114 Southern Historical Society Papers.
the regiment left Louisiana not long after, taking all witnesses to the tragedy along.
The longest march comes to an end at last, and so did ours, and we arrived at Camp Chalmette in time to pitch tents for the night. Next morning stragglers came in by ones and twos, so that by even- ing roll call the regiment was itself again. At the time of which we are writing the battlefield was a stretch of smooth pasture land, well adapted for regimental manoeuvers, and, as crowds of visitors came down from the city every afternoon, it was thought well to give daily exhibitions of the proficiency of the regiment. These drills and dress parades were no ordinary affairs, but on the most elaborate scale. Officers, mounted on handsome steeds, oceans of gold lace flashing in the sunlight, gorgeous Zouave uniforms and high-class military music, thousands of lovely bright-eyed women looking on admiringly, made every man of us feel as the old song expresses it:
l< Oh, there is not a trade a-going, Worth the knowing or the showing Like that from glory growing, Says the bold soldier boy."
Nothing in the way of soldiering could have been more pleasant or agreeable than life at Camp Chalmette, and yet every unmarried man in the regiment was eager to be off. We were dreadfully afraid the war would end and we would be mustered out without experienc- ing the wild excitement of battle. To fight was what we had joined the army to do, and an opportunity to fight we ardently desired, yet, I think I speak truth, when I assert that in less than ten minutes in the "hornets' nest" at Shiloh, the appetite for fighting of nine- tenths of the members of the regiment was satiated to repletion. If my readers will permit, I will digress right here long enough to say that the average patriot gets enough fighting to do him a lifetime in ten minutes under a good heavy fire of artillery and musketry, such as we had in the Civil War. A little of it goes a long way.
We were at Camp Chalmette some five or six weeks, and began to think the Secretary of War was ignorant of our existence or that he had a sufficient number of soldiers without us to whip all the Yankees this side of the Kennebec river, when orders came to strike tents and go by steamer to Columbus, Ky. , where a Confederate army was then forming. Within five minutes after receipt of this order there was a hurrying and scurrying to and fro, such as was never before witnessed in the I3th. Striking tents, packing knap-