Civil War Louisiana (CWLA)

Civil War Louisiana (CWLA)
CWLA seeks to provide an online resource of any and all material of the Civil War relating to Louisiana with a special interest in the war in Acadiana in southwest Louisiana.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Louisiana Rum

Multiple accounts of Yanks in Louisiana talk about the "Louisiana rum" and how they (Yanks) made good use of the item when they stole it from the local inhabitants. General William Dwight noted in his official report on the Teche Campaign (April-May 1863). Following the Battles of Fort Bisland and Irish Bend, Dwight took part in the pursuit of Richard Taylor's army through New Iberia:

April 23rd: "...Having obtaind a good guide, I sent a force of cavalry to capture this flat-boat. It was captured...It turned out to be loaded with about 50 barrels of the best quality of Louisiana rum (made from the sugar instead of molasses), some sugar, and some lard."

April 27th: "At night in New Iberia there was some noise and confusion in this brigade, owing to the fact that some soldiers got hold of Louisiana rum."

Brigadier General Robert A. Cameron reported an incident with the 16th Indiana Mounted Infantry in the La Fourche District on November 30, 1864:

"I heard by rumor that Captain Moore, his officers and men, had seized a quantity of Louisiana rum and were on a drunken spree, committing various depredations, and that one of his men had attempted to rape a mulatto girl and had shot and killed her for resisting. I immediately sent a messanger with an order to Captain Moore to return...The messanger found the officers gone, but the senior sergeant opened the order and returned with the command. The sergeant reported that Captain Moore had taken all the officers witih him, a sergeant and six men, in an open boat and had been absent from his command for four days...It appears that Captain Moore with the balance of his officers abandonded their command in a state of intoxication on the evening of the 23rd and was led by Raymond Luke to the camp of a rebel officer and his recruiting party and fell an easy prey...I have the murderer Hilton in custody and he will be tried for murder."

In an account in Among the Cotton Thieves the author, Colonel Bacon of the 6th Michigan, describes a particular situation where the flanking skirmishers of his regiment advanced too far. Bacon said, " returning the fire of the enemy my own men are likely to send some shots among their friends, and the effect of the Louisiana rum, which has been freely used, may be such as to give another fine example of federal soldiers getting into a skirmish among themselves."

Seems the reputation of Louisiana Rum was known outside of south Louisiana:


The liquors purchased in this section of country by ex-members of the "Sons of Temperance," are very inferior to those described by our Richmond friend. An article generally known as Louisiana rum, is becoming rather too common for health among our military friends. To use the language of a recent purchaser, "It would burst up a bible society." If a man is rash enough to take more than one drink, he becomes mean enough to steal his mother's wedding ring, for the purpose of exchanging it for a negro's possum dog. Not using the article, we cannot be positive, but we honestly believe it would kill an able bodied man, off hand, at less than thirty yards.

It would burst up a bible society...he'll become mean enough to steal his mother's wedding ring to exchange for a negro's possum dog? WOW! More to come on this topic!

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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