But our pursuit soon became almost as disorderly and demoralized as the flight of the Confederates
; for all along our route were sugar houses, where not only sugar, but the liquid extract of molasses was manufactured, to which latter many of our boys helped themselves in unlimited rations, and were soon in the most undisciplined of merry moods.
Order was, however, soon restored, and the march continued on towards New Iberia, which, after a skirmish, we entered on April 16.
From here an expedition was sent to the Southwest
to Isle Petit Anse, an underground hillock of purest salt, and the site of the Avery salt works, which was the principal source of supply for the whole Confederacy.
This was captured and the works destroyed.
From New Iberia we marched to Vermillionville
, and after another skirmish entered it on April 17.
There we left the lowlands, and our march was over the lovely prairies of Western Louisiana
, where crystal ponds, scattered live oaks, high lands, and streams skirted with groves abound.
, continuing across prairies, we reached and, after a skirmish, entered Opelousas
, one of the cleanest and prettiest towns of Louisiana
Here I rode in with our cavalry, and under orders seized and put a guard over the State
Land Office, in which I found not only innumerable plans of that part of Louisiana
, but also many arms stored under heaps of old papers and rubbish, among them the sword of the Confederate Colonel Riley
, killed in a recent engagement, and also the commission of another officer in the rebel army.
Under instruction I turned over all these trophies to our provost marshal.
The army halted at Opelousas
Soon after entering the town, I rode out to its outskirts, and narrowly escaped capture by an ambuscade in the woods near by, being warned by a slave to turn quickly, as the horsemen whom I was riding out to meet in the thick woods were rebels, not Union, as I had supposed.
That son of Ethiopia has still a warm niche in my memory.
After some days we again took up our march, soon striking Bayou Boeuf
, which we ascended, passing the plantation of the