Civil War Louisiana (CWLA)

Civil War Louisiana (CWLA)
CWLA seeks to provide an online resource of any and all material of the Civil War relating to Louisiana with a special interest in the war in Acadiana in southwest Louisiana.

Monday, February 6, 2012

30th Massachusetts' Tour in Louisiana, Part IV

Henry Warren Howe was a member of the 30th Massachusetts during the war. Howe's regiment was organized in December of 1861 and served in Virginia before it was sent to Ship Island. From February 12th - April 15th, the 30th Massachusetts garrisoned Ship Island. The regiment was attached to the Department of the Gulf in August 1862 and served in Louisiana until the summer of 1864. Howe wrote a book following the war titled, Life of Henry Warren Howe, Consisting of Diary and Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865: A Condensed History of the Thirtieth Massachusetts Regiment and Its Flags, together with Genealogies of the Different Branches of the Family.

We pick up with Howe's March 1863 entries:

March 1, 1863. Sunday. Pleasant. Review, and a march afterward. Am detailed on brigade guard; my men are from the 161st and 174th New York Regiments; hard boys. The Captain of the Guard has our men, they being on the right. All quiet.
March 2, 1863. Pleasant. Relieved at 9 a. m. Made out my reports and sent to the Captain of the Guard. We received orders to turn in all company baggage; expect to be ordered up before Port Hudson soon. Troops are arriving from New Orleans. General Auger is here.
March 3, 1863. Pleasant. I am regimental officer of the day, the duty being to look after the regiments' camps. Our brigade was reviewed by General Auger; it made a good appearance.
March 4, 1863. Pleasant. Battalion drill, practised with blank cartridges. Our company has sent in pay rolls. I shall be much pleased to see the paymaster.
March 5, 1863. Pleasant. No drill in the morning. A match drill took place between our right flank company, Captain M. A. Ferris, and a company of marines from the Mississippi; our company won, consequently the stock of the old 30th took another rise. I never saw better company movements or execution of the manual. The regulars are "nowhere." We have seen only fourteen months' service.
March 6 and 7, 1863. Rainy. No drill. Nothing new.
March 8, 1863. Sunday. Pleasant. Review by General Dudley and a march down town.
March 9, 1863. Pleasant. We shall be off on our expedition in a day or two, probably to Port Hudson. Wrote home to-night.
March 10,1863. Cloudy. Have been expecting to move every day. Understand that three brigades have already gone.
March 11, 1863. Pleasant. Our division was reviewed by General Banks.
March 12, 1863. Pleasant. The second division and the third, Generals Emery and Grover, were reviewed by General Banks.
March 13, 1863. Emery's division left for Port Hudson to-day. The fleet have also sailed.
March 14, 1863. Orders to march this morning at 4 o'clock for Port Hudson. We are the rear division, two being in advance. Marched 11 miles, bivouacked at 1 p. m. Slept sound. Some firing from the river.
March 15, 1863. Sunday. Pleasant. Firing still heard from the gun-boats. At daybreak an explosion was heard, it must have been a gun-boat. We retired five miles and bivouacked for the night. Rained all night and was very disagreeable in camp.
March 16, 1863. I had a fly to a tent and slept quite comfortably. It cleared off in the morning. We are in the rear brigade, the other two divisions are two or three miles in advance. The explosion was on a steamer, the Mississippi; she ran aground opposite Port Hudson and a hot shot struck her, setting her on fire; she righted and floated down the river. Two gun-boats ran by the port. As yet we have accomplished nothing but to feel of the enemy; there is some skirmishing in the front.
March 17, 1863. Pleasant. Had orders to move with two days' rations; countermanded. Long roll sounded in the afternoon. Our brigade marched three miles through the swamp and woods to-day. No enemy.
March 18,1863. Pleasant. All quiet. Our regiment received orders to report to Baton Rouge, also the other regiments in our brigade. We are to go aboard transports, and proceed up the river and join two regiments there, on the other side of the river, opposite Port Hudson. We are to establish signal stations. Embarked at night, and went on; ran aground, and waited until morning. Three regiments go up. General Banks is with us. When we ran aground the levee gave way and the water has run from the river through the crevasse, submerging a large plantation. General Banks says he has accomplished his object, viz., running by Port Hudson, thus drawing troops away from Vicksburg to weaken that place in case of attack. Thirty lives were lost by the explosion of the steamer Mississippi's boiler. We are in light marching order on this expedition.
