Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13, 1862

Qr. Master Sergt. Howe:
From a Letter:
     Medical Director's Office, New Orleans, May 13,1862.
     When I last wrote, I was on the way to New Orleans, where we arrived on May 1. The 26th Regiment was left at Forts Jackson and Philip; the others of this expedition followed us up the river. Immediately above the Forts, plantations present themselves. It is seventy miles up to this city and it is a beautiful sail at this season. Sugar cane is about eight inches high. On every plantation gangs of slaves can be seen at work. The proprietors' houses are large and surrounded by orange trees. The houses for the slaves are little white cottages, with a veranda to each. I counted twenty on one plantation. Each plantation appears like a small village. As we neared the city, buildings became numerous. All the people ran out to see us pass. Some waved handkerchiefs, others stood dumb. Of course all the darkies hopped and danced. Outside the limits of the city, as we were approaching, we saw a company of Frenchmen hastening to protect their property. Everybody was running to and fro; large numbers of them were crowding the wharf, still they said nothing. Soon all our shipping came to anchor, and the next day we were landed.

     The troops are quartered all about the city, in buildings. Our regiment is in camp in Lafayette Square, Odd Fellows' Hall. The remainder of our troops has arrived from Ship Island. There have been no mobs, although they are all hot traitors. The poor rejoice in our arrival. Flour has been selling at $30 a barrel; there was no tea or coffee. Our General has been giving provisions to the poor. I went to the Custom House the other morning, and should think there were one thousand women with baskets to obtain food. Before we came, all who could not be forced to go to the war, had to drill every day, or pay a fine. You never saw such a state of affairs. Three of our companies are on provost duty, under Colonel French. Company C, Captain Shipley, seized one million dollars in specie, yesterday. They had put it under the Spanish flag for protection. Eight hundred thousand has been seized in a bank, and arms, etc., are found in various parts of the city. All the cotton on the levee was burned when it was known the Forts had surrendered. All the shops had been closed, but a few are opening now. Yesterday our forces seized three loads of cotton up the river.
     It is very interesting to sit on the sidewalk and watch the passers. Oh, just look at the colored folks dressed so finely, with their high colored turbans. An aristocratic young lady took particular pains to pass several times, wearing a secesh flag at her waist. She said she would tear the United States flag before our eyes, if she only could get one. I sung out, "Three cheers for the red, white and blue." The city is not a desirable place to live; it is too low, on a level with the river, and the water does not run off freely. The river is high now. I expect we shall have to stay here all summer. A vessel has just arrived with one year's stock of camp equipage. We heard that the Federals gained a victory at Shiloh but lost at Corinth last Friday. I wish the war was over. There is too much speculation carried on by politicians. I have good quarters, sleep on two stuffed settees. The Staff board at a hotel. The mosquitoes are very thick, it is useless to try to sleep without a mosquito bar. My health is good. Dr. Cleaveland has gone home, took a sudden start, I don't know why. Parker has an office in the Custom House and is Postmaster of New Orleans. I wish you could see what is used for money here! There is no specie. The horse railroad checks pass for five cents. Recruiting is brisk; we enlisted twenty-five men in our regiment to-day. I shall write at every opportunity. This letter goes on the Matanzas.


2d Lieut. Elliot:
     May 13-Tuesday
     Warm and quite pleasant if we can keep out of the sun, which in my business is impossible for it is sun, sun continually.
     This morning I had an opportunity for a fine intrigue but not wishing anything to do with such affairs took no notice. I do not wish to interfere in any mans family between himself and wife. A lady who lives in a building in the rear of our Office came to her window and shows me a note at the same time motioning me to come and get it. I left the Office and went down stairs out in the Backyard and she throws me the note tied to a piece of wood I opened it and find it is in relations to a policeman’s family. She says he raised a company for the Rebel army and also that the property he holds belongs to his wife, who she says he abuses very badly, and tries to kill, and numerous other charges. she winds up her note by saying that said Lady is a perfect Angel (Angle) and implores me to go to her assistance. perhaps she thinks beauty would be some object to me. I destroyed the note after having shown it to the Colonel whose opinion is about the same as mine in regards to it.

Corpl. B. B. Smith:
     Tuesday, May 13, 1862.
     Fine again i feel better bussiness
     Getting brisk.  the people begin to
     Get sociable with us.  A member of
     Co. D & 1 of Co. C of our Regt died
     At the gen hos. last night.  our folks
     Are making seizures of value everyday.
     Major Gen Butler is enlisting new
     Recruits from the impressed[?] soldiers
     Of the rebel ranks.

No comments:

Post a Comment