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Re: Pearl River LA
In Response To: Re: Pearl River LA ()

Is this letter telling of that raid? Still working on correcting some of the spelling, but this is as it was written.

Virgil

Morgania Dec 28th/64
Dear Friend
It is with great pleasure & a blessing to which I owe many thanks that my life is spared & in good health and back safe in our old tent once more. And now I suppose you want to know the particulars. We started from Baton Rouge Nov 27th a Northeast course the road was miserable the land was low and it was soft and that left plenty of mud. Our army consisted of about 7 thousand cav 8 pieces of artillery then the waggon train consited of about 40 waggons with six mules to a waggon and by the time that went over aroad mixed up the mud 2 ft deep then some bayouís so when we was on our horses we was very apt to get wet feet if we did not old them up. We crossed the Comite river a french name it was about 5 ft deep went on an average about 15 miles 28th we started the next morning about 10 oclock and there was not much to be seen for the whole route was nothing but pine woods a very few old buildings and families fewer still. sometimes we would ride all day and not see even a log Negro shanty. I suppose you want to know what we had to live on. In the first place there was a few rations in the waggons and as fast ast they were emptied they wer burnt. when we came to a shanty if any corn feed our horses shell enought to feed again strap it to the saddle for next time of need. Sweet Potatoes ha ha take what we could carry had plenty of them all the way through for meat a detail was made to drive up all the cattle and at night they would kill or rather slaz? and eat. we did not want for food. on the night of the 28th we encamped in a burrying ground did not see the spirit move
We started about 8 in the morning crossed the Amit river on the Pontoon Bridges arrived at night at a small place called Greensburgh it being about 50 miles from Baton Rouge, went on picket that night. Coís A & B 30th We started about 7 a.m. lost the correct road went about 8 miles out of the way. arrived at another small place called Langspoho? station on the New Orleans & Jackson Rail Road about 3 p.m. We stoped to feed and make coffee about 8 in the evening laid about 2 hours then we started on waiding the Langspoho Bayou it was a swift current it took some of Co Aís horses down stream the men swum ashore they got out safe only lost one carbine and there guide flag our Co came next the lieut happened to strike through and but few of our boys got there feet wet I put on a pair of new boots so was quite lucky we trveled through woods & mud until 4 oclock the next morning Dec 1st We stoped on a Plantation where there was plenty of corn & potatoes laid down for 2 hours the Bugle sounded Boots & Saddles so we had to start rode until 10 am laid about 2 hours then started crossed the Tyokapham? River arrived at a small place called Franklinton? encamped for the night Dec 2nd 7am started on, about noon we captured 2 waggons, one with cotton cloth, one with salt. it was all issued to the men, at night, we encamped in the woods, had no grain only what we carried withus as for fire, we did not lack for we had plenty of fat pine wood to burn all the time through 3rd It rained nearly all day, about 7 am we started, found some corn about noon went within 7 miles of Pearl river encamp for the night. 4th crossed the river about noon on the Pontoon bridge then we was in the state of Mississippi encamped 4 miles of a place called Columbia. (those places looked very desolute now but in time of peace I presume was very pleasant. They were about the size of Fonderís? Bush Benedictís corner or wrin? mills, flea Hill and the like of such) that night we was for picket again 5th set out about 6 a.m. traveled until about 4 p.m. unsaddled for about an hour then no saddled up trebled? until nearly 9 in the evening encampted in the woods. (As I said before we would not average only from 15 to 20 miles aday, but we would be in and out of the saddle all day for the waggons could not keep up to the cav) 6th we started about 6 a.m. nothing particular to mention encamped for the night, plenty of corn, potatoes, and what no it isnít what but honey yes a few words about honey most every shanty would be from 5 to 15 hives and it was nice I could get my sufficientcy fill. Yes and a little more in my fingers or get the tail of a bee in my mouth all is well for the bees was as cross at the yankees as the jonny reb
Dec 7th We started about 5 in the morning got to Leaf river about 10 a.m. (there was a regt of Mounted Infantry the 118th N.Y. was on the advance they got there about 3 oclock in the morning and the rebs was on the other side to keep them from crossing on a flat boat drawn acrossed by a rope fastened on both sides of the river. There was only a few to keep fireing it was the first fireing we had heard. at noon they was all disappeared and at 3 p.m. Co A was sent to the bank for reserve Co B. was sent a crossed dismounted no rebs to be seen they came back at sundown fetched some hogís chickenís bacon & salt 8 th The regt moved on with the army except B & C they were left in charge of Major Van Voast. to destroy a bridge that was on the other side and the flat boat. The boat had some water in it and Co Cís men got in got nearly half way crossed the boat went down the men came out a little much wet lost one Carbine they cut down the ropes then built up a fire to dry themselves for it was rainy and quite chilly got corn, honey, Potatoes for dinner and started travled down the river until about 12 at night encamped in the woods 9 th A detail was made from our regt in command of Lieut Col Guerney? to take another road numbering 250 & more about 10 officers & Major Van Voast. We came to Leaf river and went to crossed on a flat boat instructed the same as the one above. it would carry about 15 men horses and equipments there was a squad of rebs probably about 15 began to pop lead pills at us as we was loading the boat it was about 12 or 15 rods wide did not hurt any of us hit one horse in the knee stood within 2 ft of me on my right had to leave him after the first load went acrossed they Schedaddled we captured one private one Lieut Col we got acrossed safe and started on went until we came to Chickahsaha river then encamped for the night 10th We commenced crossing the river about 