June 24

Intensely warm and still; no prospect of rain; remained in our rear line of works until about 9 o'clock a. m. when we received orders to move out by the left flank into our first line of works. Our skirmish line has been driven in once and probably five hundred were taken prisoners by the enemy. This is rather discouraging but we must expect to meet with some reverses. Rebel prisoners have been sent in to-day; they speak hopefully of their cause, but I have no  doubt but what the Union  cause will triumph.

June Twenty-Fourth

AN AMUSING COMMENTARY ON THE MAKING OF SOME HISTORIES

I have here a small volume entitled, “John Randolph, by Henry Adams.” It is one of a series called “American Statesmen,” and emanates from the thin air of Boston. The series is edited by Mr. J. T. Morse, Jr. By what law of selection he has been governed in allotting to particular authors the preparation of respective biographies it is impossible to divine. It is quite clear, however, that he has not followed any rule of qualification or congeniality hitherto recognized by men or angels. For example, a foreigner, Dr. Von Holtz, who, in an emphatically European and un-American treatise on the Federal Constitution, had already denounced Calhoun as a kind of Lucifer, is appointed his biographer; Henry Clay, the father of Protection (as it is called), is assigned to Carl Schurz, who, I understand, is an ardent advocate of Free Trade; while John Randolph is turned over to the tender mercies of a descendant of the first Vice-President, and the grandson of John Quincy Adams!

Had this unique law of selection prevailed hitherto, we might have had a biography of Luther by Leo the Tenth; a life of St. Thomas Aquinas by Thomas Payne; while Pontius Pilate, or more likely the devil himself, would have been selected to chronicle the divine career of Jesus Christ.

Daniel B. Lucas

 

John Randolph dies, 1833

 

 

June 24, 1863

Wednesday. It is only by pure good luck that I am in my usual place of abode to-day, and able to write in my diary of yesterday's foraging expedition. A detail of three from each company set out with a four-mule team. We went until about opposite our old quarters, on the center, and then turned towards Port Hudson Plain. We divided up into squads, Smith Darling, the drummer boy, and myself of Company B making one, and each hunting on our own hook. If firing was heard, it would indicate a kill, and the wagon was to come for the game. We found cattle, but they were wild, and very soon the Company B squad found itself alone and out of sight or hearing of the others. Along in the afternoon we started to find our way back to camp and soon after came upon and shot a two-year-old steer. We fired our guns several times and then went to work and dressed the animal as well as we could with only our knives. We got the backbone apart and strung the hindquarters on a stake. Giving the drummer the liver and tongue, we started, hoping the wagon would pick us up on its way back. The country seemed new to us and we soon made up our minds we were lost, as likely to be going away from Port Hudson as towards it. Just about sundown we came in sight of a house, and before we got to it saw General Dow and George Story ride up. They dismounted, and the General went into the house, leaving George to put up the horses. George had pulled the saddle from his horse when we came up and hailed him. He was as glad to see us as we were to see him. He said the General was stopping there and his foot was getting well fast. He told us to take a path through the bushes and we would soon come to a negro shanty, where he thought we could trade some beef for an old mule the darkey had and so get the rest of the meat into camp. Just then we heard the clank of sabres coming, and fearing it might be some hungry cavalry squad who would want us to divide, we got into the bushes as fast as we could. We were just nicely hidden when they dashed up. We heard them talking with Story and soon after heard them ride on down the road in the direction from which we had come. Why the general left the good quarters inside the lines for this out-of-the-way place is a query we don't understand. We soon reached a clearing and were able to trade a chunk of beef for an old gray mule. It was then dark, but with directions from the darkey we were able to strike the road to camp. Smith rode the mule with the beef strung across in front, and the drummer and I followed on with the liver and tongue. When we were within a couple of miles of home a shower came upon us and soon soaked us through. The thunder and lightning was something awful, but except for the lightning I don't know how we would have kept the road. We reached camp at 10 o'clock, wet, tired and hungry enough to eat raw beef. The team with the rest of the foraging party had got in about dark, and until we came in, it was supposed some wandering squad of rebel cavalry had bagged us. Altogether we had a sufficient supply of beef to last us for some days.