LOUISIANA IN THE CIVIL WAR
The goal of Civil War Louisiana is to provide an online resource of information and links to our great state's involvement in the war. Topics expected to be commonly covered are: Battles fought in Louisiana, battles that Louisianians participated in, unit histories, rosters, uniforms and equipment of Louisiana soldiers, personalities to include not only the leadership of the state and armies but the common soldier, flags and resources to research/read on the state's role in the war.
Louisiana in the Civil War strongly supports the input of the Civil War community. Submissions of stories, information, etc. are welcome and full credit will be given for what we share.____________________________________________
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
During the First
The Army of the Potomac correspondent of the New Orleans Delta gives an account of the late select dinner party to Gen. Beauregard, from which we extract the following, stating that his report of the remarks of Gen. B. is undoubtedly correct:
"Another incident of the entertainment was likewise peculiarly interesting. When the newly devised battle flag was brought in, Gen. Beauregard related to the company the motives which led to its adoption; and as the recital embraces a thrilling portion of the eventful battle of Manassas. I shall endeavor to reproduce it, as nearly as possible, in the General's own words:
"On the 21st of July, at about half-past 3 o'clock, perhaps 4, it seemed to me that victory was already within our grasp in fact, up to that moment, I had never wavered in the conviction that triumph must crown our arms. Nor was my confidence shaken until that time I have mentioned, I observed on the extreme left, at the distance of something more than a mile, column of men approaching. At their head waved a flag which I could not distinguish. Even by a strong glass I was unable to determine whether it was the United States flag or the Confederate flag. At this moment I received a dispatch from Capt. Alexander, in charge of the signal station, warning me to look out for the left; that a large column was approaching in that direction, and that it was supposed to be Gen. Patterson's command coming to reinforce McDowell. At this moment, I must confess, my heart failed me. I came, reluctantly, to the conclusion that after all our efforts, we should at last be compelled to yield to the enemy the hard fought and bloody field. I again took the glass to examine the flag of the approaching column; but my anxious inquiry was unproductive of result — I could not tell to which army the waving banner belonged.
At this time all the members of my staff were absent, having been dispatched with orders to various points. The only person with me was the gallant officer who has recently again distinguished himself by a brilliant feat of arms — General, then Col. Evans. To him I communicated my doubts and my fears. I told him I feared that the approaching force was in reality Patterson's division; that if such was the case, I should be compelled to fall back upon our own reserves and postpone, till the next day, a continuation of the engagement. After further reflection I directed Col. Evans to proceed to Gen. Johnston, who had assumed the task of collecting a reserve, to inform him of the circumstances of the case, and to request him to have the reserves collected with all dispatch, and hold them in readiness to support our retrograde movement Col. Evans started on the mission thus entrusted to him. He had proceeded but a short distance, when it occurred to me to make another examination of the still approaching flag. I called him back. "Let us" said I, "wait a few moments, to confirm our suspicious, before finally resolving to yield the field."
I took the glass and again examined the flag. I had now come within full view. A sudden gust of wind shock out its folds, and I recognized the stars and bars of the Confederate banner. It was the flag borne by your regiment--here the General turned to Col. Hays, who sat beside him — the gallant Seventh Louisiana; and the column of which your regiment constituted the advance was the brigade of Gen. (then Col.) Early. As soon as you were recognized by our soldiers, your coming was greeted with enthusiastic cheers; regiment after regiment responded to the city; the enemy heard the triumphant huzza; their attack slackened; they were in turn assailed by our forces, and within half an hour from that moment commenced the retreat which afterwards became a confused and total rout. I am glad to see that war-stained banner gleaming over us at this festive board, but I hope never again to see it upon the field of battle."
Gen. Beauregard then explained how the new battle flag was devised — the reason for its adoption being made sufficiently clear by his lucid and thrilling narrative. The flag itself is a beautiful banner, which, I am sure, before this campaign is over, will be consecrated forever in the affections of the people of the Confederate States. During the dinner, as was natural enough, a great number of soldiers congregated around the tent, and clamored for a sight of Gen. Beauregard.--Col. Hays went out, on behalf of the General, and made a speech to them, which of course was received with applause; but the men would not be pacified until Gen. Beauregard himself was presented to them, and until the sound of his voice was heard amongst them. Never have I witnessed so much enthusiasm as when the General assured them of the gratification he experienced in hearing their enthusiastic cheering, and that he hoped to hear the same voices again on the field of battle and in the hour of victory.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
William Elisha Stoker belonged to Company H of the 18th Texas Infantry. His letters are posted online at the House Divided at Dickinson College. The 18th Texas served in Louisiana parts of 1863-1865. Stoker's letters cover camp life and parts of the Red River Campaign in 1864. When you click on the link you will have to click on the tab titled "Documents." That will bring you to a list of his letters. If you click on the links to the right it'll bring you to the individual letters. Once you click on a letter there is a tab to click on the transcribed version of his letter.
