Here, John Freeman, a member of our Company, solicited the extreme outpost. I thought then that it was bravery, but the sequal of his soldier life proved that he intended to desert, and go to the enemy.
We were ordered to leave our post at daylight, provided we received no orders to the contrary; accordingly, we took up the march in the direction of Delhi. When we arrived at the camp, the army had already gone. We pushed on and overtook them at the above named place, where we were on the 4th day of July 1863, when Vicksburg surrendered. We had heard cannonading for two months, day and night, up to that day; and on account of the cessation, all feared it had fallen, yet some hoped, but on the afternoon of the 6th and all day the 7th, confirmed the sad news, by the paroled prisoners passing on their way home. Many, as they passed, would remark that they would have held out much longer, if they had had as fat mules as ours.
We were ordered to remain here, and send our trains, daily between us and the Mississippi River, with a Cavalry escort, in order to get out all the forage, if possible. While trying to execute the above order, I was placed on guard at a Pontoon bridge, on Bayou Mason. While here, Col. Parson's Reg't was crossing, as an escort to the train, I recognized in that Command a Mr. Lamb, a man to whom I had gone to school when a little boy.
At this place, Capt. [J. W.] Duncan of our Company, resigned. Here, also, a member of our Company, by the name of Freer, was detailed as nurse, at the hospital at Monroe, La., and soon as opportunity offered, he deserted, and went north, -- he was a native of Ohio.
I will state, although, it may seem somewhat out of place, that here, the blow-flies were the worst I ever saw, they would blow a clean blanket if hung out to sun.
As soon as the bulk of the forage was gathered up, we took the train for Monroe, La., my first ride on the cars, not half so pleasant as I had anticipated.
At Monroe, Col. [David B.] Culberson resigned.
From here, we marched again, across to Camte [Campti], the same route described before, in this diary. The route lay through a very poor country, no towns of any consequence; but the finest country for summer huckleberries, and the largest ones I have ever seen anywhere; we almost lived on them.
We left two of the Company near Monroe, sick, to wit: Joe Dearo and Newt Davis. They soon recovered, however, and rejoined us. Another, by the name of Crutchfield, was taken sick on the way and died by the roadside, on a litter, the day we got to Camte. He is buried about one mile east of Camte, on a sandy mound, one hundred yards east of a large lake.
This was sometime in Aug. 1863. We arrived at Camte in the afternoon -- all was soon in a buzz and bustle, loading the boats with the wagons and mules. I was one of the detail -- we worked all night under command of Lieut.