given as the steamer got
under way; all hands felt too happy now they were bound home to care
a picayune for Louisiana. The following officers and men were left in
Louisiana sick or on detached service:

Captain George P. Davis, Company K, on provost-marshal duty.

Lieutenant Augustus L. Gould, Company H, acting-quartermaster of a
colored engineer detachment, to render his final accounts.

Private William H. Gilman, Company C, as hospital-steward in General
Ullman’s brigade colored troops.

Private Everett A. Denny, Company E, on duty at division headquarters.
He came North by way of the river, in charge of a sick officer.

Private John Nolan, Company B, sick in hospital with chronic diarrhœa.
Died in New Orleans.

Private Lewis Buffum, Company B, on detached service as locomotive
engineer.

Private Jonathan Brown, Company C, in hospital with both ankles broke.
Came North by way of the river.

Private Charles McLaughlin, Company H, sick in hospital with dysentery.

Sergeant Chauncy B. Sawyer, Company I, was sent to St. James Hospital
July 31st, sick with typhoid fever. He was sent to New York, August
17th, on the _Cahawba_.

Private Thomas P. Contillon, Company I, sick in hospital.

Private Thomas F. Igo, Company I, sick in hospital.

Private Amos B. Howard, Company G, sick in hospital with a fever.

Private Franklin Hall, Company E, sick in hospital.

After remaining all night at South West Pass, for a high tide to cross
the bar, early on the morning of August 2d the _Continental_ put to
sea. Fine weather the entire trip, with scarcely a cloud to be seen
in the sky and a sea almost as smooth as glass, was what kind fortune
favored the Forty-Second this time. In spite of all this, Lieutenant
Powers, Company F, was again very sea-sick. He lay day and night upon
the deck, close by the cabin’s side, covered by his blanket, not
wishing any nourishment, and took very little of what was forced on
him, the picture of misery. Not another man on board suffered much from
sea-sickness; a slight nausea for one day.

Mounting a guard every day was the only duty done on board ship. The
men were allowed to enjoy themselves in any proper manner without
restraint. Many of them slept on deck at night, instead of in the
close, crowded deck below. The food furnished was plain, though not so
good as when on land, while the drinking water was bad. Without storage
capacity for enough fresh water to last the trip for the number of men
on board, condensed sea-water had to be used. When drank fresh from
the condenser it was not palatable, but if left to stand ten to twelve
hours was not bad to the taste, and answered for drinking purposes. The
difficulty was to get enough supply ahead to let it stand these hours,
consequently most men had to drink it warm or get none at all. Music
was freely given by the regimental band during the trip, and enjoyed
for the want of better.

Details on board ship were: Lieutenant White in charge of receiving and
delivering rations and of men detailed to assist the cook. Lieutenant
Tinkham had charge of giving out water.

The strength of the regiment on board was--twenty-two officers and
four hundred and six men for duty; three officers and one hundred and
thirty-three men sick, with two hundred and seventy-two men paroled
prisoners of war.

During seven nights the _Continental_ was at sea, gambling was carried
on in the cabin by a few young officers on leave of absence. The hours
chosen were between ten P.M. and two A.M., when those not interested
in the game had retired. Rolls of bills and small piles of gold
pieces upon the table was not an unusual sight, while any one who had
any curiosity, by lying upon the floor (a custom followed by some,
instead of sleeping in their cabin berths), could witness the double
dealing done by all the players and the passing to and fro of cards
underneath the table between partners. It was interesting to witness,
by outsiders, but the players frequently lost their temper as the play
went against them, and open accusations of cheating and fraud were
frequent, sometimes almost leading to a fight.

In the improvised hospital every attention possible was given sick men
by the surgeons. The following deaths occurred however, and the bodies
were committed to the deep ocean with usual appropriate ceremonies,
viz.:

August 5th--Private Patrick O’Day, Company H, of acute dysentery.

August 6th--Private Charles H. Poole, Company I, of dysentery.

August 6th--Private Andrew J. Fisher, Company F, of heart disease.

In the cases of Poole and Fisher, their comrades did all in their power
to give them comfort, but O’Day was shamefully neglected by his company
officers and comrades, none of whom took the slightest interest in his
case.

On the trip Corporal Andrew P. Olson, Company C, sick with chronic
diarrhœa, and Private James A. Knight, Company F, sick with dysentery,
rapidly grew worse. By their will power, they lived to reach New York.
Corporal Olson died August 9th, Private Knight, August 10th, Private
Benoni H. Calvin, Company E, August 12th, and Private Thomas Curran,
Company C, August 19th, after they reached home.

Cape Hatteras was passed on the night of the sixth; a pilot was taken
on board the next evening, and the _Continental_ arrived in New York
Harbor early on the morning of August 8th. The sick were at once
transferred to the New England rooms. The steamer _Commodore_ came
alongside the _Continental_ in the afternoon, and men and baggage were
transferred, to proceed on to Boston, _via_ Providence, Rhode Island.

As the _Commodore_ did not start until seven o’clock in the evening, a
day was passed in New York. Most of the men remained quietly on board
these steamers, or upon the pier. Permits to pass the guard, stationed
at head of the dock, were granted in cases where it was well known the
privilege would not be abused. The guard, Lieutenant Martin Burrell,
Jr., in command, was under strict instructions, and did their onerous
duty well. All precautions taken did not prevent some turbulent spirits
from getting beyond the dock and supplying themselves with liquor.
No serious cases of intoxication were to be noticed, however, until
late in the afternoon, when Private Con. Dougherty, of Company C, was
rolling about the dock, insulting everybody in his way, and spoiling
for a fight. About the same time the guard passed in from the street
Private John Davis and Sergeant Joseph J. Whitney, both of Company H,
very drunk and very ugly. Before many minutes elapsed the three men
came in contact, and a savage fight took place.

Nobody seemed to have the courage to put a stop to it. As it
occurred in the immediate vicinity of the guard, a few officers
near by presumed Lieutenant Burrell would at once arrest the men.
Unfortunately he was absent from his post, and the sergeant on duty
lacked proper knowledge of what he had authority to do. Word was
sent to the lieutenant-colonel, who immediately came on the scene,
accompanied by Major Stiles. Davis and his companion were ordered
to stop their rioting, as Dougherty was badly punished and at this
time upon his back. Davis, now full of fight, savagely turned upon
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, and threatened to serve him in the same
way he had Dougherty, at the same time shaking his fist very close to
Stedman’s face. For at least a minute the parties looked at each other:
the colonel pale in the face, without showing signs of fear, only a
little hesitation as to what was the proper thing to do; Davis and
Whitney uttering blasphemous and insulting language, with threatening
manners. The sergeant-major drew, cocked his pistol, and held it behind
his person ready for use, and if either of the men had struck their
lieutenant-colonel one blow they would have been shot down. Lieutenant
Burrell soon arrived; he ordered a detail of his guard, with fixed
bayonets, to arrest the three men--if they resisted, to use their
bayonets freely. This diverted the attention of Davis, who at once
started for the steamer; the other two men were arrested, but soon
after released on promise of their company companions to take care of
them.

The principal offender, Private Davis, on reaching the _Continental_,
proceeded to whip the steward of that boat, whom he owed a grudge, and
for a time made things hot for everybody. He was not taken in charge
at this time, nor during the night, notwithstanding he made himself
very offensive until the effects of bad rum were gone. This leniency
towards Davis should not have been permitted. He had placed himself
in just such positions many times during his service, and should have
been taught a lesson. As far back as when in camp at Readville, he was
reduced from the rank of corporal on account of his rowdyism.

A heavy fog set in before the steamer was well in Long Island Sound,
continuing all night. The men slept in every nook and corner they could
obtain a chance to lie down. General quiet prevailed, except such
noises as were made by a few drunken men, the aforesaid Davis among the
number.

Using due care, with a thorough knowledge of Sound navigation, the
pilot supposed Point Judith was passed and steered a course to carry
the steamer up Narragansett Bay, when at five o’clock A.M.
Sunday, August 9th, the _Commodore_ struck upon the rocks of Point
Judith, hard and fast. When she struck it was with sufficient force to
throw men partly from their berths. There were two distinct shocks,
with a grating sound as if timbers were being crushed and broken. No
confusion followed the event; every one was cool and collected as
though nothing had happened; when it was definitely ascertained that
the steamer was fast upon the rocks, many men went to sleep again.

Upon deck it was impossible to see a hand or any object a few feet
distant, the fog was so dense. The water was smooth and at high tide.
After ineffectual attempts to back off, boats were lowered to make an
examination of the hull near the water line, and a careful inspection
made of the hold. While making water freely there was no danger, for
the bow was hard and fast upon the rocks, and when the tide receded
would leave her hull upon solid bottom; still all was done that could
be to stop the leak.

The fog lifted gradually and by seven o’clock A.M. entirely
disappeared, when the steamer’s position was seen to be within a
stone’s throw of the shore. Adjutant Davis and Quartermaster Burrell
went ashore, got conveyance to Kingston, and with some difficulty
opened telegraphic communication with Providence, for assistance, also
sending word to Boston. Fortunately the commissariat was in condition
to keep the men from hunger. With the exception of grumbling on account
of disappointment at not being able to eat a good breakfast in Boston,
the men took the accident philosophically. The morning passed without
any event of importance.

Early in the afternoon steamer _City of Newport_ arrived from
Providence, and after attempts were made at high tide to float the
_Commodore_ into clear water, without success, numerous heavy hawsers
being broken, it was decided to transfer the men to the _City of
Newport_ by life-boats from both steamers, each boat-load hauled hand
over hand along a hawser prepared for the purpose, instead of using
oars. This operation was slow, the boats carrying a small number at a
time. As darkness came on the tide receded and obliged the _City of
Newport_ to let go her end of the hawser and keep farther off from
shore, to prevent grounding; the wind freshened up and caused a heavy
swell on the sea and surf on shore. This took place before the transfer
of men was complete, and made the rest of the operation tedious and
tiresome, as oars had to be used to pull more than a mile.

Officers and men behaved admirably until afternoon, when boats were
ready to transfer men; then came the tug of war in an endeavor to
fill these boats. Orders and in some cases entreaty had to be used in
forcing men into them. Men who would face an enemy without fear were
afraid to trust themselves in small boats upon the water. The last boat
to reach the _City of Newport_ contained seven or eight men, who were
saved from capsizing, in an insane endeavor they made to reach the
steamer’s deck together, by the coolness of two men.

When all were on board that could be induced to take to the boats,
the _City of Newport_ proceeded to Providence, arriving there at two
o’clock Monday morning, August 10th. No time was lost in taking cars,
held in readiness, and the train started for Boston without delay,
arriving at the Boston and Providence depot at five o’clock. Had
the regiment arrived home on Sunday morning, as expected, a rousing
reception was ready for it.

The Forty-Second marched to Faneuil Hall, where breakfast was waiting,
and the regiment formally welcomed home by prominent citizens. At
half-past ten o’clock A.M. the regiment formed line and
marched to the parade ground on Boston Common, where the men were
dismissed until the twentieth.

August 20th, 1863, one year after the first detachment went into camp
as a nucleus to organize the regiment, the men assembled upon the old
ground at Readville and were mustered out of the United States service.

The following officers and men remained in the enemy’s hands, prisoners
of war: Colonel Burrell, Surgeon Cummings, Captains Sherive, Proctor
and Savage, Lieutenants Cowdin, Eddy, Bartlett, S. F. White, Newcomb
and Stowell, Corporal H. W. McIntosh, Privates Dennis Dailey, Edwin
F. Josselyn, Francis S. Morrill, James O’Shaughnessy, of Company D;
Corporal David L. Wentworth and Private Joseph W. D. Parker, of Company
G; Private Joseph W. McLaughlin, Company I; and Private Samuel R.
Hersey, Company C.



CHAPTER XVII.

ADVENTURES OF CORPORAL WENTWORTH AND PRIVATE HERSEY.


Corporal David L. Wentworth, Company G, Private Samuel R. Hersey,
Company C, and Frank Veazie, officers’ cook, with about three hundred
men (including Lieutenant Hamilton, Master Hannum, Engineers Plunkett
and Stone, of the _Harriet Lane_), left Camp Groce, December 9th,
for Shreveport. Long captivity in restricted quarters left them in
such a debilitated condition that a march of any duration completely
prostrated them.

The guard, some fifty men, under a good officer, was composed of a
clever set of men, who made it easy for the prisoners so far as lay in
their power, occasionally helping some poor fellows along by allowing
them to ride their horses. Those too ill to walk (Hersey was among
them, and towards the journey’s end Wentworth, sick with dysentery)
were allowed to ride in the baggage wagons, five in number, an
uncomfortable conveyance, none provided with springs, and the roads in
poor condition.

Cooking utensils were scarce. Living principally upon “mush,” each
mess, when they arrived at camping places, would try all sorts of
tricks to secure a “dodger-pan” from some other mess, in spite of
orders, “first come, first served.” Some would have to wait until late
at night for their turn to come, while others, too tired, would retire
to their bed of leaves and go to sleep hungry.

Every morning a start was made soon after daybreak, in order to reach
each day’s destination as early as possible. On an average fifteen
to twenty miles constituted a day’s march, and was done every day
until December 22d, when a halt for several days was made, one mile
beyond Tyler, to rest the weary prisoners. While here the officers
left at Camp Groce passed them on their way to Camp Ford, without
an opportunity being given to converse. Pleasant, cool weather was
experienced the first four days, then came cold, windy weather for two
days, then rain for one day, clearing off cold and windy and remaining
so until the march ended, varied with a few rainy and many cloudy, damp
and freezing cold days. It took six days to reach Trinity River, and
several days more before arriving at Tyler. The march was resumed on
Sunday, December 27th, crossing Sabine River during the morning, and
continued each day until about sunset December 30th, when it ended,
after an eighteen days’ tramp, and four days’ rest at Tyler, twenty-two
days after leaving Camp Groce.

Even the negro drivers, rollicking jolly as they appeared to be,
singing and yelling all day long, could not enliven this small regiment
of marching sufferers. A favorite song, because it was constantly sang,
and in a manner impossible for any white man to imitate, “Rock me
Julie, rock me,” rang in the prisoners’ ears long after they had parted
company with their ebony-colored singers.

The following account of what occurred while at Shreveport was written
by Private Hersey, who claims that there is no exaggeration in his
statements--facts alone are stated:


STATEMENT OF PRIVATE HERSEY.

“The last two days of the year 1863 will long be remembered by those
members of our regiment who, with some three hundred other Federal
prisoners, were wending their toilsome way over the rough, frozen roads
leading from Marshall, Texas, to the Louisiana border, in expectation,
when arriving there, of being exchanged or paroled. December 29th
a fierce ‘Norther’ set in, which was soon accompanied by a severe
storm of rain, hail, snow and sleet. Through this terrible storm we
plodded on over a dreary region of woodland and prairie, with the icy
hurricane piercing our tattered, scanty garments, the pelting rain and
sleet drenching us to the skin. At night there was no shelter from the
pitiless storm, excepting such as we could find under the wet, dripping
branches of the forest trees, or form by twisting their limbs into
arches and covering them with moss gathered from the cypress trees.
Those who could creep in under the awnings of the army wagons, which
the guard had appropriated for their own quarters, were fortunate
indeed. Sleep or rest there was none, and for two days and nights our
lives dragged on in utter misery.

“A dozen or more of our number were shoeless, and many a footprint
stained with the blood of these unfortunate ones could be traced along
the snow-covered ground. A score at least had no clothing, except an
improvised suit made by tieing their well-worn army blankets around
their waists. The hope of release urged many a poor captive forward,
who otherwise would have succumbed to the fatigues and hardships of the
long marches. Even the Confederate soldiers who guarded us, although
much better provided for than ourselves, were scantily and meanly
clothed, and suffered severely.

