121                                HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.

boats when going to work on the canal and bayou, instead of having to foot it eight or ten miles per day. I believe the work upon the canal will result in a grand failure.

           We have been visited while here by some very severe storms, hail coming down as large as marbles, and the rain in torrents. Sprinkling is unknown in this country; when it comes, it falls in sheets of water. Since our arrival here the Government has been extensively engaged in the cotton business. Every day teams are engaged in bringing in confiscated cotton, and new discoveries are being made of cotton hid in swamps. In a canebrake near where our men are at work two hundred and fifty bales were found. The negroes are also at work picking the cotton. On the plantation where our troops are encamped, one field of cotton is fifteen hundred acres in extent. The men amuse themselves by playing ball and sailing on the lake.

           The following letters written by Captain A. A. Adair give a full history of the regiment at this place:

March 19, 1863. }

           I58">We are still in the land of the living with heat and gallinippers plenty.

           On Saturday last orders were received to have three days' rations in haversacks, and be ready to go aboard the transports, (which were lying in wait for us,) the next morning. Accordingly, rations were drawn, cooked and put in our haversacks; details were made to load the boats and everything was taken down and packed up; fully expecting to be on our way for the Yazoo Pass, (which was currently reported to be our destination,) by daylight next morning.

           As is generally the case whenever we go to move, it commenced raining, and continued until we got on the boat, which was about 3 o'clock, P. M. when it commenced clearing up. Being so regular I suppose it must be military.

           Everything had been loaded and we were all on our respective boats, which had been assigned us, before dark, and were waiting for the time to roll around when we would put out. Most of the boats were occupied by two regiments; but one boat, (the Gladiator,) only had the "Brigade headquarters," and the Seventy-Eighth on board, making it much more comfortable for us than when coming down from Memphis. One regiment of our Brigade, the Thirtieth Illinois, was compelled to remain behind, there being no transportation for it at that time; but it was to follow as soon as possible. On our going to the boat the Thirtieth was in line, and gave us parting salutes and cheers as we passed by, thus showing the good feeling that existed between them and the Seventy-Eighth.

           While thus situated a boat arrived from the fleet below, countermanding the movements we had in prospect, and compelling us to remain where we were, and await further orders. Of course every one was wondering what was up, and it was soon reported the rebels were evacuating Vicksburg and going to reinforce Johnston to operate against Rosecrans, which appeared to gain considerable credence; but whether it is so or not, I cannot say.

           Next morning, however, the boat returned to the fleet to see what was to be done, and in the meantime we were making ourselves as comfortable as we could.

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