Diary of Thomas Biscoe Doxey

Dear Ones All

January 1864

As I promised you I would finish up an account of our trip to Jackson Tennessee. I sent it up to New Years day so I will proceed from there and give you a smattering account. You never spoke of having received the first part up to the day before New Years, so I do not know whether you received it or not.

Friday Jan the 1st. -- New Years being cold and unpleasant. Still in Jackson, Tenn. Was out of rations and went into the town after provisions. Found the people foraged out and had no success. Returned to camp at night hungry & tired.

Saturday 2nd. -- Received orders to be ready to march at 11 o’clock am and started. Reached Spring Creek at 4pm. Went after forage and got feed for my horse & got a good warm supper myself of an old --------- citizen.

Sunday the 3rd. -- Started at day light. It rained & snowed alternately all day long. We passed through Huntington, overtook the infantry & supply train and camped for the night about 7 miles out and went to bed in the woods after building a large log fire. It rained all night and we got a thorough soaking. Our blankets felt like they were made of lead instead of wool.

Jan the 4th. -- Dried our blankets and got some hard tack and coffee and went out foraging with the -----found ---—men and beasts. Weather cold and blowy.

Tuesday the 5th. -- Started at daylight and after a cold ride of 20 miles camped 1 mile west of Pan??. Have plenty of forage. 1 mile after we started in the morning. My horse fell and strained my left ankle. This evening B. McCormick and I captured the Rebel Lieutenant Milam.

Wednesday the 6th. -- Started out 8 am and marched 23 miles and camped 2 miles west of Boydsville. Had no rations went to bed hungry. Got up in the morning and Captain Peebles gave 6 of us privilege to go out and get a breakfast of some citizen. We went and did not see our company again all day.

Thursday Jan 8th. -- Started out 8 am and after a rapid march 23 miles reached Union City at 9 o’clock at night. Truly glad to once more welcome our old barracks where we could once more have a genuine good ---- and refreshing sleep. Having been gone 15 days. The weather still cold and cloudy.

This ends the trip which routed old Forest… Falkner?… & Biffle? [Rebs, I think] out of West Tenn leaving no Rebel forces excepting guerrillas. [not sure this is true]

I will now try to give you a synopsis of our trip into Mississippi. One that has more... [ink faded away]

Saturday Jan the 16th, 1864 -- Received orders to start as guard to a wagon train to Columbus KY at 12 am. Picked up our duds and at the appointed hour was in our saddles waiting to march. Started and went abut 8 miles and camped for the night. I went to a house close by and got a rooster as did the other boys. We had fried chicken for supper. Rained some in the night. Morning cloudy and unpleasant.

Sunday the 17th, ’64 -- Started at daylight and after a tiresome march reached Columbus at 7pm. Commenced raining at noon and at 4 turned into snow storm. Barney and I found an old deserted log stable at Columbus and slept in it for the night and was drifted 6 inches deep in snow in the morning.

Monday the 18th. -- Still storming. 12 of the boys went in picket. I was down to town. ----------------------------to dinner? It cleared off in the afternoon and we moved into the Barracks of the 4th Missouri Calvary as they went from Columbus to Union City to join the balance of their regiment.

Tues the 19th, ’64 -- I went on picket with eleven others. Weather clear. Had a good time.

Wednesday the 20th. -- Was relieved from picket and about noon went down to the quartermaster and turned over our horses and equipage preparatory to a start down the river further into Dixie. Weather clear and 6 inches of snow on 1 foot of mud.

Thursday Jan the 21st. -- Received orders. Packed up our things preparatory to going aboard a boat as soon as possible. Had everything on board at 10 am. Went up to soldiers home and got dinner. Left Sol Haney there sick. Went on board the J.K.Lacy and went down to Island 10 that night.

Friday the 22nd. -- Co.H and Co.K came on Board in the morning and we wooded up [took on wood for the engines] and ran down the river. Past New Madrid in the afternoon and Ft.Pillow in the night.

Saturday the 23rd. -- Reached Memphis and landed just above the mouth of Wolf river and cooked 5 days rations and received our pay from government for the month of Nov and Dec. I sent $20 home to wife and wished it were 20 times as much. Weather fair and pleasant. Began to see the first moss hanging to the trees and many of the trees were green. Began to come to the Land of Perpetual Summer. Was on guard.

Sunday the 24. -- Was relieved at 8am and took a French Furlo [?] and went up and took a general ramble through the city of Memphis. The place looks war torn and defeated. Not much business done except by the government. The weather was very pleasant and summer-like.

Monday the 25th. -- Very pleasant. Went on board the boat dropt down B--- L----and took on board a lot of Hospital stores. I wrote 2 letters home. On board the boat began to feel as if my chances for receiving letters from home were slim.

Tues the 26th. -- Started out 12 steamers in all at 4am. Passed Helena [ MS]. Poor looking place for one with so pretty a name. But strongly fortified in the rear. The country on each side of the river low but pretty good ----ing having large plantations. Most of the houses burnt, fences also. Gunboats ahead. We stopped at the mouth of White River to wood up at night.

Wednesday the 27th, ’64 -- Reached Vicksburg at 4pm but was not allowed to go ashore.

Thursday the 28th, ’64 -- Dropped down below the city a mile and camped. I went up town with Trask. He found a cousin. He was all right. We went around the city and saw the various fortifications and caves dug by the citizens to protect themselves during the bombardment and we also went and took a look at the captured artillery. Went to the theater in the evening ..rather small potatoes.

Friday the 29th. -- The weather still clear and fine, real summer-like. I went up to town and bought a paper to read. Could not find one less that 10 days old. I got the Chicago Tribune and saw many things that were of interest to me.

Saturday the 30. -- Laid in camp and got tired of resting so I went up to town with Trask to buy a flagolet. We went back and broke up camp and moved ? miles from Vicksburg and camped. The weather quite warm. Had a hard gust of rain in the night. Some of the boys had not dug a trench around their tents. Therefore were nearly washed away. We being camped in a deep gorge between 2 hills. Spent most of next day in drying our duds. Barney and I were ditched around and faired better.

Sunday the 31st. -- I wrote a letter home and then packed up my paper and writing traps and then I cleaned up my old gun and then took a good nap and woke up just in time to get my supper. The weather was fair during the day, but clouded up and rained hard during the night.

Monday Feb the 1st. -- Mended up my duds and read a part of the morning in a borrowed book. It was quite warm, but in the evening it cleared off and we had a S----- frost at night. The 27 Iowa arrived today and I went to see them with some of our boys that had friends in that Reg. The found them well and ready for a heavy tramp.

Feb Tuesday the 2nd. -- Weather rather cool in the morning but quite warm at noon. I went down to town, Vicksburg, today to get some bread as my tooth had become so sore that I could not bite Hardtack. I went to the US Bakery and got bread at 5¢ a loaf, it selling elsewhere for 18¢. Too high for a soldier. Got an order on the US Baker from 2nd Lt. Gordon of 85th IN Inf. Got back to camp 2 miles from town [with ] enough [ time] to get a good nap before supper time. We received orders to be ready to march at 6am on the morrow.

Wednesday the 3rd. -- Started according to orders at 6am and taking the upper road camped at night 1 mile from the Big Black River. Crossed on pontoons. The country looked truly desolate having been ravaged by our and the Rebel armies. Not but 3 or 4 houses and not a mile of fence [still standing ] in a whole days march. All having been burnt by the contesting forces.

Thursday the 4th. -- Started at 8am and after some delay crossed the Big Black river. There was the first accident happened to us today. Young Todd the drummer boy of Co.I was captured by the Rebs whilst walking between 2 of our brigades. The Rebs made their first attack on our chow this afternoon. Several killed on both sides. We had heavy skirmishes in front all the afternoon. One of the 52nd Indiana was shot through the bowels who be stacking his arms at night in camp. Our boys captured 1 cannon.

Friday the 5th. -- Left camp at sunrise and encountered the Rebels. We had severe skirmishing for about 4 miles in advance. 4 of our soldiers were wounded, one mortally, one Rebel killed and a number wounded our march today was a continual skirmish. But ------ in the rear our regiments were not engaged. We lost during the day 2 killed and 15 wounded. Rebel loss unknown. We camped 4 miles from Jackson City, MS

Saturday the 6th. -- We remained in camp until 3pm. Buried our dead and learned that the 17 Army Corp had driven the Rebels from Jackson last night and now occupied the place. Our boys set fire to many of the surrounding houses. We started at 3 and moved 3 miles and camped again.

Sunday the 7th, ’64 -- We started at sunrise and marched through Jackson. Halting, I wrote a little sheet of paper to you but failed to get to send it as our officers concluded not to send the sick and wounded back as first intended. They stopped over 1 hour so there is where I wrote that note to you marked Jackson, Miss. Here we crossed the Pearl River on pontoons we captured from the Rebs as they left too precipitately to have time to destroy them. We also captured another brass cannon which we spiked and left. We burnt all that was left of the business part of the city. It had been a beautiful place before the war, but has been visited too often by both sides to be very prepossessing in its appearance today. We left Jackson at noon and marched to Brandon, having no firing from the Rebels today.

Monday the 8th. -- Our regiment was detached today to guard the ammunition train so we did not march until noon. We are on half rations of hard bread at present. One man from each company was sent ahead to forage. They got some meal and meat. Sharp skirmishing in front today, only marched 8 miles. Weather beautiful and clear and warm.

Tuesday the 9th. -- Began to march at 9am and marched 23 miles passing the 17th Army Corp in the evening many of our boys gave out and camped in little squads in the woods. Not more than 10 or 15 of Co.C got in to camp until next morning. I think that to speak within the bounds of reason that our 2 corps reached 25 miles [in length]. There was not over 50 of the 178 NY Reg[ulars] got to camp that night. I went in [with] our Co. [but] did not arrive until 1 at night [means 1am?]. We had to travel so far to get to where we could get water.

Wednesday the 10th. -- Started at 9am and marched 14 miles stopping in good season. We had heavy skirmishing in front all day. We saw a number of dead Rebs laying by the road side many of them horribly mangled by cannon shot… one poor fellow had all of his lungs torn out by the shot. We passed through Hillsboro and our advance had set it on fire and all was burnt but 3 houses… they stood out to one side. I did not think that I could become so hardened as I am for there I beheld without the least sympathy man woman & children trying to save a few poor duds to wear and as fast as they moved them from one place to save them they would catch fire and burn up - they have cause[d] me to leave a happy home so I can look calmly as theirs burn[s] to ashes.

Thursday, Feb the 11th, ’64 -- Started in good season but the road’s being very muddy we did not make much headway only making 5 miles until evening when we marched 10 o’clock[they marched til 10pm] and this evening received orders [to] have 3 days rations in our haversacks and to be ready to start at 6 in the morning on a forced march and although we got but little sleep we were on hand at the appointed hour leaving all of our traps except one rubber poncho and our woolen blanket. Weather fine.

Friday the 12th. -- Commenced our march at 6am. Marched pretty fast until we reached Decatur where finding no enemy we slackened up and went into camp after 15mi march. Saw a number of acquaintances in the 4th Iowa Calvary.

Sat the 13th. -- We commenced our march at sunrise and after removing a number of implements from our road felled by the Rebs we marched until late and we came to a place where the road was entirely stopped by felled timber and we came to a branch and the Rebs were camped on the opposite side. Our cavalry made a dash upon them and killed 7 of them. None of our men were hurt. The Rebs thought they had stopped the road so that they could stop for the night in safety. We campt on their ground they had selected. They had to throw their corn bread out of their kettles so as to save their bacon[think this is a pun!]. It was nearly baked. We finished some of it for our suppers and we slept on the leaves that they had collected for themselves and as the timber is all pine we had good beds indeed. They evidently thought they had so effectively blockaded the roads that we could not possibly be so close on to their heels. But we had so large a pioneer Corp of Negroes on ahead of the infantry column with the cavalry that they repaired all the bridges they [the Rebs] burnt and bridged all the bad places and cut out all the timber so that the main column never had to stop but once at the Chitamaw? River. Weather fine.

Sunday the 14th, ’64 -- Started at sunrise and as usual found all the ---- places blockaded with felled timber and rocks rolled into the road. We had 2 sharp skirmishes this morning with the Rebs. We reached Meridian MS about 3 oclock in the afternoon. We camped below the depot. The town is quite small. The Rebs set many of the best buildings on fire. It rained very hard that night. I was on picket & in the morning I had not one dry thread on my back nor any where else. Was relieved at 7 o’clock. We found good many Reb government buildings used for storage which we burned. Also a pontoon bridge which we brought back with us to cross the Pearl River.

Monday the 15th, ’64 -- Received orders to march out 3 miles on the railroad running to Selma it rained all the time during the am and at 3pm we moved camp cleared off during the night and was pleasant and warm.

Tuesday the 16th. -- Received orders to march to Marion & tear up the railroad there. Our regiment arrived there after 2 hour march. Started to tear up the track and were fired upon by the Rebs who fled with such precipitation that we did not get sight of them until they went over a hill out of the reach of our guns. There was not one of our men wounded although their bullets whistled pretty close to our ears. We tore up a good lot of the track piling the ties up and laying the rails across them set the poles on fire so that after the rails were heated their own weight bent them in the shape of the rafters of a house. We worked as hard as we could until quite late only allowing ourselves time to get to town against dark. The weather fine.

Wednesday the 17th [Feb]. -- Remained in camp today having torn-up our proportion of the track. I and 3 other of our boys went out on a forage excursion and we foraged a nice fat heifer and a chicken and returned to camp and fixed and eat a huge meal of fried calf….found it quite tender and nice so we concluded that in future we would wage war on all heifers that unluckily fell in our way. I took Col. Scott a nice piece. He thought it would be prudent in us in the future to confiscate all such. Our boys were on picket tonight. The weather cool but clear.

Thursday the 18th. -- Still remained in camp and sent out foraging parties to procure food for our men… other parties also sent out to tear-up and destroy the railroad… that being the main business of our trip down here. I took a long tramp around our camp to see the general destruction that was going on on every side by every hand. I met 2 very pleasant girls on my trip and I stopped and took a pleasant talk with them. They had been Rebs at the commencement of the Rebellion but had sense enough to see the error that they were in and were now repenting of their folly. They saw the Rebel cause was a hopeless one and they were in hopes the war would be closed up yet this spring.

Friday 19th [Feb}. -- Still remained in camp… sent out heavy foraging parties… I remained in camp & read & slept most of the forenoon. Weather clear & cool. The foragers returned bringing in flour meal meat & a fine lot of honey & one Reb Captain 1 orderly sergeant & 2 privates as Reb prisoners. We received orders in the evening to be ready to start at daylight. Weather still cool.

Sat the 20th [Feb]. -- Commenced our march at sunrise and after quiet march of 19 miles camped for the night. During the day we passed through the 2 towns of old and new Marion. Burnt all the business part of the latter town which constitutes pretty much all that was there as one building set the other on fire so most all went

Sunday the 21st. -- Our company started ahead at daylight as a foraging Corp and had pretty good luck. Capt. Peebles with his men went to a house ½ mile from the road and in that way got ahead of all the other forces. I stopped at a house and was left behind so I took the straight road and run into General Veatche’s division with 2 other of our boys. So the old cuss arrested us and would take no excuse to release us. He kept us near 2 hours and the other of our boys gained several miles on us. But after a while he stopt his division and we went around him by going into a thick piece of woods and got ahead of his division and had to do some of the hardest kind of traveling to catch up with our boys. But did so about 2 o’clock and I went to a house about ½ mile from the road and I got 11 pullets for Sec 4 Co.C and well did our boys appreciate them. At night Trask & poor Flood camped 4 miles ahead of our company with 2 others of the 32nd Iowa. They marched 24 miles that day… 4 miles further than the company. The weather warm and clear.

Monday the 22nd. -- Our company in the rear-guard today with orders to burn all the cotton gins and cotton and we filled the bill to the letter and let none escape. Had a few shots [fired] at a lot of Rebs that laid in the bushes to give us fits in the rear. As we passed they banged away but never hit a man… our boys doing the same hurting no one that we knew of as all got away…horses and all. It was a wonder for I never tried so heard to shoot any thing before. We were not more than 5 rods apart but every fellow missed his mark. We marched 16 miles and went into camp before sundown. We had a hard job to keep up the stragglers of the 178th NY Reg but we got all along except such as hid behind the bushs and trees. The Rebs must have captured near 200 of them on the trip. There is more than that number missing on the trip.Weather still fine.

Tuesday the 23. -- Broke up camp a little after sunrise and after a slow march of 14 miles reached Hillsboro [MS] or at least the place where it once had stood. For we [had] burned it all down to the ground except 3 houses as we went out [back on Feb 10]. No adventure today worthy of note. The weather beautiful, rather too warm for a fellow carrying about 60 pounds of luggage. We overtook our provision train today having left it 3 days behind on our outward march. We found after coming up that we had only 1 and ½ days rations and a dispatch had been sent in to Vicksburg for a supply. We were on ½ rations on our outward trip from Hillsboro and a part of the time we only had 1 cracker a day, while a full allowance is 4 [crackers]. We found it was hard work to march from 20 to 24 miles a day on that. I saw officers offer 50¢ for one hardtack. All the foraging that we could get was cornmeal and that ground on ---- mills and as coarse as small hominy and we had no way of cooking it except to make it into mush and it was not one half of the time that we had time to cook it more that half as long as it ought to be so that thousands of our men were taken with awful bowel complaints. Many of them are not over it yet and some I fear never will be again.

Wednesday the 24th -- Broke up camp at daylight and marched 17 miles on the road to Canton. We camped at ----. We were fired into several times today by bushwhackers but no one hurt. It looks remarkable to me to see how often we were made marks of by the Rebs when we were not in the least aware of their presence and they were well enough aware of it for them to fire with a steady hand and at the same time we every time came out unscathed…for not one of our men were struck by bushwhackers. Weather beautiful today.

Thursday the 25th. -- We broke up camp at 7am. I was detailed on the 20th as one of a lot of 84 [to be] regular foragers until we arrive at Vicksburg and on our second day we foraged enough of mules and horses to mount all of the 84, so we had it rather easier than we had been having it as we got our nap[sacks] carried by a special wagon that we pressed into the service also a black man that we captured and swore him in... he promising to haul our knapsacks as long as he lived and forage his living in the bargain. I was not with our company any more during the day time until we arrived at Vicksburg… but camped with them of a night. Our company were rear guard today of the provision train but at night were brought to a halt by the breaking of the pontoon bridge across the Pearl River. One of the boats bilged so that it had to be taken out and replaced by another.

Only Veatch’s Division and Col. Shaw our Brigade Commander with his body guards and the --- company of the 3rd Division 2nd Brigade got over [the river]. I for one had no blanket with me as were nearly all the rest of the foragers and we spent one very cold night of it. I had nothing but my towel to keep me warm neither did we have a crumb to eat for neither supper nor breakfast and being on ¼ rations we felt rather slimpsy. But we heard by one of the 52nd Indiana that there was a house about a mile and ½ off where they had some beehives. So 20 of us struck out in the dark and succeeded in finding them. There was 30 stands. Well, you may rest assured that we had a sweet time with it. We took a tub and all the buckets we could find on the place and filled them and took to camp… but somehow or other this southern honey gives one such a pain in his breast…for there was at least 20 of our men had the colic before daylight… I among the rest. But it is well now and my breast feels as peaceful as it is usual for it to feel. Company camped on the south side of the Pearl River by the train… they got the pontoon fixed during the night so as to commence crossing at daylight… the train did not all get over until the next day. The night rather cool and morning frosty but weather fine and dry rather warm. I am marching.

Friday the 26. -- They raised the pontoons and commenced crossing at daylight. The corps marched 17 miles passing through Canton at 4pm. Found it a beautiful town which had before the War –probably 3000 inhabitants but as all the other towns and cities of the South shows the dreadful affects of the desolating hand of War. All kinds of business is entirely paralyzed and there is but little to attest its former grandeur except the beautifully arranged yards that this low down south look like perpetual summer reigns supreme. They are most of them planted with beautiful Magnolia, Wild Peach, Bay trees, Pines, Pears and a dozen kind of vines that are green all the year round and many of them have most elegant houses which with there surrounding shrubbery look like a very paradise but with all its beauty we stopped 2 or 3 days and tore up all of its railroad and burned out or ruined 13 locomotive with some platform cars and there tenders. Our company were detailed to burn the large bridge over the Little Black [River] which they did most effectively. The day before they burnt it our forage party ran into 3 Rebel pickets and they ran diverging from the wagon road they crossed this same bridge and hid behind a large lot of railroad ties waited until we were in a close range of them and as we crossed the bridge –whamo –they let us have it. But their shot went over our heads doing us no harm. We pursued them about ½ mile when we found that they were hauling us into a trap for they hid behind a car that set on the railroad and they stopt so we halted and in less than 10 minutes there was 10 to our one for there was not over 20 of us-only 4 detached from each regiment in our brigade with 4 commissioned officers… so we thought it most prudent to retreat forthwith. We camp 2 miles from Canton. Our boys… part of them… were detached to guard a lot of Reb prisoners at brigade headquarters during the night. The weather quite warm and the roads very dusty.

Saturday the 27th. -- I was out foraging all day and returned to camp at 4 o’clock in the evening and was told there would be a chance to send a letter to Vicksburg as Gen. Sherman was going to send all the contrabands through ahead of the 16th Corp so I dropt in and wrote you a few lines [in answer to your letters] that came in the black mail… which I hope you have received. On this the exodus of the darkies from our camp and from Dixie was by much the harder maneuver of the Human family that I have been called on to behold. There was over 6000 of the most comical and dilapidated creatures that ever were thrown together… clad in all manner of duds from fine silk down to the most rural looking homespun that was in all the different stages of decay. Many of them did not have more than ½ enough to cover their nakedness. But for that they did not seem to care the only thing that they seemed to aim at was the great boon of their lives – Freedom. But there was one thing that I could not have believed… the day that Co.C were in the rear of the corps… I saw one mother throw her infant away. She was an --- girl of about 18… she had plodded along for 3 or 4 days and carries the poor little helpless toad[her child]. I saw her frequently during the time she had plodded along with her charge when all at once crash went a dozen guns into our ranks when she seemed to receive a new impetus to her speed… she humpt herself for a while and I did not see her again till near night and as I past[passed] her I asked her where her child was. She did not like to speak so when we put up at night I took the kettle and went back to a branch that we had past[passed] to get some water for coffee and I met an old Negro man that was driving a yoke of cattle hitched to a loaded wagon and lo amongst the traps there peered up the little woolly head of that same child. The old man said it was the one that she left. She was sure to be pitied but at the same time greatly to be censured. I would have helped to kick her out of the camp at night I saw her afterwards and I told her I had a great notion to cut her throat and she thought that I was in earnest for she would elude me all the time afterwards.