“On the thirtieth of the month, after a day of intense suffering from
the severity of the weather and the length and fatigues of the march,
we reached the end of our journey, or rather the place where we were to
await the arrival of the agents of exchange or parole. We were halted
in the depths of a snow-covered wood; there left to ourselves to find
such shelter as leafless, dripping branches of the trees afforded. This
locality was known as ‘Four Mile Springs.’

“Beyond this wood was a camp of Federal prisoners, who had arrived some
time before us, occupying long, frame barracks, crowded so as to afford
no shelter for fresh arrivals. The appearance of these prisoners was
wretched, and so filthy were their quarters our men declared that some
of the vermin, or ‘graybacks’ as they were called, had inscribed upon
their backs the words, ‘in for the war.’ These poor fellows had been
quartered since their capture, some six months previous, at Camp Ford,
Texas, but were marched to their present quarters a few weeks previous
to our arrival, to await exchange. They were chiefly Indiana troops.

“The weather was extremely cold for this latitude, resembling more
the rude, bleak winter of our Northern clime than the soft, genial
atmosphere we had always associated in our minds when thinking of the
sunny South, and was said to be the severest ever known in this region.

“For a few days after our arrival we were allowed to roam at will
through the woods and vicinity without a guard, for the reason that in
daily expectation of proceeding to our lines the men were not likely to
attempt any escape. Days passed by in this partial state of freedom,
until finally, as the days passed into weeks without any indications
of a speedy release, our hopes again began to darken; the men grew
restive, and numbers of them were daily missing at roll-call. Every man
who attempted escape was recaptured before he got far away and brought
back to be placed under guard.

“During our long captivity in Texas our hopes and expectations had
so often been raised only to fall again, we got somewhat accustomed
to disappointments of this nature, but never since our capture had we
been quite so sure of immediate release, or felt the bitterness of
‘hope deferred,’ as we did then. In our prison days at Houston and Camp
Groce we had regular _quotations of exchange_, and the stock was as
fluctuating as any in the markets of Wall or State Streets; our days
were made cheerful or gloomy according as the stock advanced or fell.

“One morning, at roll-call, we were all summoned to the headquarters
of Colonel Théard, commanding the prison-guard, and informed that our
Government refused to receive us as paroled prisoners, also refusing
to negotiate for our exchange. The colonel made us a neat little
speech, in which he expressed his sympathy for us in our deplorable
condition, and informed us he had sent a letter to General Kirby Smith,
commanding the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department, asking him
to issue clothing, and describing our destitution and sufferings. He
also stated he had written to the general, that in case he could not
comply with the request for clothing he should feel impelled, from an
aversion to seeing so much distress continually before his eyes, to ask
to be relieved of his duties as commander of the prison camp. As we
never received any clothing from General Smith, or any other quarter,
and as the Confederate soldiers were sadly in need of supplies, I was
convinced that the Quartermaster Department of the Trans-Mississippi
army was in a wofully depleted condition.

“In front of Colonel Théard’s headquarters was an extensive plateau,
and here we were ordered to encamp, a guard again placed over us and
the dead line traced out. This broad plain was perfectly barren of
shrubbery or trees; not even a plot of grass could be found upon it.
To make shelter for ourselves we were allowed to go into the woods
in squads, under guard, and cut timber and gather leaves. In a few
days there sprung into existence, upon this plateau, a village of
huts and nondescript structures of the quaintest and most original
designs imaginable. Many of these habitations consisted simply of a
few bent twigs, arched so as to form a burrow just large enough to
creep into head foremost, suitable only to sleep in. Those who from
sickness or weakness were unable to erect a domicile depended upon the
generosity of their more fortunate comrades, or slept in the open air.
Our rations consisted chiefly of coarse corn meal, coarse salt, sugar,
and occasionally beef. Having a limited number of cooking utensils, we
were often obliged to wait for hours before we could cook our food. Our
guards at this camp were a good-hearted set of fellows, and, with a few
exceptions, inclined to favor us whenever they could.

“About the middle of January Colonel Théard was relieved of his
command, much to our regret, for his treatment of us had been kind and
considerate. His heart was evidently not much in sympathy with the
rebellion, for we heard a short time after his removal he had left
the Confederate army and taken the oath of allegiance to the Federal
Government, in New Orleans. He was succeeded by Colonel Harrison, whose
administration of affairs while not particularly harsh was lacking in
the kindliness which we had always met with under Théard.

“Rumors of the opening of cartels for exchange were as rife here,
and received almost as often, as in our former days at Houston
and Camp Groce. ‘Exchange stock’ rose and fell with almost its
former regularity; our daily advices from Shreveport caused a
constantly-fluctuating stock board. Our own Government was universally
condemned for its indifference or neglect of our welfare, and many
an imprecation was hurled against those who had it in their power
to exchange or parole us and would not. We frequently heard of the
exchange of other Federal prisoners, and knew that the Confederates
captured at Vicksburg and Port Hudson had all, long ago, been released,
and therefore it was we complained so bitterly against our fate.

“About the middle of March rumors of General Banks’ advance towards
Shreveport with a large army came thick and fast, greatly elating us
with a hope they might soon encircle the place of our imprisonment.
Suddenly, on the morning of March 26th, the prison camp was broken up
and the prisoners, excepting Wentworth, Williams and I, were started on
the road towards Texas, destined for Camp Ford.

“Upon our arrival at Four Mile Springs Wentworth and I discovered on
the roadside, in the woods and beyond the place where the command had
been halted, a log hut, in which we found quarters for the night. The
hut was a small, dilapidated structure, like old log cabins of the
early settlers, and evidently been standing for many years. We found it
occupied by three Confederate soldiers, fitted up as a blacksmith shop
for the cavalry forces in the vicinity. The exposed condition of the
building rendered it only a partial shelter from the storm, for through
chinks in the roof and walls the wind and sleet came in freely, and
the smoke from the smouldering fire filled the space within almost to
suffocation; however, it was a better refuge than the other prisoners
could find. Upon lumps of coal and bits of iron on the rude forge I
endeavored to find rest in vain; the wind blew through the log crevices
in furious blasts, and that side of my clothing exposed to the hut
walls was covered with a thin coating of ice, making sleep or comfort
impossible. It was a terrible night for the half-clad, shivering
wretches outside, and a most cheerless, uncomfortable one for those
inside.

“The next morning broke clear, but cold and windy. A thin surface of
sleety snow covered the ground, causing the landscape around us to look
anything but Southern. The men were huddled around slowly burning camp
fires, waiting patiently for the distribution of their meagre rations
and trying to get warmth into their almost frozen limbs.

“The three soldiers occupying the hut were no better off as to
accommodations, and not a whit better provided with rations than
ourselves. We lived with them during our stay at Four Mile Springs, and
became in that time greatly attached to them. Their names were Ramsey,
Dick Fickling, and Stanley. Mr. Ramsey, or ‘Pap’ Ramsey, as he was
familiarly called, was an old man, about sixty years of age, a splendid
specimen of our ideal western backwoodsman. His life had been passed
on the wild borders of the Indian Territory and Western Louisiana,
knowing little of life in cities and towns. He had never strayed beyond
his native prairies and forests until the Southern Confederacy, in
its distress for every able-bodied man, brought him forth from his
peaceful cabin, compelled to enter its service. He was conscripted
some few months previous to our arrival, but being too old for the
routine duties of a soldier’s life was detailed to serve as blacksmith
for the regiment in which he was placed. A tall, broad-shouldered,
well-built man, with gray hair and beard, and an eye as bright and
keen as any young person; he was simple-hearted, unskilled in the ways
and observances of the world, but with a vast experience of the rough,
free, adventurous life of a pioneer. Stanley, his assistant, was a
young man, about twenty-five years old, large-hearted, good-natured,
and always ready for sport, but with a natural aversion to work. His
comrades gave him the name of ’Fox,’ on account of the cunning and
shrewdness he displayed in stealing away from camp to visit his home,
sixteen miles away, on every possible occasion. He seldom applied for
a furlough, deeming such sort of discipline, as he said, entirely
unnecessary and too much like slavery. When called to account by his
officers for his absence from his regiment, he generally appeased their
wrath by presenting them with a fine turkey or shote. A conscript, he
managed to evade camp duty by getting detailed as assistant-blacksmith,
though wherein his assistance was of any value or service to Mr. Ramsey
would have been difficult for an observer to tell. The only labor he
was ever known to perform was to occasionally wield the sledge, when
the other assistant was absent. His ideas in regard to the cause or
object of the war were vague and indefinite, but as far as he knew them
they were altogether opposed to the Southern Confederacy. He was the
owner of one slave, who took charge of his little farm while he was
away.

“Anxious to continue our abode with these kind-hearted soldiers,
Wentworth and myself called upon Colonel Théard, when the prisoners
were again placed under guard, prevailing upon him, after considerable
pleading, to allow us a _pass_, granting the liberty of the camp
until further orders; a phrase we construed to mean any distance
within five miles of the hut. When Colonel Harrison succeeded Colonel
Théard he was disposed to revoke this _pass_, condescending, after
some persuasion, to let the order ‘remain for the present.’ He was a
strict disciplinarian, severe and often harsh in his treatment of the
prisoners and his own men; it was a surprise to all that we had won
such favor.

“Time wore on pleasantly; the weather grew mild and genial, and about
the middle of January the short Southern winter was over. Our hut was
romantically situated, and since our occupation of it we had closed up
the chinks in the sides and patched the roof, so that the rain could
no longer gain entrance. The road in front of us wound through a broad
tract of beautiful woodland, and stretched on in one direction to
Shreveport, in the other to the prison lines. Beyond this forest was a
vast waste of swamp land, covered with a prolific growth of cypress and
gum trees, and intersected in every direction by dark, coffee-colored
bayous, in which the finest species of the ’Buffalo’ fish were found.
Along the banks of these streams and scattered over the bottom-lands
were clusters of impenetrable thickets, where countless numbers of
bright-plumaged birds made their nests, and where the venomous mocassin
and deadly scorpion found hiding places. All day long, in the deep
recesses of these lonely wilds, the air was resonant with the music of
feathery warblers. We caught many of them in traps, which Stanley was
expert at making, but remembering our own prison experience we never
kept them long ‘in durance.’

“The hut soon became a popular rendezvous for Confederate soldiers
passing to and from their camp, and we became acquainted with most
every one belonging to the regiment acting as prison-guard. With some
we formed friendships that lasted long after the war closed. Political
questions were seldom argued, but when they were it was always with
good humor on their part at least, and we were invariably treated with
courtesy and kindness, often with generosity.

“Life at the hut was by no means monotonous; each day found us enjoying
ourselves in a free and easy way. Mr. Ramsey was owner of a fine horse,
and valued him highly. The old man gave me permission to ride the
animal whenever I felt inclined, leaving the whole care of the horse to
me. With Stanley, always ready for a drive, I took many an excursion
through the woods and swamps and to the different plantations in the
neighborhood; thus became acquainted with about every planter within
a radius of five miles from camp. Amongst them was Mr. Elliot, owner
of a plantation at Bayou Pierre, with whom I formed a most intimate
and pleasant acquaintance. With him and his family I often passed a
delightful hour, always entertained as a welcome guest. Mr. Elliot
had formerly been in the Confederate army. While with his regiment
in Tennessee, just after the battle of Perryville he purchased a
furlough for a large amount of money, returning home, and had not again
rejoined his command. In order to obtain exemption from conscription he
purchased the position of superintendent of a Government planing-mill
in Texas, but had not reported at his new field of service. He was
a thorough Union man, and a bitter enemy of the Confederacy. His
service in the army was compulsory, and although engaged in several
battles said he had never fired a gun during the actions except in
the direction of the sky. He was, like many others of the South, an
owner of slaves, but not an advocate of slavery. Through him I became
acquainted with many loyal men, and was surprised to find the Union
sentiment so strong. Of the half-dozen or more planters living within
four miles of the camp not one was an advocate of secession, but all
were anxiously longing for the approach of our army to this portion of
the State. Even amongst our prison-guard we found many a secret friend
of the Union, who only waited for an opportunity to place themselves
in the ranks of its army. The number of such was by no means small,
although the great majority were loyal to the ‘Stars and Bars.’

“During the latter part of January I obtained of Colonel Harrison
permission for two other prison comrades to live with us at the hut.
They were Williams, whom we called ‘Transport,’ and the carpenter
of the United States ship _Morning Light_, who went by the name
of ‘Chips.’ Their arrival rendered it necessary for us to enlarge
our dwelling. Through the soft persuasiveness of Wentworth, the
quartermaster was prevailed upon to grant us a small supply of timber
and nails, and in a short time we built a small addition to the hut, in
which we erected sleeping bunks for the accommodation of us all.

“My acquaintance with the quartermaster’s clerk, young Finney, enabled
me to obtain a much larger supply of rations than I was lawfully
entitled to, and, as I was usually allowed to attend to the weighing of
them, I did not hesitate to take advantage of this privilege for the
benefit of us all. By going a short distance into the woods we were
sure to find a stray hog or pig wandering around, and our stock of pork
was always well kept up. It being against orders to kill any of them,
the undertaking was always attended with considerable difficulty, and
we were obliged to hunt our game at night. As we never could get near
enough to kill them by any other means than shooting, the report of our
gun at midnight was frequently heard at camp, the officers invariably
causing inquiries to be made concerning the reason of the untimely
firing. To prevent discovery we concealed our game in a small cellar,
dug under the floor of our hut annex, with the boards so arranged that
they appeared nailed down to the uninitiated. Our cooking of this
food was done when no prying eyes were upon us and the savory odor
would not be likely to betray us. Besides this sort of fare, costing
nothing, we had frequent opportunities of purchasing sweet potatoes,
eggs and butter, with money obtained by the sale of our _tricks_ and
watches when leaving Camp Groce. Our table was unrivalled by any of the
‘messes,’ either of the prisoners or the guard. The _ne plus ultra_ of
cookery were the ‘corn-dodgers’ Wentworth made to perfection, and which
were certainly worthy the skill of the finest French cook. Old ‘Pap’
Ramsey refused to indulge his appetite with this rich food, claiming
that such delicacies would inevitably bring on gout or dyspepsia,
and that his palate, accustomed to the coarse, homely fare of the
backwoods, was unfitted for the luxurious compound which Wentworth
made. Through the colonel’s orderly, George Cole, I was usually the
recipient of some dainties from his table, after an entertainment had
been given by that officer to visiting friends.

“One day during February Wentworth obtained permission of Colonel
Harrison to visit Shreveport on one of the army wagons, which made
daily trips to that place. His stay there, for a few hours only, was
quite long enough for him to get disgusted with the appearance of the
city, and especially with the fabulous price they charged him for his
dinner; a small piece of pork, with bread and butter, and a tiny cup of
coffee cost him six dollars.

“A few days after Wentworth’s return ‘Transport’ made the same trip
without obtaining the requisite permission. The day previous, while
strolling in the woods, he met in a quiet nook a few Confederate
teamsters with a supply of Louisiana rum, which they invited him
to drink. The temptation was too strong for his feeble powers of
resistance, and the potations were so deep and frequent that he was
soon exalted to a state of complete recklessness. In this condition
he remained with his jovial friends over night, accompanying them the
next morning to Shreveport. On reaching the city he was so muddled
for awhile he was unable to clearly comprehend the state of affairs,
and even in doubt as to his own identity, whether he was a Federal
prisoner or a Confederate soldier. The following morning he was found
at the entrance to a hospital, standing guard for a soldier whom he
had succeeded in making even drunker than himself. An hour or so later
he found himself on board the ram _Webb_ (then lying in the river
abreast of the city), in the presence of a recruiting officer, who
endeavored to persuade him to join the vessel, by offering him tempting
inducements in the shape of pay and bounty. ‘Transport,’ though very
drunk, was not to be enticed by any proffers which they could make him
to desert his flag.

