Ordered to Franklin - Guarding Pontoon Train - Alexandria - Natchitoches - Capture of Pavy and McCune - Guarding the Wagon Train - Battle of Sabine Cross Roads - Out of Ammunition - Enemy in the Rear - Retreat Cut Off - Capture - On Our Way to Prison - Extracts from Gen. Ransom's Official Report - Number Captured - Extracts from Report of Committee on Conduct of the War - The Rebel General Taylor's Report of the Battle - First Night as Prisoners - Confederate Rations - School House - Marshall - Flag Song.
AS soon as the Regiment had been sworn in as veterans, letters were immediately dispatched home, to prepare for our reception on the promised furlough. But we were badly disappointed. Instead of receiving our furlough, we were ordered to Franklin, where the troops of the Gulf Department were concentrating for an expedition up Red river, at which point we arrived on the 8th.
Here the troops were organized for the campaign. The second brigade was composed of the 19th Ky., 96th, 83d and 48th Ohio, commanded by Col. Vance, of the 196th Ohio. Our Division was composed of two brigades, (1st and 2d) and under command of Col. W. J. Landrum.
March 10th, in accordance with orders issued by Gen. McClernand, the following battles were ordered to be inscribed on the colors of the 48th Ohio Vet. Vol. Inf.: "Battle of Shiloh, Siege of Corinth, Chickasaw Bluffs, Arkansas Post, Port Gibson, Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, Siege of Vicksburg and Jackson."
We remained at Franklin until the 14th, when the Regiment took charge of the pontoon train and left for Alexandria, distant 170 miles, via Opelousas and Washington. We had a very pleasant trip, making the journey by easy marches, through the richest sugar and cotton plantations of Louisiana. As we were independent of any command, it is needless to add that the bill of fare each day contained delicacies that were not received through the commissary department.
After fourteen days' marching, we reached Alexandria on the 27th. The same evening, Col. Lindsey and Maj. Bering called on Gen. Franklin, to request him to fulfill the promise to furlough the veterans. He gave a short answer, to the effect that he could not spare a single man at that time, to say nothing of a whole veteran regiment like ours. This was poor comfort for the Regiment, and it is unnecessary to add that many used language that is called profane. Others again were like the Quaker-feared they "could not do the subject justice." Quite a number were still hopeful, and thought that as the promise was made in good faith, the furlough might arrive at any moment. But all were doomed to disappointment, for late that night, orders were received to be ready to march toward Shreveport the next morning.
During the night it rained incessantly, and toward morning it came down in torrents. At daybreak our Regiment was ordered to fall in immediately, and take the advance of the army, instead of a furlough home. This news was not very well received, for the main army had been in camp two days, resting, while our Regiment had only arrived the previous day. But swearing was no help for us, so we loaded up in the rain, many without breakfast, and with much grumbling by everybody, we took the advance.
Occasionally, on the march, some wag would call out, "Here's your veterans, going to Shreveport, on a thirty days' furlough!" A long furlough it proved, most assuredly, to the most of us. After marching a few days, the disappointment wore off, and we became somewhat reconciled. On the 2d of April, we arrived at Natchitoches, La., 127 miles above Alexandria. During our stay here, one of the soldiers of the 24th Iowa was killed in sight of camp by the rebels. He, with two of our Regiment, Pavy and McCune, of Company D, were just outside the lines, foraging, when they were surprised in a barn by two armed rebels and captured. Being unarmed, they made no resistance. After tying them loosely together, they were marched back some distance and seated on a log, when the rebels decided to shoot them, and began tying them more securely. The Iowa soldier, who was in the middle, attempted to release himself; whereupon one of their captors fired, killing him instantly. At this Pavy broke loose and ran for camp, with one of his captors after him, while McCune was knocked down with a musket by the other, who then turned and watched the race. McCune, in the meantime, recovering, untied himself from his dead comrade, and made good his escape, as did also Pavy, who came into camp almost exhausted. A force of cavalry was sent out and the body of the dead soldier was brought in, and the house and barn burnt. The two rebels were afterward captured, but claimed they were Confederate soldiers, at home on a furlough. The rebels threatened retaliation if they were executed, so they were afterwards exchanged.
