light artillery company, Captain [Thomas O.] Benton, was sent into garrison at Harrisonburg, La. All the conscripts were disposed of by being sent a away.
There was, them, on the 25th January, 1863, under my command, the THIRD Regiment of Louisiana Cavalry, about 600 men, and Major [I. F.] Harrison's battalion, about 200 men. Colonel [J. F.] Pargoud, who commanded the troops in the field at Richmond, La. (as my duties as superintendent of conscripts often called me to Monroe), had, on the 25th December, 1862, five companies of the THIRD Louisiana Cavalry, 300 men, five companies Eleventh Louisiana Battalion, 300 men, and Benton's light artillery company. There were two companies Eleventh Louisiana Battalion, 300 men, and Benton's light artillery company. There were two companies of cavalry at Lake Providence and two at Terrapin Neck.
The enemy landed 75,000 men; 7,000 in one column went to Delhi, turning Colonel Pargoud's left flank; 15,000 attacked his front at Richmond; and a THIRD column of 5,000 men turned his right from Young's Point. How could he resist them? He saved his men and guns, and camp equipage and provisions; and part of that very force, which some people thought he ought to have left into slaughter, subsequently did good service.
I have documentary evidence for all I state, and should be glad to show to a court that I did as much with the means furnished me as could have been done by any man.
It is, indeed, a poor reward for having been the first in the field in Virginia from Louisiana, and to have organized as fine a brigade as was ever in the army, and then to have been sent to Louisiana with limited means and less powers, because the enemy came seventy-five times stronger than I to be blamed for not driving him back. Who has done it in Louisiana? Even taking nearly all my force did not sufficiently strengthen the army of Southern Louisiana, or of Vicksburg, or of Port Hudson, to enable the commanders of those forces to defeat the enemy.
As to my application to be relieved from conscript duty, I beg leave to repeat that it was expressly grounded on the condition that I should go on duty in the field, and the reason assigned was that the conscript duty could be done by a disabled officer, while I, being in full health, ought to be on active duty.
Had I dreamed that I was to be condemned to this disgraceful idleness, I should, never have asked to change bureau duty for duty in the field. Can you blame me, sir, for feeling sensibly my position, or for again asking for employment?
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. G. BLANCHARD.
AUGUST 15, 1863
I have really no brigade to assign to with propriety.
J. A. S. [SEDDON.]
GAINESVILLE, ALA., August 15, 1863.
President DAVIS, Richmond, Va.:
I rejoice to learn, unofficially, that a court has been called to inquire into the fall of Vicksburg. I desire a searching investigation, and hope the court will not only be allowed the largest latitude, but that it will invite testimony against me.
J. C. PEMBERTON.
67 R R-VOL. XXVI, PT. III