Our prisoners that was taken at opalousas [Opelousas] has ben exchanged and they hav just got in. James Courtney has got back safe. I havent never thought to say any thing about the lades [ladies] of opalousas how well they treatted us. They taken our wounded men and waitted on them like brothers. On examineing the hos-pital they found that there was too wounded men from our regament to arry another ones one. When we went to leave they had our regament marched up to the female ecademy and the lades of opolousas presented us a flag. A yung lady stepped out to the edge of the pieser with it in her hand and made one of best speaches that I ever herd. I did wis you was there. When she was threw the Col. hollowed out three cheers for the lades of opalousas. You ought to of heard us hollow. We had a merry time for a little while.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
At about 8 o’clock on the morning mentioned, the Confederates, consisting of about 800 men, mostly Texans, with a yell that made one’s hair stand on end “like quills upon the fretful porcupine,” came rushing in from a piece of woods just back of the village upon a thoroughly surprised Union camp.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Below are various articles lifted from the Richmond Daily Dispatch, 1861-1863 concerning the “Louisiana Zouaves.” Although the Zouaves are largely unidentified, the articles appear to be referring to either Gaston Coppens’ Louisiana Zouave Battalion or one company of St. Paul’s Foot Rifles.
As I passed through the public square to-day a column of the Louisiana Zouaves marched in, and wheeling into line before the Equestrian Statue of Washington, presented arms, and stood for a while immovable as statues, gazing with reverential respect and awe, the like of which I never saw before, and can scarcely expect to see again, upon that magnificent work of art and sublime memorial of gratitude and affection which his mother Virginia has consecrated to his memory. It was a noble tribute, simply and unostentatiously manifested by patriotic and gallant Southern hearts, which might have called forth a tear from every manly eye that was looking on.
There was more curiosity to see the Louisiana Zouaves yesterday, on their passage through the city, than I have seen manifested on any former occasion. Judging from the crowds at the depot, the squads on the streets, and the crowding of every room affording a good view, they were doubtless subjected to the critical observations of almost every person, male and female, within the limits of the city.
Quoting a Northern newspaper report from Fort Monroe, Va.: “The shipgunboat Mount Vernon has just arrived from Newport News with two deserters from the rebels and two prisoners, all belonging to the Louisiana Zouaves. The former came into the camp at Newport News yesterday morning. They are intelligent Germans, and state that having been impressed into service they escaped on the first opportunity. Most of the company to which they belong serve unwillingly. Their uniform so closely resembles that of Col. Duryea's Zouaves that the deserters came into camp without being stopped by the guard.
A soldier named Dennis McGuire was brought to the cage at six o'clock last evening, charged with having feloniously stabbed another soldier (name unknown) at the drinking saloon of Maurice Dennis, adjoining the Central Railroad depot. The party arrived at the lock-up very bloody and excessively dirty. He belongs to the 5th company of Louisiana Zouaves. The circumstances attending the cutting we could not learn. The locality in which this deed of blood was perpetrated is becoming quite famous for its rude encounters.
Our attention has been called to a thrilling duel which occurred on the battle-field of the "Seven Pines" between a member of Capt. Bordenave's Louisiana Zouaves and a Yankee desperado. At one stage of the combat, when the battalion of St. Paul, to which this company is attached, were driving before them the enemy, a Yankee soldier was observed in deadly conduct with the gallant Louisianian. The latter was so near his adversary that a set-to with fisticuffs appeared to be imminent, when the Yankee, quick as thought, drew his pistol and blazed away in the face of the Zouave, without, however, hitting his mark. The Zouave, though slow, made sure, and drawing in turn his own trusty weapon, sent a ball through his enemy's vitals. The cheers of his comrades rent the air in taken of his prowess, and marked inappreciably their sense of his meritorious behavior.
Quoting a Northern newspaper: The rebels in Winchester. Opposite the Taylor House the Louisiana Zouaves were fast becoming inebriated over some one hundred and fifty bottles of brandy, which the Medical Purveyor though he had destroyed, but had not, and all through the town the rebels, famished by three days' hard marching, with but little to eat, were gorging themselves with the fat of the land. Secession was rampant. Flags floated from every house. Females, arrayed in their brightest colors, paraded the streets, and every house was open for their long-hoped-for but almost despaired-of guests. Jackson was in a towering rage that his orders had not been followed out. If they had been, one of Ewell's brigades would have got completely around our right, gained the rear of the town, and cut off our retreat entirely. They assert that they had us completely in a trap, and are greatly mortified at our escape.
Prison items. The following parties were put in Castle Thunder yesterday: Samuel Levy, co. K, 15th La, desertion; J. H. Mudder, co S. 2d N. C., desertion; Wm Riley, Jos Wassen, Chas Price, John Ualt, Louisiana Zouaves, sent in by Col Coppens; S. B. Quaries, co. I, 5th Va cavalry; Geo W Todd, co C. 2d La, for being absent without leave; H. D. Saunders, co. K, 10th La, desertion. Castle Thunder is now quite full, but the pressure is daily relieved by sending off to the army large numbers of straggling soldiers, who find a lodgment there under the general head of deserters. Thos Glenn, Courtney's Artillery, desertion; Lieut John Brandon, Privates Lewis Steele and Joseph Stephens, arrested and sent in by city police for drunkenness and disorderly conduct; Joseph King, co C. 14th La, desolation;
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Aldin Hospital Virginia
September 2, 1862
Dear Father and Mother,
You see from the address of my letter that I am at the hospital. I am here waiting on Cobey. He got wounded in the recent fight at Bull Run. Shot through the thigh by a Minnie ball though not serious, the ball passed pretty high up passed between the bone and main artery. He is doing very well at this time; in no pain only when moved. As soon as he is able to travel, I intend to get him a furlough if there is any possible chance. I have two balls shot through the leg of my pants. One of them cut a gash in my ankle which stops me for a few minutes. Mine was done on the first day. Cobey’s on the second.