From the day we started on the Red River expedition, we were like the Israelites of old, accompanied by a cloud (of smoke) by day, and a pillar of fire by night. The rebels had a company of cavalry setting fire to all the cotton along our route. From the cotton the flames would spread to the cotton-sheds and out-houses, and frequently reached the dwellings of the planters and cabins of the slaves. This was one of the curious phases of the war - to see the rebels bent on the destruction of their own property.
We left Natchitoches April 6th, for Shreveport, La., by way of Pleasant Hill and Mansfield. We guarded the train on the 7th, and did not get into camp until the drums were beating the last tattoo. The Regiment stacked arms, and while preparing our late supper, we sat around the cheerful camp fires, discussing the campaign, which as usual drifted into reminiscences of the peaceful days before the war, and ended with the query, when shall we get our long promised, furlough? little dreaming what was in store for us on the coming morrow. We started next morning, April 8th, with the brigade, at 5 1/2 o'clock. The enemy, who had been easily driven the day before by the cavalry, became quite stubborn, and it at times required the aid of the infantry to dislodge them. We marched until half past ten, when we arrived at St. Patrick's Bayou, which Gen. Franklin selected as our camping-ground.
We had scarcely stacked arms, when Gen. Ransom ordered one brigade forward on double-quick. We found great difficulty in passing the cavalry train, which obstructed the entire road through the dense pine forest. At intervals we could hear the heavy firing in our front, indicating that there was work ahead for us. Soon we began to see the wounded and dead, along the road, which showed clearly that the rebels were fighting at every point. We had nearly reached the Sabine Cross-Roads, when Col. Lindsey ordered Maj. Bering to take command of the Regiment, he being ordered to take command of the brigade by Col. Vance, who was sick. The Colonel did not leave the field, but partially recovering, he remained during the battle. He retained Lieut. Col. Lindsey to assist him, and was killed during the engagement.
We arrived at the front between one and two o'clock P. M. In our front was a cleared field, and on the opposite side was a belt of timber, where our cavalry was skirmishing with the enemy. Col. Landrum ordered our brigade across to the right of the road, on double-quick, to take position in the edge of the woods. We charged across the open field and over a small stream, then up to the timber. Here the men threw off their knapsacks, advanced a short distance and halted.
We remained in line of battle until near 4 o'clock, when the cavalry pickets came back on a gallop through our lines, saying the enemy was advancing in strong force. We occupied a narrow strip of timber, and the rebels an open field beyond. Midway between the two armies was a rail fence, running parallel with our line of battle, at the further edge of the timber. We were ordered forward, and had proceeded but a short distance, when we discovered the long line of rebel infantry, coming on double-quick, to gain the fence. It now became an exciting race, but fortunately we reached the fence while the enemy was still about fifty yards distant. Our men, dropping on their knees, rested their rifles on the fence and delivered a volley with terrible effect. The enemy delivered their fire entirely too high, but stood their ground for half an hour, when the whole line wavered in our front and retreated in disorder, leaving the ground covered with killed and wounded. Cheer after cheer went up from our troops when they saw the rebels flying from the field.
In a short time, however, they reformed, and came up in two lines, and renewed the attack, but were repulsed as before. Their field-officers being mounted, were picked off as fast as they came in range. The Division held its position for nearly two hours, against the combined forces of the rebel Generals, Dick Taylor, Walker and Mouton, when suddenly the right of the Regiment was forced back from the fence, caused by an enfilading fire from the enemy. The 19th Kentucky, who occupied the position on our right, had received orders from Col. Landrum to retreat, but waiting for our Regiment, which for some cause had not received the order, they changed front to our rear, and remained with us.
