Read THE BATTLE OF IRISH BEND. of The Twenty-fifth Regiment‚ Connecticut Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion, free online book, by George P. Bissell, Samuel K. Ellis, Thomas McManus & Henry Hill Goodell, on ReadCentral.com.

Interesting Reminiscences of Terrible Conflict Between States.

Horrors of War Graphically Told by General Thomas McManus, Who Was Major of the Twenty-fifth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers.

By request of Major Thomas McManus I will give a brief account of the country of lower Louisiana and the battle of Irish Bend, as given by him in an address at St. Patrick’s Church, Collinsville, April 23, 1893, and published in the Hartford Post of the date of April 14, 1913, being fifty years to a day after that terrible conflict:

Lower Louisiana is a marshy, swampy level stretch of country with an imperceptible coast line. No one can tell where the solid ground ends or where the sea begins. Approaching from the Gulf of Mexico, you find your ship in muddy waters, and by and by you see here and there a speck of mud itself, emerging above the surface, and barely large enough to be noticed, and after a while these small islands grow together and you begin to realize that there are distinctly defined banks each side of the broad muddy channel through which you are sailing, intersected here and there by other channels extending in every direction. Twenty miles perhaps from the place where you first perceived indications of real mud, the land will be firm enough to sustain a few piles supporting a fisherman’s cabin or pilot’s hut. Ten miles further on and you may see signs of life and cultivation. The river banks have risen to a height of two or three feet above the level of the water. The whole southwestern part of the state is a network of bayous or natural canals, usually narrow and always deep. In summer they are mere channels of drainage, but in spring they are full to the top and often overflowing thus making a system of natural waterways that reach within a mile or two of every plantation with currents strong enough to carry the flat boats laden with sugar, cotton and corn to New Orleans, Brashear or the ports on the coast. Here and there the yet unfilled depressions in the soil form large but shallow lakes, that in the dry season are mere marshes.

This was the region where it was fated that the Twenty-fifth Connecticut regiment should make its spring campaign in 1863. Early in December we had taken possession of Baton Rouge on the Mississippi and had employed our time in practically learning the art of war, and we prided ourselves on our proficiency in drill and discipline. The winter had been, to us who were accustomed to our rigorous climate here, very mild, but we had begun to feel as early as the end of March, a foretaste of that terrible enervation that the coming summer was to bring to our men habituated to our bracing air of Connecticut. We were somewhat hardened to the little outdoor inconveniences of Louisiana. We didn’t mind the mosquitoes, although they were ten times as big a hundred times as hungry and a thousand times as vicious as those we raise here. We didn’t mind the wood-ticks, and although we preferred not to have moccasin snakes in our tents, they would come sometimes. We had made a movement on Port Hudson early in March and the Twenty-fifth was in the lead, seven miles in advance of the main army. We had built a bridge over the Bayou Montecino, and had lain on our arms all night awaiting orders to attack Port Hudson, when Farragut’s fleet attempted to pass the batteries. Only two of his ships, the Hartford and Albatross, succeeded, while the Richmond was disabled and the Mississippi was destroyed. We had engaged in a night skirmish with the enemy at Montecino, and had lost one man in that affair. We had retired from Port Hudson as rear guard to the column. Ours was the post of danger every time, and we had encountered the worst storm and waded through the deepest mud to be found on the continent and had bivouacked in a field almost as dry as the bottom of Lake Ontario.

With these experiences we felt like veterans, but we didn’t then know how much we had to learn. On March 31, our regiment was transported to Donaldsonville, fifty miles below Baton Rouge, from there we marched beside Bayou Lefourche to Thibodeaux and then took the cars for Bayou Boeuf, and after a few days’ halt, marched over to Brashear. We knew that something was going to be done, but didn’t know what. We knew that somebody was going to be hurt, but didn’t know who. We knew that some folks were going to get badly whipped, but it wasn’t us. We were certain of that. Our superior officer and officers couldn’t tell us anything or wouldn’t tell us anything, and I have since come to the conclusion that they were very much like some of the wire pulling politicians of the present day. They didn’t know themselves. It may be wisdom sometimes in war and in politics, not to let your followers know just what you intend to make them do, but it’s mighty poor policy to let your enemy know it first.

On Saturday, April 11, 1863, the Twenty-fifth Connecticut, less than 500 strong, embarked on the steamer St. Mary, a New York and Galveston liner built to carry 500 passengers at a pinch, but loaded on this occasion with 2,500.

We were crowded. We were just packed as close as the squares of hardtack in the bread barrels, closer than sardines in a box. So close that we didn’t have room to sweat. We had to hold our haversacks that contained three days’ rations of sheet iron biscuit and salt pork, on our heads. The decks were covered with a solid mass of humanity. We cast off the lines and our ship slowly steamed up the Atchafalaya, now and then rubbing the banks so closely that we could grasp the branches of the magnolia and cypress that formed one green, unbroken fringe on either side.

General Emory’s division of Banks’ army had already moved up the west bank of the Bayou Teche, fighting its way against the fresh active troops of Dick Taylor. We were in General Cuvier Grover’s division, and were expected to sail up Grand Lake and disembark at Hutchins Landing, where the Teche, by a sharp bend, comes within two miles of the lake; and on this narrow strip was the only road (as we supposed) over which an army and especially artillery and baggage wagons could pass. During Saturday night, Sunday, and Sunday night we were crammed, stifled and suffocated on the steamer’s deck, as she slowly felt her way up through the muddy and shallow water of Grand Lake. To have run aground would have been disastrous failure to the whole expedition. Towing astern were large flat bottomed scows, loaded with artillery and artillery men. These were indispensable when on Monday morning we found that it was impossible for our ship to approach within half a mile of the shore, and the men were ferried from the steamer to the bank, where a lively little skirmish was going on between some Confederate scouts and Col. Dick Holcomb’s First Louisiana. General Grover was ahead of us, smoking as usual, and in his excitement he had lighted a second cigar and was vigorously puffing and pulling at both corners of his mouth. He grasped Colonel Bissell by the hands in welcome, as the colonel leaped from the boat. No delay now, forward! A few hundred yards brought us to the woods. Our skirmishers went through and we soon had orders to follow. We halted at the open clearing on the other side and awaited to hear from General Grover, who had gone ahead to reconnoitre. Off to the southwest we could hear the artillery firing that told us that Emory’s forces were having a fierce fight with Taylor’s, only a few miles away. Another half mile advance, another halt and again forward. Just as the sun was going down we crossed the Teche over a drawbridge and filed into the main road and skirted the fertile plantation of Madame Porter. This stately, handsome lady, surrounded by scores of fat, happy looking and well clad slaves, stood in front of her elegant home and sadly watched us as we passed. No farm in Connecticut, however carefully supervised, could show better evidences of wise management than this. The houses, fences, granaries, fields, slave quarters and everything, were in perfect order all were clean, whole, and systematically arranged. The fertile soil seemed to proclaim audibly to our farmer boys its readiness to give back a hundred and fifty fold for its seed and care. The shades of night were falling fast when we filed into an open ploughed field and moved by the right of companies to the rear into columns. We halted, stacked arms, ate hardtack and raw pork, and rested. The ground was soft alluvial; mist came with sundown and rain came with the darkness, and the surface of the earth was soon transformed into soft, deep mud. There was no noise, no music, no laughter. Every man knew instinctively that the morrow’s sun would shine upon many a corpse. Our generals had believed, and we had hoped, that as soon as Taylor would find this large force of ours suddenly occupying the road in his rear, he would submit to the inevitable and surrender, but he had not surrendered and would not surrender, and that meant a fierce engagement for us. As soon as darkness had set in, General Grover sent up rockets to apprise General Banks of our position. Sleep was impossible. Colonel Bissell and I sat on a bread box, back to back, our feet in the soft mud and our clothing gradually absorbing the rain that fell steadily upon us. The hours dragged slowly along, and before daybreak our men were aroused, made a hasty breakfast, and in the grey of the morning we set out in advance of our brigade that consisted of the Thirteenth and Twenty-fifth Connecticut, Twenty-sixth Maine and One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York, Colonel Birge in command. We were all on foot, officers and men alike. Our horses, baggage, and impediments had been left at Brashear to follow the column of General Emory.

