Old Letters

Letter from McAlester Hooker to his wife, Elizabeth.
Dated April 14, 1864
Re. the activities of the 87th IL Infantry, Co. A

Contributed by Patrick J. Anderson

in Camp atGrandcoer on Red River
Louisanana Aprilthe 14th 1864

My Dear Elizabeth I shall try to imploy my self in writing you a small leter if I should be so blest as to get to finish it befour I have to go onduty  I have not had a moment to spare since the fight to do any thing  our army lef Natchez such a litle place 4 milds from here & started for Sureavesport & at Pleasant Hill 40 milds from here & thare the fighting comenst  our regt was in front & 2milds further on at willsons hill the rebels made a stand & we dismounted & went in to them  part of our regtis the 1st La Calv about 400 strong & the rebels about 2000 strong  we fought them about an hour as over & our ammunition got out & the rebs charged on us & we had to fallback  John was wounded rite at the start & Henry Carey [1] was kild & Lieutenant Meadors wounded & I am afrade mortaly & George Carey & Peter Leak was wounded in the hand slitly the 87th lost kild & wounded & missed 24 I did not get tuchd only a hole thru my coat tail  I was rit by John when he was shot Henry fell close to me but Idid not see him til after the fight  Iwas in the hotest of it & thru the merses of God I am still alive & well & harty  the mail went out yesterday but I was out on duty & did not get to write to you & you will here from the fight befour you get this Johns left leg was cut off above the nee he stood it like a man

After the rebels charged on us & drove us from the feald we raled got reinforcement & drove them from the feald & then the fighting ceased & our brigade fell back to the rear & we marchd on  I do not no how many we kild but from the sign of blood we must have kild more of them than they did of us  when they charged on us I did not run til the Conel said fall back & then the rebs was rit at at my heals  they halowed halt halt but I did not halt  if I had I would now hav bin a prisner  wel as I said we marchd on tilnight then we went in camp  our Regt was out on picket that night  all but our camp it went out to look for som water & that night the rebs charged on the87th & the boys let them get up close to them & they turnd loose on them kild 36 in one pile & did not get a man hurt so ended the fight forthe 1st day  the second day our brigade was behind & the 4th & 5th & 1st brigades of Calv & the 13th A.C. went in to the feald & such fighting I never did here befour & never do want to again the 19 A.C. was to late to help us & the rebels comon in tremendous columes & our men helt them as long as they could & after they got out of ammunition & the rebels had taken about 2000 prisners & was about to suround them they fell back in perfect confusion  the wagons turnd in the road & started back on duble quick a grat many of them turnd over in the road & blocked up the road so that it was imposable to get the artlery a past them & lots of our canon was taken on that account  all this time the 19 army corps was 3 milds behind & all the cavalry & the shaterd 13 A.C. retreated with such a roar that I never will forget  our regt marchd back the best of any of them  as we was not cut up & confusd like the balence of them was  the road was narow & each sid was grode up with thick pine timber & for a mile each sid of the road was thick with men & horses giving a hand as they could & the rebels was dashing up into our retreating colum cuting & slashing & taking prisners & capturing artilery & wagons til we got back to the 19 A.C.  we found them in line wating  we fell back behind them & they pord a voley in to the advancing army of rebs & stopt them awhile & then all fell back we continued our retreat to pleasant hill about 13 milds from the feald of batel  by the time we got thare it was daylight having marchd all night at pleasant hill we stopt  so ended the 2nd day  at pleasant hill we found smiths division the 3rd day we continued our retreat to this place & at pleasant hill smith formd his command on each sid of the road & at 8 o clk the rebels com on& he picht in to them & it is said by men that was there that pleasant hill was literly strode with dead rebels & thare the tune turnd on them & smith recapturd some of our canon & taken 1000 prisners & drove them back then smith fell back to this place & here we are campt on the river resting & recruting up the army we have got som reinforsements but not many yet so you see we was defeated & the worst of all is that it was for the want of a good Generl tocommand Generl Banks was on the feald & got his horse shot from under him  he did not sho any personal fear for he is not afeard of bulets but he did maneg the afare very badly & if it had not bin for the 16th A.C. commanded by Generl smith we would all have bin taken in  I do not no how much the rebels got but besids 2000 prisners they got a lot of wagons loded with suplies & ammunition  I cant tel you our loss for I do not no & I no less about the rebels loss than I do of ours but many a poore felow lost his life during them 3 days & now Lizzie  I hope this will find you as well as it leaves me & I hope to here from you often I sent you 40 dollars about 2 weeks ago I received yours of the 17th yesterday containing one from April  7of Mess No 1 went in to the fight & one got kild & 3 wounded  we morn the days of Henry & John but it cant be helpt  John I think will getwell & I hope will get home the commander of our brigade got wounded  I taken Henry things out of his pocket & gave them to George Carey & now Lizzie good by remember me yours truly Mack

     [1]     His wife's sister Eliza was married to Robert Henry Carey.

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Copyrighted @ 2001

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