18th Independent Battery
New York Volunteers
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
OUR ARMY CORRESPONDENCE.
From New York to Baton Rouge With Banks' Expedition.
The following interesting letter from Lieut. George P. Davis, of Mack's Battery,
gives a detailed account of the sailing of the Banks Expedition from New York
to New Orleans, their progress up the river, and also the taking of Baton Rogue.
Lieut. Davis is a son of Philander Davis, of this city:
Tuesday, Dec. 2d, 1862.
DEAR DEMOCRAT :—We weighed anchor and left the harbor of East River at
3:30 P. M. today. The wind was blowing quite a gale when we left, but we found
it quite calm when leaving the Bay. We passed four very large forts on our
way out, which it would be impossible for any fleet to pass. Nothing of note
transpired until we were out of sight of land. I went to bed about 9 o'clock
in my cozy little state room, with the Captain and my boy Mike.
Wednesday, the 3d—Rose about 6 this morning; sea calm and all was pleasant.
There was a general complaint among the privates of not enough to eat. About
3 P. M. we passed Hatterass; sailed 215 miles in the last 24 hours. The moon
rose pleasant in the evening.
Thursday, the 4th—I found myself on deck about 6 o'clock this morning;
the sun rose beautifully. One of the grandest sights I ever saw is the sun
rising at sea. We are sailing a due south-west course: sea calm; took breakfast
at 8 A. M.; begin to feel a little tired of sea life. We have about 40 officers
on board, most of them Massachusetts men; some from Texas. Very good company,
but not much but war to talk about; passed one sail vessel to-day; all quiet
on board; not at all home-sick; last 24 hours sailed 350 miles.
Friday the 5th—Got out on deck about 6 this morning and found quite a
gale blowing and the sea quite rough; upon deck I found the men begining [sic]
to look pale and vomiting; I felt well; wind continued to rise; sides of the
vessel full of men sick; the rest laughing at those that were sick, which made
it very amusing. I felt well until about noon; went down in the cabin with
the rest of the officers, where I soon got very dizzy and sick; came up on
deck; wished I could have some good friend hold my head; could not vomit; drank
warm salt water; all to no purpose, only to make me feel worse; the wind continued
to rise; I felt as though I did'nt [sic] care much whether it rose or stopped
I went up and sat all the afternoon and late in the evening, on the deck, with
the Captain. He and Lieut. Curtiss were very sick, the waves swept over us.
until we were soaked. When the sun went down in the evening, the wind seemed
to rise heavier than ever, and every time the old vessel plunged it seemed
as though it were her last, and then you might hear some poor fellow say "there
we go." I did'nt [sic] say much, I felt so bad I was glad to keep still,
but I hope never to see another such a day. The old sailors that evening, said
it looked squally, and our chances were much better in the old Illinois than
in any other vessel. She pitched like an egg shell. I thought then, if ever
I got off this pond I would not soon get on another, and I have not changed
my mind much now, I notice.
About 8 in the evening I ran down and threw myself on my bunk, completely tired
out, but thought very likely never to go on deck again.
I was soon sound asleep in my wet clothes dreaming of my pleasant home, and
only awoke to find myself tossed on the mighty deep.
wind has very much subsided, but the old ocean is rolling in large heavy swells,
causing the steamer to rock, anything but pleasant
to me. I am up on deck all day and am liable to stay here the rest of the voyage,
unless it is more smooth. Yesterday we made no time, which is almost one day
lost to us, but the Captain thinks we can make it in eight days. Sealed orders
opened, we are to go to Ship Island, in the Gulf, 50 miles below New Orleans,
as a rendezvou [sic], there to stay 10 days, for the rest of the fleet to come
up, when we expect to move into Texas. Very likely, part will go up the river
to Mobile, at any rate those who go into Texas will move very rapidly into
the interior, and I think will not stay there long. Nothing of note transpired
during the day.
SUNDAY, 6th.—This is one of the pleasantest mornings we have had, and
last night was one of the poorest nights I ever spent. The boat tipped one
side all night, so as to make my head about a foot lower than my feet, and
by the movement of the boat I did not know it. I thought my head would split,
and felt very bad all day. In the evening I took supper, the first good meal
for three days, and sat on deck and read my Bible during the day. In sight
of the coast of Florida, for two hours this morning; about 10 A. M., ran on
a shoal, which gave the boat a big jar, and scared the Captain much. A man
died last night of brain fever, and was buried in the deep about noon, to feed
the sharks. The weather is as warm as our June, and water 78 degrees.
MONDAY, 7th.—I do not find it as pleasant laying abed until seven or
eight o'clock in the morning, as I used to at home, but rise early and take
the morning air. I feel very well to-day, and have a ferocious appetite. We
have been sailing along the Florida coast all day, which is very pleasant to
us, to be in sight of land. Passed three of the blockade fleet, left them some
of the latest papers we had, but could not let them know our destination.
TUESDAY, 9th.—Passed Key West this morning about three o'clock. It was
very warm. The wind is a little heavier this morning, making it quite rough.
At 12 A. M., passed Fort Taylor, on the Tortugas Isle, one of the largest forts
in the United States, and entered the Gulf, sailed along very pleasantly with
a little heavier wind towards night, but avoided being sick. Since we left
the Tortugas Isle, we have sailed in a due N. W. course, which will bring us
to Ship Island, as the next spot of land we see. There is but very little difference
to be seen between the Gulf and ocean, except the water is darker in the Gulf,
on account of being much deeper, and as a general thing, the storms are much
more frequent than here.
WEDNESDAY, 10th.—Weather very warm and sultry this morning. Rose about
7 A. M.; am feeling very well; very busy all forenoon, contriving so as to
get the two best Sergeants in my section. I have succeeded. I have under my
command two Sergeants, four Corporals and forty-eight men, and have succeeded
in getting the best in the company. This is our eighth day out. We are sailing
about 10 miles an hour. Nothing of note transpired.
THURSDAY, 12th. —There is but very little air stirring this morning,
yet every one agrees the signs are of a big storm. At 7 A. M. we are 100 miles
from Ship Island, which we expect to make before night. For the last few days
we have been very much concerned for the safety of our horses, they will very
likely be about twelve days on the ship, and even if the sea is smooth it will
be pretty hard for them. I do not know as I have mentioned the fact, that we
expect, in ten days from the time we land at the Island, either to go to Texas
and take a rapid move into the interior, or to go up the river and take Mobile;
in either case we will not stay here long, but will move farther North. We
have 150 men, many more than we expected to bring off, and they are as well
pleased with the prospect as ourselves. We arrived at the beautiful little
Isle at three and a half P. M., this day, and at another such place I hope
it will never be my lot to spend a week. It is very low, with no soil but the
whitest of sand, where no living thing can grow; width varies from one to one
and a "quarter of a mile, length between five and six miles. When we came
into the harbor there were three gunboats and two men-of-war, anchored a quarter
of a mile from shore. The boys were very glad to think they had arrived at
the long-looked for Island, but were very much disappointed in the prospect.
Soon after casting anchor, Captain Mack, Lieutenants Mumford and Curtiss and
myself, found a small boat and went on shore. We there found two companies
of Rhode Island troops who had been there since last March. The officers took
us round and showed us a large fort that is building, barracks in process of
erection and the building now occupied.—About 100 laborers are employed.
They say there has been about 25,000 troops encamped on the Island. This rendezvouz
[sic] is under the control of Gen. Butler, and most of the troops that have
been sent into the Gulf have met here.
They say we will not disembark unless it becomes necessary to clean the ship,
and then only for a short time, hence we will in all probability spend our
time aboard ship while here. We staid on the Island about two hours. While
there the Captain engaged 400 oysters, to be cooked for us next Saturday afternoon.
Wont [sic] we have a big 100 a piece?
FRIDAY, 12th.— Weather much cooler this morning, wind blowing heavy from
the North. The captain proposed a hunting excursion on the Island—procured
of Captain Babcock, one of the ship boats, and the Captain, Lieut. Curtis and
Mumford and myself, with four of our best oarsmen as rowers. We went up the
Island and landed. Curtiss had his double-barreled shotgun—we had our
revolvers. We soon got sight of a large flock of geese, but Lieut. Curtiss’ nerves
were not steady enough to tame them. It is said there is a great deal of game
here. We saw some ducks. There are coons, possums and, a great many alligators
on the Island, of which the natives have great fear. We did not succeed in
making a great haul of game, but lost our dinners, and were very much fatigued.
Capt. Mack and myself got quite a number of fine shells, which we will box
up and send home when the ship returns, if we get enough to make a package.
Last night, about 6 o’clock, the transport steamer Che Kiang arrived
with 1,400 troops, and this morning, the steamer Spaulding from Fortress Monroe,
arrived with one thousand troops, and the New Brunswick with 12,000 troops
and some horses. The horses looked well which is encouraging to us as we think
very likely ours will arrive here safe. We expect them here Sunday or Monday.
The main shore (State of Louisiana) is only twelve miles off and in sight.
Oysters, clams, oranges, lemons, sweet potatoes, and a great many other luxuries
are brought to the Island, but the officers on the Island say they dare not
visit on the main land, as the country is filled with guerrillas, who are sacking
the country and taking everything they can find. I am feeling pretty well this
evening with the exception of being pretty tired. I think the climate will
agree with me and I will enjoy it if my horse only arrives safely here. Just
now I am more concerned about him than anything else.
SATURDAY, 13th.—Much warmer and more pleasant than yesterday. Went on
deck and found everything a-stir at 8.30. Arrived at 8.30 this morning the
propeller Mary E. Boardman, with 1,000 troops, then the North Star which is
the Flag Ship, and had on board Gen. BANKS and staff, Gen. AUGUR and staff,
Gen. GROVER and staff. Governor HAMILTON, the newly-appointed Military Governor
of Texas and his private Secretary, then the Northern Light, all with the decks
crowded, and their bands playing. Cheer after cheer arose and floated upon
the waters of the Gulf as they came up. At 11.30 the United States ship Arago
arrived with 1,500 troops.—This is the only vessel as large as ours.
Every thing is excitement as the mail leaves this P. M. About 9,000 troops
have arrived in all. Some talk of our sailing to-day.
11.30 A. M.—The propeller North Star arrived with 1,200 troops.
12 M.—The steamers Baltic and Atlantic, and another steamer in sight.
Name not known.—In all, I think, 15,000 troops.
STEAMER ILLINOIS, Dec. 13th, 1862.
OFF SHIP ISLAND.
Arrived at 12 M. one Man of War and one Transport. Weighed anchor and left
harbor at 3 P. M. as to our destination every one seemed to be in ignorance,
four of the Transports left ahead of us.
FRIDAY, Dec. 14th.—Awoke early this morning and found we were lying off
the entrance to the Mississippi. Pilots were signaled, for whom we did not
long have to wait, this was evidence that we were going to New Orleans at last.
The river has three outlets, we entered the center pass, which is very narrow.
The river and amount of low land usually covered by water is about ten miles
in width for a number of miles, it is one hundred and twenty-eight miles to
New Orleans from the mouth of the river. After sailing about forty miles, we
arrived opposite Forts Jackson and Phillip, which appear like very strong fortifications.
This is where Gen. Butler fought one of the hardest contested naval battles
of the rebellion, and only gained the victory by part of his fleet running
the gauntlet between the crossfire of both forts, which were both heavily manned
and well served at the time passing. Above there we came into a section of
country lying higher where we found large Plantations, with Orange Orchards
where the trees were loaded with the ripe and luscious [sic] fruit almost within
our reach, yet out of our power to obtain, the sight was tempting to the appetite.
We saw Lemons, Figs and Palmeto, Cypress, Sycamore, Elm and Oak in abundance.
Also saw large fields of the growing Sugar Cane, at which they are now busy
gathering and converting into Sugar, this is the season of the Planters Harvest,
the richest section of the South. Where the wealthiest Planters reside is about
twenty miles above the forts.
We passed the Plantation of Attorney General Judah P. Benjamin, now a General
in the rebel army at Richmond. He has a splendid Plantation of about three
thousand acres with about two hundred slaves, all of which has been confiscated
and is now worked by Uncle Sam in obedience to the orders of Gen. Butler, the
majority of the Planters are loyal. On our way up we overtook the transport
Mary E. Boardman who tried hard to prevent us from passing, but of no avail,
quite a spirited race was the consequence, and as we passed the plantations,
hundreds of colored people of both sizes and all ages would line the banks,
and of all the uncouth cheers, gestures, noises, they could make the worst
which caused even the most melancholy to press their sides with laughter.
The weather to-day has been very warm much like our July weather, Thermometer
stands from 80 to 90 degrees, arrived at New Orleans 7 P. M. and cast anchor
opposite Marine Hospital.
MONDAY, Dec. 15th.
At 9 A. M., we moved about a mile farther up the river and cast anchor in the
center of the stream. About 5 P. M. we moved alongside of the wharf where we
now are, for the purpose of taking in coal. Gen. Banks has taken his quarters
at the St. Charles Hotel. The city presents a very deserted appearance, although
considerable business is done. Merchants are busy shipping cotton, sugar and
molasses. The new Custom House not yet completed, will be the largest building
of the kind in the United States; there are other very large buildings. There
are lying near us four or five large Men-of-War, also about a dozen transports
loaded with troops. Paid to-day our board bill on the boat of some $1 per day,
for 15 days. I take this as an indication that we will soon disembark; the
news this evening is that General Banks supercedes General Butler. We also
understand we are to move early to-morrow morning, about seven miles up the
river to Carrolltown Race Course, and then go into camp of instruction. The
indications are now that we will remain here during the winter, or else we
are to be brigaded and move farther up the river. There is now about 40,000
up the river to operate against Vicksburgh [sic], which is the strongest position
the rebels hold upon the Mississippi.
TUESDAY, Dec. 16.—Weather cold to-day; heavy wind from the North. Weighed
anchor at 12 M., and commenced moving up the river; fine country on both sides;
before we had gone far we got word that part of our fleet had been fired on
by the enemy. About 8 P. M., my servant, half scared to death, awoke me, saying,
a gunboat had just come down the river and notified us that we would soon be
attacked by the rebels, and also that the Colonel had ordered every man to
have his gun loaded. The boat was then standing still, but I was too sleepy,
and felt too bad to listen to him, so I turned over and went to sleep.
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17—At 4:30 A. M., my servant woke me up. I found the
officers of the regiment were up. I got up and found that the fleet had come
to a halt, and all was excitement; they soon commenced running again. I went
up on deck and found there were four gunboats along with us; were soon ready
to start. We commenced getting our battery from the lower hold of the vessel.