Sunday the 28. -- 25 of our boys were today sent out with a forage train with 10 of the boys of the 24th Mis[souri?] when returning were attact[attacked] by 250 Rebel cavalry who followed and fought them for 4 miles. Our men had 16 6-mules teams to defend against the odds so terrible they were in a lane hedged in on both sides by a heavy hedge of a kind of a kind of wood rose much used here. On both sides the Rebs saw their numbers gave them the advantage so they pressed our boys hard but they saw plainly that their mettle was good and they well knew that if they did not put out every effort they must eventually be all captured… so in they all went on their nerve and the Rebs followed them in so near our camp that they came in good gunshot of one of our picket post. The teamsters… cowards that they [are]… ran and left the teams. All ran but 6 wagon masters & in all 10 of them were captured… good for them… for if they had of done their duty they would ha ve come off with out losing a team but one… as it was the Rebs captured 6 of our teams - and alas poor Edward Flood was killed. He was shot through the lungs and our boys do not think he spoke afterwards only to say oh and sink down. Our boys had to retreat about ½ a mile after he was shot and there the fight ceased and our boys then went back and got his corpse. But the Rebs had been to him and had robbed him of 2 watches a gold ring his gun and cartridge box leaving his cap box and bayonet under him. Poor fellow he had 13 dollars of money that they got also which I have no doubt he intended to send to his wife and she poor woman I have no doubt needed it as I hear that he was in limited circumstances and I noticed that her means were but small when I took her some books that her husband sent her by me when I was at home.

Monday the 29th. -- I was out foraging today. We got some cornmeal and late in the evening we returned to camp and got 3 wagons and went out 4 miles to a large plantation and got them all full of sweet potatoes and returned to camp just as it was getting dark. Generally while in Miss we found plenty of sweet potatoes or tatters what they call yahms [yams]. They were most excellent eating. I noticed Co.C was detailed today one half of them to burn railroad bridges the balance remained in camp all day. Gen.McPherson’s Corp had a heavy skirmish today the particulars of which I have not heard only that there were 3 brigades of the Rebs and that there were several on both sides killed. The weather cloudy and cold.

30th. -- passed off with nothing worthy of note as did the 31st

Friday March the 1st. -- we broke up camp and started for Vicksburg in the midst of a heavy rain our foraging ceased here at Canton as the train of 60 loads of hard tack arrived so that we once more got full allowance of bread which mutch increased our courage strength and patriotism for we had on ¼ begun to feel a little lank and at the same time we were on short allowance of coffee so that we had to parch corn meal and that with but little sugar. But I was a little careful to examine all the sugar dishes wherever I went on a forage and in that way I kept a little stock on hand in my own commissary department or haversack. I made a little sack and took with me and in that way I frequently brought in enough at night to make us a pretty good meal. As I said I done no more foraging from Canton. Our party were placed as an advance guard with the calvary. The roads today were in a awful condition for troops on foot. We marched 18 miles and camped about 5pm. Passed through the town of Livin gston. Turned part of it into alkali [does he mean the roads?]. It cleared off in the evening and was tolerably warm. The rain through the day was exceedingly cold.

Wednesday the 2nd. -- March broke up camp at sunrise and commenced skirmishing soon after with the enemy. The Calvary and light artillery were engaged most of the time. The bridge across the Chitoemaw River was gone-washed away-while the pioneer corps were building a bridge which took about 2 hours and while they were busy at it I with the rest of our mule cavalry were busy at work making us some coffee and while we were thus engaged we counted 185 cannon shot fired by McPherson and the Rebs. I never knew how the affair ended we only marched 10 miles today and camped soon after dark. Weather pleasant.

Thursday March the 3rd. -- Commenced our march at sunrise and [passed through Brownsville. We recrossed the Big Black and camped for the night . We here saw our Major and learned that the other 4 companies of our Reg were 4 miles below guarding the railroad bridge across the Big Black. Weather good.

Friday the 4. -- Commenced our march at sunrise and after a rapid march of 20 miles reached Vicksburg and camped just outside of the breastworks and were here joined by the balance of our Reg. Some of our boys could not wait but went into town and got some bakers bread and were told that we would soon go down the River (Mississippi) for an excursion up the Red River towards Texas. The weather good.

Saturday March the 5th. -- I went down town and got a good dinner …never eat so good a one… although I have after set down to much better ones. I saw Charlie Switzer of the 12th Iowa. Trask saw his cousin Baxter again… he expected to soon rejoin his regiment in Texas. We had our things that we had packed and left in Vicksburg brought out to our camp and I with some others packed up what we did not want to carry with us and expressed them home & as we were going further south we thought would be more bother that benefit & we knew that our trip would be made mostly on board of a boat. Weather cool. I sent my watch home by Mr Switzer he said he would take it for me and leave it there with mother.

Sunday the 6. -- I received 5 letters and I wrote three home. But I know but little of how you were at home as the letters were of a very ancient date.

March Monday the 7th. -- I went to town today and I saw general acquaintances. The 12th Iowa started home today having re-enlisted for the war. I went to hear an address delivered by Gen Ross. He could not raise his steam. He undertook to address the 42nd Illinois on the subject of re-enlisting. He made no impression on them and then the Major of the 78th Wis tried it and they listened a little more attentively. But after he was through I heard several of them say that no man could coax them in for another term. But after the other regiments begun to go on board they changed their minds and every man re-enlisted and before night were on board of a steamer and bound for there homes in Illinois. I went to camp and washed my shirt and we received orders to be ready to embark on board steamers tomorrow morning and we packed our few remaining duds…mine now consisting of 1 blanket 1 rubber pancho 2 shirts 1on my back 1 pair pants 2 pair socks 1 on 1 tin cup 1 spoon and a knapsack and a gun with 40 round of ammunition and I had like to have forgotten to mention that I have ½ a dog tent…Barney owning the balance.

Tuesday the 8th. -- Part of our boys were detailed to stand guard at Brigade headquarters and our goods were taken down to the boat landing and our teams also… so our regiment moved down to the landing in the pm. Weather quite warm and roads very dusty.

Wednesday the 9th March. -- Our boys were relieved at daylight and I rec 2 letter from home… 3 sheets from Ella & 2 from my wife. I never was gladder to receive a letter from home as I feared that I would have to leave before I got another and I knew that you had written to me so I was not disappointed for they came. I was glad you were all well especially little Willie. It rained most of the time that we were on the landing. We embarked on board the steamer Southwester and our company were allotted the ¼ of the hurricane deck. Weather clear cool of a night.

March the 10 Thursday. -- Remained at the steamboat landing all day 1 mile below the mouth of Red River [in] LA. The weather cleared off at night beautiful moonlight evening we landed at a --- plantation and a lot of our boys went to the house and got plenty of chickens sweet potatoes and pigs and therefore helped themselves freely. Some of them were rummaging about the house and found 2 cecesh [secessionist] flags and that led to a further investigation and they found several letters of correspondence between the owner and the Rebs up Red River relative to the gunboat fleet lying at the mouth of Red River so they arrested the old --- and we have him along with us…a prisoner. They also set his house on fire and reduced it to ashes. We started about 3 oclock up Red River. The river quite low and we do not make very rapid progress. We have 19 boats all of them loaded heavy. We have our little dogs[tents] stuck up all over the hurricane deck of each boat. We have a part of [Gen.]Porter& rsquo;s Marine Fleet along with us and heavy Ironclads. We have probably 12,000 infantry. Weather fine cool of a night but warm in daytime.

Friday March the 11th. -- I awoke in the morning and found myself cold and laying my bones a little too near the boards on the hurricane deck. I got up and circulated myself around a little by going ashore and taking a tramp over a beautiful field and getting lots of palm leaves that we used for making fans and hats. They are a most beautiful plant and grow here on the banks of Red River to an enormous size. Some of the leaves are 3 feet across. There is the palmetto also a species of the same plant only the leaves are divided into sections . I forgot to note it that we passed Natchez on the 10th also Ft.Adams another small town on the Mississippi.

What I could see of either of them there was nothing very prepossessing to be seen at either place. I was told that Natchez on the hill was a beautiful place. The country along the banks of the Red River for a farming country is the Naplus Ultra[Latin??] of all that I have seen in the south and compares well with any one that I have ever seen. The River is not larger looking than the Cedar [in Iowa] although it is deep. The water has a reddish cast. The banks are about 30 feet above the present stage of water and the land this far up is as level as a floor with a deep black loamy soil. The land is owned in large bodies by men that are able to own from 150 to 200 or 300 slaves. Many of the plantations look like small towns. Some of them have from 30 to 40 Negro houses. Some of them look sweet. The great house as the Negroes call the master’s house is generally a splendid looking mansion well & tastefully built & well painted & as a general rule the yard will contain 3 or 4 acres & is planted thick with all manner of evergreens of which this country is blest with an ample share. Many varieties that I have never seen before but of all I most admire the Magnolia with its rich dark green foliage. The leaves are an oval say 2 inches broad and 5 or 6 [inches] long very thick and heavy and bearing a rich glossy hue as though they were coated with varnish or oiled.

I have not seen the bloom of it yet but I am told that it is beautiful in the extreme and emits a most delicious odor. There is another ---- the White Peach a very handsome tree it has been in full bloom for 2 or 3 weeks. The bloom looks exactly like the white cherry of the North. The flower is a little white tassel and the tree is so profusely loaded with blooms that with all of its thick growth of green leaves the tree looks white. There is pine in an almost endless variety with 3 or 4 kinds of cedar one called the Sweet Cedar and it is really as nice a thing as I have smelt lately. But war has cast her mantle over all for look where you may there you see the impress of decay. It is printed in the very countenance of every man woman and child both black and white that you meet. All seem to share equally in the calamity for the lofty head of him who before the war lived in affluence now sees his nose brought to the grindstone and he is reduced to such a straight that he has to come down to hard fare such as the Negroes have usually been kept upon. But I am glad to see the scale once turned upon them so as to let them know how they have treated those poor blacks who through long years of unrequited toil have labored to earn what they today are so ruthlessly squandering in a more than inhuman war to close their destiny forever.

Fail is written upon the program of the War. Fail is written upon all of the resources and Fail is written upon the accursed institution of Slavery and after these failure then comes the tug of life with those that have fostered the system of human slavery for they are not prepared to commence life over anew at so late an hour of life. For 1000 of them never knew how to even bake a loaf of bread and not only that for they have been taught from the earliest childhood that it was disgraceful to labor and they have that beknighted idea to overcome which it will take years to do. But let them rip. I have no pity for their folly for they have worked hard to heap its curses upon their own unhallowed heads so let them work out their own salvation.

Saturday the 12th. -- We’re trucking it up old Red River until we came to the mouth of Bayou where we land today the 13th of March in the year of Grace 1864. We form a fleet of steamers (19) and 7 gunboats with a hospital boat and 5 boats of Porters Marine Fleet. I will try to give you’re the names of the steamers the others go by numbers and are so far off that I cannot see the numbers. Southwester / Sou City / J C Lacy / Emerald / Ewing / Baltic / Desmoin / Adriatic / Thos E. Tutt / Diadem / Autocrat / Daina / John Raine / Hastings / Liberty / Woodruff / Clarabelle / Mars / Woodford? hos[hospital boat?]

If I can get the names of the others I will send them in my account of our trip. If I live through to finish if not some of the boys will send you what I wrote. March the 18th ’64 I feel rather too crusty to write today for I was detailed today as a guard on board the steamer Southwester and just as I was detailed an order came to fall in as the fleet was laying too. Last night and today our gunboats discovered a lot of Rebs and their camp on the banks of Bayou Chaffalay[Atchafalaya]. As we were steaming it along down its trusty? red current and we were forthwith hauled up and this morning most of the Infantry troops were mustered ashore and a research march to see what they[the Rebs] were doing here and they have returned and found 3 forts out a couple of miles from the bayou where they were well fortified on a small scale only 2-gun forts well surrounded with impenetrable swamps and a stream of water for natural defense. They[the Rebs] had not got them quite done and no guns were mounted so they skedaddled. Our men captured their sick & 8 well men with 1 4-horse ambulance and 1 or 2 horses and four 6-mule teams with all their camp equipage tents and so forth… also another large camp of tents where the Rebs ran from when our gunboats came in view. They all left before our men caught a glimpse of them so that neither side fired a gun.

Monday March the 14th, ’64. -- Commenced our march at daylight and were very footsore but that made no odds as we were making a forced march and good time at that. For we started from the bayou and traveled 5 miles the first night camping at one oclock at night and we had 30 [miles] to travel the next day and got through by 4 oclock. We had some skirmishing with the Rebs with no loss on either side. We today passed through one of the prettiest countries that I ever have seen and it was most elegantly improved. I saw no place where I could make a single change to help its appearance as every farm is quite a town of its self some of them having from 50 to 60 houses on them but the inhabitants are all French and we could no understand a work of the language.

At 1 o’clock we passed through a beautiful place called Mansura a sweet clean French town Catholic claimed Neutral Protection but many of the men in the Rebel army. We foraged of them freely. We reached within 1 mile of Fort DeRussy. The 2nd Brigade –ours - was in advance –[but] one half of Co.C men… I with them… were detailed as wagon guard & did not participate in the fight. [the rest of] our brigade being in advance had to open the ball[started the fighting?]. So in they went. We had no idea of the strength of the place nor of its garrison and as there was a heavy obstruction in the river 10 miles below and our officers concluded that they would not get up before the Rebs [came] from behind their breastworks could cut our ranks all to pieces so they come to the conclusion to carry it by storm so they started in advancing and feeling their way as best they could.

The 32nd taking the right wing had to come up through a storm of shell and musketry but like the Light Brigade into the Jaws of Death they rushed with cannon on the right & cannon on the left & 3 heavy pieces in their advance frowning & belching forth infernal fire at every step… for they were in a terribly exposed positions. But on they pushed steadily without the loss of but one man until they reached a deep hollow that was covered with heavy logs that offered them some shelter & were within easy range for their rifles so they huddled there and pounded so murderous a fire in through the enclosures of the Fort that the Rebel gunners refused to man their guns any longer and they held up their fire for a few minutes and our men seeing this was a good chance, all gave one unearthly yell and over the breastworks they rushed—tak[ing] the little garrison all prisoners 300 in all.

The Forts were the strongest that I have seen and with 1000 men to man them they could defy 10 times their number. There is one 3-gun battery a bombproof next to the river that was built with railroad iron 2 thickness and under laid with 3 ft of oak timbers & manned with 3 of the heavy 9-inch guns taken from the Indianola. We captured 10 cannon and several tons of fuses ammunition & a large lot of Imperial Muskets 150 barrels of sugar & molasses… a lot of bacon & all their garrison equipage & a lot of corn? & any amount of wagons. It is truly remarkable to see the havoc that the cannon from both sides made amongst the timber and see that there was no more killed than there was.

The fight lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes. Our loss was only 37 men killed and wounded. I only can find out that that is our loss but I cannot tell you how it is divided [between killed & wounded]. There was not one killed outright and only 3 wounded in the 32nd . Not one of Co.C were even wounded although they were the first ones reach the breastworks and amid so infernal a storm I do not see how one escaped alive. The Rebs fared as well as our own men losing but 2 killed. The Rebs ran to our boys and they had a general shaking of hands congratulating each other in the narrow escape that they made. The troops that were engaged were the 32nd 14th 27th Iowa and the 24th Missouri and all acquitted themselves like men that intended to do the work assigned them for they done it to the letter.

The Rebs said that they heard the word ‘Forward 32nd ‘ [my quotes] when given by Col. J. Scott and they then saw there was no use in resisting any longer so they all threw down their arms and ran and mounted the parapet just as our boys were scaling the ditch. The 20 of us that were on detail with Lt. Raymond regretted that we were not with our boys at the crush but we could not leave the teams so we concluded as the cannon balls flew pretty thick they might strike and spill our coffee so we built us a fire and made a lot of coffee and eat our suppers and by the time we were through drinking it the battle was over and we –the detail- [guards] were sent out a mile to an old Reb and got a barrel of sugar and 600 lbs of bacon and when we returned to camp our regiment was just coming in and we received the glad tidings that none were hurt in Co.C and only the 37 in all engaged. So we went to work and cooked supper for those that were engaged and made a bunk out of an old field gate and had the coldest nights sleep I ever suffered.

Tuesday March the 15th, ’64 -- We started to the boat at 8am and after examining the breastworks and forts. We went on board and some of the boys wrote home I not knowing that there was a chance to send a letter until it was too late to write so I sent you word by Mrs Hewitt[Johnson B.] also Mrs McCormack[Barney] that I was not kilt in the smash up… as I feared you would hear through the papers that our regiment was in the attack on Ft. Derusha as there is several correspondents for the different papers and you will have many accounts of the attack.

All I have to say is that our boys took the fort by assault loosing but few of our men. Our officers thinking we were likely to lose less men by storming their works than by approach[ing more slowly] & I think that we [made the right decision] & did for our troops [a favor] by pushing in close to the fortifications …[we] soon got too close for the Rebs to bring their guns to bear on them… thus reducing the fight to a musketing fight giving us nearly an equal chance with themselves… for we had the logs [but] they had to make an abatis[a defensive obstacle formed by felled trees] to keep us out with… for our breastworks & our boys by laying low behind the logs picked off their gunners so fast that it was impossible for their officers to make the Rebs stand to their guns.

After their captain tried but in vain to force his men to the guns… tried it himself… and just as he was going to force the ball down the gun one of our boys plugged him through the head killing him instantly. The Reb told us that they did not mind our artillery but the d**d Infantry from behind them logs shot so close to them that they could not stand to their guns for a moment & be sure of their lives & I do not much wonder.

For our brigade had them hemmed up on about one acre of land & we on 3 sides of the square nearly 4000 strong. The fort is something like this. [He drew a sketch of the layout of the fort & surroundings]. I was out at the wagons and would rather have been in the fight…for the shot flew all around us & we could not tell when they were coming as we could not see the fort as there was a piece of low bushy mossy timber between us and the fort that entirely cut off the view although there is nothing very entertaining in the idea of a battle where you cannot hear yourself speak for the roar of the cannon and you have no idea how soon some truant? ball will take you –kaput[?] -for that is just the way they sound.

But a cannon ball sounds like a heavy rush of wind and if it is a long shot it makes a most unearthly howl and if you can only see the blue streak… that drives you mad not fear… but if not look out for it is going to pass uncomfortably close to you. I think it is more pleasant to not play war for it makes too many cripples forever. Here in the army where the worst cases are discharged there is an interminable number that are ruined for life & I do not think the glories of war could ever give me a remuneration for the loss that I see some have sustained and neither do I think the love of a grateful country can ever recompense me for the privation that I have endured in leaving my home and its comforts and it loved ones to help to put down this infernal rebellion. For I have come to the solid conclusion that this war is not going to wind up in any thing like a reasonable time for when I enlisted I did not expect to have to serve 3 years but as I advance I change my opinion for I plainly see that the resources of the South were equally good for the demand for here in the state of Louisiana provision is just as plenty as it is in the cribs of the North for I have had as good a chance of seeing as one in a hundred for I have been one of the foragers both in Mississippi Campaign under General Sherman and am now under the Second Expedition under General Smith up Red River & there is not a hovel nor a palace that we visit where we do not find food in abundance and we have not even on the boats room to store one half of the sugar and molasses that we find in the cribs along the river.

For here in Louisiana we are in the paradise of sugar and you know that that is no great backset to me for I could live on sugar alone so I go into the sugar with a zest. Our section keeps on hand at least 3 or 4 times as much as our rations from the government amount to and whenever we are in camp we all fill our tin cups and melt it and boil down all that we want and make it into taffy –oh I have longed to have my darling lambs with me to enjoy one of those taffy pullings for we have them every night that we land from the boat and we land nearly every night…but some nights not until the soldiers are asleep. The country along the Red River is one ofthe prettiest that it has ever been my lot to see although the land is not rich like our Black Prairie land of my beloved Iowa but of the climate is sublime…the timber good…but the water poor…even where you find a spring… the water is warm though clear. The streams are cooler but dolefully muddy. I have not seen one of those beautiful cool bubbling rippling streams like you see in the North. Since I have been in the south all the streams look turbid deep and muddy and the Mis[sissippi] the water is of a yellow cast… here the Red River water has a pink tone. But the Red river water is just as muddy as the Mississippi. I am in hopes that we will go farther north before summer comes just on account of the water…for it will be deplorable here I know. It was said when we left Vicksburg that we were only to be gone on this expedition 30 days and then had to report at Cairo. If so we are most likely to go to the Cumberland army about Chattanooga Tenn.

I hope it is so for others that I see that have been in East Tennessee tell me that the water is excellent there but it is more conjecture and if I only keep my life and health I do not intend to fret much about where I am nor what I am doing. For my time is a little more than 1 half out and then if I am lucky I will know well how good a home and how well I have been situated how good a Wife , Mother, and children I have been blest with and how and how kind and loving a family I have been long separated from. But it won’t last long[?]. Wednesday March the 16th ’64 We steamed it up the Red River today leaving Ft. Derusha at dusk and went about 4 to 5 miles up the river and tied up for the night and just as I awoke in the morning the fleet were getting underway…expecting a fight this afternoon. I replenished my cartridge box as the Rebs had been in large force at Alexandria but on the approach of our gunboats they left in a rush…burning a fine steam ferry boat to keep it from falling into our hands. But one of the gunboats pushed ahead being a fast runner and threw a shell into their retreating craft and a shot took one of their barges centrally and exploded. Set it on fire and burnt up all that it contained..being a lot of tents commissaries stores so it burnt up in a jiffy and there was a lot of fixed ammunition on board that helped to consume her. I am a little ahead with my time for as we came around on turn of [the]River 15 Rebel craft went behind one just above town. The Rebs boats were not so heavily laden as ours so that they could scud up over the rapids that begin just at the upper end of town and our boats being of heavier draught could not follow so we did not try it but quietly laid to and it was the first time that I had a chance to see the magnitude of our force.