“Late that evening he returned in company with his convivial friends,
reckless of consequences and unable to give a satisfactory account
of his trip. That same night he was sent for, to explain his absence
without leave, failing in which he was deprived of his liberty and
placed under guard again. The next morning I met him in camp, and a
more pitiful-looking object I could hardly have imagined; no wonder the
poor fellow was disconsolate after his recent experience of partial
freedom with us. He begged me to intercede with Colonel Harrison
and obtain his release, swearing eternal gratitude if I would, and
promising not to be overcome by such a temptation again. I found the
colonel in good humor and had no difficulty in persuading him to grant
‘Transport’ a new lease of freedom; only he proposed, he said, to
hold me personally responsible for my comrade’s good behavior in the
future. His demonstrations of joy, when I carried him the good news,
were unbounded, but his promises of good behavior were short-lived, for
the same day he again fell in with his festive friends, and during his
spree so far forgot himself as to make a visit to the colonel, at his
headquarters, to request the loan of a horse. The utter ridiculousness
of such a request, coupled with the jovial good nature with which he
made it, so amused the colonel that he allowed him to return to the hut
with a slight reprimand. A few days after this ‘Chips’ was remanded to
the lines for drunkenness and insulting an officer of the guard while
in that condition.

“For several days during the latter part of March the prison camp was
kept in a continuous state of excitement by a variety of conflicting
rumors concerning the disposition to be made of us, on account of
the approach of our army up the Red River, under General Banks. An
occasional report would reach us that we were to be sent at once to
our lines and transportation down the river was being prepared; but
the gist of these rumors indicated a removal of all prisoners in this
vicinity to Camp Ford, in Texas. We were on the alert for any news of
a definite description; our only fear was that we would be suddenly
ordered into camp with the other prisoners.

“While standing by the fire-place in the hut, early on the chilly
morning of March 26th, I saw a squad of cavalry pass along the road
in front, and a few of their number dismounted and entered, to warm
themselves by the fire. I saw at once they were not Colonel Harrison’s
men, and inquired where they were going so early in the morning. Not
knowing I was a ‘Yankee’ prisoner, they replied that they had come from
Shreveport for the purpose of taking the ‘Yanks’ to Camp Ford, and
said the ‘Yankee’ army was _booming_ along up the Red River and had
already reached Natchitoches, and would soon reach Shreveport unless
defeated. The prisoners were to start at nine o’clock, under orders to
make forced marches until their destination was reached. I pretended
to be much pleased at the idea of being relieved from guard duty, and
gave utterance to a few other justifiable prevarications to conceal my
identity, fearing all the while a guard or summons should come for us
from the camp.

“When they had gone I went to the bunk where Wentworth, who heard the
conversation, was lying, and urged him to start immediately for the
swamp in rear of Elliot’s Plantation. As he was undecided what to do, I
started for the woods, meeting ‘Transport,’ who joined me, until a deep
ravine near the swamps was reached. I left ‘Transport’ and started for
the hut for my money I forgot to bring away. Meeting Mrs. Gupton, an
acquaintance, she volunteered to procure my money while I awaited her
return. She soon came back with it and the information that Wentworth
was alone at the hut, still undecided what to do. I made my way to
Elliot’s Plantation, and waking Elliot up, for it was yet early, I
explained the situation of affairs and asked his advice. He told me to
return to the ravine, secrete myself until I should hear from him, and
that he would visit camp to obtain all the information he could.

“Finding ‘Transport’ where I left him, we lay for hours expecting
every moment to be discovered or trailed by hounds, which we could
hear yelping in the distance. Late in the afternoon Mr. Elliot sought
us, bringing a substantial supply of food, the more welcome because we
had eaten nothing since the day previous. He reported that on his way
to camp he found the prisoners already drawn up in the road, near the
hut, answering to roll-call. He was unable to state whether our names
had been called, but thought they had been omitted or some one had
responded for us. He found Wentworth inside the hut, seated upon a log,
smoking, and apparently in deep thought. He advised him to strike for
liberty at once, and Wentworth jumped out of the window in the rear,
hurrying to a thicket that bordered a small stream back of the hut.
Shortly afterwards line was formed and the command given to start. We
passed the night in a woody hollow between the trunks of two fallen
trees, every now and then alarmed by a pack of hounds barking near by,
who we feared were on our track, but we afterwards learned belonged to
a neighboring planter, a Union man.

“Early next morning Mr. Elliot sent a servant to us with breakfast,
and shortly after appeared himself. We held a consultation as to the
best mode of procedure, and concluded that the safest plan would
be to remain concealed near or in the swamp-lands, until Banks’
army approached, which we then had no doubt would soon be in this
vicinity. Mr. Elliot offered to supply us with food and to give us
such information as he could obtain. The weather being now mild and
pleasant, our open-air quarters were rather pleasant than otherwise.”

The statement of Private Hersey ends here. The following account of
wanderings and adventures in the attempt of Wentworth, Hersey and
Williams to reach the Federal lines is compiled from Private Hersey’s
diary, and verified by him:

Hersey and Williams remained concealed in the swamp, at “Fort Hersey”
(so named), until April 17th, their wants provided for by Mr. Elliot,
when they found Wentworth, who had been kindly befriended by a
Confederate soldier named Leeds, afterwards by a Mr. McGee, owner of a
plantation. They knew of reënforcements for the Confederates arriving
from Texas and Arkansas, and saw a portion of General Price’s Arkansas
men marching along a road crossing the margin of the swamp, on their
way towards Mansfield. They heard heavy firing in that direction April
8th, and the next day were informed by Mr. Elliot of the total defeat
of the Federal troops at _Sabine Cross-Roads_ and their retreat to
Alexandria.

At McGee’s Plantation a conference was held by Hersey, Wentworth,
Williams and several Unionists, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Bell,
and Mr. McGee, when it was decided the safest course was for them to
make their way down the country by following the river until Alexandria
was reached, and watch for an opportunity to cross into the Federal
lines. This meeting was held April 17th, and the _tramp_ was commenced
April 20th (declining to allow a deserter from the Confederate army
to join them), by Wentworth, Hersey and Williams, who crossed the
Red River to the north bank at Bell’s Plantation, to follow the plan
decided upon, viz., to cross the river, follow its course down,
keeping in the swamps and woods as much as possible, claim to belong
to Harrison’s regiment if questioned or suspected, and that they were
on their way to rejoin from the hospital at Shreveport. Harrison’s
regiment was then on the north bank operating against the Federal navy,
under Admiral Porter. They felt confident their clothing would not
betray them, as it was entirely of homespun material.

The first day, while being entertained by Union people, Monsieur
Lattier and his two granddaughters, Mrs. Scopenie and Miss Sophia Hall,
they escaped capture by three cavalry-men, who rode up to the house, by
hiding in one of the rooms until they had departed. The ladies thought
it was a very romantic episode, but the prisoners did not. Travelling
sometimes all night, or all day, or partly by day and night, in the
swamps, with their course lying in a south-easterly direction, they
were guided by the North Star when the nights were clear, occasionally
losing the way when the sky was clouded. Food was obtained by going
to houses and asking for it; water, by filling their canteens at
rain-water cisterns; and sleep, in deserted cabins, corn cribs, or
under trees.

They were always enabled to trace the windings of the Red River by
tall trees that grew along its banks and marked its course. Most of
the planters’ residences were situated near the river road, facing the
river; the plantations extending back to the swamp-lands or forests.
The land in this region was as level as a prairie, and the soil of
the farms a rich, black earth, with scarcely the smallest pebble to
be found upon it. They crossed Loggy Bayou on the twenty-second, went
through Springville Village at night on the twenty-fourth, reaching
the pine woods on the twenty-fifth, where it was almost impossible
to conceal themselves from the eyes of anybody they chanced to meet,
on account of the absence of undergrowth or shrubbery. In passing
through the town of Compti, on the twenty-sixth, recently burned by the
Federals, Hersey says: “We stopped in a ravine on the edge of the town
until after midnight, and then quietly and cautiously went forward.
The few houses remaining look deserted, and the whole scene, as we
viewed it in the darkness of the night, was the picture of desolation.
The silence of death reigned over the place, except now and then when
an owl would hoot in the woods that fringed the suburbs. We had just
reached a bridge crossing a little stream in the centre of the town
when we were terribly alarmed by the sudden sound of horses hoofs on
the road behind us. On looking back we saw through the darkness a
number of horses galloping towards the bridge at a terrific rate, so
rapidly as to give us no chance to escape them. The scare was of short
duration, for when they rushed by we saw that they were riderless, and
probably had taken us for their masters. The shock produced a sense
of timidity upon us we could not shake off with all the assumption of
gayety and laughter that we outwardly manifested, and we felt greatly
relieved when we reached the woods and left the desolate town far
behind us.”

They frequently saw officers and men, but managed to evade them, until
on the night of April 27th they reached a bayou and were dismayed to
find a soldier on guard at the only fording place they could discover.
Hersey says: “This was the worst obstacle we had yet encountered,
and we were at loss to find a way to overcome it. The banks of the
stream were high and steep. We crept onward to get a better view of
the situation, and could plainly see the sentry by the light of his
bivouac fire. He was sitting or reclining upon an old log with the
light shining upon his face, his gun across his shoulder. We soon saw
he was fast asleep, and decided to cross while he was wrapt in slumber.
The distance from bank to bank was short, but the fording place was
narrow and almost barred by the form of the guard. The undertaking
was venturesome, but there was no other way out of the difficulty,
so we determined to run the gauntlet. Arranging to go one at a time,
Wentworth started first, passed the sentry safely, climbing the
opposite bank. As I drew near I felt a strange fascination which almost
deprived me of action, and when I reached him was compelled to stop
and gaze into his face before the spell was dissolved. Williams, who
came last, was also successful, but we could not resist our suppressed
laughter at the comical figure he cut in his endeavors to deaden the
sound of his footsteps. With a sense of relief we made haste to gain
the woods, and travelled on until morning.”

On the twenty-ninth of April, when within thirty miles of Alexandria,
they accidentally stopped at the house of a Jayhawker (a name given
to those secret bands of Southern Unionists who resisted by force the
conscription acts and were the deadliest foes of the guerrillas), who
provided _them_ with food and excused himself from giving breakfast to
a Confederate lieutenant of cavalry and three privates, who rode up
while the three escaped prisoners were talking with their host upon the
door-porch. By advice of this Jayhawker they endeavored to find a Madam
Nowlan, who lived near the river, and who, he said, would find a way to
assist them across the river into the Federal lines.

The next day, April 30th, while proceeding in the direction given
them how to find Madam Nowlan’s Plantation, they encountered an army
wagon and learned from a soldier that Harrison’s cavalry was not far
away, stationed on that side of the river. This fact decided them to
represent Texans, knowing they were on the south side, and they were
well acquainted with the history of many Texas regiments. About noon
they called at a house to procure a dinner, introducing themselves
as Texas soldiers attached to Captain Clipper’s company, of Elmore’s
regiment, on their way from Shreveport hospitals to rejoin their
company. While awaiting dinner, conversation was carried on with the
host, under some shady trees, about army matters, until Williams asked
the nearest way to reach Madam Nowlan, when a red-headed man came from
the house and demanded in a rough tone: “What do you know about Madam
Nowlan?” The question was so abruptly asked, Wentworth and Hersey were
disconcerted for a moment. They were subjected to a series of questions
and cross questions, which were answered as best they could; Hersey’s
information, gathered while visiting Colonel Harrison’s headquarters,
about the Confederate troops in Louisiana and reënforcements expected
from Texas and Arkansas coming in very opportune.

The red-headed man was a “courier,” named Harris, attached to the
“courier line” carrying despatches between army headquarters and
Shreveport, on the north bank of Red River. He suspected the three
prisoners were spies, and was not to be duped. Disappearing for a short
time, he returned followed by three soldiers, who apparently dropped
in one at a time, as if by chance. Courier Harris laid his plans well.
Offering no opposition to their departure, they started for the river
road, when he followed them and began conversation, intimating a desire
on his part to desert. They were not to be caught by this trick and
resented such proposals, when he rode away, after directing them how to
reach the river crossing. Feeling that the end was near, they kept on
until a deserted log house built upon piles, beneath which was a little
grass plot, tempted them to rest under its cool shelter.

While resting a pack of hounds surrounded them, soon followed by a
cavalry squad, headed by Harris, who levelled their guns and ordered a
surrender. The prisoners were taken to the house of Mr. Swafford, said
to be the headquarters of the courier line, and there kept until their
case was reported to Brigadier-General Liddel, commanding Confederate
forces.

On Monday, May 2d, Captain Micot, chief of the courier line, arrived
to take them to General Liddel, whose camp was about twenty-five miles
distant, opposite Alexandria. Captain Micot was sociable and friendly,
expressing his sympathy and promising to do what he could for them. He
did so, returning from an interview with his general exclaiming: “Well,
boys, I’ve got good tidings for you,” handing them a piece of paper,
torn from the blank leaf of a printed book, upon which the following
lines were written in pencil:

       *       *       *       *       *

“Guards and pickets will pass Samuel R. Hersey, David L. Wentworth and
Charles Williams outside the Confederate lines.

  “BRIGADIER-GENERAL LIDDEL,
  “Per ----, _A. A. A. G._”

A verbal provision was attached to the pass, that they must not
attempt to reach the Federal lines on Red River, but return by way of
Harrisonburg, thence to the Federal forces on the Mississippi River.
This pass, Captain Micot informed them, would be respected by all
regular Confederate soldiers, but probably not by the guerrillas, as
they were not subject to the discipline of the army. Thus was Williams’
oft-repeated prediction, “Our journey is only a round-about road to
Texas again, it would be better for us if we had gone with the crowd,”
not likely to be realized.

The three prisoners returned to Swafford’s house, accompanied by
Captain Micot and a private named Meecum. Meecum, who found an
opportunity to unbosom himself, advised them to call upon his father, a
Baptist clergyman and member of a league of Jayhawkers, residing about
seventeen miles from Swafford’s, directly on their way, who would mark
out a course to pursue that would be of assistance. He had a brother
serving in the Federal army, and his sympathies were with the Union
cause; his service was compulsory with the Confederates.

Wednesday, May 4th, Wentworth, Hersey and Williams again commenced a
tramp of one hundred and seventy-five miles, after an adieu to their
Confederate friends who had treated them very kindly; since their
recapture it appeared to them as though they were friends upon a visit,
so considerate had been the treatment they received from everybody with
whom they came in contact. Mr. Swafford presented Wentworth with a
blood-hound “pup” of fine breed, as a remembrancer of him, and also as
a reward for those songs Wentworth sang at his house and the marvellous
yarns he told, the like of which they never heard before and will
probably never listen to again.

They were hospitably entertained that night by Rev. Mr. Meecum, the
next night by Mr. Paul, twenty miles beyond, and then travelled onward
carefully in order to avoid guerrillas, especially a band known as
“dog” Smith’s (a name given them on account of their use of bloodhounds
in hunting victims), until May 8th, stopping each night with some
friendly Unionist, to whom they were directed by the preceding host.

It was on Sunday, May 8th, after remaining over night with a Mr. “Jack”
Wharton, as he was called, they walked into a guerrilla camp, situated
in the dense woods near Tensas River. The “pass” did not satisfy the
motley crowd of ill-clad, villainous-looking men, who heaped the vilest
epithets upon them, and several men threatened to shoot them down but
were held back by their comrades.

The guerrilla chief, Captain Smith, was absent, and the prisoners were
taken before a Lieutenant Eddington, a young man about twenty-five
years old, tall and well shaped, with features indicative of refinement
and intelligence, whose parents lived in Missouri. The prisoners told
their story and plead for their lives. After talking the matter over,
Eddington was satisfied the “pass” was genuine, and told them the only
thing he could do was to pass them out of his tent by the rear, while
his men were ordered away, and advised them to “run for it” to the
river bank, where they would find a regular company of Confederate
cavalry, commanded by a Captain Gillespie. His men, so he said, were
much exasperated over the loss of some of their comrades, captured in a
recent skirmish with colored troops, and who had been shot.

