We (the Stoughton (MA) Historical Society, recently published the diary of Charles Eaton, a nine-month man from the 4th Mass., who was captured during the second assault, and spent the rest of his time inside the Confederate works until the surrender. Here is one of his entries: ” “I’m a prisoner in Port Hudson while I write this. I said this morning that I would drink Mississippi water before night. I have kept my word but in a very different manner from what I expected. I came in as a prisoner instead of coming in with a victorious army. We started this morning as we were told we should, but instead of preserving our lines, we were all in a heap i. e. skirmishes and grenade party. We rushed forward with a yell and after running some distance, over a very rough uneven country, I got into the ditch round the fort, fixed my “plunge” and threw the grenade over the breastworks. I then unslung my rifle and went to work. I got into a corner where I should be out of the crossfire. There was a great many beside me in the corner. Three of them were shot, one died before we left, one lay there close to me, insensible, his brains blown out, some of them on me. A noble fellow he was, from N.H.
The other started back but whether he reached the main body of our forces or not, I do not know.
Quite a number of dead and wounded lay near me but not exactly in the corner. We were in hopes that we should not be seen and at night might try to get back to our regiment again, but about ten o’clock, they saw us and aimed their rifles at us and asked if we surrendered. One man asked for five minutes to consider, then more rifles were aimed and we were asked again and as it would have been madness to say no, we surrendered. They could have shot us without danger to themselves. We went inside and were marched down to the Provost Marshalls and gave him our names and were then sent about a mile to a place where they kept prisoners, here we found a dozen or so of prisoners, some of whom had been there about a month.”
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Port Hudson State Historic Site
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