New Orleans & Western Louisiana
(August 19, 1863 - October 3, 1863)
Cyrus Hussey had left for home on leave without knowing an order would be issued allowing many of the regiment to return home. The order gave thirty days furlough for two men of each company and all officers but one officer in each company. For the officers this was not as generous as it sounds because most companies were reduced to one or two. There had been a large number of resignations of commissioned officers due to disabilities caused by illness and wounds. After the fall of Vicksburg Col. Sullivan and Adjutant Robert McGill resigned as well. None of the original company commanders remained. The majority of the officers had been promoted from the ranks. Col. Sullivan’s resignation letter states “My paid Regiment is now reduced down to 358 enlisted men and 28 Commissioned Officers: There are of that number but 268 present for duty; and out of this number, but 19 [officers] present for duty. Battle, sickness & long services in the field, have principally produced this result.” (http://www.48ovvi.org/pjsre1.jpg)
The 48th Ohio had never been at full strength but they were now reduced to about one third of full strength. Efforts would be made to recruit more men to fill the ranks but new regiments were being formed and deployed closer to home in healthier climates with more opportunity for promotion. These problems were now to be compounded with the transfer of the 13th Army Corps from the Army of the Tennessee to the Department of the Gulf. The 13th Corps, now under Gen. E. O. C. Ord, who had replaced Gen. McClernand, was ordered to New Orleans, and with it the 48th Ohio. The men of the 48th, who had enjoyed the most effective leadership in the Union army under Generals such as Sherman, Grant and A. J. Smith, would now be commanded by one of the most incompetent corps commanders in the Union Army, Gen. Nathanial P. Banks. At the division level they would trade the top level of leadership provided by Gen. A. J. Smith for the more moderate competence of their formenr brigade commander, Col. William J. Landram.
Lt. Col. Parker, the sole remaining field officer was on leave and would be mistakenly listed as having resigned, thus beginning a long series of problems with the army bureaucracy which would continue throughout his career, keeping him from his duties with the regiment for most the rest of the war, and, as it turned out, most of the rest of his life. During the period Col. Parker was thought to have resigned Capt. Lindsey, the senior company commander, was promoted to Lt. Col. and placed in command of the regiment.
New Orleans City Map
Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION
New Orleans was enjoyed thoroughly by the troops. Bering and Montgomery describe the pleasures of the city in the regimental history.
“New Orleans had always been a city of great note for pleasure seekers, and the war had made but little change in that respect. Therefore, as soon as we arrived at the Crescent City, enjoyment was the order of the day. During our stay, excursion parties were made up to visit the most notable places. This, with the very light duties required of us, made it one of the most pleasant periods of our service.
To the Northern soldier, New Orleans was very attractive, as it resembled more a foreign than an American city. The houses, especially in the suburbs, occupy a position back from the streets, in front of which are shrubbery and flowers. These, with the indispensable veranda, give the dwellings a cool and inviting look. The inhabitants, who are of French and Spanish descent, interest the stranger with their peculiar manners and customs.
The French market, on a Sunday morning, is an interesting scene. It is open until noon, and is thronged with customers. The stores are open until 11 A. M., when they close for the Sabbath, the observance of which consists principally in promenading on Canal street, which is said to be the finest street in America. It is very wide, and in the center runs a street railroad, on each side of which are beautiful shade trees, which form a complete arch over the track.
Cellars and wells are out of the question in this low, marshy soil, where water is found but a few feet from the surface. In fact, the city is lower than the Mississippi river at high water, and is only prevented from being overflowed by the levee. For the same reason the dead are buried in vaults, built above the ground. The principal cemetery is on the Shell Road, half-way between the city and Lake Ponchartrain. The Lake is a great public resort, for boating and fishing.
The old battle-field, below the city, received its full share of visitors. Here Gen. Jackson, on the 8th of January, 1812, with 4,000 raw recruits, defeated 12,000 British veterans, with a loss of only five men, while the British lost seven hundred. The most curious feature was, that it was fought after peace had been declared, but the combatants had not received the news. This was before railroads, steamers or the telegraph."
The regiment continued its routine without the many who were on leave, including Cyrus Hussey, who would return for duty on the Thirty-first of August. As the men trickled into camp a few at a time, many of the arrivals are noted by Capt. Hussey.