We have 16 heavy and light Ironclads mounting from 6 to 30 guns some of them of very heavy caliber and some a light as 3 pounders. We left 4 of our transports at Ft.Derusha to destroy the fort after they had loaded on all the stores which consisted of 150 barrels of corned beef…150 barrels of sugar and molasses and about 3 tons bacon ….10 first-rate cannon. They loaded all the guns but 1…an old piece taken in the Mexican War. This one they burst and done it so carelessly that 4 men that had no idea of what was going on were killed..instantly cutting 2 of their heads off entirely and horribly mangling the other 2…and maiming a large number besides. The magazine was also blown up with out proper precautions being taken and there also was a large number hurt . John Stockun was with the brigade left[behind at the Fort] and as they arrived here last night before dark he with several of the other boys came over to see us and they said that there was 75 killed and wounded at the destroying of Ft.DeRussy. There was a bomb-proof there that the Rebs said was proof against anything that we could start. So 3 of our gunboats went down to see what affect the 100-pound square-ended ---- shot would have on it. They fired 5 shots only and they bored entirely through it…which I thought was impossible. It was made of solid oak in 3 layers of hewed logs each piece 1 foot thick making 3 solid feet of oak and that covered with one layer of railroad iron…the right side up and another layer laid in the grooves wrong side up.

Thus layering the outside a smooth surface looking like a roof made of narrow strips of plank…thus making a surface of 4 inches of iron and 3 feet of solid oak which I would have felt perfectly safe behind. But alas I now succumb frankly acknowledging that there is no place safe from the infernal ingenuity of man when he gets his head to work to see what engines of death and destruction he can invent. Stockun says that the heavy railroad b--- were cut entirely in two and the same ball that bores through the iron would bore through the 3 foot of oak and the gunners say that there guns will take a more fearful affect at a longer range. They having fired only about 40 rods they say there best range is about 1 mile. There is a boat just coming to the landing called the Laurel Hill . I hope she has brought us some mail. If she is down the river she has, if up from New Orleans she has not. I must stop and go to see. Well I went and saw but nary a letter. No never she was from New Orleans so there is no one there that I want to hear from as I do from those at home. Oh how I long once more to greet those that I hope remain there in love and peace. You..my darlings can have but little idea how my heart yearns to meet you all . Oh, that our country was once more righted and at peace so that our loving hearts could no longer be severed by this more than useless war. But thanks to so good a country as our beloved North where its inhabitants have had the good sense to hang together to form a power which in short time must preserve and crunch it out.

Do all that is in your power to encourage the men to be loyal and true although it is hard to make true men out of the disloyal Copperheads and the loyal are already true so you just be loyal too. Poor Pa will hold true and loyal to his loving wife and children. I do not fear much that I will be forgotten by you that are large…but learn little Lory to remember me and teach little[Lory] when he is old enough that he has a Pa that loves him. Teach little Lory his letters and how to read and teach him . Teach him the figures and the multiplication tables. He is old enough to learn it now and learn him to be modest and kind to you girls and learn him to love Ma and Grandma which I hope he already does. For Pa has not as much of an idea of late that he will be at home this summer as he had while he was up in the border states. For as we go further south I see that the resources are larger than I had expected to have seen …for here we are today camped at Alexandria, LA and the country around here is just as abundantly supplied with provisions as it is in the north …excepting it is wheat that is scarce. But still there is some left. We send from 30 to 40 teams out every day to forage and they all come in loaded full of bacon & meal…sugar and molasses with a smart lot of chickens and as the foragers return they bring into camp all the cattle hogs and sheep that we can eat. Most every squad that go out bring in more or less and against all get in there is 100 ---- of herd cattle are not very fat but sleek and hogs are in pretty good order so we deal largely in pork and mutton. The cattle live all winter on the leaves of the palm the kind that those large palm fans you see are made of..they grow so thick in low-lands in the woods that you can hardly walk through them. They are beautiful.

Thursday March the 17th, ’64 -- We reached Alexandria LA. About 4 this afternoon of the 16 of March 1864. We stand on board this night and the next day we debarked and went out about 40 rods from the river bank and pitched our tents and commenced our life ---- having been hampered up so long on the boats. I believe through that I had not mentioned that after we traveled up the Red River the first day about 2 o’clock we came to the mouth of the Bayou Achafala and we went down that Bayou about 30 miles to a place without a name where we landed with the expectation of having a fight. But the Rebs had left their forts after destroying and taking away all that was of any value except their houses and a large camp of tents that had been left very precipitately and from there we marched over land to Ft. Derusha on Red River a distance of 35 miles and captured the place a I have described. Marching 35 miles and capturing the Fort with 10 heavy guns with a large amount of small arms and about 150 lbs of molasses and sugar of beef and a large lot of bacon 300 prisoners and may other traps of war in the short space of 24 hours. End of Recap. We found the town of Alex. deserted. The Rebs having stayed until our gunboats were within a mile of the place. The town is about 2st[[twice] as large as Waterloo only it is built more on the style of a city having but few very large edifices. The courthouse is a tolerable good building only it is built out square to the street like a private building. Like all other places in the south that interminable levee is along the bank of the river and then comes next a good wide street with natural forest trees growing heterogeneously as nature strews them. They have large branches and enormous spreading tops and are so loaded with this beautiful drooping SpanishMoss. Oh how I would love to have a dozen of them in our yard at home. They are the most beautiful things that I have seen in the south. Some of them are so loaded with it that you cannot see through the thick mass. The houses are generally built on the cottage plan. Many of them as sweet looking home. There is one in particular that I have admired having passed it several times. It belongs to a Dr. C---- an old sinning Bael. It is a long oblong house with 2 wing? ---- one at each end and a large yard that is so thick with evergreen trees of an endless variety and other little buildings to beautify its appearance. The other parts of the town look clean and nice not having the desolated appearance of the general run of the Southern towns that I have seen. Our army are not destroying the improvements of the country as we did in the raid? we made through Mississippi. There is not much of note to be seen from as you boat up the river…although it is one of the prettiest counties that I have ever as far as appearances are concerned. But the soil is not fertile being a reddish clay to the surface. As far as the inhabitants of Alex. is concerned I have but little to say as I see but few here excepting Negroes. They as is usual are abundant with this one marked difference from the common rule..there are 10 good stout other? Colored? men here to where we have met 1 in the other places. There is a recruiting officer with us and I understand that yesterday he had recruited a full regiment of Blacks here at Alex. These are not ¼ of the little helpless children as far as I have seen as has usually come in with such a body to seek the protection of our arms..and I feel more than thankful to see that our troops with a few exceptions treat them humanely and kind. There seems to be a spark of feeling left for the poor downtrodden Negro and it is so general a thing that if they are only industrious and prudent to help themselves as far as possible I have no fear but what they may yet look forward to a happier day for the feeling of humanity has been def—ly awakened in the bosoms of the American people in their behalf and if the government is only fortunate enough to find good men to appoint to see to their affairs I see no cause why they should not prosper. I saw one ..a brunet girl today that was as pretty and as intelligent a looking girl as you can find in any country..I asked her where she came from and if she had been a slave. She said she lived on Bayou F---LA 12 miles from Alex. and had been a slave all her live…a servant to a young lady that had paid 13.00 dollars for her last summer and had always treated her well and clothed and fed her well as her appearance indicated. She was dressed in a deep blue woolen dress..I don not know the name of the goods. I asked why she did not stay with her mistress. She said that she would undergo any kind of hardship just to die a free girl and I truly believe she would. There was not an officer that passed her that did not have something to say to her. If I could I would send you her likeness…she is really beautiful . I have no doubt but her mistress let go willingly for she certainly was jealous of her charms. For I have seen no southern woman half so pretty. I doubt not that her mistress’ beau has often wished his belle was half as pretty as her Negro servant. Her hair was not wool it was only wavy and curled around her neck and looks neat. She said her former owner was her father and had sold her to get rid of her as he had four grown daughters that did not like to have her about. I do not doubt it . I would be the same myself if I was white and had a Negro sister.

Mar 18. -- I loitered about town…jahawked about 50 lbs of sugar....came back to camp from that. All the boys in Co.C had been at the same biz…making in all about 400 lbs sugar on hand....all hands making taffy was all we wanted....took a nap and then strolled up town again…a lot of us… but by this time there was a guard at every door. We slipped into a sugar warehouse and yanked 5 water pails more full of sugar…and out the back way… and all got away but a new drummer boy we have. He was ‘cotch’[caught] and spent about 4 hrs in the guard house and was released promising to do better in future…so he did for yesterday March the 19 We all tried it again with good success…all arriving safely in camp with a bucket of sugar and went into the taffy business again.

March the 19th, ’64 -- Collected sugar and other stores until noon and then understood there would be a chance to send a latter to Vicksburg. Flew at the chance and wrote a short note home. Wished it was longer. Sealed my letter up too soon for I had a likeness that on of the boys of our Reg. Gave me of his sister and I forgot to put it in the envelope…hurried myself for fear the m--- would start before I got mine in the bag. But I was lucky and got it on board in time. Started back to camp. Met the Adjutant of the 32nd and he detailed me to go with 12 others of our Reg. To a house 2 miles down the river and scrub all the floors upstairs and down to make it a clean and nice for a post hospital. We gave it a thorough cleaning after the style of man and returned to camp just in time to get my supper before it began to pour down rain. Eat my supper and had just gone into [the] little dog tent hoping to collapse forth with into a sweet slumber when lo what should I hear but the dole ful sound of ..Doxey you are detailed to appear forthwith on board the Southwester as one of a guard to take a prisoner from on board to the Provo-Marshall…So out we crawled Corp W. Prouty – J.Jackson – J.Lichty – and your humble servant T.B.D. [We] took a thorough ducking for it poured down from the time we started until we arrived at the Provo’s office which is in the courthouse up town more than a mile from our tents. The prisoner was a hugh old Negro driver. I do not know what his crime was but of course it was that he was too honest a man to be allowed to run at large. As we marched him uptown I asked him what he was arrested for. He said it was for some D—D Lie a Negro had told on him, I have no doubt of it truth he looked like one of those pictures that you see on the last leaf of Harper’s Weekly. Particularly the one of the Texas Rangers …all he lacked was the lasso and a lot of whiskey bottles a revolver and a bowie knife.

Sunday Mar the 20. -- I note the day of the month but I really did not know that it was Sunday till since noon I have remained in camp most all day only leaving it once to go after wood. Alexander and I started after wood and had to of nearly a mile to find any as we depend entirely upon burning rails and we have burned the rails off of a large plantation since we arrived at Alexandria. So Clark and I went to the house of the farm and loaded the boxcart? With chicken coops and all the wooden traps that we could find and started to camp with it. When we found out that it was so heavy that we could not draw it so I stayed to guard it and Alex went to camp for reinforcements to draw it home so he got plenty of help and we took it home to camp and unloaded it when the idea struck us that the cart was wood too and therefore we unloaded the cart also on top of our woodpile and I guess that it will make wood enough to last us as long as we stay although I have no idea how long we will remain at th is place. The Rapids at this place are so shallow that our gunboats cannot go up but I hear that Gen Smith says hi will stay here until he can take our whole armament over for he says he will take Shreveport or go the bottom. We have the glad tidings today of the looked for reinforcements from Gen Banks. His advance guard arrived here this morning and report 11,000 cavalry and 15,000 Infantry with 8 batteries of cannon. The chaplain of the 32nd preached a sermon today it was not generally known through camp that he was going to speak. I have not heard a sermon preached since I left Ft. Pillow last spring. Not that I would not…but there has been no preaching in camp. It is getting so dark that I cannot see the lines. It is thundering and looks like it would rain so good night.

March Monday the 21st, ’64 -- The morning looks rotten gloomy and I am spending most of the time in my dog tent and this is the kind of time that makes me feel so lonely for I have nothing to entertain my mind….so it wanders up along the long crooked Mississippi to my loved and treasured home with its Inmates whom I so dearly love. There I can see Mother in your midst the general center of my earthly love….ministering in her noble manner to all the little sorrows of every heart within her sphere. Oh how deep her words sink today into my heart. I can hear her noble council and feel the earnest depth when she has advised with me so often. Listen my little darlings to the goodly advice of Grandma. Then I can see thee…Ma…telling little Lory telling him some little story of what he and Pa will do when Pa returns. I’m still? look forward with profound delight to that happy day and there I see Ella washing the dishes and flying into the buttery with them so as to get through so as to finish her kind and welcome letters to Pa. I thank thee my love for so many although Pa cannot answer thee one every week as he used to do but never mind it may be that Pa will get to send you this long one that I am writing when I return from Red River to the Mississippi as we will probably go as high up as Cairo, ILL…for there is some talk here that the 15 and 16 army corps are to be sent to the Potomac…that will take Pa [in] the 16 corp. I can see thee..May…sitting on the floor by the side of the cooking stove making a lot of corn stalk horses for Lory to show him how a Calvary charge is managed and at the same time making him mind his P’s and Q’s. And I can see thee Ida looking like thee did when thee sung Spider-Web with thy little head covered up with little pig tails of plaited white hair and a handkerchief stuck under thy arm? and I can see Lory the plainest …sitting under Uncle Santie’s [prob Bisco Sanford]wagon the first time he s------- to see Ginny by himself. And Little Willy…I don’t see him much any way only bapping himself over the head with that square piece of bone that I fixed on the little brass chain for him. I can see many little incidents connected with our home life now that I am so far away that makes the tender recollections of home sweeter to me by far that it would be if our home was an unhappy one.

A detail from the 14th were on a foraging mission up the river and came across 3 first rate field pieces 2 of them were brass and 1 an iron one…all 3 in good order. The must have been badly burned on our arrival and their[Rebs]departure..for they had a large lot of commissary stores at this place..Alexandria…and had also a lot just above the rapids 4 miles above town. They left several 1000 bushel of corn both at the boat landing and in their store house…making it very convent for us as we have a great many horses with us belonging to our b----- ambulances and wagons and officers of field and stuffs and there stores of sugar is greatly convenient as we have all that we can make use of . Which is no small amount I assure you. I expect that every --- in our Co. uses 2 of 3 ---------- full a day although it is strictly guarded. The guard is sure to not see a soldier jayhawk a bucket full unless the officer of the guard is present which is seldom the case. I expect the Rebs left at least 200 hogsheads in their storehouse and about 30 at the upper landing above the falls. The quartermaster refuse to deal our ration of sugar out to us..they say we must jayhawk enough to use while we are here and they will keep all that they can get for us when we are where we cannot help ourselves. It is a pretty good notion too…we have put 4 hogsheads of sugar and 16 lbs of molasses on board the SouthWester to last us ..the 32nd …..till our return from this expedition which was not to exceed forty days from the time we left Vicksburg and the time is running on pretty well although the object of our mission is not complete until we capture Shreveport, LA and we are lying here at Alexandria LA waiting for the river to raise so that the heavy gunboats can pass over the rapids and it will have to raise at least 3 feet to allow them through. 5o’clock just finished a letter to Ida with a ambretype[ a picture I think] for her and got it on board in time and heard while out the l------- that 9th Ind. Battery and a support of our Inf had a fight about 65 miles out in the country and I went back to camp and all was bustle and stir …..having received orders to fall-in in 5 minuets with nothing but arms and just at this juncture the rain began to fall in torrents and it hailed until the ground was covered …making it an agreeable exercise indeed to fall into ranks. But bad as it was the 32nd..14th..24th.. and 142nd fell-in in battle order …looking as though it were the intent to confront the storm and after we were soaked to the inner man we received orders to go to our tents and be ready to fall-in in a minutes notice. So we popped into our kennels and in 20 minutes …Fall-in Boys…resounded through camp and in we fell again only to finish an already through soaking and we stood about 10 minutes more and another order came ordering us back to hold our selves ready to fall-in at any hour of the night. Being by this time so thoroughly soaked and chilled to the bone that I for one did not get done shaking until after daylight this morning..as it rained hard most of the night so that the mist pattered through our fragile cotton houses so that all of our blankets were wet and cold instead of being warm and comfortable. But this is nothing more than what a solder bargains for when he enlists to serve his country in the open field and if our men could only evade this one thing…the inclemency of the weather…there would not be one death where there is a 100 from the cold inherited in this way. From what I have seen there is 20 dies from cold and exposure to where there is one dies from the affect of bullets. I have --- ----- --- of shot some how or other not that I am invincible but I have become accustomed to being shot at occasionally all though I have never yet been killed neither have I done murder that I am sure of all though I have tried to kill a few old becerk?? And a few of them have tried to kill me but I believe so far both have failed as all that I shot ran away and I judged they were feeling well from the way that they flew. But I am glad to say that I have yet to see the first of our boys run from the Rebs. The say that they will make us change our tunes before we return from this trip up Red River. The prisoners that we took at Ft.Derusha said we were taking a bully fleet of gunboats and transports up the river but it was but few that we would ever bring back with. We on the other hand feel sure that we will bring these 50 transports and 3 gunboats back with our own in the bargain. The Rebs tell us that we have 8 miles of batteries to take before we reach the town of Shreveport. But we will believe that when we find them and have them to take. We know that at Ft. Derusha we had a much larger force than the Rebs had and that they fought like demons but our men did the same and we could have no idea of the amount of troops that we had to oppose so we went it blind on our part and came off more than conquerors. For we took them on…all they had..and if they had of had 50 to where they had one we would have taken them..for that is what we came here for. The news is afoot here in camp that a part of our troops are out in the country about 15 miles and have been having a brush with the Rebs and that a part of Banks’ Cavalry force has hot on the opposite side of them and the probability is fair to capture their whole force. But it is not certain enough yet for me to say whether our boys will succeed. There is a steamer just came in from Vicksburg. She brought a few papers with her dated the 12 of March. I left this strip of paper to go and listen to the news but could not get near enough to hear the voice of the reader…much less what he was reading. So I thought I would finish this sheet as according to regular routine Co.C & D come on picket tomorrow and I cannot carry my material so far to write on my post like I use to do at Ft.Pillow and Union City. We do not have good hours as we used to at the 2 above named places and all the little conveniences that we can have with us now have to be small….for against we carry a gun that weighs 15 lbs and a cartridge box with 40 rounds and cap box and bayonet and a rubber poncho and a woolen blanket..a tin cup plate and canteen and a pair of extra socks and an extra shirt. Why a fellow has but little room for paper pen and ink and besides he has but little spare strength to carry more

March Tuesday the 22nd. -- I awoke up in the morning with a bad cold and a good deal of coughing my self and feeling rather dowdy. So I could not think of eating my usual allowance of hard tack. But warmed down a quart or so of coffee and then took a slide around town to see the sights. Whilst there….Banks’ Calvary came in with the prisoners captured in the fight that I spoke of in another place. They had come one of the most complete Yankee tricks on the Rebs that has been done during the War. They found and pursued the rear guard of Dick Taylors’ retreating column and at night they camped so near together that they could see each other. Our men along the edge of a piece of thick timber and the Rebs were in an opening camped on what is known here as Pine Hill. Our men had a bayou between them and the Rebs and were right at a bridge. The Rebs not thinking the Yanks would bridge it some where else kept a strict watch at this old bridge until dark and our men keeping up a lively appearance there abouts and at the same time our men were deploying to the right and left intending that as soon as it was dark and the Rebs were off their guard to pounce upon them so they made a great amount of camp fires so as to make the Rebs think all was right and at the same time setting out watches to discover where the Reb pickets were placed intending to pounce on and capture them first. So dark came on and the column started crossing the bayou entirely around there camp they sent in a squad to capture there pickets and what should they meet but a Rebel orderly coming out with the countersign and asked him if he was not a D.D.Yankee. He did not smell the rat yet they pretending themselves to be the Rebel picket ordered him to give the countersign which he readily done still thinking the Yanks were his Rebel friends and knew no better until the boys told him to go to the rear and consider himself a prisoner..which of course he done ..they then reported to headquarters their gay success…then a lot of our own boys were ordered out to take the place of the Rebel pickets and of our boys started on there secret mission and succeeded to a letter. Making there orderly take them to the first post and the Rebs drunk the game down most freely and knew not a word of what a trick was coming over them until our boys had released and captured 34 pickets all they had out to they took the Reb prisoners back to our camp on the bayou …and then closed our in----- lines up as close as they thought they dare to do sending 4 of our men to creep up as close to their camp as was safe to see when all was still the Rebs seemed restless as thy did not all lay down until about 10 o’clock and by this time our boys were not over forty rods from where they were laying but kept still until past eleven o’clock when they closed the line up to about 60 feet of the slumbering Rebs when they slept and fixed bayonets and made a pounce upon their unsuspecting victims and captured every man not the first one getting away when the boys got amongst them the half of them were sound asleep having to shake many of them to wake them up to tell them that they were prisoners. One Frenchman started from his sleep and started toward one of the cannon thinking that the camp was aroused for fear of being attacked..our boys asked him where he was going he said I is going to my piece and when informed that he was a prisoner…they could not make him believe it until they showed him that they were dressed in US Clothing. The capture was a pretty good one as they got a most splendid four-gun brass battering one 12 pound field howitzer and 3 12-pound field pieces all in first rate order…with 3 caissons all full of ammunition having only fired one shot from the howitzer they captured 4 cannons but in the confusion and uproar of the moment one of the team ran off with one and the boys blazed away and killed 2 of the horses and one struck a tree and broke his neck and smashing the caisson up generally so our boys destroyed all that was left of it. They captured 364 privates and 21 officers - 265 in all and 400 horses with all the battery equipment and harness which were all new but looked poor being made of ?? unblacked leather. The horses were small and thin with not a single shoe on one of the 400. The camp was kept quite jubilant today over events transpiring….. about 10 the Reb prisoners were brought in and about 11 a brigade of Negro infantry landed from Port Hudson to garrison this place…Alexandria….and about 275 refugees all stout rugged men arrived at this place…having lain out in the bushes to keep from the Rebs for near 2yrs. They all had some kind of an old gun either musket shotgun or an old squirrel rifle. They all came in on horseback. They had one of their men shot on the road in and had the fellow that shot him ..he was their prisoner now…he was a Rebel captain. And to cap off the day success about 10 at night 43 Reb deserters came in to our lines making it a rather lucky and entertaining day. For us in camp I stood guard on the night of the 22nd on board the Southwester and therefore did not feel really bright and much like writing a letter. But as I went to try to give you an idea of a --------------in my c---- of life I will try to --- let my stupid feeling so entirely overcome me but what I can write you a few lines each day so that if I ever again get the chance I can send those few feeble ---. To you as I know you will appreciate them we ------ as thy are my neck aches bad and so I am glad I an through as it is so low in my little dog tent that when I set on the ground I have to bend my neck so as to sit up and it is raining in the bargain..so that I cannot go out of doors and the wind is blowing flapping my old tent about fast as though ----------prairie of our beloved old house so here goes for a nap. Good bye all.