March 19, 1863. Pleasant. All are at work trying to get the boats oft. Succeeded, arrived and landed opposite and two miles below Port Hudson. There are six regiments here. In the afternoon, drew two days' rations. Captain and I with our company patrolled down the river, Provost Marshal Fuller going with us. Saw a large drove of cattle; tried to drive them in, but they were too wild. Marched six miles, returned at 8 p. m., with thirty chickens and a few eggs. Most of the plantations are deserted. Sugar is found and the United States Marshal confiscates it.
March 20, 1863. Friday. Pleasant. Ho! for another tramp. At 9 a. m., started with two regiments in light marching order and a section of a battery; proceeded down the river two miles, then marched inland. Very hard marching—bayous, cane brakes, etc., to push through. We crossed the bayous on trees felled, swam the horses over. Object of the expedition, to let the natives know we are around. Saw several alligators and snakes; not a very desirable country to live in. We gobbled up mules, horses, and everything we could get. The enemy have cut the levee on this side of the river, which will prevent our going up the river. We returned to camp at dark very tired. Rations of whiskey were served.
March 21, 1863. A detail of cavalry has gone up the river to see if it can communicate with our gun-boats, which ran by the batteries of the fort. No news yet. We can see five steamers near the enemy's works. One of our boats has been playing with the enemy. Our troops on the other side of the river have been drawn in to Baton Rouge.
March 22, 1863. Sunday. Nothing new. The 116th New York have returned to Baton Rouge. We expect to go up to-morrow. I don't think this expedition has accomplished much. I expect we shall be obliged to wait until the forces come down the river and co-operate with us. Some sport in our camp to-day by the boys trying to ride stubborn mules. Our regiment is quartered in negro huts on a plantation. Had a shower this afternoon.
March 23,1863. Rainy. Evacuated our bivouac, and took quarters in a negro shanty. Mail arrived; received a letter from Cyrus Latham. The Captain is on guard to-day. Confiscated cattle are being put aboard the steamers.
March 24, 1863. Cloudy and cool. Captain McGee's cavalry made a reconnoissance up the river, burned one steamer, captured some horses and four prisoners. The enemy fired at them from the other side of the river from their batteries. Received a letter from George Webster. Strange I do not get one from home.
March 25, 1863. Pleasant. I am on guard to-day. Nothing new.
March 26, 1863. Pleasant. Steamer arrived from Baton Rouge last night, and early this morning orders were issued to embark by sounding the long roll. I was notified to bring in my guard at the sound of the firing of a gun, which I did at 9 o'clock. Found that my regiment had already left camp. I reported aboard the steamer. We arrived at Baton Rouge at noon and occupied our old quarters.
March 27, 1863. Pleasant. Brigade drill in the morning. The afternoon was showery. General Grover's division was ordered to Donaldsonville; it is rumored that a large force of the enemy is in the vicinity, coming from Red River. I don't think our last expedition accomplished much. Started an officers' mess composed of eight.
March 28, 1863. Saturday. Rainy. No drill to-day. Many of us are troubled with bowel complaint. I have it.
March 29, 1863. Cloudy. Inspection and review in the morning. I had command of my company. Dress parade at sunset. The Captain is sick to-day.
March 30,1863. Pleasant. Company drill in the morning. Brigade drill in the afternoon.
March 31, 1863. Tuesday. Pleasant. Monthly inspection at 8.30, after which a march down town. I was put in command of Company H, as the officers were sick. Captain Creasy has leave of absence for twenty days to go North.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Coppens' Zouave Battalion

Coppens' Zouave Battalion
Lt. Colonel George Coppens (seated) and brother, Captain Marie Alfred Coppens.Image sold at auction on Cowan Auctions, for $14,375