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A Civil War Tale & Natural History to Boot . . .

Bayou-Diversity (15 July 2018) Abita Carter was a half-Choctaw woman born about 1846 in an Indian community near present day Calhoun, Louisiana. She grew up in the household and was educated by settlers in the Marion area. In her late teens she became romantically involved with a local boy who soon married another girl, joined the 31st La. Infantry, and found himself besieged at Vicksburg during the Civil War. His name was Minor Barrett. When Abita heard that Minor was injured and in a Vicksburg hospital, she decided to go fetch him. Her story about her trek across the wilderness of northeast Louisiana and into chaotic Vicksburg, written soon after the adventure, involves a cast of characters with varying intentions. They include a butcher who operated a ferry on Bayou Bartholomew, a murderous Yankee spy in Prairie Mer Rouge, General Grant’s wife at Lake Providence, compassionate slaves who sheltered her in the Tensas Swamp at a critical time, and Minor’s disturbed wife. Abita’s sole traveling companion in the five month journey was a small, blind mule. To get the entire more or much less true story, which is also rife with natural history of the region, check out “Iron Branch – A Civil War Tale of a Woman In-Between.” You can find it on Amazon ( and similar online book sources.


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