The brigade was now ordered by its commander (Lieut. Col. Lindsey) to fall back gradually. We left the fence and retreated about fifty yards, where we attempted to make another stand under a heavy fire, but we were entirely out of ammunition and our supply cut off, which made our condition very critical. They soon closed in and demanded our surrender. With no other alternative, the Regiment reluctantly threw down their arms and empty cartridge-boxes, and were hurried to the rear, while our batteries from the third Division, which had just arrived, began throwing shell and solid shot into our midst. We passed over the battle-field, that was strewn with rebel dead and wounded, and met line after line of rebel infantry and artillery, who were hurrying forward toward the scene of action. We began to think their numbers had been under-estimated, and were fearful of the consequences, but they were groundless, for on the following day (the 9th) the rebel army was defeated by our forces at Pleasant Hill.
During the engagement several details were sent to the rear to bring up a supply of ammunition, but they were cut off, captured or killed. Among the latter was Adjutant C. Burkhart. The following is a list of the killed and wounded, as near as we could ascertain:
Lieut. Col. Lindsey, wounded in arm; Adjutant C. Burkhart, killed; Capt. G. W. Mosgrove, of Co. D, wounded in thigh, and the only officer that escaped capture; Capt. A. M. Cochran, of Co. E, wounded in foot; Co. B, Amos Fuller and Wm. Fuller, wounded; Co. C, Samuel Hair, mortally wounded through the breast; he was taken prisoner and died a few days after; Morgan Tedrick, wounded slightly; Co. E, Carl Huff, wounded; Co. G, Wm. Barron, killed, G. Bohan, wounded; Co. H, Wm. Cast, killed, Jos. Quinn, Wm. Riley, Jos. Dorly, Pat. Conner, Wm. Bamgrove and Charles Keener, wounded; and the following officers captured: Lieut. Col. J. W. Lindsey, Maj. J. A. Bering, Captains James Sowry, A. M. Cochran, Daniel Gunsaullus and Thomas Montgomery, Lieutenants W. J. Srofe, H. W. Day and M. McCaffrey. Total 9, and 168 enlisted men. Col. Lindsey was sent to the hospital, and at the close of the campaign was exchanged, with the rest of the wounded that fell into the hands of the enemy during the Red River expedition.
The Regiment fought with the skill and bravery of veterans, showing that they had been well drilled in the art of fighting, and had profited by the experience gained on former battle-fields, as was proved by the large number of killed and wounded among the rebels who undertook to drive us from the fence. Such coolness is seldom witnessed on the battle-field, and we could record many daring deeds performed by individuals during the engagement, but where all behaved so coolly what is said in praise of one will apply to all. Nevertheless, after completely defeating the enemy in our front, to be overpowered when out of ammunition, by a superior force in our rear, when we had a large army lying in camp six or seven miles back, was a poor reward for such heroism; but such are the fortunes of war,
Gen. T. E. G. Ransom passed through our Regiment during the engagement, cheering the men with his presence. He also testified to their bravery in his official report of the battle. To give a more general idea of the engagement, we will insert a copy of Gen. Ransom's official report. He commanded the Thirteenth Army Corps, was wounded in the leg during the engagement, and sent to New York, where this report was written
"NEW YORK CITY, June 11, 1864.
"SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the movements of the troops under my command, consisting of the Third Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, Brig.-Gen. R. A. Cameron, commanding, and the Fourth Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, under command of Col. W. J. Landrum, on the 6th, 7th and 8th of April, 1864.
