Saturday, October 1, 2016

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

In the morning we had three days rations of beef cooked and put in the haver-sacks along with sugar, coffee and hard bread and were ready to move. But as we were about to do so Captain Persons marched his company into town. He had been ordered to guard a bridge and was left in the rear. Here was a nice chance. I put the men with me into his ranks and then was free to go as I pleased. Lieutenant Hall had a spare horse and saddle he loaned me to ride. Captain Persons asked me if I would ride forward and secure some fresh meat for supper. I said yes and after riding two or three miles I found some nice pigs and shot one with my rifle, got some negroes to dress it while I secured some poultry so when the baggage wagon came up it was all ready to load on. Stopped at a plantation where the family had run away on the approach of the troops, but had left the negro cook. I asked her if she would cook some fresh pork and chickens for us, she said, “yes,” but she was nearly tired out. She had been cooking two days and nights for the soldiers and had had no sleep. We had a princely supper. The pig weighed about a hundred pounds and was a plenty for officers and men. When about to retire a gun was fired near the house and a bullet came crashing through the room where the officers were going to sleep. Captain Persons gave the order to fall in and we were soon in line of battle, expecting an attack. But one of the lieutenants came in and said it was one of our men that fired the shot. The captain summoned him to appear and answer for firing his gun at night alarming the camp. “Sure captain,” said he “and you would not let me be ate up by the dogs?” But what were you doing away from the quarters at this time of night? “Captain I went down to the negro quarters for some water and when I was coming back four dogs pitched out at me ready to tear me to pieces and I was obliged to fire my gun to keep the critters from eating me up.” Well replied the captain I will let you off this time, but in the future I want to find you in your quarters after nine o'clock. His name was Galliger. I expected his explanation was a fabrication so I went out into the kitchen and pretty soon Mr. Galliger came in with a goose and wanted the old negro woman to cook it for him. I suspected this was the dog he shot. An orderly came back and ordered Captain Persons to halt at a bridge over the bayou to guard it, which left me to finish my journey alone.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 46-8

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