Plaquemine Oct Nov 3rd 1863
My dear Mother
Your last Letter was thankfully recieved and almost at the same time Marching Orders for our Co to pack everything and start for this place where, you will remember, I have been before.
We got on the Boat Thursday Night started, but then came up such a heavy Fog we were obliged to haul to 2 Miles below the City and wait for day light. On arriving here a strange sight met our view. The Levy and Bank of River gave way 3 weeks ago taking from 12 to 30 Feet, about ¼ Mile long directly in front of the City. Several Houses were taken down and if the River should rise about 30 feet, which it is not likely to do in one weeks time half the Place would be demolished.
They say we are here to protect Negros who are coming here from New Orleans to fix it and that the place is to be Fortified and we stay here to Garrison the place. One Co of the 156 New York and 10 pieces of the Indiana Battery is the entire force so our duty will be rather hard untile we get things regulated.1 While we were lying below the City on the boulevard we had a Guard and I, acting Sergeant, got acquainted with some of the Officers who are here and I think I shall make something of it.
Everything is much cheaper here that at Baton Rouge and we live pretty well Sweet Potatoes .20 per Peck, Beef Steak .20 per lb — Oranges & Apples in abundance. Our Tents are pitched in front of the Catholic Church for a few days. Then we shall be lodged in a Building. We found an Oven close by and if we didn't have some baked Beans this morning then I never eat any.
I went to meeting this forenoon and there was a great turn out being All Saints Day. It is a magnificent concern inside, rather to much like Idolating for me. The singing was extra and they have a very fine Organ.
I did not go but as First Davis was going out2 he got me to stay in his Tent where I now am.
Capt. L3 is on a Court Martial at B.R. and may not be here for a long time.
I shall have considerable to write in a few days about the people here, and of boiling Sugar which commences this Week. If you could find my old Letters of Feb, it might interest you to read them again.4
The next Mails will not reach us so soon by 3 or 4 days but we shall soon get them quicker than ever. I am glad the Box is coming for I need the boots very much when it rains the Mud is awful. Friday night I was on Picket got wet through at Noon & went to sleep with wet feet. Why did I not take cold? because a Citizen going out wanted me to look at an extra Pass which he had. He was a Vicksburg paroled Reb good hearted though as most of them are.
We can hold this place against 500 Rebs & when we get it fortified we can hold at Bay 2000 of them. You see they have no Battery.
I will send other Letters in a few days to Hat & Cad. Give my Love them, Father, John & accept the same from your Aff. Son Henry
1 The Regimental History has this to say about Company I's mission: "Co. I was stationed at Plaquemine … they did efficient service in guarding that town against the incursions of the guerillas, who harassed the few people disposed to render allegiance to the government, and took every opportunity to capture wagon-trains, and shoot those who ventured outside of the lines."
2 'First Davis' refers to 1st Lieutenant James T Davis of Cambridge. He was transferred to Co. K October 24, 1863.
3 'Capt. L' was Captain Julius M. Lathrop of Dedham. He was mortally wounded at the battle of Cane River, April 23, 1864 and died a few days later.
4 See Feb 7 & Feb 20, 1863 letters.