"On the 6th of April, my detachment, having the advance of the infantry column, moved from Natchitoches at 6 o'clock A. M., in the rear of the cavalry division, and being constantly delayed by the baggage-train of the latter, went into camp late on Bayou Mayon, having marched nineteen miles on the Pleasant Hill road. Moved at half-past 5 o'clock A. M. on the 7th, the head of the column arriving at Pleasant Hill, 19 miles, at 2 o'clock P. M., overtaking the cavalry train on the road, and Dudley's brigade of cavalry at Pleasant Hill. When these had moved from our camping-grounds, I went into camp about 4 o'clock P. M., though my train and rear-guard did not arrive till late at night. At 10 o'clock P. M., I received an order to send a brigade to Gen. Lee, commanding the cavalry division, at or before 5 o'clock the following morning. In compliance with the above order, Col. Landrum moved with the first brigade of his division, and reported to Gen. Lee at daylight on the 8th.
. "Under orders from Maj.-Gen Franklin, I moved the remainder of the Corps forward at half-past 5 o'clock A. M., and arrived with the advance at St. Patrick's Bayou, at half-past 10 o'clock A. M., our march having as before been retarded by the cavalry train. Gen. Franklin, had previously designated this creek as my camping-ground, and I accordingly ordered the Third Division, and the second brigade of the Fourth Division, into camp at half-past 10 A. M. Before the order had been complied with, a request was received from Gen. Lee, asking for more infantry, to relieve that already with him, and Gen. Franklin directed me to send the second brigade of the Fourth Division, Col. J. W. Vance commanding, to relieve the first brigade, who were reported as worn out with hard skirmishing and marching.
"The second brigade moved forward at 11 A. M. and at my request, Gen. Franklin authorized me to go to the front, and see that the first brigade was relieved by the second. I immediately went forward, and on the road received a dispatch, of which the following is a copy
"'12, noon. Gen. Ransom: My men have skirmished and marched through
the bushes and thickets for 8 or 9 miles. They have no water, and are literally
worn out. Can you have them relieved soon? Gen. Lee insists on our pushing
"'W. J. LANDRUM,
Col. Com'd'g 4th Div.'
"The infantry finding much difficulty in passing the cavalry train, which obstructed the road, I went on in advance of them, and arrived at the front, 5 1/2 miles from St. Patrick's Bayou, about half-past 1 o'clock P. M. I found that our forces had just driven the enemy across an open field, and were shelling him from a fine position on a ridge, which Col. Landrum occupied with his infantry and Nim's battery, about 2 o'clock P. M. It was determined to halt here, in order to allow the second brigade to come up and relieve the first.
"In company with Brig.-Gen. Stone and Lieut. Higby, signal-officer, I went to the front line of skirmishers, and carefully reconnoitered the position of the enemy. We were able to perceive two batteries, and a large force of infantry in line of battle, in the edge of the woods, from a half to three-quarters of a mile from our front, and also considerable bodies of infantry moving down the road leading to our right and rear.
"Hearing of the arrival of Maj.-Gen. Banks and staff upon the field, about 3 o'clock P. M., I reported to him, and advised him of the position and apparent strength of the enemy, and from him received instructions as to the disposition of my troops on the field, and of those momentarily expected. Upon the arrival of the brigade, the positions of two of its regiments - the 83d and 96th - were assigned by Maj. Leiber, of Gen. Banks' staff, on the opposite flank from that determined on by Gen. Banks and myself, and in a position where I should not have placed them.
"The infantry on the right of the road occupied a narrow belt of timber, dividing two large plantations, and having open, though broken, ground in front, and in the rear a cultivated field, which descended to a small creek, and thence rose to the timber, one-half mile to the rear of our line.
"Nim's battery was posted on a hill, near the road, about two hundred yards to the left of the belt of timber, and was supported by the 23d Wisconsin infantry, which was on the left and behind the crest of the hill, with open fields in front. The 67th Indiana supported the battery on the right, joined by the 77th and 130th Illinois, 48th Ohio, 19th Kentucky, 96th Ohio, a section of mounted artillery, and the 83d Ohio, making in all 2,413 infantry. The cavalry and mounted infantry under Gen. Lee, were posted on the flanks and rear, having Col. Dudley's brigade on the left and Col. Lucas's on the right, and also skirmishers deployed in front of the infantry.
