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[393] the sand on the levee, over ankle deep, fairly scorched one s feet through boots. We had to stay there more than twenty-four hours before we could get a boat to take us on board, though there were half a dozen lying across the river, with steam up ready to go anywhere on the receipt of orders. We got off at last, however, and brought all the men safely through. Our sick-list is larger now than it has been for over a year, but there are very few serious cases. Intermittent fever is the prevailing disease; and as long as we can get quinine enough, we can manage that. We have not lost a man since we came here, which is more than any other regiment I know of can say; in fact, we have only lost one man by disease (and that was small-pox) since last November. The new regiments suffer most, as would of course be expected. . . .

I wish I could daguerreotype our camp for you. I have thought that very often you could have so much better an idea of our situation here than from any description. The position of the army here would be interesting too, I should think, to you folks at home. From the pictures in the papers of scenes that I know, I am satisfied they can seldom approach the truth, and are not at all trustworthy. If you could see the whole side of the high bluff covered with tents for miles,—tents now empty, for most of the soldiers that were here are out at the Big Black, or in that vicinity; the Rebel rifle-pits running all along the edge of the slope, and ours too, sometimes parallel, sometimes crossing theirs; the places for guns on every commanding summit; the Rebel ports partly grassed over now, with the charred remains of gun-carriages, shot and shell lying among the weeds and brush; the exploded magazines; the caves the Rebs lived in, dug in the side of the bluff! Then if you could go to Vicksburg, in the miles of captured works; the big guns that have killed so many of our brave soldiers, some dismounted, some still in position and guarded by blue-coats; then if you could go into the town, see almost every building torn by shot and shells, some with clean round holes through and through, some with great holes in the roof, and the interior knocked into ruins by the explosion of shell; the streets full of filth, mingled with musket-balls, grape, cannon-shot, and every species of missile; and above all, the old stars and stripes floating from the cupola of the proud old Court-House, the crown of the city, like the State-House at Boston; the gunboats in the river; the chartered transports, miles of them lying at the levee;—if you could see all these things, or if I could only give you a pen-picture of them, you would get


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