It will not be necessary for me to give you the full details of the battle. You will get that through the papers. The battle commenced on Thursday and lasted 3 days. Our brigade opened the fight two days out of three. We drew the enemy off from the field both days. Killed a great many; captured a good many prisoners. The last’s days fight our brigade fought three columns of men for 1 and ½ hours before we were reinforced and a good portion of the time in 40 yds of each other. But we routed them at last. I never seen men run so in my life. They went like they had wings right in front of our brigade. There is acres I can walk over on their dead bodies. The Richmond fight at Malvin Hill is no comparison for I was in both fights and went over both battlefields after the fight closed. Our loss is very heavy. I will give you the list of the killed and wounded in our company: Corporal Gandy, killed; Leutinant Bond, badly wounded in the thigh; Cobey, wounded in the thigh; myself, slightly wounded in the ankle; Ted Hamilton, wounded slightly in the calf of leg; Windon, in the leg below the knee; Dave Richardson, in the thigh pretty bad. They are all here together and I am detailed to wait on them. The balance of our regiment lost in proportion (I suppose half was killed and wounded). I have not been able to get the exact number of our loss.
I learned that our brigade was in the fight last Monday near Fairfax. C.H. Have not heard the particulars but it seems that they intend for us to do all the fighting (the LA brigade). We are under General Jackson and his old division. In General Stark’s brigade, we are known as the Louisiana brigade and commanded by as good General as there is in the Confederate Service.
You will please excuse me for not writing more as the boys need my whole attention. I will write you again as soon as I have time. Tell Lizzie I have received her letter of the 3rd of August. Will answer it as soon as possible. Mother said something about clothing, to let her know if we needed any. We need them but if we had them, we would have to throw them away. We have to march so hard, we can’t carry anything but the suit we wear; one blanket and our knapsack of provisions.
P. S. Write as soon as you receive this; direct your letters to Richmond c/o Capt. Redwine. Camp LA, 2nd Regiment, Louisiana Volunteers
Thursday, December 2, 2010
4 P.M. Once more at home (thank Gd). Did not get in town ‘til 10 P.M. Went up to the house. Woke up Uncle Abe, Mother. All came down in dishabille. Such shouting and kissing. All were full of thanksgiving. Retired at after midnight.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
DAILY CONSTITUTIONALIST [
AUGUSTA, GA], April 15, 1864, p. 3, c. 2
A Snow Fight on a Large Scale.—A young officer in Gen. Lee’s army, writing to his father in the city, gives the following account of the passtime [sic] of the gallant boys of the army of Virginia:
Camp of the 1st Virginia Battalion,}
April 8th, 1864.}
Since the date of my last we have had two severe snow storms, which have put the roads in a horrible condition. The soldiers seem to enjoy the snow exceedingly; for, as soon as it covers the earth, they commence snow-balling—first a company, then a regiment, and, finally, an entire brigade. During the last deep snow I had the pleasure of witnessing one of these sham-battles; it came off between Gens. Johnson’s and Rhodes’ divisions, and it was really amusing to see how they would fight for their ground. They were led on by their officers. Gen. Johnson commanded his division and Brig. Gen. ------- that of Rhodes. The snow-balls fell like hail; for a time the surrounding scenery and the combatants were completely obscured. Rhodes’ men had nearly driven Johnson’s force into the woods, when the Louisianabrigade was ordered to the rescue. Down they came with a terrific yell, led on to the charge by their gallant Brigadier, who rode in front of his line, crying out, “Boys, charge the tar heels!” He had scarcely got the words out of his mouth, when a snow ball, as large as a 36-pound ball, struck him directly in the mouth with such force that he came near vacating his saddle. Then came a yell which could be heard for miles, and the General was carried off the field hors du combat. Seeing this, Rhodes’ men rallied and made a desperate charge upon their foes, and again Johnson’s men had to “skedaddle” to the woods, with Rhodesat their heels. There was only one bridge over the creek which the pursuing party would have to cross if they continued their pursuit of Johnson’s boys, who still retreated. The command was given then to charge over the bridge, which they did; but they soon regretted it; for, as the last regiment passed over the bridge, a brigade of Mississippians and Texans came up, and where they came from nobody knew, for they swarmed from the woods like bees from a hive, every man with his hat or cap full of snow-balls. Rhodes’ men were in a bad fix now—between two fires.—As soon as Johnson’s men saw that their allies had arrived, they turned round and ran Rhodes back to the bridge, which, however, the Mississippians had barricaded, and he had to surrender just when he thought his victory was complete.—Gen. Rhodes acknowledged that Johnson had completely out-generaled him.
Monday, November 29, 2010
8th, May (Friday).—We reached Marshall at 3 A. M., and got four hours' sleep there. "We then got into a railroad for sixteen miles, after which we were crammed into another stage.
Crossed the frontier into Louisiana at 11 A. M. I have therefore been nearly a month getting through the single State of Texas. Reached Shrieveport at 3 p. M. ; and, after washing for the first time in five days, I called on Gen. Kirby Smith, who commands the whole country on this side of the Mississippi.