JOHN RICHARDON'S LETTERS FROM NEW ORLEANS
WILLIAM J. SROFE'S LETTERS FROM NEW ORLEANS
Thursday August 19th
|Tuesday August 25th
On the 25th of August, the Regiment embarked for New Orleans on the steamer "Atlantic," with the 77th Ills. and Chicago Mercantile Battery, and arrived at Carrollton, five miles above New Orleans…
Map of the Area Surrounding New Orleans Including Carrollton
|Thursday August 27th
[On] the 27th, and with the Division in command of Gen. Burbridge, encamped in the old rebel. camp "De Mar." Capt. Tice arrived and took command of the Regiment. [Sept. 1st error]
|Monday August 31st
Morning clear & warm. Arrived at command about 10.00 A.M. Co. generally in good health. Glad to get back. Making out Rolls. Muster at 10.00 A.M. by Tice. Our Corps at [Camp] Carrollton. Reg’t Berths.
|Tuesday September 1
Making Rolls. Warm. My health good. Wrote short letter to my wife.
|Wednesday September 2
Making returns Reg’t inspected by Insp. Genl
He only examined arms.
|Thursday Sept. 3
Quite warm. Working on Returns. Wrote to my Wife at night. Co. Drill in Morning & Bat.[talion] drill in P.M.
Friday September 4, 1863
[New Orleans Era, Saturday, Sept. 5, 1863.]
``THE REVIEW YESTERDAY.
According to announcement in the city papers, the troops under command of Maj. Gen. Washburn, now stationed at 'Champ de Mars,' near Carrollton, were reviewed by Gens. Banks and Grant, at an early hour yesterday morning. The review was a most imposing sight, and one to be long remembered. The men under review were war-scarred veterans, who left the pleasant scenes of their homes in every part of the Union, to 'hew their way to the Gulf with their swords.' Every division, brigade and regiment, as it filed past the two Generals, surrounded by their staffs, showed the results of careful and skillful training, while the animation that gleamed from the bronzed faces of these veterans, gave evidence that they were conscious of the distinguished presence in which they were marching. In the array of officers and men who met together on the 'Champ de Mars,' the citizens of New Orleans could behold a portion of the deliverers of the Mississippi river. The opening of the great inland sea required great men and stout soldiers; and to the credit of our country let it be said, the right men were found for the work. . * * *
The review was what might be reasonably expected from the tried troops, in the presence of the two distinguished Generals. The division, brigade and regimental officers handled their men with more precision than might have been witnessed on the same field two years ago, when an attempt was made by one or two Louisiana militia Generals to review raw recruits, who had never seen even a skirmish, and many of whom are still innocent of the blood of the soldiers of the army of the United States.
The heat of the day was so intense, that many of the old citizens of New Orleans were glad to retire to some friendly shade; and yet the troops showed no signs of distress, nor even inconvenience. Such is the result of being inured to exposure. The men, coming from a northern climate, endure a heat which even an acclimated person avoids. A heartier or more robust set of men probably never passed in review under the critical eyes of Generals, who have performed great deeds, and who have more yet to do.
It was apparent to the most superficial observer, that the parade was no training-day display. The two Generals, their respective staffs, the general field and regimental officers, and the men themselves, had the bearing of the true soldier, and the tout ensemble was suggestive of genius, discipline and backbone. * * * They have demonstrated that there is no such word as fail for those who are determined to succeed. It was a proud privilege to stand on that animated field yesterday, and say, 'these are American Generals and American troops, whose deeds are about to be enrolled on the scroll of immortal fame, and America is my country.' The traitor to our flag even, must have rejoiced that his pseudo-friends had been overcome by men who have shown such bravery in arms, and such mercy and moderation in victory."
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
September 4, 1863
Friday September 4, 1863 [continued]
Reviewed by Grant at 8.00 A.M. Grand Affair—troops enthusiastic. Hired servant “James Haris”—Colored—at $4.00 per month. Grant thrown from his Horse & injured.
September 5, 1863
Saturday September 5, 1863
Went to New Orleans in A.M. Bought some paper, Ink, &c. Very pleasant looking City but not much grandeur. Returned at 10.00 A.M. Finished returns. Recd a Diary from home. But had just bought this one. The Diary contained a letter from my Wife of July 27th. Not needing Diary sold it to Jess [2nd Lt. Allison].
September 6, 1863
Sunday Sept. 6th
Inspected Co. in the morning. My health good. Writing up Diary. Slight rain. Capt. Jim Williams took dinner with us. News that Sumpter, Wagner, Gregg, &c. are taken.
