Thursday, August 25, 2016

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: Sunday, October 26, 1862

The remainder of the brigade continued the march down the Bayov Lafourche, toward Brashear City. I took a stroll through the town. This had been a notorious place for Guerrillas and steamboats had been fired upon here several times. Admiral Farragut had warned them that if the practice was not discontinued he would burn the town. But they disregarded his warning: so sometime in July last three gunboats came up the river and laid two-thirds of the town in ashes. But the houses left standing might as well have been burned, for the soldiers Saturday and Sunday morning made wasteful havoc with the furniture and windows of those that were standing; and then too the piles of bones, heads and feet of chickens and turkeys lying upon marble top tables and scattered about in confusion told what fearful raids had been made in the poultry yards. Many contrabands came in and occupied the deserted houses. Information was received that one B. Molare was in command of a band of guerillas, and was in the habit of coming home to his plantation and staying all night. Colonel Holcomb ordered Company E under the command of Lieutenants Krause and Mayne to go down and arrest him. We started about 9 p. m. with the negroes who gave the information accompanying as guides. An hour's walk brought us to the house. The men were stationed so as to allow no one to escape, and the two lieutenants and myself went in. We found three ladies and a boy occupying the house. They were well dressed and the furniture indicated considerable wealth. One of the ladies, a buxom widow of about 25, seemed to be spokesman for all hands. Lieutenant Krause informed her of our errand, and asked her if Mr. Molare was at home. He was not, and in answer to questions she made the following statement: Mr.Molare was not her husband, but her cousin. Her husband was dead. Mr. Molare was not a captain, and was in command of no military organization. He lived there because his house was burned in Donaldsonville, but had not been there for two or three days. As to firearms she said there were none about the place except two small pistols, which she produced in a wooden case. She said they kept them for personal protection. She then said we might search the house and she would show us every place where firearms could be secreted. During the search some Confederate bank bills turned up, and she said, “I suppose you have no faith in them?” I replied that I had none in the least. We were not there to rob or plunder, but were there for persons and things contraband of war. Not finding any arms Lieutenant Krause sent for the overseer and told him he might consider himself a prisoner and must go with us. He then said to Mrs. C: “I have been informed by pretty good authority that Mr. Molare is at the head of a band of guerillas secreted somewhere about here in the woods, and is in the habit of firing on boats as they pass up and down the river. Now you may say to him if he does not come and deliver himself up as a prisoner of war we will come here and burn this place to the ground.” Then we left for camp. The next day Mr. Molare came and took the oath of allegiance to the United States. On Saturday when rations were issued to citizens, the widow and the rest of the family were regular customers.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 30-4

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