He is a Floridian by birth, was educated at West Point, and served in the United States cavalry. He is only thirty-eight years old; and he owes his rapid rise to a lieutenant-general to the fortunate fact of his having fallen, jus't at the very nick of time, upon the Yankee flank at the first battle of Manassas.He is a remarkably active man, and of very agreeable manners; he wears big spectacles and a black beard.His wife is an extremely pretty woman, from Baltimore, but she had cut her hair quite short like a man's. In the evening she proposed that we should go down to the river and fish for cray-fish. We did so, and were most successful, the General displaying much energy on the occasion.
He told me that M'Clellan might probably have destroyed the Southern army with the greatest ease during the first winter, and without running much risk to himself, as the Southerners were so much over-elated by their easy triumph at Manassas, and their army had dwindled away.
I was introduced to Governor Moore, of Louisiana, to the Lieutenant-governor Hyams, and also to the exiled Governor of Missouri, Reynolds.
Governor Moore told me he had been on the Red River since 1824, from which date until 1840 it had been very unhealthy. He thinks that Dickens must have intended Shrieveport by " Eden."*
Governor Reynolds, of Missouri, told me he found himself in the unfortunate condition of a potentate exiled from his dominions; but he showed me an address which he had issued to his Missourians, promising to be with them at the head of an army to deliver them from their oppressors. Shrieveport is rather a decent-looking place on the Red River. It contains about 3,000 inhabitants, and is at present the seat of the Louisianian Legislature vice Baton Rouge. But only twenty-eight members of the Lower House had arrived as yet, and business could not be commenced with less than fifty. The river now is broad and rapid, and it is navigated by large steamers; its banks are low and very fertile, but reputed to be very unhealthy.
General Kirby Smith advised me to go to Munroe, and try to cross the Mississippi from thence; he was so uncertain as to Alexandria that he was afraid to send a steamer so far.
I heard much talk at his house about the late Federal raid into the Mississippi,* which seems to be a copy of John Morgan's operations, except that the Federal raid was made in a thinly populated country, bereft of its male inhabitants.
9th May (Saturday).—Started again by stage for Munroe at 4.30 A. M. My companions were, the Mississippi planter, a mad dentist from New Orleans (called, by courtesy, doctor), an old man from Matagorda, buying slaves cheap in Louisiana, a wounded otiicer, and a wounded soldier. The soldier was a very intelligent young Missourian, who told me (as others have) that, at the commencement of these troubles, both he and his family were strong Unionists. But the Lirtcolnites, by using coercion, had forced them to take one side or the other —and there are now no more bitter Secessionists than these people. This soldier (Mr. Douglas) was on his way to rejoin Bragg's army. A Confederate soldier when wounded is not given his discharge, but is employed at such work as he is competent to perform. Mr. Douglas was quite lame; but will be employed at mounted duties or at writing.
We passed several large and fertile plantations. The negro quarters formed little villages, and seemed comfortable: Bome of them held 150 or 200 hands. We afterwards drove through some beautiful pine forests, and were ferried across a beautiful shallow lake full of cypresses, but not the least like European cypress-trees.
We met a number more planters driving their families, their slaves, and furniture, towards Texas—in fact, every thing that they could save from the ruin that had befallen them on the approach of the Federal troops.
At 5 p. M. we reached a charming little town, called Mindon, where I met an English mechanic who deplored to me that he had been such a fool as to naturalize himself, as he was in hourly dread of the conscription.I have at length become quite callous to many of the horrors of stage travelling. I no longer shrink at every random shower of tobacco-juice; nor do I shudder when good-naturedly offered a quid. I eat voraciously of the bacon that is provided for my sustenance, and I am invariably treated by my fellowtravellers of all grades with the greatest consideration and kindness. Sometimes a man remarks that it is rather " mean" of England not to recognize the South; but I can always shut him up by saying, that a nation which deserves its independence should fight and earn it for itself—a sentiment which is invariably agreed to by all.
10th May (Sunday).—I spent a very rough night in consequence of the badness of the road, the jolting of the carriage, and having to occupy a centre seat. In the morning we received news from every one we met of the fall of Alexandria. The road to-day was alive with negroes, who are being " run" into Texas out of Banks' way. We. must have met hundreds of them, and many families of planters, who were much to be pitied, especially the ladies.
On approaching Munroe, we passed through the camp of Walker's division (8,000 strong), which was on its march from Arkansas to meet Banks. The division had embarked in steamers, and had already started down the " "Wachita" towards the Red River, when the news arrived of the fall of Alexandria, and of the presence of Federal gunboats in or near the Wachita itself. This caused the precipitate return and disembarkation of Walker's division. The men were well armed with rifles and bayonets, but they were dressed in ragged civilian clothes. The old Matagorda man recognized his son in one of these regiments—a perfect boy.
Munroe is on the " Wachita" (pronounced Wadhtaw), which is a very pretty and wide stream. After crossing it we arrived at the hotel after dark.
Universal confusion reigned there; it was full of officers and soldiers of Walker's division, and no person would take the slightest notice of us.
In desperation I called on General Hebert, who commanded the post. I told him who I was, and gave him a letter of introduction, which I had fortunately brought from Kirby Smith. I stated my hard case, and besought an asylum for the night, which he immediately accorded me in his own house.
The difficulty of crossing the Mississippi appeared to increase the nearer I got to it, and General Hebert told me that it was very doubtful whether I could cross at all at this point. The Yankee gunboats, which had forced their way past Vicksburg and Port Hudson, were roaming about the Mississippi and Red River, and some of them were reported at the entrance of the "Wachita itself, a small fort at Harrisonburg being the only impediment to their appearance in front of Munroe.