At 8:30 A. M. I heard the report of a cannon, hurried on deck and found we
were opposite Baton Rouge, the Capitol of Louisiana. The city is very pleasantly
situated on slightly rising ground, on the east side of the river. Population
about 5,000. The first gun fired by our gunboats, was rapidly followed by others,
which would burst in the air on the other side of the town. They had not fired
a great many rounds before the White Flag and the Stars and Stripes were brought
down to the shore. Our troops then commenced landing during this time. We had
our men busily employed looking all over among the stores of the vessel for
our ammunition, which we soon found was not on board, but was back at new Orleans
on board some other vessel. Capt. Mack notified the general (Gen. Graves) of
the fact. —He ordered us to remain on board until further orders. This
afternoon I went over and went through the city, finding it very nearly deserted.
This morning our first gun drove 1,000 rebels out of the city, and most of
the inhabitants.—He, however, found quite a number to give us information
as we wished. We went through a number of very large fine houses, besides the
State House, all deserted, and any amount of fine furniture—with pianos,
melodeons, glasses, and everything that one might wish to furnish a first-class
residence in style. The people here are nearly starved. They say they have
seen no flour for nearly six months. Corn in the ear is worth $2.50 per bushel.
I told my servant to get me a horse as soon as we arrived. He went off about
a mile and got a fine little horse; but before he got down to the boat an officer
took the animal from him. He said he found him in a stable, with a negro watching
him. The girls in the house, three of them were nearly starved. He gave them
some of our hard tack, and they ate it like hogs.
THURSDAY, 18th, 1862.—Though quite late in the season, we have warm June-like
days, and cold and damp nights. No frost as yet. January is the coldest month
they have here; yet, they say it is now as cold weather as they ever have.
I have spent most of my time this day visiting the city. Went through many
public buildings, among others, the State House. It is a much larger and finer
building than our Court House. It has been pretty thoroughly ransacked lately.
The vaults are broken open and the furniture destroyed. The building is surrounded
by as fine a yard as I ever saw.
There is now on shore about 5,000 infantry, and one battery of artillery, which
arrived from New Orleans to-day. Last night the troops slept on their arms,
expecting a night attack; but were gladly disappointed. There is about three
miles of earthworks around the town, and such sights of grape shot, cannister
and shells as can be found in the streets, it never was my lot to behold. There
was a very heavy battle here about a month since. Lieut. Curtiss arrived here
from New Orleans this morning, (where we left him to wait for the horses. This
morning we had not heard from them, but we think they are all right, as they
are aboard a sailing vessel, which takes from 15 to 29 days to make the trip.
This evening throat some better, but quite sore. A lady told me to-day that
she paid $75 for a barrel of flour a few days since.
Letter from Mack's Battery.
We have received the following brief letter from our regular correspondent
MCBETH, of MACK'S Battery, dated Baton Rouge, La., Jan. 6th:
Nothing new here, except that the ground is covered with snow this morning.
Weather very cold indeed, with hard frost. Such a thing has not occurred here,
so I am told by old residents, in a number of years. The citizens look pretty
blue. We find our tents, with the grates, very comfortable. Had a splendid
New Year’s dinner—an improvement on Christmas. In addition to our
own stock of delicacies, had a present made me, for “all hands,” of
sufficient oysters and crackers for a great big stew. The donors were sutlers
to the 22d Massachusetts Regiment, who came out with us on the Illinois, and
have been doing business in town. They are about leaving for Texas. We appreciated
the present highly.
Our other section has returned from Plaquemine. The boys are all in tip-top
health. No war news. W. J. McBeth.
OUR ARMY CORRESPONDENCE.
Extracts from a Letter from a Member of Mack's Battery.
BRASHEAR CITY, LA., April 18th, 1863.
I left the Marine hospital April 11th to join the company, which is in these
parts somewhere. I am not able to do duty, but the surgeon thought that if
I could get to my company, I had better go, as the room in the hospital was
needed for many who were much worse than myself.
I went down to New Orleans and spent the night in a tent in Lafayette Square.
The next morning crossed the river to Algiers, and took the cars for Brashear
City, on the New Orleans and Opelousas Railroad, which, when finished, will
probably go to Texas. A good car was furnished, and everything appeared so
fresh and green, it did seem reviving to me, after being shut up in a hospital
so long. The country is low and level, with considerable swamp and timber.
The grass, and white clover in particular, were about knee high, and they were
busily mowing it. We passed plantation after plantation where the last crop
of sugar had not been gathered. The cane stood for hundreds of acres untouched,
and, in other parts, it had been used and a new crop had started. Corn, potatoes, &c.,
were about a foot high. Everything appears here, as in June with you.
Coming through the swamp we saw any amount of alligators and snakes. Alligators
from eight to ten feet in length, were swimming about, or sunning themselves
on logs and stumps. The train passing thirty feet from them would not in the
least disturb them.
Thick moss was hanging in festoons from all the trees in large quantities.
The country all about is intersected with lakes and bayous, extending from
the Mississippi and Red rivers to the Gulf. They are all leveed like the Mississippi,
and the banks are lined with plantations.
* * * * * *
I reached the camp at four P. M., and found it deserted; the boys had passed
over the bayou the day before, leaving the baggage, &c., with three of
the boys, who were unable to move on. They were quartered in a large building,
and I made myself as comfortable as circumstances would permit; but the fleas
and mosquitoes were innumerable, and sleeping was only to be thought of, until
I arranged a hammock with a "net."
The same night we heard heavy firing and concluded that fighting had begun..
Our Company is in Gen. Weitzel's brigade, 2d Division, and went in advance.
The troops occupied one day in crossing the bayou. I have nothing from our
Company, in particular, but the army have advanced, driving the enemy before
them at every point; taken about 1,200 prisoners, including a number of officers.
They, and our wounded, are being brought on, as fast as boats can arrive. A
large quantity of sugar, molasses [sic], horses, mules, &c., were taken.
But three shots were fired at the Queen of the West before she exploded, scalding
the Captain and many men, badly. The Captain was blown into the river and captured.
The injured are now here. It looks sad to see the wounded, as they unload them,
but such scenes have been described to you, I am anxious to hear from the members
who are in the fight. I do not know the rebel force, but they cannot number
very great. Many think fighting here is about ended; it would be well if it
H. M. DRYER.
The Death of Frank Tibbetts.
The following letter explains itself:
Wednesday, April 22d, 1863.
MR. AMOS TIBBETTS:
Dear Sir--I am called upon to perform one of the most painful duties that I
have had to discharge since I left home: It is to notify you that your son
Frank breathed his yesterday afternoon, at a quarter past four o'clock, (Tuesday,
21st, of typhoid fever. His sickness was short, as is apt to be the case with
those taken with that disease. Frank has been acting as Corporal in my section
of the battery, ever since the company organized; and I feel it my duty to
say, that I did not have in my section, or under my charge, a more moral and
conscientious young man, or one more prompt to discharge his duty. Never have
I heard an oath pass his lips, and his word was considered as good as an oath.
Never was he roving about with the rough, vagrant class; but he seemed to choose
a better class of boys for his associates. There is much more I feel called
upon to say in justice to your son, but I am just recovering from a sickness
of four or five weeks (typhoid and bilious fever), and I find myself very weak;
added to this, my father has just arrived from home, which would naturally
excite my nerves much. I regretted much not being able to visit him before
his death, but I have no doubt but he died with a sure hope of reaching Heaven.
Father said he had not witnessed a scene in many a day which made him feel
as sad as the burying of Frank. When father returns I will send you a few lines
Yours, most truly, George P. Davis,
Lieutenant, 18th Battery, N. Y. S. V.
DEMOCRAT & AMERICAN.
SATURDAY MORNING, JUNE 27.
ORU [sic] ARMY CORRESPONDENCE.
Mack's Battery in Action---A Graphic Description of the Fight.
The following interesting letter was the last one written by the late Corporal
Charles F. Nichols, to his father, Mr. Edwin Nichols, of Penfield. Corporal
N. died while being conveyed to the hospital at Brasher City, Louisiana. The
funeral services of the deceased will be attended at the M. E. Church, in Penfield,
on Sunday next. The letter is dated—
Opelousas, La., April 25, 1863.
The last time I wrote you, was from Bayou Buoueff, before the fight; since
then we have marched about 200 miles, fought the rebs a day and a half, drove
them out of their forts and fortifications, and compelled them to destroy four
or five gunboats. We started from Berwick's Bay on the 11th of April, and marched
to Patersonville. Here we encamped for the night. The next day about noon we
were ordered out to give the rebs a few shells, as they began to make a stand.
The day before, our gunboats drove them from here, but fell back again in the
night, for some cause, and so the rebs again made their appearance. As soon,
however, as we began to throw shell and canister at them, they began to "bob" again.
We kept following them up, in line of battle, with the artillery in the road.
The lines of battle were more than a mile in length—there were four lines,
one behind the other at a distance of about a half a mile from each other.
It was a grand sight. There were five or six batteries beside ours. We kept
advancing cautiously until about four o'clock, when we got within range of
the guns mounted on their entrenchments, and they opened upon us with shells.
The infantry dropped upon the ground and laid there. At this time three or
four pieces of artillery from other batteries, together with my gun, were ordered
to the front to answer the rebs. Thus was the first time we had ever faced
the enemy and received their fire. The shot and shell fell and bursted [sic]
in front and all around us, but we paid them back in their own coin, with interest
added. A rebel soldier, that we took prisoner, told me that we threw one shell
into the gunboat Diana, (we were firing at the Diana, the one that they captured
from us a short time previous) which killed a lieutenant. The next we fired
right through her machinery, killing a number of men and disabling the boat.
Some of the men in my detachment had very narrow escapes from death.
Oh! if you had seen me the next morning, April 13th, between ten o'clock and
dark, you would have said that not one out of ten of our brave boys would have
come out of that terrible artillery duel alive and unhurt.—(Our four
guns, there being but two sections present commenced and ended the fight, and
bore the brunt all through.) We had but two men wounded, one horse killed,
and one wounded. Daniel W. Bunnell, from Webster, was shot through the shoulder
blade—not considered dangerous. The other was Edward Munn, from Geneseo,
shot through the body. Did not break any bones,—not thought dangerous.
My gun was put in the most dangerous positions all through the fight. I had
sixteen men in my detachment—six of them drivers, the rest cannoneers
[sic]. I had to sight the gun and command. The two men wounded belonged to
my detachment [sic]. They stood about ten feet behind me, and one bullet passed
on one side and one on side and one on the other. They both fell at the same
time and exclaimed they were shot.—My gun at that time was within good
musket range of a sugar house filled with Texas Rangers or sharp shooters,
and the bullets went whizzing on all sides of me; we were also within easy
rifle range of their intrenchments. I often wondered how I should feel when
going into battle, and now I will tell you: I put my trust in God, and firmly
resolved to do my duty, live or die; and I do believe that God watched over
me on that dreadful day, when death and terrible mutilation fell on so many
all around me, and I cease not to thank Him for His watchful care over me and
my companions in arms. There was one spell for about an hour that my gun was
ordered in the advance of all the rest, up by the side of a brick sugar house,
to engage one of the best batteries that the rebels had got my piece in position
and they threw four percussion shell before the rebels, and then it came a
perfect hail of grape shot and shell from my front, and solid 32-lb. shot from
my left. My men all left me at my gun some three or four times and got behind
the sugar house for protection from the showers of shot, but I can say that
I never left my post at any time during the day. I have the credit of making
some of the best shots that were made that day. There was one of our advanced
pickets that lay where he could see the effects of my shot. He told me that
one of my shot knocked a gun limber to Davy Jones’, and the next shell
I fired hit the middle team of horses and piled them in a heap together, when
the rest limbered up and get out of that on the double quick.
Another fellow says that one of the shell that I fired from the sugar house
killed six horses, so you can judge of the terrible effects of one of our shells
when burst in the right spot. This is the shape of the shells we throw: There
is a wrought iron flange on the butt that fits the grooves in the barrel or
bore of the gun; some are prepared with a fuse and others with a percussion
cap that explodes when the shell strikes. All of our guns made good shots,
but all of my detachment say that I beat the rest.—The rebel prisoners
say that the "Black Horse Battery" threw shells like h—l, and
they could not stand it, and so they evacuated their works on Monday night.
On Tuesday morning, as soon as we found that they had skedadled [sic] , our
guns were ordered inside their breastworks, where we unlimbered and sent a
few shells after them as a parting salute, and those who were behind put out
at double quick, leaving all their tents standing.
The boys stepped around pretty lively a good many times to dodge the shot and
shell. We could not dodge the rifle balls, but could hear them whiz, whiz,
on every side, and see where they struck in the sand. It seems almost a miracle
that there was no more of us wounded or killed outright. We were complimented
for our calmness and bravery on the field by Generals Banks, Emory, Arnold
and Paine. Gen. Banks says we fought like devils, Gen. Arnold said he never
saw such rapid firing. We fired nearly a thousand shell and canister. We fired
over our infantry, who had to lay flat on the ground, and I am sorry to say
that two of our shells burst over their heads and killed two men. The rebels
had about two miles of breastwork, besides a small fort, where they left a
number of their guns. We are now about one hundred miles south of the Mississippi
river, and the same from Texas. When we want corn for our horses, or anything
for ourselves, we get a pass from a General, and take ten or fifteen men and
one or two large army wagons to drive, and go out five or six miles to a rebel
plantation where they have got what we want. We then shoot what cattle, &c.,
that we require, and obtain sweet potatoes, sugar, molasses, eggs, meal, or
anything we want, and load the articles into the wagons. I took fifteen men
day before yesterday, and went out six miles to a rich planter's, and got everything
we wanted; such as beef, pork, sheep, turkies [sic], chickens, bacon, sweet
potatoes, corn, milk, soap, &c. The planter had been in the rebel army.
He began to complain, when I drew my revolver and told him to keep cool, if
he did not want a piece of lead through him.
They had about 4,000 cavalry; we had only about 500, so we could not do much
only harass them in their rear; they had so much the start that our infantry
could not overtake them. We have followed them between one and two hundred
miles, taken about 2,500 prisoners, captured their salt works, also a foundry
where they made shot and shell, captured a large amount of cotton and sugar,
and completely demoralized their army. I do not know how large a force they
had. We had about 12,000 men and about eight or ten batteries. The rebels burned
a number of bridges behind them, which we had to rebuild before we could advance.
They also burned a large amount of cotton. In the fight there was a solid shot
rolled between the legs of three teams, without touching them. Some of the
shells would come so close to the horses as to knock them down, but strange
to tell, there was but one killed. They fired pieces of railroad iron, which
struck within a few feet of my gun at two different times, A 32-pound shot
passed over my head and buried itself in the ground but a few feet behind me.
At another time, one came bounding down the road like a huge foot-bail, and
just missed my gun.
Letter from Port Hudson.
