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.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


On two occasions early in the war (April-August 1861 and March-April 1862) Louisiana provided two bulk waves of units/recruits to the war effort. The first concentration, from the outbreak of war through July of 1861, was the scramble to reach Virginia "before the war was over." The second mobilization of Louisiana units came to meet U.S. Grant's quick strike at Corinth, Mississippi. In both situations, Louisiana mobilized thousands of men and quickly sent them to the front. The first of these mobilizations has been best documented by Terry L. Jones' Lee's Tigers. Jones' book is about the Louisiana units that fought in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. This post is by no means ground breaking but I noticed that the majority of our units were mobilized and pushed into action to meet these two events (Jump to Virginia and Grant's threat of Corinth).

Two calls for volunteers came in April of 1861. To meet the call, Louisiana organized and sent a multitude of units to Virginia: 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 14th Regiments; Wheat's 1st Special Battalion, Dreaux's 1st Battalion, Coppens' Zouaves Battalion, Bradford's 3rd Louisiana Battalion, and a collection of independent companies that were eventually formed into Waddell's 4th Louisiana Battalion and St. Paul's 7th Louisiana Battalion. Topping off the list were four batteries of the Washington Artillery. The exodus of Louisiana units to Virginia began in early April of 1861 and continued until early August of 1861. The height of movements east was during May-June. Below is a chronological list of when units were mustered into Confederate service and then when they departed for Virginia.

UNIT Acct. into Service Ordered to, or Left for Va

Dreaux's 1st Bn. April June 15

Coppens' Zouave Bn. early April June 1

1st Louisiana April 28 April 29

Washington Artillery May 26 May 27

2nd Louisiana May 11

5th Louisiana June 4 June 5

6th Louisiana June 4 June 9

7th Louisiana June 5 June 6

Wheat's 1st Special Bn. June 5 June 13

8th Louisiana June 15 June 22

9th Louisiana July 6 July 13

10th Louisiana July 22

14th Louisiana ("1st Polish") June 16

3rd Louisiana Bn. ("2nd Polish") June 16 August 25

The exodus of Louisiana units to Virginia began in early April of 1861 and continued until early August of 1861. The height of movements east was during May-June.

It looks as though the average trip from the Camp Moore-New Orleans region was a 5-7 day trip. The route was pretty routine: North through Jackson and Grenada, Mississippi; Grand Junction, Tennessee and then east to Corinth, across northern Alabama and to Chattanooga; northeast through Knoxville and Bristol and then to Lynchburg. From there units either went on through to Manassas or east to Richmond. The exception was the trip of Dreaux's and Cozzens' Battalions from Pensacola, Florida.

The 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Regiments and Wheat's Battalion were sent to Northern Viriginia. These units formed the basis of what became the Taylor-Hays 1st Louisiana Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia. Eventually, Wheat's Battalion was disbanded in August of 1862 and disbanded to its sister units. Also, the 5th Louisiana regiment was attached following the Seven Days Campaign. The 9th and future 14th Regiments jumped a around a little bit but by October 1862 the 1st Louisiana Brigade took shape (one it kept until May 1864): 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Louisiana Regiments.

The 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 10th Regiments, along with Coppens' and Dreaux's Battalions, were sent to Southeast Virginia/Peninsula region. St. Paul's Battalion was originally sent to Northern Viriginia but then joined the Louisiana units on the Peninsula. This collection of units formed the basis of the eventual 2nd Louisiana Brigade. It was the Peninsual group that faced the biggest changes in organization due to the multiple battalions. In May 1862, Dreaux's Battalion was disbanded with one company joining the 1st Louisiana and a large group forming Fenner's Louisiana Battery. Several officers from Dreaux's unit made their way back to Louisiana where the found higher comissions in new regiments being formed for a new concentration out west (i.e., Captain Stuart Fisk becoming the new Colonel of the 25th Louisiana). Bradford's 3rd Battalion and St. Paul's 7th Battalion were combined on August 1st to form the 15th Louisiana Infantry. From October 1862 until May 1864 the 2nd Louisiana Brigade was organized as: 1st, 2nd, 10th, 14th and 15th Louisiana Regiments.

Of all the Louisiana units sent to Virginia Waddell's 4th Battalion became the exception. Itwas not a unit sent from Louisiana to Virigina. Instead, it was created in Viriginia from a collection of miscellanious companies that had arrived from Louisiana. It was created in Richmond in July and never joined the units in Viriginia was part of the future "Lee's Tigers" Louisiana Brigades. Instead, it served briefly in Richmond, then to the east coast and evnetually was transferred west were it was ultimately ordered to Gibson's Louisiana Brigade of the Army of Tennessee in November of 1863.


  1. thanks for posting this--it's very informative

  2. Was Coppens' battalion the same unit as the New Orleans Zouave Battalion? In doing research for a college paper I uncovered newspaper articles about the departure ceremony for the latter. According to the Daily Picayune "all the respectably-connected young men of the city" were joining it. (This makes me doubt that it was Coppens' group! I'm sure there was more than one Louisiana Zouave battalion.)

  3. From the articles you've linked here, it seems that the unit whose flag ceremony I read of was indeed the Fourth Company of Coppens' Zouaves.

  4. Yes, you are correct FortyRounder. Sorry for the late reply.


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