March 10

March 10, 1863

Don't feel quite so smart as I did. This getting well is slow business.

A lovely morning with a gentle south breeze; formed line at 9 a. m. for picket. Captain H. R. Steele in command of the detail from our brigade; commenced raining about 11 a. m. and continued all day. Our regiment is on the reserve. Lieutenant-Colonel Egbert of the Third Brigade, a fine man, is officer of the day.

March Tenth


“Say, Judge, ain't you the same man that told us before the war that we could whip the Yankees with pop-guns?”

“Yes,” replied the stump-orator, with great presence of mind, “and we could, but, confound 'em, they wouldn't fight us that way.”



March 10, 1864

THURSDAY. Was up early, and after breakfast started for the McClellan to get my trunk. I bargained with an expressman to take it and myself to the Ponchartrain Railroad, where I met Hallesay, our sutler. He said the boys had heard of my arrival and were on the way to meet me. Soon after this we were together again, and such volleys of questions as were fired at me was a caution. They didn't give me time to answer one before several more were asked. The train was ready for the return trip and we soon reached Lakeport, where I found Sol and Matt Smith both having a tussle with the chills and fever. The regiment had been across the lake at Madisonville nearly all the time I had been away. Had had some cases of smallpox among the men, but no deaths. Tony was overjoyed to see me, and almost the first thing wanted me to write a letter to his wife. I was kept so busy answering questions I hardly had a chance to ask any, but I found out that the regiment was under marching orders and expected to break camp that day. I felt quite flattered to think every white man, not sick or on duty, had gone out to meet me. After dinner in camp, we all hands took train for the city again. Sol and I switched off and went to do some errands on our own hook, after which we joined the regiment at the foot of Poydras Street and went on board the Laurel Hill. I put in the rest of the day and evening, when not answering questions, writing letters to the home folks, for I had a long list I had promised letters to.

Wednesday, March 10th.—We got to Êtretat at about 3 p.m. yesterday after a two days' and one night load, and had time to go up to the hospital, where I saw S. The Matron was away. We only saw it at night last time, so it was jolly getting the afternoon there. The sea was a thundery blue, and the cliffs lit up yellow by the sun, and with the grey shingle it made a glorious picture to take back to the train. It had been a heavy journey with bad patients, and we were rather tired, so we didn't explore much.

We woke at Sotteville near Rouen this morning, and later in the day had a most fatiguing and much too exciting adventure over catching the train. Two of the Sisters and I walked into Rouen about 10.30, and found No.— A.T. marked up as still at Sotteville (in the R.T.O.'s office), and so concluded it would be there all day. So we did our businesses of hair-washing, Cathedral, lunch, &c., and then took the tram back to Sotteville. The train had gone! The Sotteville R.T.O. (about a mile off) told us it was due to leave Rouen loaded up for Havre at 2.36; it was then 2.15, and it was usually about three-quarters of an hour's walk up the line (we'd done it once this morning), so we made a desperate dash for it. Sister M. walks very slowly at her best, so we decided that I should sprint on and stop the train, and she and the other follow up. The Major met me near our engine, and was very kind and concerned, and went on to meet the other two. The train moved out three minutes after they got on. Never again!—we'll stick on it all day rather than have such a narrow shave.

We are full of convalescents for Havre to go straight on to the boat. They are frightfully enthusiastic about the way the British Army is looked after in this war. "There's not much they don't get for us," they said.

There are crowds of primroses out on the banks. Our infant R.A.M.C. (Officer's Mess) cook (a boy of about twenty, who looks sixteen and cooks beautifully) has just jumped off the train while it was going, grabbed a handful of primroses, and leapt on to the train again some coaches back. He came back panting and rosy, and said, "I've got some for you, Sister!" We happened not to be going fast, but there was no question of stopping. I got some Lent lilies in Rouen, and have some celandines growing in moss, so it looks like spring in my bunk.