A member of Mack's Battery writes to a friend in this city from Port Hudson,
10th inst., giving some particulars of the condition of that place when our
army entered it. He writes that the rebel stronghold was a "hard looking
place," everything being riddled to ruins, and scarcely a house or tree
without marks of balls and shells upon it, and the ground covered with dead
horses and mules, creating a horrible stench. The rebels there were not gloomy
about the surrender, but admitted they had had enough of the war. Mack's
Battery is represented as having been as efficient as any other engaged in
the siege [sic], and "my gun," says the writer, "discharged
the first" and the last shot that was from any batteries on the ground." He
had the satisfaction of riding the horse of the rebel commander of the place,
Gen. Gardner, which the chief of artillery put in his charge.—The General
is said to be a "perfect gentleman," a New York man. The lack of
tobacco and of money to buy it—no pay having been received in seven
months—is the chief complaint made, and while acknowledging that so
long as unvisited by rebel bullets, the soldier's life agrees with him; the
soldier boy admits that he has had sufficient experience of war, and will
be right glad when it is over. So mote it be.
Death of Corporal Nichols of Mack's Battery--Letter from Capt. Mack.
ON BOARD TRANSPORT "GEN. BANKS,"
BAYOU SARA, 7 miles above Port Hudson,
I am pained to inform you that I have just learned of the death of Corporal
Nichols, on board the Empire, from Alexandria to Borwick's Bay, on the night
of the 14th inst. Not knowing his parents' address I write you, hoping you
will bear the sad news to them. He was beloved by all, and we all deeply deplore
his loss, and sympathize with his friends in this their sad affliction. At
the battle of Bisline he was the bravest of the brave, and served his gun much
better than any other gunner there--cool and collected, and ever ready to face
any danger that presented itself on that hard-fought field. I will write again
as soon as I can. I am disembarking my battery to-night. Expect a fight to-morrow
or next day at Port Hudson. All my Lieutenants have left me except McConnell,
he joined me three days ago. I have had a hard time of it, but have got through
so far all right. Corp. Nichols died of typhoid fever. He told me when he was
first taken sick that he should die, and wanted me to tell his parents that
he was prepared for the change.
A. G. Mack.
...G, JUNE 4, 1863.
THE EVENING EXPRESS.
THE BATTLE AT PORT HUDSON.
The 18th N. Y. Battery (Capt. Mack's) Engaged.
Special Correspondence of the New Orleans Era,
BATTLE FIELD, PORT HUDSON PLAINS,
May 23, 1863.
At last an attack, which promises to be decisive, is in progress against Port
Hudson. Our army has reached the precincts of this famous stronghold, and won
a victory in the first engagement with the Rebel garrison. Maj. Gen. Angur's
Division yesterday fought the enemy nine hours, in a region of the greatest
natural advantages for ambuscades, and drove him three miles from his first
position, bivouacking at night at the utmost limits of the advance.
The field of battle was on Port Hudson Plains. These are two open tracts
of smooth country four miles east of Port Hudson. The lower plains are
across, each way, lying on either side of the Bayou Sara road. The upper
plains extend for half a mile north and south, and a fourth of a mile in
the same road. A cross road runs in a north-westerly direction from the lower
plains to Port Hudson, and another one, in a westerly direction, from the
upper ones. On all sides a dense forest hems in the two fields. Nature
given the Rebels no better position to ambush and cut off or destroy an army,
than there is here. But Gen Augur has effectually prevented this disaster
by his vigorous movements, and no danger from such a source need now be
If the enemy flank our forces, they can be ambushed, and made to suffer severely.
The first general engagement with the enemy occurred on Friday, the 21st
inst. At 6 o'clock in the morning the bivouac station on the Bayou Sara
broken up, and the troops resumed the march, which was commenced at Baton-Rouge
at 4 o'clock on the previous day.—Major-General Augur was in chief
command, Gen. Dudley's brigade heading the column, and Gen. Chapin's coming
next in order. The constant passage of troops and trains up and down the
road for several days previous, had created a thick layer of dust, which,
combined with the heat, somewhat lessened the comfort of the men. As some
of them remarked, they thought they should eat their peck of dirt before
they reached the battle field.
Every one, however, seemed willing to put up with any inconvenience so
long as Port Hudson was his destination. The men want to see that place
frequently express their willingness to run the risk of carrying it at the
point of the bayonet, But they quickly had
AN INKLING OF COMING EVENTS.
Capt. Godfrey and Capt. Yeaton, of the 1st Louisiana Cavalry, were a half
mile ahead of the column with their companies, when, upon reaching the first
above the plains, they met a small force of rebel mounted infantry, with
which they had a brisk skirmish. The rebels ambushed the two Companies at
in the road, but retreated after firing a volley and receiving the fire of
the advance guard. No further opposition was made to the progress of the
column until the cavalry reached Redwood cross-road, a short distance below
plains. At this point the rebels were drawn up in line of battle. The advance
guard fired upon them, when they returned the fire, and then ran precipitately
into the woods. Our cavalry advanced as far as the upper plains, where the
rebel cavalry were seen at the upper end of the opening. Their appearance
excited suspicion that they were strongly supported. Company D, of the 30th
was deployed as skirmishers in the open field, and quickly drew a musketry
fire from the enemy. Our men replied with a volley, and fought for three
quarters of an hour before they had orders to retire. During the skirmish
M. Norcross, of this company, was shot through the right foot. As soon as
Gen. Augur ascertained the rebel position, immediate preparations were made
A WARM RECEPTION.
One section of Battery G, 5th U. S. Artillery, Lieut. Rawles commanding,
was at once sent forward to shell the rebel position. It was posted at a
bend in the road, with a dense forest, on either side, but an open area to
the front as far as the "Plains Store," near which were a dwelling
house and some negro shanties. Our artillery had hardly position when two
shells came plunging down directly in front of the gun. Then commenced a
which was maintained with great vigor on both sides. Another section of the
5th Regular Artillery was quickly brought forward, and at once opened fire.
One section of the 18th New York, and two sections of the 2d Vermont Batteries
were also brought up, and joined in the engagement. The enemy had a favorable
position for accurate firing, but their shot and shell did but little harm,
in proportion to the advantage they had.
THE SECOND LOUISIANA REGIMENT ENGAGED.
While our batteries were keeping up an incessant fire, the Second Louisiana
Regiment, Col. Paine, was sent out through the woods to flank the rebel battery
on the right. But after going three quarters of a mile through the woods,
they suddenly came upon a force of rebels, who were waiting their approach,
closely concealed in a dense thicket. They were not seen until they fired
a volley, which killed two men and wounded Lieut. Col. Everett and two privates.
The men gallantly stood their ground and calmly returned the fire. Two companies
were quickly deployed as skirmishers and sent on in advance.
The rebels were disconcerted by the shower of bullets which flew among them,
and commenced to retreat. They were followed up, and the skirmishers succeeded
in flanking the battery, which immediately limbered to the rear.
MASSACHUSETTS TO THE RESCUE.
The 30th Mass., Regiment, Col. W. W. Bullech, which had the right of Gen. Dudley's
brigade, deployed four companies as skirmishers, under command of Major H.
O. Whittemore.—They deployed both to the right and left of the road.
On the right the skirmishers were covered by cavalry. They were the first
of the infantry to discover the enemy in ambush near the Plains Store, and
remained by the bend in the road, with our batteries supporting them, while
the 2d Louisiana were trying to flank the Rebel position.
While the section of the 18th New York battery was in the action, the two lead
horses were killed by a solid shot, and Sergt. McConnell in command ordered
a left reverse, when the other horses became unmanageable and broke the pole.
With the assistance of some of the skirmishers of the 30th Massachusetts the
piece was taken to the rear in safety. The I61st New York Regiment, Col. G.
T. Harrow, was ordered to support the 18th New York battery when it first opened
fire on the enemy. It remained on the right of the battery during the engagement.
The fight was ended as soon as the 2d Louisiana skirmishers flanked the Rebel
battery. The Rebels with their artillery and supporting force, then retreated
for about half a mile further up the road, and our troops to the position just
abandoned by them.
Upon reaching the Plains Store, detachments of the Illinois cavalry were sent
out toward the Clinton Road to look out for any flanking force the Rebels might
have in that direction. They found about 150 infantry and cavalry lying in
ambush, and made a charge upon them, discharging their carbines and revolvers
so rapidly that the Rebels had to retreat without time to give a full volley
in return. Several of the enemy were killed, but our cavalry had no further
casualties than the loss of two horses.
The departure of a courier compels me to cut short my report at this point.
I shall continue to send as opportunity occurs. HORATIUS.
From Mack's Black Horse Artillery—
Letter from Capt. Mack.
The following letter from Capt. Mack explains itself, and will be of interest
to all who have friends in his Battery. A private note accompanying the letter
states that on the next day--June 25th—a general assault was to have
been made on Port Hudson:
HEADQUARTERS MACK'S BLACK HORSE ARTILLERY,
BEFORE PORT HUDSON, June 24, 1863.
EDITORS OF THE DEMOCRAT: Will you allow me to trespass upon your columns by
publishing the following statement, which comprises my command at the present
time. I frequently receive letters from relatives and friends of the members
of my company, making inquiries in regard to their whereabouts and health.
Such inquiries are so numerous that I find it impossible to answer them at
all times, and particularly when on active service in the field, or on the
march. It is so long since we were in camp that I discover my correspondence
has accumulated so much that I cannot possibly undertake the task. By publishing
the following list, you will confer a great favor not only on me but on many
anxious friends of the members of my much esteemed company. It would be a source
of great pleasure to me, had I the opportunity, to reply direct to each and
every letter of inquiry. I trust that the explanation above offered will be
considered a sufficient apology for any apparent remissness on my part. I esteem
my company, and the relatives and friends of it, too highly to disregard their
feelings and anxieties at the present moment, in the honorable position which
we are maintaining in front of this soon to be doomed rebel stronghold.
A. G. MACK, Commanding.
PRESENT FOR DUTY.
Capt A G Mack
Lieut A B McConnell
Or Mr Sergt A Colby
Orderly F R Vaudake
Sergt S L Williams
Sergt John L Meeker
Sergt F W Hine
Sergt D W McConnell
Corp H Smith
Corp H M Dryer
Corp W J Vosburg
Corp Jacob Wright
Corp C J Bascom
Corp G Parkinson
W W Armstrong
W L Jordon
Bryant, A H
Booth, A J
Baker, Thos S
Barker, B F
Berk, Alex M
Curtis, P a t k F
Crowel, Wm H
Champerey, F E
Clague, Wm H
Cook, C E
Carroll, J H
Coffman, Chas H
Carson, M S
French, Marvin D
Gardner, H R
Haywood, W S
Hale, Robert K
Holcomb, A B
Jump, W V
Lockner, J J
Leslie, J P
Lynch, J H
Landers, M H
McGuire, W D
Miller, J W
McBeth, W J
McIntosh, J o h n A
Relyea, F H
Spencer, J H
Snell, J W
Sweetman, A R
Smith, H S
Stone, Geo F
Spragne, Sam'l A
Stephens, A J
Spears, Geo A
Slocum, Wm H
Vosburg, H P
Wood, B C
Westfall, C L
Wheeler, J W
Whitehead, E C
Wiggins, C H
Sergt. J. H. McGuire, shot in foot accidentally; Mechanics Institute Hospital,
Sergt. B. L. Cummings, Baton Rouge.
Corp. Wm. Twist, discharged.
Corp. C. B. Hart, Baton Rouge.
D. F. Lucky, Hospital Steward, Baton Rouge.
D. W. Bunnell, wounded at battle of Bislain, April 13, in shoulder; not seriously;
U.S. Barracks Hospital, N. O.
Alonzo Brightman, fever; Brashear City at last accounts.
Robert M. Barry, shot in foot accidentally; Marine Hospital, N. O.
E. K. Chapman, discharged.
Thomas Douglas, wounded slightly in hand at battle of Store Plain, May 21;
Phillip Gunlach, fever; not seriously ill; Marine Hospital, N. O.
George B. Grover, fever; Marine Hospital, N. O.
Wm, Gould, convalescent Hospital, Baton Rouge.
John Hettler, seriously wounded in left side, June 18; Baton Rouge.
Henry E. Haskin, sick; Marine Hospital, N. O.
George E. Jones, sick; not seriously; Brashear City.
Mclancton Lewis, sick; Marine Hospital, N. O.
Edward D. Munn, wounded in leg at Bislain, April 18; U. S, Barracks Hospital,
W. J. Maran, sick, Baton Rouge.
James E. Marshall, do.
Charles S. Newcomb, sick; Brashear City.
Wm. D. Reynolds, sick; Baton Rouge.
Charles Reed, sick; do.
Stephen Robbing, shoulder dislocated; Baton Rouge.
W. H. Rodrick, sick; Baton Rouge.
Amos Smith, sick; Brashear City.
J. H. Store, sick; Baton Rouge.
Rawson Smith, injured in t h e shoulder and hand; U. S. Barracks Hospital,
John Smally, injured; thrown from a horse; Baton Rouge.
Wm. Schultz, sick; Baton Rouge.
Admiral Skinner, sick; do.
Frederick Twist, sick; Marine Hospital. N. O.
Charles C. Townsend, sick; Brashear City.
George M. Wilson, sick; Mechanics' Institute Hospital, N. O.
George L. Warner, sick; Marine Hospital, N. O.
Albert Whiting, sick; do. do.
John Willis, sick; do. do.
Abm. Zimmerman, sick; do.
Charles M. Hamlin, absent in arrest.
Alex. Mann, detached service with 108th reg. N. Y. S. V.
Thomas S. Champney, sick at home in Rochester at last accounts.
W. M. Van De Mark, whereabouts unknown.
James M. Booth, from New Orleans,
Harmon Van Slyke, from New Orleans.
Henry S. Booth, Rochester.
Daniel Donovan, Rochester.
Henry W. Foster, Rochester.
Norman H. Lewis, Rochester.
James Sanders, Rochester.
Edward C. Townsend, Rochester.
John Barton, Utica Hospital, N. Y.
Corp. Justus Wheeler, Baton Rouge, U. S. General
Hospital, March 23th, typhoid fever.
Henry Mann, Baton Rouge, U. S. General Hospital,
March 28th, typhoid fever.
Corp. Frank D. Tibbetts, Baton Rouge, General Hospital, April 21st, typhoid
Corp. Charles F. Nicholls, on board transport Empire on the passage from Alexandria
to Berwick City, May 14th.
DEMOCRAT & AMERICAN.
TUESDAY MORNING, JULY 21.
From Captain A. G. Mack's Black
BEFORE PORT HUDSON, LA.,
June 28th, 1863.
I was in hopes that by this time I should have been enabled to have written
you that our forces had succeeded in occupying this rebel stronghold. From
present appearances, I think I shall be enabled to do so before I close and
mail this communication. Everything indicates success to our arms. Our positions
have been improved daily and pressed closer to the enemy's works. There has
been of necessity an immense amount of labor performed, in anticipation of
the final struggle. We have been here now very nearly six weeks; the scene
has became [sic] very monotonous, and time draws along very wearily. To be
sure the almost continued cannonading and bombarding day and night tends in
a measure to enliven us, but this even is getting wearisome, and is last losing
its musical effect. I am willing for one to confess, that we require a change
of base or an equivalent to it.
