Chapter III
"My boys, follow your Polignac" Louisiana and Arkansas, 1864

As Spaight's men crossed the Red River and moved south on December 20, Polignac's brigade again shouldered arms and proceeded north toward Monroe in northeastern Louisiana. Over fifty miles of marching took the Texans through Winnfield on the 23rd, and sixty more brought them into camp two miles west of Monroe on the 26th. After two days in camp the brigade crossed the Ouachita River at Trenton and went into camp in the slave quarters on the Richardson Plantation east of Monroe on January 1, 1864. The weather turned freezing cold for a time, followed by rain, and some men became ill with pneumonia. On the 3rd, Polignac again moved his camp, this time south of Monroe where shoes were issued to the needy on the 5th. Little more happened until January 17 and 18 when the brigade began a march down the Ouachita River. Thirty-two uneventful miles brought the Texans to Columbia on the 19th. There they crossed the river on the 20th and continued south to Harrisonburg on January 24. The purpose of their march became clear at that point; they were to act as a covering force for Confederate engineers rebuilding the batteries on the river at Harrisonburg and at Trinity. Yet only drill in camp broke the monotony of life in "a poor miserable hilly pine woods country on our side [of the river], and swamps on the other, . . . no provissions [sic] or forage, all must be brought from other points."1

In early February, 1864, Polignac proposed a raid against lightly held Vidalia on the Mississippi River across from Natchez. Taylor approved the effort as a means of collecting horses and mules, clearing the area of jayhawkers and Union cotton planters, and capturing or at least providing an opportunity for desertion from the predominantly Negro garrison at Vidalia. Five hundred and

____________________
1
J. E. Harrison to My Dear Son, February 2, January 1, 2, 4, 12, 1864, Harrison Papers; Harrison to Dear Ballinger, January 3, 1863 [ 1864], Ballinger Collection; Hamilton Diary, December 23, 1863 - January 24, 1864; Record Book, Company F, 22nd Texas, December 20, 1863 - January 30, 1864; A. H. May to A. Mouton, January 25, 1864, Official Records, Series I, Vol. XXXIV, Pt. 2, 914.

-35-

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