For a mile below Madame Porter’s plantation the Bayou Teche runs to the southeast and then turns sharply to the southwest towards Franklin, a very pretty village, some five miles below. The road following the sinuosities of the stream runs parallel to it, with a strip of a few rods in width between. We enter an immense cane field, its furrows in line with the road. On the west the field was bounded by a rail fence, beyond which arose a dense wood of magnolias, cotton wood and semi-tropical trees looking like a long green wall. Far in front arose a transverse wall like to the first, and making at its intersection a right angle. At this angle, the road entered the wood, near to the ground this forest was absolutely impenetrable to the sight, by reason of the suffocating growth of briars, vines, palmettos and underbrush. We ought to have occupied these woods the night before, and have hemmed the enemy in the open beyond. We now knew that the foe was in our immediate front. We marched down the field, the right wing deployed as skirmishers, the left wing in close battalion front following a few rods in its rear. By and by a puff of smoke from the green wall in front of us and a second or two afterwards the crack of a rifle. The fight had begun; another puff, another crack then more and more, multiplying as we approached. The bend in the road is now disclosed, the enemy’s skirmishers disappeared from our front to reappear in greater numbers on our right. Our skirmishers were called in and we changed front forward on first company, moved down towards the wood on the right, and halting about 150 yards from the fence, we poured a volley into the enemy’s ranks. The One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York came down into line on our left, the Twenty-sixth Maine formed in our rear, the Thirteenth Connecticut took position on our extreme left occupying both sides of the road. The canes of the previous year’s sugar crop stood in the field and their volley firing didn’t get our range, and our lines were parallel with the furrows. The enemy’s shot rattled through the dry stalks, crackling like hail against the windows. The enemy were armed with the smooth bores, every cartridge charged with a bullet and three buck shot, while our regiment was armed with Enfield rifles and so the Rebels, man for man were giving us four shots to our one in return.

The enemy had an immense advantage in position and the conviction was stealing over us that they had the advantage in numbers also. Our men had warmed up to their work; every soldier had long before drained the last drop from his canteen; the sun was rising high and hot and we learned then that there is no thirst so burning and terrible as that which seizes upon the soldier in battle. Every command given by the Confederate officers was as distinctly heard by us as if given in our own companies. Their lines already extended far beyond our flank and their oft-repeated cheers told us how rapidly their ranks were being increased by new arrivals. Suddenly a loud cheer from the Rebels; then the thundering war of a field piece, and in an instant from overhead came a crack, with a rain of iron fragments as a shell exploded right over our line; another roar, a crack, and iron shower and we see to our dismay two brazen guns admirably served, trained directly upon us pouring shell grape and cannister into our ranks, while their musketry fire grew hotter and fiercer than ever. Our men were nearing the end of their supply of ammunition. If the Confederates had charged upon us at this time they would have annihilated our brigade!

Wounded men were crawling to the rear, where Dr. Wood, with McGill and his assistants, stood under their yellow hospital flag. Col. Bissell’s voice rang clear and cheerful as ever, but his face was anxious. Down into the field came Bradley’s battery at a gallop and very soon their guns were answering the enemy’s. Up went Bissell’s sword, with a joyful cheer, as he shouted to Lieutenant Dewey “There’s music in the air!” Our re-enforcements of artillery gave us renewed spirits but it was in vain to hope for victory against a better posted and overwhelming force.

Hurrah! At last, here comes Dwight’s brigade. But suddenly, as if evoked by magic, arose a long gray line of armed men. They had crawled unperceived through the thick high canes and our first intimation of their presence was a murderous volley raking our lines from right to left. Bradley’s battery was retreating to the rear, with nine of his men dead or disabled on the ground. “Fall back!” shouted the Colonel. Our right wing was in confusion and disorder. The left wing fell back steadily but only for a few rods, the advancing brigade opened ranks to let us pass and we halted and we formed in its rear and sank exhausted on the ground anxiously watching the fate of our gallant supporters. Ninety-five of our brave boys were dead or wounded, nine-tenths of them by that terrible flank fire. In our last five minutes on the field lay the lifeless bodies of Captain Hayden and young Lieutenant Dewey. Arnold and Wilson lay dead. Lieutenant Oliver had been carried from the field with a bullet in his head, to linger for six weeks before death came to his relief. Lieutenant Waterman stood resolute at the head of his company with his arm bandaged and bleeding. Lieutenant Harkness limped painfully along disabled by a spent bullet. John H. Hunt of Coventry had his side torn open by an explosion, and his sufferings were intense. It was strange that he didn’t die instantly, yet he lingered for seven days. John Martin fell dead at the final volley from the Rebels. Old Button was carried off the field, his shoulder mangled, the bone splintered in the socket and with but a few days more of life before him. Graham lay dead. Brooks, the tall young sapling whose extraordinary height made him a conspicuous mark, had fallen pierced by a dozen bullets. Sergeant Taft, with a shattered arm, was carried off the field by his lieutenant. Brennan, Gray, Prindle, Lawton, Holden and Carlos Bissell lay dead. Cook lay mortally wounded. Lieutenant Banning was crippled for life. John Thompson of Ellington had a bullet hole through his jaws, incapacitating him for further service. Goodwin, Lincoln, and Avery Brown were also seriously injured in this battle, as were also many others whom I cannot name.

April 16th. We started at seven o’clock, marching quite slowly through the day. We were on the way to Newton or New Iberia, distance about 35 miles from Irish Bend, where the battle took place. It was very hot and dusty and the men were getting very foot sore; a good many had to fall out by the road-side to rest. We had formed a junction with Emory’s division and Weitzel’s brigade and were at this time in close pursuit of the enemy, seven miles from New Iberia. We had taken a large number of prisoners, three pieces of artillery and several caissons and the Confederates fearful of the gunboats Diana and the Queen of the West falling into our hands burned them. In addition to this the Arizona engaged and blew up a Rebel gunboat. We were in hot pursuit of the Rebels, our advance skirmishing with Rebel General Moulton’s rear guard.

April 17th. We were up at three o’clock, and started soon after getting some hard-tack and coffee. Our division was alone, Emory’s division having taken a different route. We made a hard march of twenty miles. A great many men fell out, but we pushed the Rebels hard. At 5 P.M. they made a stand and an artillery duel ensued in which we lost a few men. The Confederates then retired, burning the bridge over the bayou. We then halted for the night, supposing that our next move would be Alexandra, via Opelousas, which since the capture of Baton Rouge had been the capital of the state of Louisiana.

April 19th, Sunday. This morning we had a hard thunder shower, arousing us from our bunks and soaking us thoroughly. We started on the march at eight o’clock. It was very muddy and we had to march very slow on that account. We went into camp at night pretty well fagged out. About midnight I was called up to go out quite a distance to an out-post on picket. We had a very hard time of it, for we had to be up until morning and stand by our arms.

