On the morning of our arrival, James Fulton (I think was his name) killed John Nolan; stabbed him in the heart, killing him instantly. To show what frivolous things soldiers sometimes fall out about, and over which serious results occur -- I will record that they differed about cooking a beef heart, "only this, and nothing more".
In a few days, we moved near the town of Camden. Here Capt. Grimes [Capt. John Gaynes], of 22nd Reg't., was shot to death with musketry. He was an old man, above the conscript age, his hair tinged with gray. His going to the war was a voluntary act. He was charged a year before this, while camped at McNutts Hill, of influencing his Company to desert, and meet him in Journigan Thicket, Tex., and there they would defy all opposition. The Company had deserted at the above named camp. The charge was proven by two ambulance drivers. Others, however, made oath that they would not believe those men upon their oath, but all did no good. The court-martial condemned him to death. Col. T. R. Bonner of Tyler, was President of the court-martial. The officers of the line, got up a petition for his reprieve, (as all thought he was innocent) which was approved all the way up to Gen. McCruder [John B. Magruder], the Commander of the southern district of Ark., who rejected it. I learned with the remark "That he must make an example of someone". He, no doubt, today is reaping his just deserts for the murder of a fellow man.
While in the neighborhood of Camden, we felled a great deal of timber, and threw up some earth works, as an obstruction to the enemy.
From here, we went to _______, with the intention of taking up winter quarters, but from some cause, we remained but a few days, then took up the march for Minden, La. In the neighborhood of the town, we built houses, and spent the winter, or a portion of the winter of 1864 and 1865. Here, on Christmas day, my mess made a sliced potato pie, and invited the Company officers and some other guests to dine with us. They passed many compliments on our dinner. This is evidence that we made some progress in the cullinary department, as well as the military.
While here, we had a man of our Reg't., by the name of Sheppard [Co. B], condemned to be shot for desertion. He stayed there for weeks, with his feet chained together, not permitted to change his clothes, until the lice came near eating him up; and this is only an index to the acts of cruelty, by those who were in authority. The officers of the Reg't. petitioned a pardon, and finally aroused the sympathy of their superiors, and obtained it. When he was liberated, N. A. Seale of our Company, sang "Shepherd Rejoice".
At this camp (Camp Magnoder) [Camp Magruder, east of Minden] a great many big meetings were held by the various denominations, each with some degree of success. We had made a regular camp-meeting shed.
Here also, we had many big drills, reviews and sham battles, which
were attended by a great many of the fair sex, after which they would
repair to Gen. [John H.] Forney's headquarters, for a party at night. I have
since learned from good authority, that the result was quite a number
of illegitimate children in that vicinity.