A Colonel Jones, an officer in the Confederate service, wounded at
Shiloh, owner of some four thousand acres of cleared land along the
Tensas River and vicinity, invited them to his house and provided
supper and sleeping apartments. Colonel Jones knew they were paroled
Federal prisoners on the way to Natchez, and the reason of his
hospitality was unfolded when he called Hersey aside and requested him
to inform General Tuttle at Natchez, with the utmost secresy, _that
three hundred bales of cotton were on the way down Black River, coming
from Colonel Jones_.

The three men started shortly after sunrise, on Monday, May 9th, for
Natchez, expecting to walk the distance that day. The danger of again
encountering guerrilla bands was all they had to fear. By nightfall
they were within hearing of the evening guns from the forts around
Vidalia. While walking rapidly along the road three United States
colored cavalry-men, in a menacing manner, ordered them to halt, and
demanded to know who they were. No explanation would be believed by
these wide-awake soldiers, who marched the prisoners into town to the
provost-marshal’s office, where the mistake was rectified, and they
received good treatment at the only hotel in the place. At Natchez,
the following morning, their appearance in such ridiculous clothes
as they wore created considerable commotion in the streets. Whenever
they stopped a crowd of curious people gathered around, enabling
Wentworth, with his fertile genius for story telling, to relate in a
most thrilling manner the story of their escape, embellished with a few
deeds of bloodshed and heroic action. A Mr. Marsh, in charge of the New
England Aid Society store, offered to clothe them, but the offer was
declined, as the Quartermaster Department provided for them.

From Natchez the three escaped men were sent to Vicksburg, and from
there got transportation to Washington, by way of Cairo. Williams
parted company with Wentworth and Hersey at Cairo, not desirous
to go on to Washington, and remained to seek employment upon the
transport-steamers on the river; Wentworth and Hersey proceeded to
Washington, obtained their pay without trouble, and reached Boston,
home again, June 1st, 1864, having passed over sixteen months of their
lives as prisoners of war.

Charles Williams, “Transport,” was last heard from May 24th, 1864,
when he was furnished transportation from Chicago to Utica, New York,
by a United States quartermaster, as Williams claimed to be a private
of Company D, Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, on sick
leave, granted by Brigadier-General Tuttle.



CHAPTER XVIII.

OFFICERS IN CONFEDERATE PRISONS--HOUSTON--STATE PRISON--CAMP
GROCE--CAMP FORD--EN-ROUTE HOME--AT HOME.


Soon after the enlisted men (Galveston prisoners of war) were paroled
and left for the Federal lines, the officers retained at Houston were
joined (January 25th) by one hundred and nine prisoners taken at Sabine
Pass, officers and crews of the U. S. sailing vessels _Morning Light_
and _Velocity_. Among them were Acting Masters Dillingham, Fowler and
Washburn, Masters-Mates Chambers and Rice, Acting Assistant-Surgeon J.
W. Shrify, and Captain Hammond of the _Velocity_.

These two successful ventures (Galveston and Sabine Pass) elated the
Texans, giving them a confidence in their prowess that expressed itself
in constant jubilations. “We Texans are whales,” remarked by one of
them to a prisoner, was but an index of opinions they all entertained.

The officers were allowed liberty of the city, on their
parole-of-honor, for about a week or ten days after reaching Houston,
when this privilege was withdrawn, and they were kept in close
confinement. This freedom was not improved further than to purchase
supplies. Union men had secretly cautioned them not to go out in the
then excited state of feeling among the people, who thought hanging
was good enough for Federal officers. A watch was upon every one
who evinced a desire to show the Federals any attention. One man,
who gave them a stove, was thrown into confinement. Another man, a
storekeeper, had Colonel Burrell dine with him at home, but did not
dare to visit the officers in their quarters. In conversation with
the provost-marshal on this state of feeling, that official said they
were safe from any trouble while under guard, for the army did not
wish any harm to come to them, because there was no telling when they
would find themselves in the same predicament; still the prisoners were
chary of trust in either army or people, and at night barricaded their
prison-apartment door with what chairs they had; each man armed himself
with a stick of wood for defence, if an occasion arose.

There were men in Houston who secretly passed into the officers’ hands
a sufficient amount of Confederate bills to supply their needful
wants. Prominent in this good work was a Mr. H. W. Benchley, who was
lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts in 1855. The money thus obtained
was of the greatest benefit at the time, enabling many necessaries to
be procured. The names of all these men are not known. Many were former
citizens of Massachusetts, whose hearts were not alienated from the
old Bay State. There was a slumbering affection for the United States
Government, kept in abeyance from fear of the Confederate authorities,
who, it has been proved beyond a question, were wont to treat with
severity every man suspected of sympathy with the Federal Government.

The prisoners’ quarters would have been tolerable comfortable had any
decent arrangements been made to take care of excrements, made by
Confederate soldiers and Federal prisoners. The lower stories were
occupied by troops, the upper story by prisoners, who had to stand
all bad odor that ascended from below. Rations issued, while not what
the prisoners would like, nor, in fact, such as Northern people would
consider fit to eat, were quite as good as the authorities issued to
their own troops, accustomed to that kind of food. To become accustomed
to “corn-meal coffee” and coarse “corn-dodger” was hard work. Food
was issued to last ten days at a time, and had to do so. Each man was
expected to fare no better than his fellows. No trouble occurred until
Stone and Dillingham helped themselves one day, out of meal hours, to
ginger-bread laid aside. Some personal feeling was engendered when they
were remonstrated with, and the Confederate provost-marshal issued an
order that made Colonel Burrell commander of the Federal prisoners. An
effort was made to draw up a code of regulations all would agree to be
governed by, but no committee could be found to do this duty. Colonel
Burrell was obliged to exercise a supervision over all matters material
to their welfare until he left Houston.

_Ennui_ of confinement, in January, February and March, was somewhat
abated by singing, card playing, drills in sword exercise, with sticks
of wood for weapons, and gymnastic exercises. On and after February
12th they were allowed two hours a day, under guard, to stroll around
the city and outskirts, generally to cross Buffalo Bayou and play ball
upon the prairie land, free of annoyance from citizens. This privilege
was granted on a medical certificate from Surgeon Cummings, stating
such liberty was absolutely necessary, and consent obtained of General
Magruder, through Surgeon Peples, medical director of the Department,
with whom Cummings was on intimate terms.

The _Houston Telegraph_ was eagerly read every morning, and each item
relating to exchange of prisoners or their parole was sought for and
noted. They could get little satisfactory information from its columns
concerning the situation of military affairs; according to its “pony
express news,” victories were always with the Southern arms, and such
victories! _Bombastes Furioso_ could not have done better than did the
publisher of this newspaper.

Among the frequent visitors was Major Shannon, C. S. A., who did his
best to make everything pleasant, also a Captain Chubb, formerly from
Charlestown, Mass., then a resident of Texas. Chubb was captured early
in the war by Federals, and confined in Fort Lafayette for over a
year. He was much given to boasting, and could utter more oaths in one
sentence than any man the prisoners ever heard. Notwithstanding his
boasts, bluster, and intense fire-eating proclivities, he was always
found to be pleasant, agreeable company, kind and generous at heart,
ever ready to do the prisoners a favor. He did contribute money to the
officers’ fund in a quiet way. Other visitors were a Mr. Whitcomb,
formerly of Roxbury, Mass., and a Mr. Stearns, of Waltham, Mass., then
an engineer on the Galveston and Houston Railroad.

Acting-Master Munroe, wounded upon the _Harriet Lane_, died January
30th, and was buried next day, the funeral being attended by all of the
naval officers present. Corporal McIntosh, Company D, died February
10th, in hospital, at six P.M., and was buried next day in
the afternoon. The officers made a neat head-board to mark his grave.
March 26th Private O’Shaughnessy, Company D, made his first appearance,
on crutches, since losing his leg at Galveston. April 6th Private
Josselyn, Company D, wounded at Galveston, was discharged from hospital.

On the twenty-ninth of April an order came from General Magruder to
send all commissioned officers to the State Penitentiary at Huntsville,
there to be kept in close confinement until further orders. This order,
so it was stated, came from Richmond, and was to place in confinement
all captured officers that were in General Butler’s army, and was said
to be in retaliation for a similar act of the Federal authorities. None
of the officers came from Butler’s army; General Banks had superseded
him, and the 42d Mass. was acting under Banks’ orders. Without any
regular order from General Banks in his possession, Colonel Burrell was
unable to make the authorities understand this fact, or more likely
they chose not to understand it. All colored men in the captured crews
of the _Harriet Lane_ and _Morning Light_ had previously been sent to
this prison, to do convict duty. An intimation of some proceeding like
this was given on the nineteenth.

Under escort of a cavalry detachment the officers proceeded to the
Texas Central Railroad depot to take a special freight car, at nine
o’clock A.M. Dinner was eaten at Cypress City, twenty-five
miles from Houston, and at half-past four P.M. they reached
Navasota, where quarters were provided for nineteen officers in one
room eighteen feet square, at the Morning Star Hotel. Supper and
breakfast cost them two dollars each. After breakfast next morning, and
a friendly shake of the hand by General Sam. Houston, who promised to
call at their new quarters and see them, at quarter-past six o’clock
they took four wagons, with mule teams, provided to make the journey to
their destination, forty-five miles distant, and arrived at the prison
about noon May 1st, where the information was imparted that they were
to be confined in separate cells. A protest was drawn up, signed by
all, and Surgeon Cummings, with Frank Veazie, non-combatants, returned
with the same to Houston. This was not a May-day festival for the
prisoners.

In this old-fashioned prison, with none of the conveniences now in
use, convicts were employed at the shop in manufacturing cotton cloth
for the Confederate Government, a Mr. Chandler, from Massachusetts,
acting as superintendent of the factory. Life was enjoyed somewhat
after this routine: after the convicts had gone to work, the officers
were released from their cells and allowed to do as they pleased in
the yard until dinner hour, when they returned to their cells, to be
released again after the convicts had eaten their dinner and returned
to work. This rule was in force for nine days only, when Colonel
Carruthers obtained a supply of lumber, had cots made in a room in the
upper story of the prison building facing the street, and this room, on
and after May 9th, was occupied by all of the officers for a sleeping
apartment. Regular prison fare was provided on the first day, when
Colonel Carruthers, in charge of the prison, a humane man, informed
his military prisoners he would shoulder the responsibility and give
them meals at his own table, although without authority to do so. After
this no complaint could be made on that score. Confined a few nights in
small, hot cells, afterwards in the large room, was the extent of their
inconvenience until released from prison June 27th, nearly two months
from the day they entered prison walls. General Houston, Mrs. Houston,
their two daughters and son, Andrew Jackson Houston, frequently visited
the officers and entertained them so far as lay in their power. Old
Sam, seventy years old, straight as an arrow, was a very interesting
entertainer, with enlivening conversation of his experience in the
United States Senate.

The officers subjected to the indignity of a prison confinement by
the Confederate officials were: Colonel Burrell, Captains Sherive,
Proctor and Savage, Lieutenants Cowdin, White, Eddy, Newcomb, Bartlett
and Stowell, 42d Mass. Vols.; Masters Hamilton and Hannum, Engineers
Plunkett and Stone, of the _Harriet Lane_; Masters Dillingham, Fowler
and Washburn, Masters-Mates Chambers and Rice, Purser’s Clerk Van
Wycke, of the _Morning Light_; Captain Hammond, of the _Velocity_. The
three last-named were not brought to prison until May 14th.

Engineers Plunkett and Stone were taken to court, held in Houston June
10th, to testify in the case of a man who was on trial for repairing
the boilers of the _Harriet Lane_ while she lay in front of Galveston.
Plunkett refused to testify and was placed in jail for contempt of
court, but soon after released.

After Magruder sent these officers to Huntsville prison, with orders to
have them treated as prisoners of war in confinement and not as felons,
a controversy arose between the State and military authorities over the
right of the latter to send prisoners of war to the penitentiary. The
result was their transfer to a new camp established for war prisoners
at Hempstead, called Camp Groce.

Leaving behind Colonel Burrell, sick with rheumatism, under care of
Captain Sherive, the other officers left Huntsville June 27th for
Camp Groce, under escort of a cavalry guard commanded by Captain
Cundiff. Transportation back to Navasota was in wagons, with three
extra wagons, hired at ten dollars a day from each man, to carry
their baggage. Twelve miles were made on the first day, and sleeping
accommodations found at night in an old school-house, having dinner and
supper from rations provided by kind Mrs. Carruthers. Twenty-one miles
were travelled the second day, at night bivouacking under trees in a
splendid moonlight, and Navasota was reached on the twenty-ninth, about
noon. There they remained until the thirtieth, when cars were taken for
Camp Groce, which place was reached at eleven o’clock in the forenoon.

Until removed to Camp Groce the few enlisted men 42d Mass., left behind
at Houston, were quartered in a large warehouse used for storage of
general merchandise, in company with sailors composing the _Morning
Light_ crew. These sailors were a motley crowd, comprising men from
nearly every nation: Irish, English, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, Italian,
and two South Sea Islanders. They did not mind captivity, apparently
thought of nothing beyond amusement. Occasionally they got put in irons
for some misdemeanor or violation of rules, but no sooner were the
irons riveted upon their ankles than off they were filed by comrades,
to be again put on when an officer of the day came around to call the
roll. One night three of these rollicking sailors broke away from the
building and went on a spree, with some of Captain Clipper’s men. While
on a raid through the city, mounted on horses, they all rode into
a bar-room and were captured by the provost-guard, brought back to
quarters, and placed in irons that had no terrors for them.

Several prisoners recently captured in Louisiana were brought in June
1st, and three more June 9th, taken at Franklin, La. One of these
new prisoners, Hugh Dolan, became a great favorite with the sailors
immediately on arrival on account of his wonderful vocal abilities,
so they thought, and light-hearted manner. One of his favorite songs
was “Bowld Jack Donahoe,” and whenever he sang this song his nautical
audience would listen with the most profound attention.

What the “boys” considered an affliction was the removal of their
kind-hearted and friendly “old guard,” Captain Clipper’s company,
ordered to Galveston June 9th. Another company, commanded by Captain
Buster, had for some time assisted Captain Clipper in guarding the
prisoners, and remained to do that duty. The men of this company were
not liked very much by any of their charge; none of that cordial
feeling existed as had been the case with the “old guard.” They were
a despicable set of fellows. Captain Buster, a mild, pleasant man,
lacked energy and was too indolent to pay much attention to the
discipline of his men. His first-lieutenant, Morgan, was a bombastic
and disagreeable man, who paid little attention to his prisoners. This
guard remained on duty until September 18th, when militia relieved them.

Floating rumors in regard to removal up country were verified on
the thirteenth of June, when all prisoners in Houston were taken by
railroad to Camp Groce, enjoying an all-day ride upon platform freight
cars, without shelter from a hot sun. Their new home was a long, narrow
frame barrack, leaky in rainy weather, divided into three compartments,
situated about three hundred yards from the railroad, in the centre
of a dry, sandy clearing, with a few trees left for shade. This
clearing was surrounded by a belt of woods on all sides but one, and
near by was a sluggish body of swamp water bordered by cypress trees.
The place was supplied with bad water from two deep wells. Another
row of barracks, occupied by the guard, ran almost parallel to those
occupied by prisoners, at about two hundred yards distance. A few frame
buildings between these barracks and the railroad served as quarters
for Confederate officers.

The location of Camp Groce was decidedly unhealthy, and had been
abandoned by Confederate troops as a camp of instruction for this
reason. Arrangement of sinks was bad, not at all conducive to health.
Sickness prevailed to such an extent there were not enough men able to
watch and properly attend their sick companions. When a person stops to
think of what has to be done in cases where patients are too weak to
move themselves, with primitive utensils at hand to perform necessary
acts, it is a wonder how prisoners in this hospital camp managed to
exist. Each sick man remained with his mess for care and attention.
Hospital accommodations were not provided, except what was in the town
reserved for exclusive use of Confederates.