April 20th. We marched rather slow on account of it being so excessively hot. We forded quite a bayou where the Rebels had burned another bridge. We went into camp at night at Opelousas, where we expected to have a fight but on our approach, we found the Rebels had retreated from the town, which was pretty good news for us.

Opelousas, April 21st. I will endeavor to give a few of my experiences at this place. Here General Banks gave his worn and tired army a rest. The Twenty-fifth Connecticut took position about seven miles east of headquarters, at Barre’s Landing. While we privates were enjoying a suspension of active operations, the officers were unusually busy, as their numbers were greatly reduced by resignation, sickness and death. We were still wondering why that long looked for paymaster had not blessed us with his appearance and we were still in despair about it. Since the battle of Irish Bend we pressed the Confederates hard all the way to Opelousas, fighting their rear guard and taking prisoners every day. Our cavalry made a fierce charge at New Iberia. With sabers drawn they charged into the Texicans, scattering them in every direction. We were then at the port of Opelousas and shipping cotton at a great rate. We had shipped some two thousand bales; there was still a large quantity at the landing and more coming in hourly. We had to all take hold and help load it on the boat. While we were out on picket one day we had the good luck to come across one hundred and thirty bales. Opelousas was a very pleasant little city of several thousand inhabitants. There were some splendid mansions with grounds laid out in fine style. There was a small foundry in the place and two magazines; one of its three churches was stored with powder and ammunition, abandoned by the Confederates in their flight. The people were more Union than any we had previously seen and were of a better class. Provisions were sold at fabulous prices; eggs fifty cents a dozen, coffee five dollars a pound, and flour fifty dollars a barrel, and scarcely any at that. We learned from some of our Rebel prisoners how their soldiers lived. They had only one commissary wagon drawn by three yoke of oxen for an army of five thousand men. They lived principally upon the plantations as they passed along, as we had done.

The slaves appeared to me, all the way through this long march, to be contented and happy with their families in their cabins. I think they lived principally on corn which they ground by hand power and made into corn bread and hoe cake, with plenty of sweet potatoes which grew abundantly in Louisiana. I think they must have gotten along pretty well. At many plantations where the Union soldiers would stop at nightfall for chickens, the slaves would come out of their cabins and plead with us to let them be. This, our boys were very loath to do, and I don’t know as anyone could blame them, for a good chicken was a great temptation after a long hard day’s march.

May 5th. We started on our return march this morning very early. We came through a little village by the name of Washington. We marched twenty miles and went into camp for the night very tired and some very foot-sore. I was sick all day but managed to keep up with the regiment. It was very hot and dry.

May 7th. This morning I was sick and got a pass from Doctor Wood, our army surgeon, to go on to the ambulance wagon. But found on investigation that there was no room for me, as the wagons were full of sick men unable to sit up. Therefore I was obliged to ride on a baggage wagon all day. Went into camp at night feeling some better. Went out with other comrades and bought some chickens of the darkies. About this time the paymaster arrived. It was a time of great interest to the men, as we had not been paid for more than four months. A great many wanted to send money to their families and friends who, in some cases were in great need. But we were about two hundred miles from New Orleans, the nearest point from which money could be sent with safety. There were no Confederates in arms between us and New Orleans but the country was full of men who had broken all laws and who held any human life very cheap, when money was at stake. How to send home the money the soldiers could spare was a very important question. In a chapter printed elsewhere in this book, entitled “How the Pay of the Regiment was Carried to New Orleans by Lieutenant Henry Hill Goodell,” it will be told how it was accomplished.

On May 21st we received marching orders and about noon we embarked on board the little steamer Empire Parish along with the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York and the Thirteenth Connecticut. I wonder if anyone can imagine how crowded we were, also taking into consideration that a good many of the soldiers were inclined to be troublesome. Colonel Bissell was taken quite sick at about this time and had to find a place to lie down. Soon after 3 P.M., while the rest of the boats were being loaded we shipped from the dock and away up the Atchafalaya to the Red River where we passed the Switzerland and another little boat watching for Rebel craft. Here we slipped down the Red River to the Mississippi, where we came upon the grim old Hartford, Rear Admiral Farragut’s flagship. The Thirteenth Connecticut band saluted her as we passed, with “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Yankee Doodle.” At about midnight we went ashore at Bayou Sara, sixteen miles from Port Hudson. A portion of our brigade marched on and left our regiment to unload the boats. It was after 2 A.M. before we had any chance to lie down.

May 22nd, at about four o’clock, we started, breakfastless, to overtake the rest of our brigade. Colonel Bissell was left at a house with a guard. Major McManus assumed command of the regiment. We marched a short distance and found the remainder of our brigade encamped at St. Francisville, which was upon a hill the first we had seen since coming to Louisiana. Soon after eight o’clock our column was set in motion, the Third brigade in advance. As we passed through the village of St. Francisville the people thronged to the doors. Some would curse and swear, while others seemed glad to see us. One woman in a spiteful tone called out to another woman: “Come in, for God’s sake, and don’t stay there looking at those Yankee devils.” The manners of these Southern women were astonishing. They would curse and call us vile names and call upon God to save a just cause. We had a hard march climbing up hill between magnificent hedges of jessamine in bloom, the flowers of which were very beautiful. We advanced very slowly for it was quite warm and the dust was stifling. To add to all this it was a terrible country to skirmish through. We had two men seriously wounded during that day. At about 4 o’clock we halted and our regiment was ordered to the front as advance picket for the night. We deployed into a field near a beautiful creek, Thompson’s, where the water was knee-deep and very clear. Our forces were ordered across the creek to the edge of the adjoining woods. After a short skirmish we succeeded in accomplishing our object. It rained quite hard and we had to be upon the watch most of the night.

May 23rd. We started on the march, our men pretty well tired out by two nights’ duty. But we had no mercy shown us. The Twenty-fifth regiment was ordered to take the advance as skirmishers and a hard time we had of it, forcing our way through bamboo brake, pushing over vine and bushes, wading through water, scratching and tearing ourselves with thorns and stumbling over ploughed fields. It was very hard work and many a strong man gave out with fatigue and exhaustion. At 10 o’clock A.M. we met the advance of Colonel Grierson’s cavalry. Our wearied column of soldiers were called in, therefore we were very much pleased to see them. We advanced a short distance and halted near a well of delicious cool water, some two miles from Port Hudson. In a few minutes, General Augur rode up and held a conference with General Grover.

At 7 P.M. I was detailed to go on picket. Rather rough on a fellow to be two days and nights on duty. But a soldier’s first duty is to obey without grumbling and so I went, but I could hardly keep from going to sleep. It was a beautiful moonlight night and I stood and watched the bombs from the mortar boats curling around in the sky and bursting in a fiery show, making a splendid sight. The night passed quietly, save for a couple of false alarms. At about 5 o’clock A.M., Jared Wells, my old tent mate, and I went out blackberrying. In a little while we had enough for a good meal for ourselves and some for the boys in camp. This was the 24th of May, under the guns of Port Hudson. We got back into camp about 9 o’clock and commenced making preparations for a Sunday advance on the fortifications. The Second Brigade was in advance and the Twenty-fourth Connecticut lost a few men; at about noon the first earthworks were taken and we deployed into the woods on our right. We lay here for two long hours while shells burst all around us, but we were mercifully preserved, though in great danger.