Alexandria LA Wednesday March the 23, 1864. -- Did not feel quite so stupid this morning but not so bright as a May morning quite therefore did not get up til a late breakfast time…11 o‘clock. Fried a piece of salt sidemeat on a stick and made me some tea out of water and sugar allowing there was enough of mud in it to answer the place of cream. So I eat a half of a hardtack that being all that I could stand it to chew on my tooth until it became so sore that I had to halt. But felt satisfied with the quantity but not with taste of my meat. For I want a few good cream biscuits just to see how they would go off. We get no other bread now but hardtack and there is at least one half of the time that it of that ---- solid hard kind that you could not soak one of them soft in a kettle of boiling water in 2 days and by the time they aresoaked they are as slimy ----ell and that kind of dinner I do not fancy. But a fellow has no business to complain on the account of his food. Let it be what it may..nor do I. But better food would go of quite sociable? I think for I have read of where our men in the late war were brought to such a state of destitution that they eat there shoes and cartridge boxes.. and there is no danger of our coming to that point unless we are unluckily entrapped by the Rebs so as to be cut off from our supplies…something similar to the Rebs in Vicksburg and there we have the advantage on our sides for we have an ample amount of good fat mules and horses to fall back upon and in all the ----- that we make out in there country we replenish our stock some days we have not a single mounted man and the next we will have a 100 to the regiment as we generally do our foraging by the Reg. Therefore every horse mule and cow that unluckily falls in our track is either rode or driven into our camps.

Alexandria, LA, March the 24 ’64. -- Still laying in camp at Alex. expecting to go somewhere every minute but I cannot tell you where as a soldier is not expected to know anything but where his gun is and whether he has his regular 40 rounds of cartridges…so you see that in so narrow a sphere a fellow has but limited amount of interesting news to import to those with whom he corresponds. I feel bad to think that I am so cut off from all that seems dearest to my heart. For although I try to write an occasional line that I hope to be ----- some time to send to you …but as it will all be so stale when you receive them that I doubt whether you can feel and interest in…to induce you to read after I have written it in the best of faith for you. But I have not much to do------ I am not on a march so I will scribble away and run the risk of your appreciating what I write. We today have had a very hard gust of wind and rain and I have had to crawl into my kennel to keep out of the mud and slop and as the gust is over…now I will scratch down to days account and as a I have not felt enough of interest in today’s maneuvers I am like the boy that had not much to say I must simply say…nothing to record. Cleared off having a rather cool night with a heavy frost having struck quite through me as I slept. Rather cool in the morning. I have had a pretty hard laugh…for a short time occasioned by these pesky chilly nights as we have but little else so far this spring and what makes it harder for us is the fact of our having disposed of all the extra clothing that we could not easily carry on the scoot down to Meridian Mississippi only carrying 1 blanket and a rubber for bed clothes. I sent my overcoat home but some of the boys thought best to carry theirs but did not do so long as thy could not stand it to carry so much of a load..therefore there was not more than I in 50 that did not tear them up and throw them away. I could have picked up 5000 the first days march of that trip of good blankets and overcoats. That our boys really needed but could not carry therefore destroyed so that the Rebs that were in our rear could not get them and enjoy the blessing that we had to deny ourselves. It looked rather hard for there was not one of our boys that did not need them.

Friday March the 25 ’64. -- I was detailed this morning with 15 if Co.C to go down the Red River to a wood yard to help wood up the Southwester. We went 15 miles down the river and found plenty of wood only it was about 40 rods from the boat so when we landed at the place near the wood…the boys were detailed in squads of 20 to go and press in all teams we could to haul the wood to the boat. We pressed in 3 teams …2 3-yoke ox teams and one 2 mule [team] and 3 Negro men to drive them so they hauled all the wood that we wanted and when dome we unhitched the oxen and took them on board for beef as they were fat and ----- so one old Reb came of minus 75 cords of wood…12 head of good fat cattle and 5 stout Negro men. The owner of the lot being an officer in the Rebel army and the overseer protested of his innocence but we had the owner of the things in our possession having captured him at Ft.Darusha. As we came up the river I wrote you a letter as I went down the rive r so if a chance should offer that I could send you word that I was not killed while we were gone. The 19th Army Corp arrived at Alexandria. They have some fine looking regiments and an enormous amount of field and siege artillery. We received orders to be ready to start on foot at 6 in the morning of the 26th so as to lighten the transports so that they could pass up over the rapids above Alexandria…none staying on board accept the sick which is near 200 in the 32nd at this time none of them being dangerously sick…mostly hard coughs and the affects of cold taken from sleeping so cold of a night on our trip down the Mississippi and up Red River.

Saturday March the 26 ’64. -- Our troops commenced there march this morning according to orders at 6 o’clock and left Alexandria at the mouth of Bayou Rapidees. It being a tributary of the Red River emptying in at Alexandria it is about as big as Blackhawk Creek. It is like al the balance of the southern streams, , turbid and muddy-looking, similar to the water in the common mud holes by the road side in Iowa and I think no better for drinking, although we drink it as though it was the purest of spring water. I can’t say that I love it, although necessity compels me to use it as free as though it was nice. I sip it with a hope that I will yet see the day that I can drink a pure draught from the crystal streams of pure water that flow from the clean sand beds of our beautiful prairie state Iowa. I speak of our beautiful Iowa, but for natural beauty the Red River country is by far the prettiest part of the earth that it has been my lot to see….from the mouth of the river as far as I have come it is a[as] level and as smooth as the face of a looking glass. The

Banks of the river are very uniform, being about 20 feet high not varying from the same appearance in but one instance and in that place not over 40 rods along the bank. It is where 3 little rolls or points of a low range of hills come in to the river. We traveled up the bank of bayou Rapidees for 16 miles on the 26th . The bank is leveed [a levee on each side]from the mouth of Red River to Alexandria and 16 miles up this bayou and there is a ditch about 40 feet inside of the levee making a nice smooth level wagon road between the ditch and levee. We started up the bayou expecting at every turn of the road that we would come into the timber but alas we passed from one plantation to another til night not one time striking into the timber with the exception of the beautiful pecan trees which were planted along the fences. Many of them were 3 feet through the trunk with the most enormous large spreading tops. Oh, how I longed to have about 100 of them just as beautiful as they were growing in my yard and one in each corner of your front yard Mother. The trees here are many of them in full leaf and all look green and with there beautiful foliage of green contrasted with the long and heavy load of drooping moss. I do think that in nature I have never seen any thing in my life that I would love so well to own and have it in our yard as one of those beautiful heavy looking venerable old trees about 5 miles out from Alexandria we passed one of the plantations formerly owed by J.C.Calhound[Calhoun] and with the works of nature and art so beautifully blended it was one of the prettiest homes that I ever saw. The yard was shaded all over with cedars that were trimmed up in every conceivable shape that thought could invent. There was one in particular that I noticed…it was an ?? made of a large cedar that looked like a solid mass of living green. It looked as though it was perfectly solid. It was about 10 feet wide 12 long and 8 high with a door in each end and amongst those cedars was 100 of other kinds of trees –Magnolias Live oak Wild peach Fig and White Mulberry trees with an endless variety of vines. Many of them of the honeysuckle varieties and were in full bloom and to cap all the yard was studded all over with shrub bushes in full bloom. The farm was fenced all over with Mountain Ash trees 10 feet apart that has had pine rails mortised into them when they were small and they have grown fast now as the trees are nearly all of them 2 feet over and are short and stubby bodied with large bushy tops giving the fence the most solid appearance. But alas for the folly of the Calhoun race. Their home today is made a wreck of. For Bank’s Calvary 15,000 strong camped for several days I the midst of this beautiful home and you may depend that it has suffered exceedingly. The land here is all owned in plantations varying from 1 to 5000 acres apiece and I do not expect there is a farmer in this days travel that we have made that was worth less than a 100,000. There is no poor whites here excepting those who have become so through the medium of this cursed Rebellion and to see so beautiful a land wasted by the desolating hand of a war such as exists here today is a perfect outrage in the sight of heaven and one for which I think God will punish all who have raised a Rebellious hand to help to bring it about. For certainly heaven never smiled more propitiously on our people on earth than he has on the cursed rebels of Red River I have never seen the depth of slavery until I saw this place here it exists in all its accursed forms for there is hardly a farmer here that had less than 50 before the War. I would have loved to meet some of the friends of slavery and let them show me where are those slaves that so love their masters that they were willing to be slaves under –to all such I would answer pick the scales of infamy off of your eyes and come and behold and see how you have lived benighted and ignorant of all that is truthful respecting the right of the case of the poor downtrodden loyal blacks whom are all the loyal element that is contained in the hearts of the inhabitants of the deluded South

We traveled this day 16 miles up Bayou Rapides and as we were very much belated in starting from Alexandria it was the hardest days travel that the 32nd has ever made. We camped at night on the banks of the bayou, the most jaded set of men that I have ever seen. Most of us got a tolerable good nights rest & felt better to start in the morning of the 27th of March which was Sunday. We started about 7 o’clock our track laying through the same beautiful level country, this day we traveled only 10 miles. We landed at the landing on Red River at a landing called Coolies Landing. The boats had none of them arrived yet. There was one strange feature about our trip up Bayou Rapides. The first days travel we were going up stream all day and in the morning of the second day after we had gone about 3 or 4 miles there was a dam of dirt built across the bayou and from the dam the water ran in opposite directions, looking like a strange feature in nature to us, so we only had to conclude that it started and ran downhill both ways.

Monday March the 28th, 1864. -- Our boats got up stream and started up over the rapids above Alexandria. The gunboats all passed over except two; one of them being the Chocktaw, one of the most invulnerable gunboats on the Western waters and the other I cannot give her name as these names are not public. The both drew 9ft of water and were both rams?? And there being only 8ft of water on the shoals they were through necessity left. The transports all got over the shoals except one, the Woodford?, a very large boat used for a hospital. She struck a rock and stove [in] her hull and sunk. I do not know whether she will be lost or not, but I suppose not as the water was not so deep as to let her down so very low. The boats landed where we were camped. On Monday night some time after dark theevening of the 28th our Co. all went out on outpost picket duty and had a good night of it being comfortable and warm we were relieved at 4 on the 29th and moseyed off to camp glad to get back for we had not had very much of surplus food while we were gone

The 29th. -- The rebel gunboats came down the river to with in 6 miles of where we were camped but seeing the smoke of our boats concluded to take the back track. We would have been glad to have met them in a free fight for we have 14 gunboats besides other marine craft. After breakfast on the morning of the 30th our reg. And the 14th IA were ordered on board our boats and fell down the river 2 miles, crossed over and both regiments were landed and we went out in the country foraging, taking 5 wagons, all of which we loaded with bacon, beef & sweet potatoes and brought in 50 or 60 head of sheep and as many beef cattle. Some of the sick boys came off the boat to our camp today and we picked a lot of greens; dock leaves & the tender tops of this years growth of elders and they eat of the greens and were much healed there fromand returned to the boat & all sem brighter. It is a most dreary place to be sick on a trip like this for there is no chance to be taken care of on a boat with over 800 men on board with 60 or 70 mules and horses and 3 wagons and 3 ambulances and 3 or 4000 bushels of coal & 75 cords of wood…can you see how so many find a place to spread their blankets. Bit with all this mess we find some where to spread ourselves out to sleep at night. On the hurricane deck where we are… we manage to fasten our little dog tents up so as to keep the cold howling winds off… that sweeps over us off of the cold river water of a night. We have traveled so much on boats since we have been in the service that it has become kind o natural to be cramped up in this state and do not mind it much. But after all I would love to take a ??? nap on a sweet clean feather bed with clean sheets on it, for I have not taken off my pants and went to bed only 5 nights since last Christmas and that was while we were at Union City, TN after our return from Jackson? I would suppose that ones pants by that time would be grown fast[ to ones skin!]

Thursday the 31st of March. -- We stayed all day in camp nothing of importance occurring…..only late in the afternoon the steamer Larninory?? Arrived from New Orleans, she being the boat that took all the prisoners down there that we ca[[tured at Ft. Darusha and Pinehill. She took a detail as guards from Co.E of the 32nd and when they returned they brought some N.O. Times papers and you may rest assured that they were read with avidity as we had not seen a paper since we left Vicksburg. But when you only see a paper once in a month you loose all connection of the chain of current matters so that the news that you get does not do you any good of much note. I am well today and the weather is bright and clear. Thurs ends the month of March which in our Iowa is generally a windy stormy blustering one, but here it is spring andis mild & warm.

Friday April the 1st. -- Nothing of any importance occurred in camp & I had nothing else to do so I gave myself a general scrubbing with hot water, soap & sand, & changed my shirt and washed my dirty one and my towel?? and scoured my tin pan cup & spoon so as to turn over a new leaf in my culinary affairs.

Saturday April the 2nd 1864. -- We received orders to embark early in the morning to start up the river, but did not get off until 3pm. We started up Red River and as is usual for this stream passed through more of this most beautiful country passing some plantations that looked like large ???? of themselves. The Negroes Women and children flocking along the bank to see the Yankees pass as none have been this high since the War broke out. They seemed frantic with delight having o means at hand where with to express their joy. I saw no gesture omitted where in motions would answer except that none of them attempted to turn inside out. They screamed, threw up hands & aprons & hurrahed for Lincoln and all such expressions as they could make to show us that they were our friends & that they thought that we were theirs [friends]. We passed the plantation of Mr. Calhoun 8 miles above where we started from camp. He is called the wealthiest man on Red River, his plantation faces 25 miles of the river and before the war he owned 2000 Negroes. There were about 200 old men, women & children now down on the sandbar to see us pass. The overseers set back and looked on & they must have felt flat to have seen the demonstrations of joy of those poor inoffensive creatures over our arrival in their land of suffering. They poor thing hail it as their day of Jubilee and their masters as their day of Ruin. I forgot to say that on the 30th when we were out foraging that we brought in 41 Blacks. They belonged to 3 people. One farm where most of them came from, the overseer told us that his slaves were well enough satisfied where they were but while he was telling that to [us], his chattels were packing up their duds to leave him. All left the farm but 3 or 4 and we think that he managed to hinder them or they would have gone also. Tis a great wonderment to me to see how a people can foster a element in there midst that is so antagonistic to the doctrine of there our failings??? For even here in this far off secluded spot where the Rebellion has slumbered in seeming security the Negroes even here is loyal. There is many here that I see that have a very bright idea of the Emancipation Proclamation, for they are the first that I have seen that had the most remote idea that they would yet receive their freedom and stay here in the South. I am glad to see them come to that sensible conclusion & if that idea would become prevalent amongst them it would prevent a vast amount of suffering amongst them. For if they leave their masters, they will eventually have to fall back onto the government for food & clothing and in that case they will have to be kept huddled together on some confiscated plantation where they will die off like sheep with Foot Rot. For as for their striking off through the country and making a living, the idea is preposterous, for there will be near 4 million of them and it is no small matter for that number of human beings to be supported. It is enough to make us open our eyes and look about us to know what is best to be done. I for one am decidedly in for an unconditional emancipation as far as the owners is concerned but on the part of the slave, I see great need of some conditions as he has spent his live in unrequited labor. I see no better way than to tax the owner to still keep his slaves for some given time and remunerate him some way for the past and be held to strict accountability for the future & that kind of a course if rightly pursued would keep thousands of the poor destitute creatures from abject pauperism. I had not intended when I began to write out another of my Abolition Sermons but as that is what was uppermost, I ?? it off. The weather is pretty today, the sun is shinning bright & sweet. I am spending the day some in writing & the balance in lolling aboard deck wondering how you are all spending this day at home. I am going somewhere up Red River but where I have no more idea than you have, but we are generally of the opinion that our destination is Shreveport. Gen. Banks force is gone on ahead of us. We occasionally see small lots off his Calvary on the banks of the river. Today one lot that we passed hollered to us that they had captured 40 more prisoners on their trip up the River. Bank’s forces came up by land. We can not leave the boats for as we have no transportation train.

Sunday the 3rd of April 1864. -- We traveled up the uniform old River, passed the little village of Montgomery, LA, a place of but little note & more than a dozen houses. The people came down to the bank & seemed to welcome us by waving there handkerchiefs as much as if to say ‘come over here you Yankees, our dads are gone away’, for most of them were girls and women. They were the most white people of the southern stripe that we have seen in the south in one lot, for the whites as a general rule pay but little attention to us, so that where one does we are more particular in noticing it & generally impute it to a Union Sentiment. We have just had a shower of rain & the deck is quite wet, but it has broke away & is warm & pleasant [now]. The boats have mostly laid too and are wooding up with some fellows fence that had been bold enough to build it up close to the river bank. This we consider a great piece of temerity, therefore we make perfectly free with his rails. I was on boat guard yesterday & last night & feel rather stupid, but after all I do not feel satisfied to let all my time roll away idly so I will try as long as I can to scribble you a few lines each day that I may if I get back to the Mississippi give you some account of my past as I have no chance to send you a line nor receive on from you in return before we return there[home].

Monday April the 4th ’64. -- There we still steamed it up the Red River and arrived at Grand Ecore about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and expected to meet the Rebs there in force, but as usual just as they discerned the smoke of our boats, they destroyed what they had that they could not carry… burning one heavy pivot cannon that they could not carry away with them. They had 2 small fortifications at this point it is a little village situated on the top of 8 low but beautiful hills that the river makes an acute angle against, giving it a tolerable fair ??[[look] of our boats as they came up the River on ???. But the Rebs did not think it safe to meet an engagement here so we are pursuing them as they retreat up the river they fired into one of our boats, but I have not heard that any one was hurt. Weencamped just above town on a beautiful lawn & as there was a lot of Rebs hanging on our advance one Regiment of our men after landing & marching out a piece were firedon and returned fire and as our gunboats were close at hand they threw a couple of shots amongst them & they cut dirt [left the scene!]. This evening we have had battalion drill the second time since we left Ft. Pillow and the second time that our Reg. Has ever been drilled together since we left Camp Franklin. But I would rather be home with you & drill my children as this about the time of life that they need a little more care than they will in 3 or 4 years to come. But I hope & trust that they will listen to the instruction & advise that I know that you receive from Ma and Grandma. Learn to be good & virtuous, industrious & gentle toward whoever you are thrown amongst & further learn to be contented with your lot in life, let that be what it may, for life at best is but a traveled ocean and let its billows dash you where they may learn to submit to each vicissitude as it comes and do not repine over imaginary sorrows but look at them as thought others had passed through just the same and you could do the same as well as they had done. Now for instance if Pa should not be lucky enough to pass through his term and is killed or should die away from you, do not let it weigh heavy on your dear hearts but try to bear the misfortune as though you were only a part of those that there are thousands of that were passing through the same affliction. For well you know that almost one half of the families of our land have… through the instrumentality of this unholy war… been called upon to mourn the loss of some loved one that were as dear to them as I am to you. I have a strong hope that you will not be called upon to mourn over such a loss… for I hope that I will come home & spend many a happy day with you all.

Tuesday April the 5th 1864. -- Still in camp at Grand Ecore, La. Located on the side of my nest, located on the ground in the woods on the bank of Red River, La. The sun is shining brightly on my back and a big mosquito hawk bobbling in my face as though he was deriding my lowly situation for it is so low that it makes my back ache to write with no better rest than this for my back. But ache or no ache I will try to scribble you a few more lines today… for it is abut the best company for me that I find for my heart is more wrapped up in you that it is in anything that surrounds me here, although there would seem to be enough here to entertain any reasonable man & I am not unlike others. There is many things here that I would love to have you see… but I have seen so much of the curious that my curiosity is entirely satisfied. The river is almost blocked up with gunboats.. rams.. & transports but I have seen them so much that I do not care to look at them even as I [pass] them. There is but one thing in our fleet that I care a cent to see & that is the little dispatch boats. They are my real ideal of elegance they are about 50 ft long & the run through the water nearly as fast as a locomotive & can be wielded about as easy as the wheelbarrow. I would love to have one of them & be ready to come home I would come bouncing up the Old Cedar River some of those pretty summer days such as one as you feel so lonesome in when you are sitting in school & there is not enough of wind stirring to move a leaf. The horn is blowing for us to fall in for battalion drill so I must stop-halt. Well… I have done that drill & will try to finish up my sheet. The Calvary & Infantry that went out yesterday have returned and report that they met the Rebs & had a brush with them. The Rebs were in a little town & fired on our men killing several & wounding several more. From the houses (or horses?) our men drove them out & burnt the town mostly up. I can not learn the name of the place… when I know I will note it more particularly. I expect you know it by this time that ignorance is the main feature among the men of the army. From the Company officers down we have no more idea what is going on than the boats that we ride on. All we know is what happens immediately within the range of our own vision. We are mere pliant tools in the hands of our ‘superior’ officers… Superior… that infernal word… who knows its meaning. I see no place to hang it for there are those in the army who are called ‘superior’ but I can not see their points. There is a Gen.Smith, our Corp Commander. He is called our ‘superior’ officer & the most of the time he is so under the influence of bad whiskey that he has no more business with the command of a body of men than a jackass. Then there is Col. ? Shaw, our brigade commander who is one of the roughest men that I ever saw…him & Smith are both men noted for their roughness & profanity. They both talk to a men when they think he does a thing that is not exactly in accordance with their dignity… just as though they were brutes… I am glad that I can speak more favorable of our Regimental Commanders. Our Col. J. Scott is a gentleman every inch of him. There is not a man in the 32nd that does not venerate his very name. Our Lieut.Col Mix, has grown much in favor with the regiment. Next comes Maj.Elerhtont?? …he is much respected by all who know him. He has always been a favorite with us all & then in their P?????, the commissioned of our company …have lived together until we have learned to appreciate each others intentions & feelings now & we live on terns of respect & sociability so that our time passes off pleasantly together. This is one thing that alleviates much of the dreary live of camp. There is much to bind friends together here, where you come in daily contact with 1000’s whom you have never seen, it makes those that you have any acquaintance with seem double dear. For those that you meet as transient passers-by take no more interest in you than you do toward some one that you have never seen…although at the same time , there is a certain amount of congeniality of feeling to make it pleasant to meet even those that are total strangers to you.