Soldiers, however, are supposed to have at all times an ample supply of patience
and endurance under all and every circumstance; therefore, we made up our minds,
long since, to be cheerful and contented at all times (and I am happy to say
that we carry the doctrine out to the letter), and await results, however apparently
prolonged they are, till attained with success. We are also aware that large
bodies move slow, and on the same principle it would be just, perhaps, to observe
that large results are ultimately arrived at by long delays. I wrote you in
my last that we occupied a fort within easy range of the sharpshooters from
the rebel works, and of the annoyance we were constantly subjected to from
their fire and the utmost care and precaution we had to use to enable us in
safety to move to and from the fort, and up to that writing that none of us
had met with an accident. We now occupy the same position, and of course are
still subjected to the same annoyance. I think we shall probably remain here
till the subjugation or surrender of the rebel works is accomplished. It is
now my painful duty to inform you that just after I had closed and dispatched
my communication with the company's mail matter that one of our comrades John
Hetler, a German, and one of our drivers, received a musket wound, which passed
through the chest. It was considered by the physician to be serious. He was
promptly attended to, and his wound quickly dressed, and was removed early
next morning to the hospital at Baton Rouge. He was accompanied there by one
of our corporals, and no doubt was well taken care of by him. Some members
of our company partly convalescent, are there, and will, I am sure, see to
poor John's necessities. He is a strong, healthy young man, and we are all
in hopes, from what we hear about him, that his wound will not prove fatal.
He and his friends I assure you have the sincere sympathies of the entire company.
The rebels finally succeeded after many fruitless attempts, in getting one
solitary gun in position and in range of us, and from appearances, it would
seem that it was brought out for our especial benefit. We cannot discover its
whereabouts, it is hidden from our view, from the Fort, but the Captain thinks
he can fix it for them, by removing one or two of our guns into such a position
as to enable us to silence it. We have no desire to monopolize these eccentricities
of our friends, and would prefer them to divide up their gratuitous offerings
evenly among our crowd, it as sufficiently large, so that each one need not
have or require more of such free gift-offerings than his fair share and proportion.
Its position is such that the firing does no injury in our works. It would
appear that it was sunk so that its sight is obscured from our view, thereby
successfully preventing us from getting a range on it. The shots pass over
us high and strike a considerable distance in our rear. Yesterday one of our
horses, which was with the teams limbers and caissons, some 700 yards from
us, was killed by a solid shot. The teams, etc., were immediately removed to
a safer retreat. Our Rochester flag waves defiantly on our breastworks, and
will remain so until shot away, and then it is calculated to immediately replace
it in its former position.
To-day our pay-rolls were being prepared for two months more pay, and in two
or three days the company will be mustered in for such.
This is supposed to be preparatory to a visit, at some time, from the long
looked-for paymaster with the "greenbacks." The gentleman is pretty
clever when he comes, or rather, we were under that impression at his last
and only visit to us since we have been down in Dixie.
The company has now due six months pay. It is scandalous that Government is
so neglectful to the wants and necessities of the wives and families of the
soldiers. This delay has, without any doubt on my mind, very bad influences.
There are times, perhaps, that the entire army cannot be reached; but in my
humble opinion some adequate provision might be made, or some arrangement resorted
to, in order to alleviate the distress that, in many cases is occasioned by
this lack in proper management by the high officials of the Government that
we all have left our homes and families and good positions, and have sworn
to uphold, support and maintain, if need be, by the sacrifice of our lives.
I hold that the character of our fair country ought not to be defamed by the
gross negligence of those holding sinecures at Washington and elsewhere. I
know that I am writing the sentiments of a great many thousands of our noble
and self-sacrificing soldiers, and know full well that the weak condemnation
I have attempted to place on paper is fully acquiesced in by them; but, unfortunately,
I confess I am too weak and mild in my attempted denunciation; but what I lack
in writing, I have the satisfaction to know is sufficiently and amply made
up in feelings. Would that the foregoing brief and incoherent remarks should
come under the eyes of those for whom they are intended, and have the effect
that I should wish. Then the soldiers would more cheeringly put up with the
privations and hardships they have to endure, forget for a time the comforts
and happiness they have left behind them and have the consolation of knowing
that the wives and families at least are not wholly forgotten by the Government
on whom they have so just a claim, and by the parties whose duty it is to see
that such claim is promptly liquidated. I was influenced somewhat in disclosing
the foregoing, which by no means is a secret, by reading an account of the
visit of Gen. Hooker to one of the hospitals in or near the Capital and the
remarks made to him by one of the wounded soldiers, with whom he was talking
and who did not hesitate to tell the General that his wife and family, were
in deep distress, at home, that he had not received any pay from Government
in seven months; the sequel was the General pulled out his wallet and actually
paid him five dollars more than his due. I can fully appreciate the poor fellows
feelings he confessed that the thought of his family’s distress at home
in a measure added to his sufferings, but were alleviated greatly by the General’s
thoughtfulness and noble generosity. I have now delivered myself of a burden
that I do not wish to be troubled with, and with your permission will change
I discover that there has been (I am glad though, that it does not exist to
such an extent) a great deal of feeling exhibited in the North as to the practicability
of arming and equipping the negroes, putting them in the field, giving them
an opportunity of distinguishing themselves, and help put down this wicked
rebellion, and help at the same time to liberate themselves from the yoke of
slavery. There was a time, and even until very recently, that the very idea
of such a thing, by a certain class, was considered ridiculous in the extreme,
and could not possibly be attempted, with any beneficial results, and put forth,
amongst other allegations, one, that the negro could not be brought under the
subjection and discipline necessary to make him a soldier, and certainly not
a good fighting soldier. How very much it is possible for some men to be mistaken
even in such matters.
Allow me to inform the yet remaining incredulous, that positive proof has been
given right here, that the negro can be well disciplined, and that he can and
will fight; and furthermore, that he has fought here, as manfully, as valiantly
and as heroically as any white soldier in the field. I admit it is incumbent
on the Government to officer them with good, efficient men, do not give them
second class men. Let them feel that they are no longer slaves; that they are
called upon by their Government as well as ours to give a helpful hand, to
crush this rebellion and thereby seal their future destiny and long sought
for liberty; and if the negro does not distinguish himself, I shall be very
much mistaken. Talk about discipline, why they have been taught that from their
childhood, not only taught it, but been made to follow it. They have been brought
up in a school, where discipline, and that of the strictest kind, was the ruling,
and pretty much the only, feature of the establishment, and in fact, good discipline
was the graduating prize. The First Native Louisiana Regiment was the first
to storm the rebel fortifications on the right, and they fought desperately.
They placed our flag on the enemy's works; their loss was heavy. I understood
at the time, that this attack was made to discover the enemy's strength. But
all I have said about the negro and the exhibition of his fighting qualities
here, you have already been informed of by official documents forwarded to
Washington and re-published in your paper; but as this communicatian [sic]
is made up of odds and ends, I thought I would crowd in a word or two in favor
of the nigger soldier. I for one do not intend to raise any objection at all
because it is contemplated to arm and equip them, neither do I feel that the
honor of the country is in the least effected or depreciated by so doing. It
is fair to presume that they will fight as manfully for as against us. Of this
I am perfectly satisfied, so I will drop the subject, and defer the balance
of my news for a few days, thinking, perhaps, I may have an opportunity to
lay before your readers important news from the seat of war. W. J. M. B.
From Captain A. G. Mack's Black Horse Battery.
BEFORE PORT HUDSON, LA.,
July 6th, 1863.
The 4th of July has passed over, and we are still in front of Fort Hudson.
We supposed that we should have spent the day inside of the fort, but this
privilege we were not permitted to enjoy. However, the day was celebrated by
some of the batteries by firing the national salute at sunrise and sundown.
Our pieces were not ordered to fire; therefore we remained silent spectators.
The impression with most of us is, that the rebels being so scantily provisioned,
and our army being in no immediate danger of any attack from the rear, that
the General calculated starving them out, thereby saving many valuable lives.
Their force is weakening daily by desertion. All who come out testify to the
extreme short supply of rations. I think they cannot possible hold out many
days—and the fort must be ours. Our works are so close up to theirs that
conversation are carried on, exchanges made in newspapers, tobacco given and
taken, and numerous other gentilities offered, and on the whole the very best
of apparent good feeling is exhibited. We do not anticipate a very great resistance
after our forces have succeeded in storming the works, should we be driven
to do so. Of course, these remarks are simply conjectures, and may by very
erroneous; but after all, they may not by so very far from what ultimate results
will prove. I have taken the liberty of putting forward my humble opinion,--it
is genuine, but worth no more than the present market price of opinions and
conjectures. I am pained to say that John Helter has died of his wounds in
Baton Rouge. I am also sorry to inform you that Alexander Berk, and Corporal
W. J. Vosburg have also received wounds from the
sharp-shooters. They are both here at present, and are doing well, and are
receiving the very best of attention and treatment. The families and friends
of each have the sympathies of all their comrades. I am much in hopes that
neither of these cases will prove fatal. Capt. Mack received a slight flesh
wound from a rifle on the 4th. It is painful, but does not prevent him from
attending to his command. The ball did not penetrate the flesh. On the whole,
we may think ourselves extremely fortunate that no more have been injured,
and ought to feel thankful to God for His kind protection. A few days, I think,
will close this campaign.—You will probably hear the result before I
shall be enabled to inform you.
I notice in the Rochester Express an account of the death of Corporal Nichols,
one of our deceased comrades, in which some statements are made, which do a
great injustice to the balance of the detachment of which poor Charley was
gunner. All that was contained in the communication I refer to in relation
to our brave companion and true soldier, and which emenated [sic] from Capt.
Mack, the entire company endorse, and it will not detract one particle to the
rest of the detachment, who are equally deserving. I am positive that the Captain
did not, nor does he intend, to single out either detachment, or men; but means
to do justice to all. If he does, we are all much mistaken in the man. We all
know him, and I am perfectly satisfied he knows all of us. "W." of
the Express says that "all except Corporal Nichols took shelter from the
flying missiles—he stood his ground." This is simply a mistake.
At every discharge of the rebel gun, the men, one and all, by order of Capt.
Mack, took shelter behind a sugar house. As soon as the grape had passed, our
boys would rush out, reload and fire, and so accurate that they dismounted
one of the enemy's guns, killing, according to the account given to Gen. Emory
by a rebel prisoner, four horses and three men. It was by no means a disgrace
for the men to shelter themselves, when there was a good opportunity to do
so, in their advanced position; in fact, it was in accordance with Capt. Mack's
positive orders, who takes every opportunity to save and protect his men. When
the men Bunnell and Munn were wounded, we were in action much further to the
front than the position in which Nichols' piece was in the morning. His piece
was not there alone by any means. As long as I am permitted to correspond with
you, it will be my desire to say nothing, more nor less, than the merits of
the case will warrant, and do not contemplate in any case to exaggerate, or
to make any remarks that I am not justified in so doing.
I have understood that Lieut. Curtiss is going to return to the company, when
his furlough expires. We shall all be glad to see him, and hope he will bring
us "good news from home."
It has been reported that Daniel W. Bunnell is dead. This is incorrect. He
is getting better of his wound.
I would advise the relatives and friends of every member of this company to
place no reliance on any news of disasters to us, till they receive information
from the Captain, or from some one by his authority.
The company with the above exceptions are all right, and hope to remain so.
They are as jolly a lot of “b’hoys” as ever left the old
I hope to have the pleasure of dropping you another line soon.
W. J. M. B.
Extracts from a Journal of a Member of Mack's Battery.
PORT HUDSON, July 10th, 1863.
After the surrender we were allowed to look around us and "see what we
could see." Their soldiers mingled freely with ours, and generally answering
questions readily. They asked if we used telescopic guns, and belonged to the
regular army. They doubted my word when I said no! They could hot believe we
were simply volunteers. They praise our artillery firing. They said it was
no use to put a gun in position, we were sure to knock it down as soon as we
found it out. Of our infantry charges they expressed great surprise, that they
were always made in the best place, and through a ravine which they considered
a natural defence in itself. I saw the remains of some of the storming party
yet unburied. Our troops are passing in, and bands playing. The good news has
had a good effect on all the sick. We see the good effects of our shot in the
shape of broken gun carriages, shattered trees, &c. I saw a 24-pounder
gun which the 3rd detachment destroyed. It was struck 17 times, the shot going
into the muzzle of the gun. It was the most misused piece of artillery I ever
I am greatly surprised at the extent and strength of the defences here—the
natural being stronger than the artificial. The bluff at the river is impregnable.
I may give you a little idea of it, perhaps, by referring you to a place nearer
home. Suppose the Genesee to represent the Mississippi, and the bank from Falls
Field to the Lower Falls to be inside the works. The bluff to be nearly as
high as the bank there, and composed of clayey soil. I never saw earth go so
straight up as this does.
Then commences a line of works, eight feet high, with a corresponding ditch,
enclosed to nearly one mile in width. Inside and outside the place, several
ravines like that below. Wilder's on State st., only about four times as large;
outside the trees are to be felled in all directions. Then put a good force
of men, well supplied with artillery, inside, and you can imagine with what
ease troops can assault such a place, and their probable success. Such a place
as near as I can describe it, is Port Hudson. We have thrown 2,162 rounds of
shot and shell, many of which have done good service.
JULY 11.—Received orders to be ready to start for Baton Rouge at 3 P.
M. We arrived at the latter place about daylight and here we are in our old
quarters, and the prospect of rest cheers us all. Took a good bath, put on
some clean clothes, and felt quite—aristocratic. We have cheering news
from Rosecrans' army via Vicksburg.
The secesh here doubt the taking of Vicksburg or Port Hudson. I don't believe
Pemberton, Gardner or Bragg, doubts it in the least. Our reports from Lee are "mixed." Went
down to see the new works which have been constructed since we were here. They
are very fine; the best I have seen. The negroes are quartered there and a
cleaner or neater camp can't be found. They are very willing and easy to learn.
Another camp is just across the road from us, and they keep up a queer jabbering
of mongrel French or Creole.
DONALDSONVILLE, July 17.—In my letter of the 13th I spoke of the probability
of our being ordered here, and "here we is." We left Baton
Rouge Wednesday afternoon with a pouring rain, our usual accompaniment. Arrived
here about 12. This place is 52 miles below Baton Rouge, on the La Fourche
Bay, and the Mississippi river where the former breaks out from the latter.
It was a small town before the war, and is completely destroyed; partially
to give a better range to our pieces inside and the gunboats, and partly on
account of the political opinions of the owners.
During the seige [sic] of Port Hudson, this place was garrisoned by a few convalescent
soldiers, and "Johnny Reb," thinking it would be a good joke on "Schneider," tried
to take it and lost more men in killed than the whole garrison amounted to.
