Religion, sham battles, and parties at Camp Magruder

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Rusk County Avengers

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Apr 8, 2018
Coffeeville, TX
One of my favorite memoirs of the War has been that of one John C. Porter of the 18th TX Infantry, (also a man who grew up in the town of Coffeeville TX, no longer in existence), and his memoir has to me been an invaluable insight into the Trans-Mississippi Theater, and one that should be more well known. Porter's writings of the war have always held more charm to me than the famous memoir "Company Aytch" but being a fellow Northeast Texan may have prejudiced me. Coming to the point, this excerpt is from shortly after he had been exchanged, (he was captured at Fort DeRussy), and after the Red River Campaign, near Camp Magruder in Louisiana, with a most intriguing account of General John Forney, a North Carolina native, who succeeded General Walker as the commander of the Texas Division of Red River Campaign fame. I'll turn the telling over to John Porter.

"At this camp, (Camp Magruder), a great many big meetings were held by the various denominations, each with some degree of success. We had 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 General Forney's headquarters for a party at night. I have since learned from a good source that the result was quite a number of illegitimate children in that vicinity.
We left here in February, 1865 went to Shreveport, camped on a red hill southwest of town a few days...."

For anyone wishing to read Porter's account of the War, look up the book "Texans in Gray: A regimental history of the Civil War", its an excellent little collection of memoirs, 90% percent Porter's and a few chapters of accounts of battles in the Red River Campaign by officers of the 18th TX that Porter wasn't there for. The book is very misnamed, but its a valuable little book for anyone wishing to look at the Trans-Mississippi Theater through the eyes of a Texan enlisted man.
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