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Date Posted: 22:11:35 06/07/06 Wed
Author: John Pillers
Subject: 'About the 8th of March, the Red River expedition was organized and began.'

Typos are mine. Excerpts from 81ster (Company I) post-war manuscript™:

We steamed down the Mississippir River landing at the mouth of Red River. Here we were organized into brigades, 81st Illinois, 124th Illinois, 95th Illinois, 8th Wisconsin - the Eagle Regiment - and the 14th Wisconsin.
Without particular incident, we marched on to Alexandria, Louisiana, driving scattering Rebels before us. This was a very prosperous rich sugar and cotton country, rich in forage, of which we took plenty, but we did not destroy property.
The 13th and 19th from New Orleans had been well dressed and well kept with new uniforms, and paper collars, but we were ragged and dirty, as we had taken clothes for a thirty day trip that had stretched into a ninety day one. We took a dislike to the better kept men at once.
The month of May was advancing and the weather was becoming hotter. Our old clothes were getting ragged, no pay, nothing for nicknacks, only foraging. The rebels were near all the time.
Our pack consisted of a gun, bayonet and cartridge bag with forty or fifty rounds of ammunition; haversack with three days or less of rations, canteen holding three pints of water, a quart can in which to cook everything but fries, a frying pan to two or three persons, one rubber poncho, one coarse woolen blanket, rolled together and tied at the ends and carried across our shoulders; practically no clothes, except those worn. Such was our marching and camping equipment.
I have always regarded this expedition as a blundering failure.

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