Since, they have been collecting a force to wipe out something.
Their force here is said to be about 7,000, mostly from Texas, and mounted,
under Kirby Smith and Dick Taylor. They have a brigade, which did its worst
to get hold of Weitzel's brigade, and I can assure them the feeling is mutual.
I have just returned from the camp of 160th. Henry Westpol says, his friends
wrote him there was a report that I was killed in the assault at Port Hudson.
I hope you have not heard it, or if you have, you have not credited it. I have
wrote every week and sometimes oftener if possible. A kind Providence has thus
far protected me, for which I trust I am truly thankful.—J. Vosburg is
in Baton Rouge, and is doing finely. He will probably go home as soon as a
sick furlough can be obtained. He will not be able to do Heavy Artillery service
again. We have not seen the paymaster yet, though we hope to before the war
closes. . R. G.
P. S.—How the secesh must squirm in N. O. A boat has just arrived from
St. Louis loaded with flour. (Flour is $12 to 13 pr. bbl). We are full of rumors
of a victory at Gettysburg.—That raid will stir up the semi-secesh at
the north. One thing is sure: Hooker on one side of the Rappahannock and Lee
on the other will not end the war. H. R. G.
From Capt. A. G. Mack's Black Horse
Battery—The Thing is Accomplished Port Hudson has Fallen.
IN PORT HUDSON, LA., 10th July, 1863.
In my communication to your paper a few days since, I made use of some remarks
that doubtless would lead some of your readers to suppose that ere many days,
or perhaps hours, this rebel stronghold would either have to surrender or Gen.
Banks would certainly fight his way into it, and occupy it. We here were perfectly
aware that on one or the other of these two extremities devolved the only possible
choice for the enemy. I am proud and pleased to say that they adopted the most
humane course, and thereby most likely several hundred valuable lives have
been preserved. We ought all to feel thankful that humanity in this case, dictated
the proper course to be pursued.
I have written so many letters from "Before Port Hudson," that I
feel quite elated to have an opportunity at last to scribble a letter from
the inside. From the commencement of the siege to the surrender on the 8th
inst., our army was under arms 49 days, it became extremely tedious; not only
that, but the heat has been so oppressive most of the time, that it was weakening
our army pretty rapidly, but now we are all right—have got a little respite,
and have an opportunity of seeing the Elephant. The boys are availing themselves
of the chance, and are all pretty much round somewhere, at this writing. This
is a pretty hard looking place, and there is ample evidence that it has been
used pretty rough of late. I will not attempt to enumerate the destruction
of war material that our artillery and navy has accomplished, it is sufficient
to say that we knocked pretty much everything into "pi." You will
have heard of course some days before you receive this, of the surrender of
this place, as also of Vicksburg. I deem it unnecessary to comment on either,
nor to write the number of prisoners &c., taken at each place, the immense
benefit obtained by the opening of the river, of course everybody must know.
There are slight obstructions at two places called Plaquemire and Donaldsonville,
between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Some of our forces have been ordered,
and have embarked thither. I do not know whether we shall go there or not.
I presume there is not a sufficient force in either place to alarm Gen. Banks
very bad. To sum up, Louisiana is whipped and the Mississippi river is opened,
in reality. What will be the tendencies each must judge for himself. I am glad
to have an opportunity of saying that this campaign has been closed by a glorious
triumph to the Union cause.
The flag of truce offering surrender came in about midnight. I was up, and
had heard their bugle sounding, and saw a light moving round the breastwork,
and supposed of course that something was up; but as I was not in the secret,
of course I did not know what that something was, and therefore remained in
ignorance —with a good many more—till the time arrived for common
people to be informed of what had actually occurred. We were not the least
dissatisfied at the news, I assure you. We were all pretty much tired out,
but the boys stuck it out well. I am particularly thankful that I have no more
casualties to mention, as regards our company, since those that I mentioned
in my letter a few days since. We have been, on the whole, particularly fortunate
during the whole campaign. We have been very much exposed to sharpshooters,
and the only wonder is that we came out with so light a loss. Those that I
mentioned as being wounded are doing well and are receiving the very best of
attention. Two of our guns were removed to the front since I wrote—one
to within seventy-two yards of the enemy's works. This piece was taken into
a fort by itself. It was almost an impossibility to get it there, so bad and
difficult a road, perhaps, could not be picked out, if the greatest pains were
taken, for that purpose. The other piece was placed in a fort with a full battery,
and within one hundred and ten yards of the enemy. The first piece that I speak
of, was ordered there to use up a large rebel piece that had been put in a
position that would have given us a great deal of trouble, had our forces stormed
the works. Capt. Mack was ordered to take charge of it, which he did, and went
to work in earnest and soon used it up "right smart," as Johnny Reb.
says. They succeeded in getting one shot from it that struck our embrazure,
rather unceremoniously, and raised quite a dust for the time being; but the
game was soon up—the gun was completely disabled, knocked almost to pieces,
and has become unserviceable. We have all seen it and feel proud of the job.
The Lieutenant in charge it was killed by our second shot. Our Battery has
accomplished big things here. Johnny says we have got nasty, spiteful guns,
and have done them a great injury. Evidence bears this assertion out.
I cannot tell you all I have seen; but one thing I can say, that I wrote a
letter yesterday on a 128-pound gun, in position on the bank of the river.
It is an immense piece, and was got up in Richmond.
Everything here is quiet here, of course, and our good old flag is waving proudly.
The prisoners feel as though this is the death blow to their cause. They are
cheerful, and feel glad that we are here. I think they have had sufficient
of it. They have been living on half rations for over two weeks, and two days
before the surrender commenced eating mule meat.—
This is a fact—no exaggeration in the least.—They were literally
starved out. When we got the Red river their bright hopes, if they had any,
vanished; the game was up, and it was only a question of time when the curtain
should fall. It has fallen, and with it, my humble opinion, sooner or later,
the Confederate cause.
I cannot say where we shall remove to, or when. We do not anticipate much more
work for some time to come, but still something may turn up—you know
as much about this as I do.
I have got considerable on hand to-day in the shape of running around. I guess
I had better get at it while I have the opportunity.
I will now close this communication by saying we all feel tip-top this morning.
As far as I am concerned I am particularly thankful, that it does not become
my unpleasant duty to notify you of any more disasters in the B. H. Battery.
All are cheerful and in good spirits. We feel as though a kind Providence has
brought us out safe, and with victory on our banner; and in His hands let us
all rely for a final victory and a speedy restoration of the good old Union.
By-the-by, you should have heard our bands tune up Yankee Doodle, &c.,
the day before yesterday, and have seen the jollity—it would have done
you all good.
Now I am off on a perambulating tour, WM. JAS. MCBETH.
Democrat & American.
THURSDAY M0RNING, AUG. 13.
From Capt. A. G. Mack's Black Horse Battery.
DONALDSONVILLE, La., 21st July, 1863.
My last communication I addressed to you from Port Hudson, (the inside at that)
immediately after the surrender. I wrote very hastily, and amidst unusual confusion,
from these circumstances I am aware that my letter was void a good many interesting
particulars that I might have pencilled [sic] you, had I been favored with
the time and quietude, so necessary to enable me to get up anything in the
shape of a straight yarn. Of course we amateur correspondents have not the
presumption to write up everything pertaining to an affair of such magnitude
as the late prolonged siege of Port Hudson, and are aware that the great public
avail themselves of the reliable New York prints (we do not include the Herald)
for extended and elaborate description of such an engagement and victory.
My ambition leads me no farther than to give our friends at home, from time
to time, a few current events of the day, and those more particularly in which
our own little band are the partakers of. It is a pleasure for me to do this,
and much more so when I can do it without being compelled to mention any casualties
or losses from our midst.
I made use of the word Herald—of course you understand I mean the New
York Herald, James Gordon Bennett, editor. Was I not aware that that notorious
sheet was still published in New York city, from an edition of the 11th inst.,
I should take it for granted that the proprietor had moved his establishment
in toto to Richmond, Va., Mobile, Ala., or some other rebel hole, and was there
expounding secesh doctrine, and his army correspondents writing up a lot of
stuff, so far from the truth that Jeff. Davis himself would be inclined to
tell him that he was rather over-doing the thing, and would, in all probability,
do him and his cause more harm than good. In this edition, of the 11th, there
is published, I think, three communications from his army correspondent at
New Orleans, relative to the siege of Port Hudson. This was perhaps as near
the seat of war as the said correspondent dare approach. I don’t mean
to insinuate that he dare not approach any nearer, by no means. I think he
was perfectly right in keeping out of danger, but still I think if he had mustered
up courage sufficient and had got out of the city limits, he would have stood
a much better chance to have provided himself with material sufficient to have
written something at least half decent. The communications I refer to are very
lengthly [sic], and are evidently got up for traitorous purposes, the whole
thing is a humbug, void of truth in most every particular, and above all pictures
the capture of Port Hudson as among one of the impossibilities of the day,
and states his reasons why; and to close the subject, it is admitted by all
who have read it, that I know of, to be as good a secesh article as ever was
got up since the rebellion broke out. I wonder if the writer got, or was promised
his pay in cotton. It would be justice to him pay him in hemp made into cordage,
and not put round his arm or his body. I like to see a man speak and write
things as they are, and not as he wishes they were.
We stopped inside of Port Hudson three days, and received orders to take up
the line of march to Baton Rouge. We left about 3 A. M., and marched rather
slowly, but carefully, with three other batteries and considerable infantry
and cavalry. Just before we started we were favored with a heavy shower of
rain, which had the effect of thoroughly drenching us clean through, but such
things we were so accustomed to that we don’t care much about it, and
usually get dry, as we get wet, with our clothes on, and not inside of the
house. It strikes me that it would have been a good idea if government had
furnished us with umbrellas. It would have been convenient, to say the least;
but after all, they might have been in the way at times. This is the reason
why they did not put them in the regulations, I suppose. There are a good many
other articles that also slipped their notice, but I suppose we shall have
an opportunity to supply ourselves with all the delicacies we require when
we retire from the army.
We arrived at Baton Rouge, dried out and tired out, about 3 o’clock next
morning, and immediately took up quarters in our old camping ground, occupied
previous to the starting of the expedition four month since. We rested ourselves
a few hours, and began to pick ourselves up slowly, but surely. At the house
we met quite a number of our sick men—some really sick, others that I
think would have been much benefited by a little recreation, a little exercise,
and a good deal more ambition. There have been plenty of us that have felt
sick and weary during our long travel, but have still kept up, and I have no
doubt that we to-day feel better than those who over-nurse themselves and don't
seem to have sufficient energy to move out of the house. The army is the wrong
field for an amatuer [sic] soldier—he loses every thing that tends to
enliven us in our homes, a man to be a soldier has got to make up his mind
to be one clear through, and put up with hardships, &c. just as they come.
Such I am proud to say, (with some exceptions, and those few,) is Capt. Mack's
company, and he will tell you so some day if he is permitted the privilege.
We remained at Baton Rouge three days, and got started again for this place.
We came down the river on the steamer Iberville, and had a pretty good time.
Some of the boys were quite fortunate—there happened to be some sutlers'
stores on the boat. I don't mean to say that there was anything done in an
illegitimate manner, but a good portion of the company said they had partaken
of refreshments, &c, that they had not seen nor heard of in some time,
and had enjoyed themselves. I presume at the sutler's expense. I am led to
believe that he was the sufferer, because I know that the Company—I don't
know if I shall be very wrong if I include the Captain himself—has been
bankrupt for some time. The probability is that the sutler will come out right
in the end. As a general thing they know their business pretty thoroughly.
They are never known to lose more in one day than they make in two.
This place is about midway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. There is quite
a large rebel force—chiefly guerrillas, I am told—hovering around
here somewhere, and they made quite a successful dash through our lines before
we had a force to amount to anything. Their object was to get possession of
a fort that we have, but in this they failed. The loss was quite heavy on both
sides. Our forces retired under the protection of the fort and gunboats, and
the rebels cleared out. This was before we arrived. We have a large force here
now. Such a thing might happen that Gen. Banks sent another force round to
their rear and succeed in gobbling them up. (This is the expression when a
force is bagged; I presume you know the meaning of this term.) We appear to
be all right, at all events, we don't feel much alarmed.
The same gang made a raid at Brashear City, and succeeded in capturing quite
an amount of stores, mostly clothing, though that was left by the army when
it started on the expedition. Most of our drivers, knapsacks and portions of
their clothing is included in this loss. Our large tents were also snatched.
Most of the troops there were sick and convalescents, all of whom were captured
and paroled. Six of our company were there, and were taken prisoners; their
names are George Jones, Edward C. Townsend, Amos Smith, Albert Whiting, Alonzo
Brightman and Chas S. Newcomb. I am informed by the Captain that he was told
in New Orleans the other day, that our men are sent to the parole camp at Ship
Island, there to await exchange. They will come out all right in the end. It
is rather unfortunate, but still nothing more than one of the incidents of
I can't say how long our stay will be here, or anything about it; but the probability
is we shall finish up this campaign in New Orleans.—The health of the
company—or that portion of it that is here—is good; but we all
feel as though a few weeks rest would benefit us, and we shall undoubtedly
have it ere long. The whole army needs it, and deserves it. The expedition
and campaign of Gen. Banks has worked, and come out all right—broke up
last blockade on the Father of Waters, notwithstanding the Herald's correspondent's
ideas to the contrary. I understand there are those yet in New Orleans that
disbelieve Port Hudson and Vicksburg have fallen. There are none so ignorant
as those that wont [sic] believe, We are within stone's throw of the river,
and see the boats pass up and down every day with freight, cattle, &c.
I hope there are none in Rochester that are quite so incredulous, if so, tell
them it is a fact about which there is no dispute—the Mississippi river
is certainly open, and that the B. H. B. had a hand in it.
WM. J. M'B.
FROM MACK'S BATTERY.
Interesting letters From our Boys—A Correct Statement of the Affairs
Company—The Laurels it Won. From our own Correspondent.
We are enabled to present our readers with a letter from our favorite correspondent "Hod," who
has been silent for a time. We are pleased to learn that he has so far recovered
from his wound as to be able to leave the hospital and return to his company.
BATON ROUGE, LA., July 27, 1863.
DEAR EXPRESS:—You have doubtless ere this burnt the powder of rejoicing
over the downfall of the "big and little Gibraltars" of America,
which opened that great avenue through which the commerce of the west can find
its way to the ocean.
The capture of Vicksburg on the 4th, Port Hudson on the 8th, and the arrival
of the "Imperial" at New Orleans on the 18th of July, were memorable
days in this department.—When the news of the downfall of Vicksburg first
reached us in New Orleans, the Union people thought it too good to be true,
while the "sympathizers" winked and said "hoax," but shortly
after we heard of the capture of Port Hudson, then the joy of the Union citizens
was unbounded. Houses were illuminated, torchlight processions paraded the
streets, speeches were made, and all seemed to think that the fabric of government
instituted by Davis, Yancy & Co., was fast falling, and that once more
the spirit of freedom would be felt thro'out the land.
