The best laid schemes oa mice and menwas constantly and nearly all the time exemplified in the lack of harmony, the non-cooperations and failures of the Civil War. It was here strongly in evidence, especially in the case of the expected capture of Taylor's forces. Grover, owing to delay in the arrival of transports and the small number, was four days late in embarking his troops. This was planned for April 9, but took place on April 13; and after a series of mishaps, running aground, etc., he found the enemy had meantime been fully apprised of his movements and were ready to receive him; and after a desultory fight, he succeeded only in driving the rebels, not in capturing them. Banks, with the rest of the army, had made a front attack on Taylor's forces behind the fortifications at Bisland, which lasted from the afternoon of April 12 to the afternoon of April 14, when Taylor silently withdrew and escaped capture; not, however, until after our forces had nearly succeeded in flanking him. The rebels fled in great precipitation, throwing away arms, knapsacks, and ammunition, and were closely pursued by our  troops. 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. Leaving Vermillionville, 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 several days. 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  rebel Governor Moore, and arriving at Alexandria on the Red River about May 8, 1863. The admiral (Porter) had preceded us by one or two days, and his fleet lay in the Red River, opposite the town. On the march to Alexandria, I was taken sick with congestion of the lungs, or pleuro-pneumonia, and given very clearly to understand that this was my last march; but, thanks to pleasant weather and several days' rest, I was soon convalescent. I can say, however, without romancing, that to be sick of pneumonia on the march, and at the best having only the floors of rebel houses for a couch and a bunch of straw for a pillow, is in no sense a delight; however, others fared so much worse that I ought to have been, and perhaps was, thankful. We remained at Alexandria several days, or until May 15. Here General Banks was confronted with the most serious problem of the campaign. He had relied up to this time upon the promise of the government that he should receive large reinforcements, in which he was sorely disappointed. He was also disappointed in not being furnished with light draft boats to convey his troops. Up to now he fully expected to join with Grant in besieging Vicksburg, but this lack of troops and transportation, and the fact that the aspect of the Vicksburg campaign was constantly changing rendered co-operation between the two generals apparently impossible. The campaign of Vicksburg was at first under command of McClernand; shortly after it was intended that Sherman should succeed him; but Grant finally, after several serious mistakes, not of his own, became the master. This affected the movements of Banks very seriously. He for a time knew not what to do. On May 13 he sent word to Grant that he should do his best to join him; later he changed his mind and ordered a retreat of the whole army back to Brashear City, but on May 14 (probably) this order was recalled, as reconnaissances by the Engineer Corps showed that there were fairly good roads along the Red River nearly to the Mississippi. So  orders were given, and the army commenced its march down the Red River. I, being on the invalid list, was carried down by boat, losing somewhere on the way my blanket, overcoat, and other valuables. I thought then and think now that they were hoodooed by the handsome and honest-faced young darkey who attended me on the voyage. We arrived at Simsport, near the confluence of the Red and Mississippi Rivers, about May 17, and here we again camped for several days. I have, I think, already noted this extensive and rum-antic city of Simsport, consisting of a postoffice, a rum shop, and possibly three or four houses. We left there May 21 and sailed down the Mississippi to a landing place called Bayou Sara, several miles north of Port Hudson. From Bayou Sara we marched on the night of May 21 to the battlefield of Plains Store, arriving at two o'clock in the morning of May 22, 1863. I was carried in an ambulance. The battle had been fought on May 21. Headquarters were camped on the battlefield, sleeping on the ground, General Banks as well as the rest. The battle of Plains Store was practically the commencement of the siege of Port Hudson. It was an endeavor by the rebels to push back the Union army, which perhaps for the first time they discovered was intending a siege. Before this the rebels, off their guard, probably supposed that Banks' destination was Vicksburg, as I have already shown that it was. The Confederates made a sortie against Augur's forces on May 21, but were driven back into their works with considerable loss; the Union side also suffered considerably. But now at Plains Store, on May 22, Banks' forces from the North joined Augur's from the South, and the investment of Port Hudson was complete. Meanwhile Banks established his headquarters on Young's Plantation, about six miles from the rebel works. Shortly after, the war situation was about as follows: Grant, with his great army, was besieging Vicksburg, Banks Port Hudson; to the east at Jackson there had collected a strong rebel force threatening both Vicksburg and Port Hudson,  other Confederate forces were collecting further down, threatening New Orleans, which was now garrisoned by a much too small force, under command of Emory, while west of the river the scattered forces of Taylor had again collected and were menacing all important points of Western Louisiana. While we were at these headquarters, which had only a small guard, and just as a large sum of money had been received for the payment of troops, some hundreds of thousands of dollars, we were alarmed one day by the cry of ‘Rebels!’