September 7, 1863
Monday Sept. 7th
Two hours in Bayonet exercise in morning. Battalian Drill in evening. Bering in command. Myself acting Adjt. Writing up Diary. Jess [2nd Lt. Allison] Detailed in Court Martial.
September 8, 1863
Tuesday Sept. 8th
Two hours in Bayonet exercise. Went to Lake Pontchartrain. Had a bath in salt water—very pleasant Ben with me. Went to lake in cars—returning in canal boat. Saw fine Dress Parade of 11th Ind. Court Martial in Progress.
September 9, 1863
Wednesday Sept. 9th
Bayonet rill & Bat. Drill. [Capt.] Gaunsallus [Co. F], [1st Lt.] Rike [Co. A], [Pvt. James A.] Garett [Co. A], [Pvt. William C..] Edwards [Co. A], [Pvt. John A.] Britton [Co.A] &c. joined. Wrote to Wife (today or tomorrow).
September 10, 1863
Thursday, Sept. 10th
Recd a letter from my Wife of Aug 27th—containing her photograph. She has to start to the high school in New Vienna on the 7th Inst. Bayonet & Bat. Drill.
September 11, 1863
On the [11th]9th, we moved our camp to Greenville Station, on the Carrollton & New Orleans R. R., in a beautiful grove of pecan trees.
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
Friday, Sept. 11th
Quite warm. Struck tents and moved camp in Nice grove in R.R. at Greenville Station N.O.&C.R.R.—Very nice Camp. Forwarded Final Statements of [Pvt.] Eli Black [Co. A] to Adjt. Genl dated 10th. Bought Provisions. Capt. Sowry [Co. E] arrived.
September 12, 1863
Saturday, Sept. 12th
Drill as usual. Went to New Orleans in A.M. & bought Kelton’s* Bayonet Manuel, cups, saucers & spoons..
*KELTON, LIEUT. J[OHN].C[UNNINGHAM], A New Manual of the Bayonet, for the Army and Militia of the United States. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1861. 108 pp 12mo. 30 engraved folding plates at rear illustrating bayonet maneuvers.
Drill, Drill, Drill…
Soldiers in camp spent most of their time in various forms of drilling. This entailed practicing the Manual of Arms (movements with a musket while standing in place) as well as sets of facings and movements that started with the company and moved up to the battalion.
The “School of the Soldier” included the manual of arms, including standing at attention and the positions of Shoulder Arms (holding the musket at one’s side with the butt off the ground”, Right Shoulder Shift Arms (holding the musket against the right shoulder), Present Arms (saluting by holding the musket out in front, in the center of the body), and other positions. It also included facings (Right face, Left Face, About Face, etc.), alignment (Right and left dress and dress on the colors), doubling up into a column of four men across, and finally, marching. Marching included turns such as By File Right or Left, By the Right or Left Flank, and wheeling.
Once the School of the Soldier was mastered, men began practicing the School of the Company in which they learned how to form the company, how to load and fire their muskets, and how to form the company for dress parade. Firing commands included firing by rank, by file or by company. They also learned basic maneuvers with the company such as By Company Into Line and Left into Line, Wheel.
There were also special commands to deploy small squads of men as skirmishers, called Instructions for Skirmishers.
The “School of the Battalion” allowed for the movement of larger groups that included several companies (a “Battalion” could be a Regiment or even a Brigade.) Commands in the School of the Battalion were much more complicated, and allowed for moving companies through other companies, creating a battle line of several companies (e.g. Forward Into Line By Companies, Left Half Wheel, March), or moving through obstacles (e.g. By the Right of Companies to the Front, March), among others.
There existed also a “School of the Officer” in which junior officers learned how to use these commands to move men around a battlefield.
Several different systems of drill were published at the time of the Civil War and the precise commands and the ways they were executed varied somewhat among the units in both the Northern and Southern armies. For example, early in the war most Union units used Winfield Scott’s drill system of 1835, but by the time the war was well under way, “Casey’s Infantry Tactics” of 1862 had been adopted. Southern soldiers used Casey’s too, but many were trained using Gilham’s or Hardee’s systems of drill.
The real point of drilling was to make it possible for commanders to move huge blocks of men around the battlefield in an orderly manner. Constant repetition and practice made these movements second nature to the soldiers, so that even in the noise, confusion and terror of a battle, they would continue to reliably obey the commands of their officers.
September 13, 1863
Sunday, Sept. 13th
Co. inspection at 8.00 A.M.
