We arrive there by evening and go into camp back by Arsenal grounds. Remain there till evening 25th when at 9:30 p.m. we were ordered aboard the Ocean Wave for Camp Girardeau--land there about 3 p.m. on the 26th of April. Company A and B get stationed in Fort Bliss for support of siege guns--at 2 a.m. of the 27th get ordered to Fort "C" and remain there under arms that day and the next also, but evening of 28th receive marching orders--march all that night--next day and following night through swamps and creeks, over hill and dale till evening of 29th when we bivouac along roadside.
Remain at the Cape G. till the 8th when we go aboard another steamer and reach St. Louis again by noon of the 9th. Remain in St. Louis till morning of the 14th meantime participating in the celebration of the anniversary of taking of Camp Jackson in May '61 by General Lyons. Also getting new clothing which we sadly needed. On the 14th went aboard the cars for Pilot Knob and go in camp there on the 15th southwest of town and while there we received our shelter tents.
The extreme left, being a sandy flat and low ground, was used by them as their means of communication. On the afternoon of the 14th we advanced to within one-half mile of enemy's works and commenced immediately to entrench ourselves, throw up breastworks and in short participate in the siege in all its different details, in fact more so than troops here longer, as most generally on half the men fit for duty were in the trenches, while the other half were on fatigue duty during night. July 1863 From July 1st till noon July 3rd, we advanced our works considerably , then occupying ground that was in possession of the Rebs on our arrival. On the afternoon of July 3rd, while flags were being displayed in front of our pits, the boys immediately fraternized, exchanged news, tobacco--coffee and hardtack and as we knew their time had come we felt genial toward them.
After firing of evening gun, the cry along the front was "Hunt your holes" and in less time than it took to say it--Rebs and Union men were in their respective places of shelter again but kept rather quiet during night. On the afternoon of the 4th of July we entered the city and by that, ended another act in the great drama of the slaveholders rebellion. Vicksburg with all its garrison, guns, ammunition and other stores was in our hands and thereby the great highway of trade and traffic North and South, the Mississippi was virtually opened again in all its length, and by it, our forces were released to pitch into the enemy at other needed places-- in fact the backbone of the rebellion seemed to be broken (though said backbone was a rather stiff and extensive one).
From July 5th to the 10th we lay in southwest portion of the city, gathering up ordinance and destroying their former works. On July 11th embarked for some point below, but on same evening get signaled by gunboat Arizona and received intelligence of fall of Port Hudson, the last Rebel hold on the banks of the river. On the 12th move up stream, enter Yazoo River, pass Haines and Snyders Bluff, past Sunflower Landing and halt within sight of Yazoo City afternoon of the 13th. Immediately the 37th was ordered ashore and advanced as skirmishers under cover of gunboats. Though the Rebel;s opened lively on us and boats--doing more damage to the gunboat DeKalb than to us, we were ordered back by nightfall, taking a few prisoners along (and here is where somebody blundered again, as after our recall the Rebs left) and later, about 10 p.m. when we were ordered forward again we found the place evacuated, and bivouacked in the streets of the city.
Remain in front of Yazoo City till the 16th of July, when by noon march with 5 days rations toward southeast--weather very hot and water scarce. Bivouac, then resume march on the 17th passing through Benton and reach Big Black River at dark and go into camp on east bank of river--remain there till 3 p.m. on the 18th when we march 8miles back-- on the 19th resume march again and reach camp near Yazoo River by 4 p.m. Remain there till the 21st, busy landing horses, mules, cotton, and other captured property, back to Vicksburg on the evening of July 21st, disembark on the 22nd, and embark again on the 24th, leaving Morristown on the 25th and arrive at Port Hudson on the 26th--Stay there on the boats awaiting orders till the 31st when we move into camp back of bluffs in cane brake.
Embark by noon of 23rd on the G. Peabody along with two troops of 1st Texas Cavalry. Drop down past Crescent--26th go down to head of passes and by noon October 27th steam through southwest pass into Gulf--on the 28th under convoy of gunboats start in regular line across the heaving bosom of the Gulf of Mexico (need I say how he exacted his tribute of nearly all of us) had fair weather and sailing on the 29th, but on the morning of the 30th it was quite stormy and rough, so much so that our rudder chain snapped and thus left the boat unmanageable--boat hands with the assistance of our boys (most of Company D being old lake sailors) soon fixed the steering apparatus with ropes, block and tackle thereby we were able to keep in our course but soon we noticed other boats having apparently worse trouble than we, as on some we could see white flags hoisted.
Morning of October 31st found us on place of rendezvous, assigned by General, where we found a dispatch boat and soon others followed till afternoon when Generals Banks and Dana, in their boats, ordered us into proper line, but 7 vessels of the fleet were still missing. November, December 1863 On the 1st of November by 4 p.m. we dropped anchor near Brazos San Diego. The morning of the 3rd the rest of the missing boats came up, and we commenced to land. November 4th our Regiment crossed the breakers and shortly afterwards in great joy, landed on the sandy beach but suffered for lack of water. On the next day started for mainland by fording Boco Chico, an inlet over one-half mile wide and over four feet deep--most all of the boys had to make two trips to bring arms, clothing and accouterments across, a trip long to be remembered by many.
After a short rest on mainland, form and march till about 9 p.m. We
bivouac near Rio Grande on old battleground of Palo Alto. Remain for 2
days waiting for rations, resume march on the 8th of November and by the
9th reach Brownsville, pass thru' town and go into camp about one mile
beyond. From 9th till 21st. Then receive orders to march. Company A, F
and G taking the overland route with teams under Major Payne, while rest
of command embark on a river steamer (Mustang). The 3 companies named reached
Ring Gold Barracks on the 25th of November (ahead of those on the steamer)
seizing over 80 bales of cotton--flour and other stuff. Remained here for
two days. Then return to boat which was aground on one of the numerous
sandbars some 30 miles below the barracks. Reaching the boat they embarked
for the return, but owing to low stage of water made slow progress but
finally got to Brownsville December 12th, being about 22 days on a 12 day
supply of rations, but beef was plentiful along the river, also raw sugar.
We remain at camp from December 12th to the 31st, receiving on the 26th
a Christmas present in shape of two months pay.