Soon after 4 P.M., our regiment was ordered out as picket-skirmishers and we were stationed behind trees all through the woods to keep the enemy back. On our right was the Thirteenth Connecticut and on the left was the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York. This was the third night that we had been on duty and we were pretty well tired out but it seems they hadn’t got through with the Twenty-fifth yet.

May 25th. At about 9 A.M. we were relieved and called in. As we were being relieved by the Twelfth Maine we had to pass over a place commanded by the sharpshooters of the enemy. The bullets whizzed most unpleasantly near, killing one man of the Thirteenth Connecticut. We thought that after being relieved we should get some rest. But about as soon as we got into camp we were ordered to fall in again. We marched out of the woods, over the hill and the entrenchments taken the day before, immediately coming under a sharp fire from the Rebel sharpshooters. We were immediately ordered to fire upon them and drive them out. After a sharp skirmish of half an hour we drove them clear out of the woods and into their rifle-pits. We then occupied the woods, and we kept up such a sharp fire upon them that not one of the rascally Rebs dared lift his head above the works. We were just in time to save the Twelfth Maine from being flanked and cut to pieces.

About 3 P.M. General Weitzel’s brigade attacked, and after a severe fight, drove the Rebels out of the woods. While this was going on our right, we could hear the yells, hurrahs and the crackle of musketry, roar of artillery and many other concomitants of the fight, but could see but little. Consequently we stood and fidgeted round not knowing when our turn might come.

May 26th. Our regiment remained on the reserve till 5 P.M., when the four right companies were ordered to the front. We had a splendid view of an artillery duel. The work of Nim’s battery was perfect. Our artillery unlimbered two or three guns and their fire was so sharp, the Rebel gunners did not dare load their pieces.

May 27th. We were relieved at about 6 P.M., by the Twelfth Maine regiment, but we were almost immediately ordered out to the support of Nim’s battery which had just been put into position. Here we lay five or six hours while the enemy’s shells burst in most unpleasant proximity. Then our regiment and the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York were ordered out to the support of General Weitzel on our right. We marched on the double-quick down through the woods, when we were ordered by General Grover to advance to the front and carry the earthworks. We were informed that there were hardly any Rebels there. Major Burt of the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth, who was in command, was told that his regiment alone would be able to carry the works and to send back our regiment if it wasn’t needed. But we found out very soon that our assistance would be necessary to carry the earthworks. We rushed on through the woods and down a hill, swept by the enemy’s artillery. Here we turned to the right and emerged on to a plain. I shall never forget that sight. The valley was filled with felled trees, and heavy underbrush, while thick and black rolled the battle-smoke. There was a hill on our left, strongly entrenched and from here loomed up a big gun. Just below on a little bridge was planted a stand of the Stars and Stripes, the glorious old banner, and gathered around it stood a handful of brave men firing a stream of bullets upon that piece. For six long hours the gunners did not dare approach to load and that wicked looking gun was kept silent. It was here that we had a taste of real war in all its horrors. It was a sort of a floating panorama that passed before me, a hideous dream. There was a roaring and crashing of artillery, bursting of shells and the rattle of muskets, with hissing and whistling of minie balls and battle-smoke lowering down upon us. There were men dropping here and there and all the horrid experiences of war. Still we kept on; there was a short turn to the right and in single file we commenced ascending through a deep ravine. Wading through water, stumbling over and under fallen trees, we finally came to a pit about six feet deep; when we had gotten out of that we were on the side of the hill where we had to prepare to make a charge. It was a wicked place to charge. The nature of the ground was such it was impossible to form in battle line, so to make the attack in three columns over felled trees which were cris-crossed in every shape imaginable. We waited here for a few moments with beating hearts, waiting for the forward charge. The word came and with a terrifying yell we rose to our feet and rushed forward. It was a terrible time, when bounding over the last tree and crashing through some brush we came out within a short distance of the enemy’s entrenchments, and it seemed as though a thousand rifles were cracking our doom. This fire was too deadly for men to stand against. Our brave fellows, shot down as fast as they could come up, were beaten back. Then occurred one of those heroic deeds we sometimes read about. The colors of the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth were left on the hill, their color sergeant having been killed. Corporal Buckley of our regiment calmly worked back in that terrific fire, picked up the dear old flag and brought it in, turned to pick up his gun and was killed. He was a noble fellow and much beloved in the regiment.

Resting here a short time, we made a second charge with the same deadly results. Our regiment and the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York lost 80 men killed and wounded. It was a terrible position we were in. Sharpshooters on the left picking us off; sharpshooters on right giving it to us and the rifle pits in front. Here we had to stay till after 10 o’clock that night when the order came to fall back, which we did, bringing off our wounded. I was so tired I fell asleep and barely woke in time to get away. We had several killed and wounded in our regiment. I will say here that our little company was not entirely dissolved at this time though reduced to less than 20 men. Our colonel we missed sadly, but earnestly hoped to welcome him back soon. Our regiment numbered 162 men and eight officers at this time.

May 28th. There was lively firing this morning on the picket lines, but the cannons were quiet. We were expecting reinforcements and we needed them if we were ever to take Port Hudson. This was the seventh day of the siege and we were pretty well fagged out. We had to fight for every foot of ground. But we had carried the first two earthworks by storm. It had been one continual fight since we started in but there was a cessation of hostilities for a short time, and the lull was a great relief, for my ears had been half-deafened by the awful roar of artillery and cracking of musketry. There were three men killed and about twenty wounded, and thirty in our regiment missing. Again in our little company we had several wounded, one fatally. So I think that I must have been in great danger several times, but I felt that a kind Providence watched over me, and brought me out safely. The regiment at this time was under the command of Major McManus, Colonel Bissell being sick with remittent fever at Bayou Sara and the lieutenant-colonel prostrated at New Orleans. The colored regiments fought bravely and made some splendid charges.

May 31st. There has been some firing by the infantry and artillery during the day. About ten o’clock last night we withdrew our forces very cautiously, bringing away all the wounded we could reach, but there were some poor unfortunates lying up under the breastworks that it was impossible to reach. Every time we tried to get to them the Rebs would fire on us. We threw them canteens of water but it was of little use. We marched back and lay upon the battlefield of the preceding day.

June 1st. We marched back into the woods and were there in support of a battery. It was very trying for us. The Rebs had a perfect range on us and several times a day they would throw those immense twelve-inch shells right into our midst. We could hear them coming for several seconds and we all stood close to the trees for protection. There must have been a large number killed that day. The next day there was a cessation of hostilities to bury the dead. At about seven o’clock the enemy made a terrible onslaught on our right but they were repulsed with heavy loss. We fell into our places expecting to be called into action but we were spared for once. We remained there until the 7th when Lieutenant-Colonel Weld came up from New Orleans and assumed command.

June 7th. We were ordered to the front to relieve the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York in the rifle-pits. We went out in the night as the enemy’s sharpshooters rendered it very dangerous to go in the daytime. We had rifle pits dug about two hundred yards from the rifle-pits of the Rebs, and we had loop-holes made from which to fire. About one hundred yards back of us was planted one of our batteries and as they fired over our heads anyone might imagine what a deafening report rang in our ears. We boys got the range of the rifle-pits of “Mr. Secesh” opposite, perfectly, consequently they didn’t dare show their heads. Though from their hiding place they annoyed us all day. After dark we usually held some conversation with the Rebs across the ravine. We would ask them if they wanted any soft bread. If they did we would put some in a mortar and send it over. They said they didn’t care to have any sent that way and as we didn’t have much to spare we didn’t send any. Our bean soup and coffee and such other food as might be handy was sent out before daylight in the morning and after dark at night. We were here in this trench or pit for three long days and nights and one can imagine how we suffered from heat and thirst. We were relieved on the tenth by the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York. We returned to our old camp-ground June 11th between 12 and 1 A.M. A general assault was planned but owing to some misunderstanding the plan failed.