Wednesday April the 6th ’64. -- Grand Ecore, La. This morning at 6 we received orders to be ready to march forthwith & accordingly made all possible haste to eat our breakfast & hustled all of our extra traps & cooking utensils on board the Southwester as the river is so low that they cannot proceed any farther up & we are expecting to ravel the balance of the way up the River on foot. About the time we were ready to start we received orders to remain in camp, so we have bee laying about camp all day & I feel lie a ???family that had started to move and had just found out that they could not get the house that they were going to. But be try to pass our time off as best we can… Mr. Alexander & I took a walk down to the River and studied the philosophy of boat building & other matters, winding up with an interesting conversation on matters and things in & around Waterloo. We spend many of our leisure hours in camp in hunting up old recollections of past times at our homes. This very day at 11 o’clock our time is just done half up counting from the time we were sworn into the United States Service. But we are not entirely satisfied whether we will be dismissed from the time we were sworn into the State Service or the Government Service. But it will be quite a matter of importance to us as it would be a difference of two months in our time & them two extra last months would seem a burdensome tax on us. But we have a hope that we may not have it to serve and we will not borrow any great amount of trouble on that account. It makes our time drag but slowly when we have so many hours of leisure time in camp to brood over the moments as they fly & as it is a theme of constant conversation with us that there is not an hour of the time that there is not some remark passed by some one or other to reminds you of the time that you have spent at home with those so dear to your heart or those that you are hoping to spend at some future time after we have served our times out & have discharged this much of the obligation that we owe our country & posterity. We expect to start up the River at daylight in the morning. But as we pulled up stakes this morning with the expectation of leaving it leaves us houseless so I must stop and go & help Barney put up our tent as it looks some like it would rain tonight. Oh what would I not give this beautiful evening for a letter from some one of you at home. My very soul thirsts for a line of consolation from you. I in my imagination can see you all at your usual avocations of life, tearfully thinking ‘where is my husband? my son? my father? my brother?’ and you Dear Old Emma? Virgy if she is with you….where is our Uncle Tom?’ ..why I can tell you here I sit about 40 rods from the Red River bank in the far off state of Louisiana with a chunk of wood for a seat with a sheep skin for a cushion scribbling these poor blank crooked lines on my lap with a piece of an old cracker box lid for my desk and just in that fix….you could see me a part of each day for it is the principal source of enjoyment that I have & I only wish that I had something of interest to communicate to you…but situated as a man is in the ranks… I have to do as best I can & if my notes?? are not worth to you…the trouble of a perusal why only pardon the length & excuse me for the intrusion…for I assure you I have no wish to lay a tax on your generosity. The day may yet come when I will not have to hold a correspondence with my own at home and then I will not have to be so tedious as I am at present & I really look forward to that time as the happiest event of my life. If things go on as they have so far, I hope we may not be parted longer than this summer, for it is a painful separation to me.

Thursday April the 7th ’64. -- We commenced our march this morning at 9am and it was terribly dusty & our road to Shrevesport lay over the hills away from the River…the River being so low that the boats could not carry the troops any higher than Grand Ecore, so they went up empty of troops with the exception of the convalescents but that is but a few…for there are a great many on the sick list …2 or 3000 at least ..so we plodded our weary course over the dusty hills & in the morning we were most suffocated with the dust, but about 10 o’clock it began to rain in right good earnest so that we did not suffer to any great extent with the dust. For the mud began to grow deeper until dark & 10 of Section 4 of Co.C were detailed to stay back with the wagons and I was one of the 10. So, the roads had become so cut up by the train as it was over 20miles long that it was almost impossible for us to proceed & we therefore were until 9 o’clock getting into camp, so you see that the prospect of a good nights rest was out of the question as it was still pouring down rain. So Barney & I pitched our little dog tent in the rain & got our blankets soaked in the operation but we turned in hoping to get some rest but there was such a torrent of water came pouring through our tent underneath our bed that we got a soaking instead of a sleep & getting in so late we got no supper… therefore we passed through that night with out its being much of a luxury. But about midnight it cleared off and between that and 5 in the morning… we got some little sleep. Morning cool.

Friday April the 8th ’64. -- We started at sunrise, the roads being terribly muddy… but by noon the mud in the roads had dried up considerably so that we could get along pretty well as the infantry kept in regular file and that day we were in the rear so we had 4 hard beaten paths to walk in. About 2 o’clock we passed a place where Banks’ artillery had a fight with the rear of the retreating Rebels from Alexandra. They had gave them several salutes of canisters as the dead horses and timber plainly attested… as the timber was much cut & scarred & the dead horses beginning to stink so bad that one of them would give all of our troops a sniff all round. The Rebs had faired pretty rough as they were in camp when our men came up within short range… before they knew what they were about they lost 17 killed… we none… as they ran for dear life not firing a single shot. We passed 4 or 5 days after the fight in such a column as this, moving through the Rebel country. It is no uncommon thing for either the advance or rear to have a sharp engagement with the enemy & the other extreme to know nothing of it at all. Now the fight I have just spoken of we never heard a word of [it]. The first intimation we had of it was the havoc we saw amongst the timber where the firing had been. Having been in the rear and 2 or 3 days behind the Advance, we did not hear the cannonading, thus in ignorance we pass our lives in the Army, only knowing at stopping time whether your own hunger is satisfied. This evening at 4 pm, we heard a great deal of heavy firing in the advance. In an hour or 2 it ceased & we heard no more this evening. Today we marched 14miles & camped for the night close to Pleasant Hill & heard at night that part of the 13th Army Corp were captured during the night. Positive word came in of the facts in the case. The Rebs claim to have 4000 of our troops & the baggage train of Banks’ Calvary with 17pieces of artillery with 150 wagons & their teams…being quite a heavy haul on our stores. I think this is some where near the facts of the case…as Banks, like an infernal fool, had miles of his baggage in the advance so that neither the Calvary or the artillery could do a thing from the fact that to undertake to move such a train to the rear in case of an attack is only to create confusion that is sure to wind up in a general stampede, which it is not in the power of man to check & in this case it must have been awful in the extreme for every thing was helter-skelter...every man for himself…the Rebs made a super human effort as they were in heavier force and instantly saw that they had our men by the throat. There was one Brigade that the Rebs say fought like fury, but were over-powered and taken prisoners. There was one regiment of NY Lancers that like a set of cowards threw their guns, ammunition & knapsacks away without firing a shot. We took some Reb prisoners that said that they could have picked up 1000 ‘s of our guns. They love our Springfield Rifles that they said they had picked up…throwing their own away…oh how humiliating this thing is to us whose hearts are sound on the side of the Union. The Rebs that we have taken within [the last ] day or 2, say that they want no better quartermaster than old ‘Shoe Maker Banks’ ....for he has supplied them this trip with enough for their campaign …both of ammunition & provisions…they got 16 teams loaded with ammunition alone & what is better still is the fact that they captured several teams loaded with liquor belonging to Banks & staff…many of those that were captured were private property of the officers of the upper-crust as Banks & his gorgeous legion of officer of staff carry their featherbeds, bedsteads , chairs, writing desks, & a camp equipage that would furnish a parlor & a man to put on such style to lead our men to slaughter are not what our nation wants. Banks with his style had better be at home with his family than here, for you cannot find a man in any of the 5 corps here that have a bit of faith in his generalship. He may be & is a good statesman but I can not find one man that is willing to trust his life in his hands as a general. Oh how galling to our feelings when we see that he has so completely thrown victory in the hands of our enemies.

Saturday April 9th. -- We were aroused at 3am, eat our breakfasts and were told to hold ourselves in readiness to fall in at a moments notice. About 8 we heard heavy firing in the direction of Banks’ Forces, so the 16th Army Corp was ordered out on the double quick to reinforce them. We relieved the 19th Corps & they fell back & we took their places & we laid in line of battle all day until 2pm with occasional exchanging of shots all through the day….Co.C, 32nd, laying on the extreme left about 40 rods from the balance of the regiment, picketing the extreme left and receiving an occasional shot through the day, but no one wounded up to 4pm on our side. When at 4 we discovered a brigade of Rebels rolling immediately in on our extreme left so our company let them advance to within close range andpoured our volley into them killing one of them & wounding some others. They in turn banged away & shot poor C. Bennet. He fell & we left him on the field where he fell & have never had any satisfactory word from him…we have only a vague rumor that he was brought into the hospital badly wounded. I hope he got in for I have not met in all of my acquaintances with men so good honest & exemplary a young man. Next come poor McFarland, he was mortally wounded in the lower part of the bowels, he fell but we helped him back to the regiment where it lay in line. I never saw him afterwards…we fear he is dead. Next fell poor Sidney Parmer, struck somewhere in the hip bones in front…he fell at the picket line having shot the first Reb to our knowledge. The balance of Co.C made the most rapid retreat to our regiment that we could at the rate of 2-40 per minute… through a blue mist of lead from the advancing Rebs who were moving like a sweeping tornado…35,000 strong…intending to gobble our entire force at a single sweep. There was not less than 2 brigades coming in on to the 32nd at one sweep. We were now with ourregiment & turned at a left angle to the regiment on the extreme left to receive the advancing Rebel column & most fully did they receive their first greeting….for we held our fire until they were not farther off than from our house to the barn & then we let them have our front rank. They were approaching us at a right shoulder shift & they fell at our first fire….at least a dozen…they were approaching us as fast as they could…we lay behind a large pine log and they could not get a shot at us so we poured it into their ranks at a most awful rate. At this time poor Capt. Peebles received a shot in his leg just above the knee shattering the bone so as to render it entirely useless…we carried him to a tree & laid him there…he told us to never mind him but to give the Rebels all the lead that we possibly could & at the juncture we discovered that the Rebs were flanking us & that they had us all surrounded except about 40 rods. Our officers behaving cool & gallant as soon as they discovered we were surrounded ….they told us to go in as our only chance from capture was to drive them back. And if ever the 32nd done its duty it was just at this awful crisis. We were surrounded by almost a solid wall of Rebs.. 4 ranks deep… we think that they outnumbered our regiment 4to 1 …..but we had a log breastwork & they were in the brush and Heavenly Lord, if ever there legions rolled it was now. They poured in a most murderous crossfire onto our regiment which we returned with most terribly murderous affect... for we could see them reel & fall at every shot we sent from our fragile breastworks into their ranks & at the same time their fire took?? With terrible affect on our ranks for our poor boys were falling on every hand. Look where you would you could see the dead & wounded. I cannot give the succession of our poor boys of Co.C as they fell wounded as none of our company were killed outright in the engagement. Poor Duke was shot in the set-down …?? …I believe Barney McCormick has a buckshot in his left hip but he & Duke are both improving …just ??laid up ..Duke marched from Pleasant Hill Battle ground to Grand Ecore …35 miles. A few minutes after Captain was wounded a piece of a shell struck my haversack & cut off my supplies…instantly knocking my time plate, knife, fork, spoon, tin cup, sugar & hard tack to the 4 points of the compass & so jamming my left hip that I thought my bones were broken. Col Mix ordered me to the rear…I started & walked a few rods & it came too & was all right [his hip popped back into place?] so I fell in with Co.E of our regiment & fought with them for about 2 hours til nearly the close & as the Rebs pressed the right so that I had to give way & in going back I got mixed in with the 49th PA and they formed in line & repulsed the Rebs with so murderous a fire that they were ??? and fell back & reformed & by this time the 178th NY, the 49th PA & the 32nd IA formed in line to meet them… we were in a road & the Rebs in the bushes & when they sent in their first fire we all fell down & there fire passed over our heads & then we jumped up & Heaven protect their unhallowed heads for we did not…for there was hardly a man that I really believe did not kill a Reb for there ranks seemed to reel & fall to the ground when this charge was made the Calvary passed in a few minutes after the charge was made & they said that the line of Rebs looked as though it had all fallen in the terrible crush they said there was whole lines where there was not a man missed in the ranks this was the heaviest & the last charge of the day as it was them getting so dark that we could not see the Rebel lines so as to distinguish one from another…I will have to give you as graphic an account of things as possible. I have not mentioned quite all of our boys yet…poor Ed Webster got a buckshot in his I believe left hand… but after it heals a little he can have it taken out . There is a Mr. Baldwin that was struck by a ball just below his neck... on his back… it stunned him very much for a short time…but he had recovered the shock & is well now. Next comes poor Mr. Hewitt…a ball struck him on the top of the head ploughing the skin up & completely crazing(?) him…he fell but soon got up & asked some of the boys to load his gun not seeming to know what he was doing. They told him to get down as he would get shot again... but he only laughed & paid no further attention to them & at a time like this a fellow time is taken up entirely in taking care of himself. Other companies of our regiment lost many more than we did in both killed & wounded. Poor Col Mix was killed about 6 feet from where I stood at the time & at nearly the same instant a poor fellow that was laying on the ground with his face against my right food had his brains blown out by a musket ball…a ball had cut his gun barrel nearly off so that he had no gun & he had just laid down there to keep out of the way of the Rebel shot…but alas to receive a summons from Time to Eternity. Poor Captain Miller of Co.B was killed ??? but a short time after receiving his wound…he was a most excellent man. Our regiment lost in the contest 206 but 2 have come in since we arrived at Grand Ecore & some more may yet come in. This is much the largest aggregate of loss of any regiment engaged except the 24th MO… there was a charge made by the Rebs on one of the batteries by a brigade of Rebs Calvary & the 24th & one other regiment(I forget its number & state) were its support & they were in ambush & the Rebs thought they had a sure thing of the battery when…Lo after it was too late for them to retreat our boys shocked their nerves with a salute that was so terrible that more than one half of the Rebs were unhorsed instantly ….they then poured a murderous fire into our boys killing & wounding nearly one half of the 24th MO. They are as good a fighting regiment as there is in the service…loyal & true ….although from a Rebel state. They lost Lt. Stone a fine little fellow & a true patriot. They lost another Lt. & a Capt. Brown. The men of our regiment that were in the Battle of Blue Mills & Corrinth & Belmont & some other of the leading battles of the war say that the Battle of Pleasant Hill was by far the most terrible one that they have ever seen. There is many little incidents I saw in the battle that I cannot undertake to pen to you but if I am spared to see you again I can tell you all with a pleasure that I cannot describe. I will say that the battle closed at dark on the 9th of April 1864. The most memorable day of my life…our officers all behaved with the most becoming gallantry not one of them for a moment loosing his balance of wisdom, but doing their duty as became true patriots & loyal men. Poor Capt. Hutchinson’s son was shot dead nearly the first round…it nearly crazed him, poor man, but he kept his equilibrium acting cool & determined & doing all in his power to hold his men firm & steady which was done to an eminent degree…for not in one instance did I see one man waver. Col. John Scott…how shall I speak of his gallant bravery & manly conduct for language fails me to speak the kindly emotions of my heart for he moved about like some ministering angel giving a work of command here and a word of consolation there…ever leading, never driving…but with a masterly balance of mind… giving always the right directions in the right place. There is not a man in the 32nd that would not sacrifice his dearest interest for his[Scott’s] sake. I thank God that we are blest with such a Colonel for in our situation he is a holy prize ...one that is worthy of a higher position than a colonel ..…but God forbid that we should loose him while the 32nd is the 32nd. But..ok..the Battlefield... whose pen can portray its terrible form for words are not adequate to tell the tale of suffering & woe depicted here .. for there lays friend & foe who were only a few hours before in the bloom of health that have madly rushed on to death with out any apparent cause… merely there for an idea…wilting in each others blood…mingling in one common death ... who after all their hardship & suffering & privation have not gained a single point but have lost their all… our hero .. there souls into an unknown world where the settlement only can be just… how trifling seems the cause that can bring you to eternal ruin only to think that if man would listen to the dictator of common conscience … how such things might be avoided. I have forgotten to mention that S.B.Shaw was shot through the lungs … the ball lodging somewhere in his lungs but since our return we have received a note from him & he thinks there is a chance of his recovery. This I believe accounts for all that are hurt in any way in Co.C. Mr Shaw said in his note that Capt. Peebles had had his leg amputated above the knee…poor fellow…how sorry I feel for him for I loved him well. I will here say… but with shame… that not a man of our regiment was allowed to approach the battle field after the conflict had ceased …oh how it pained our hearts to have to thus abandon our poor boys in this deplorable condition. But it was nothing more than the timid cowardice of Banks …although we had beaten the Rebs so that they left the field in the most terrible confusion & did not halt for 10 miles … he …Banks was afraid that they held the field & we would bring on another engagement so Col. Scott could not get permission for us to go & look after our dead & wounded…all of our men were anxious to go & see to them but we had to quietly submit to the decree of a coward & let the wounded lay & suffer all night & how much longer we do not know for after the last terrible charge of the Rebels they cut dust as they were terrible beaten & knew it & we were marched ahead off the main battle field so that all did not get a single glimpse of the field …. after the excitement of the battle was over we marched over to one side of the battle ground & stacked our arms as we thought for the night…but we only stayed about 2 hours until we were ordered to fall in ..which we accordingly did & we were marched a little over a mile where we halted for the night & stayed until 3 in the morning. Took but little rest knowing the awful condition of our boys on the battlefield…woundedbleedingdying & not one kind ministering hand there to even offer them a refreshing drop of water to cool there poor feverish tongues. The idea of this wrong to our poor boys will haunt me till the day of my death although it was no fault of ours for I begged Col. Scott to let a few of us go but he could not get Banks’ consent…he was so much afraid that some of us poor dear lambs would be gobbled up when there really was no one to capture us. If he had of been as particular to have so arranged the baggage & supply & ammunition train so as to have prevented the Rebs from capturing it [in the first place] he would have shown some generalship…but he is too late with precaution…he had got all of the troops so down on him that he looks like a mere pigmy instead of a good military leader….which is that we want here… for we have to contend with some of the wiliest leader of the Rebel ranks such as Old? Price…Dick Taylor…Quantrelle…and several others of that stripe of men. There was a few Rebel cavalry hung around the battle field the night after the battle & found that our forces did not claim it by holding it so that they claimed the battle after we gained it…Banks began to retreat as soon as there was a sign of a battle… for he started the train back to Grand Ecore so that it began to arrive there the very evening of the battle at Pleasant Hill & he sent the whole brigade of the 13th(?) Army Corp…his own force… as an escort with a large amount of his cavalry. This weakening the effective fighting force at his command at the most critical moment when we had good authority to believe that we had to meet a force of 35,000 Rebs already flushed & savage over the victory they had gained over him only a day or 2 before [the effect of this was] leaving the blunt of the conflict to rest on the 16th Corp…..for after the battle was over Banks thanked Gen. Smith & Gen. Mouer?? For the gallantry of the 16th Army Corp for he saw that it had saved the fortune of the day. Old Col. Shaw… that rough ol’ customer I have spoken of…. our brigade commander… told Banks that well he might thank any men that had fought as the 16th had done… for said he… men that had passed through that ordeal could wade through hell with not much fear of being scorched. &

Things in a battle like this is not exactly as I had imagined them …our forces fought on the independent principal each one killing all that he could & to keep the best care of No.1 that the circumstances of the case would permit….laying it sometimes…treeing it others[times] ….taking the next best chance at others…although the best are but poor fixed as we were surrounded on all sides leaving no appliance that we could use of much avail ….as their shot came from every side….you cannot have but a faint recollection of things that transpire… for after all has transpired it seems as but a dream. I did have that fear of a battle that I have so often heard others express that they felt just as the engagement was about to commence…[then] I felt as clear of fear as I do this minute… I felt none of that trembling sensation… my nerves felt as steady as they ever did when I was loading my gun to shoot a bird & there was but one time during the engagement that I felt the least alarm [which was] as I have said …. I was with Co.E most of the battle…and so heavy a column of Rebs pressed them at one time that they had to fall back a few rods & I had not got over my jar[the bullet that hit his haversack] quite [yet] so that I was not very fleet & at one time the Rebs got so close that one of them hollered ‘surrender-you son of a b..’. I told him that I would surrender him the load in my gun which I did as I run but did not stop long enough to see whether I hit anyone or not. This made my hair stand a little erect as I have a terrible idea of being captured by the Rebs…I sometimes think that I would much rather be killed by them. Although others that have been taken prisoner since we have been out this trip & have succeeded in escaping say that the Rebs treat them kind as the circumstances of the case would permit. There was 2 of other companies in our regiment came in yesterday morning…they were taken in the rush the Rebels made [in the place]where I thought they would get me. There was several of our boys captured there but several of them fell down flat [on] of their faces in the tumult & the Rebs passed right along thinking that they were shot by our own men ...but others were not quite so fortunate & the Rebs got them …that night the Rebs traveled until very late in the night making 10 miles after dark they stopped to cook some food & they made our boys they had taken prisoner help to cook & they let them go around & pick up wood to make fires so that 2 of our boys were trusted a little too far & in the darkness made their escape. They said that the Rebs acknowledged that if they had of known that they were going to run into western troops they would not have brought on an engagement so soon. But they did not seem to have much fear of Banks’ eastern troops. The [our]boys think the southern soldiers are a much better class of men that the more northern Missouri …Arkansas…. Kentucky…& Tennessee guerrilla scoundrels. Those [southern Rebs]fellows stand up to the chalk mark & fight like men & seem to know nothing of the ?? system of those farther north. I forgot to speak of our Captain in full in its place but it is not too late yet ….after he was wounded where he lay in the ranks the boys ran over him & it hurt his poor wounded leg …[so] some of them removed him to a tree near by & buckled a small strap around his leg to keep it from bleeding so as to injure him & left him there … this was the last that most of the boys saw of him …as 2 of the hospital boys came & I helped to lay him on the litter & they carried him off of the field as we thought …. But as the Rebs had us so near surrounded they could not get him out so they set him down in the channel of a nearby dry branch as it offered the best protection of any place they could find for him from the Rebel bullets that were flying fast & thick from every quarter & into every corner so that there was really no safe refuge from the storm—as I was down with Co.E I saw the poor fellow laying there I went to him an instant & offered him a drink as I had a little water left in my canteen he took a swallow & told me not to waste my time with him but to kill every cursed Rebel that showed his head & at that time there heads were as thick as you ever say Timothy heads[a type of grass] in a meadow not more that 100 feet from where he lay. That was the last that we knew of him the day of the battle. But since we have had word that he got to the hospital but we do not know how as we have only had one short note from Mr. T.Shaw stating that his leg was taken off just above the knee. Our forces occupied all the houses in Pleasant Hill for hospitals…the town is small…the wounded both Rebel & Union were taken there & equally cared for…by our physicians. We left some of our surgeons from our Corp with others to help to nurse & take care of the helpless. They will all be counted prisoners but according to the usage of such cases will be paroled on the spot & returned to their commands. There wee many detailed who hated awfully to stay & run the chance of getting free …but if there is any honor in the Rebs all will be right with them. There is one hard thing in the case which is this …The Rebs will not allow a single man on our side to go from one hospital in the town to another …neither will they allow them under any consideration to go near the battle field. This is not strange for they as well as we know that many of our officers carry pretty good sums of money on their person & by keeping our men away they have the better chance of plunder & I have no doubt that many of our men are stripped of their clothing in the bargain. I understand from Capt. Miller’s men that he had over 200 dollars in his pocket & Col. Mix’s boys say he had nearly all of his pay that he received at Memphis in his pocket …oh …is seemed so hard ….Mix’s 2 sons poor fellows …did not see their father after he died nor were they certain about his death until I told William Mix that I saw him shot & saw him die…oh how awful…the poor fellows felt to leave him there knowing as they did that he was left in the hands of a savage & unfeeling foe ..to do the last act of kindness that is due to poor fellow men. I know of a brother of another that was left in just the same situation & there was poor Capt. Hutchisons’s son that he[the son] saw shot [his father]before his own eyes…he [the son]could not have the paltry privilege of seeing his poor lifeless corpse[of his father] decently buried so as to know that the buzzards would not feast on his poor lifeless remains. I am glad that I have no brother in the same regiment with me for it would be a finishing stroke for me to be fixed in this awful condition. I would much rather die with him than to leave him in this awful condition. But this is the fat of war & such instances are of common occurrence on the event of great battles. I hope that I shall not be called on to see another.

