Now return to our retreat -- at a distance of four miles, we came upon the command; and in addition, there was [James Camp] Tappan's Brigade, from Ark., to reinforce us with its young and stalwart soldiers, all standing in line of battle. I found in this Brigade two men of my boyhood acquaintance, Thomas Arnold and Henry Sullivan.
The entire army honored us with many compliments, for our conduct on the field that day.
I omitted to state in proper place, that our wagon train was out foraging, when we were attacked, and consequently, we lost all our baggage, except what we were carrying. Our cooking utensils were a total loss. On the way, however, we found plenty that others had thrown away, in order to expedite their flight from the enemy, and we carried out a scant supply.
The next day, 16th, we began to overtake the wounded, carried as above described. Many new made graves were by the wayside. I have learned since writing the above, that many of the wounded were not moved, and fell into the hands of the enemy.
This brings us to Delhi, La., at which place we remained a few days, then made a little expedition up the river, object being to attack a fort, garrisoned with Negroes, but before we arrived to our destination, the Cavalry captured a large lot off a farm in the valley. Five hundred in number, and two white men. Our Reg't was detached to guard them to Delhi. The Division accomplished their object in the capture of the fort. Its garrison consisted of two or three Companies of Negro troops. We remained at our base for a few days, then were ordered forward to picket for the command, which was coming out.
While on the above expedition, we camped at a large lake, containing hundreds of acres -- very soon, most of the soldiers began to fish, and I never saw so many fish before or since; believe I can say, without exaggeration, that hundreds could have been seen at a sight, on the hook, to be landed. Two men fishing near me, when one said, "I have my hook hung", he pulled and it gave away slightly, which it continued to do, until it came to shallow water, and it proved to be the largest turtle I ever saw. The hook had caught him under the fore leg. They landed him, and proceeded to dress him.
We arrived at Bayou Mason [Macon], late in the afternoon, remained till dark,
when we were again ordered forward. We soon began to meet the army, but
still pressed on in the darkness until we had passed all. We were halted
and arrangements were being made for posting a guard; when the stillness
of the night was broken by the report of a shot, once, twice, thrice,
and on to a half dozen in quick succession, a few hundred yards in front.
Many hearts beat faster, no doubt; in fact, I knew mine did, thinking we
were in the presence of the enemy. As soon, however, as the guards were
posted, Capt. Scott, a staff officer, rode to the front, and ascertained
that it was Col. [William Henry] Parson's Command, which were still between us and the
enemy, killing some beeves.