"The skirmishing continued throughout the afternoon, becoming sharp on the right about half past 2 o'clock P. M. At this time Col. Lucas reported that his skirmishers on the extreme right were driven in, and that a few of his men on that flank had been captured. About 4 o'clock P. M. the enemy commenced advancing his lines across the open fields in our front, and east of the road, I directed Col. Landrum to advance our right, consisting of the 83d, 96th and 48th Ohio, 130th Illinois, and 19th Kentucky, and he immediately opened fire on the enemy, now in good range, and advancing in two lines. We drove back his first line in confusion upon his second, but recovering, he again advanced till, unable to endure our heavy fire, he halted about two hundred yards from our front, where many of his men lay down and returned our fire. I felt confident that this portion of our line could not be broken, but while moving toward the left flank I was informed that the enemy were pressing us at that point, and that the mounted infantry were falling back.
"At this time Captain White, chief of artillery, reported that the Chicago Mercantile Battery, Lieut. Cone commanding, and the First Indiana Battery, Capt. Klaus commanding, had arrived, and I directed him to place them in an advantageous position on a ridge to the east of the road, and near a house occupied as Gen. Banks' headquarters, where they opened on the enemy, who had shown himself in strong force on the left, * *
"Our left flank was completely turned, and the enemy, having taken Nim's battery, were in strong force on the hill, and pouring a destructive fire into the batteries of the Fourth Division. I ordered the latter to the rear, to a point on the right of the road, and sent Capt. Dickey, my Ass't. Adj't.-General, to order Col. Landrum to withdraw his Division to the edge of the timber in our rear. Capt. Dickey was to send aides to the different regiments, to give the orders direct, in case he should not find Col. Landrum, but while in performance of this duty, this gallant officer fell senseless from his horse, mortally wounded. Owing to the loss of Capt. Dickey before he had communicated my orders, some of the regiments did not receive them until they were surrounded and their retreat cut off, while they were gallantly fighting a superior force in their front.
"In company with Col. Landrum, I was, as the troops arrived, re-forming the line in the edge of the woods, when I was severely wounded in the knee and was carried to the rear. I found the woods and roads full of mounted men, flying in confusion from the field.
"I desire here to bear witness to the gallantry of Brig.-Gen. Stone, who was on the left of the line with Gen. Lee. He used the small force of infantry to the best advantage, in bravely but unsuccessfully endeavoring to repulse the overwhelming force of the enemy. Col. Landrum, commanding Fourth Division, was conspicuous, and everywhere present, encouraging all by his own gallant conduct, and judicious disposition of his men. * * *
"I was an eye-witness of the bravery and soldierly bearing of Lieut.-Col. Cowan and Maj. Mann, of the 19th Kentucky, Lieut. Col. Baldwin, 83d Ohio, Maj. Bering, 48th Ohio, Maj. Reed, 130th Illinois, and know the gallantry with which their men repulsed the enemy in his first attack. * * * * * * * * * *
"The conduct of the troops under my command was all that I could ask. They repulsed a superior force in their front, and but for the movement of a large body of the enemy upon our left, which could not be prevented with the force at our command, would have held the first line, and, with the assistance of Gen. Cameron's Third Division, could have checked the enemy till the arrival of the Nineteenth Corps. * * * * *
"I have the honor to be, Major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"T. E. G. RANSOM,1 Brig.-Gen. Vols.
"Maj. Wickham Hoffman, Ass't. Adju't.-Gen."
After the Fourth Division was captured, the Third Division of the Thirteenth Army Corps arrived, were, in turn, overpowered, being compelled to fall back before superior numbers, and the enemy were not checked until they came up with the Nineteenth Corps, about two or three miles from where we had been captured.
Seven miles back from the battle-ground the Nineteenth Corps was encamped, numbering five or six thousand men, and fifteen miles back, Gen. A. J. Smith, with seven or eight thousand. The main army was in camp, out of supporting distance, to the number of thirteen or fourteen thousand men, while the battle was fought on our side with twenty-four hundred, besides the cavalry, and we had opposed to us an army of ten thousand rebels.
