There were causeways on the Shell Road
which a single battery could hold against a large force; and the plantations were everywhere so intersected by hedges and dikes that they seemed expressly planned for defence.
Although creeks wound in and out everywhere, yet these were only navigable at high tide, and at all other times were impassable marshes.
There were but few posts where the enemy were within rifle range, and their occasional attacks at those points were soon stopped by our enforcement of a pithy order from General Hunter
, “Give them as good as they send.”
So that, with every opportunity for being kept on the alert, there was small prospect of serious danger; and all promised an easy life, with only enough of care to make it pleasant.
The picket station was therefore always a coveted post among the regiments, combining some undeniable importance with a kind of relaxation; and as we were there three months on our first tour of duty, and returned there several times afterwards, we got well acquainted with it. The whole region always reminded me of the descriptions of La Vendee, and I always expected to meet Henri Larochejaquelein
riding in the woods.
How can I ever describe the charm and picturesqueness of that summer life?
Our house possessed four spacious rooms and a piazza; around it were grouped sheds and tents; the camp was a little way off on one side, the negro-quarters of the plantation on the other; and all was immersed in a dense mass of waving and murmuring locust-blossoms.
The spring days were always lovely, while the evenings were always conveniently damp; so that we never shut the windows by day, nor omitted our cheerful fire by night.
Indoors, the main Headquarters seemed like the camp of