Answered my Wife’s letter of Aug. 27th. Wrote at some length about finances & Isaac’s going to Delaware. Commenced keeping cash account of expenses.
September 14, 1863
Monday, Sept. 14th
Drill in Morning. Uncontrollable- Diarrhea. Recd letter from [Pvt.] Jim Dryden [Co. A], [2nd Lt.] Jess [Allison, Co. A], [Pvt. Jonathan] Chance [Co. A], [Serg. Maj.] Conklin & Bagley & Lenard &c. Answered [1st Lt.] Corneal [Conrad]’s letter & sent him the $1.40 I owed him. His letter quite brief & my answer equally so. Wrote him that I did not expect promotion.
September 15, 1863
Tuesday, Sept. 15th
Bad Diarrhea—ate but little & took some medicine. Recd & issued some clothing. C.&G.E.
Helped Jess [2nd Lt. Allison] make our returns of Q.M. Property for July. He resigned on account of ill health & I recommended and forwarded his application. Gen. Ord present.
September 16, 1863
Wednesday, Sept. 16
My health better. Forwarded “Inventories & Inspection Reports of Unserviceable C.&G.E. to Dept. Hd.Qrs. Regt. Inspected at 6.00 A.M. by A.A.I. Genl Rike. Bat. Drill in P.M. Capt. Tice made a number of mistakes. Jess [2nd Lt. Allison] application O.K. & gone to Corps Head Quarters.
September 17, 1863
Thursday, Sept. 17th
Warmer—slight rain in P.M.
Co. & Bat. Drill. Gen. Lawler drilled our Regiment in several maneuvers. Good drill master. His dress very common. Wrote to Messrs. Conklin, Bagley, J. H. Dryden and Josh Chance. Capt Tice tendered his resignation. No word from Jess. papers at 8.00 P.M. My health better.
September 18, 1863
Friday, Sept. 18th
Warmer—slight rain in P.M.
Co. & Bat. Drill. Quite unwell— diarrhea. Took Morphia & Quinine. Jess [2nd Lt. Allison] Resignation accepted to take effect yesterday. Inventory & Inspection Reports recd approved by Corps Comd.
September 19, 1863
Saturday, Sept. 19th
Went to City with [Lt.] Jess [Allison] in A.M. He got his pay—but has to wait till 21st for Boat.
Health not very good. Returned to Camp in evening. Tice’s resignation accepted to take today.
Recd envelop from my Wife containing My Photograph & Jess & Ben’s letters from Vicks. Wrote to my Wife & sent by mail. Weather quite good.
September 20, 1863
Sept. 20th, Capt. Tice having resigned, Capt. Bering resumed command of the Regiment. With Capt. Tice we sent our old, tattered battleflag to Columbus, Ohio, to be placed in the flagroom at the State House. After he arrived in Cincinnati he put it on exhibition in Wiswell's show-window on Fourth Street, but it has never been seen or heard of since.
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
Sunday, Sept. 20th
Jess went to City in morning. Health poor—bad diarrhea.
Wrote to my Wife—note to send by Jess—enclosing Corneal [Conrad]’s letter. Capt. Bering assumed command of the Regiment. Weather quite cool at night. Wrote communication about discharge of Henry Cook.
September 21, 1863
Monday, Sept 21st, 1863
Co. drill. 1st Officers School. Bat. drill—I had charge of the Bat. Drill. & also on dress parade. Rolls came back to sign—had our our signed and witnessed them. The rolls of all the other companies wrong. Wrote to Paymaster General (24th), Maj Jordan & Maj. Maylone about false payment of E.B. Tutor & James Collier [Co. A]. Recd letter from my Wife of Sept. 2nd. She is preparing to go to school—her health good. Frost Injured crops very much.
September 22, 1863
Tuesday, Sept 22nd
Made bunlf[?]. Collun discharged. Co. & Bat. Drill, Officer’s School Col. Parker not resigned.
September 23, 1863
Wednesday, Sept 23rd
Co. Drill. Officers School & Bat. Drill. Went to City with Collun to get his money. He was paid off all right by Maj. Veddy & will start for home tomorrow in the Steamer “Empress”.
Did not get back in time for battalion drill—boys said that they had a poor drill. My health much better. Recd letter from my Wife of 8th & 9th inst from “Quinton House.” Commenced taking lessons in Music Sept. 9, 1863. Miss Adda Wright a room-mate of my Wife. My letter from Vicksburg of Aug. 28th—containing letter to Phoebe [Hussey] recd & approved. Wrote to my Wife ans. hers of 2nd&8th-9th.