In this engagement the rebels captured 1,200 prisoners, besides the wounded, 20 pieces of artillery, and 250 cavalry wagons. But it was a dear-bought victory for the enemy. The 17th Texas was badly cut up, and the Crescent regiment, composed of young men of the first families of New Orleans, was almost annihilated. It lost every field officer, and many of its company officers, while the 18th and 28th Louisiana suffered severely in killed and wounded, both of officers, and men, and Gen. Mouton, a favorite officer, was killed.
The following account of the battle is from the Confederate Lieutenant-General, Richard Taylor's,
"Personal Experiences of the Late War" :
"Leaving Green, I returned to Mansfield, stopping on the road to select my ground for the morrow. This was in the edge of a wood, fronting an open field, eight hundred yards in width by twelve hundred in length, through the center of which the road to Pleasant Hill passed. On the opposite side of the field was a fence, separating it from the pine forest, which, open on the higher ground and filled with underwood on the lower, spread over the country. The position was three miles in front of Mansfield, and covered a cross-road leading to the Sabine. On either side of the main Mansfield-Pleasant Hill road, at two miles' distance, was a road parallel to it, and connected by this Sabine cross-road.
"My troops reached the position in front of Sabine crossroad at an early hour on the 8th, and were disposed as follows: On the right of the road to Pleasant Hill, Walker's infantry division of three brigades, with two batteries; on the left, Mouton's, of two brigades and two batteries, As Green's men, (composed of three brigades of cavalry, under Generals Bee, Mayor and Bagby) came in, they took position, dismounted on Mouton's left.
"A regiment of horse was posted in each of the parallel roads mentioned, and DeBray's cavalry, with McMahon's battery, held in reserve on the main road. Dense forest prevented the employment of much artillery, and, with the exception of McMahon's, which rendered excellent service, none was used in the action. I had on the field 5,300 infantry, 3,000 horse, and 500 artillerymen, in all, 8,800 men, a very full estimate, and on the morrow Churchill, with 4,400 muskets, would be up. * * *
"The enemy showing no disposition to advance, at 4 P. M. I ordered a forward movement of my whole line. The ardor of Mouton's troops, especially the Louisianians, could not be restrained by their officers. Crossing the field under a heavy fire of artillery and small arms, the division reached the fence, paused for a moment to draw breath, then rushed into the wood on the enemy, Here our loss was severe. Gen. Mouton was killed, as were Colonels Armand, Beard and Walker, commanding the 18th, the Crescent, and 28th Louisiana regiments of Gray's brigade.2 Maj. Canfield, of the Crescent, also fell, and Lieut.-Col. Clack, of the same regiment, was mortally wounded. As these officers went down, others, among whom Adjutant Blackman was conspicuous, seized the colors and led on the men. Polignac's brigade, on the left of Gray's, also suffered heavily. Col. Noble, 17th Texas, with many others, was killed. Polignac, left in command by the death of Mouton, displayed ability and pressed the shattered division steadily forward. Randall, with his fine brigade, supported him on the right; while Major's dismounted men, retarded by dense wood, much to the impatience of Gen. Green, gradually turned the enemy's right, which was forced back, with loss of prisoners and guns.
"On the right of the main road, Gen. Walker, with Waul's and Scurry's brigades, encountered but little resistance until he had crossed the open field and entered the wood. Finding that he outflanked the enemy's left, he kept his right brigade, Scurry's, advanced, and swept everything before him.
