island the rebels would immediately shell it, and in some way this rumor was exaggerated until the men declared that if Colonel Hinks
did not surrender before four o'clock in the afternoon the rebel artillery was to open upon him. Lieut. Prime
of Co. C.
was at the river looking after rations and was met on his return by the first sergeant of his company with the startling intelligence that ‘if we don't surrender at four, they'll commence shelling.’
It was then half past 3.
Dropping a box of hard tack from his shoulder, the lieutenant replied: ‘Let them shell and be d—d. I'm going to have something to eat,’ and turned back to the boat for another box.
With the passing of the hours the men gained courage at the absence of any movement by the enemy and began to prepare themselves for an attack, and for the coming of the night.
Company I was sent out on picket duty under Lieut. William L. Palmer
and most of the regiment was posted along a stone wall, which ran from the farmhouse to the river.
Here the men secured a quantity of fence rails and unthreshed wheat.
Some of the rails were used as fuel, while the rest were arranged to form a roof over the stone wall.
A long shed was made, looking much like those behind country meeting houses.
It was about five feet high in front and three feet high at the back.
The roof rested on the stone wall and was covered with wheat.
A quantity of the wheat was thrown upon the ground for beds and the men crawled into the shed after dark, wet to the skin, covered with mud and tired out.
During the night, Lieut. Palmer
, of Company I, was stationed at the lower end of the picket line, while Sergt. Harris
acted as patrol, visiting each post at intervals, up and down the line, and listened to the noises which came from the rebel side of the river.
In about two hours orders came to withdraw the pickets.
was instructed to go from post to post and tell the men to leave, one or two at a time, without noise, and make their way as fast as possible across the island to the landing.
As he groped his way in the darkness, sometimes the moon would shine out through the scudding clouds and he would