On another side, the enemy's forces were close to Delhi, only forty miles distant.
There were forty or fifty Yankee deserters here from the army besieging Vicksburg. These Yankee deserters, on being asked their reasons for deserting, generally reply,—" Our government has broken faith with us. We enlisted to fight for the Union, and not to liberate the G—d d—d niggers." Vicksburg is distant from this place about eighty miles.
The news of General Lee's victory at Chancellorsville had just arrived here. Every one received it very coolly, and seemed to take it quite as a matter of course; but the wound of Stonewall Jackson was universally deplored.
11th May (Monday).—General Hebert is a goodlooking creole.* He was a West-Pointer, and served in the old army, but afterwards became a wealthy sugar-planter. He used to hold Magruder's position as commander-in-chief in Texas, but he has now been shelved at Munroe, where he expects to be taken prisoner any day; and, from the present gloomy aspect of affairs about here, it seems extremely probable that he will not be disappointed in his expectations. He is extremely down upon England for not recognizing the South.
He gave me a passage down the river in a steamer which was to try to take provisions to Harrisonburg but, at the same time, he informed me that she might very probably be captured by a Yankee gunboat.
At 1 p. M. I embarked for Harrisonburg, which is distant from Munroe by water 150 miles, and by land 15 miles. It is fortified, and offers what was considered a weak obstruction to the passage of the gunboats up the river to Munroe. The steamer was one of the curious American river boats, which rise to a tremendous height out of the water, like great wooden castles. She was steered from a box at the very top of all, and this particular one .was propelled by one wheel at her stern. The river is quite beautiful; it is from 200 to 300 yards broad, very deep and tortuous, and the large trees grow right down to the very edge of the water.
Our captain at starting expressed in very plain terms his extreme disgust at the expedition, and said he fully expected to run against a gunboat at any turn of the river.
Soon after leaving Munroe, we passed a large plantation. The negro quarters were larger than a great many Texan towns, and they held three hundred hands.
After we had proceeded about half an hour, we were stopped by a mounted orderly (called a courier), who from the bank roared out the pleasing information, " They're a-fighting at Harrisonburg." The captain on hearing this turned quite green in the face, and remarked that he'd be " dogged" if he liked running into the jaws of a lion, and he proposed to turn back; but he was jeered at by my fellow-travellers, who were all either officers or soldiers, wishing to ci'oss the Mississippi to rejoin their regiments in the different Confederate armies.
One pleasant fellow, more warlike than the rest, suggested that as we had some Enfields on board, we should make " a little bit of a fight," or at least " make one butt at a gunboat." I was relieved to find that these insane proposals were not received with any enthusiasm by the majority.
The plantations, as we went further down the river, looked very prosperous; but signs of preparations for immediate skedaddling were visible in most of them, and I fear they are all destined to be soon desolate and destroyed.We came to a courier picket every sixteen miles. At one of them we got the information, " Gunboats drove back," at which there was great rejoicing, and the captain, recovering his spirits, became quite jocose, and volunteered to give me letters of introduction to a " particular friend of his about here, called Mr. Farragut;" but the next news, " Still a-fightin'," caused us to tie ourselves to a tree at 8 p. M., off a little village called Columbia, which is half-way between Munroe and Harrisonburg.
We then lit a large fire, round which all the passengers squatted on their heels in Texan fashion, each man whittling a piece of wood, and discussing the merits of the different Yankee prisons at New Orleans or Chicago. One of them, seeing me, called out, " I reckon, Kernel, if the Yankees catch you with us, they'll say you're in d—d bad company;" which sally caused universal hilarity.
12th May (Tuesday).—Shortly after daylight three 'negroes arrived from Harrisonburg, and they describei the fight as still going on. They said they were "dreadful skeered;" and one of them told me he would " rather be a slave to his master all his life, than a white man and a soldier."
During the morning some of the officers and soldiers left the boat, and determined to cut across country to Harrisonburg, but I would not abandon the scanty remains of my baggage until I was forced to do so.
During the morning twelve more negroes arrived from Harrisonburg. It appears that three hundred of them, the property of neighboring planters, had been engaged working on the fortifications, but they all with one accord bolted when the first shell was fired. Their only idea and hope at present seemed to be to get back to their masters. All spoke of the Yankees with great detestation, and expressed wishes to have nothing to do with such " bad people."
Our captain coolly employed them in tearing down the fences, and carrying the wood away on board the steamer for firewood.
We did nothing but this all day long, the captain being afraid to go on, and unwilling to return. In the evening a new alarm seized him—viz., that the Federal cavalry had cut off the Confederate line of couriers. During the night we remained in the same position as last night, head up stream, and ready to oe off at a moment's notice.*
13th May (Wednesday).—There was a row on board last night; one of the officers having been too attentive to a lady, had to skedaddle suddenly into the woods, in order to escape the fury of her protector, and he has not thought it advisable to reappear. My trusty companion for several days, the poor young Missourian, was taken ill to-day, and told me he had a " right smart little fever on him." I doctored him with some of the physic which Mr. Maloney had given me, and he got better in the evening.
We had pickets out in the woods last night. Two of my fellow-travellers on that duty fell in with a negro, and pretending they were Yankees, asked him to join them. He consented, and even volunteered to steal his master's horses ; and he then received a tremendous thrashing, administered by the two soldiers with their ramrods.