"The first Federal line, consisting of all the mounted force and one division of the 13th Army Corps, was in full flight, leaving prisoners, guns and wagons in our bands. Two miles in the rear of the first position, the 2d Division of the 13th Corps was brought up, but was speedily routed, losing guns and prisoners; and our advance continued. Near sunset, four miles from our original position, the 19th Army Corps was found, drawn up on a ridge, overlooking a small stream. Fatigued and distressed by their long advance through dense wood, my men made no impression for a time on this fresh body of troops; but possession of the water was all-important, for there was none other between this and Mansfield. Walker, Green and Polignac led on their weary men, and I rode down to the stream. There was some sharp work, but we persisted, the enemy fell back, and the stream was held just as twilight faded into darkness. * * *
"Sitting by my camp-fire, to await the movement of Churchill's column, I was saddened by the recollection of the many dead, and the pleasure of victory was turned to grief as I counted the fearful cost at which it had been won. Of the Louisianians fallen, most were acquaintances, many had been neighbors and friends; and they were gone, Above all, the death of gallant Mouton affected me. * * * Our total loss in killed, wounded and missing, (during the campaign) was 3,376,"
The plan of the campaign was for Gen. Steele, with a force of 10,000 men, to form a junction with Gen. Banks at or near Shreveport, but Gen, Steele, having lost a large portion of his supply train, was compelled to abandon the expedition before he got within 100 miles of Shreveport.
After our capture at Sabine Cross Roads, the enemy was held in check by the 19th Corps, and the army fell back to Pleasant Hill during the night. The following day the battle of Pleasant Hill was fought, in which the rebels were defeated and driven from the field. The following morning at daylight the army retreated to Grand Ecore, where it was delayed on account of the navy until April 22d, when the retreat was resumed and the enemy found in a strong position at Cane river; but after a severe engagement they were dislodged and the army reached Alexandria April 25th. The following day the fleet of gunboats and transports arrived at the head of the falls, but owing to the low stage of the river they could not cross them. The great danger was that the whole fleet would have to be destroyed, to keep it from falling into the hands of the enemy. At this critical period Lieut.-Col. Baily, of the 4th Wis. Vol's., made a proposition to erect a dam at the foot of the falls and two wing dams on both sides of the river above, and by this means, force the water into the main channel, of sufficient depth to allow the fleet to pass over the falls. The work was commenced April 30th, by the Pioneer Corps and large details from the army. The soldiers labored zealously day and night, in the water waist-deep, until May 13th, when the last vessel, amid the cheers of the army and navy, passed over the falls.
The army then evacuated Alexandria, and resumed its march to the Mississippi river, where, after several sharp engagements with the enemy, they reached Simmsport May 16th, and Gen. Canby relieved Gen. Banks of the command of the Department of the Gulf.
Thus ended the Red River expedition, which, under able generalship, might have struck the rebel cause in the Southwest a severe blow, but instead of that it revived to a great extent the drooping spirits of the enemy.
The immense wagon-train of the cavalry received its full share of blame for the failure of the expedition, of which a military critic says : "Gen. Banks made his great march up Red river with his wagons as his advance-guard. The scheme worked finely, and would have been a complete success if the enemy had not interfered with the arrangement."
The total loss of Gen. Banks' army during the campaign, was 289 killed, 1,541 wounded, and 2,150 missing; total, 3,980. The enemy's loss, according to Gen. Taylor, was 3,976, our loss being over half in prisoners, while the greater portion of theirs was in killed and wounded.
From the summary of the report of the Congressional Committee, before whom the testimony was taken, we gather the following:
"The whole expedition presents many remarkable features. It was undertaken without the direction of any one, so far as the evidence shows, and the authorities at Washington did not furnish the troops which the General commanding the expedition considered necessary for the purpose. In the absence of all orders requiring this expedition to be undertaken, and after the refusal of the authorities at Washington to furnish the troops asked for, it was entered upon by the Commanding General, as shown by the evidence, against his judgment and in the belief that it must necessarily fail; and it was prosecuted at an immense sacrifice of life, of property and valuable time, after the development of facts that utterly precluded all hope of success. Its only results, in addition to the disgraceful disasters that attended it, were of a commercial and political character. The commercial transactions were conducted by speculators, who followed the army with and without permits. The political transaction was the holding of elections in the camps of the army while reorganizing a civil government in the State of Louisiana," etc. etc.