Our secssh friends could not be made to believe that it was true the river
was open again to commerce, and thought these demonstrations only plans to
affect the price of sugar and molasses. But when the Imperial arrived at the
foot of Canal street, the levee was crowded with persons of all sizes, shape,
nativity and color, to see a boat that had actually come from above Vicksburg.
The same night the "Sallie List," from the Ohio liver, arrived, and
then it was that all doubt was dispelled, and the fact became known to all.
Yesterday the Iberville, a New Orleans boat, arrived from St. Louis, having
made the trip up and back without molestation. No private boats have yet come
down as far as this, as the transports do all that is necessary while the water
is so low.
Immediately after the surrender of Port Hudson a force under our favorite Gen.
Weitsel, and another, under Gen. Grover proceeded down the right bank to wipe
out the force collected in and about Napoleonville, and Dafonel crossing. A
fight took place on the 16th of July, in which the 48th Mass., (9 months men)
run like sheep, and if it were not for the 116th N. Y., 2nd La., (white) the
whole of Dudley's brigade would have been captured.
Our battery," having won many laurels at Port Hudson, has gone to Donalson
to partake in the fight at that place, but I think the rebels will not stand
at the Teche country.
It is quite pleasing to us to hear of the rumors which fly about Rochester
in regard to us, According to rumor our guns have been captured, nearly all
the men killed, wounded and missing, the Captain killed and other things too
numerous to mention. We have met with some casualties, but nothing in comparison
to what our "reliable gentlemen" of Rochester would have us think
Below will be found a list of the killed, wounded, sick, discharged, and deaths
in this company since its organization:
Died from effects of wounds received at Port Hudson June 18th, John Hetler,
Alex. Berk; also died from disease: John Barton, Frank Tibbits, Henry Warner,
Gustus Wheeler, Chas. F. Nichols.
Wounded and doing well—Corporal W. J. Vosburg, shoulder, Port Hudson,
Ed. D. Munn, knee, Bethel Place, April 15th, D. N. Bunnel, shoulder, Bethel
Place; April 15th. Tho. Douglas, hand, Port Hudson; Rawson Smith, accidently
[sic] run over by Caisson, near Opelousas; Stephen Robbins, thrown from horse
at Baton Rouge; John Smala, fell from horse at Port Hudson; Robert Barry, revolver
shot in foot at New Orleans; Wm. Twist, back injured by being thrown from limber
while drilling at Baton Rouge, Fred. Twist, hand hurt while handling pine at
New York City; J. H. McGuire, revolver shot in foot in camp near Opelousas.
Discharged, Geo. Grover, (died en route home), John Willis, Melanchton Lewis,
E. K. Chapman, Wm. Wood, B. L. Dixon, F. A. Kingsly, James E. Marshal, Wm.
Twist, Wm. Height, N. J. Havens. Taken prisoners at Brashear City, parolled
[sic] and sent to parole camp on Ship Island, Gulf Mexico: Geo. E. Jones, Amos
Smith, Chas. C. Townsend, Chas. S. Newcomb, Albert Whiting, Alonzo Brightman.
Deserters:—Henry S. Booth, James Saunders, Norman H. Lewis, Ed. C. Townsend,
Wm. H. Foster, Daniel Donivan, Harmon Van Slyck, Jas. Booth. Sick in hospitals
and convalescents at company quarters at Baton Rouge, there are 28, making
in all the following recapitulation:
Died 7; wounded and missing 11; discharged 11; prisoners 6; deserters 8; sick
28; transferred 2; absent 2. Total 75.
Total number of men enlisted by Capt. A. G. Mack 154. Total number for duty
79. Among our officers, Lieuts. Davis and Mumford have resigned, and Lieut.
Curtis home on sick leave.
The above report is taken from the company books and is correct.
The sick are nearly all doing well, but the excessive heat of this climate
is very debilitating and doubtless more will be discharged ere long.
The weather is very warm, and business of all kinds is very dull.
Capt. Mack received a slight wound in the shoulder, but it did not prevent
him from attending to his command, although his labors were greater on account
of the absence of his commissioned officers. Hoping to hear good news from
our other department, I remain as ever, your ob't serv't “HOD."
From Capt. A. G. Mack's Black Horse Battery.
BATON ROUGE, La., 27d Aug. 1863.
Here we are yet, enjoying the luxuries and privileges of soldiers, having very
little to do, and good long days to do it. I can't say that we are suffering
a great deal, either in mind or body; neither can I say with truth that we
are living in that style that some of our Rochester friends may be living who
are doing themselves justice at Saratoga or some of those fashionable summer
resorts, at which the prospects, and ultimate result of the rebellion are quietly
and very safely discussed, amid no particular danger. We are not spoiling because
we are doing the quiet in camp. We all say here, we have got a good business
on hand, let us try and keep it. I suppose though there is a little business,
likely to done at Mobile, ere long; whether we shall be invited to attend on
the setling [sic] up of that, or not, of course I cannot say. I can see and
hear preparations for a movement thither every day, and if you keep quiet and
do not get nervous, the probability is you will hear, at all events before
a great while, some big thing—it may be the capture of Mobile, to say
the very least, depend upon it there will be a pretty loud call for admission
into the city.—Our battery is very short manned at present, and cannot
be brought up to its effective strength, without a detail of men. The Captain
has gone home for the purpose of filling up our ranks, and bringing out with
him a sufficient number to fill up to the necessary standard, we expect to
see some from our own city on his return. You will see Capt. Mack before this
reaches you, and learn his military busi- ness home, so I need not say any
more on the subject. His appearance, I guess, in your midst will not indicate
very great hardship, &c.; he is a fair sample of the men —I mean
as regards health—at least the portion of them who constitute the healthy
part the crowd. We have, I am sorry to say, many sick, not say seriously, though,
as a general thing, but still sufficiently so to
incapacitate them from active service. Most, if not all of the sickness in
our company is attributable to the climate, excessive heat, &c.— I
am in hopes that as autumn approaches the health of many of our comrades may
be restored so as to join company. Others, I think it doubtful, if anything
short of their own northern climate will ever restore. There are quite a number
whose discharges, understand, are in preparation, and will return as soon as
obtained. We did not expect return to our homes as full and complete a company
when we started. I presume there is not a man among us who has not given the
fortunes of war some consideration. I hope there is not.— repeat what
I said in a former communication, that on whole we have been a very fortunate
company when in action; an All-Wise Providence has watched over and permitted
us to come out safe, or very nearly so. We ought feel very thankful for such
protection. Our motto is, to do our duty for our country, let what will happen.
We don't anticipate trouble, but when we get into it do as well as we can,
and get out of it the best way (honorably, of course,) we can; and then we
think we can put a pretty good face in streets and avenues of the old Flour
City when we are permitted to return.
It is my painful duty to chronicle the deaths of three of our Brave comrades
of late; would that was my task to do so, presume the friends of the parties,
whose names I shall mention, have been notified their death. I intended to
have mentioned in my last communication; postscript had prepared was forgotten.
Their names are Phillip Gunlack, who died in New Orleans from fever; Alexander
Burke, wounded at Port Hudson by a musket shot in our fort, (he died just before
our return from Donaldsonville, in the General Hospital there; and John Beck,
who died in the private hospital attached to our own camp. They were three
noble fellows, good soldiers, strictly moral men, and died, poor fellows! regretted
by all who knew them. They were ever ready to do their country's duty, and
were strictly faithful in performing it. We lament their sad fate, and feel
sorry that circumstances prevented us from personally attending and directing
their burial. The last one, poor John! all that was possible to be done for
him during his sickness was done. His burial service was performed at the house
by a Chaplain, and we in a body followed him with a lingering step to his grave,
with his coffin covered by the good old flag, on the caisson, followed by the
gun to which when in life he was attached. The ground where he was buried is
some two miles out of town, and is devoted exclusively to our army. Proper
care is taken of the graves; on a board is recorded the names of those whose
lifeless bodies repose beneath in quietude, till the last day. The sincere
sympathies of the entire company are offered to the afflicted relatives and
friends of each of the above deceased members. They have died beloved and regretted
by all. Their lot is sad, indeed, but after all it is a soldier's fate. We
fired a salute over the grave.
Baton Rouge is getting Unionized fast, or at least, it has that appearance.
The former residents are returning every day and taking the oath of atliegance
[sic]. They have about made up their minds that the old Union is about the
right thing after all, and that the Stars and Stripes is the most substantial
flag to get protection from. There is a perfect string of vehicles of almost
every description passing our camp daily, on their road to the Provost Marshal's
office, filled with rebel sympathizers, and so forth, begging for privileges.
The empty houses are getting filled up by former occupants. I suppose they
might have saved themselves all the difficulties they have had to encounter
had they been wise and stopped at home, and not identified themselves with
the rotten Confederacy of Jeff. Davis and his interesting colleagues. They
have no doubt, Paid a pretty good price—more than it was worth, perhaps—for
all the benefits that have accrued to them for the entertainment, and are willing
to confess that they have been sold.
Everything here in the shape of provisions are high, but prices are coming
down, and soon everything can be obtained on reasonable terms. The river is
fairly open and navigation unobstructed.
Boats are now plying regularly with merchandise from St. Louis, and other places;
to New Orleans, and everything indicates prosperity as heretofore. It will
take some time for everything and everybody to get around and straighten up—but
it has got to come gradually. War in this State is one of the things that has
passed and gone. I think the North is working the thing up to a nice point.
Let the finishing stroke be put on, and crush rebellion and its leaders, co-partners,
friends, admirers and sympathizers, North and South, out forever.
The fort is garrisoned and occupied mostly by negro troops. It is kept very
neat, scrupulously clean, and is really a splendid place, well worth inspection,
well fortified, and everything about it looks, and is, military. The town in
well laid out and has some very pretty residences; but oh, how the inhabitants
have been humbugged. I say, served them right—they ought to have known
better than to get into such a scrape.
WM. J. M'B.
OUR ARMY CORRESPONDENCE.
From Mack's Black Horse Battery.
Baton Rouge, La., Oct. 19, 1863.
I have intended for quite a number of days to drop you a line or two, but I
have been compelled to defer doing so up to the present time for the best of
all reasons—lack of items. If I was to follow the course of a goodly
number of correspondents—such as specials to the N. Y. Herald, World, &c.,
and one nearer home to you than either—I should without any difficulty
be enabled to forward you sensation reports of reverses to the 13th and 19th
army corps, at present in the field. There is scarcely a day passes over us
but that we hear of some dreadful calamity to our forces. Of course, it all
turns out humbug. Let me tell you, that General Banks' force now in the field
is all right, and is very likely to remain so. It will turn up ere long, perhaps,
where least expected.—The expedition under his command is not idle, and
a big business is anticipated from it, and there is no doubt that it will go
through all safe. Why should it not? We hear of no obstacles towards its steady,
forward march. A short time I think will disclose the whole mystery. The news
from it and of it is suppressed, but still we have our ideas awakened about
it, and like true Yankees guess when we shall hear of a halt, I mean a permanent
one of the General's own choice.
I think I have not written you since we had the alarming report of a threatened
raid into our little quiet domesticated town. We are not wholly unprepared
at any time for any such movement, but doubt very much if such a movement would
amount to much in the end. Johnny Reb, perhaps, would be in a situation to
tell afterwards how much he made in the operation.
Well, on the night I am speaking of, we all got up and dressed ourselves—that
is, those that were not already up—and waited quietly and silently for
orders, which in due course of time came along; after which, we took our pieces,
or rather the horses, and drew them to commanding positions and different approaches
to the town. There did not appear any necessity to prepare for action and load
right away—so we threw our blankets on the ground, took a little more
rest, and waited for something to turn up. Day light came upon us, as usual,
but with it no rebels, no guerrillas, and consequently no raid. We maintained
our separate positions for ten or twelve days and nights on picket, and finally
received orders to return into camp, which, I assure you, we did right smart,
and without grumbling; and here we are again, "fussing round."
By the by, I had almost forgotten to mention a visit we received a few days
since from Mr. A. Karnes of Rochester. He looked well and hearty—not
the least care worn from the effects of the war. He was here some three or
four days, the guest of our officers, and of course his time was mainly taken
up with them, but notwithstanding, he visited the men in camp some, and made
himself very agreeable. He rode out with us to our drill-ground, and there
saw us go through our maneuvering. I don't know how much of a judge he is of
military, but at all events he appeared to take quite a shine to the Battery.
He will probably say something about it when he returns.
We have a new commander here—Brig.-Gen. Cook—recently, I am informed
in the Army of the Potomac, I know not whether in the field or in one of the
Departments at Washington. He has relieved a Col. Gooding, who has been Post
Commander here for some time. Rumor speaks loud of the Colonel having made
considerable of a pile during his administration. Things bear the appearance
of looseness. There is no doubt at all, but that speculation in cotton here
has been enormous; everything indicates it. There are very few even military
men, who throw good chances away, when they offer, the poor private has got
to stick and hang and wait the movements of a paymaster, before be can get
any thing even for the support of his wife and family at home. We never get
our pay regular, and probably never shall, because I see this Department has
got an acquisition to the number of paymasters of some six. There are thousands
of dollars made here daily, I have not the least doubt, in the handling of
cotton. There are immense quantities coming in all the time. The lines are
open to all, to trade, and take out provisions. I fear they are not all Union
that do come in and get their absolute necessities provided for.—however,
it looks all right, if it is not so I know our whole company cannot prevent
it. Therefore, we leave it to wiser heads to run the thing, if they do not
do it right, it is no fault of ours. I presume the oath of allegiance is exacted
from each one asking favors, and it is willingly given, but how honorably such
oath is acted up to, is not for me to say. I do know three or four, yes a dozen,
in the town who have taken the oath of course, but they are just as good rebels
at heart as Gen. Davis himself, and no mistake. A great deal has been accomplished
in this State; it is getting purified fast, at least indications are such;
still there is much more to do. Everything is quiet—save guerrillas,
cotton burners, robbers and assassins, they can all be fixed when the proper
time arrives; every day approaches the grand crash, and then I guess all will
be willing to confess that the rebellion has been played out. The despot Davis
and his colleagues I hope will meet their proper deserts, and time and patience
will again place our now unhappy country in the position she so richly deserves.
To-day we have been in review with the whole of the troops at this Post, before
our new commandant, Gen. Cook. It has been a splendid day for it. The sight
was quite imposing, and everything went off well. Our battery, men included,
looked well, I never saw it look better. We fired a salute of eleven guns in
honor of the General. He scrutinized us pretty closely, and appeared satisfied.
