LOUISIANA IN THE CIVIL WAR

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The goal of Louisiana in the Civil War 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.

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Bourbeaux

Bourbeaux
Skirmish at Buzzard's Prairie (Chretien Point Plantation), October 15, 1863

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

THE MOUTON-GRAY BRIGADE

General Alfred Mouton
A much under appreciated Louisiana Brigade was Alfred Mouton's (later Henry Gray's) Brigade. This was the Louisiana Brigade that operated in Louisiana under Richard Taylor's department. The information I am putting below is by no means ground breaking material. Rather, it is an attempt to make sense out of a somewhat confusing story and load of information on Mouton's Brigade.

Mouton's Brigade consisted of, off-and-on, of the following regiments: 18th Louisiana, 24th Louisiana and 28th Louisiana. Unit names common to see in the history of Mouton's Brigade were the following: 10th Louisiana Battalion (Yellow Jacket Battalion), 11th Louisiana Battalion, 12th Louisiana Battalion (Confederate Guards Response Battalion), and 33rd Louisiana Regiment. Also, you will come across the Consolidated 18th Regiment and Yellow Jacket Battalion and the Consolidated Crescent Regiment. This is very confusing and I'll attempt to break down this confusing set up for you and track the progression of Mouton's Brigade.

The two mainstay regiment's Mounton's Brigade were the 18th and 24th (Crescent) Regiments. These regiments were brigaded together the Confederate build up at Corinth, in March of 1862. They were part of Colonel Preston Pond's Brigade and fought at the Battle of Shiloh together. Following Shiloh, the two regiments took part in the Siege of Corinth and accompanied the army on its retreat to Tupelo. From here the two regiments eventually found their way back to Louisiana. The 24th Regiment disbanded at the end of its 90 Day enlistment in June. The regiment was organized and ordered to report to Richard Taylor's command in south Louisiana. The 18th Regiment was transferred to Pollard, Alabama in August of 1862 and stayed there until its transfer to Taylor in October. Both regiments reported for duty to Taylor at New Iberia.

During this time, Mouton was recovering from facial wound he received at Shiloh. He initially went to New Orleans to recuperate. While there he received notification of his promotion to Brigadier General (April 17th) with orders to report to the Army of the Mississippi to take command of a brigade once healed. Mounton's wound, though, took a long time to heal and he went to Vermillionville to complete his recuperation.

It was at this point (October 1862) that Mouton joined these regiments. Mouton, wounded at Shiloh, went to New Orleans and finally Vermillionville to recuperate. While doing so, Mouton was promoted to Brigadier General (April 17th) and ordered to report back to the Army of the Mississippi. Mouton's facial wound, though, prevented him taking the field again until October. At this point, he was ordered to report to Taylor for duty and assigned to the Lafourche District. Mouton was put in charge of a small force that operated out of Thibodeaux with units spread from Donaldsonville to Bayou Des Allemands.

When Mouton returned to duty his command included the 18th Regiment, newly reformed 24th Regiment and the newly created 33rd Louisiana Regiment. The 33rd Regiment "enjoyed" an extremely brief life. It was created on October 10th near Donaldsonville. It was created by the consolidation of the 10th Louisiana Battalion and 12th Louisiana Battalion. It fought in one battle, Battle of Georgia Landing, and appears to have conducted itself unfavorably. There were problems between the two units consolidating into one regiment and on November 23rd Taylor disbanded the regiment back into its two distintive battalions. The battalions, though, are of special interest to the history of Mouton's Brigade.

The 12th Louisiana Battalion is also known as Clack's Battalion and the Confederate Guards Response Battalion. This unit was originally organized in New Orleans as the Confederate Guards Response Battalion. It formed in March of 1862 for 90 Days with two companies. It served in the Army of the Mississippi, fought at Shiloh, served in the Siege of Corinth and disbanded at Tupelo at the end of its service (July). It reorganized itself at New Iberia in August, with a third company added soon afterwards. After its brief role in the 33rd Louisiana it remained an independent Battalion, fighting in the Battles of Irish Bend and Bayou Fordoche. When the army returned to south Louisiana, Clack's Battalion was attached to Mouton's Brigade in August.

The other battalion used to create the 33rd Regiment was the 10th Louisiana Battalion or better known as the Yellow Jacket Battalion. This battalion was formed in St. Martinville in April of 1862 under the command of Antoine Fournet and thus it was commonly known as Fournet's Battalion. It operated in South Louisiana during late 1862 and was merged with the 12th Battalion in October to form the 33rd Regiment. After the break up of that regiment the battalion fought at Bisland and Irish Bend. Although it operated with the army during 1863 a large percentage of the regiment deserted when the army left the Teche Region. It was mounted and hunted Jayhawkers through the Summer. Once the battalion reconstituted itself at Vermillionville it joined Mouton's Brigade in September of 1863.