—and there they were, a whole line of cavalry in full gallop across the field towards our camp. Hardly had the alarm been given, when from the opposite direction came the ring of a bugle, and Grierson, with a part of his cavalry brigade and two howitzers, came dashing up and deployed into line around our quarters; a few rounds of grape and canister soon halted the Confederates, who then turned and fled, pursued by Grierson. Grierson's command, composed largely of cavalry, was principally engaged in keeping communications open between Grant and Banks, and cutting off raiding parties of rebels, always active in our rear and in that of Grant's forces at Vicksburg. Four days after Banks' arrival, or on May 26, an assault was ordered on the rebel lines for the next day. It was intended to be a simultaneous assault along the whole of the enemy's front. The next morning at about six o'clock all our batteries opened a furious cannonade on the enemy, replied to somewhat feebly by them. Our lines were soon formed, consisting of Weitzel's command, including two colored regiments on our right, Grover's and Augur's commands in the centre, and General T. W. Sherman's forces on our left. Weitzel commenced his assault against the rebel left with great promptness, but over the roughest conceivable ground, made up of hillocks, ravines, and tangles of undergrowth, and abattis of fallen trees. They could scarcely see the enemy behind his recentlyimpro-vised works, but our men formed an easy mark for the rebel riflemen and cannoniers hidden in almost an ambuscade. This  assault was quickly repulsed by the rebels, with great loss to our left wing, especially to the negro troops, who behaved with great courage and covered themselves with glory. Grover's troops also assaulted, but with greater success. Augur's forces were held in reserve to assist Sherman; but from Sherman's troops came no sound of battle, and when, after listening in vain the whole forenoon for his musketry and attack, Banks rode to the left wing, he found Sherman and his staff quietly eating dinner, and the entire left wing resting on their arms, and not yet put into line of battle. Hot words passed, and General Andrews was ordered to replace Sherman; but meanwhile Sherman had advanced upon the enemy's right, six hours late, and met with the same fate as the attack by Weitzel in the early morning. Generals Sherman and Dow were wounded in this day's battle, and ten colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and majors killed, wounded, or captured. Our total day's loss was 1,995 men. It is to be remembered that in this assault, as well as that later, on June 14, in fact, during the whole siege, we were assisted by the navy. In the bend above Port Hudson lay the Hartford, Albatross, Sachem, Estrella, and Arizona; and below lay the Monongahela, now Farragut's flagship, the Richmond, Genesee, and the iron-clad Essex, together with the mortar boats. All of which fleets did great service, not only in bombarding the fortifications, but in keeping the rebels from crossing the river. On the forenoon of June 13 another furious cannonade was made against the rebel forts from every Union gun and mortar, completely silencing the rebel batteries, after which Banks sent by flag of truce a call to the rebel General Gardner to surrender, which Gardner declined to do. On June 14 another assault was made on the enemy's fortifications, very similar in plan and result to that of May 27. It proved a terrible disaster, the Union loss being 1,805 men, among them Brigadier-General Charles J. Paine, seriously wounded. Banks now began to prepare for a regular siege. The  lesson of the danger and usual failure of a direct assault against well built and manned fortifications, so often taught to other commanders before, had now been learned by him. New batteries were erected, zigzags or approaches commenced, heavy guns, borrowed from the navy, mounted, mines planned, and everything gave the promise of a long and tedious siege. Our saps and approaches were run towards the rebel works to within a very short distance, and a mine nearly completed and ready for its powder. This was done under supervision of the Nineteenth Army Corps Staff of Engineers, who suffered severely at Port Hudson, three being killed and one wounded, out of less than a dozen of us in all. To lead the army in the third charge, that was finally to capture Port Hudson, General Banks called upon his army for a volunteer ‘forlorn hope’ of 1,000 men. These came bravely forward and enrolled in the heroic band, but before our mines were exploded, or the rebel works breached, there came to us the news of the surrender of Vicksburg, which capitulated on July 4, 1863. There was great cheering and rejoicing, and salvos of shotted artillery; and the news of Grant's victory was thrown inside the rebel lines. General Gardner, the commander, asked to be assured of the truth of the report, and, being convinced of its accuracy, immediately asked for a cessation of hostilities. Shortly after, after many preliminaries, on July 8, 1863, he unconditionally surrendered. These two victories caused great rejoicing in our lines, and corresponding dejection in the Confederacy. The garrison captured amounted to 6,340 men, with fiftyone pieces of artillery, and the loss to the Union army during the whole siege was 4,363 men. We found the inside of the rebel works in a fearful condition. Thus the fall of Port Hudson was the final blow that severed the Confederacy, and which, more than any other up to that time, gave full assurance of the final Union victory and the destruction and fall of the rebellion,
Gang aft a-gley;
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1 a paper read before the Somerville Historical Society.
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