May 23rd 1864
I send my two commissions and a sketch of the works at Port Hudson (note sketch is missing) which were immediately in front of the position of our regiment, the point which was assaulted by it on the 14th June 1863. It was executed by Lt. Bayley. (?)
We are encamped upon the bank of the Mississippi and so close that our cooks, just back of my tent , drop their pails over, and with a rope draw up their water as if from a well, some ten or twelve feet. The weather is and has been fine; the days warm but tempered by a fine breeze; the nights just cool enough to be pleasant. We are sheltered from the dust of the road by the levee, which is twelve or fifteen feet high. This is the only really great public work in this country, and so little do the people and authorities here appear, to exert themselves on anything that smacks of improvement, that it is evident no levee would have been built if they could have raised cotton and sugar without it. They would have taken a ducking twice a year and been satisfied so long as "King Cotton" was not dethroned by a flood.
From the tenor of our orders I should judge that we are intended to be distributed along the Mississippi the 19th Corps between Vicksburgh and Baton Rouge and the 13th on the lower part of the river to protect its navigation. What part we, the 3rd Brig, are to take it is impossible to tell.
Our back mail camp up night before last. It contains, from home, your favors of April 8th, 15th +22nd and Gerhudus' (???) of April 15th + 30th.
Ed Hunts' death has taken me by surprise, I would as soon have expected to hear of almost any body else being dead.
We have deaths here, also, and as sudden. Our LtCol Wm N Greene died May 14th at N.O. from the effects of a wound received at Pleasant Hill and subsequent amputation of arm. Capt. Henry R. Lee formerly of 4th Street WmBurgh (where he kept a jewelry store) died May 5th at N.O. from effects of wound received at Cane River Crossing Apr 23rd.
The death of Capt. Lee has given me a chance to muster (??) on the commission I have so long held, that the way was open in a way I would much rather have not occurred. Capt. Rogers I understand is on his way out.
Send all communications "via Barrier Ils" (??) hereafter as the headquarters of this Geographical Division is at Vicksburgh Miss and mail matter will be dropped from the boats as they come down the river whether we be above or below here. Instead of, to Baton Rouge, direct to
"1st Div 19th A.C"
At the request of Capt. M.L. Holbrook commanding the Regiment I will retain my present position of act. adjt. This is mostly on account of my having no clerk that is at all conversant with the routine of the office. I have found it easier, most of the time, to do the work myself than to instruct another how to do it, and consequently no one can step in and do the work without considerable instruction from em, as the routine is very difficult to be understood. I have one of Col. Greene's horses, which at the time I took him no one would have given two straws from him. He is now one of the finest horses in appearance to be seen around and is actually worth two times what he was two months ago. he is a government horse, did not belong personally to the Col. and if I have him much longer I think I can beat anything in the Regiment w/ him.
While other horses have been standing idly on the road at halts he has been eating corn which I took every opportunity to secure along the road and stuff into his saddlebags. During the early part of the Battle of Mansura (?) I kept him quiet under the fire of the enemy's shelling by feeding him fodder which I had received from my colored man just previous to the engagement. He will forage for himself too. Set down a bag of oats or corn within his reach and his is curious enough to nose around it until he reaches the seam at the bottom, when with one left he empties out all the contents. Today he went into the Quartermasters tent and by seizing a bag heartily filled with oats, by the top, first carried it out, and when clear of the tent and dumped out every grain by one lift. Don't you think he ought to improve?