He is a man aged fifty-five, I should judge, very soldier- like in appearance,
rode a noble looking horse, and appeared tip-top. I guess he is one of the
right stamp. I am told he has been in the regular army. He ought to be preferred
on that account. A man who has been brought up in the army is supposed to know
his business thoroughly, and can discriminate between right and wrong. He is
a gentleman any way. He never fails to respond to a salute, when it is given
even by a poor private, and probably identifies him as being a man as well
as a colonel, a captain or a lieutenant.
I am requested by several members of the company to acknowledge, with gratitude,
the kind feeling displayed toward our families at home, by the pecuniary appropriations
made by the Mayor and Common Council of the city of Rochester, in anticipation
of the inclement season now so fast approaching. We feel thankful that we are
not forgotten by them, although we did go voluntarily to the field at our country's
call. They will please receive our sincere thanks for the timely provision
made for those we have left behind us. We have done our duty thus far to aid
our country in her time of peril, I have the presumption to say that the B.
H. B. will never do any act, in or out of the field, that shall recoil with
discredit on the good old city from whence we came, or against the authorities
ruling the same.
The health of the company is better—improving as the cool weather approaches.
We are all looking forward for the return of Capt. Mack. We want him back.
He belongs to us and we must have him. We expect him shortly, as also some
of our members, who have been home on furlough. We have a hearty welcome in
store for all. Return to us as quick as you can, boys, and help fill out our
now depleted ranks. There is room left for all, and more too.
WM. JAS. MCBETH.
From the 18th N. Y. Mack's) Battery -- Death of a Brave Soldier—the
Battery all Right.
HEADQUARTERS 18TH N. Y. BATTERY,
BATON ROUGE, La., Nov. 1, 1863.
Eds. UNION & ADVERTISER:--A notice just received, dated Fort Pillow, Tenn.,
Oct. 15th, 1863, announces the sudden death of one of our most worthy members,
viz., Corporal George Parkinson. He died at Fort Pillow, Tenn., in the Regimental
Hospital of the 52d Ind. Vols. on the 13th October, 1863, by reason of congestive
chill. He was on his way to his family in
Rochester, but the hand of Providence has taken him to a far brighter home.
In behalf of the high esteem in which the company held their departed comrade,
we feel it our duty to publicly state his upright character and faithfulness
as a soldier in the cause of his ADOPTED country. Throughout the summer's campaign
he manfully endured all privations, and on the field of Bisland, and during
the siege of Port Hudson, he portrayed such traits of character as endeared
him to all. During the rattling of musketry and shrieking of shells he remained
faithful to his charge and acted nobly the part assigned him. Although exposed
to the dangers of battle, he Providentially escaped unharmed, to meet his death
by the unrelenting hand of disease. Corporal Parkinson, while at Port Hudson,
became unfit for duty by constant exposure and fatigue, and was consequently
advised by his officers to retire to the rear, but he persisted to remain with
his comrades expecting soon to recover from the illness which threatened him.
Immediately after the fall of Port Hudson the battery was ordered to Donaldsonviile,
Corporal P., although physically unable, determined to follow and render his
aid. The chill fever soon told its sad story upon his pallid face and weakened
system. A furlough was applied for and procured. He left Baton Rouge on the
29th of September last, and as stated above met his death before leaving the
banks of the Mississippi. Thus we are compelled to add another name to our
mortality list. We kindly tender our sympathy to the bereaved family.
A recent order has called for the first section of our Battery to be stationed
at Piacquemine for the purpose of establishing a military post. The boys comprising
this section left us last Thursday night. Our encampment was putting on the
garb of winter, building fire-places, and securing ourselves from the northern
blast, etc., when this soldier's luck took half our men and left the remaining
half to find new quarters, Our section is now picketed to cover roads a short
distance from our previous encampment. This afternoon we very gladly fell in
line to the enlivening tune of muster, the effects of which we hope soon to
receive. The boys are in usual good health and spirits. News is scarce. We
are patiently awaiting our Northern mails.
Respectfully yours, A. J. S.
From the Department of the Gulf—Letter from Lieut. Curtis—Local
Bounties to be Paid—Special and General Orders—Re-enlistments of
the 18th and 26th New York Batteries.
The following letter from Lieut. Curtis will be of interest to the friends
of the men in the 18th and 25th New York Batteries, recruited in this city
and vicinity. We learn from Captain Mack that the local bounties will be paid
if the rolls of the re-enlisting men are received before the quota of the county
BATON ROUGE, La., Dec. 28th, 1863.
EDITORS DEMOCRAT & AMERICAN—GENTLEMEN:—I notice several communications
in relation to the re-enlistment of "Mack's" Battery," Going
the rounds of the press, and as they are all wrong, find designed to mislead
the public, I herewith send you a copy of Special order No. 100, by order of
the Secretary of War, through L. Thomas, Adj't Gen. You will see that it is
a Special Order in relation to the Batteries in his Department, and that we
are accredited to the State of New York. I also send a copy of General Order
No. 85, Headquarters Department of the Gulf, which I hope you will also publish.
You will see from that that we will be accredited to the County of Monroe,
and of course, shall expect the local bounties for those who are accredited
in the proper manner.
I am gent'n, most truly, your ob't serv't,
GEO. G. CURTISS,
1st Lieut., Comd'g 18th N. Y. Battery.
P. S. I have no doubt that the reason of the Assistant Adjutant General not
knowing of the foregoing Special Order, was from the fact of its being issued
here, at New Orleans, while the Adjutant General was here.
Yours, &c., G. G. C.
NEW ORLEANS, La., Nov. 11, 1863.
Special Order No. 100.
The following named Companies of Mounted Artillery in the 13th and 19th Army
Corps, now serving in the Department of the Gulf, are hereby organized into
two regiments, in accordance with the requirements of General Order No. 110,
War Department, of April 29th, 1863, and will be designated the 1st and 2d
Regiments Mounted Veteran Artillery. Companies to be lettered from A to L,
* * * * * * * * * *
Second Regiment—2d, 4th, 6th, 12th and 15th Massachusetts Batteries;
1st Maine Battery; 1st and 2d Vermont Batteries; l8th, 21st, 25th and 26th
New York Batteries.
Whenever the Companies have been reduced below the maximum strength, all officers
now properly in service therein will be retained until their grades become
vacant by the usual casualties of the service, and whenever any or all of the
companies or batteries shall be filled to the maximum standard, the Commanding
General of the Department of the Gulf is empowered to appoint the additional
1st and 2d. Lieutenants, two Sergeants and four Corporals.
All promotions to field officers and appointments to fill vacancies at the
time of organization will be made by the commanding General of the Department
from the officers, non-commissioned officers and privates now serving in the
companies, if, in his opinion, they are competent and merit the appointments.
The batteries will be recruited in the States in which they were originally
raised, in order that each may be accredited upon the quotas of said States.
The above change is based upon the express condition that all of the companies
agree to re-enlist for the period of three years, receiving a bounty of four
hundred and two dollars, ($402,) in installments agreeable to General Orders
No. 131, dated War Department, June 25, 1863.
By order of the Secretary of War.
(Signed,) L. THOMAS, Adjt. Gen.
HEADQUARTERS, DEP'T OF THE GULF
NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 23, 1863.
General Orders No. 85.
Commanders of Corps, Divisions, Brigades and Regiments will give their personal
attention to the re-enlistment of veteran volunteers, and will see that the
officers and men under their command are fully informed of the advantages offered
by the Government to this class of soldiers. They will make the necessary requisitions
for blanks, and see that all facilities are furnished for the prompt organization
of veteran regiments.
In order to secure to those regiments which shall enroll themselves as veterans
the indulgence contemplated by the Government, at least two such regiments
shall be allowed furloughs in a body from each Army Corps serving in this Department
every thirty days; such furloughs to be of sufficient length to allow the soldiers
thirty days within the State in which the regiments were raised exclusive of
the time expended in transportation from and to this department.
Commanders of Army Corps will promptly report to these Headquarters all regiments
which may enroll as veterans, and will recommend the order in which they shall
be allowed their furloughs—having due regard, in these recommendations,
to the age of the regiment in service, and the spirit of patriotism manifested
by the men in the enrollment.
Carefully prepared returns of all veterans will be made and transmitted to
these Headquarters, when mustered in, stating their names, regiments, companies
and residences, in order that returns may be made to the respective Governors
of States, and that the enlistments may be credited to the proper States, counties
and towns, in making up the several quotas. This is also necessary, in order
that the enlisted men and their families may have the benefit of any allowances
made by the local authorities and communities to soldiers enlisting from those
By command of Maj. Gen. Banks.
G. NORMAN LIEBER,
A. A. A. General.
From Mack's Black Horse Battery.
Correspondence of the Democrat and American.
BATON ROUGE, La., Dec. 28th, 1863.
I have delayed dropping you a line rather longer than usual, thinking perhaps
that something might turn up that would enable me to tell you something of
importance, but strange as it may appear, nothing has occurred to mar the comfort
and quiet that we are, and have been, blessed with for a considerable time.
Indeed we could not possibly desire anything much better than has fallen to
our lot for the last two or three months. We are quite domesticated—very
quiet, very comfortable, and very much inclined to remain so. We have good
warm tents, made extra agreeable, by the acquisition of grates which have fallen
into our possession, by regular and bona-fide confiscation. We endorse the
confiscation law in every particular. Then, again, wood is so cheap here, the
only expense is the drawing.—It is our own fault if we do not keep a
good supply on hand all the time, for Uncle Sam has got a large tract of country
round here that he has engaged so that his men need not be uncomfortable on
account of lack of fuel; he is a good uncle, and very thoughtful; we think
a good deal of him; but notwithstanding all his good qualities, we do not wish
to monopolize all his extras, and, therefore, invite our friends out to partake
of a share. By the by, I understand that Capt. Mack has quite a number of men
engaged to pay us a visit soon. We shall be glad to see him and the new recruits,
and will endeavor to do the thing that is right on their arrival. Speaking
of drawing wood, reminds me of a report I saw in one of your papers of three
of our men being gobbled up by guerrillas. One word in relation to this: Men
should be very careful in sending anything home that would lead to a report
of such a character, it naturally causes anxieties at home, without any foundation.
It has occurred more than once in our company, and I hope it will not be repeated.—None
have been gobbled up, and none expect to be. We don't propose to run unnecessary
This of course is the holiday season in Louisiana as well as in New York. We
have not forgotten such things yet. Oh! such a time as we had on Christmas
day. Talk about tall-living, if we did not have a great big dinner on that
day, then nobody did elsewhere. It did not consist of tow line hash-grunter
meat, but it did consist of everything that was good and palatable.
I can't begin to tell you all, but prominent in the bill of fare was poultry
of all kinds, vegetables do. The repast closed with an immense length of a
very delicate pudding. I was in such a hurry, or I intended to have measured
it. All I can say is a few more of such puddings, spread out full length, would
go a considerable distance round our entrenchments. Without joing [sic], we
had a splendid day and enjoyed ourselves right well. And now we are making
preparations for a repetition of the banquet in the Rochester House, (our dining
room,) on New Years Day. Don't you envy us of all these good times.—None
but those in the army know how to appreciate such things. Now to business.
I have nothing new to report. Everything is quiet about here. Our force here
is not very strong, but amply sufficient I have no doubt, for any contingency,
The picket and scout duty is performed by Fourth Missouri Cavalry, and I assure
you they do their business up in good shape—they are a perfect dread
to the guerrillas, cotton burners, &c. There is seldom a day but that they
capture more or less. Recently they have been partcuilarly [sic] fortunate,
having taken several of the leaders. On the whole it is a splendid regiment.
Their camping ground is close to us, and they are very good neighbors. I understand
that the section of our battery now at Plaquemine is ordered to report here.
The military movements in this department are conducted on so safe and in so
quiet a manner, that we, as a general thing, know nothing that is about to
transpire till it is accomplished. We do not know when we shall move, or where,
or anything about it. Gen. Banks knows we are here and probably will inform
us in due time when we are needed. We have no inclination to hurry him at all;
it is cold weather and we possibly shall not spoil for some time.
I want to mention one thing. I don’t know as it will be of any avail
though. There has been, and still continues to be a gross neglect some where
in our mail matter. Letters we know to have been lost, or at least have failed
to come to hand. I say we know, because those that have been subsequently mailed
and have come to hand prove this. Not one-half of the newspapers sent to us
arrive. Now this is too bad; we cannot account for it, and do not know at what
office the gross neglect of duty is to be attached. It is a scandalous mismanagement.
The soldier, of all other men, ought not to have his letters and papers tampered
From a letter received from your office to day, dated the 1st inst., (four
weeks on the road) I find on perusal that one was forwarded to me three weeks
previous. I have never received it. I miss two others from my family recently.
I repeat the request, if there is any possibility of ferreting this nuisance
out, it ought to be done, it has gone far enough, and the abuse must be remedied
if there is such a thing in the book.
I am happy to say that the health of our company is good, particularly so.
It is a great pleasure to me to have an opportunity of saying this, for the
time has been when we were much afflicted with sickness. The weather is very
favorable just now for camp life, and we are well acclimated. The longer a
man is a soldier the more he learns; but the time will come, I hope, when we
shall be considered perfect, and have our diplomas tendered us. I will give
one word of advice to the new recruits that we anticipate joining us shortly.
Take all the care of your health possible, don't abuse yourselves, don't be
led into any of the excessives [sic], or indulgences, that a soldier is far
too frequently led into, and with God's help all will be well; you are about
to enter into a just and righteous cause, and let me beg of you, to take heed,
of this simple advice, but simple as it is, it may possibly, I hope, it will,
WM. JAS. MCBETH.
DEMOCRAT & AMERICAN.
FRIDAY MORNING, JAN. 22. (1864)
MACK'S BATTERY. —SUCCESSFUL RECRUITING—TO BE ORGANIZED INTO AN
EIGHT GUN BATTERY.—Few batteries in the service have done harder fighting,
and come off with more honor than Mack's Black Horse Battery, which left this
city in the autumn of 1863 for the Department of the Gulf, under the command
of Major General Banks. At the battle of Bisland this battery, by its cool
daring and the unerring certainty of its fire, drove back the serried columns
of the enemy, broke the impetuosity of his charge and saved the day for the
Federal arms. This battery has distinguished itself in numerous engagements,
and has been highly complimented on more than one occasion by Gen. Banks himself.
The battery did effective service at the siege of Port Hudson, and since that
memorable event has been stationed most of the time at Baton Rouge. Its ranks
have been decimated by the fortunes of war, yet its organization is still intact.
Soon after the surrender of Port Hudson Capt. Mack returned to the North on
recruiting service, and has succeeded in raising a company of one hundred men.
He expected to leave for New Orleans on Saturday of this week, but in consequence
of the reception of the subjoined letter from Gen. Arnold, Chief of Artillery
in the Department of the Gulf, he delays his return for a week or two in order
to increase the number of his command, if possible to two hundred men. Those
desirous of enlisting in this popular branch of the service cannot do better
than to enlist with Captain Mack.
