Transcribed and Contributed by Tom Busby
Great Great Grandson of V. W. Sargent, Company F.
Brandyco La Apr 14th, 1864
Dear folks at home
I now take the opertunity of adressing to you a few lines to let you know that I am still alive and well. ???????? pretty tight places since I came up in this country. Perhaps you would like to know what country this is. I will tell you pretty soon.
I have not wrote to you since just after we goot back from that trip through Miss. ?????????? I received three letters from you the other night. You say that the boys had started to go to the regt. I have hurd since ?????? C. Taylor and some recrutes was in Memphis waiting for us to come back there. I hope we may go there soon but there is no knowing. When I last wrote to you I did not know would be our next move but I soon found out for we soon moved onto a boat and on the________
We in a fleat of 15 other boats moved down the Miss. River untill we come to the mouth of the Red River and turned up that and went about 20 miles and landed, We camped on the bank one day and then struck out acrost the country while the boats went on up the river.
The seckond day, about 4 oclock we herd the booming of cannon ahead and in about an hour we came up. Our battery opened on the fort, a fort on the river called De Rusca a frenchman I guess. It mounted 11 big seige guns. Our regt was brought up to support our battery. The rebbels throwing shells at the battery all the while put us in considerable danger. The shell flew pretty thick around but non of our regt was hurt except one that shot axidently by one of his own company. We laid by the battery a while and then came the orders to charge. So charge we did. We went double quick acrost an open field in line of battle. The bullets flew fast but on we went and before we got there the white flag was up. There was 300 men in the fort. We went there to Alexandra. About a week pulled out acrost country agane. We marched two days and struck the river and camped. Stoped there about a week.
Got aboard the boats and steamed up to Brandyco. Stoped there while Bancks force moved on then started on behind him. The first day it rained and I had a chill but marched on untill the fever came on. Then I managed to get a ride in an ambulance a while. We camped awhile after dark and marched early in the morning. Bancks had a land force all the while marching up by land while Old Smiths core went by boat. About 4 oclock we herd heavy cannonading. We marched untill after dark to com up with Bancks. We heard after we got into camp that Bancks had got whipped and a lot of his train captured and so he had. We was called up and had our straps on at two oclock and marched through banks army (which was all scattered over some without guns and all arguing for their regt.) Told us that we would get ??? before night and so we did. We marched aright on in front and laid in line of battery untill 2 oclock. The skirmishers firing at them all the while. When they came onto us they charged onto us twise with cavalry but we shot them down as fast as they came up. I will not try to describe it, but the bullets, shells, grape, and cannisters flew thick and fast and the regt on both side of us was drove back and the rebels had got in our rear but we cut our way out and got behind the next line and then we was safe for they pored it on the rebels and drove them back. The fight lasted three hours. I got out without a scratch but there was 14 lost out of our Co killed wounded and missing. Our Coln and Capt was wounded.
We retreated back to Brandyco that night for we had no rations and old Bancks scart out and would not let Smith stay on and burry the ded. He swore he would do it if he would only let him have one brigade of every core. The rebels lost twenty one hundred men. I don't know how menny we did lose but it was not as menny as that. I will not try to write anny more only that we (that is Smiths command) covered Bancks retreat and had to fight every day coming back. We just got into Alexandra last night. Today is the 27th day of Apr. I just got a letter from you last night and one from you to George Sargent and two for Harry. The boys are not here yet. They are at Memphis yet I expect.
I will close now. Excuse bad wrighting for I have no covenance for writing.
Good By for this time. Your son V.W. Sargent