June 14th, Sunday. The day was an eventful one in the siege of Port Hudson, of which the Twenty-fifth Connecticut was engaged. We were under way at an early hour, for we formed the reserve in the attacking column. Colonel Birge was in command of the reserve. We were up at 3 A.M., had a little hard-tack and coffee and started under command of Captain Naughton at 4. Suddenly we heard a terrifying yell and the crash and roar of artillery and musketry. Soon the dead and wounded began to be brought in. All kinds of conflicting stories were circulated as to the success of our brave fellows. Very soon General Payne was wounded, and Colonel H. W. Birge assumed command, we forming the reserve. Soon we were ordered forward. On through the scene of our first day’s fight, then down through a ravine, where a road had been cut. Here we halted at the foot of the hill where we formed in battle line and made another charge right up over the hill, exposed to a raking fire, as we went over the crest and down through the ravine before we could reach the breastworks. There we lost two lieutenants. A large number of men were killed or wounded. We arrived at the other side of the hill in great confusion. I shall never forget that horrible scene. There were parts of several regiments all mixed up together, entangled among fallen trees. But after getting straightened out, and the line once more formed, the order to charge was countermanded and we had to lay up there in that fearful hot sun all day. I was taken sick and had to rest for awhile but I soon got better and joined the regiment. At about 10 P.M. we were ordered down into the outer ditch of the breastworks. We were there but a short time, when we were ordered to the right to our old position in the rifle-pits, which we reached at midnight.

General Payne had been wounded in the leg in the forenoon, but we could not get up where he was to give him any aid, consequently he had to lay there in the burning sun till night, when he was brought away in safety. It was a scorching hot day and a number were sunstruck, some cases proving fatal. I was exhausted and had to lie down in the shade. It was a miserable Sunday scrape and ended like all the rest that had been started on a Sunday, disastrously. The loss of life was very great.

We were relieved at night by the Twenty-eighth Connecticut and returned once more to our old camp-ground, where, after the whizzing of the bullets and the cracking of firearms had died away, all was still but the groans that could be heard upon the bloody battlefield.

June 15th. The day after the second assault on Port Hudson, General Banks issued a call for volunteers “for a storming column of a thousand men to vindicate the Flag of the Union, and the memory of its defenders who had fallen. Let them come forward, every officer and soldier who shares its perils and its glory shall receive a medal fit to commemorate the first grand success of the campaign of 1863 for the freedom of the Mississippi River. His name will be placed upon the roll of honor.” The next day, June 16, the order was promulgated and two days later, June 18, these “stormers,” as they were called, were gathered into a camp by themselves and put into training calculated to promote physical strength and endurance. By every conceivable way they prepared themselves for the work that they were expected to do. These brave men knew that all the arrangements for their support had been made but the expected order did not come. They had had three or four dreadful experiences in charging earthworks and yet these men were willing to assault those same earthworks again.

June 26th. There has been considerable bombarding on account of the Rebels opening some big guns but I think they are doing very little damage. We heard today that the enemy had driven our army across the Potomac and that there was great excitement throughout the North. We hoped that the report was false. Last night I was detailed to go on picket being sent out to an outpost about a mile from the reserve. We stood by our arms most of the time during the night. There was brisk firing on our left most of the time.

June 27th. Came in from picket. Today we have been reviewed by Major-General Banks. He made a temperance speech to us. I think he must have thought that we were getting to be a pretty tough set of fellows. I don’t see how he could have thought that, when we couldn’t get very much that was intoxicating, only what quinine and whiskey Uncle Sam issued to us when we came off picket duty.

July 1st. There has been a reason for my not writing in my diary for a few days. We had been told that no soldiers’ letters could be sent North and I put off writing in the hope that I could record the fall of Port Hudson, that Rebel stronghold. But still the siege drags slowly along. Our days were divided between rifle-pits and making assaults. The Rebs hold their rifle-pits and we advance ours or remain stationary.

Yesterday, the colored brigade carried a hill by storm and have held it, notwithstanding the great effort made by the Rebels to regain it.

Sunday, July 3rd. We attacked Port Hudson at two points, but were beaten back with great loss. The battle still rages and omnipotence still holds the scales in equal balance. This is the 25th day of the siege and we are still stuck outside the fortification. Last Sunday we made a general assault. We got inside three times but for want of support were driven back. Men were mowed down on our right and left. It was a wonder how I was preserved. I have been in four direct assaults on the breastworks, several skirmishes and yet not a scratch have I received.

Port Hudson, July 4th, (Independence Day). As will be seen, we had no idea of what was going on more than two hundred miles up the river at Vicksburg, or fifteen hundred miles at Gettysburg. At Vicksburg, General Grant was quietly smoking a cigar when he wrote a dispatch to be sent to Cairo to be telegraphed to the General-in-Chief at Washington: “The enemy surrendered this morning. The only terms allowed is their parole as prisoners of war.” The same dispatch was sent to General Banks at Port Hudson. At Gettysburg the army of the Potomac had inflicted a terrible defeat on the army of Northern Virginia. I really believe this is the quietest Fourth of July I have ever spent. Verily, I don’t believe there has been as much powder burnt here as in New York or Boston. I wouldn’t wonder if Hartford, with its swarm of boys, could outstrip us. Every little while there’s a bang, a boom and the bursting of a shell, for we must keep the besieged from falling asleep and stir them up occasionally. Now, the music is becoming lively, the gunboats and the batteries are pitching in and altogether we are giving them Hail Columbia to the tune of Yankee Doodle.

For the last few days we have been in a very enviable frame of mind, expecting every day to be ordered to participate in another assault. Yet the orders have not come and each night we have drawn a long breath and exclaimed one more day of grace. Well, so it is, but while we are getting uneasy for another fight we have a strong desire to avoid charging on the breastworks again. We’ve been in three, and some of us four, assaults on the Rebel fortifications and each time we have been driven back. The first of July, General Banks made us a great speech promising us that within three days we would be inside Port Hudson. But the three days have passed and those rascally Rebs still persist in keeping us outside. Although the fortifications could probably be stormed any day, yet why waste life when a few days will bring them to terms, as they are now reduced to mule-meat and a little corn. Deserters are coming in fast. One day as many as one hundred and fifty came in saying they couldn’t stand mule-meat any longer. Now I am feeling sure that within a few days I shall be able to record the fall of Port Hudson. The Rebel cavalry are harassing our rear ranks continually. They made a dash day before yesterday from Clinton and Jackson, striking here and there and picked up some stragglers and foraging parties. A few days ago they dashed into Springfield Landing whence we draw our stores and ammunition, but our cavalry went after them so quick they found pressing business in other quarters.

On the other side of the Mississippi quite a force came down. They attacked Donaldsonville a few days ago demanding the surrender of the town. But the provost-marshal gathered his forces together, amounting to about two hundred, got inside his fortifications, and waited for them to come up. The contest was kept up from midnight till daylight, when the sudden appearance of a gunboat caused the Rebels to skedaddle, leaving about one hundred dead on the field, several hundred wounded and one hundred and twenty prisoners.

