Several of us remonstrated with the scoundrel for thus beating helpless prisoners, even though they were black, and he replied that "By G-d he'd cut their d-n hearts out if they didn't work when he set them at it. " The truth was he would not give the men time to put on their shoes, but immediately beat when without provocation.
The morning of the 18th I was taken before the post commander at Shreveport, and he informed me that I was to be sent to Tyler. I showed him a copy of the writ of habeas corpus granted me at Washington, Ark., and he would not listen to it. I then showed him my special order from Colonel Danley, commandant of conscripts, District of Arkansas. This caused him to send me to General Kirby Smith, who said Magruder had been very importunate in his demands that I be sent to Tyler, but that under date of the 15th of April Major-General Fagan had said I had clearly proved myself a Confederate citizen. I then informed him that I had been most grossly abused while seeking to aid the South, and that I was now conscribed into the service. After some further conversation he said I would go to the battery to which I was assigned for the present. I reached the battery the evening of the 19th, at Rocky Mountain, La., thirty miles northeast of Shreveport.
On the 24th, while on dress parade, a general order dated the 23rd and signed "E. Kirby Smith," was read to the troops. He recounted the disasters to Lee's army and bade his army to be hopeful; to not abandon their colors; that the eyes of the world were upon them; that their resources were inexhaustible, and that on them depended the fate of the Confederacy. The effect of this order upon the troops was marked in the extreme. The men instantly became dejected. Mutiny and wholesale desertion was openly talked of. This soon gave way to a general apathy and indifference, but through all could be seen by a close observer that the Army of the Trans-Mississippi was in spirit crushed. The night of the 26th of April was rainy. In company with a Union-loving lad who had been forced from his home by the press gangs of the Confederacy in March, I set out for liberty and our lines. We traveled southwest all night. At daylight the baying of hounds told us but too truly that we were followed. To be taken was death. We were in the vicinity of Red River, and plunging into the deep swamps, we fled onward through the day among snakes and mosquitoes, with the blood hounds close behind. By almost superhuman exertions we kept beyond the reach of the hounds, although they were several times within 200 yards. My only weapon was a large knife. Our only safety was in keeping in the water. The horns of the drivers were continually heard. At last the welcome shades of night covered the earth, and our baffled pursuers called off their dogs until the light of another day should enable them to regain our trail. Celerity and ten miles travel would save us. I knew where a canoe lay on a bayou eighteen miles above Shreveport. We struck out for a road, reached it, and after avoiding several pickets, reached the canoe. Wet, weary, and exhausted, we stepped silently within it. My comrade, utterly exhausted, sank immediately into a deep slumber. I guided our craft until day, and, landing in an obscure place, we went ashore. Here we lay all day. I saw certain success in the future; my comrade haught save disaster. At night (this was Friday, the 28th) we again set out. Passed Shreveport at 2 a. m. Saturday. This day I made out two false furloughs for myself and comrade and they were well calculated to deceive. We sped on, night and day; passed Natchitoches and Alexandria by night, and ran on the picket a few miles above Fort De Russy Thursday morning, the 4th of May. Here our