the musket as it was brought to a full cock, the sentinel being too scared to challenge, and I was obliged to announce my approach to the challenge of the click.
One of the scared sentinels said afterwards that he guessed I was the only one that night in danger of being shot.
On the ninth of March (a notable day in my calendar) we struck tents and embarked on the steamship Matanzas
, the general deeming it wise to transfer the Thirty-first regiment to our quarters on the Mississippi
lest the hastily patched bow should break adrift and endanger the lives of those in the forward compartment.
Our seven days run ashore was a blessing somewhat disguised.
The next morning we hauled around to Hilton Head
and anchored to await the Mississippi
, which had experienced additional trouble.
At high noon on the thirteenth both ships beat to quarters,
and we resumed our voyage.
On the seventh day from Hilton Head
, after suffering the tortures of the damned from both hunger and thirst (from the details of which, good Lord
deliver us), a gun-boat hove to across our bow, and ascertaining that ours was a troop ship bound for Ship Island
, informed us that we were within five hours sail of our long-sought — for port.
Every soldier gave voice to his feelings, and then ‘piped down’ to pack knapsacks.
We forgot that our throats were parched and that our stomachs were in a collapsed condition.
(Blessing on the man who invented forgetfulness.)
Four hundred pairs of eyes were shortly on the lookout for Ship Island
By and by masts appeared, and then the hulls came into view, but not the slightest indication of land.
Vessels only —apparently in mid-ocean.
To see vessels rising apparently out of the water was a novel sight to some of the boys.
But when they discovered the low-lying island almost under our jib-boom their astonishment was complete.
At 3 o'clock P. M. March 20), we dropped anchor within a cable's length of the Mississippi
, which had arrived a day or two in advance of us. Our comrades who had sailed from New York had arrived while we were stranded at Hilton Head
, and as we came to anchor gave us