Now comes the great surprise of all. The confounded Rebs have got into Bayou Boeuf and destroyed or captured the whole of our division property stored there. Tents, baggage, knapsacks, company and regimental books are all gone. At this time we were all as poor as Job’s turkey. Except for the rags that cover us, we haven’t a thing. Were I where I could, I should like to write a letter to the Soldiers’ Aid Society for some handkerchiefs, being reduced to the last shift, i. e., the flap of an old shirt picked up in a deserted mansion. Word comes from Colonel Bissell that he is slowly improving. We are hoping that we shall see him with us again soon. But I really believe his sickness saved his life, for it is doubtful if he would have come out alive from the charge the regiment made on the 27th of May. We are having some very hot weather. We are spending most of our time on picket duty and trying to keep cool. You would have laughed if you could have seen us at our meals wearing only shirt and drawers, while our comical colored boy, Adam, squatted down on the ground in front of us keeping the flies off. This Adam was a corker. Speaking of Mobile one day, he said: “Reckon you couldn’t fool dis nigga much in dat town. Specks he was born and raised dar. Yah! yah! yah! Reckon he knows ebry hole dar from de liquor-shops to de meeting houses.”

July 8th. The dispatch from General Grant, previously referred to, was received. The booming of big guns, the cheers and shouts of the Union soldiers and the strains of patriotic music informed the besieged that something had happened. They were not slow to find out the cause of the rejoicing. General Gardner sent a flag of truce to General Banks to know if the report that Vicksburg had surrendered was true and received in reply a copy of General Grant’s dispatch. The garrison had done their duty with brave fortitude. The Union lines were already in some places up to their breastworks. Starvation was staring them in the face and taking everything into consideration about the only thing for General Gardner to do was to surrender. Should the expected charge have been made by the “stormers” it would have been a waste of life for they could not expect to hold their position.

The 8th was spent in arranging terms for the surrender of the fortress and on the 9th, the storming column led the advance as the victorious army marched into Port Hudson to put the Stars and Stripes in the place of the stars and bars.

President Lincoln’s long-desired hope was realized and he could now say: “The Father of Waters again goes unmolested to the sea.” The time of the nine-months’ men was soon to expire and the Twenty-fifth Connecticut left very soon for New Orleans, but was detained at Donaldsonville for a few days.

About fifty years ago the people in the North were probably in a frenzy of excitement. We soldiers in the South had learned to take things cool. Vicksburg, the stumbling block, had fallen; Port Hudson had caved in; Lee and his army had gone to one eternal smash; Port Hudson had scarcely surrendered when we were called upon again to take the field. Those confounded Rebels didn’t know how to stay whipped, and General Taylor, reinforced by General Magruder’s Texicans, had again taken the field. They attacked us at Donaldsonville with a much larger force in proportion to ours but got soundly thrashed; we being strongly reinforced, came out to meet them and got whipped, and so the matter rested. The commanding officer of the brigade was flanked through carelessness and they had to fall back with a loss of two cannon. Our brigade was on the reserve. We fell in and rushed to the rescue but too late, for they were in full retreat. A new line was formed, the Twenty-fifth deployed as skirmishers and sent forward. After advancing quite a distance through the corn we were ordered back and our whole force fell back about half a mile, where we were still holding a strong position. The Rebels meanwhile had left and fortified at Labordieville, some twenty miles distant. The Twenty-fifth Connecticut regiment, after one of the most trying campaigns of the war, was about to take another sea voyage.

Here are a few verses which I have written on the siege of Port Hudson:

Port Hudson.

Well do I remember, how fifty years ago,
Down on the banks of the Mississippi,
We met the Southern foe,
And faced a storm of shot and shell;
That many a life was sacrificed
Mid battle hell of smoke and flame
On the field of Port Hudson.

Well do I remember, how those days,
The gallant Third Brigade went
Marching down into the woods
Like men on dress parade;
Though from the wood in front
The foe their deadly missiles sent.
Thinning our ranks
Those days at Bloody Port Hudson.

How on the left the Connecticut Thirteenth engaged in desperate fight
And left in front the Twenty-fifth was marshaled on the right;
Side by side, New York and Maine for honors did contend,
When Rebel yell and Yankee cheer was heard at Port Hudson.

And though we drove away the foe
How dear was victory won,
For when the din of battle ceased,
The burning sun shone down upon the bloody field
And shone on foe and friend,
Who bravely met a soldier’s fate,
That day on the field of Port Hudson.

Now fifty years have gone,
How soon they pass away,
Since we did wear the army blue;
And now we wear the gray,
For time has turned our hair to gray,
To show us near the end,
And soon will none be left to
Tell the tale of Port Hudson.

Were I to pledge those bygone days
Oh this would be my toast:
“Here’s to the dear old Stars and Stripes,
Our country’s pride and boast;
Here’s to the Union Volunteers,
Who did the flag defend,
And here’s to my old comrades
Who fought at Port Hudson.”

August 8th. It was a beautiful morning and we were in camp waiting for orders to start. We had orders to be ready to go on board the Steamer Thomas Scott at twelve o’clock. At two o’clock we were gliding down the old Mississippi. We stopped at New Orleans, took some horses aboard and started again at about six o’clock. Arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi at midnight. Here we waited for a pilot, took him on board and was off again.

August 9th, Sunday. At 6:30 o’clock we passed the bar, left the pilot and in a short time were out of sight of land. The captain of the boat said he would land us in New York by Saturday night, if all went well.

August 10th. It was a fine morning and we were enjoying ourselves with a deck passage at that.

August 11th. This morning we passed several lighthouses; one was upon Tortugas Island.

August 12th. The old steamer was making good speed. Comrade Chadwick died last night; this morning he was buried at sea. He was a member of our regiment and enlisted from Andover, this state.

August 13th. This morning was very fine, but the ship rolled and pitched considerable, owing to being in the Gulf Stream.

August 14th. The old ship was making good speed and we were hoping to get into New York harbor by Saturday night, as it was getting pretty tiresome on the old filthy vessel, with the vermin almost unbearable.

August 15th. This was a beautiful day and the old steamer continued making good time.

August 16th. The day was fine and we expected to get into port at night and our expectations were realized, about seven o’clock after being in this dirty place for a whole week.

August 17th. We arrived in port last night but had to stay upon the ship another night. I managed to get a small loaf of bread and if I remember correctly, I wasn’t long devouring it, for we had had nothing but hard-tack and raw salt pork to eat and condensed water to drink since we went aboard the ship at New Orleans. This (Sunday) morning we were allowed to go ashore and were kept penned up till about night when we went aboard the good-looking old boat, City of Hartford. We arrived in Hartford, if my memory serves me correctly, at about 10 o’clock Monday morning, August 18th, 1863, and I guess we were about as tough a looking set of fellows as ever came off the boat. Yes, I must admit, we were a pretty hard looking set, what there was left of us, for we had dwindled down to less than one-third the number which left Hartford about a year previous. What a change had come over us. Why, some of our friends didn’t know us, we had changed so. One comrade in particular I will mention, Wm. Goodrich. He went from Glastonbury in my company. He was a big fine looking man, weighing two hundred and fifty pounds when we went away, and when he came home he hardly weighed one hundred and fifty. Was it any wonder that our friends couldn’t recognize us with the beards we had grown on our faces, and the soiled clothing we were wearing? Well, I finally reached home and you can imagine how glad I was. I think that I felt much as the Prodigal Son did when he returned home. To get my clothes off and get into a good bed, (which I had not done for about a year) and to be cared for by a kind and loving mother, I never felt more like singing, “Home, Sweet Home.”

