1862 December 26: We “are bound to have a big fight at Port Hudson”
The day after Christmas Jerry Flint writes to his brother Phineas in River Falls. As he says at the end, he wrote this “in an ugly shape,” by which he means his handwriting is worse than usual! The original letter is in the Jerry E. Flint Papers (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, University Archives and Area Research Center.
Camp Parapet, La.
December 26th 1862
Re’cd your letter of Nov. 28th yesterday for which I am very thankful. It is the first from you since your sickness. I am glad that you are getting along so well, but don’t deceive yourself and join your company too quick. I suppose that by this time or very soon at least your regiment will be ordered to the seat of war and you will see then that you knew nothing of hard duty yet. Should you be sick in the army you will get no such care as you did this time. If your regiment should be ordered to Vicksburg, as I hear they sure expect to be, it is possible that we may run against one another.
You are well aware by this I suppose that Gen. Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks] landed with his forces at New Orleans and that he has also superseded Gen. Butler [Benjamin F. Butler] in the Command of this Department. He has already sent 20 thousand men to Baton Rouge, and I suppose they are to assist in opening the river. Our regiment has gone with the rest, but we are still here in command of the batterry [sic]. We expect to join the rest soon.
They are bound to have a big fight at Port Hudson 15 miles above Baton Rouge. The rebels have strong fortifications and a large number of troops at that place. I think we shall join them before they march on that place as the Col. will be anxious to have his regiment full. Col. Paine [Eleazer A. Paine] is acting Brig. Gen. but the 4th is in his brigade. Although I should rather like to be with the Reg., I must say that it would not hurt my feelings much to remain where we are all winter. Here our duties are very easy. We can get our pay and mails regularly and yes comparatively good rations. But on the march it is Hard Bread and coffee, thanking the fates if you get that.
We are very sorry that Gen. Butler has left us, not but that Banks may be an able commander but he is not to the old soldiers here what Ole Ben was. We started out with him, was with him on a barren island and came with him to New Orleens [sic]. At no time did he forget his solders but would always see that they got their rights. He was to the soldiers of this Department what McClellan [George B. McClellan] was to the Army of the Potomac. But I suppose it is all right and I have but they will give the old chief as good a position if not better than he had before.
We received news by yesterday mail of the re-crossing of the Rhappahannock [sic] by Burnside [Ambrose E. Burnside]. This indeed makes it look dark. It seems as if our army of the Potomac was bound to be always be whipped. We have always been successful in the West. I believe we shall be this time, but unless Richmond can be taken and that heavy army of rebels defeated, our prospects are bettered but very little. We must take their capital, disperse their congress and never let them assemble, then they cannot work with any success against us. [paragraph break added]
I am glad you find so good a home at Wales’.¹ I always liked him fully. I wonder if he remembers that last load of hay on the bogs or the desperate time we had in trying to massacre a skunk. Or I should say what a time he had. I didn’t have anything to do with it. No sir, I ran.
While you are having the storms and frost of winter we are having weather as pleasant as May. The boys to day are laying around in the shade without any coats and shirt coullars [sic] unbuttened [sic]. We have very little rain and occasionally a frost.
I send Mother a little money occasionally as I have it. Helen writes me that clothing is very high. It will be payday again very soon and I hope we shall get our regular cash.
Tender my respects to Mr Wales and family.
I received a letter yesterday from Rossie and one from Ed. I will write to them to night or to morrow. I have written this in an ugly shape and I do not know as you can get through it. But I don’t feel very well, guess I’ll have to quit. Write Soon, Jerry
[P.S.] The boys are all very well. Henry has the Ague some.
1. Possibly Samuel Wales, a farmer in River Falls Township in 1860.