Civil War Louisiana (CWLA)

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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.
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

New England Yankee on Alligators and Mosquitoes

The 13th Maine Infantry Regiment was part of the occupation army of south Louisiana in 1862. Part of the regiment was stationed at Forts Jackson and St. Philip. Private Edwin B. Lufkin of the 13th Maine wrote a regimental history of unit's exploits in the war in 1898. In his book, History of the Thirteenth Maine Regiment From its Organization in 1861 to its Muster-Out in 1865, Lufkin made some observations about alligators and mosquitoes. I thought it was funny to read the impression of a New England Yankee living on the southern coast of sub-tropical climate. Here they are:


"The waters of southern Louisiana, at that time, were swarming with alligators, which had only just began to be hunted for their hides; so that the raising of poultry, and especially of ducks and geese, had quite an element of uncertainty. These immense lizards, whose heads, for unadulterated hideousness, would take the prize medal in an impartial competition with a bull moose, were plenty in the vicinity of the forts [Jackson and St. Philip]; and often one could be seen floating with only his eyes out of water, or lying on the bank with his ill-favored countenance wide open, trapping flies. It was said by the inhabitants of the coast, as the bank of the lower Mississippi is called, that an alligator was never known to molest a white man; but a young negro, or a dog, approaching the water, was in great danger. The soldiers soon lost all fear of them, and were often seen bathing within a few rods of a big alligator-and were never molested."

"Mosquitoes, in their season, made guard duty a torture. Many of the men, when on guard in the night, went veiled as closely as if they were hiving bees, while others carried switch brushes made by stripping palmetto leaves; but neither expedient afforded more than partial relief."

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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