As will be seen by the following letter, if Capt. M. succeeds in securing the
requisite number of men, his command will be placed on the footing of an eight
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ARTILLERY.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
January 8, 1864.
Sir: It is highly desirable that you should, during your present term of recruiting
service, swell the number of your Battery to two hundred (200) men.
Should you succeed in this, you will be provided with eight guns and placed
on the footing of an eight gun battery.
I am, sir,
Your obedient servant,
Brig. Gen., Chief of Artillery.
From the 18th (Black Horse) Battery.
Correspondence of the Rochester Democrat.
HEADQUARTERS 18TH N. Y. BATTERY,
BATON ROUGE, Aug. 21, 1864.
With the exception of the move on Mobile, there is nothing doing here in the
military line except guarding the different posts on the River, and keeping
one eye open to watch Kirby Smith in West Louisiana, and Dick Taylor who is
at Clinton, a small town about 30 miles east of this place, where he is said
to have 8,000 men. What these worthies intend to do remains to be seen, but
it is the hope of every soldier at this post that he (Taylor) designs attacking
Since Gen. Canby has assumed command here there has been a general cleaning
out in every department; a purification that every loyal man has long seen
to be necessary for the good of the service. Provost Marshals by the score
have been removed from positions they found so lucrative, and which they had
so long abused. There are fabulous stories told about the amounts realized
by some of these decapitated officers in the way of bribes and hush money.
Many of them have realized huge sums by dealing in cotton, for which they paid
in provisions which, by reason of their positions, they could easily send through
the lines. They employed citizen detectives who are old residents of this country,
and of course at heart sympathise [sic] with the rebels, and would not bring
a delinquent to trial unless they could make more money by the confiscation
of their goods (one half of which they receive) than they could by way of bribe.
Let me state a case as an illustration of the way the public interest has been
looked after by these men and their associates:
Capt. Mack was detailed by Gen. Fitzhugh Warren to command a party of 75 men
to act as secret police. The original object of this force was to break up
all houses of prostitution and drinking holes where forty rod whisky was sold
to soldiers, and most effectually did they accomplish their task. After this,
the Captain and a few picked men were detailed as a detective force, and in
this they were equally successful, as women were arrested and searched by a
lady, and articles of every description, from shoes to Confederate uniforms
were found secreted about their persons, which they were smuggling through
the lines. The Captain got a clue to a medicine speculation by which the parties
were to realize more than a fortune. One Bogle, a druggist in this place, contracted
with the rebel authorities in West Louisiana, to furnish them with a large
quantity of quinine and other medicines, the former at $15 per ounce, and the
other medicines in proportion, for which the rebs. were to pay in cotton delivered
within six miles of the river at 25 cents per pound. Everything being ready,
the Captain took a squad of men and closed the river and arrested Bogle and
with him 800 bottles of quinine and a large lot of surgical instruments, all
of which he had smuggled through the lines into the enemy's country. Bogle
was brought back to this place, where the prisoners and medicines were taken
from the Captain's charge by the Provost Marshal here, and sent to New Orleans
in charge of one of these citizen detectives, and the result was the Provost
Judge discharged the man Bogle and returned to him his medicines. One Parrey,
a druggist of New Orleans, had sold 7,000 ounces of quinine to disloyal parties
without permit and in direct violation of the Treasury Regulations, was fined
the enormous sum of $500. The same party would give $5,000 for the privilege
of such a sale every day in the week. Such transactions are not very encouraging
to loyalists. A representation of facts like the above having been made to
the authorities at Washington, they sent an agent to this Department, who has
issued an order calling upon all persons who have been obliged to pay for privileges
[sic], to report the facts to him, and he will cause the return to them of
all moneys so extorted and guarantee them against prosecution. The result is,
a perfect panic among this class of officials. The agent's office is thronged
every day by crowds of informers; so look out for some rich developments.
There has been a new Military District created in this Department, called the
District of Baton Rouge and Port Hudson, extending from Donaldsonville on the
river to Morganea comprising three of the most important posts in the Department
except the city of New Orleans. Major Gen. Heron I am happy to say has been
assigned to the command. His first official act was the closing of the lines,
much to the discomfort of the rebels, who have heretofore been clothed and
fed from this post. A little incident happened in our company a few days ago
which clearly illustrates the promptness of the men and the efficiency of the
battery. Just after evening parade a couple of gentlemen drove into our camp,
and enquired for the Captain who was in his tent busy writing. One of the gentlemen
was recognized by the boys as Gen. Benton, commanding the post. The Captain
went to the carriage and was introduced by Gen. Benton to Major Gen. Heron.
The General said he had heard a very favorable report of the Black Horse Battery
and wanted to see how soon we could hitch in and break park. The Capt. Gave
the order to have boots and saddles blown and in just seven minutes from the
first sound of the bugle the battery was in motion; 96 horses harnessed and
hitched in and cannoniers and drivers mounted. We challenge any battery with
eight horses to a carriage or “any other man” to beat this time.
Why we have not employed more of our forces here in the siege of Mobile is
a mystery. There are plenty of troops lying idle here on the bank of the Mississippi
that could be spared as well as not. In one camp at Carrolton, five miles above
New Orleans, there are ten batteries lying idle and all anxious like ourselves
to have a hand to.
The health of the Battery is very good; some chills and fevers, but nothing
serious. We have lost but one man in over a year, (Sert. James H. Lynch). He
was a good soldier, and his loss is keenly felt by all. The few sick and some
dead beats, (of which there are quite a number among the recruits, for we had
them weeded out of the old company), are well cared for, thanks to our good
luck in having a company hospital, well supplied by the Ladies' Relief Society
C. J. BASCOM.
RECRUITING FOR MACK'S BATTERY.—Capt. Mack has opened a recruiting office
in the Eagle Block to recruit men for his battery now in winter quarters at
Baton Rouge. He offers extraordinary inducements to volunteers.
From Mack's Battery.
We are indebted to Bradford Wood, of Mack's Battery, who has arrived home from
the Company on sick leave, for the conveyance of Phototographs of paintings,
representing the crossing of the Atchafalaya river on a pontoon formed by
steamboats, by Banks' army, and the "passage of the Red River Dam."
These paintings are the work of our former Rochester artist, John W. Miller,
a private in Mack's battery, detailed for this sort of duty on Gen. Arnold's
A letter from the company, dated July 7th, has been received, stating that
Lieut. Curtis and a squad of men, while on a reconnoissance, had captured six
wagon loads of contraband goods.
FROM MACK'S BATTERY.—Our Baton Rouge correspondent writes that Mack's
Battery commemorated Washington's Birthday by firing three salutes, at sunrise,
meridian and sunset, with the 20lb. parrots. "It was a little treat to
the new boys, but the old ones have heard and seen such things before—and
FROM MACK'S BATTERY.--Capt. Mack received a letter from his company yesterday
stating that on the 11th instant three of his men named Jerry Stone, David
Strunk and Andy Booth wore captured a few miles in the rear of Baton Rouge
by guerrillas while after wood. Stone lost a fast mare worth $500. They were
three valuable soldiers, and their loss is deeply regretted by Capt. Mack.
Strunk was from this City, Booth was from Brighton, and Stone was from Henrietta.
Personal—Lieutenant Van Dake, of Mack's famons Black Horse Battery,
arrived here from Baton Rouge yesterday morning, on his first leave of absence
since the Battery went into the service in the autumn of 1862. Lieut. Van Dake
left here with an ardent love of his chosen prefession [sic], which time and
the duties of the service have not abated.
FROM MACK'S BATTERY.— We are happy to see among us again Lieut. Van
Dake of Mack's Battery, who has just returned on a brief furlough. He came
from New Orleans and brings a good report from the Battery, which has been
more than a year in Louisiana, and has been engaged in a number of battles,
acquitting itself with great credit.
An order has been issued by the chief of artillery permitting this Battery
to be increased to two hundred and to be placed on the footing of an eight
gun battery. An offer is now made by Captain Mack to a few good men to join
DEATH OF SERGT. LYNCH.—A letter containing the following resolutions
has been received from the 18th N. Y. Battery announcing the death of Sergent
[sic] James H. Lynch son of D. D. Lynch of this city. The writer, an officer
in the Battery, speak of deceased in high terms—an original member of
the Battery whose loss is deeply felt. He died in camp of a painful illness
on the 6th inst.:
HEADQUARTERS 18TH N. Y. IND. BATTERY,
Baton Rouge, August 10, 1864.
Whereas, through the dispensation of Divine Providence, we have been called
upon to perform the last sad rites for a much beloved and highly respected
comrade, Serg't James H. Lynch, whose early death we sincerely deplore,
Resolved, That in the death of Serg't James H. Lynch, the Battery has lost
a generous hearted and faithful soldier, whose sterling qualities and genial
disposition had only to be felt to be recognized and loved by all who knew
Resolved, That we tender our heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends
of the deceased, in this, their great bereavement, and while we mourn in his
decease, the loss of an old comrade, we have the satisfaction of knowing that
although disease and not the bullet laid him low, he died in defence of the
principles he engaged to defend.
Resolved, That we tender to the family of the deceased a copy of the resolutions,
and send a copy to the papers of Rochester for publication.
PERSONAL.—Capt. Mack, of the famous Mack's Battery, arrived home Monday
night from New Orleans.
A MEDITED TESTIMONIAL.—Yesterday an elegant sword, sash and belt might
have been seen on exhibition in the show window of Karnes' Banking House at
the entrance of the arcade, which is to be presented to Lieut. F. R. Van Dake,
of Mack's Battery, by his friends in this city. His friends among the railroad
men were instrumental in getting up this testimonial of respect and esteem
for an officer whose course during a brief military career is well worthy of
the token. The sword and its appurtenances were obtained in New York at a cost
of $75. It has a Damascus blade, with Damascus finish, and a steel and bronzed
scabbard. The belt and sash are of the best manufacture and of the finest quality
to be obtained. The sword contains the following inscription: "Lieut.
F. R. Van Dake, 18th New York Artillery. From Friends at Home." Lieut.
Van Dake enlisted in Mack's Battery, a private, about a year since. His conduct
has been such since his connection with that organization as to command the
respect and confidence of his superior officers, who at once recognized him
as worthy of promotion, and advanced him from the ranks to a first lieutenancy.
REVOLVER PRESENTATION.--Last evening a very pleasant affair came off at the
Clinton Hotel, in the presentation of an elegant revolver to Quartermaster
Sergeant Millard of Barnes' Rifle Battery. The pistol was procured by Sergeant
Millard's friends, and presented to him as a testimonial of their respect and
esteem, and their appreciation of his gentlemanly and soldierly qualities.
About thirty gentlemen assembled to witness the presentation, and everything
passed off in the most happy and genteel manner. The revolver is a seven shooter
of Moore's patent, and was obtained of McKindley & Pollock at a cost of
about $20, and was suitably inscribed. The presentation speech was made by
Lieut. Sackett, (formerly of the 8th cavalry,) of the firm of newcomb, Sackett & Jones,
who used the following graceful and appropriate language:
QUARTERMASTER SERGEANT MILLARD: Your friends have requested me to present you
this pistol with its appurtenances, as a slight testimonial of their kind regards
for you, believing that when you are bivouacked in Dixie the sight of it will
awaken pleasant emotions and cheer you to deeds of valor and heroism.
We have confidence that its brightness will never be tarnished, and that the
cheerfulness of this hour will never be shaded by any unsoldier-like act of
yours. Hoping that after a successful military career, unscathed by the vicissitudes
of war, and when peace shall have been restored to this now unhappy and distracted
country, you will return to us, we bid you God speed. Our best wishes go with
Serg. Millard was taken by surprise in the presentation, but he replied in
a very neat and happy manner, expressing his thanks for the honor bestowed
upon him and for the kindness of his friends, and concluded, hoping that they
might all meet again this side of the Elysian shore, after the olive branch
of peace had shed its genial influence over our fair land which was being desolated
by a rebel foe.
Both speeches were heartily applauded, and after partaking of a bountiful oyster
supper, the party adjourned with the utmost good feeling.
"DETAILED FOR DUTY."—Under the above head I observe in your
paper a short article which (unintentionally, I believe, on your part) does
injustice to Capt. Mack, of the 18th N. Y. Battery, by assigning the credit
of the efficient state of that fine command to another officer. The article
in question says: "When the Chief of Artillery inspected the battery under
command of Lieut. Van Dake, he pronounced it the best in that department. This
probably led to his calling Lieut. Van Dake to his assistance." The facts
are these: The Chief of Artillery has never inspected the battery since the
spring of 1863, and then only informally. At that time Lieut. Van Dake was
a Sergeant in the battery. Since then it has been inspected at various times
by Lieutenants from the office of the Chief of Artillery, and by regular inspecting
officers of the army; among whom was Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles, who pronounced
it the best he had seen in his inspecting tour. Capt. Mack was in command at
You also state that Lieut. Van Dake left Rochester as a private, which is a
mistake. He was promised 1st duty Sergeant when he enlisted, which was given
him as soon as the company was organized. I believe the battery has invariably
been pronounced the best in the department, since it recovered from the effects
of the severe Tesche campaign and siege of Port Hudson. The Chief of Artillery
who had Lieut. Van Dake detailed was a Captain of inferior rank to Capt. Mack.
If you will give publication to the above you will oblige many members of the
BATON ROUGE, La., Jan. 25, 1865.
If "Justice" had observed closely the article in the DEMOCRAT, to
which he refers, he must have seen that it was credited to the Union, from
which paper we took it. He is right in believing that we had no intention of
disparaging Capt. Mack. That officer had been at home some time, however, and
it did not strike us as strange that a Lieutenant should be in temporary command.
Having always understood that Lieut. Van Dake was a good officer, we were ready
to give him credit as such, and we are glad to see that "Justice" does
not say anything derogatory to him now. It is, perhaps, proper to say that
First Lieut. Curtiss, of the battery, has been on detached duty since June
last, under orders from Gen. Canby, which accounts for his not succeeding to
the command when Capt, Mack came home. (Rochester Democrat, Feb. 18, 1865)
ARRIVAL OF THE EIGHTEENTH N. Y. BATTERY.—The Eighteenth New York Battery,
one hundred and thirty-six strong, arrived yesterday morning and was fed by
the Citizens' Committee. It has been known as the Independent Black Horse Battery;
was recruited at Rochester, and served under General Banks. It has been in
service two years and nine months. It participated in the battles of Port Hudson,
Bisland, Pattersonville, Plains' Store, Cemetery Bridge, Spanish Fort and Blakely—the
last being fought on the day of Lee's surrender. The following are the officers:
Captain A. G.
Mack; Lieutenants, G. G. Curtis, F. R. Van Dake; S. L. Williams, and D. W.
McConnell. Most all of the men brought curiosities. There were over forty mocking-birds
in possession of different members of the battery. After breakfast it went
West. (Express, July 14, 1865)
Back to the 18th Independent Battery
during the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military
May 4, 2007