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[176] and we concluded we had better go to work and build winter quarters; so in a short time some one hundred ranches were up, but they were far inferior to the Camp Verde ones. When most of them were finished, we were again ordered to change camp, and go to a permanent one for the winter, on the Seawillows, thirty miles from where we were. Major Taylor waited for a rainy day, and then ordered us to march and keep in ranks, or he would order the guard to shoot us down. Now, we could not march in ranks on account of the mud, and he actually gave the order to shoot us ; but the guard, more sensible than himself, refused to do it, when he told them he would have them shot for disobeying his orders; but they only laughed at him, and we marched as we pleased. He could make nothing of us, and gave it up for a bad job. However, we got to our destination next day, and the Major told us how we should build in streets; but you may bet now we done exactly contrary to how he had ordered. He told us he would make us tear them down again, but we only laughed at him, and said we would suit ourselves. We worked at cutting down trees and splitting them up into pickets, and carrying rocks, for three days, and there were a good many got their places finished, when on the morning of the fourth day an order arrived to bring us back to San Antonio to get paroled sure, and leave the state. We all gave three cheers for the Union, and every one knocked off work and got ready for a move. We heard the order read by old Taylor; he had changed completely from savage to mild, but we knew the old rascal too well to trust him. We started back the next day and got to Camp Worth, near San Antonio, where the order read we were to be paroled and furnished with an escort to the Federal lines.

We were all paroled on the twenty-sixth of December, 1862, to be exchanged as soon as possible. The guard was then taken off, and on the first day of January we started on our march for home, with an escort of eighty cavalry, composed mostly of Germans. They were not very strong for secession, but they had, like a good many others, to become soldiers or hang on the branch of some tree. I cannot give you much details of the march through Texas into Louisiana, a distance of four hundred and twenty miles; but it was pretty hard on all of us, as the roads were in a bad condition from the heavy rains. In some places we had to lie over four days, as we could not get the wagons through the mud and sand. We had plenty of liberty to go wherever we pleased, and we availed ourselves of the privilege to go on foraging parties after fat pigs, chickens, &c. I am certain that we must have killed on the trip one thousand hogs; in some camps every two men had one whole one to themselves. It was a good thing they were plenty, for we could get no beef, and we were living on corn bread alone, without a grain of coffee. The Captain that came along with the escort remonstrated with us about the pork business; but we lent a deaf ear to all his pleadings in favor of good order and peace, for pork we had to have, no matter what the cost was. I tell you it used to be fun to see the boys in full pursuit of a big hog, some with clubs, others with knives and rocks; very few could escape the doom if we ever got after him. The owners used to come to the camps to complain, and we would tell them, You voted for war; now you must pay for it; so clear out. Rather a cool way of doing business, I confess, but a sure way, for we were on the strong side.

Well, after forty-seven days on the march we got into Shreveport, at the head of the Red River, and took a steamboat. Our tramping was all over now, but we were worse off on board the boat than when on the march. We were all huddled in a place not big enough to hold a fourth of us; of course none could sleep, and there was no place to cook during the day; but the boat lay up at night, and we went on shore and cooked enough to do until night again. In three days we reached Alexandria, where we changed boats. While in Alexandria the Queen of the West was towed in as a prize, along with twenty-three prisoners taken on board of her. We took them along with us, and you may be sure there were a good many questions asked; but they could not tell us much, as they were not very well posted about the war, or anything else we cared about knowing. We went seventy miles down Red River, to within a mile of Fort Taylor, where the steamer General Quitman was lying, and there found three companies of the Forty-second Massachusetts regiment and the crew of the Harriet Lane, who were all taken prisoners at Galveston on the first of January, the same day we started from San Antonio. We had heard about the fight, but did not believe it. We were now reinforced by three hundred and twenty, which made the party over six hundred strong, not counting the Scotch Grays that the latter party had along. We were delayed at Fort Taylor three days, waiting for wood; but we finally got under way again, and got into Port Hudson, a strongly fortified town on the Mississippi River, in the hands of the rebels. Here we stopped all night, and the next morning went down the river, under a flag of truce, to Baton Rouge, where we were received by the Federal officers.

I can hardly describe my feelings on landing once more on the soil where the stars and stripes were so proudly waving from the tall masts of the men-of-war lying in the river. Well, we were landed inside our lines after being prisoners of war twenty-two months. We marched up to the city and got quarters and supper, and the whole party started at eight o'clock on a boat for New Orleans, where we arrived in safety the next morning. From there we were taken to Carrollton, eight miles above New Orleans, to a camp. We were treated in the best possible manner by all the officers and men. General Emory made a speech, in which he complimented us for our loyalty to the cause of the Union, and told us we could and would have everything that would contribute to our comfort.

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