Sunday April 10th 1864. -- We commenced our retrograde movement at 3 o’clock a.m. & after marching 20 miles we camped for the night …nothing of matter having occurred during the day. Those that were able to walk & others that were able to be carried were brought along … all the balance were left at the hospital at Pleasant Hill under the care of surgeons & the best nurses that we could raise. The weather clear & beautiful

Monday April the 11th. -- We commenced our march at sunrise & marched 18 miles without any trouble or accident & reached Grand Ecore at sundown & camp in line of battle around the town. We have found our transports were up the river …we heard heavy cannonading in the direction of our boats …we eat our suppers early & went to bed …the same enjoying a good nights rest. The weather still fair & beautiful.

Tuesday April the 12th ’64. -- We laid in camp all day & we heard heavy cannonading up the river in direction of our transports. There was 8 or 10 of the gunboats with them. Today Banks received reinforcements …rumor says 2000 ….I have not seen any to know them myself…we also received a mail….I got 3 letters dated in January…but I forget the dates & they are down on the Southwester over a mile from where I am writing. We heard this evening that our transports were cut off up the river from us by a Rebel battery …where the gunboats could not get to fire on them. The weather still fine & clear ..not so cold of a night as it has been for a while back.

Wednesday April the 13th, ’64. -- We heard heavy firing up the river about 1a.m. …& learned that some of the transports had run the Rebel blockade in the night. We were called into line in the forenoon & started up the river to assist the boats. We crossed the river at this place on a pontoon bridge & marched about 8 miles up the river to a little place where there had been a town called Campta? & most of the boats came down in the night & tied up at Campta?.

Thursday April the 14th ’64. We started early in the morning after the Rebs …they were a band of 1500 that came down from Pleasant Hill after the battle …commanded by Quantrelle of Kansas notoriety…. we had a little skirmishing with their pickets capturing one & 3 horses. They captured 2 of our cavalrymen & then skedaddled for good life & we have not heard of them since. We returned to camp ..being very tired. All of the boats got down to Grand Ecore during the day & that night. The weather still fine & clear.

Friday April the 15th. -- We laid in camp all day & I wrote you a few words around the margin of poor old May’s [his daughter] good letter as our boat had not arrived & none of us had any paper …as all such traps were on board the Southwester & a boat was going out & I was afraid that the news of our battle would go out & I knew that I was reported wounded & I knew that you would be uneasy so I thought that much of a letter would ease your anxiety. I was sorry that I was reported wounded but I did not know it until the report was sent away & I thought that much [the letter] was better than nothing…for I was only jarred on the hip…so that I was lame for 3 or 4 days but I am as well today as if it had of never been jarred. It must have been a piece of a shell that struck me as it carried away the most of my haversack & bruised a place on my hip joint in front on my left side as large as the palm of my hand. I am on guard today on board of the Southwester & I am writing this sheet at intervals of my relief.

Saturday April the 16th. -- We received orders to put all of our surplus baggage on board & we carried it down in the forenoon & we expected to start down the river forthwith….but we remained in camp still on the same ground where we had been camping. The weather still fine & clear.

April Sunday the 17th ’64. -- We are still in camp…expecting to go some where every minute. The weather is beautiful clear & warm only a little cool of a night as is usual…I believe… in this southern country. There was preaching in nearly every regiment in camp today & I attended. Our own Mr. Cadwolden is now our chaplain…he was formerly Capt. of Co.K [of the] 32nd ….he is an excellent man. We have no idea how soon or for what point we strike when we leave this place. I spoke of our transports being up the river but did not say why they were up there—they went up to meet us and take us supplies but they were only 14 miles from Pleasant Hill but the river was so low that they were aground nearly half of the time. They say it is impossible forthem to carry the troops up to Shrevesport …some of the light draft transports & gunboats went up to within 30 miles of Shrevesport… but the low water gave the Rebs a chance to riddle?? some of the boats.

Monday the 18th 1864. -- [At the top of this page( 105 )is written(at a later date):”I wonder if this time poor pa spoke of was not the very time we heard that he had been killed. Ida” ] [another of his daughters] We are still in camp and I am scratching away a little to you ….I cannot tell why it was so but there has not been so lonely a day to me since I have been in the army as yesterday was. I could not get it out of my mind that there was something wrong going on at home. I felt so depressed that I could not look toward any quarter that there was not a something said that met my eye even the songs of the innocent little bird seemed plaintive & sad. I could see you all so plain at home looking sad & depressed but I could not see the cause. But the feeling hung to me until I wentto sleep & by daylight I had slept it off a little & today I feel a little brighter. The day is beautiful in the extreme & all the things look bright & sweet & in this country just like midsummer does in Iowa…as the trees are in full foliage & as far as natures productions are concerned all looks fair & beautiful…but man alone seems to be deficient… for his part has lagged behind . For 1000’s of acres of this beautiful Red River bottom land lies barren & untilled… many of the planters had their crops of cane & corn planted when this expedition started up Red River & had to run there slaves up to Texas in order to save them from the Yankees as all that are left are sure to escape to our lines. Therefore they have no help left to till their crops having run all able bodied men & young women out of our way. We brought in over 1000 [slaves] with our return from Pleasant Hill.

Tues the 19th. -- The long roll was beaten at 4a.m. and we fell in to line & stacked arms . Some expecting an attack from Old Price. But he did not get along so we turns in and cleaned up our camp all sweet & nice & I dug a lot of sassafras root & we had some nice tea for dinner. It tasted well …as we had not made any for a long time. Nothing of note occurring today except the sudden death of innumerable amounts of grey backs[Fleas? Bed bugs? Ticks? Chiggars?] for look where you will you can see a dozen fellows with their shirts off finding & killing this irresistible scourge of the Army. There is none that escape their scrutinizing researches from a Brigadier to a high private in rear ranks. I have escaped until at Grand Ecore ...there I found a few on my shirt & for 3 days in succession I washed & boiled it [the shirt?] ….going without any during [the] washing boiling & drying as we all left all of our spare luggage on board the Southwestern &am p; she [the boat is] gone. So I got clear of them! Weather beautiful as even Switzerland herself or Italy could boast of.

Wednesday April the 20th. -- We’ve broke up camp at 3pm & commenced our retrograde movement for Alexandria. We marched 4miles & camp[ed] in line of battle. About dark arrived the town of Natchitoches …quite a pretty town on the bank of old Red or Cane River. The inhabitants all being quadroons…..speaking French….we had some skirmishing all night with the Rebs amongst our pickets [but] nothing engaged but the cavalry. Our company happened to camp close to an old log house that contained a large lot of hides so we took them for beds to sleep on. I got one that had been hung over the fence & dried so as to make a good roof so I spread one on the ground & set another over me for a roof. I had a fine tent & a good nights rest…smell excepted…..(I dreamed all the time of being overstocked? with dried beef)… all complaining of the same oppressive smell as the hides looked like they had lain in a pile for 6 months.

Thursday the 21st. -- We laid in line of battle all day, the cavalry still skirmishing all day long with no result but holding our ground so at dark we received orders that we might lay down & get some rest so I tried my ‘Beef Tent’ again & got a good nap & at 10 at night we were waked up & started & marched about one mile & slept & most of us made a little coffee in a tin (not musk)[??] and then we again took up our line of march again but did not march long before we had to stop to let Mr. Banks pass with the 13th & 14th Army Corps as they were on an intersecting road… also Gen. Lee with his 20,000 Cavalry… so we had a good long wind of it. They also had 8 or 10 battalions of artillery….. with his enormous baggage train …. all together…reaching about 20 miles so…. with the 16th & 15th we make rather ponderous mass to make a very rapid march. But we generally make from 15 to 20miles per day which makesyou just 40 times as tired as it does to not march…. especially as we live after the principal of the common turtle…carrying our houses & other goods on our backs. I like the ‘Cottage Plan’ of building much better… where they have tables chairs bedsteads & your wife & your mother & children with a sprinkling of sisters & brothers & nieces mixed up together in one congenial bond of loving hearts for …oh how sick my heart has grown over this unearthly strife where there is one eternal ravage & destruction of life & limb & property & there is no place to rest your weary eyes where the judgements of the sins of war are not a visible scene…. in one place you see where a man has had his thousands of dollars worth of buildings burnt …. & in another all the fencing burnt ….. & in another the woods burnt over…destroying the timber in large quantities….& in another you see the hides & the offal where some party have killed all the cattle, hogs & sheep & every chicken …duck…turkey & piece of meat of any kind that their smokehouse contained… for everything that is available for food is indiscriminately taken by some soldier or officer in many cases leaving the owner thereof almost destitute …this is the strongest proof to me that there is but one step between sublime & ridiculous for we often come to a home where the inmates are living in ease & luxury & before we pass another mile farther we will look back & behold that once happy home moldering in one heap of ruins & its owner turned almost a beggar upon the chance of others that have been more fortunate & have so far escaped this fiery ordeal & the balance live in continual fear of sharing a similar fate. I have always noticed that as we were moving through their country either out on or in from an excursion that if the Rebs undertook to annoy our advance rear or flank that the officers took no pains to protect the buildings or other property of the citizens…. but where they do not molest us we pass quietly along disturbing but little of their goods or other property. But for all that the Rebs I believe think that in this movement they have had the best of it and I must accord them what I think is their actual dues for they can certainly a large balance of sports in their own favor against Corporal Banks ! [I think this is a slur against Banks] For they made one haul of the 13 Corps where they captured 150 wagons out of his ponderous old train with 17 cannon & many prisoners. Taking into consideration what they have captured in the other engagements & ways...amounts to the snug little sum of about 4 thousand & I can only hear of about 1000 that we have captured to rebut that. We took about as many cannon as we have lost.. but in the Pleasant Hill engagement I do not hesitate to say that I think they lost in killed alone 2500 where [as we lost in killed 500]. The Rebs lay dead on the ground in many places so thick that they were touching each other. You have doubtless ere this time seen an account of the fight & you may notice where the last defensive charge was made on our lines by the Rebs … that charge was sustained by the 32nd Iowa, 49th PA & the 178th NY. It did not last over 5 minutes and the Reb prisoners say they must have lost in that one assault 1000 men in killed alone …for they say that some of their regiments lost nearly every man & further some of our men that passed over that total spot say that as they lay they looked [like] solid ranks now fallen over .......

April the 22nd, Friday. -- We marched at daylight when the Rebs attack our rear and as usual were repulsed. Today we had a most terrible dusty march ...traveling 25 miles and the dust at 2" & in many places 3" deep. The country as is usual along the Red River one almost unbroken level plain with a clay soil of a reddish color which sifts over your skin & clothes until it is hard to tell whether you are of the Indian or the Quadroon tribe & at the same time keeping you nearly smothered as water is very scarce & what you do get is not fit for a horse to drink much less a man...there is but few wells in this quicksand country & where there is one the water has a regular bilge-water taste. Therefore the inhabitants depend almost entirely upon rain or cisterns for their supply of this most useful article & as we are marching along someone or other [is]always dropping out to get water. [It is] almost impossible for you to obtain any thing better than standing puddle water & at the same time there is so many thousands of horses to water...you generally have to dip what you do get up from between the noses of 2 horses that are drinking out of the same puddle with yourself. I have taken many a drink this summer out of a puddle where lay a dead horse or mule & where 100[hundreds] of men were washing there faces hands & feet & not uncommonly their bodies. At Grand Ecore we used the water of a lake similar to the one in the North east of our farm until it became so soupy & filthy that the fish began to die .. so we had to go clear over to the river & it is not much better as there so much filth thrown in it also. We marched on today nothing occurring of note except that there was a continual skirmish in the rear…doing but little harm on either side. We marched until 12 at night when we stopped about 2 hours to cook some rations ....when we pulled up stakes & started … having camped at the edge of a little town called Blucherville (not much of a town). We passed through …. then we came to a halt as the Rebs had attack our advance … the cannonading was very heavy… the 13th corps had run into the Rebs at the ford of Cane River & were making a desperate effort to prevent us from crossing ...but they failed... the contest lasted for over 2 hours ...the Rebs lost over 100 in killed ..we do not know how many were wounded ..as they removed them. We lost in killed & wounded over 100. The fight then ceased & in about 1 hour afterwards we were attack furiously in our rear ..so that we had to halt our whole force & decide whether we or the Rebs were the Best Men.

April the 23rd, Saturday. -- We threw probably 12,000 infantry & 3 batteries [battalions?]out & in a little? the Rebs began to waver & were put to flight so that the firing ceased. Our regiment (32nd) was not in the engagement but were thrown out as skirmishers & were held as a reserve with the whole of the 16th corp...the 15th doing the most of the infantry fighting ...the 3rd & 9th IND & the 1st OH battalions doing the artillery work. The fight ended about 3o’clock so that we moved on about 3 miles & camped for the night. I here climbed up a little tree & gathered a large armful of moss & made a most elegant bed & Lt. Raymond & I doubled our blankets and we had a most comfortable nights sleep until about 3 in the morning.

April Sunday the 24th. -- We were awakened at the early hour of 3 in the morning by a rather ominous ‘revolee’ [reveille] from a Rebel 12-pounder throwing a few shot in to try to discover our whereabouts & situation. We could distinctly see that their guns were admirably located for our boys to give them 'Hale Columbia'! [I think he means they would have the advantage] Our batteries were almost instantly thrown into position so that the Rebs in return began to receive some recompense for the iron that they had been wasting on us …as their shell had not taken much effect. I could not hear of but 4 of our boys being hurt by their one shell burst exactly over the ranks of an IL regiment & one piece struck a poor fellow square down in the top of his head killing him instantly… another fragment of the same shell struck another poor fellow tearing all of one side of his head off... another piece went through another poor fellow's neck severing the head nearly off & a fourth piece as large as a man's fist struck the 4th in the breast tearing his lungs nearly all out of his poor body as the fragment passed out through one shoulder blade. We lost in this last engagement 37 in killed & wounded & the Rebel loss was terrible. The boys all seemed determine to punish the Rebs for their temerity in following us up so close. The chaplain of the 24th MO walked over the ground covered by the left flank of our troops & saw 60 dead Rebs laying where one infantry regiment alone had operated & the hardest thing by far was on the right flank lay from the fact that the Rebs was trying to flank us & get our train ...they could not have pleased us better as we had a heavy force laid up for that emergency with the bed? of a swamp on our left & Red River on the right so that if they had of been fool enough to have tried it we would have bagged them all. The fight ended about 8 so that we moved off immediately thereafter. We crossed the pontoons over old Red or Cane River where the fight had been the day previous & the place was well strewn with dead mules horses & other fragments of war-tools. In general it was a most admirable place for a fight as the country on one side was perfectly level & the other side was some gentle hills... these the rebels had occupied & our boys had the advantage of having a good range on them of near 2 miles so that they had a good chance to play their artillery on them to great advantage making it a heavy artillery duel with some infantry … as our men undertook to flank them both right & left & then ..the Rebs .. discovered in time to throw out a force to oppose this movement on our side & arrived in time to meet our boys at both sides just as they were wading the stream & they killed quite a number of them both in the water & as they climbed the opposite bank...here Gen Banks issued an order … that all the teams that the Negroes had should be left & not allowed to cross [on]the pontoons & such a pile of human duds as was heaved overboard ..I have never beheld. There was over 1000 of the poor devils and each one had nearly a cart load apiece so they selected out what they could carry in the space of 10 minutes & had it on their heads & were toddling off at the head? of their speed & it is a most pitiable sight.. for out of the poor little pittance that their old duds amounted too.. they were necessitated to throw nearly all away ...leaving them not much else but what they carried on their backs...which consists of a suit of homespun cotton goods doubtless as coarse as the bags that we use in the north to hold grain. There was one poor Negro who through years of toil & self-denial had laid up in silver $200..he had it in a pair of saddle bags & he laid it down a minute to do something else & there was a soldier stole it …there was also a silver watch in it too. It shocked me to the heart to think a man could be so heartless. I could not wrong [such] a poor innocent creature who through out the trials that this land has passed through .. has remained loyal to the government that they so little understood & hardly dared to acknowledge...but they are fine & loyal despite all the baneful influence to which they have been subjected from there earliest childhood .. for they have never had a schooling from their masters that has learned them this devotion to their country. My heart was drawn out in pity for the poor little children not larger than Lory [his 6yr old son] & dozens not so large who plodded along through the heat & dust for days in succession .. going they knew not whither ..but the love of freedom was looming up bright in the dim advance to their parents ..which was a bright incentive to arouse every energy of their souls to a doubling of their vital power of endurance to brook all that might rise forth at one & to them a holy prize .. Freedom.. oh how their souls are awakened at the sound of that hold word. They know no bound to their hope for their lives are absorbed in the determination to attain the prize. I have seen 100’s of them that would pack their things up & go away with the Union army…that would not have dared to speak the word Freedom unless they had known their Masters ear could not hear the sound. But they grow bold at the idea of our troops approaching ..Corporeal Banks made no provisions for the poor devils such as General Sherman did in our trip to Meridian ..for he had some system abut him. Corporeal Banks has not {made any arrangements] ..for if it had not of been for the soldiers dividing their rations with them the poor creatures would have many of them starved to death… having had to leave all of their food by Bank’s orders. We traveled today 18miles & camped at 10.30 at night about a mile below where we camped on the Bayou Rapides as we went up the River. Monday the 25th 1864 We laid in bed til 6 … not being in quite so much of a hurry as the 16th Corps had to fall in the rear today & Gen Smith told ‘Corp. Banks” that he would not march his men any more such marches as he had been doing for he would go into camp at 4o’clock let come what would so we did not start until 9am & just as we had got started here came the Rebels pouring over a hill out of the woods about a mile distant & in full range of one of our gunboats so the 3rd IND battalion was whirled into position & in less than 10 minutes the shot & shell was flying into their ranks like fury …which was more than they were willing to stand so that they took to their heels & as we could see that the shells burst right in their midst there must have been a rough time with their bones ..for nearly every shell burst that was thrown . But our Gen Smith was expecting an attack at a place called Pine Hill ..he pushed on with the Infantry so as to not let the Rebs get any undue advantage of him. Leaving the 3rd Battalion to take care of itself, Corp Banks had gone on to Alexandria,,, leaving Gen Smith one brigade of his cavalry to bring up the rear…so he pushed them ahead at double quick & got possession of the bluffs before the Rebs reached them …so that we the infantry did not make a halt there but passed on & about 4 we had reached about 1mi below the bluffs so Gen Smith accordingly hauled up for the night in good time for us to Kill beef for the 16 Corps as today we passed several large plantations & we drove all the cattle along with us that we saw & we had made 10mi only & were not so very tired. But most all of the boys took buckets of water & took a nice wash all over so that we did not dare to go into the Bayou as it is full of crocodiles & we are more afraid of them than we are of the Rebels! The weather is beautiful but the roads are rather dry for pedestrians as you go a little to near knee-deep for it to be as comfortable as you could wish. I is nearly as bad for such a large body of troops to move in so dusty a time as this as it is to work at the tail end of a thrashing machine.

Tues the 26th 1864. -- We marched at 6am & had not proceeded far until we were informed that Gen. Mower was going to try to form a troop to catch a lot of the Rebs that were following our rear…so we were marched about 3mi when we here filed off to the left every other 2nd Regiment or so as to let part go on so as to not beat so hard a track as to let the Rebs discover us. He marched us back to were that ?? comes out from that house & we were all well hid behind the fence & logs & all of our Calvary that were in the rear filed by us & never let on that there was a man in sight when in a minute or 2 here comes the Rebs…hoping & hollering just as though they were driving the whole Union Army before them ..and I with 100 of the boys was nearly splitting to have a laugh at the idea of how nice theywere marching into our net when here come their skirmishers up to that black line where I have marked the house [in his diagram]. When lo what should happen but one of their skirmishers should discover us & off they flew …at the head of the stream which was high pressure[?]…so we up & let a terrible volley fly…which took no effect as the Rebs were so far off that our shot [couldn’t reach them] & one of our musket? batteries was let loose & they threw several shells exactly in their midst & they had to skedaddle forthwith …we only got one prisoner …his horse fell down & he had to drop flat of his face to save himself from our bullets. We say 2 or 3 other horses run off without riders & we supposed that they had hid in the bushes as there was several bush patches about the field. It was really laughable to see how quick their exultant ‘Hooppee’ was turned into a cowardly flight & all their yelling was turned into a deathlike stillness. For you would not have known in 10 minutes after they had discovered us …[we]had come so near cooping[?]them …that there was a Rebel this side of Virginia. They did not intrude much more on our rear for the balance of the day. When Gen Mower saw that his plan was frustrated he ran to one of the cannon & sighted it & hollered ‘Let her Fly’ when ‘whoosh’ went the shell & lit in the road more than a mile distant in a perfect herd of Rebels & they disappeared without having to be told the second time. So after we failed we trudged our way along our dusty path toward the city of Alexandria which place we reached at 6pm …a distance from our starting place this morning of 15miles. I forgot to say that we killed 3 of the Rebel horses in the melee…the day was extremely hot & the dust light so that we suffered terribly from its effect & the want of a good cool drink of water. Oh how I could see the pure clean water of our loved old Cedar River. What would I not have given [someone’s name?] for a drink from your nice clear cool well. When you are out of the reach of such blessings… how well the heart knows how to appreciate their true wealth. But good cool water that northern men would call good ..the southern knows nothing more of than we know of the hardship of life in Hamscatch[?] Or any other part of Greenland ?? homes. For even a large nice looking spring here produces poor flat tasting insipid warm water…so that you have no other chance but to drink your fill & be content …for murmuring does no good …it does not cool the water…but at the same time your busy brain must have some food & things that our appetite so much erase is sure to assume command of that organ of the imagination of thought …Good Night.

Wednesday the 27th, 1864 -- We laid in camp all day at Alexandria & in the evening I went down & took a good swim in the Red River… whilst there 4 steamers loaded with troops under Gen McClennand arrived at this place. Weather good & I feel well only from the terrible rumors of large Rebel forces in the neighborhood…I feel about half galled …but am not much scared after all as we have more than troops enough at this place to cope with all the Rebels that can be raised here to oppose us. I do not think they can raise over 35 or 40 thousand.

