It was late in the evening when the party returned to Donaldsonville; and when we arrived at the other side of the bayou there were no carriages, so that we had to walk on foot to the wharf where Mr. Burnside's boats were supposed to be waiting the Negro ferry-man having long since retired to rest. Under any circumstances a march on foot through an unknown track covered with blocks of timber and other impedimenta which represented the road to the ferry, could not be agreeable; but the recent rains had converted the ground into a sea of mud filled with holes, with islands of planks and beams of timber, lighted only by the stars and then this in dress trousers and light boots!
We plunged, struggled, and splashed till we reached the levee, where boats there were none ; and so Mr. Burnside shouted up and down the river, so did Mr. Lee, and so did Mr. Ward* and all the others, whilst I sat on a log affecting philosophy and indifference, in spite of tortures from mosquitoes innumerable,** and severe bites from insects unknown. The city and river were buried in darkness ; the rush of the stream which is sixty feet deep near the banks, was all that struck upon the ear in the intervals of the cries, "Boat ahoy!" "Ho ! Batelier!"; and sundry ejaculations of a less regular and decent form.
** The link between mosquitoes and yellow fever was unknown at the time. They were seen as nuisances, not vectors of disease.