At 9 p. M., to the surprise of all, the captain suddenly made up his mind to descend the river at all hazards, thinking, I suppose, that any thing was better than the uncertainty of the last twenty-four hours.
The further we went, the more beautiful was the scenery.
At 4 p. M. we were assured by a citizen on the bank that the gunboats really had retreated; and at 5.30 our doubts were set at rest, to our great satisfaction, by descrying the Confederate flag flying from Fort Beauregard, high above the little town of Harrisonburg. After we had landed, I presented my letter of introduction from General Hebert to Colonel Logan, who commands the fort. He introduced me to a German officer, the engineer.
They gave me an account of the attack and repulse of the four Federal gunboats under Commodore "Woodford, and supposed to hare been the Pittsburg ironclad), the General Price, the Arizona, and another.
Fort Beauregard is a much more formidable looking work than I expected to see, and its strength had evidently been much underrated at Munroe.
A hill 190 feet high, which rises just in rear of Harrisonburg, has been scarped and fortified. It is situated at an angle of the river, and faces a long " reach" of two miles.
The gunboats, after demanding an unconditional surrender, which was treated with great contempt by Colonel Logan, opened fire at 2 p. M. on Sunday, and kept it up till 6.30, throwing about one hundred and fifty 9 and 11 inch shell. The gunboats reopened again for about an hour on Monday afternoon, when they finally withdrew, the Arizona being crippled.
The fort fired altogether about forty-five 32-pound shot (smooth bore). The range was about a mile.
The garrison thought that they had loosened several of the Pittsburg's iron-plates. They felt confident they could have sunk the wooden vessels if they had attempted to force the passage; and they were naturally much elated with their success, which certainly had not been anticipated on board my steamer or at Munroe.
I had not time to visit the interior of the fort, but I saw the effect of the shell upon the outside. Those which fell in the sand did not burst. Only three men were wounded in the garrison. They told me the deck of the Pittsburg was furnished with a parapet of cotton-bales for riflemen.
The river at Harrisonburg is about 160 yards broad, and very deep, with a moderate current. The town, being between the vessels and the fort, had, of course, suffered considerably during the bombardment.
"When the works are complete they will be much more formidable.
To our great joy Colonel Logan decided that our vessel should proceed at once to Trinity, which is fifteen miles nearer Natchez (on the Mississippi) than Harrisonburg. We arrived there at 8 P. M., and found that the gunboats had only just left, after having destroyed all the molasses and rum they could find, and carried away a few negroes.
Six of us pigged in one very small room, paying a dollar each for this luxury to an old woman, who was most inhospitable, and told us " she didn't want to see no soldiers, as the Yanks would come back and burn her house for harboring rebels." I am always taken for a Confederate officer, partly from being in their company, and partly on account of my clothes,which happen to be a gray shooting-suit, almost the same color as most of the soldiers' coats.
14th May (Thursday).—The officers and soldiers, about thirty in number, who camcdown the "Wachita in my company, determined to proceed to Natchez to-day, and a very hard day's work we had of it.
As the Louisianian bank of the Mississippi is completely overflowed at this time of year, and the river itself is infested with the enemy's gunboats, which have run past Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the passage can only be made by a tedious journey in small boats through the swamps and bayous.
Our party left Trinity at 6 A. M. in one big yawl and three skiffs. In my skiff were eight persons, besides a negro oarsman named " Tucker." We had to take it in turns to row with this worthy, and I soon discovered to my cost the inconvenience of sitting in close proximity with a perspiring darkie. This negro was a very powerful man, very vain and susceptible of flattery. I won his heart by asking him if he wasn't worth 6,000 dollars. We kept him up to the mark throughout the journey by plying him with compliments upon his strength and skill. One officer declared to him that he should try to marry his mistress (a widow) on purpose to own him.
After beating up for about eight miles against one of three streams which unite at, and give its name to, Trinity, we turned off to the right, and got into a large dense swamp. The thicket was so tangled and impenetrable that we experienced the greatest difficulty in forcing our way through it; we were often obliged to get into the water up to our middles and shove, whilst most of the party walked along an embankment.
After two hours and a half of this sort of work we had to carry our boats bodily over the embankment into a bayou called Log Bayou, on account of the numerous floating logs which had to be encountered. We then crossed a large and beautiful lake, which led us into another dismal swamp, quite as tangled as the former one. Here we lost our way, and got aground several times; but at length, after great exertions, we forced ourselves through it, and reached Lake Concordia, a fine piece of water, several miles in extent, and we were landed at dusk on the plantation of a Mr. Davis. These bayous and swamps abound with alligators and snakes of the most venomous description. I saw many of the latter swimming about exposed to a heavy fire of six-shooters; but the alligators were frightened away by the leading boat.
The yawl and one of the skiffs beat us, and their passengers reached Natchez about 9 P. M., but the other skiff, which could not boast of a Tucker, was lost in the swamp, and passed the night there hi a wretched plight.
The weather was most disagreeable, either a burning sun or a downpour of rain.
The distance we did in the skiff was about twentyeight miles, which took us eleven hours to perform.
On landing we hired at Mr. Davis's a small cart for Mr. Douglas (the wounded Missourian) and our baggage, and we had to finish the day by a trudge of three miles through deep mud, until, at length, we reached a place called Vidalia, which is on the Louisianian bank of the Mississippi, just opposite Natchez.