All through August, September, October and part of November, the dull
monotony of prison life wore on unattended by any hopeful news or
enlivening sensations. Communications were forwarded to General Banks,
the Secretary of War, and General Meredith, Federal Commissioner
for the exchange of prisoners, on the subject of being paroled or
exchanged. None of the prisoners then understood why the Federal
Government did not do something in their behalf. They were informed by
Colonel Sayles, who formerly commanded at Camp Groce, that repeated
efforts had been made by the Confederate authorities to induce the
Federal Government to exchange them, but the Federal authorities
repeatedly refused to listen to any propositions towards that end,
also stating that the Confederates were as anxious to get rid of their
prisoners as they were to go, and placed the responsibility for their
continued captivity on the Federal Government. This misstatement of
facts naturally caused some animosity of feeling among the prisoners
towards their own Government, losing strength each day, with sickness
and death constantly staring them in the face. They were not aware of
the obstruction existing to interrupt an exchange of prisoners; that
the Government was fighting with the enemy for a principle, the placing
of negro soldiers on a par with white troops, entitled to the common
usages of war when taken prisoners.

On the eighteenth of October a strict search was made through the
barracks, for what purpose the prisoners were not informed, but
surmised it was to ascertain if any parties in the State, Houston
in particular, had compromised themselves by writing them. News of
the arrest of Union men, especially in Houston, was often heard. In
this search all money was taken away under a promise of return, and a
receipt given. Writings, diaries and letters were seized, never to be
seen again.

A stockade was built in October completely encircling the camp, made
so high escape by climbing would be impossible, and the prisoners
became down-hearted at this indication of a possible lengthy stay,
when, on the sixteenth of November, after most of the men had retired
for the night, Colonel Burrell entered the barracks with news that
all were to be paroled as soon as the papers could be made out. Wild
excitement prevailed on the announcement of these joyous tidings, and
the night was passed without sleep, amid cheers, yells, and frantic
demonstrations of delight.

All hands commenced to get ready, by disposing of “traps” they could
spare to purchasers easily found among the guard and citizens. Parole
papers were signed by the enlisted men November 20th, and the march
for three hundred miles to Shreveport, La., commenced December 9th.
On December 11th the officers were removed to Camp Ford, Tyler, Smith
County, Texas, well understanding they must keep up courage until the
new year came in, and manage in some way to get through approaching
winter, ill-prepared as they were to stand cold weather, from having
disposed of many necessary articles of clothing to obtain money to
purchase food while on their way to the Federal lines, when they
expected to go with the enlisted men.

The following record of sundry events at Camp Groce was culled from
several diaries:

“July 4th--Celebrated in the best manner possible under the
circumstances, and was dull enough. The day was not recognized by the
Confederates. July 11th--A battalion of conscripts arrived in camp;
most of them Germans and Mexicans. July 30th--Barracks look like a
hospital. Six officers sick abed, and out of one hundred men sixty are
in the same condition. Not a man is in good health; all are ailing,
though those not in bed have to keep up and about to attend the others.
Impossible to procure suitable medicines even with money collected
among the prisoners to obtain medical supplies; none furnished by the
authorities. August 1st--Colonel Nott, Lieutenant-Colonel Duganne
and Lieutenant Sherman, 176th N. Y.; Captain Van Tyne, 131st N. Y.;
Lieutenants Bassett and Wilson, 48th Mass.; Lieutenant Humble, 4th
Mass.; and seven civilians, captured at Brashear City and on the
La-Fourche, arrived in camp. After these arrivals Sunday services
were held, Colonels Nott or Duganne officiating. August 6th--Colonel
Burrell and Captain Sherive arrived from Huntsville State Prison.
September 14th--Two hundred and twenty prisoners arrived in camp, taken
at Sabine Pass on the tenth instant. The wounded arrived September
30th. Particulars of this engagement, furnished by the captives,
caused everybody to feel sorrowful and chagrined. September 26th--A
sailor was fired on while playing ball, because he went too near the
picket line; he was not hit. October 5th--Twenty officers attached to
the U. S. gunboats _Clifton_ and _Sachem_ arrived in camp from Sabine
Pass and were confined in separate quarters, not allowed to hold any
conversation or communication with other prisoners for some time.
October 27th--Four prisoners arrived, captured in Louisiana.

A total of four officers and eighteen men died at Camp Groce; ten or
twelve were sailors. Ship Carpenter Morris, of the _Harriet Lane_,
sixty years old, died July 19th. Lieutenant Ramsey, 175th N. Y., died
October 11th; he was sick with consumption, but dysentery was the
immediate cause of death. Lieutenant Hayes, 175th N. Y., was found
dead in his bunk October 16th.

The following officers and men of the 42d died at Camp Groce, viz.:

August 1st--Private Dennis Dailey, Company D. He was a great favorite
with sailors of the _Morning Light_, with whom he generally associated.

August 22d--Lieutenant Bartlett, Company I, at one o’clock
A.M., of dysentery, after a short illness.

September 3d--Private E. F. Josselyn, Company D, in the afternoon, of
dysentery, after a long illness.

September 9th--Surgeon Cummings, in the afternoon. He was in failing
health for a month, and was unconscious for some days previous to his
death. The burial took place next day with Masonic rites, attended
by Federal and Confederate Freemasons. Lieutenant-Colonel Duganne
conducted the ceremonies.

Private Parker, Company G, was left sick in Hempstead Hospital. He died
December 14th, 1863.

The guard over the officers who marched from Camp Groce to Camp Ford
was commanded by Captain Davis, who marched them sixteen to seventeen
miles a day over the sandy and hilly roads. The march usually commenced
at seven A.M. and ended for the day between two and three
o’clock P.M. The weather was pleasant and cool nearly every
day, but cold at night. They got caught in two rain-storms, and
wet through. The officers arrived at Camp Ford about two o’clock
P.M., December 22d, after a twelve days’ tramp.

At Camp Ford the prisoners already there, mostly Western men, had built
log cabins and were quite comfortable under the circumstances. The
so-called 42d mansion was built in a few days, with help and aid from
two officers of the 19th Iowa who understood the way to construct log
cabins. Within this cabin, before a roaring log fire, while rain, snow
and hail reigned without, were passed the closing days of 1863. Snow
blew into the cabin, wetting blankets through, and fell an inch deep
upon the ground outside.

The first three months of 1864 were wearisome, with constant and
conflicting rumors of parole or exchange, and occasional news of
officers who had been exchanged, a subject of all-absorbing interest to
everybody. No description of the life they led can afford an adequate
idea of the torments to mind and body, their hopes and fears for the
future, and constant struggle to make the best of their situation until
a change came. Northern papers frequently found their way inside the
stockade to be greedily devoured for news, as they were passed around
from one to another. A newspaper from home was like a visiting angel.
Southern papers were in camp every week. A tolerable correct idea
of what was going on in the outside world, political and military,
was sifted from these papers, aided by information obtained from
Confederate officers.

To kill time the prisoners occupied themselves in repairs and
improvements on quarters for business, and visits to brother
officers, singing and dancing, for recreation. A violin, purchased by
subscription for one hundred and ten dollars Confederate money, Captain
May, 23d Conn., as violinist, and a banjo made in camp and played by
Engineer R. W. Mars, of the gunboat _Diana_, accompanied by a flute
manipulated by Captain Thomason, 176th N. Y., and a fife by E. J.
Collins, made a select orchestra to furnish appropriate music for the
dances. Gardens were started early in February, when corn, mustard,
lettuce, watermelons, squashes, onions and cotton was planted. Corn
and onions showed above ground early in March. A system of barter and
exchange in various articles was carried on among the prisoners,
affording a means to keep their wits at work if no money was made out
of the transactions. A newspaper was published, _The Old Flag_, edited
and printed by Captain May, the printing done with a pen. Editions were
issued February 17th, March 1st and 13th, that afforded great interest
to the camp. Only one copy was issued of each number, to be passed
around, read and returned to the captain. It has yet to be recorded at
what post, where Confederate prisoners were confined, did they show
so much versatility in amusing themselves as was shown by Federal
prisoners in all parts of the South.

The birthday of Washington, February 22d, was duly celebrated. All
expenses were met by a subscription among the officers in confinement.
Lieutenant-Colonel J. B. Leake, 20th Iowa, delivered an oration,
followed by an original poem, written in camp by Lieutenant-Colonel
Duganne. In the afternoon an election was held for Governor,
Lieutenant-Governor, and Inspector of Insane Asylums of Camp Ford, to
carry on a species of fun concocted at the expense of half-witted Sam
Morton, a Kansas soldier. Sam was elected Governor, and then taken in a
chair through the camp with great _eclat_. Fine singing by a glee club
and a grand ball in the evening closed the celebration.

Pending the result of efforts constantly made to obtain a parole or
exchange, attempts to escape were made at various times. Two officers
of the 26th Indiana, Lieutenants Greene and Switzer, were missed at
roll-call January 12th, and a pursuit made. The escape of these two
officers, some two weeks before this, was known to a few comrades, who
concealed their absence from roll-calls by answering for them. At last
it was decided to let their escape become known. At roll-call their
names were not answered, when a Confederate officer innocently asked:
“Does any one know where Greene and Switzer are?” An answer was given,
with a laugh, “Guess they have gone for a pair of shoes.” The two
officers were afterwards heard from as having arrived in New Orleans
after a walk of some three hundred miles, done in a month and two days.
They gave newspaper men, for publication, a detailed account of their
tramp, with names of parties who had helped them along. This published
account came into Confederate hands, and was used as an excuse for
persecuting those Union friends.

On a rainy night, March 24th, Colonel Rose and fourteen other officers
escaped early in the evening, by sliding aside a stockade post. From
a neglect to replace the post discovery of the escape soon followed,
and an alarm at once sounded. Mounted men, with bloodhounds, were
immediately on their track. Four men were brought back next day,
recaptured after they had walked twenty miles, and nine more were
retaken on the twenty-seventh. One man succeeded in making good his
bold dash for liberty. This attempt to escape was contemplated for some
time; those in the plot secretly prepared parched meal and dry beef to
carry for food. Another attempt was in progress, suggested by reading
in a paper of an escape by officers from Libby Prison, Richmond,
Va., by the tunnel process. From the 42d cabin, it was calculated a
tunnel fifty feet long would carry them outside of the stockade. It
was a double cabin, one-half occupied by Captain May’s mess, also the
editor’s _sanctum_ of the _Old Flag_. A commencement was made March
21st, the earth taken out secreted underneath bunks and carried outside
when an opportunity offered; the opening was covered by a bunk when
work was suspended. Men in this plot had worked a hole twenty-one feet
under ground March 24th, when the original stockade line was removed
to enlarge the camp, and an order was received by Colonel Allen, the
commandant, to shoot at sight any prisoner caught in attempting escape.
These two facts caused the attempt to be abandoned.

Colonel Allen was an old engineer officer in the United States Army,
and like all regular army officers disposed to treat his prisoners
as men. This disposition to do all in his power to ameliorate their
sufferings probably caused his removal May 27th, a Colonel Anderson
assuming command of the post. The policy pursued by Anderson, or rather
a drunken lieutenant-colonel under him who took charge of all matters
appertaining to the prisoners, was in an opposite direction.

Camp Ford was blessed with good water and situated upon high ground,
an improvement over Camp Groce. Yet the stockade interior was filthy,
without any system of sinks or police of grounds. This was the fault
of the prisoners, a lazy, careless, motley crowd, not disposed to take
hold of such work. Colonel Allen left such matters to those inside
the stockade. Officers who saw the necessity of a system in hygienic
matters soon gave up in disgust the attempt to force an organization
for this purpose. As is usual in such a collection of men, refusing to
recognize any superior authority except their guards, it was each man
for himself and the devil take the hindmost.

Among the imprisoned officers were several lieutenant-colonels and
majors. Colonel Burrell was one of the three officers of his rank.
As a matter of pride, to uphold the dignity of his commission, what
many officers signally failed to do, Colonel Burrell was always
scrupulously polite to Colonel Allen, never visited him except in full
uniform, transacting all business with that officer in a business
manner, and so gained his esteem and regard. Burrell maintained that
the rules in force should be respected and obeyed--he would insist on
their obeyance were he in command of such a camp--and by maintaining
dignified relations with the commandant was enabled several times
to secure a rescission of harsh orders issued by Colonel Allen, in
consequence of foolish speeches and acts done by brainless fools in the
stockade.

No medicines, no special accommodations nor post surgeon were provided
at Camp Ford. Surgeons Sherfy, 1st Indiana, and Hershy, U. S. Colored
Volunteers, did all in their power for the sick, and that could not
be much. An old surgeon in the Confederate service, formerly of the
U. S. regulars, would occasionally visit the stockade and render some
service. To him Colonel Burrell owes his life, when threatened with an
attack of typhoid fever.

The commandant’s wife, Mrs. Allen, was a visitor to the officers’
quarters at various times, frequently accompanied by other ladies.
The good impression this lady made by her visits resulted in a poem,
written by Lieutenant-Colonel Duganne, published in _The Old Flag_,
issue No. 3, March 18th, 1864.

The arrival of captured prisoners to increase the inhabitants of this
stockade town, taken from various soldiers’ diaries, were: January
22d--Captains Coulter and Torrey, 20th Iowa, captured at Arkansas Bay,
Texas, December 19th, 1863. March 5th--Six enlisted men captured at
Powder Horn, January 22d. March 30th--Between six and seven hundred
prisoners arrived from Shreveport, where they were awaiting exchange.
They were a hard-looking lot of human beings, many without shirts or
shoes, with trousers torn, ragged, or hanging in shreds. Among them
were Privates Morrill, O’Shaughnessy and McLaughlin, of the 42d. They
left Shreveport March 26th. Frank Veazie was sick in a Shreveport
hospital. He died the following May.

About sixteen hundred prisoners, captured at Pleasant Hill, La.,
arrived April 16th, 17th, 18th and 20th. To accommodate these hungry
men all hands had to keep their cooking apparatus at work on corn meal
until they were fed. The appearance these prisoners made could not have
been equalled in Falstaff’s time. Confederate soldiers robbed them of
clothing, sometimes with threats of violence if property wanted by
these greedy men was not handed over for the asking. The prisoners did
not seem to mind it, and laughingly said they would square accounts
whenever the Confederates fell into their hands as prisoners of war.
They thought it rather rough to be placed in a pen like a flock
of sheep, without food or shelter. Still, nothing better could be
expected, because the Confederates had no other safe place to guard
their prisoners. When arrangements could be completed, they were made
as comfortable as the limited means at hand would allow.

During May about eighteen hundred prisoners came in, thirteen hundred
captured in Arkansas; June 6th, one hundred; and July 6th, another
batch of one hundred and eighty prisoners from Banks’ army were brought
in. The old prisoners commenced to think, from the continued arrivals
of officers and men of the 19th Army Corps, perhaps the entire corps
would eventually be captured.

Through May, June, and up to July 9th, it cannot be said the death rate
was large, received as the men were in all conditions of health and
sickness. Six privates died in May, and one was killed by a sentry;
five died in June; five died July 1st.

With the prisoners were Chaplains Robb, 46th Indiana Vols., Hare,
--th Iowa Vols., and McCulloch, 19th Kentucky Vols., who labored hard
among the men to excite a religious sentiment, holding frequent prayer
meetings, and administered the rites of baptism to several, among them
Lieutenant Brown P. Stowell, 42d Mass., on May 22d. These religious
services met with the approval of Colonel Allen, who was a devout Free
Will Baptist.

