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  • Ellis Family Papers, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collection, Special Collections, Louisiana State University Library

    1st Sergeant Stephen D. Ellis, Company A, 18th Louisiana Cavalry Battalion, to Brother, from Camp at Columbus, Miss., April 9, 1865:

    "Camp in Columbus, Miss. April 9, 1865

    "My Dear Brother-Your two kind and more than welcome letters of the 7th and 9th ult. were received & I should have received them before now but we have been so constantly on the march that I have not had time to write or do anything else. I wrote to sister Liz from West Point. The day after writing to her we started on the march to Columbus. We got there that night about 10 or 11 o'clock.

    "Next morning we drew guns & ammunition & went out to Pickensville, Ala on the Bigbee River (illegible) & next morning started out after a Yankee raid, which was there in Pickens County (the county were in). After double quicking for 10 or 12 miles our advance came up into their rear & pitched into them & they run like good fellows. We followed on after them, & our advance and their rear guard were skirmishing for some 15 or 20 miles until night put a close on the fight. It rained nearly all day on us, & worse roads you never saw, I reckon. There was some 7 or 8 men killed on our side & 15 or 20 wounded. The Yankee loss in killed and wounded was about the same, & we capured some 35 or 40 Yanks & about 50 or 60 Negroes & some horses, mules, ambulances, etc.

    "While we were after the Yanks, while double-quicking along the road, we came to a house, where an old gentleman & 3 or 4 young ladies were standing out at the gate, the old gentleman had his hands in his pockets & looked the picture of sadness. Says he, "they've got all my mules." Says one of our boys, "never mind, we'll get them all back for you." The girls clapped their hands & said, "that's right, boys, go on & capture the last one of them." After going about half a mile from them we came to where the scoundrels had burnt a flour mill, which was still in flames. I let you know, it made me feel like fighting to see that mill in flames & I believe if we had met up with them then, and they would have fought, we would have whipped them, in no time. If Gen. Adams (who was in command) had done as he ought to have done, I believe we would have captured the last one of them. There was only about 1400 Yankees & there was about 2000 of us, Adams' brigade and ours (Scott's Louisiana Cav). Adams' Brigade was in front & done all the fighting. They could have been sent around & got in their front & our Brigade attacked them in the rear & we would have captured them all. If Col Scott had been there & had command we would have got them. Ogden was commanding our Brigade & has been since we left Macon. Scott is still at Meridian.

    "The next morning after the fight we came back about 15 miles & camped & got orders that evening to be ready to move next morning at 7 o'clock. Next morning about two o'clock the bugle sounded for 'saddle up.' We saddled up and they double-quicked us to this place, a distance of 45 miles. A good many horses gave out on the way. I stopped to have my gun unloaded & took my time for it & got here about sundown yesterday evening. The command got here about 1 o'clock. They cannot do much more marching like this, for the horses of our Brigade can't stand it. We are here now, waiting for the Yankee (so rumor says, how long we will stay I haven't the least idea.

    "Columbus is a beautiful town, with a great many fine houses. It is about a thousand or half large as Baton Rouge. It looks more like a town than anything I've seen since I left N.C. It has breast works around it. The Tombigby (sic) River runs by it. It is navigable this far up, & there is a railroad-the Mobile and Ohio road from it.

    "Dr. Moore's father has a store here. I have not seen him yet, Charlie Enge saw him yesterday evening. The people are very kind to us here. They cook our rations for us, our wagons have been sent to Demopolis, Ala (so rumor says). Consequently we have no cooking utensils with us. If this rumor is true, we will go to Demopolis, but it is only rumor & you know how camp rumors will circulate.

    "We are not consolidated yet & I don't know whether we will be or not. If we are we will have just enough men in our Battln. for a company. Some say we will be consolidated & others say we won't. Those who think we won't be consolidated, think that Col Scott will fix it up with Gen. Taylor, but nobody knows & time will only tell to us.

    "The election for Judge was a week ago tomorrow & I have not heard a word from it. I would give almost anything to know the result. Capt Randolph & Luther Borrman have got here. I expected to get letters from home by them but my hopes were disappointed. I have not received a letter from home since that of yours & Liz's together. It may be on account of our moving about so much, I can't help believe, but that you have all written to me, I reckon they will reach me some of these days & they will be just as dear to me when I do get them, as if they were of late dates.

    "I hear again that all of the Johnson Island prisoners have been exchanged, don't grant that it may be so & that our dear brother, who has been absent so long, may ere coming be restored to the loved ones at home although I cannot be there, still I can imagine the meeting & see the folks at home (in my imagination) gathered around the fire & almost hear their voices.

    "Quite dark & I must bring this to a close. Our friends here are all well except home sickness, I reckon they will get over this some of these days. Give my warmest love to all & accept for yourself the best love of your Brothere.

    (kiss Sallie for me)

    "Direct your letters to this place until you hear from me again. S.D.E."

    on the upper edge of the first page, written upside down was the following:

    "April 10: Our wagons will be up to our camp, rumor says. Col. Scott is still at Meridian & must be whether (illegible) orders (illegible) King's (illegible)."

    Scott's Brigade consisted of the 1st and 3rd (Wingfield's) Louisiana Cavalry regiments, Ogden's Louisiana Cavalry Regiment, and the 18th Louisiana Cavalry Battalion.

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