From Morganzia, La.
MORGANZIA, LA., Aug. 2, 1864.
Editors Illinois State Journal:
Pardon me for intruding thus, but by your permission I would ask the privilege to state a few facts in relation to an incident that I think worthy of notice. I suppose you have heard something about a fight, or as the Confederates call it, "a skirmish" near Mansfield, La., on the 8th of April last and that there was quite a number of our forces captured. Of that number the 130th Illinois had 251 men and officers. Among the number taken to Tyler, Texas, was Job A. Beach, of Co. "I," of this regiment. Becoming tired of the place and not loving his situation, he concluded he would go, or try to go, to his regiment. He borrowed a map of the States of Texas and Louisiana, and from that marked his route on a piece of paper. Then he procured a long pole or stick, on which he left the knot very long. Waiting till night, then watching the sentinels until they had turned their backs towards a certain corner, he placed the stick against the wall, and by that means succeeded in gaining the top of the wall; then jumping down, was soon lost to sight in the bushes. After wandering for two days and nights he found out to his surprise that he had not made much progress; that he was near the State line between Texas and Louisiana, southwest of Shreveport. He then changed his direction, and after traveling some days came to Red river, near Grand Ecore; crossing the river near that place. He then proceeded on towards Natchez, Miss., finally reaching the last named place.
There the authorities proposed giving him a furlough home. He refused, and proceeded on to Baton Rouge, La., and there joined his company and regiment. The distance from Tyler, Texas, to Natchez, Miss, is about 250 or 300 miles, all of which he traveled alone and on foot, through a rough country filled with Confederate soldiers and jayhawkers. He could not look to nor claim protection from any one. All advice and all food must come from enemies, consequently his meals were often made on blackberries. Most of his traveling was accomplished after night, and often through the bush, and over river and bayous, which he had to swim or build rafts to cross on. The only implement he had for building rafts was a butcher knife. With this he would cut grape vines, then roll some old logs or chunks into the water, tie them together, and then cross over. He had to cross some eight or ten rivers and bayous thus. He was pursued, and his pursuers passed once or twice within hailing distance of where he was concealed. At one time he was crossing a stream so near where the rebels were crossing that he could hear their oars strike the water at each stroke; still he escaped the pursuit of both men and dogs — for in that country they hunt men with dogs.
I have given you the facts with no coloring or exaggeration, and should you deem them worthy of notice, you can do so, if not, there is not compulsion.
We have no news here. Our scouts were out as far as Semmesport, on the Atchafalaya. They report that the rebels have fallen back to Alexandria, on Red river.
It is very warm here. The health of troops is not so good here as at some other points. The sick in our regiment has increased 100 per cent. since we came here. Madam rumor says that there is an expedition fitting out here. I cannot see it. I am not, however, one of the knowing ones.
I am, sirs, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
H. J. CONOVER,
Co. "B," 130th Illinois.