Some talk was made about overpowering the guard, nearly one thousand
men, composed of poor material. An insurmountable difficulty was to
provide a store of food, for use when free, and a sufficient supply
of arms and ammunition, for they were nearly three hundred miles from
any safe place. Nothing was done, as it was useless to try it. Next
to parole or exchange the idea of escape occupied the most attention.
Naturally officers in command of guards were always on the lookout for
anything tending towards preparations in that direction. In February
about one hundred officers were drilled in the sabre exercise by Major
Anthony, 2d R. I. Cavalry, for instruction and pleasure, using sticks
in lieu of swords, but the post-commander summarily put a stop to it
within a few days after these drills commenced.

Attempts to escape commenced again with fresh arrivals; five men got
away at night June 9th, to be recaptured and returned next day. Several
officers succeeded in making a break for freedom at night, July 2d,
but were discovered and fired on by the guard. Nearly all of them were
recaptured next day. Captain Reed, Missouri Vols., was made to stand
bare-headed upon a stump near the guard-house for several hours in the
hot sun, as punishment for his attempted escape.

Early in June rumors of parole and exchange again began to be
circulated within the stockade. Confederate officers from Shreveport
visited the prison camp more frequently than they had heretofore
done, to make out lists and rolls of prisoners and time of capture.
News brought by Colonel Allen and the tenor of letters received from
surgeons, gone forward for exchange, raised a hope within the breasts
of those long confined that there would not be a disappointment this
time. When the chaplains, surgeons, and citizens not connected with
the army, were paroled and started for Shreveport June 19th, hope
grew into certainty. On the fifth of July, after what was termed a
glorious Fourth-of-July celebration, the joyful news was brought in the
stockade, by Colonel Burrell, that a paroling officer had arrived, and
their day of deliverance was at hand.

Through this captivity letters from home came at long intervals, with
news they were anxious to receive. Dates when letters were received by
the 42d officers are as follows: March 12th, July 29th and August 26th,
1863; March 18th, June 10th, 13th and 23d, 1864. Letters received June
10th were for Captain Savage and Lieutenant Newcomb, dated February
28th and March 4th. Captain Proctor had letters from his father and
wife dated May 12th and 23d, 1863, over a year old, as they were not
delivered to him until June 13th, 1864. After men arrived from Banks’
army, men who belonged in Boston and vicinity made themselves known to
Colonel Burrell and brother officers, some of whom had within a few
months arrived from home and could give them tolerably late news from
that section.

Clothing was furnished once by Confederate officers, at Hempstead,
October 17th, 1863; from that time onward what the prisoners wore
had to stand the wear and tear of time and use. Previous to July, in
anticipation another winter would not be passed as prisoners, whoever
had overcoats and extra clothing sold the garments for high prices in
Confederate money, and thus obtained means to purchase extra supplies
for their messes.

One thing should not be forgotten in connection with this long,
tedious imprisonment: the love of country existing in every manly
heart, despite his feeling at times the Government did neglect
him. This patriotism was not the kind flaunted before audiences by
spread-eagle political orators, all froth and no substance, but an
honest, earnest, deep-seated love, ready to suffer for her cause at all
times, resenting any flings or insults to its flag, giving voice to
sentiments within them by singing national songs and celebrations of
important days in her history.

July 7th and 8th were devoted to baking hard bread, for use on the
march, and at last the prisoners, who were up at three o’clock in
the morning preparing breakfast and getting their few “traps” ready,
left the stockade to march for Shreveport, homeward bound. There were
nine hundred and thirty officers and men, divided into one column of
officers and two columns of enlisted men, with a kind and considerate
Confederate cavalry guard, commanded by Major Smith and Captain Tucker.
Guard and prisoners fared alike in food and slept in the open air at
night: tents were not carried with them. Extreme hot weather prevailed,
yet the prisoners managed to cover a respectable number of miles each
day, crossing the Sabine River on the first day and sleeping upon its
banks at night, with a record of twenty-one miles. The marching column
reached Shreveport about noon on the thirteenth, without the loss of a
man by death, having made nineteen miles July 10th, twenty-three miles
on the eleventh, twenty-four miles on the twelfth, and sixteen miles
on the thirteenth. Sick and worn-out men were sent by the Marshall and
Shreveport Railroad on the twelfth, and this railroad also transported
a portion of the prisoners on the thirteenth. About twenty officers
hired a six-mule team for five hundred Confederate dollars, to carry
them on the last day’s journey, and rode into camp in great style. Each
morning the men were up between three and four o’clock, commenced the
march within an hour after, plodding steadily along until eleven, when
a rest was taken until two o’clock, then the march again resumed until
evening.

At Mugginsville, one mile from Shreveport, the prisoners remained until
July 16th, when they were sent on board steamers _Osceola_, _General
Hodges_ and _B. L. Hodge_, bound for Alexandria, where they arrived at
dusk July 18th, above the dam built by Federals to save their naval
vessels in April and May, 1864, and were disembarked to camp in woods
by the river side until the twenty-first, when steamers were ready
below the dam to carry them on to the journey’s end. Three men died
July 18th, and were buried near a spot upon the banks where lay the
remains of several Federal sailors.

All hands were up at daylight July 21st. At seven o’clock they marched
two miles to Alexandria, crossed Red River on a pontoon bridge and
embarked upon steamers _Champion No. 3_ and _Relf_, bound for the mouth
of Red River. An extract from a diary, kept by an officer of the 42d
Mass., is here given:

“July 22d, 1864--We started about noon yesterday, and ran all night;
arrived at the mouth of Red River as the sun was about one and one-half
hours high, and were brought to a stop by a shot from one of our
gunboats on blockading service. None of our transports were there,
and we began to have some misgivings. All eyes were turned down the
Mississippi, with anxiety depicted on many faces. About one o’clock
smoke was seen coming up river, indicating a river steamer was on her
way, and the prisoners began to cheer. Soon, sure enough, there was
our flag flying within hailing distance, but we are still prisoners;
perhaps no exchange after all, but be turned back to the tender care of
“Johnny Reb” again. But no, it proves to be the _Nebraska_ with rebel
prisoners on board. We landed and went aboard the _Nebraska_ as soon
as we could, and gave six rousing cheers for the ‘Old Flag.’ Stop and
look at the comparison of the two squads of prisoners. Those coming
from our lines for the Confederacy are loaded down with clothing, boots
and trunks. Our men are bare-footed, shirtless and hatless; but I thank
God I am once more a free man. None but those that have been placed in
like circumstances can appreciate the change. We were given a feast
on the _Nebraska_. We had plenty of coffee, real ‘Lincoln’ coffee, no
parched rye; and butter! real butter, and bakers’ bread! Well! I have
had some good dinners before and since then, but that feast took the
cake. Good-by to corn-dodger and bull-beef. It all seemed like a dream.
The boys were up until about three o’clock next morning, singing and
enjoying themselves.”

The exchanged officers of the 42d Regiment arrived in New Orleans
at midnight July 23d, where they remained until the thirty-first,
receiving two months’ pay from a paymaster to meet their immediate
wants. None of the officers got back their swords they were entitled to
retain by the terms of surrender. The swords were taken from them by a
provost-marshal at Houston, properly marked with each man’s name, with
an understanding they would be given up when each officer was paroled
or exchanged. It is needless to say they were soon appropriated by any
Confederate officer who was in need of one.

Taking passage upon the steamer _Matanzas_, July 31st, bound for New
York, after a pleasant run of seven days they were once more within
easy communication with families and friends, who met them on arrival
in Boston, August 9th, _via_ the Fall River route from New York. All
were in tolerable fair health except Lieutenant Stowell, who was in
bad condition, and Lieutenant Cowdin, sick with chronic diarrhœa. An
escort in waiting, with music, consisting of past and present officers
and men of the 42d Regiment and the Boston Independent Fusileers,
escorted their guests to the American House, where breakfast was served
and a cordial welcome tendered by His Honor Mayor Lincoln and the
military committee of the City Government.

Governor Andrew could not be present, and sent the following letter:


  “COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS,
  “EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
  “BOSTON, August 9th, 1864.
  “COLONEL W. W. CLAPP, JR., &c., &c.:

“_My dear Colonel_,--I have this moment received your note of
invitation to attend the breakfast at ten o’clock this morning, given
in welcome of Colonel Burrell and his associates. The long captivity of
those brave and patriotic men has earned for them every consideration,
even if their qualities as soldiers had been less conspicuous than
they are. In all respects, however, deserving gratitude and honor,
and deserving all the sympathy of true and manly hearts for what they
have suffered in our common cause, I shall, though absent in person,
unite in heart with your expressions of grateful applause and welcome
for these honored guests. My return to headquarters yesterday, after a
valuable work of service elsewhere, leaves me, for the present, not an
hour which during the daytime I can withdraw from the accumulated work
which brooks no delay.

  “I am faithfully your friend and servant,
  “JOHN A. ANDREW.”

With repeated disasters attending expeditions to Western Louisiana and
Texas, that are a part of history, and failures attending every attempt
to permanently occupy such territory, the following remarks at this
breakfast, made by Colonel Burrell, are not without reason. He said: “I
hardly know what to say. I thank your Honor for your kind expression
of welcome. We have suffered long, but I do not know as we have done
more than our duty. I can hardly be expected to make a speech, for I
have been living a half-civilized life among half-civilized people for
nearly the last two years. I know our friends at home were doing all
in their power to obtain our release, but fate has seemed to be always
against us. For my soldiers and officers I can say that they have
behaved with courage and cheerfulness; their fortitude has been worthy
of men of Massachusetts. They have behaved with credit to their state
and to their country. I come home prouder than ever of my native city.
As soon as we are somewhat recovered from our fatigues and sufferings,
we will be ready to put on the harness and return to the field again.

“I have enjoyed much opportunity of communication with men from all
parts of the Southern Confederacy, and I believe that you entertain
an erroneous opinion of them. You believe that there exists among the
masses an extended Union sentiment. It is not so. They go into this war
with all their heart and soul. The little Union feeling among the class
of poor whites amounts to nothing. They are opposed to us, man, woman
and child. They are fighting with the spirit of ’76, for their rights,
homes, liberties. They put up with every privation to sustain their
army--and every man is in the army. The quicker we understand this the
better for us. I do not think we shall accomplish much until we take
hold of the work in earnest.

“In the section where I have been the enemy is three times stronger
than they were two years ago. Now an army of 40,000 men cannot
penetrate the country one hundred miles. They have an army of 40,000
men. They carry no equipage--they sling their blankets with a bit of
cotton rope, and are all ready for an expedition. We must take our
blankets on our shoulders--we cannot fight with army trains. I repeat,
in order to carry on this war to a successful termination, we must
fight them on their own ground and fight them in earnest.”

After this breakfast Colonel Burrell and his officers were escorted to
Roxbury by the Roxbury Artillery Association, where another reception
was given them by their townspeople.

August 10th the officers met at the Parker House, proceeded to the
State House and reported to Adjutant-General Schouler, then to
Major Clarke, U. S. Army, to receive their final pay, then to Major
McCafferty, U. S. mustering-officer, and were mustered out of service,
after being in “Uncle Sam’s” employ about twenty-one months--eighteen
months and twenty-one days of the time as prisoners of war.



CHAPTER XIX.

IN SERVICE FOR ONE HUNDRED DAYS--ORGANIZATION--READVILLE--OFF FOR
WASHINGTON--AT ALEXANDRIA--AT GREAT FALLS--RETURN HOME.


A scare existed in Washington, caused by Confederate operations under
General Jubal Early, who threatened an invasion of Pennsylvania in
order to mask a contemplated dash on Baltimore and Washington.[19]

[19] Governor Andrew was in Washington at the time, and telegraphed
his adjutant-general (received July 5th) as follows: “I have arranged
with the Secretary of War that men who volunteer for one hundred
days’ service, as requested by him to-day, shall be exempted from
any draft that may be ordered during such hundred days’ service, not
from any future draft, but only from such as may be ordered during
the term of hundred days for which they are asked. I direct you, at
request of Secretary, to issue an order calling for four thousand
one-hundred-days’ infantry, on the terms above mentioned. The details
in connection with the project will not differ materially, otherwise,
from those heretofore prescribed in like cases. I shall have another
consultation to-morrow. Have sent home Peirce to-night.” General Orders
No. 24, calling for five thousand hundred-day men, was issued July 6th,
1864, by Adjutant-General Schouler.

Adjutant-General Schouler casually informed Adjutant Davis, whom he met
on the street, a call had been received from Washington to send troops
immediately for one hundred days’ service. The adjutant had kept up
a correspondence with all of the old line officers, for an ultimate
purpose of again calling the regiment together when Colonel Burrell was
exchanged. Davis mentioned this fact to General Schouler, who at once
advanced the idea of again going into service and advised an attempt
to do so. The old line officers were consulted, and, as the idea was
favored by a majority of them, official orders were issued to go into
camp at Readville, Mass., July 18th, 1864.

The following companies were designated to compose the regiment:

Company A, Captain Isaac Scott, of Roxbury; Company B, Captain Benjamin
C. Tinkham, of Medway; Company C, Captain Isaac B. White, of Boston;
Company D, Captain Samuel A. Waterman, of Roxbury; Company E, Captain
Augustus Ford, of Worcester; Company F, Captain Samuel S. Eddy, of
Worcester; Company G, Captain Alanson H. Ward, of Worcester; Company
H, Captain F. M. Prouty, of Worcester; Company I, Captain James T.
Stevens, of Dorchester; Company K, Captain Benjamin R. Wales, of
Dorchester.

Active measures were at once instituted to clothe, arm with Enfield
rifles, and equip these companies, to be in readiness for a quick
departure. Complete uniforms, with equipments, were issued at
Readville. Many companies went into camp several days previous to July
18th, gaining recruits every day until ready for muster in for service.
Captain Scott failed to recruit more than thirty men. Captain Prouty
failed to recruit his company, although at one time it promised well;
from some cause his men scattered to other companies or went home.
Companies commanded by Captains French and Stewart, already mustered
into service, were assigned to the regiment as Companies A and H.

The first regimental morning report was made up July 20th, and showed
a strength of thirty-five officers, seven hundred and thirty-eight
enlisted men, present and absent. The regiment was ready for marching
orders July 23d, with the following strength:

                   Officers.  Enlisted men.  Mustered in.

  Field and Staff,     5            3         July 22d.
  Company A,           3           95           “  14th.
     “    B,           3           81           “  22d.
     “    C,           3           93           “  14th.
     “    D,           3           97           “  20th.
     “    E,           3           90           “  22d.
     “    F,           3           98           “  15th.
     “    G,           3           87           “  21st.
     “    H,           3           88           “  16th.
     “    I,           3           84           “  19th.
     “    K,           3           90           “  18th.
                      --          ---
      Total,          35          906

The roster of the regiment was as follows:

Colonel--Isaac S. Burrell.

Lieutenant-Colonel--Joseph Stedman.

Major--Frederick G. Stiles.

Adjutant--Charles A. Davis.

Quartermaster--Alonzo I. Hodsdon.

Surgeon--Albert B. Robinson.

Sergeant-Major--Jediah P. Jordan.

Quartermaster-Sergeant--Charles E. Noyes.

Commissary-Sergeant--Augustus C. Jordan.

Hospital-Steward--Robert White, Jr.

Principal-Musician--Thomas Bowe.

Company A--Captain, Warren French; Lieutenants, Charles W. Baxter and
Joseph M. Thomas.

Company B--Captain, Benjamin C. Tinkham; Lieutenants, George W. Ballou
and George E. Fuller.

Company C--Captain, Isaac B. White; Lieutenants, Joseph Sanderson, Jr.,
and David C. Smith.

Company D--Captain, Samuel A. Waterman; Lieutenants, George H. Bates
and Almon D. Hodges, Jr.

Company E--Captain, Augustus Ford; Lieutenants, James Conner and Frank
H. Cook.

Company F--Captain, Samuel S. Eddy; Lieutenants, Henry J. Jennings and
Edward I. Galvin.