In November of 1862, the 28th Louisiana was attached to the brigade. The 28th Regiment was formed in May of 1862 under Colonel Henry Gray. Gray's regiment served with distinction at both Bisland and Irish Bend.


Henry Gray

By September 1863, Mouton's Brigade consisted of the above units (18th Regiment, 24th Regiment, 28th Regiment, Clack's Battalion and Fournet's Battalion). The brigade was joind by another unit at this time, the 11th Louisiana Battalion. The 11th Battalion was formed in Monroe in May of 1862 under the command of Lt. Colonel J.D. Shelley. It operated in North and Central Louisiana until the Summer of 1863 when it joined Mounton's Brigade. It particpated in the marches across Central and South Louisiana from the Summer through November. Thus was Mouton's Brigade for the Overland Campaign of October and November of 1863.

In November, Mouton's Brigade underwent a consolidation. The nucleus of the consolidation were the 18th and 24th Regiments. Each of these units served as the base around which the 10th, 11th and 12th Battalions were merged into. On November 3rd at Simmsport, the 11th and 12th Battalions (Fournet's) were merged with 24th Louisiana to form the Consolidated Crescent Regiment. The 18th Louisiana and 10th Battalion (Yellow Jackets) were consolidated at Simmsport on November 14, 1863 to form the Consolidated 18th Regiment and Yellow Jacket Battalion Volunteer Infantry.

The brigade spent the winter of 1863 moving from Simmsport to Alexandria to Monroe and back to Alexandria. When the Red River Campaign began in March of 1864 the brigade broke camp near Alexandria and proceeded to retreat for the next weeks toward Shreveport. It participated in the Battles of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill and Yellow Bayou during the campaign. It was at Masnfield on April 8, 1864 that brigade had its "defining moment." More popular Louisiana units/brigades had signiature moments: The 3rd Louisiana's charge at Corinth and its stand at Vicksburg, Gibson's charge at Shiloh at the Hornets Nest, the stand of the Louisianians at 2nd Manassass and the Valley Campaign of 1862 were all defining moments in the history of Louisiana. For Mouton's Brigade, it was the charge on the fence line at Mansfield. It was here that Mouton was killed and command of the brigade officially passed to Gray (even though Gray was commanding while Mouton was put in charge of a ad-hoc division with the addition of Polignac's Texas Brigade).

Following the Red River Campaign the brigade muddled through Central and North Louisiana and Southern Arkansas. It spent the Winter of 1864-65 between Minden and Pineville. In May of 1865, the brigade marched to Mansfield where it received word of Lee's surrender. There were no surrender ceremonies like Waggaman's and Gibson's Brigades at Appomattox and Meridian. Instead, when word of Lee's surrender reached the brigade it was disbanded and the men went home.



  • Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr. has been the leading author on the Mouton-Gray Brigade. Over the past 30+ years he has put forth work on this brigade and its regiments. Listed below are some of the pieces he has written:
  • Bergeron, Guide To Louisiana Confederate Military Units(1861-1865) (1989).
  • Bergeron, The Civil War Reminiscences of Major Silas T. Grisamore (1993). Grisamore was part of the 18th Louisiana Regiment.
  • Bergeron, "A Colonel Gains His Wreath: Henry Gray's Louisiana Brigade at the Battle of Mansfield, April 8, 1864," Civil War Regiments 4 No. 2 (1994).
  • Louisianians in the Civil War, Lawrence Lee Hewitt and Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr. "Yellow Jackets Battalion," 50-71 (2002).

Other Sources:

Edited by Gary D. Joiner, Joiner S. Marilyn and Clifton D. Cardin. No Pardons to Ask, Nor Apologies to Make: The Journal of William Henry King, Gray's 28th Louisiana Infantry Regiment (Voices Of The Civil War) (2006).

Louisiana Tech Library: M-082 FELIX PIERRE POCHE (1836-1895), DIARY AND RELATED PAPERS, 1854-1955. Poche served in the 28th Louisiana. Box 001, Folder 003 contains Poche's Diary that spans 1863-1865.

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Coppens' Zouave Battalion

Coppens' Zouave Battalion
Lt. Colonel George Coppens (seated) and brother, Captain Marie Alfred Coppens.Image sold at auction on Cowan Auctions, for $14,375