At Vidalia I got the immense luxury of a pretty good bed, all to myself, which enabled me to take off my clothes and boots for the first time in ten days.
The landlord told us that three of the enemy's gunboats had passed during the day; and as he said their crews were often in the habit of landing at Vidalia, he cautioned the military to be ready to bolt into the woods at any time during the night.
There were two conscripts on board my skiff today, one an Irishman and the other a Pole. They confessed to me privately their extreme dislike of the military profession; but at the same time they acknowledged the enthusiasm of the masses for the war.
15th May (Friday).—I nearly slept round the clock after yesterday's exertions. Mr. Douglas and I crossed the father of rivers and landed on the Mississippi bank at 9 A. M.
Friday, November 26, 2010
FROM THE 175TH N. Y. BATTALLION.—We received, yesterday, the following interesting letter from a well informed member of the 175th N. Y. Battalion, in which are several well-known Trojans:—
MORGANZIA, La., May 29, 1864.
Editor Troy Whig—Sir: Here we are at Morganzia, awaiting transportation. Regiments are leaving daily for various points along the river, all ambulances are turned in, and trains are being moved as fast as possible. In a short time our large army, which at the commencement of the campaign numbered about 35,000 men, will be divided, covering a space of several hundred miles along the
There is not much probability of a campaign during the Summer months as the heat here is intense, and, another thing, the condition of our army since the late battles is of such a nature that it requires recuperation.
Maganzia [sic] was once a place of some note, possessing as it does a fine landing for boats, and having a number of large plantations contiguous; but, like most of Southern towns, it is, or rather was small, it having been destroyed about a year ago by our gunboats. At the North it would be scarcely called a hamlet. To this place it was that General Herron, commanding the Tenth army corps, fell back last year on his return from
The river is now rising, and its broad and turbid waters, as it winds its dangerous course to the Gulf, presents a scene at once imposing and magnificent; yet, from the vast levelness of the surrounding scenery the charm is soon over and we turn in imagination to our own beautiful Hudson, with its clear, silvery, and comparatively placid waters--with its Highlands, its Catskills, its Palisades, its numerous flourshing [sic] towns and villages, and the white canvass dotting its smooth and polished surface. However, the thoughtful cannot but reflect upon the probable changes which time will effect upon this, as yet undeveloped country.
If you were here you would discover that ill fortune depressed our army but little. The song, the jest, and the various games of the camp are as rife as if victory had crowned our efforts. Every evening the bands of various regiments discourse excellent music. The health of our troops is good, and" all goes merry as a marriage bell."
Of late there has been a great improvement made in our hospital boats. Comfortable bunks are arranged for our sick and wounded, and taken all together they will now compare favorably with quarters in
and Baton Rouge . New Orleans
Considerable ill feeling exists between the Thirteenth and Nineteenth army corps, in relation to the affair at
, the former, who are Western men, casting reflections upon the latter, depreciating their services, when it is well known that the Nineteenth corps saved our whole train from immediate capture. The above reflections led to the issuing of a statement by Gen. Emery, commanding the Nineteenth corps, to be read before the men of his command, setting forth the valuable services rendered by them during the Pleasant Hill Red Riverexpedition.
Every precaution is being taken to protect ourselves and prevent surprise, while we remove trains, army stores, &c. We are converting the levee—which is readily done—into a breastwork, with embrazures for cannon, which are already mounted to the distance of two miles, pointing to the woods in our rear. Our camps are on the river side of the levee, which space is covered during high water. It is composed of fine sand, and as a camp is very disagreeable.
A brigade of cavalry went out this morning to reconnoiter the woods, and discovered a force of the enemy, amounting to about 7000; but I do not think that there is any probability of their making an attack upon us while in our present position. We are too convenient to the gunboats--the universal dread of rebeldom. Yet we know not what they may attempt. Their late successes may have emboldened them to that degree that they will act with rashness; or they may have crossed the Atchafalaya in force, and as we have at present not more than 12,000 men here they may risk an engagement with the hope of capturing military stores.
An order has been issued making a river marine or police of the Nineteenth army corps (to which our battalion belongs) to serve on boats running up and down the river, and landing whenever it becomes necessary to attend to guerrillas, who may attempt to interrupt its navigation. There is nothing more of interest occurring here at present. Should anything of importance take place I will not fail to apprise you of it. R. G.
FROM THE 175TH BATTALLION N. Y. V.—
The following interesting letter from a former Trojan reached us yesterday:--
MORGANZIA, La., June 15, 1864.
Editor Whig—Sir: Movements of such great magnitude occurring in Virginia may so eclipse our movements here that any information I may send you will be skipped over as unworthy of a passing glance, and, perhaps with justice, as there is certainly nothing transpiring that will compare, in the remotest degree with the unparrelled [sic] events which are now reddening the soil of the Old Dominion with blood. But, while I an fortunately unable to depict great battles causing immense human sacrifices, there is left to me the more pleasing task of penning a few sentences on southern life and manners.
