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the doomed man then kneels or sits on his coffin, when twelve men are drawn up in a line, whose guns are loaded by other parties, six having balls in them and six none. The squad is commanded by a Lieut. and at his command, they all fire, and none knew who killed him.

At the time Dale was executed, we had four men in our Regt. under sentence, to wit: Skeen, Wich and Dale, brother of the one named above, and the other, I have forgotten his name. Though afterwards Wich made his escape. The guard shot at him, but without effect. The others were afterwards pardoned.

About this time, we moved camp a short distance, at which place, some members of our Company were marched up and down the dress parade line, as a punishment for desertion. Myself being one of the guard.

Here Col. [William Beck] Ochiltree resigned. He made us a speech and left. Here also Gen. [James M.] Hawes took command of our Brigade, and we serenaded Col. Young, our former Commander.

At this place, I was put on out-post guard three times, as a punishment for not being at roll call in the morning.

About this time we moved south of Pine Bluff four miles. Named the place Camp Bee. Here Gen. Hawes came down upon us with a vim, with his old army discipline, which was very coarse for us new soldiers, and we kicked right sharply, and laid a plan to run him off, but like all other soldier plots, it failed.

At this place, we heard of the death of John Meek. I never visited him but the one time named above -- such are the cruelties of war, that one can not be with their relatives when they sicken and die.

Early in the spring, fourth of March I think, we took up the line of march for Ouachita City [Louisiana], via Monticello and Hamburg, the former the county seat of Drue [Drew], and the latter Ashly [Ashley] counties, Ark. Here we found the kindest people we had seen.

At Monticello, I was detailed to help load division commissary wagons with meal, which was deposited in a doctor's office, then unoccupied save by the meal and a small box. After finishing our task, we looked into the box and found it contained a human skeleton -- the first I had ever seen.

From here, we traveled south until we struck Bayou Bartholomew, thence down the meandering of the stream to its confluence with the Ouachita River, at which place is Ouachita City. Here we went aboard the boats, bound for Monroe, La. Our Regt., the 18th, went down on the Dr. Deaty. This was my first steamboat ride -- very pleasant. We landed on the Trenton side, opposite Monroe. Sometime that night, after getting aboard at 3:00 in the day. We remained there the next day and night, then embarked for Trinity City, which is situated at the confluence of the Ouachita, Little River and Texas [Tensas]

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Life of John C. Porter and Sketch of His Experiences in the Civil War

John C. Porter 1874