In closing this sketch of the gallant Twenty-fifth Regiment, I would say that war, as far as my experience goes, is not the thing it’s cracked up to be. Though anyone can get used to all kinds of horrid sights, in a measure, I could tell some things that I don’t think one would care to hear. But I will omit all description as it is best learned by experience. I think scant justice has been done to the Nineteenth Army Corps and General Banks, inasmuch as the field of action while in Louisiana was far away and until the fall of Port Hudson, was cut off from the North except by the sea. The public attention was taken up in the States along the border and even our great victory at Port Hudson was eclipsed and looked upon as a consequence of the fall at Vicksburg. But they did a great deal of hard fighting and made hundreds of miles of hard marchings in a climate to which the men were not accustomed.

An Interesting Incident.

It was in the Spring of 1863, and General Banks had inaugurated the campaign which ended in the capture of the last stronghold. We had marched to the very outworks of Port Hudson, and engaged the Confederate forces, on that historic night, when lashed to the maintop, high above the boiling surges, stout-hearted, Farragut, drove his vessels through the storm of shot and shell, that was hurled upon him from the heights above, and cut the Rebel communications between Port Hudson and Vicksburg. These two fortified places were the only ones left on the Mississippi River, not in our hands. Grant, was already hammering at Vicksburg, but before Port Hudson could be invested, it was necessary to dispose of Confederate General Taylor and his forces, who from their position in the South, could fall upon our unprotected rear or make a dash for New Orleans. Returning then, to our camp at Baton Rouge, after a few days’ rest, we were suddenly divided into two forces, one marching down through the country, to engage the enemy at New Iberia, and the rest of us sent around by water and up through the Atchafalaya to intercept and cut them to pieces. It was only a partial success. Driven from their position in Fort Bisland, they fell upon us before we were fairly in position, and held us in check while the whole army slipped by. Then commenced a long pursuit, enlivened by daily skirmish and fighting which lasted from the shores of the Gulf to Shreveport, in the extreme northwestern corner of the state where they were driven across the border into Texas.

It was on this march that the incident occurred which I am about to narrate. We had been marching all day, in fact, from before the dawn, trying to reach the Bayou Vermillion, before the enemy could destroy the bridge. Men fell out by the scores, but still we hurried on with all the speed our wearied limbs could support. Just as it was growing too dark to see, a battery opened upon us, and there was a sharp charge of cavalry. We were hastily thrown into position to receive them, but in an instant, wheeling, they dashed across the bridge, destroying it in our very faces before it could be prevented.

The next day was Sunday and while we camped there waiting for the construction of a new bridge, about half the advance division took the opportunity to strip and go in bathing. Suddenly, without an instant’s warning, a troupe of cavalry dashed down the opposite bank, and opened fire upon us. Such a spectacle never before was seen. The long roll was sounding and naked men, in every direction were making a dash for their guns, trying to dress as they ran. Some with their trousers on hind side before, didn’t know whether they were advancing or retreating, and some ran the wrong way, others, with simply a shirt and cap, were trying to adjust their belts. Officers were swearing and mounted aids were dashing about, trying to make order out of confusion.

The next day we were ordered to Barry’s Landing, to act as guard for a steamer coming up through the bayous with supplies, and here my story properly begins. It was April 22, 1863, and the regiment, exhausted by the conflict of the 14th, and the rapid march ensuing, following hard upon the track of Taylor’s flying forces, from Franklin to Opelousas, was resting at Barry’s Landing, when suddenly the whole camp was thrown into a ferment of excitement by the news that the paymaster had arrived, and would be at headquarters at 12 o’clock. Oh, welcome news to men who had been without pay for six months. How the eye glistened, and the mouth watered for the leeks and flesh-pots of Louisiana!

What visions of Sutler’s delicacies opened up once more to those whom long-tick had gradually restricted to a Spartan diet of hard-tack and salt pork. What thoughts of home and the money that could be sent to loved ones far away, suffering, perhaps for lack of that very money but how to do it, there was the question. Here we were in the very heart of the Rebel country, two hundred miles at least from New Orleans, in the midst of an active campaign. No opportunity to send letters except such as chance threw in the way, and no certainty that such letters would ever reach their destination. Added to this, came the order to be ready to march at four o’clock. Whither we knew not, but the foe was ahead, and our late experience had taught us that life was but an uncertain element and that a Rebel bullet had a very careless way of seeking out and finding its victim. In the midst of all the bustle and confusion, the sergeant-major, William E. Simonds came tearing along through the camp excitedly inquiring for Lieut. Goodell. That estimable officer, I am sorry to say, having received no pay, owing to some informality in his papers when mustered in from second to first lieutenant, had retired into the shade of a neighboring magnolia tree, and was there meditating on the cussedness of paymasters, mustering officers, the army in general. In fact, everything looked uncommonly black and never before had he so strongly believed in universal damnation. To him, then, thus communing came Sergeant-major Simonds, and said: “You will report for duty at once to headquarters; you are directed to receive the pay of the regiment and proceed forthwith to New Orleans, there to express same home, returning to the regiment as soon thereafter as practicable.”

The rest we will let Lieut. Goodell tell in his own way:

How the Pay of a Regiment Was Carried to New Orleans by Lieutenant Henry Hill Goodell.

“Gone at once were my sulks, vanished in an instant my ill-humor, black demons and everything. Though I could not help wondering how in all creation I was going to perform a journey of several hundred miles that would occupy a week at least without a cent of money in my pocket, a clerk was detailed to assist me, and for the next hour I counted money over a hard-tack box, jamming it away instantly into my haversack while he entered in a little book the amount received from each person, the sums given to pay for its expressage, and the addresses to which it was to be sent. No time to make change. Even sums were given, counted, and tucked away with rapidity. At the landing was a little stern-wheel steamer, captured from the Rebels, which was to leave from Brashear City in an hour or two. The sick and wounded were hastily transferred to it, and as the regiment marched off, I stepped on board with my precious haversack, now swollen out to unwonted proportions. Not a state-room, not a berth was to be had. There was no safe in which I could deposit valuables. Too many knew what I was carrying, and I dared not for an instant lift the weight from my shoulder or to remove my sword and pistol. Like Mary’s lamb, where’er I went, the haversack was sure to go.

“Never shall I forget the beauty of that sail, and but for the feeling of distrust and suspicion that made me look upon every man that approached me, as a personal enemy, I should have thoroughly enjoyed it. We were dropping down one of those little bayous that intersect the state in every direction. The spring freshets had swollen the stream and set its waters far back into the forests that lined its banks on either side. Festoons of Spanish moss, drooped like a mourning veil from bough to bough. Running vines with bright colored sprays of flowers twined in and out among the branches of the trees. The purple passion flowers flung out its starry blossoms to the world, the sign and symbol of the suffering Saviour. While the air was heavy with the scent of magnolias and yellow jassamine. Crested herons, snowy white, rose from the water, and stretching their long necks and legs out into a straight line with their bodies winged their flight above the tree-tops. Pelicans displayed their ungainly forms, as they snapped at the passing fish and neatly laid them away for future reference in their pouches. Strange birds of gaudy plumage flew from side to side, harshly screaming as they hid themselves in the dense foliage. Huge alligators sunned themselves along the shore, or showed their savage muzzles, as they slowly swam across our path. Frequently at some sharp bend, it seemed as if we must certainly run ashore, but the engine being reversed, the current would swing the bow around and by dint of hard pushing with poles, we would escape the threatened danger, and start again in our new direction. Sunset faded into twilight, and twilight deepened into the darkness, and silence of a Southern night, and then the entire loneliness and responsibility of my position suddenly overwhelmed me. I had no place to lie down, and hardly dared sit for fear of falling asleep. It seemed as though I could hear whispers behind me, and every now and then I would catch myself nodding, and wake with a cold chill running up and down the small of my back, as I felt sure that some unlawful hand was tampering with my burden. With the coming of the dawn, I breathed more freely, and the day seemed interminable, and it became a very burden to live. Twice we broke down and tying up to a friendly tree repaired the damage. Night came again and found us still miles away from our destination. It was horrible. I walked the deck, drank coffee, pinched myself. ’Oh, if I can only keep awake!’ I kept repeating to myself. But at 2 o’clock in the morning we broke down again, with the prospect of being detained some hours. I knew that if I did not reach Brashear City by 7 o’clock I should be another dreary day on the way, and lose my connections with the single train for New Orleans. Time was an element of importance, for I should lose the mail steamer for New York and be delayed in my return to the regiment which I had left in the heart of Louisiana marching onward I knew not where, but with faces set toward the North.