Such is the report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, of which Senator Wade was chairman, in regard to the Red River Expedition, under Gen. Banks.
From the battle-field we were taken to Mansfield, about four miles distant, and put in the court-house yard. After taking our names, they marched us about two miles out of town, and guarded us in a field. The night was cold and chilly, and as we had no blankets, we set fire to some old logs and crowded around as closely as possible, in order to keep warm. About eleven o'clock that night we received a few crackers and some bacon.
The next day, April 9th, the prisoners, numbering 182 officers and 1,000 men, in charge of a battalion of Louisiana cavalry, started for Camp Ford, Texas. After marching 15 or 20 miles, we were corraled for the night. Here we received our first regular rations from the Confederacy, which consisted of a pint of musty corn meal, coarsely ground, and a slice of salt beef. As we had no cooking utensils, some procured boards, upon which they baked their bread, while others baked it in the ashes. A number had their rations cooked at a house near camp, for which the charge was so exorbitant that in the future they did their own cooking. If at any time we were so fortunate as to procure a pot or kettle from the guards, we would have a sumptuous feast of mush, which, for want of spoons, was eaten with paddles.
The following day we proceeded on our way to Texas. In places we found the road lined with slaves, in charge of their masters, who were hurrying them to Texas to prevent them from falling into the hands of the "Yankees." The contracted brows of the masters indicated their hatred, while the happy countenances of the slaves showed that they considered us their best friends. For the benefit of both parties, we would sing,
"Ole Massa runn'd - aha!
De darkeys stay, oho!
It must be now dat de kingdom am a comin',
An' de year ob Jubilo!"
which would make the masters frown and the darkies grin.
On the 11th we passed through Lagrange. The only building of note was a large school-house, that was used as a hospital, and was full of sick and wounded rebels. We camped that evening on one of the very few streams that are found in that part of the country, as the surface is undulating, and the soil sandy, gravelly and dry, with but few springs, or running streams. Occasionally, on the march, we would pass large crowds of men and women, waiting at some cross-road to catch a glimpse of the "Yankees." While passing, we generally sang some Union song for their benefit. At one place, quite a number of ladies had collected from the neighborhood of a small village, and we sang for them the following warsong :
"THE STARS AND THE STRIPES SHALL WAVE IN EVERY STATE,
AS WE GO MARCHING ON,"
to the tune of "John Brown," when several of them cried out "No, they shan't! No, they shan't!" accompanied with gestures that were quite amusing. We continued our song, one key higher. Soon after we were halted for a rest, at the only school-house seen outside of a town or city on our way to prison. It was occupied by a lady teacher and a few small scholars. She directed the children to give the prisoners what they had left from their dinners. She was from the State of Illinois, and the war found her teaching in Texas.
On the fourth day's march we arrived at Marshall, Texas, and camped in the woods near the city. The next morning we passed through the place. The whole surrounding population turned out to see the "Yankees" who had been captured. Some really believed that they had made prisoners of the whole army. Our boys would halloo at them and sarcastically tell them they had captured all the "Yankees," "the war was now over," etc. While passing through the main street, we came to a large crowd, who occupied the sidewalks and windows. The guards, who were principally boys, coaxed us to sing that "Flag Song," ("Rally Round the Flag, Boys.") It was no sooner said than done, and when we came to the chorus:
"Down with the traitors and up with the stars,"
one old lady ran out of the crowd, very much excited, and called to the guards to "make the Yankees quit that singing." But they enjoyed it too much to order us to stop. The old lady kept on shaking her fist at us, and stamping her feet, but whatever she said was drowned in the chorus of the "Union Forever," sung by about five hundred Yankees, who felt miserable enough to make everybody else feel so.
1 Died of disease in the Atlanta campaign.
2 Gen. Gray's brigade occupied the position in front of our brigade.