September 24, 1863
Thursday, Sept 24th
1st Brigade went on boats after night. Co. & Bat. Drill.
Sent in charges & specifications against Levi Read & Wm Williams [Co. A] for desertion.
September 25, 1863
Friday, Sept 25th
Co. & Bat. Drill. Went to City to get new Regulations but they had not arrived. Read “Morgan”— a well conceived but poorly finished novel by “Buntline”. No desire to sleep at night. My mind wandering to those at home chiding me for not facing the realities of life more fairly. I am actually too fanciful—I build castles in the air. May God enable me to be satisfied with my lot.
W.A. purlock went into Hos. Cook “Jim” sick—unable to get my meals. Very favorable news from Charlestown.
September 26, 1863
Saturday, Sept 26th
Co. drill. Sent our old Flag to the Govn of Ohio by [Capt.] Tice[Co. I].
Officers School. But no battalion drill. Read “Walter Thimley.” Negro Marrage in Camp. “Martha” of the Hos. & a cook belonging 77th Ill. All seems happy.
Had a nice supper & a big dinner afterwards. Our Cooks been sick some days—doing our own work.
Nothing of much interest transpiring. Recd a letter from [Pvt. Robert] Denney [Co. A] asking for a discharge. Shaved clean exaph Mustaches.
S.F. Read [Pvt. Co A] drunk.
September 27, 1863
Sunday, Sept 27th
Morning Cloudy. Had Co. Inspection at 8.00 A.M.
Wrote long letter to my Wife.
Bering absent—had charge of dress parade. 4 of our wagons turned over to Div. Q.M.
September 28, 1863
Monday, Sept 28th
Light shower in P.M. 1st Brigade returned. Sent Harpe’s, Lislie & Time to my Wife. Battles imminent in Virginia & Tennessee-news favoeable.
September 29, 1863
Tuesday, Sept 29th
Rainy Day. Wrote to Jim Denney at Leesburg. Rumors of a big fight near Chattanooga. Results about even. Indications of moving. Expecting Paymaster. Raining all night.
September 30, 1863
Wednesday, Sept 30th
Still raining. Wrote to my Wife & sent her a bill of expenses. Wrote to Capt. Roth Stewart Pro. Mart. to have Jim Wells arrested & returned to his Co. Made out & forwarded to Q.M. Genl Returns of Co. C & G. E. for Sept. 1863, dated Oct. 1st 1863. State agent at our Regt. With pol. Books &c. for election on 13th inst.
Most everyone anxious to vote. Private James H. Dryden joined from detached service—health not very good. My health good.
Large mail came in to day but not distributed. News Rosecrans indefinite.
October 1, 1863
Our pleasant times were fast drawing to a close. Oct. 1st, we received two months' pay and were ordered on a campaign in Western Louisiana.
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
Thursday, Oct 1st 1863
Recd my Wife’s letter of Sept. 12th. Her health not very good. Cool & windy.
Paid by Maj. Preston—all except Brittan and Dryden.
Recd $3.75 of D. Williams for Jess.
Recd $8.00 of E. Ray & Wess Secta “ ”.
Wrote to my Wife urging her not to quit school on account of expense. Letter to be sent with money by express.
Boys all very merry.
Paid D. Williams note on me $90.00.
October 2, 1863
Friday Oct 2nd
Went to City. Expressed $140.00 to my Wife-- $11.75 of which she is to pay to Jess Allison & $ 51.25 to Posegate—lay by $10.00 & I have $67.00 to spend. Expressed $100.00 for Joshua Tudor to Ambrose Carson, Greenfield, Ohio & $40.00 for Ike Carmin to Wm. M Carmin, Washington, Ohio.
Orders to move at 6.00 A.M. tomorrow. Sold my books for $10.00 We take nothing with us but books & clothing. Other things sent to City. Notice came from Washington concerning false musters.
October 3, 1863
On the 3d we embarked on the steamer "North America" and landed at Algiers, opposite New Orleans, where we took a night-train for Brashear City, a distance of eighty miles, at which place we arrived the following morning. We crossed the bay on a ferry boat and camped at Berwick City.
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
Saturday Oct 3rd
Our move delayed time uncertain. Weather clear & cool. My health only tolerable. Got in our boats in evening. Landed in Algears. Got on cars at 10.00 P.M. & started for Braschear City. Running slow. Capt. Bering went to see his Aunt & myself in command. Attached to 1st Brigade.