The ladies of the town proposed to make and present a flag to us; and on the morning we were leaving there, we were marched into the residence portion of town, halted in front of a nice home, and a little lady came out, and with a pretty little speech, presented us a beautiful flag. Lieut. Col. [Benjamin W.] Watson, although a gallant soldier, and a fine officer, was illiterate. He received it, and thanked the ladies. Maj. [Thomas R.] Bonner, however, came to his relief, and made an appropriate reply.
Col. O. M. Roberts here made an effort to have the three Infantry Reg'ts. detached finally from Gen. Walker's Division, and attached to the Cavalry Division, which he would have accomplished, had it not been for Col. King and [Col. James Edward] Harrison, who opposed it. Col. King made application immediately for a few days permit -- he started off with "Boys, I'll have you all at the Division, in a few days." Accordingly, in a few days, we took up the march and rejoined the Command at Simsport, La. [Simmesport, LA], on the Atchafalya Bayou. We remained a few days at this place, then crossed the bayou upon a pontoon bridge, constructed of a number of skiffs upon each side at proper intervals, and the bridge built upon them -- there were two of this kind. When the army was crossing, it looked at a distance, precisely like they were marching upon the surface of the water.
A few days before our arrival at this place, one of these bridges gave way while a Battery was crossing, and all went into the water; luckily, however, it came unlimbered, and the horses swam out with the fore wheels. The gun and remainder of the carriage were gotten in a few days.
We went about four miles on the south side of the bayou, to Black Lake, and remained several days -- the Reg't. taking it by relief picketing with the gunboats, in the Mississippi River. Our Reg't. however, was excused from this duty, on account of our late expedition and fighting. After a short stay at this place, we took up the march down the Mississippi River, our object being to attack a place on the river, called Plaquemine, where the enemy had considerable quartermaster commissary stores and some force. We traveled several days in that direction, through low, black, stiff, mud country, very rich land, much of which had been in a high state of cultivation, but was now almost entirely deserted. While spending a night at a vacated Negro quarter, one of the houses caught fire, and burned down, in spite of all our efforts to extinguish the flames. The quarters here were as nice as our country villages.
After some days marching, we suddenly changed our course, the why and the whyfore were something the common soldier knew little about. We soon learned, however, that the bayou was rising rapidly, and it was with difficulty, they could splice the pontoon bridge fast as it rose. We hastened day and night to Morgan's ferry, it being the nearest point. We arrived there, some time after dark. The army made no halt, only as the bridges needed lengthening. We succeeded in crossing everything that night -- remained a few days on this bank.
Our exact track from here, for a few days, I do not now remember, but suffice it to say, in a few days we were in the vicinity of Sunport, on