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superior quality. We were also able to get fruits and vegetables to a greater or less extent in their season.
At the time we reached Pensacola, Gen. Dow was in a great ferment over an anticipated attack from the enemy, and as soon as we were fairly disembarked our men were set to work constructing a stockade, skirted by a sort of chevaux de frieze, in front of our quarters and also in completing other unique barricades and defences devised by this doughty commander against a possible “surprise.” A most comical affair in the shape of a redoubt was built out of wood and sand near the cemetery. None of us were ever able to discover the importance of fortifying this point, as the entire country in its immediate front was commanded by our own artillery and the guns of the fleet. But it was not for us to
“ Reason why
“ T'was ours but to do and die." and so the lamented Capt. Croft, I believe it was, received instructions to destroy the headstones and monuments in this ancient “ Burial Acre,” and to demolish the fences surrounding it lest the enemy should be protected, or our fire obstructed thereby. So unnecessary an act of vandalism excited great ridicule and disgust, and the order for its execution was never fully carried out.
On the 29th of December the regiment with other troops took part in an armed reconnoisance to Oakfield, a small settlement about five miles outside our lines, under the personal command of Gen. Dow. The enemy not being found there, and no furniture having been discovered, the “object of the expedition " was declared to have been “ accomplished” and we returned to our quarters without important incidents.
DEATH OF LIEUT. FRENCH-SCOUTING AND ALARMS-SKIR-
FEVER-REFUGEES AND DESERT
Early in January Lieut. Henry H. French, of Company H, succumbed to an attack of fever, brought on by exposure and toil on the Vicksburg campaign, and on the 20th died. He scarcely was twenty-one years of age, but was ambitious and anxious to succeed in the profession which he had adopted, and apparently had a bright and useful career before him.
“ Death takes us by surprise,
And stays our hurrying seet;
Our lives are incomplete.''
ALARMS-SKIRMISH AT OAKFIELD.
About this time Major Porter was detailed on Staff duty in New Orleans, and as assistant Provost Marshal received much credit for his efficiency and ability.
During the months of January and the early part of February frequent scouting parties were sent out in the direction of Oakfield to keep track of the enemy's movements, and every night or two the “long roll” was sounded, and we were routed out to take position behind the stockade. On several occasions, during the day, we had sham fights, taking up different positions along the line of defences, so as to accustom the men to their duties in case of an attack. It was evident that Gen. Dow meant to be vigilant-a most essential quality in a soldier. But the frequency with which we were unnecessarily turned out at night, by false alarms, led us to think that such persistent and oft-repeated efforts to make the men prompt and watchful would have just the opposite effect. Fortunately, however, for our peace of mind at night, Gen. Dow, about the 23d of January, was ordered to New Orleans. Before leaving us he reviewed the entire command, and bade us an affectionate farewell, with the injunction: “Never allow yourselves to be surprised admonition it would have been well for him had he heeded on the occasion of his capture. On the 17th of February Companies B and G, under Capt. Dutton, with some other troops, started on a scout. Just before reaching Oakfield they were attacked by a body of rebel cavalry, and quite a brisk skirmish ensued, which lasted some little time, but finally degenerated into a running fight, until Oakfield was reached, when the enemy precipitately retired. Probably
FLIGHT OF A CHAPLAIN-ADVANTAGES OF ALPACA. 125
their retreat was not more rapid, however, than that executed by the chaplain of one of the Maine regiments and a clerical friend from our advance at the commencement of the combat. It seems these gentlemen “of the cloth” desired to accompany the expedition for the novelty of the experience, and so each had
“ Buckled to his slender side
The pistol and the simitar,"
resolved to perish, if need be, with the troops.
Unfortunately, however, the first hostile shot came very close to the chaplain, who felt his valor suddenly oozing out, and thinking no doubt of the couplet,
“ Those who fly may fight again,
Which he can never do that's slain,” " let out his last link" and without ado broke for our barricades, closely followed by his friend, neither of whom stopped until they were safely ensconced in camp, where they immediately spread the most ridiculous reports of the sanguinary character of the engagement, and of their “hairbreadth escape." Upon the strength of these statements re
” inforcements were about to be sent out when a courier came in with information which made that step unnecessary. The Chaplain was attired in a suit of black alpaca of an exceedingly bright and shining texture, and his account of the manner in which the bullets whistled about him without hitting his person, led to some speculations as to whether a ball fired from a rifle would penetrate alpaca, it being contended by some that the Chaplain's experience had demonstrated
EVACUATION OF PENSACOLA-SANTA ROSA ISLAND.
that it would not, but on the contrary, that it would glance or fly off, from a substance so glossy, and some were inclined to the belief that his life was saved by his “outward apparel.” Be this, however, as it may, the Chaplain was jocularly given the appellation of “ Old Bomb-proof,” by which title he was known as long as he remained in the command.
About the middle of February, orders were received to evacuate Pensacola.
a wise and proper measure, to hold the place quite a large force was required, and practically the same strategic results could be accomplished by removing the troops to Barrancas, which position was susceptible of being defended by a much smaller number. Besides at the latter point the Navy Yard at Warrenton and Wolsey could be much better protected. Pensacola harbor is very spacious, and its importance as a Naval Station alone made it necessary to keep a considerable number of troops stationed at and around the forts in the vicinity. The Navy Yard, although nearly destroyed by the rebels early in the war, was made the Headquarters of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, as a depot for coaling, fitting-out and repairing vessels. Consequently large supplies of naval stores of every description were accumulated there, which afforded a standing temptation to the rebels to attempt the capture of the place.
The entrance to the harbor was commanded by Fort Pickens, which is situated on the westerly extremity of Santa Rosa Island. On the 20th of February we were ordered to proceed to this fort, which we accordingly did, taking up our quarters outside of the fort in a camp which I named in