Company G--Captain, Alanson H. Ward; Lieutenants, Moses A. Aldrich and
E. Lincoln Shattuck.

Company H--Captain, George M. Stewart; Lieutenants, Julius M. Lyon and
Joseph T. Spear.

Company I--Captain, James T. Stevens; Lieutenants, Edward Merrill, Jr.,
and Charles A. Arnold.

Company K--Captain, Benjamin R. Wales; Lieutenants, Alfred G. Gray and
Charles P. Hawley.

Officers who resigned and did not accompany the regiment on this second
term were: Quartermaster Burrell, Surgeons Hitchcock and Heintzelman,
Chaplain Sanger, Sergeant-Major Bosson, Commissary-Sergeant Courtney,
Hospital-Steward Wood, Principal-Musician Neuert.[20] Of the thirty
line officers who served during this second term, Captains Tinkham,
White, Waterman and Ford, Lieutenants Sanderson, Ballou, Smith, Cook
and Merrill were with the regiment in 1862 and 1863. Colonel Burrell
arrived home, from Texas, August 9th, was mustered in for this second
term August 10th, and reported at Alexandria September 1st.

[20] Neuert was known as “Dick.” By mistake he was enlisted and borne
on the rolls as Richard A. Neuert. Young in years, he never thought of
correcting the error, and retained the name when he reënlisted in the
11th Battery as a bugler. His right name was Charles A. Neuert.

The Dorchester Cornet Band volunteered to enlist and become the
regimental band. The members were: Leader, Thomas Bowe; Privates Conrad
H. Gurlack, Company A; Perham Orcutt, Company B; Horace A. Allyn,
George Burleigh, William A. Cowles, John W. Capen, Nathaniel Clark,
Lewis Eddy, Edward Lovejoy, Fred. H. Macintosh, Henry B. Sargent,
Phillip Sawyer, Andrew J. Wheeler, of Company D; Wells F. Johnson,
Company H; Jesse K. Webster, Company I; William A. Cobb and Edward H.
Marshall, of Company K.

Two men deserted at Readville, viz.: Private Frederick D. Goodwin,
Company C, July 15th; Private Robert Bryden, Company D, July 22d.

The rank and file were a true representative body of Massachusetts
citizen soldiery. Three-fourths of the men were born in the State;
seventy men were foreign born. Men from a great variety of professions
and trades enlisted. About one-half of the regiment were as follows:
one hundred and seventy-six salesmen, book-keepers and clerks;
twenty-seven students; one hundred and twenty farmers; one hundred
and twenty-four journeymen boot and shoe workmen; twenty-seven mill
operatives.

The old regimental colors were received in camp July 23d, and under
orders to take transports for Washington, promptly at five o’clock
A.M., July 24th, the regiment left Readville by special
train for Boston, and marched down State Street, about half-past six
o’clock, to Battery Wharf, where Companies C, D and E, two hundred
and seventy-one men, under command of Major Stiles, embarked on
steamer _Montauk_. The other companies and the band, under command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, embarked on steamer _McClellan_. At nine
o’clock both steamers sailed for Washington, and arrived there at noon
July 28th, after a good passage, without an important event occurring.
This landing the regiment in Washington in ten days after being ordered
into camp to recruit and organize can be called quick work.

Reporting to General Augur, commanding Department of Washington, the
regiment was sent to Brigadier-General Slough, Military Governor of
Alexandria, who ordered it into camp on Shuter’s Hill, near Fort
Ellsworth, about one mile from the city. On the morning of July 29th,
after breakfast was eaten at the Soldiers’ Rest, in Alexandria, the
regiment marched to the ground assigned and occupied log huts, built
by other troops when stationed on this hill. In Slough’s command were
Battery H, Indiana Light Artillery, one battalion First District
Columbia Volunteers, the Second District Columbia Volunteers, the
Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers, the Twelfth Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps
and the Forty-Second Massachusetts Volunteers. These troops were soon
organized into a provisional-brigade and attached to the Twenty-Second
Army Corps.

Details for guards and for provost duty were immediately ordered
by General Slough, as follows: July 29th--Two officers and one
hundred and fifteen men for provost duty. July 31st--Eighteen men
every day for patrol duty in Alexandria; thirty-one men to relieve a
detachment Veteran Reserve Corps at Sickel’s Barracks Hospital. July
30th--Lieutenants Sanderson, Company C, and Spear, Company H, were
detached for duty at headquarters provost-marshal-general, Defences
South of Potomac.

At the close of July there was present for duty thirty-two officers
and eight hundred and seventy-three men; twenty-eight men sick; three
officers and six men absent.

During August the officers and men were kept busy at drill, on guard,
provost and patrol duty, which inured them to endure fatigue and become
acquainted with the tedious side of a soldier’s life. Train-guards were
furnished for trains on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, to protect
working and construction parties in constant danger of attacks from
guerrillas and obstructions placed upon the track to delay trains; at
Fairfax Station, August 15th, the enemy greased the rails, and a train
could not proceed--the enemy decamped, not waiting for the train-guard
to get a blow at them. Details were sent to Burke’s Station and other
places for logs, used to build additional huts for the men. What duty
was done in August is shown by the following details, ordered by
General Slough:

August 2d--One hundred and thirteen men detailed each day for
grand-guard line.

August 6th--Two officers and one hundred and fifty-seven men relieved
the Twelfth Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps, in Alexandria; next day
this detachment was relieved by the Second Regiment District Columbia
Volunteers.

August 7th--A regimental camp guard of fifty men was established.

August 7th--Seventy-five men for train-guards to Fairfax Station,
detailed each day until the twenty-third.

August 4th--Seventeen men were detached for permanent duty on the
military police in Alexandria.

August 28th--Seventy-five men were detached for duty as hospital
attendants in the general hospitals in Alexandria. The hospitals were
full of patients.

Details for August were:

4th--Sergeant Alfred Davenport, Company K, clerk at headquarters
Department Washington, Twenty-Second Army Corps. Relieved October 29th.

For duty at general court-martial rooms in Alexandria: 1st--Private
George S. Partridge, Company B, orderly. 3d--Corporal Thomas J.
Rooney, Company B, clerk. 4th--Corporal Edwin H. Holbrook, Company B,
clerk.--Private Alfred Noon, Company H, orderly.--Private Richard M.
Sabin, Company G, orderly. 9th--Private Ellery C. Bartlett, Company K,
clerk. 13th--Private J. H. S. Pearson, Company C, clerk.

On detached service at headquarters provost-marshal-general:
1st--Private H. W. Tolman, Company A, orderly. 2d--Private William
S. French, Company F, orderly.--Private Alvin S. Pratt, Company
F, orderly. 10th--Private Jno. R. Graham, Company A, orderly.
24th--Private William G. Kidder, Company C, clerk.--Corporal George
Dunbar, Company D, clerk.

On detached service at headquarters military governor: 4th--Private
Herbert W. Hitchcock, Company H, orderly. 5th--Private Fred. S.
Dickinson, Company G, orderly. 11th--Private Hiram E. Smith, Company H,
clerk. 13th--Private J. Clark Reed, Company C, clerk.--Private Thomas
J. McKay, Company F, clerk.

The officers on detached service were: 2d--Lieutenant Shattuck,
Company G, on permanent duty with city patrol in Alexandria.
9th--Lieutenant Hodges, Company D, on permanent duty at headquarters
provost-marshal-general. 10th--Lieutenant Thomas, Company A, on
permanent duty in command of guard at Hunting Creek Bridge block-house,
under the orders of provost-marshal-general. 12th--Lieutenant Ballou,
Company B, was detailed for permanent duty with the military police
of Alexandria, to relieve Lieutenant Shattuck, who was not active and
experienced enough to suit General Slough.

The officers detailed for general court-martial duty were: Captains
Tinkham, Waterman, Ford and Ward, from July 31st; Major Stiles,
Lieutenants Baxter and Jennings, from August 6th.

The enlisted men on detailed daily duty were: Private W. A. G. Hooton,
Company A, nurse at regimental hospital; Private Mathias F. Chaffin,
Company E, nurse at regimental hospital; Private Albert H. Newhall,
Company E, nurse at regimental hospital; Private Henry C. Chenery,
Company F, nurse at regimental hospital; Private Seth Albee, Company E,
nurse at regimental hospital; Private Simon C. Spear, Company C, nurse
at regimental hospital; Private Ezra Abbott, Company A, chief wagoner;
Private George A. Harwood, Company B, wagoner; Private Thomas Belton,
Company C, wagoner; Private Elma H. French, Company F, wagoner; Private
Samuel W. Whittemore, Company I, wagoner; Private George W. Abbott,
Company I, wagoner; Privates Oliver C. Andrews, Alonzo D. Crockett,
Mark Heathcote, of Company G, as a permanent guard at the reservoir in
rear of camp near Fort Ellsworth, from August 6th; Privates William
G. Kidder, Company C, James Allen, Company E, Hermion J. Gilbert and
Charles E. Chase, of Company F, orderlies at regimental headquarters;
Private Henry R. Gilmore, Company F, acting drum-major.

It was necessary to discipline one man in August--Private Samuel Young,
Company E, for firing his musket without permission or orders. He had
to carry a forty-pound log of wood tied to his back for a stated number
of hours each day for two days.

At the close of August there was present for duty: twenty-nine
officers, seven hundred and forty-eight men; one officer, forty-two
men sick. Absent: five officers, one hundred and seven men on detached
service, four men sick, two men in arrest.

Duty in September was about the same as in August, the regiment
constantly furnishing details of men for grand-guard and other guards.
Drills were maintained with what few men were in camp and some progress
made in this direction, but all efforts to advance the regiment in
drill could not be satisfactory to officers in command, because of this
absence of men each day.

September 14th--Company G, Captain Ward, went on duty as a permanent
guard at the Soldiers’ Rest in Alexandria.

September 16th--All troops in the command were paraded to witness
an execution of a private Fourth Maryland Volunteers, shot for
desertion, at eleven A.M., in the open field northwest of
Sickel Barracks Hospital. The negroes in and around Alexandria made
a gala occasion of the affair, with tents pitched near the spot for
sales of cake, pies, lemonade, etc. So far as appearances went the
man to be shot, a thick-set fellow, with heavy, black whiskers, was
more indifferent to his fate than the soldiers formed to occupy three
sides of a square, obliged to be unwilling witnesses. On the open side
were gathered a curious crowd of colored people. The condemned man was
marched upon the ground, a band playing a dirge. He was followed by a
faithful Newfoundland dog, who had to be taken away when his master
took position in front of his coffin, face to the firing party. In a
speech he confessed to being a professional bounty-jumper, worth at
that moment near twenty thousand dollars, the proceeds of his work in
jumping sixteen bounties. When the detail of soldiers fired upon him
he fell lengthwise upon his coffin. The troops were then filed past
him, and had just commenced the movement when signs of life were shown,
necessitating a second file of men to be ordered up and put another
volley into him.

At nine o’clock P.M., September 22d, orders were received
to march four companies at once to Great Falls, on the Potomac,
above Washington, and relieve the Eighty-Fourth N. Y. S. V. Militia,
on picket duty for protection of the water works. This order came
from headquarters Department Washington, and urged promptness in its
execution. A guide was also sent to pilot the detachment. Companies
B, C, D and E, with enough detailed men to fill up the ranks, with
three days’ rations, and forty rounds of ammunition in the boxes, were
at once started on a march of about twenty-five miles, under command
of Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman. This march was not made in a manner
creditable to the regiment. At first it was believed a fight was in
progress or imminent, and while such belief lasted the men should have
been kept well in hand to be of any use. The facts are: a halt was
made about one o’clock A.M., and the men slept on the ground
until after daylight, and then straggled into Great Falls during the
afternoon and evening in a manner not suggestive of a well-conducted
march. Fortunately no fight took place, and no harm resulted. Officers
and men of this Eighty-Fourth New York (an Irish regiment) were
found loitering around a tavern, more or less under the effects of
liquor. This tavern was kept by a Mr. Jackson, brother to the Jackson
who killed Colonel Ellsworth in Alexandria at the commencement of
hostilities.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman reported on the twenty-fourth that so far
as he could ascertain the duty at Great Falls would be to take care
of themselves as well as they could, to keep a few pickets out on the
roads leading to his camp, with a few men on the canal to prevent
smuggling. The colonel Eighty-Fourth New York said he never had any
orders, and acted as his judgment dictated in all matters at the
post; he never made any reports to any one, and had been visited by
a staff-officer but once. Stedman also reported the place extremely
unhealthy, with chills and fever a prevailing complaint. Stedman’s
strength was then three hundred and fifty-six men. The Eighty-Fourth
numbered six hundred and fifty men, and did have, at one time, two
hundred and fifty men sick.

Stedman wrote Colonel Burrell, on the twenty-fifth, as follows:
“Captain Stewart has arrived, and I learn that arrangements have
been made for four companies to remain here permanently, and that the
balance of the men belonging to these four companies are soon to be
sent here. Allow me to inquire if the balance of the officers have been
thought of--viz., Lieutenant Sanderson, Company C, Lieutenant Ballou,
Company B, and Lieutenant Hodges, Company D? I cannot get along without
the full complement of officers for these companies, and I trust they
will be relieved at once and ordered to report to me at this post. I
shall be obliged to have one for adjutant and one for quartermaster,
thus leaving me only ten others for duty; hence the necessity of these
officers above named being sent.

“We shall have to secure some transportation here, but as yet I do
not know what arrangements we can make for this necessity. We have a
post-commissary here, but have to go eleven miles for soft bread. The
nearest post-quartermaster is six miles away, at Muddy Branch. After a
few days we can make the men quite comfortable, but the place is not a
very agreeable one to be in.”

Company C, Captain White, was sent to Orcutt’s Cross Roads, three miles
away, September 30th, where was stored a quantity of quartermaster’s
property. Guerrillas were operating in the vicinity. A stockade was
set on fire and destroyed by them, and an attempt made to blow up the
aqueduct, frustrated by tavern-keeper Jackson, who was well known to
the Confederates and on good terms with them. General Sheridan, by
his operations in the Shenandoah Valley, caused a lull in the fun
carried on by these guerrillas, so that the Forty-Second Massachusetts
detachment did not have much to do beyond picket and guard duty.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman remained at Great Falls until October 15th,
when he was ordered back to his regiment with three companies. Captain
Tinkham, with Company B, was left at the post. A suggestion from
Colonel Burrell, October 18th, to build a stockade, as the position
invited an attack, brought the following reply:


  “HEADQUARTERS COMPANY B, 42D MASS. VOLS.,
  “GREAT FALLS, MD., October 19th, 1864.

“_Colonel_,--I received your dispatch of the eighteenth, for which I
am very grateful. My company is small, and what men I have are getting
sick very fast, so that I have not men enough to carry out your advice.
However, I will do the best I can, and shall not leave here until
I know what I leave for. There are several of my company still in
Alexandria, whom I wish could be sent to me. Would like to have General
Slough informed of my situation.

  “Very respectfully yours,
  “B. C. TINKHAM,
  “_Captain commanding post_.”

The enemy began to make trouble immediately after the three companies
left. Guerrillas would stop canal boats, untie the horses and make off
with them, until this nuisance was partly abated by the use of old,
worn-out mules that did not present such temptation. The canal traffic
was seriously interrupted, and caused Captain Tinkham to picket the
canal for two miles, until ordered back to his regiment October 28th.
Pennsylvania troops relieved Company B, and a short time after were
attacked by the enemy.

Cases for discipline in September were as follows: 1st--Private Martin
Monighan, Company E, for firing his musket without permission, was
sentenced to carry a forty-pound log of wood tied to his back for a
stated number of hours each day for three days. 17th--Corporal Pond,
Company B, and three privates on duty with him in Alexandria, were
sent to that city, by orders from General Slough, to serve sentences
for neglect of duty. 27th--Private Elisha Atwood, Company A, was sent
to Alexandria for confinement in the slave pen, for neglect of duty.
30th--Corporal William Bacon, Company A, was reduced to the ranks for
intoxication, by regimental Special Orders No. 78.

