Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: March 14, 1863

At 3 a.m. long roll sounded and the First Louisiana fell into line. Colonel Holcomb gave instructions to be ready to embark at the earliest possible moment and ordered the troops to break ranks. Soon bon-fires were in every company street and beds, camp furniture and everything the soldiers could not carry in their knapsacks was going up in smoke. As soon as daylight came the good people of Donaldsonville began to find out what was going on and came flocking into camp. A kind of intimacy or friendship had sprung up between the citizens and soldiers of the First Louisiana and on this occasion the sentiment was exhibited in its full light. Many good byes were said and many affectionate leave takings were seen. I noticed it was the home of many of the members of the regiment and reminded me of a regiment leaving home in the North land for the seat of war. At 11 o'clock a. m., the regiment was all on board the good steamer Iberville, and to the tune of the “Mocking Bird” by the band, and amid the waving of handkerchiefs and other manifestations of friendship we bade adieu perhaps forever to Donaldsonville. At 5 p. m. we landed in Baton Rouge, disembarked and marched about a mile in rear of the town and camped in the tents of the Thirtieth Massachusetts regiment. The main forces had arrived before we did and had been disposed in line of battle: the right resting in rear of Port Hudson and the left at Baton Rouge, a distance of eighteen miles.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 39-40

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