April Thursday the 28th 1864. -- This morning I washed my other shirt in the river & took a good general scrubbing myself afterwards & them went back to camp & wrote a few lines to you at home & then I took a little nap …got up & eat my dinner of boiled beef hardtack & coffee which did not go off so bad as you might suppose ...after all ..for we find that after we have to come down to hardtack that it is the best kind of bread for a soldier ...when he is obliged to make those long dreary marches… for it is light & nutritious & for those that have the teeth to chew it makes most excellent eating... but for one like myself that am blessed with but 1 single snag [tooth] wherewith to emasculate so solid a structure it is a hard job to have to make a meal of them ..although I love them & when I am so fortunate as to get a cup of hot coffee to soak them in there is no danger of my starving. Sure at 7pm the Long Roll was called & we fell in & the forces were formed in line of battle for several miles up & down the River encircling the town & laid there til 4o’clock. When ours… the 2nd brigade… was marched out about 3miles in the advance of the line of battle & laid by our arms all night…but we went to sleep ..a great part of us…we went out without one blanket in the brigade & most of us in our shirt sleeves ...I of course...and we were considerably chilled of course…as the evening grew on & we were in a level smooth old pasture field. But as it began to grow dark our forces were moved about ¾ of a mile farther in to a deep ditch that in case of an attack would make a most excellent breastworks for us to fire on an enemy from behind…so as we expected to lay there all night, A.Trask & I concluded that we would hunt up something to make us a bed so we went to a large sugar cane field & gathered a lot of fallen leaves & laid them in the bottom of the ditch & made us a pretty comfortable roost using a lot of the blades for covering the ditch… breaking the most of the wind off.. but just as we were getting to sleep a streak of good luck favored us for the quarter masters teams drove up accompanied by 2 or 3 of the convalescents from each company bringing us a blanket.. a piece of S.A.T [hardtack?] & I hauled our fodder out of the ditch as the rats ran over us so that we could not sleep…and having our blankets felt naturally above sleeping in a ditch ..we being similar to the rest of mankind not able to bear prosperity. I have no idea why we laid there but I suppose that some high shoulder strapped dignitary concluded there was danger of his being gobbled. I really think that it is a pity that some of them are not in the hands of the enemy ...for there is no doubt in my mind but they would be more at home.

April Friday the 29th 1864. -- We marched back into camp at 6am …where we found a good kettle of hot coffee awaiting our arrival which went off quite [I think he is trying to spell ‘palatable’] … as the boys or quarter Master brought hard tack & coffee but forgot the sugar…and there was but few of us that had eaten anything since dinner yesterday. We took general good snooze first thing & them got up & set around Sand-hill Crane fashion for an hour or 2 when our Regiment was called into line to go & discharge our guns which like all the rest of military doings has to be done on the clockwork principal…although it is not so bad a plan as it is then certain to be known that it is our own & not the enemies guns…12 o’clock is discharging gun hour. I suppose somehow or other word leaked into camp that the Rebs were advancing upon this place which occasioned all this parade & turn out & I assure you that it was no small loss to the inhabitants that live in the immediate vicinity of such movements for all of there buildings that would come with in range of our artillery or that could furnish any shelter to the Rebs our men burnt…which I assure you was no small amount. The houses of one large sugar plantation stood just across Bayou Rapides from where we lay that were all burnt... one large sugar works & probably 20 other buildings connected with it were burned as they would afford a shelter to the Rebs. I have no idea that less than 15 or 20,000 dollars would cover the damage to this one place alone & look in what direction you would you would see a rolling volume of lame devouring the once happy home of some absent owner…for there is more vacant than occupied houses here in Rebeldom. There was one, my loves, that I would love you to see that certainly has the prettiest yard that I ever beheld…it is 2 or 3 acres, large with a pretty cottage house in the center with a nice board fence around the out side after this wise{her he drew a sketch] and that crooked line drawn around the house is a hedge of the prettiest crimson roses that I ever beheld. They really dazzled the sight & the yard was studded all over with 100’s of the prettiest roses & most dazzling colored flowers that the imagination can conceive & around the outside fence was rows of live oaks, pine cedar & other evergreen trees. But alas the ruins of war has laid her iron grasp upon this lovely home. Cavalry horses were hitched to the fence, soldiers tents were pitched among the beautiful shrubbery & the thoughtless tread of careless soldiers were treading down the beautiful tender plants that had been nurtured with such tender fostering care for years & had arrived at a lovely state of maturity & is now exploding into inanimate life merely to grieve those who have loved & nursed them for long years by seeing them so destroyed. But my pity knows an end for I can not cherish much respect for such as are now felling victims to their own rapacious lusts for dominion. For when I think that it is this class of house owners that have caused us to leave our peaceful abodes I can not look with any degree of commiseration upon their suffering & another thing is that mine with 1000’s of others have lost all feelings of compassion for this kind of suffering for it has become so common that such sights have well nigh lost its sting. I see it is a fact that the heart may become hardened so that misfortune looses it power of affect upon the more humane feelings of the soul…I at times feel sorry to see that the misfortune of others has no awakening power over my heart…but I am not much to blame when I look back to my land of abode & see that my poor mother, wife & children are suffering from being deprived of my duty to them merely because this imp?? Loathsome people of this heathenish polluted benighted south have rebelled & made it necessary for me to leave my home & them to help to defend the liberties of our invaluable country. This one thought drives away all feelings of respect or compassion from my soul for them & leaves nothing but the cold remorseless feelings of revenge rankling in my bosom toward the unholy race although in my soul I acknowledge it is wrong. Still with a stoical hatred I can go & take the last piece of bread from them that are even in the most destitute & forlorn circumstances & laugh at their entreaties with a feeling of contempt that I fear has no bottom for the more I see of the South the more I am convinced of the Needless suffering heaped upon this once happy country by this remorseless set of heathens. I know of no satirical epithet that would vent my feelings of disrespect for the unhallowed demonic that has dared to lay violent had upon the god favored land of America our fair United States * I can plainly see the avenging had of God overshadowing them with gloom . I have not seen but few of their habitations where the had of some fell?> destroyer had not ?? his soul in a great or less degree that the blood of the innocent slave that has lain slumbering for years seems to have awakened to gloat itself in gloomy streams of those that labored hard to rivet the chains of oppression tighter upon its victims but cannot stem the tide & are now willing to drench our country in one deluge of blood rather than acknowledge that they are wrong or could possible err.

Saturday the 30th 1864. -- We received orders at 3am to be ready to fall in a 6o’clock with 4 days rations in our haversacks & our blankets leaving all of our extra luggage in camp. Therefore the camp was all in a buzz at an early hour cooking breakfast ..rolling up blankets & stowing a few hardtack in our provision departments…also a small nip of boiled corned beef which we happened to have a nice piece on hand…also a couple of drawings of coffee…which is an indispensable article in the bureau drawer of a soldier’s culinary Dept. For as we march along we occasionally stop for the space of ½ hour & we generally have enough of water in our canteens to make a tin cup full of coffee which we frequently do in the course of our rests…besides taking a short nap in the bargain. But 6o’clock came & 6o’clock passed & still we are in camp. At 8am this morning we had inspection alias muster as at the end of every 20 days we have to pass the same trial to ascertain who is here & who is absent so as to account to the government to all preparing to receiving our pay….for whoever are there to answer to their names receive their pay & all that are absent & the officers cannot reasonable account for are deprived of their pay for the time being & if not accounted for in a plausible manner are therefore considered deserters. When I commenced to write a direct account of our trip I did not expect I would exceed 30 days that I should be away where I could not get to send you a single line but here I have scribbled away until you see that I have reached the figure of 130 pages. Little did I think when I began thath I would reach them figures but if I write until I have a chance to mail it to you I fear it will only be throwing my time away .. for I have already written more that you will have either time or patience to read ..it will not come so pleasant as it would to receive it in letter stile[style] a little at a time.. for then it would not be so great a tax on your patience. But I believe I will run the risk & plug away a few more pages .. fro there is some talk in camp that we are going back to Memphis or Vicksburg & if we go to either ..I can mail what I have written… up to the time I have the chance to send [mail it]. I would not write any more at present if I thought it would be to long a letter to be interesting.. but I spend so many lonely hours in camp …unless I have some thing of interest to make the weary hours drag more pleasantly away & then there is no possible way for me to spend my leisure hours than in scribbling something of the past present or future to you that my soul so longs to be united with again in love at my own home. I am writing away momentarily expecting to have to drop my pen & paper to go some where… I can not tell where… but I am not sure we will go out any where this evening…but it is repeated that we were to go over the river on a reconnoitering expedition… but that may all be fudge. There has been a pontoon bridge thrown across the river her in town today… whether it is to move part of the troops over the river to camp or to throw them over to operate against a Rebel force I cannot now say. I have got so that I do not care much for the rumors of camp now… as you hear some fool report every few minutes. I occasionally hear a report … this afternoon of a cannon of a cannon down the river & that I believe. For I hear it from headquarters & there is no doubting news from that source. It is the cavalry having a skirmish with the Rebs… but that has become of such common occurrence that we pay but little attention to it…hardly inquiring after the cause …for there is not a day that there is not a one horse fight with some band of other. Ella, I see John Stockun nearly every day he is one of the liveliest fellows to be found in the comp … all that know him seem to like him… he is so full of fun… his time is nearly served up …he will return to Waterloo as soon as it expires … oh how I wish that mine was as near expired as his… he has not even 3 months to serve … but my time is striding away at a tolerable rapid rate … in 3 more months I shall have served out 2 of my 3 yrs… although the longer we serve the stronger the service is piled on us but in the early part of our term we had it tolerable fair… so much so that I see no reason that we had to complain … I thought before I came so far south that the Rebellion would be put down before the expiration of our term… but I have come to the settled conclusion that it will not & I have thus composed my mind to look forward to that auspicious day… the 20th of August 1865…oh… with what gratitude will I hail it… not that I have grown disloyal but that I do not owe all of my loyalty to the government … for a portion of it is due to my family. I only hope that I may be spared to come home with my bones all sound & right so that I will not have to hobble it through this world on a wooden leg to attest the glories of war … for I would rather have my legs than all the glory connected with war… for I have seen all of the loss of those precious members to suit my vision through life.

Sunday may the 1st 1864. -- We laid this morning in camp the weather being quite warm. I passed part of my time in scribbling a few lines to you at home for I am never too warm or cold to devote a few of my leisure hours in writing to at least let you know that I have not forgotten you… for when I do I hope I may forget to breathe. For I well know that you pass many anxious hours in thinking of me & my welfare while I am thus separated from you on so uncertain a mission as it is to be in the army … where you have no idea one minute where you will be launched the next… for as you well know that we are bushwhacked at every turn on every hand… for those Texas boys are not the same kind of Rebel that we have been used to fight… in Tenn & KY. There are a more resolute & determined set of hellionsby far… & to them I accord a much greater degree of honor… they have the appearance of having been well raised. Our payrolls were made out today according to the requisitions of the law… but as for pay that is out of the question… as a pay Master could not possibly reach this place now… as the Rebs have made a dash on our transports & have succeeded yesterday in capturing the Emma (not MY Em, though)[Who is Em??] & with her a large lot of mail & in the lot 1 or 2 [letters]that I had written to you at home… that made me madder than it did for them to get the boat… for we have plenty of boats & letters are very scare with me.. & have been for a long time. I have not written you any since they began to make raids on our crafts as it was of now use as they were most sure to be captured..(while I think of it I will say that I sent you 3 or 4 [letters]that I picked up as I came down the river)[not sure if he is talking about letters he wrote or letters he received?] I only send them to my children as relics of the capture of one of the most elegant of our large lower-river steamers. She was a perfect palace… but now lies a wreaked pile of debris in the Red River… a dad memento of the fallen & depraved condition of the country in which we live. Oh, that this strife could cease & peace once more perch on the flag of our country. The first Brigade went down the river this morning to drive the Rebels away from the river… but the rascals had fallen back out of the way of our gunboats which they can do as there is a heavy levee thrown up from the mouth of Red River all the way up to Grand Ecore… which makes a first rate fort & breastworks so that they have a good fortification at any place where they could reach the river… so that our boys returned without having a collision of any kind with them… but Lee’s Cavalry had a skirmish with them about 5 miles out from & down the river. The Rebs were as usual repulsed & fell back but as soon as our men returned to camp at night the Rebs followed them up to within 5 miles of Alexandria… keeping at a respectful distance. The weather clear & cloudy alternate today. Monday May 2nd We were called in line of battle this morning before daylight & stacked our arms & cooked & eat our frugal breakfast & as usual I wrote a few lines to help keep up my diary .. not wishing to get behind hand. But alas it was the last line that I got to write until this morning May 22… for I was with the rest ordered to be ready to march at 1 o’clock which I accordingly done by packing up my pen ink & paper & a few remaining duds that I could not carry with me conveniently into a small box & put them on board the Southwester … and I was glad that I done so for I did not get another chance to go on board of her again…from the 2nd of May until this present day [the 22nd]. For on the evening of the 2nd the Rebs made a demonstration on the SE quarter of the town of Alexandria & we … the 16th corps… were ordered out as a reserve… so we laid in the ditch of an old farm & was not called on.. a part of the 13th corps had a skirmish with the Rebs but it consisted mostly in cannonading on both sides… we laid in reserve line of battle all night… we were entertained all night with a most splendid set of fireworks for we were on a large sugar plantation & we did not know the force of the Rebs so we burnt them in case they might make a night assault on us & would use the buildings for defenses… so we went & set them on fire & all the whole [buildings] was nothing in the morning but a set of monuments to attest that some opulent old planter with a herd[?] of Negroes & other tenants who had used chimneys[think his train of thought got de-railed!] … for there was over 50 of them standing on one plantation alone{think he is talking about the number of building?]. I have formerly spoken of the splendid mansions of J.C.Calhoun[who is this?… well it with all of its beautiful surroundings are now amongst the things that were fired… it shared the general fate of the other surrounding households … for all that came within range of our line… all shared one common fate. The weather clear & fine.

Tuesday May the 3rd 1864. -- We were ordered to Alexandra by way of the Opelousas Road & after marching about 7 miles we ran upon …and how!… an encounter with the Rebs… they were on the Bayou Broun & only fired a few shots & then cut dirt. We formed in line of battle & laid an hour or 2 in the shade of some most beautiful live oaks. They are the most beautiful species of timber for a shade that I ever saw… I have seen some that I would give $100 for if I could have them placed in my yard at home. Our cavalry arrived about noon & came up to the Rebs again about 2miles farther ahead & heavy skirmishing ensued … a few regiments of infantry were pushed ahead & had some hand in the little fight… but I think it was not the intention of Banks to bring on an engagement … the purpose being to clear out the Rebs so as to get what forage was to be had … as our command was now cut off with America. And he had to stir his stumps to find food for so many mouths as he had in his charge… for the Rebs make no bones at boasting of his poor generalship & how tight they had hemmed him in on all sides & it was literally true for move where we would … we would encounter a body of great or less size… but by the aid of Gen Smith & Gen Mowen[?] & a few other master spirits he [Banks] has got along so far without having his whole command captured or killed. At Night we fell back about a mile & laid in line of battle & I think I never had so chilly a nights rest… for I did not expect to be gone any more than one night so I did not have a blanket to cover me up so I tried to nap in a ditch but it was no go… I could not brook it any longer… so I saw a few horses that had their saddle blankets under them so I loosened 2 or 3 & procured some bedding & in the latter part of the night I got a pretty good nap. Got up early to return the bedding & was soon making a little coffee in a tin which I drank with some relish. But as is common we had to drink it in a hurry as word had just arrived that the Rebs had driven our cavalry pickets in & that ..you know ..generally creates something of a sensation in a camp. The weather unusually hot & dry but the nights cool.

Wednesday May 4th -- Our Regiment was ordered into line before sunrise this morning & our company was thrown out as skirmishers to advance on a lot of Negro houses where the Rebs had taken a position & were popping their ship at us so we had to advance about 40 rods under their fire on a double quick & we made pretty good time I assure you… for 40 rods off where we were making for there was a deep ditch & we well knew that if we could gain it we would be about safe… so we pushed forward with all possible speed & soon gained the goal… and were safe for the ditch was about 4ft deep & 5 or 6 wide. None of our boys were struck in the run across the field … there was on ball passed so near my face that it seemed to sting my cheek but non were struck. We soon dislodged the Rebs from the houses & they took to the bushes. We captured 3 of them. Our company stopped at the ditch & kept up a brisk fire with the Rebs across a field & a part of our regiment advanced about 40 rods farther to get all of the houses into our possession & just at this juncture the Rebs opened on us with 1 piece of artillery ..one shot struck abut 30ft ahead of our company & made 1 bounce & went over our heads… they threw 2 more that passed about 10ft over our heads & burst 8 or 10 rods back of us… injuring no one. There musket balls striking uncomfortably near to us.. many striking into the bank of the ditch behind us so near to us that we could reach back of us & dig the bullets out. We held this skirmish line until noon when we were relieved by Co.I of our regiment . Our artillery came out just before we left & drove the Rebs back to a respectful distance so that our forage train came out this afternoon & loaded up40 or 50 teams & our troops then fell back to its starting place in the morning where we lay the balance of the day… & it being an open field of sugar cane where there was hardly one leaf of green vegetation to give an appearance of anything like life .. or anything that was cool… so we took our muskets & stuck the bayonets in the ground & hug our blankets on them so to make a shade that was a little cooling. But .. oh.. the dust… it is really insufferable… there is 20,000 of the cavalry force & they are mostly in the advance so that by the time 5 corps of infantry pass over it the dist is from 2 to 4 inches deep & that … of course… is almost suffocating for the weather is extremely warm & dry … so much so that the crops are nearly dried up. There cannot be enough grain raised in this country this season to one half supple its own inhabitants … much less to give an occasional bite to the Lincoln hoards that infest the Southern Land… especially if they are all like Smith’s Guerrillas as the 16th Army Corp are called.. for if ther is any thing thath is eat-able or drink-able we are just as sure to have it as it is to exist. General Smith has given orders to not disturb the clothing of women nor children but any thing that we could use we could take … therefore all that was take-able was generally taken or burnt. For after we left Ft.DeRussy we found out that the citizens had formed a brigade for the express purpose of harassing our advance & rear & from that time forward we show them no respect. But every home we passed we left perfectly ransacked & nearly all of them on fire. We havn’t burnt all the sugar ….or destroyed all the grain in the country .. leaving but a very slight subsistence for the people left but I have no pity ..but for the poor little innocent children that know no reason.

May Thurs the 5th 1864. Our company were sent out on picket… we were placed in the ditch I spoke of… the Rebs firing on us in the ditch… but as it was fair in the basking sun & so warm that we were removed to the sugar house on the plantation of the Rebel Governor Moore of Louisiana… as there was 50 barrels of molasses & 15 hogsheads of sugar… we spent one of the sweetest days imaginable in making taffy & eating sugar & in licking molasses[?]. Besides killing & eating sundry cows pigs & poultry & demolishing a large garden especially the onions & the strawberries… as they were ripe… and a white variety [of strawberry?]. There was nothing of any note occurred in our camp today. Gen.Smith was out with a lot of Lee’s Cavalry today. We heard considerable skirmish firing through the day but just before dark Smith returned with his force & the Rebs following him at a respectful distance. They came to within 40 or 50rods of our line when our Cavalry made a charge on there skirmish line & the Rebs took to their heels. But as soon as our men came back the Rebs followed them back. Our Cavalry going 10or 2miles inside of our line & camped for the night & the Rebs pushed there picket lines so close up to ours that we could holler back and forward all night. There was heavy firing on the River today. We supposed that the Rebs were tampering with the transports or some of the mosquito fleet… as they were continually on the watch to get a chance to get a shot at some of them that might happen to be on the move & they succeeded in smashing our boats up to a great extent… in all we can count up 14 of the boats that were taken up either with troops or stores that have been lost. This expedition has proved a perfect farce for we certainly have lost 6000 to 8000 men besides thousands that are cripple for live. We in the Army think that if Gen Smith had of had chief command of the expedition that he would have made it a perfect success… for he would have moved with more impetuosity & not have given the Rebs time after we arrived at Alexandria to have marched forces 200miles to oppose our march to Shrevesport. This Bank did for we went into camp & stayed 10days before we started to Shrevesport & by this time the Rebs were marching on to meet us 35,000 strong & they met Banks at Mansfield & defeated him capturing 150 wagons 31 pieces of artillery & some where near 1000 of our men all of this occurred through the toady[?] movements of ‘Corporal’ Banks[he doesn’t think much of Banks!]. There is a most bitter feeling engendered against him for we feel like he had only led us to slaughter & defeat & we of the 16th Corps feel revengeful toward him for after we fought a most terrible battle at Pleasant Hill… he makes no honorable mention of our service… only this [on] the evening after the Battle: Banks thanked Gen Smith for the gallantry & bravery with which his men fought & told him that had it not been for the fighting done by the 16th Corps the day would have been lost to him. But in none of the reports do we see that he gives us the least credit for what we done. There is mention made of the 13th Corp… his pets… having done wonders… but the very evening of April 9th the advance of the 13th was arriving at Grand Ecore 35miles distant[implying they were not even at the battle?]. This is but a small recompense for what we passed through… I am rather sleepy to proceed so good bye.

May Friday the 6th 1864. -- We were relieved from picket at 10am & order was given to advance our lines so we commenced our forward march at 1pm and we soon came on to the Rebs… our Cavalry drove them out of their bushy retreat & they moved on after them for 3 or 4miles when the Rebs mad a halt & opened on us with their Artillery. We pushed the 1st Wisconsin Battery up to within short range & soon silenced their guns & they retreated & we did not see any more of them that evening… excepting a little firing that the Cavalry had with the Rebs. There was a great many shot came very near our lines of infantry but we had only a few of our men killed & they mostly by bursting of shell … as the Rebs kept themselves pretty well in th bushes so that we seldom got a peep of their dusky carcasses leaving us nothing to shoot at. So the enemy run & we camped on the field. The weather quite warm & the roads awful dusty.