This is not a bad record for a raw regiment of short-term men. A
practice had been in vogue for captains to assume the power to order
punishment of men in their companies guilty of trifling indiscretions.
Captain French was noted for this stretch of power. This was stopped by
the colonel on assuming command. He maintained that no man should be
punished without a hearing.

Details in September were as follows:

On detached service at headquarters military governor: 6th--Private
Sidney W. Knowles, Company C, clerk. 20th--Corporal John Stetson, Jr.,
Company K, clerk.--Private Herbert W. Fay, Company F, clerk.--Private
Edward S. Averill, Company B, clerk. 22d--Private Frederick A. Clark,
Company K, clerk.--Private Christopher F. Snelling, Company K, clerk.

On detached service at general court-martial rooms in Alexandria:
1st--Private Ansel F. Temple, Company I, clerk. 13th--Private Davis
W. Howard, Company I, clerk.--Private Edward L. Harvey, Company B,
clerk.--Private Benjamin W. Kenyon, Company E, clerk.--Private James
L. Martin, Company C, clerk.--Private Arthur E. Hotchkiss, Company B,
clerk.--Private William L. Gage, Company I, clerk.--Private George E.
Sparr, Company H, orderly. 14th--Private Charles Curtis, Company D,
clerk.

On detailed duty with the regiment: 7th--Corporal James L. Prouty,
Company D, clerk at headquarters. 14th--Privates W. F. Adams, W. H. S.
Ritchie, George E. Buttrick, of Company A, were placed on permanent
guard at the reservoir, relieving Privates Edgerton, Heathcote and
Andrews, of Company G. 16th--Private George L. Simpson, Company
F, hospital attendant. 21st--Private George W. Brooks, Company K,
hospital attendant. 24th--Private Albert S. Barpee, Company E, hospital
attendant. 29th--Private Ezra K. Garvin, Company F, with quartermaster.

Officers on detached service in September were: Lieutenants Sanderson
and Spear on permanent duty with grand-guard, a line of sentinels
stationed between the Forty-Second camp and Alexandria. Lieutenants
Hodges and Ballou on permanent duty with provost-marshal-general.
Lieutenant Thomas with a permanent guard at Hunting Creek Bridge, where
an artillery block-house was built. Lieutenant Hawley was detached on
mounted patrol service, in answer to a request from General Slough for
an experienced cavalry-officer. Captain Ward, Lieutenants Aldrich and
Shattuck, Company G, on guard at Soldier’s Rest since September 14th.
On detached service at Great Falls were Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman,
Captains Tinkham, White, Waterman and Ford, Lieutenants Fuller, Smith,
Bates, Conner and Cook. Lieutenant Galvin was absent in Philadelphia on
sick leave.

At the close of September there was present for duty: seventeen
officers, three hundred and seventy-eight men; twenty-six men sick.
Absent: eighteen officers, four hundred and sixty men on detached
service; one officer, twenty-two men sick; three men in arrest.

There was no chance for any camp fun in October, for officers and men
were constantly on duty, day and night, in obedience to orders for
guards, patrols and pickets, that came thick and fast. Details of
men were called for by mounted orderlies, with verbal orders, at all
hours of the day and night, in addition to details mentioned later
on. Adjutant Davis, not in good health, manfully stood to his duty in
exceptionally trying circumstances. To fill these constant requisitions
from among grumbling men in a raw regiment, already overworked, was not
an easy matter. To do so, men who just reported in camp from some long
tour of guard or patrol service were obliged to again depart from camp,
swearing like troopers, on a like service. After four companies left
for Great Falls, members of the band were made to resume duty in the
ranks and go on the regular camp guard; at one time not relieved for
sixteen days, men were so scarce and the difficulty so great to comply
with these orders.

Duty done by the regiment, required by written orders, was: September
29th and 30th--One officer and forty men sent to guard stores to
Fairfax Station. October 2d--One officer and fifty men as train-guard
on Orange and Alexandria Railroad. October 2d--Captain Ward, with fifty
men, to guard a telegraph construction party running a line of wire
from Manassas or Warrenton Junction, on the Manassas Gap Railroad.
Captain Ward and his men had a skirmish with the enemy’s cavalry, on
the fourth, near Gainesville, and drove them back without loss. October
3d--One officer and fifty men, with detachments First and Second D. C.
Volunteers, as guard for a construction train on Orange and Alexandria
Railroad. October 4th--One officer and forty men on same service.
October 5th--One officer and fifty men on same service. October
5th--Seven men as permanent guard at coal wharf. October 6th--One
officer and twenty-five men to guard a special train. October 12th--One
officer and thirty picked men on duty for three days with mounted
patrols and pickets, to be relieved every three days. This order was
in force until October 27th. October 13th--One officer and twenty-five
men for train-guard. October 17th--Four officers and one hundred men,
with two days’ rations, were sent every day, until October 27th, for
train-guards. Of this detail two officers and fifty men went on duty at
3.45 A.M., and two officers and fifty men at ten A.M.

These details were in addition to the regular camp-guard, men for
grand-guard duty and men for the pickets stationed outside the
grand-guard line. Nearly all the trains were freighted with supplies
for General Sheridan, after communication with him was opened.
Every two or three miles along the railroad were guard-stations, in
block-houses, on account of the guerrillas who infested the line of
road. None of the Forty-Second detachments had a chance to test their
mettle with the enemy, except the slight skirmish by Captain Ward’s
men. At Rectortown one train came along just in time to allow the
Forty-Second guard to help get a cavalry-post out of an unpleasant
position; the enemy retreated without a fight.

Details in October for daily duty with the regiment were: 1st--Private
Peter Broso, Company F, on duty with quartermaster. 1st--Private A. W.
Mitchell, Company A, orderly at headquarters. 1st--Private Edwin H.
Alger, Company D, as wagoner.

One case for discipline occurred: Corporal Albert F. Burnham, Company
A, was reduced to the ranks October 24th, for leaving camp without
leave. On an appeal for a hearing, made by Burnham, an inquiry was held
in his case by officers detailed for the purpose. They justified the
degradation.

The officers detailed on court-martial duty in September were:
Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman, Captains French, Eddy, Stewart, Stevens
and Wales, and Lieutenant Gray. Every captain in the regiment, except
White, did service on general court-martial duty. Major Stiles was
constantly on general court-martial duty by details of August 6th and
September 20th, and not relieved until October 15th, when the following
order was issued:


  “HEADQUARTERS MILITARY GOVERNOR,
  “ALEXANDRIA, VA., October 15th, 1864.
  “GENERAL ORDERS NO. 84.

“1--The general court-martial convened by paragraph 2, General Orders
No. 57, headquarters Military Governor, Alexandria, Va., dated
September 20th, 1864, of which Major Frederick G. Stiles, Forty-Second
Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, is president, is hereby dissolved.

“2--This court has since its first organization (August 8th, 1864),
disposed of over six hundred cases, and the general commanding desires
to compliment the members composing it for the energetic, faithful and
satisfactory manner in which they have transacted the business referred
to them.

  “By command of
  “BRIGADIER-GENERAL SLOUGH,
  “W. M. GWYNNE,
  “_Captain, and A. A. A. General_.”

At the close of October there was present for duty (all officers and
men were relieved from detached or detailed service) thirty-five
officers, seven hundred and ninety-nine men; one officer, seventy-five
men sick. Absent: nine men sick in hospitals.

The term of service expired October 29th. A request was made for
transportation _via_ Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston to
place of muster out, instead of returning home by a sea voyage. The
regiment vacated camp and quartered in the Soldier’s Rest, Alexandria,
October 28th, until relieved from duty in the command. This was on
Sunday, October 30th, after a review by General Slough. Monday morning,
thirty-first, the regiment marched to Washington, and was received by
President Lincoln in front of the White House at nine o’clock. Cheers
from the men, a few remarks by the President, and then the march was
resumed to the depot to take cars _en-route_ home, arriving in Boston
late on Thursday evening, November 3d, and quartered in Faneuil Hall.
After breakfast next morning the regiment marched to Boston Common and
was there dismissed, to assemble on Friday, November 11th, for muster
out of service.[21]

[21] Before dismissal on Boston Common, Governor Andrew requested
Colonel Burrell to take the telegraphic address of every officer,
and instruct his officers and men (the men retained their arms
until mustered out of service) to hold themselves in readiness for
further service. The Governor telegraphed to New York he had a
reliable regiment, just arrived home, at the service of the military
authorities, if wanted to preserve order. No further service was
required.

This journey home was full of discomfort for those officers who did
their duty. It was a time of great political excitement in New York
City. On this account the regiment retained its arms, and twenty rounds
of ammunition was in each cartridge-box. In New York the regiment
remained at the Battery all day, and marched up Broadway about five
P.M. Crowds of people lined the street and cheered alternately
for Lincoln and McClellan, the men answering these cheers impartially
to avoid trouble. While in Forty-Second Street, where the men remained
until late next morning, when a train was made up to proceed on to
Boston, there was bad behaviour by various men of the regiment, who
became drunk and disorderly. Some of these men fired their muskets,
which, coupled with a fire that broke out in the vicinity, was
sufficient to cause considerable alarm among people who resided near.
Much blame is attachable to officers for their lukewarm endeavors to
stop this unsoldierlike conduct.

About one hundred sick men were brought home, some of whom ought not
to have left Alexandria, but they were anxious to go home with their
comrades. To properly look out for these men was no easy matter. A
delay of several hours occurred in Baltimore before transportation
across the city could be found for the sick, Colonel Burrell positively
refusing to move his regiment and leave them to follow after, as he was
advised to do by some of his officers. Orders were given that in case
any sick man was obliged to be left at any place _en-route_, one man
was to be detailed to remain with him.

At Alexandria the aqueduct was out of order, and well-water was used
for drinking purposes; but so bad was this water, a limited quantity
of beer was allowed to be sold in camp. Train-guards, hurriedly called
for and immediately sent away, had no time to fill haversacks with
ample rations, often obliged to start with hard bread as their chief
eatable. Of course, this had an effect on the men, a large proportion
being under twenty-five years of age, many of them under twenty years,
who did not have the advantage of a few months in a camp of instruction
and get well seasoned to a soldier’s life before they were called upon
to endure the arduous and exacting service they saw in Virginia.[22]
During the last weeks in September and through October there was
an average of fifty men sick in camp, and forty men absent sick in
Alexandria hospitals.

[22] The colonel called the attention of General Slough to the fact
that his regiment was overworked, and flesh and blood could not stand
the strain without some rest, which the general admitted, but claimed
he could rely on the Massachusetts men, while some raw Pennsylvania men
in his command (there were several full regiments just arrived), were
not reliable.

The regimental hospital tent, of limited accommodations, was always
full, and all surplus sick men who required hospital care were sent to
Alexandria. The weather was favorable in August and September; October
was stormy, and nights cold.

The regiment lost sixteen men by death during this term of service. The
bodies of those men who died in Alexandria were sent home. The deaths
were:

August 14th--Private George H. Rich, Company B, in third division
hospital, from accidental wounds while on guard.

August 24th--Private Richard M. Sabin, Company G, in third division
hospital, from acute dysentery.

September 11th--Private Edwin A. Grant, Company B, in third division
hospital, from typhoid fever.

September 11th--Private Lyman Tucker, Company F, in regimental
hospital, from typhoid fever.

September 18th--Private Samuel Stone, Company F, in third division
hospital, from typhoid fever.

September 20th--Private George G. Harrington, Company F, in third
division hospital, from typhoid fever.

September 23d--Private Herman J. Gilbert, Company F, in third division
hospital, from typhoid fever.

September 25th--Private Edward H. Aldrich, Company G, in Soldier’s Rest
Hospital, from typho-malarial fever. (Aldrich was a student, borne on
the rolls, but never mustered in.)

October 4th--Private Patrick Riley, Company G, in third division
hospital, from pyæmia. Riley was shot in the leg by a secessionist of
Alexandria, on August 27th. Amputation was necessary, from which he did
not recover.

October 5th--Private Henry H. Lowell, Company F, in second division
hospital, from typhoid fever.

October 8th--Private Walter Foster, 2d., Company D, in second division
hospital, from suicide by drowning; insanity.

October 24th--Private William T. Cutler, Company F, in third division
hospital, from typhoid fever.

October 26th--Private Calvin S. Haynes, Company C, Slough Barracks
Hospital, from typhoid fever.

October 30th--Private John J. Bisbee, Company H, Slough Barracks
Hospital, from chronic diarrhœa.

November 7th--Private Thomas E. Flemming, Company A, at Roxbury, Mass.,
from sore leg.

November 17th--Private William H. Perry, Company A, at Boston, Mass.,
from consumption.

There were eight men discharged from service, by Major-General Augur,
Twenty-Second Army Corps, for disability, viz.: Sergeant William H.
Alexander, Company C, September 10th; Private Willard L. Studley,
Company D, September 10th; Private Wendell Davis, Company H, September
13th; Corporal Jerome P. Thurber, Company G, September 13th; Private
Nathan Washburne, Company C, September 16th; Private Jason Whitaker,
Company E, September 19th; Private Henry W. Dean, Company I, September
20th; Private Albert E. Frost, Company K, September 20th.

One man reënlisted for one year in the Thirty-Eighth Massachusetts
Volunteers: Private Andrew C. Hale, Company H, September 8th.

By regimental General Orders No. 111, issued November 6th, at Roxbury,
Mass., the following men were relieved from detailed daily duty at
headquarters, with a complimentary notice for their faithful service:
Private Ezra Abbott, Company A, chief wagoner; Private James Allen,
Company E, orderly; Private Ellery C. Bartlett, Company K, clerk.

As Chaplain Sanger could not get permission from his church people
in Webster, Mass., to serve one hundred days with his regiment, an
attempt was made to obtain a commission for Second-Lieutenant Galvin,
Company F, a regularly ordained clergyman from Brookfield, Mass., who
was unanimously elected by his brother officers, August 10th, to fill
that position. Through unavoidable delays and informality in the proper
papers, no progress was made towards securing his appointment until
late in September. Lieutenant Galvin was then absent in Philadelphia
on sick leave, and it was doubtful if he would be able to rejoin his
regiment before the term of service expired. Difficulties also existed
in obtaining a muster dated back, so his appointment was abandoned. He
officiated as chaplain for a few weeks only.

One payment was made to the regiment, the last week in September, when
the men were paid for July and August. The following ladies, wives of
officers, boarded at a hotel in Alexandria, and saw what constitutes
camp life in time of war: Mrs. Burrell, Mrs. Stedman, Mrs. Stiles, Mrs.
Robinson, Mrs. Ford.

This brief sketch is sufficient to prove that the one-hundred-day men
did not have a picnic during their service. To be sure, the regiment
did not get into an action: a stroke of good luck. The various
train-guard detachments were liable to have a fight at any moment, and,
until back in camp, were kept ready for such a contingency.

In conclusion the writer would add: Let no man who enlisted in a
three years regiment sneer at the nine months troops, or those who
served a shorter term. A large number reënlisted later on in other
organizations, and served to the end of the war. Their previous service
was of great benefit wherever they went; in fact, they were not raw
recruits. The three years man who served continuously with his colors
is a rarity.

It does not follow that every man who enlisted in the army is entitled
to credit for so doing. “Bummers” and shirks were plenty. When a
thousand men are got together there must be a percentage of this
element among them. The most worthy and deserving men do not have much
to say about their army experience, and never drag it into prominence
for selfish reasons.

No undue importance is intended in naming men who were on detached
daily duty as clerks, orderlies, etc.; such places were considered
“soft berths,” although much hard work was done by many of the detailed
men. The soldier who remained with his colors, and did duty like a man,
is the one to whom most praise is due.


[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





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