“Finding that we were distant from eight to twelve miles across country according to the different estimates, I determined to make the attempt to reach it on foot. Any danger, anything seemed preferable to staying on the boat. With the first breaking of the dawn, when I could get my bearings, I slung myself ashore. A private in my regiment discharged for disability, begged to accompany me. With weapons ready for instant use, we pushed along, afraid of our own shadows, looking for a lurking foe behind every bush, and when some startled bird suddenly broke from its cover, the heart of one at least stood still for a moment and then throbbed away like a steam engine. If a man was seen, however distant, we dropped to cover and watched him out of sight before we dared move. For the first mile our progress was very slow now wading through water, now sinking in the mud, floundering about as best we could, while the mosquitoes and gnats settled down on us in swarms, uttering a triumphant buzzing as though they recognized the fact that they had fresher blood to feed on than that offered by the fever-stricken victims of the South and were determined to make the most of their opportunity. But the open country once reached we lengthened out our steps and struck into a six-mile gait. Soon my companion began to falter and fall behind. But I could not afford to wait, telling him I presumed he was all right, but I could not run any risks, I stood him up by a tree and taking his gun, marched off a couple hundred yards, then laying it down I shouted to him to come on, and, setting off at the top of my speed, saw him no more. Whether he ever reached his destination or whether wandering helplessly along he was swooped down upon by some gorilla, and led away to starve and die in a Southern prison, I did not learn for many years. At the last reunion I attended, I was called upon to respond to the toast ’The Postal Service of the Regiment, and What You Know About It,’ and at the conclusion of my remarks, a stout grizzled veteran grasped my hand and said: ’Look, I’m glad to see you. I thought it pretty cruel to leave me alone in Dixie, but you had warned me beforehand and I guess you were right.’

“Avoiding the houses and striking across the fields, I made the last part of my way at full run, and drew up panting and exhausted at Berwick Bay shortly after six. Not a moment was to be lost. I could hear the engine puffing across the waters. Shouting to a darkey, who seemed to rise up preternaturally out of the ground, I ordered him to row me over; and a more astonished man I think I never saw than he was. When on reaching the opposite shore, with but ten minutes to spare, I bolted from the boat without a word, and started on the run for headquarters. The general was asleep, but an aid carried in my pass, signed by General Banks, brought it back countersigned, and in five minutes more I was aboard the train moving on to New Orleans.

“Of this part of my journey I have a very indistinct remembrance. My impression is that I dozed whenever I sat down, and I was so tired I could hardly stand. I had had nothing to eat since the night before and was faint and exhausted with hunger, and my exertions. Nothing but the special training my class had taken in gymnasium during the previous year, for just such an emergency, pulled me through the long run and long fast following it. It was only a run of 100 miles but I think we must have stopped to wood and water at every cotton-wood grove and swamp along the way; and I remember at one of these periodical stops, going out on the platform, and falling into an altercation with a little red-headed doctor, who, whether he had scented my secret or not, with that divine intuition for discovering the hidden, peculiar to the craft, had made himself officially offensive to me, and now, wanted to borrow my revolver to shoot a copper-head that lay coiled up by the side of the track. Refused in that, he next wanted to examine my sword, and when under some trifling pretext, I abruptly left him and going inside the car, sat down as near as possible to a bluff-looking lieutenant, whose honest face seemed a true indication of character, his wrath knew no bounds and was quite outspoken. ’Peace to your injured spirit, oh fiery-headed son of Esculapius, if you are still in the land of the living! I here tender you my humble apologies. Doubtless you intended nothing more than to compare the efficiency of my leaden balls with one of your own deadly Bolouses or to see how my cleaver compared in sharpness with one of your own little scalpels.’ But at that particular time I should have been suspicious of my own brother had he desired to inspect or use my arms.

“It was late Saturday afternoon when, tired and faint, I landed in the city. Pushing straight to the office of the Adams Express Company, I told them I had the pay of a regiment to express home and wanted five or six hundred money order blanks and envelopes. I shall never forget the look of incredulity with which the clerk looked at me. I was dirty and ragged, just in from the front, with no shoulder-straps, for we had been ordered to remove them and diminish the chances of being picked off by the sharpshooters but had sword and pistol and an innocent looking haversack hanging at my side. However, he said not a word, but passed over the papers.

“My next adventure was in a saloon where on calling for a drink of whiskey, I was informed that they were not allowed to sell to privates. On my throwing down my pass signed by Gen. Banks, the courteous keeper acknowledged his mistake, and invited me to take something at his expense. Immediately after supper to which it is hardly necessary to say I was accompanied by that confounded haversack, I fairly loathed it by this time I retired to my room, locked the door and went to work. Excitement kept me up and by 2 o’clock everything was done. The money counted and placed in the envelopes, and the blanks filled out, and the footing correctly made. Then, only did I know how much I had carried with me and how precious were the contents of my haversack. Barricading my door, with the table, and wedging a chair in between it and the bed, I thrust the haversack between the sheets, slid in after it, laid my revolver by the pillow, and in an instant was sound asleep. The next morning on going down to breakfast I innocently inquired of the clerk in the office if he would give me a receipt for valuables. ‘Certainly,’ was his smiling rejoinder. ‘For how much?’ ‘Twenty-four thousand three hundred and forty-six dollars,’ I replied and half opening my haversack, showed him the bundles of express envelopes, explaining that it was the pay of a regiment. ‘Where did you keep this last night?’ was the next question. ’In my room.’ ‘You d fool, it might have been stolen.’ ’True, but I thought it would be safe enough and besides I did not know how much I had.’

“Breakfast over I repaired at once to the office of the express
company and by noon, with my receipts in my pocket, I stepped
forth, feeling as if a gigantic load had rolled from my shoulders.

“Of my journey back there is no need to speak; suffice it to say that two or three weeks thereafter, one night as the sun was setting, I stood with beating heart on the levee, outside of Simsport on the Red River, waiting for the coming of the regiment on its march down from Alexandria. Column after column passed and still I waited. But suddenly I caught the roll of drums and there came a dimness over my eyes, for I recognized familiar forms. The colonel riding at the head, the little drum major, the colors and each well known face. As they came up I saluted, someone recognized me, and called my name. Instantly the cry, ’Lieutenant Goodell has come!’ swept down the line, and with one mighty shout, the boys welcomed back the bearer of their pay. That night I went from camp-fire to camp-fire and gave to each orderly sergeant the receipts for his company. Of all that money, only one envelope went astray, and the express company made good the loss.”