It may be thought by many persons of the North that the negro is treated by the white population of the South as a being little superior to the brute; but experience has taught me that quite the reverse is the fact. This erroneous idea, no doubt, arises from a consideration of the abject condition of the slave, which supposes him to be shut out from all commingling and association with the whites. Now in contrasting them in this respect with the colored population of the North I find that, while at the North the prejudice against them is so intense that white persons will not associate with them in the street, in the Church, nor dwell with them in the same house, here at the South they do all these, and, in addition, publicly live together as man and wife, raising in many instance large families, without occasioning any remarks from their neighbors. The negro maid is the young southern lady's confidante in matters of love, and any person who may wish to take the trouble can see in the large towns the mistress and servant sitting side by side in the same carriage engaged in familiar and agreeable conversation, without any display of pompous dignity on the part of the Southern lady. To be sure morality stands not so high as with the rigid puritan spirit of the North, nor is the condition of marriage thought so sacred; but still there is less of that degraded licentiousness which we meet in every street and at every turn of our northern cities. In consequence of the above intermingling of the whites and blacks, persons are to be met with here of every shade of color, making it in some instances difficult to determine where the negro ends or the white begins. Northern miscegenationists have a practical illustration of their system here, at least in the towns, the negroes on plantations being generally purely African.
Frankness and affability are prominent traits of the Southern character, and a few gentlemanly, spoken words is enough to make a southerner your friend, which friendship he denotes with an ardor of expression unknown to more sterile climes.—Hospitality too is exercised to that degree that I have known it to be extended to enemies, as in the case of our "drummer boys " who, straggling behind, were on more than one occasion kindly brought into the houses on the road-side by the inmates who, beholding their youth kindly caressed them, pitying their condition and loading their haversacks with, to them, rare delicacies.
I do not know but my remarks will be construed by your readers into "sympathy for the South," and that I will be called "Copperhead" or some other such unmeaning name, but truth compels me to state facts as I find them, and however much I may condemn the act of secession, I may surely be permitted to give the result of my observations.
The women here are generally very independent and as regards the "rebellion" quite out-spoken. They do not conceal their aversion to Yankees, nor despair of the final triumph of
Dixie; yet they are courteous, affable and polite, but steadfast in their opinions, even though in some instances they depend on our army for support. They generally keep within doors, and are seldom seen promenading the streets of the towns, and seem to avoid, as much as possible, coming in contact with soldiers.
I have just returned from a general review of the troops here, which now amounts to about 20,000. They were reviewed by Gen. Sickles. He looked odd enough in the saddle with but one leg, yet his general beauty of form makes one regardless of this defect Tall, graceful and commanding, he appears every inch a soldier.
In a former letter I stated that an order was issued making the 19th Army Corps a river marine or police. For some reason unknown to me this has not been done as yet. A fort is in progress of construction, commanding a road leading from here to
, and it is thought by some, when finished, our corps will leave; but my opinion is, judging from the augmentation of our forces here we will not remain idle. These reviews are significant and a suspicion comes over me that Gen. Sherman may need re-enforcements. Well, our men are now in tolerable condition, having recovered from the effects of fatigue occasioned by the late campaign. Mobile
I learn by private letters received in camp that quite a number of Trojans fell in the late battles before
. Poor fellows, many a word of commisseration [sic] was murmered [sic] as the sad intelligence spread among us,--but such is war! Richmond
From the One Hundred and Seventy-fifth Battalion N. Y. V.
Correspondence of the Troy Daily Times.
, La. June 22, 1864.
A reconnoissance consisting of the Second division of the Nineteenth army corps left this place on the 19th inst., and proceeded up the
as far as Junica Bend. Next morning portions of the force landed on both sides of the river—those on the East side sending out cavalry scouts. During the day those on the West side crossed the river and joined the force there. About P. M. the scouts returned, after having rode out from the river fifteen miles. They reported no appearance of the enemy and accomplished nothing aside from the burning of a bridge and the capture of a few suspected persons. We then proceeded farther up, and next day, the 21st, arrived at Mississippi , a small village in the State of Fort Adams , containing a forwarding house, two churches, a store or two, and a few dwellings. There is a fort there which was built by the Spanish previous to the war of the revolution. This place was particularly interesting to us in consequence of high bluffs or hills rising from a plain a short distance from the river. After long months of viewing nothing but a monotony of levelness, you will not wonder that these hills, or, as they are inappropriately called here, "cliffs," miniatures of ours though they are, produced an enlivening sensation better imagined than described. The Mississippi of our distant home was recalled to mind, and we wandered once more beneath the cooling shades of its wooded banks. At M., we went on board the boats and proceeded a short distance down the river, landed again and awaited the return of the scouts. On their discoveries rested our future movements. Here our battalion were under some wide-spreading shade trees, surrounded by a richness of verdure unsurpassed. In front lay level cultivated fields; in the back ground rose the bluffs with their abrupt and diversified slopes. A solemn stillness prevailed, disturbed only by the songs of birds, the hum of insects and the gentle whisper of the winds passing through the shades of those tall and majestic Mississippi trees. 'Twas a time for reflection—what would come next we knew not; but we are now so accustomed to meeting the enemy that his presence affects us but little; so we carelessly jested the time away, save here and there a countenance which showed by its fixed gaze unconsciousness of the presence of comrades. These were no doubt dwelling upon scenes of the past, picturing to their minds the happy hours spent with those far away. At P. M. the division returned to the boats, bound for Morganza, no enemy having been found. While at Hudson the inhabitants informed us that the confederates had generally left for Fort Adams . We arrived at Morganza about , and marched to our old camps. R. G. Virginia
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
- January 31, 1863
- February 2, 1863
- March 18, 1863 (Robbin Station, 12 miles from Port Hudson)
- April 15, 1863
- April 27, 1863