Iii a Louisiana Regiment. 117
short work will be made of the Northern armies. Throw fresh fuel into the furnace, firemen. Put on more steam, engineer, to hurry us on our journey. It depends largely on the speed of the boat whether we return conquering heroes, to be welcomed by the shouts and cheers of grateful and admiring thousands, or slink back to peaceful pursuits "unknown, unhonored and unsung." Ah! my debonnaire comrades, could you but glance into the book of fate and read what is there recorded; see before you the long, weary marches under burning suns, pelting rains or cutting hail storms, your hearts would be heavy and your faces serious. Could you, Major, see that shallow grave gaping to receive your mortal remains on the fiercely contested field of Shiloh, you would cease the inter- esting story you are telling and turn to beads and prayer. Charley, gallant, light and hearty Charley, could you picture in your mind that solemn midnight scene, on the banks of Stone river, where your body was laid away by tender hands of comrades, // Trovatorc, snatches of which you are softly humming, would suddenly cease and in its stead arise the solemn De Profundis.
Comfortably seated in an armchair, inditing these crude reminis- cences forty-two years after, it appears strange and unreasonable that young men are ever ready to leave the comforts of home life to go where chances of early sepulcher are great, limbless bodies abundant, and at the best only hardships and suffering are to be found. So it was, is and always will be.
Readers of these sketches must expect quite a number of twists in the thread of my story. I am not writing a history of the I3th, but my own experience, as a soldier "in a Louisiana regiment." History tells the tale of the regiment. Nor will I cover more ground than that occupied by the Louisiana Brigade of the Army of Ten- nessee. While I was at the birth, baptism and death of that great Southern army, I only know what occurred outside of my brigade by hearsay. It was understood in our regiment that they who knew most of the general features of an engagement were company cooks, servants and skulkers, who gathered around wagon trains and viewed * ' the battle from afar. ' ' I felt in those days that a soldier who stood by his colors was doing his full duty without wandering over the field, watching the operations of brigades to which he did not belong. The truant's excuse, " I became entangled with other troops and could not again find my regiment," was met by a sneer in the I3th, and to avoid being sneered at, if not for loftier motives,