7 a.m. did not have any trouble destroyed the flat boat and started towards the Mobile & Ohio Railroad there we was sent to tear up the track and burn a bridge as we carried about 75 canteens of Turpentine to sprinkle it with did we get there Ha. No. about noon rebs began there fireing again Co. C was on the advance and they made quite a noise Major Van Voast was in command of the front he gave us orders to sling Carbine and load then Coís A & B front into line as they formed the first Squadron and forward by this time we was insight of them there was ? as we could judge from 100 to 150 and the lead flew faster than I had seen it before they keep fallen back and they had support to fall in with them as they fell Back We kept them going back about 2 miles the major told our Lieut (Westinghouse) he was in command of the first squadron to draw sabre and charge on them & Capt Dolan to support us. at the word draw sabre we pulled the bright steel blade for the first time in a fight at the word charge we put spurrs to our horses and our 1st Lieut says boys follow me swinging his sabre at arms length above his head the smartest horses got into there rear and the last blow our Lieut made struck a reb in the back which fetched him to the ground another reb was in the front of our Lieut drawed his revolver shot the Lieut through about half way from the pit of his stomache to the hollow of his neck he dismounted his horse took his hat in his hand started back when I met him he said go on boys Iím shot he soon died we drove them until we seen there line of infantry we was ordered by Capt Dolan to return when we came back Charley & myself with two others took up the Lieut carried him back with us a 1/4 of a mile laid him down he was to heavy the most of our men that was there at the end of the charge was Co A & B and a few from other Coís dont think we numbered over 40 men in all the rest was back over a mile in the rear we captured 4 rebs one ambulance and two mules took the ambulance and got the Lieut Took him withus and we marched back took another road down the river road some 25 or 30 miles and very still I can tell you and encamped for the remainder of the night. Those captured men said that they knew that we were a coming & they were sent to stop us from the Railroad. They were one Brigade of about 1500 that we run upon in the front of us then there was an other Brigade sent down another road to come up in the rear as they expecting the whole army was there if we fell back to quick for them to get in behind us and our loss was of Co A 2 privates killed, one missing Co. B our 1st Lieut Westinghouse killed, 1 private David Bennett wounded the Doct said he would not live until the next morning, 1 private Co K. Killed what we could see of the rebs that was killed was about 15. We had a guide with us use to be a rebel Col and he said he never saw a bolder and better charge
made in all his time of service and those that we captured said that they had heard of the 2nd Vets & they never wanted to come in contact with them again for they was never drove so before and by so few men as we had in the charge. The guide said that regt was called the best regt. they had in there service it is the 2nd Missouri. we could captured 23 easy enugh they would surrender but had not men enough to keep up the charge and stay with them so they could cut for the woods Damaris it put me in mind of what we see to Saratoga fair into those glasses pictures of the battle field seeing the men in all shapes. The wounded man we left - to James Hillmansís - his father came from South Carolina his name was James so the citizen told me that lived near by. The name of the place we gave it the Battle at Clouds mill creek we past the mill while on the charge. There was a man with us taken down all the sketches to put in Frank leslies paper write to Abby to get it if she can if I had it out plain on picture would give a five dollar bill Dec 11th We burried the Lieut and heard by the women that lived there said our men was near there yesterday driving cattle so the Col sent out a guard of men soon found that we was on one direct road to the army about noon we started got to Paschaglia (Pascagoula) river crossed on a flat boat a Louisiana regt was waiting for us. We encamped there for the night 12th We travled about 15 miles came to Black river and time we got over it was midnight as the boat would carry but 7 men and horses at a time 13th the next morning we joined the rest of our regt which lay about 5 miles by red Creek they had to take an old building and make a raft to take the men and saddles a crossed drove the horses in and make them swim acrossed encamped for the night 14th nothing special occured encamped about 15 miles from Paschagolia (Pascagoula) Bay? the main column had been there about 2 days a head of us 15th we got a feed of oats for our horses the horses ahead of us devoured all they could get by the way so ours did not get anything for two days We arrived at the Bay about sundown 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd laid in camp while the rest of the army took the boat for New Orleans. We was about 60 miles from Mobile 120 from New Orleans 23rd we took the boat came down the Bay into Mississippi sound then into Lake Poncha train landed at lake Port? about 11 oclock at night it being 5 miles from New Orleans 24th we got off the boat mounted our horses got to Carlton near New Orleans at noon fed our horses they had no grain in four days. laid there until the 26th got on the boat 6 oclock evening Got in our old shanty the 27th 10 oclock at night. What did I find 6 letters 3 papers the writing paper and the old tent mates ready to get supper 28th and today I have spent my leisure moments in writing to you cannot mention much about your letters 5 was from you & fathers letter it is near nine oclock at night my eyes begin to glimmer otherwise I feel just as well as if I had been all the while in camp. I suppose you got the letter I wrote at Baton Rouge hope you did not worry about me but I have seen some good times and some not quite so good. But ready to take another trip when needed hope these will reach you if so let our folks read them dont loose them for a farm in the Mississippi pine woods I will write another letter as soon as I can get my equipments cleaned up so good night - contunued until the next opportunity (end of letter)

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