Bayou, which forms Black River. The 18th Regt. together with Gens. Walker and Hawes, embarked aboard the B. L. Hodge, which had a cannon mounted on her bow; and the order was for our boat to be one mile in advance, and in case we ran upon the enemy, or his fleet, the cannon was to be fired, as a signal to the other thirteen in the rear. Accordingly, we had almost reached Trinity City, when a courier overtook us by land, and informed us that the Federal fleet was at the said Trinity City, waiting our approach; consequently, as soon as Gen. Walker could dictate a dispatch to his superiors, we turned about, and the boat hove up stream. We had gone but a little way when we came in sight of the first boat in rear, which, as soon as they saw us in retreat, began to turn around, without waiting any information or orders, and so did the whole fleet, which were wild with excitement, both soldiers and boatsmen; but after many threats from Gen. Walker, he got them quiet enough to explain the cause of our retreat.
Many ludicrous stories were afterwards told upon the officers of other Brigades and Regts., such a Col. Filpots [Benjamin A. Philpott] ordering his men to throw their rations of bacon into the furnace for fuel, and when told that the bacon was all exhausted, told them to heave in their greasy haversacks. And offering his services to the pilot to help turn his wheel, which, when rejected, he mounted the chicken coop on the hurrican deck with his spurs to urge the boat forward. After all the confusion and excitement, we landed again at Trenton sometime in the night. This place is in the west bank of the Ouachita River, opposite Monroe, La. The object of the expedition, was to run down the Ouachita to the mouth of Little River, then up it to within eighteen miles of Alexandria [Louisiana], fall below the enemy which were at that place, which we would easily have done, had they not anticipated our object, and compelled us to run back to Monroe, thence to Camte [Campti], an overland route of a hundred and ten miles, thence to Alexandria by water. When on arriving, they had been gone but two days.
I had read of Washington's welcome into Trenton, in the war of 1776, but from the idea I could draw from history, I do not think they excelled the citizens of Alexandria in receiving Walker's Division. Ladies, old men and children ran to the shore, waved their hats and handkerchiefs, and wept for joy. Many of the careworn soldiers wept also.
On this trip from Pine Bluff, that I have just described, we lost a man named William Pucket -- died at hospital at Monroe, La.
At Alexandria, we did not disembark, but ran down some thirty miles
to Snaggy Point, landed, took up the line of march immediately in pursuit
of the enemy, in the direction of
Simsport [Simmesport], La., to which place we
arrived the second day. But the enemy had already embarked on their boats,
and we could not pursue them farther, and we retraced our steps to Snaggy
Point, and again got aboard boats, and returned to Alexandria. This time
we landed on the opposite side from the town -- cooked several days rations,
and marched in an easterly direction to Little River, a distance of
twenty miles, as well as I now remember. Went aboard the boats again,
ran down that river to its mouth at a place called Trinity City, thence
up Tensas Bayou as far as a boat could go, landed on the right bank.
This was on the 4th of June 1863 as well as I remember.