Saturday May the 7th. -- [remember he is writing this after the 22nd of May] Skirmishing commenced at a very early hour… the Rebs wee posted in a lot of Negro shanties and we had some pretty heavy skirmishing to drive them out… but finally succeeded in doing so and they fell back over the Bayou Brown and they made a pretty obstinate stand of it for they kept up a continual skirmish all day long & toward night the fighting became heavy. Most of the day it had been done by Lee’s Cavalry… but late in the evening Gen Mower laid a trap with a lot of infantry to take them in & it succeeded well. He laid a heavy infantry force in a deep & long ditch & then sent out a line of skirmishers .. they were to go until they came pretty near the Rebs & were to retreat in disorder knowing that the Rebs cavalry would pursue them.. so in a few minutes here come our boys helter-skelter & jump over the ditch where lay our boys waiting.. ready to receive the pursuing Rebs… & they dashed right up to the muzzle of the muskets of our boys[they never suspected anything] & they let them have a most murderous volley & the boys that were they told me that the ground was literally covered with the dead & wounded Rebs. Our Regiment were not under fire today but laid in line of battle all day long & at night we returned 5miles to our former camp having found out that the Rebs had burned all of the grain below us so that we had no need of going any further in this direction… as our mission was hunting forage as we lay in line of battle today some of our boys went over to a most splendid plantation laying about half a mile in our rear to get something to eat & as they neared the house they were fired upon so our Adg[adjunct?] took a squad of men went over & drove the Rebs away and burnt the buildings all to the ground. There was a most splendid mansion our boys say… one of the finest they have ever seen… it was most splendidly furnished with one of the most elegant libraries. The Adj brought me 3 or 4[books]. I am going to send them home to the children… one of them is a member of the senate report on the Pacific Railway. I will send it to the children for a scrapbook.

Sunday May the 8th. -- We lay quiet most of the day in line of battle… not knowing how many of the Rebs were ahead but supposed them at 15,000 or 20,000 so we had to hold ourselves in readiness to move in a minute… so I lay & read some books… for the boys brought dozens over with them & at night we fell back 4miles & camped on a most beautiful farm to guard a road that came in from the west into Alexandria. Here I busied myself in pulling out a lot of White Clover Seed which I am going to send home to sow for our own bees. My darling will thee please take it and sprinkle it all through the trees over the yard and down the lane on the side next to the trees & where ever there is any vacant ground in the little barn lot before the house just take as slight a pinch as thee can between thy thumb and forefinger.. not more that a dozen seeds. Save mother about a large teaspoon full to sow in her yard. I am sitting here and writing and my foot is so dead asleepthat I do not know what I am writing. I do not write these lines to you each day but keep notes & dates & then when I can get a chance I write out a longer account of our trip. I am 10 or 12 days behind yet. I am on the Southwester going up the Mississippi probably to old Vicksburg once more where I hope to send you this… letter which I fear that will never pay you for the trouble of a reading. But I will risk it by sending it when I land. The weather is beautiful in the extreme as we are not tramping it along some dusty old road where the dist in 2-3 inches deep…a s we have been for the last 2 months…oh what a relief!

Monday May 9th 1864. -- I was detailed today to guard a lot of Negro quarters to keep our troops away as there were 8 or 10 of them that had the Small Pox. I kept a respectful distance at least ½ mile off so that I was no exposed in the least…so not in any danger of taking the malady. There is one of our Boys on board here now by the name of Camel that has it. I have not seen him.. the boys that have seen him say he looks awful.

Tuesday May th 10th '64. -- I went outside of our picket lines today & picked about a quart of dewberries & cooked & eat them & then I went a fishing with a pin hook & I caught 5 or 6 little catfish & they eat quite good & in the evening I went in to Alexandria to help draw our rations for 3days. Here I learned that 3 of our gunboats had got over the Rapids above town where they had laid for some time on account of low water they had to build a dam to raise it so as to get them over as several of them draw 9feet & there was only 3ft on the shoals. I learned that we were to soon move down the river toward home. Once more several of our convalescents came out with us.

Wednesday May 11th '64. -- The weather this evening turned quite cool & we had quite a chilly night of it. We were called into line of battle at daylight & stacked arms. Two more of our boys came out from Alexandria-I believe I did not mention that we were camped 5 miles out from Alexandria on the Opelousas Road –and it was much to our comfort for there were so many troop in & about Alexandria that there was but little there to entertain us as soldiers for we have got so accustomed to troops that they are no sight to us. I would love to take a ramble through our camp with my children & show them those old veteran Corps who have fought through many hard pitched battles. The Negro troops are here that was in the terrible charge at Port Hudson. They are a fine body of troops. There is a brigade of them . There is no Prejudice seemingly against them[one of the few times he underlined something!] I would love to show them(his children) those ponderous old batteries of which we have such a ponderous train & even the sight of our Wagon Train would be a sight that not all mankind have seen the like of . think of 17 six-mule teams all traveling on one dusty road. Then next comes our gunboat fleet some 30 in number of every conceivable ?? & shape… from a light tin-clad to the heaviest iron-mailed craft with numerous rams & tugs dispatch boats & all manner of wooden craft for the transportation of troops & provision… besides all manner of scows for transportation of coal… hay… oats… & corn. I would love to have my babies see such a sight,,, but I do not want a war in the north in order that they may see the sight. Still the 11th-the Rebs fired on our pickets & then made a charge on them… killed one & crippled one other & [killed]5 horses. We hear today that some more of our gunboats had got over the rapids. I had to hold up[stop writing] to play ball some this evening as the weather is clear & beautiful & remarkably sweet.

Thurs May the 12th. -- I went out & pick a cup full of dewberries & stewed them as we had plenty of sugar to do our cooking & therefore we lived as sweet as is usual for young men in our situation of life to do & we could eat it with a zest having taken it from ceceshist [think he means secessionist]. It [sugar, I think] being very abundant all through the Red River country through which we have traveled in our expedition this trip… although the same country through which we passed is now a desolate waste… as the Rebels kept a continual cannonade of our rear & where ever they were thus guilty we were thus revengeful… for we have burnt nearly all of their heavy sugar works many of then were splendid works all in good & complete order & capable of turning out from 300-400 hogsheads ofsugar a year. But their year of jubilee is over for they have made their last sugar & we have fought them our last fight. And have even calcined [crushed?]even their ponderous rollers into a mass of cinders that their owner could not recognize as their former useful machinery.

Friday May the 13th 1864. -- We waited until night & they we started & marched about 4mi down the River & joined the rest of our division. We boys killed a beef in the morning but had to leave in such haste that we never got to eat a mouthful so we let it laying where we killed it. Roads awful dusty & the weather warm.

Saturday May 14th. -- We started across the country to make a junction with the main River Road & after we had gone a mile or so we came near a Rebel picket post. Some of the boys that were on horseback rode out & hollowed to them & they answered . They asked our boys if we were going to leave thee county. They answered that we were & they said that [was a shame] as we had been having find times lately. Several of our officers rode out & talked with them. We stopped a short time & moved on. Soon we passed through a most beautiful piece of low land where there was a most awful growth of the largest Palmetto… many of the leaves were 3ft across. I would love to send you a few leaves as curiosities. They would look well to you. I saw one piece of timber about ½ a mile square where the Palmetto was a thick as it could stand & the timber was very large & heavy & had the most enormous loads of moss on them that I have ever seen many of the treeshad several tons of it on them frequently drooping 4 or 5 feet down. We traveled about 8miles when we made an intersection with the River Road where we fell in behind the 19th Corp. The Rebs fired at us and on the boats several times through they day. The Cavalry in our advance had heavy skirmishing all day with the Rebs. The weather was fine & after going 18miles we camped for the night.

Sunday May 15. -- We started late in the morning & we reached Ft. Darusha late in the evening. We had heavy skirmish at Marksville in the Chickasaw Prairie where we had at least 30,000 men engaged … our line was at least 4 miles long & most of the way we had 3 lanes. We had 5 or 6 batteries engaged & the Rebs as many… we had a most terrible cannonade… I forget whether I have even mentioned that the 32nd was the Supporting Regiment of the 3rd Indiana Battalion. Several of the boys I was acquainted with in old Wayne County, IN(where he grew up)… a Mr.Mitchel of Paris, Ohio… a Mr.Harris of Richmond[IN]… They were both scholars under Poor Eph [his bro-in-law, Ephraim Bush?] They speak most kindly of him. We had no loss in the 32nd in the engagement but came very near having a most terrible one. The Rebs saw our Regiment coming up in regular marching order & they threw a large recoil rifled hot that fell not more than 5yrd ahead of our Regiment … if it had not of lost its force as it did it would have torn lengthwise through our regiment & probably killed one half of us as it came exactly parallel with our line. But good luck favored us this one time & I feel thankful for it. We marched 15miles to day … the gunboats & transports all got down in safety with a few extra bullet plugged through their sides. Mother, please let me here digress a little and ask you if you ever received a copy of Life of the 3rd Iowa Regiment. I subscribed to it & had it mailed to you as I expected that you would love to read it & them Maggy[his wife, Margaret] & the children could enjoy the same privilege. Col J.C.Scott was concerned in getting up the subscription.

Monday May the 16th 1846. -- We were aroused at an early hour of 3 and ½ when skirmishing commenced & a terribly heavy artillery duel ensued. We succeeded as usual in driving the Rebs from their position & they made their artillery wheels fly for the time being so we commenced our march & made 20miles today. The weather clear & dry & the dust horrible in the extreme much of the time it was 3inches deep & so many moving through it… it filled the atmosphere until it was so dense that it was suffocating in the extreme.

Tues May the 17th 1864. -- We marched in the rear day & did not start until 11 o’clock am. The cavalry were hard pressed in the rear today & a brigade of Infantry were sent back & put them to rout killing many of the Rebs & losing some of our men. The Rebs made another charge on the train & the Darky Brigade met & repulsed them killing several more of them. The Rebs have not made much after all [of] their tramp down the river … although in the aggregate… they have had the best of the trip up the river… for our loss was not much short of 7000 men in killed wounded & captured with about 12-14 guns & 100 wagons & their teams [lost to the Rebs]& entire knowledge that we had to abandon the enterprise in convenience of the barriers that they were able to throw in our way… for well they knew that they had all of our support cut off & that we were obliged to leave the county.. but I hope that that will not always be the casefor I look forward to the day when our army will bear its banner triumphantly through the same rebellious land. [The Red River Campaign was a disaster for the North, ill-planned & ill-led by Gen.Banks. He was relieved of command in May & became the subject of a congressional investigation & official censure. The full story of the Campaign can be found at www.civilwarhome.com]

Wednesday May the 18, 1864. -- We moved our regiment across the Bayou Degloise[Yellow Bayou or Bayou de Glaiza] & in the run of the day had some of the heaviest cannonading that I have ever heard in all my life. The Rebs had 15 guns engaged some of them as heavy as 32-pounders .. the fight commenced at about 11 o’clock am & I do not ever want to be under such a rain of shot & shell again in my life. The Rebs were in force & their lead & iron flew thick & fast… our poor boys many of them fell …a great many from the affect of the sun & scores from the leaden rain. It was mostly cannonading until late in the day when the Rebs 10,000 strong made a dash on the 3rd IN battery. Their effect was awful in the extreme it was hard on us as there was none to help hold the battery but the 32 & the 27th IA. And if ever a set of men put forth their best efforts it was just at this period. I send a few of the leaden canister shot that the 3rd IN battery threw at the Rebs.[Does he mean he sent some of the shells home??] They with 4 guns & we with 3… [the] 32nd & 27th repulsed the whole Rebel force. We naturally slew them but they shot several of our men. In the days engagement we lost 250 men… 2 guns dismounted and 8 horses killed at one of the Wisconsin batteries. There was 1 shell that struck one of our ammunition wagons and set it on fire & killed 6 mules but did not hurt the teamster. We laid in line until dark & then we fell back about ½mile to an excellent ditch where we lay until about 11 at night. When laying in line there we could see the flash of & hear the bursting of scores of shells as they plugged into the dead trees that were standing thick on the ground & they were set on fire by the shot & exploded the shell that missed. We fell back about 1mile after taking care of our dead & wounded .. we did not let the Rebs come a near the field until we had fallen back & then the Rebs came on & soon hunted up their dead. The Rebel loss was heavy .. more so than ours as none but their cavalry came up until they undertook to take the battery … so that when their cavalry would approach we would just plug them right & left. A regiment of Lee’s Calvary [Gen.Albert Lee] were on our left & once when the Rebs tried to flank us on the left them made a dash into the woods where they discovered a weak place in their lines & cut off about a regiment of the Rebs. But there was [only] about 2 companies of our men in the charge that was made & when they dashed through the Rebel Lines there was not enough of [us] to hold the mount of Rebs that they had actually cut off & they say that if their regiment had of been [at capacity] they might just have captured 1000 Rebs [but instead]as not they leaved [captured, I think] about 130 this haul. And just about the same time on the extreme left a similar tragedy occurred as the Rebs had made a simultaneous assault upon our entire lines but did not achieve anything.. but in the game they lost in captured 425 & any amount in killed & wounded. Thus ended May the 18th 1864… the hardest day of sunshine that I ever passed through. I came so near fainting with the heat 3 or 4 times .. but I got in the shade of the body of a dead tree for a few minutes just as we had halted after making a charge on a lot of Rebs that advanced on us & it revived me considerably.. so much so… that I went out in the next skirmish line which was advanced about 8 or 10 rods … just as we had formed a line behind a large log where our regiment had lain in ambush the Rebs opened 5 or 6 pieces of artillery upon us & I with several others of our boys had got behind the stump of said tree when the balls grazed the stump of the tree several times.. the balls coming within a very few inches of us.

Thursday May the 19th 1864. -- Our regiment was advanced to line where we had the fight yesterday but the enemy were very quiet in our front.. but there was some light skirmishing on our flanks,, but it did not amount to anything of a fight. The 13th & 14th{might be 19th] Corps had crossed the Bayou Atchafalaya so that the 16th was put in motion by 10 o’clock today. The water being very high in the Bayou from backwater from the Mississippi.. that our pontoons would not span it.. so thy took 20 of the transports & made a bridge of them by anchoring them side by side & then laying stringers across them & covered them with lumber.. so that it made a splendid bridge. It took 3 days for our forces & train to cross. Our regiment crossed about noon on the 19th & we halted on the opposite side for about 3 hours & while there Mr. Mitchel of whom I have spoken came & asked me if I would go & see some of his friends with him that were in the 69th Indiana.. and I gladly accepted the invitation & lo when I got there I knew nearly half of the Regiment. Brian Perry is Colonel of it. He told me that he had sent Mitchel after me as he had heard that I was in the 32nd IA. Little Will Thomas is Drum Major of the same regiment. Will is a fine looking boy… Joe Iliff is also.. a young Hallowpeter also. There was many other that I knew.. they were so glad to see me that I could hardly get away. Perry wanted me to stay all night with him or to supper anyhow. He is a noble fellow & a genuine Patriot. Raymond with his aristocratic airs was astonished to see the Col of a Regiment take so much interest in a Private. Perry puts on no airs. Moll Sue[his sister Susan, perhaps??] & Em[don’t know who this is?], he told me to be sure and not forget to give you his most cordial respects.. and Mother & Maggie all of those little boys that you used to know as children are now men and all of them made me promise to remember them to you. The 69 IN belongs to the 4th Brigade in the 2nd Division of the 16th Army Corp. But [they]are not Banks men although they belong to his Dept. They like Gen Smith & think that if he had of had charge of this expedition it would have been a success.. just as our division does.. although there is so great a division between old Banks & the troops under him. That difference does not exist between the men of his force [Gen.Smith’s]. I have never seen but 3 men that defended [Banks] on his course in this his last campaign ..for we all feel chagrined at the calamity .. for we cannot look at it in any other light…for through our failure poor Steel[another of the Generals] has met a like disaster so that makes it a perfect failure… and at the same time ours [the 16th Corp] which here is called Smiths fighting guerrillas have not given one inch of ground to the Rebs.. we have met them in one as hard a battle for the time it lasted as was ever fought by any troops & 4 other fights of lesser note & in every one of them have more than held our ground & if old Banks would have let us pursue the Rebs at Pleasant Hill we might… in their disorganized & battered condition… have captured their whole force… for they left the field with such precipitancy that they left all of their artillery & Banks had not the generalship to know it… but would not let our men go a near the field that night & of course the Rebs came in the night & hauled them off. Smith was nearly crazy to see how things were going… but it was all to no affect….old Fogy Banks would not let him make one inch of advance ..no not even to go & take care of our poor dead & wounded boys which we begged for the chance to be allowed to do. Col.Scott & Col.B.Shaw & Gen Smith all interceded in their [the dead & wounded] behalf … they availed nothing… for old Banks was whipped when the fight began & had ordered our brigade to commence retreating…but we were laying in line of battle at that hour & Gen Smith ..much to his honor.. be it said.. took the responsibility of giving them fight & [in] fighting whipped yet more [Rebs] than whipped them[us]… for we fairly murdered & slew them… for we do not doubt that we laid 2000 of their dead on the fields. They say that they buried 2500 of our men but that cannot be… for in all our loss for the day we did not sustain any such a loss.. not in killed & cripple & captured. I forget whether I ever told you how near I came to being captured just as it was getting dusk… our regiment fell back to take a new position when the Rebs made a dash on us thinking that we were retreating & as my hip was pretty lame it was hard work for me to keep up & the Rebs were within 100feet of us & 1 or 2 of them hollered ‘you S of a B -Halt’ …but I turned the muzzle of my gun upon him or them & let fly… but had not time to converse much with him & I do not know whether I shot him or not as I did not stop to see ..not at this juncture. The Rebs did capture a lot of the 32nd men but I escaped. But it was more good luck than good management… I would hate to be captured by the Rebs.. as I would rather be left in the ranks to help to fight them as I do not have this terrible fear that I have heard others speak of .. just on the eve of a fight ..not that I am bullet proof.. but I do want to see the Rebs thrashed so bad. I see since we have left that Red River prison that the Potomac Army have done some Herculean work. Oh to God that Grant may succeed in the capture of that Sink of Perdition .. Richmond & some how or other I have a faith on him for he is a earnest & a fighting man & with the force that he has I hope & pray that his enormous efforts will be crowned with success. But it chills my blood to think of the loss of life & limb consequent upon such a piece of work... but if the sacrifice has to be made the sooner the better. But it makes me heart sick to think of the desolate homes & the fatherless children & the sorrowing widows & the heartbroken Mothers Fathers Sisters & Brothers that must inevitably be made by such an event.

Friday May the 20th '1864. After our regiment had crossed the Atchafalaya there was a heavy cannonade in our rear.. it was accosted by a lot of Rebel scouts coming up to take an obsquint[?] of the battlefield of yesterday. They were on the opposite side of Bayou de Glaize & we had taken up our pontoon bridge… but had kept a lot of cannon there to cover our retreat & the artillery men were only giving them a few extra shot to see them run.. for they thought that our troops were all gone & it was a great surprise to them to receive those extra shot so they all left the field forthwith. We laid in camp this morning until 9 am & then broke camp for a quick trip to the Father of Waters. The day was terribly hot & the dust terrible.. it was just as bad as it would be to work at the tail end ofa thrashing machine. The steamboats started before we did & pushed through to the Mississippi & there tied up to wait for us to get down & go on board. Saturday the 21st 1864 We marched today 12miles & camped for the day & night at the Mississippi & were glad to once more see the Land of the Living for we felt as if we were once more free from Corporal Banks & could not be moved about again to suit the caprices of that inefficient man for we had no faith in him & we had begun to doubt his loyalty … as there was many little things that we noticed that did not speak well for him .. for when we were at Atchafalaya Bayou our quartermaster was to there draw provision to last us for 5 days up the river & he would not give us one mouthful of meat & at the same time he had unloaded & left at 1 place on the bank of the Bayou 100 barrels of beef & had a guard placed over it so that no one should disturb it… there was also several barrels of salt.. several of flour..& several of dried apples & just as soon as he refused our quartermaster we concluded that we would have it anyhow… so there was so many of us went that his guard was not worth a cent for in less than 20minutes the apples & flour was gone & the beef brine was shoe-top deep in the road. He also left a large wagon loaded with ammunition standing. Those things it looks plain he had left for the Rebs. But Smith’s guerillas[our boys] brought the rear & they are opposed to furnishing the Rebs with nix nix. Gen. Smith knew that we were knocking the barrels to pieces but he intended to let us have our way with these provisions. Banks brought to the Bayou bank 15,000 head of beef cattle & he left full 2/3 of them loose on the banks for the Rebs to get…if we had of had any way of crossing the bayou we would have shot all that were left so that the Rebs could not get them. 

To day the 21st. -- I received a letter from home it was old but none the less acceptable to me as any kind of word from home seems so welcome that I have no language to tell the gladness of my heart. But I have hardly got ready to send you this one I hoped that I would have a chance to send it to you by John Stockum as his time is up now… but he left unbeknown to us… several of our boys intended to send little notions… but it is reported that he had been sent about 100 miles up the river to help drive a Rebel battery from its banks. I do not know how soon he will be at home … if I do not get a chance soon I will send it to you by mail.. but as I have not had any pay for 5mos I could not raise enough to buy the postage… but if I can not send it soon I will try to borrow enough to pay the postage on it.

I have just come to the conclusions that there is nothing occurring from the 21st that would be of any interest to you-so I will close out hoping that this may reach you & maybe interesting enough to be worth your perusal. Please let me know after you have read it & then I will be able to know how to proceed in coming expeditions of which I hope to not have a great many more… for I have this spring trooped at least 800 miles & that is all that I have a taste to do… although it is pleasant to see the country after all it costs you so many leg weary hours… but I have tramped many long weary days & have laid my bones down on the ground & took as good a nights sleep as ever was taken by any man. I have laid many a night when I was so tired that I could hardly go to sleep & gazed upon the peaceful looking stars that shone so bright & sweet & have wondered in my heart whether or not you.. at home.. that I loved so well were not gazing out the same time upon the self same star. You I expect have had those self same thoughts for they are so natural that they are common to all.

I had hoped to get a letter from some of you at home today… but as the Rebs have been tampering with our boats up the river … I think that is probably the reason that I have failed[to get a letter]. My Dear Wife day before yesterday I expressed thee a box with a couple of old blankets… one of them my own old one… & one that I go of J. Jackson… also 2 old overcoats that thee can fix up for me if I ever get home… also an old rubber for thee to use at milking time if it rains… there is 2 or 3 books for the children & some other little things… there is a package marked L. Jolls.. his family will call at mothers for it. There is a Bible marked Duke that his people will also call at mothers for. I will send thee my pay just as soon as I can get it from the government. I am at Vicksburg now… but our regiment will move somewhere in the course of a few days. I hope to be paid off before we leave. With much love I conclude … & a kiss to all especially my little flock of home..Kiss Willy.. Lory.. Ella.. May.. & Ida & you all kiss Ma.

      T.B. Doxey