LOUISIANA IN THE CIVIL WAR

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SCOPE & CONTENT

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.

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Captured Confederates at Gettysburg

Captured Confederates at Gettysburg
Confederates captured at Gettysburg. Some believe that these were three Louisiana "Tigers."

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

15th Louisiana's Losses at Chancellorsville

Found this piece in the Richmond Daily Dispatch.


On May 14, 1863, the Richmond Daily Dispatch published a list of casualties for the 15th Louisiana in the Battle of Chancellorsville.  Colonel Pendleton’s finger was shot off in the fight.

List of killed and wounded in the 15th Louisiana regiment (Col. E. Pendleton) at the battle of Chancellorsville, May 2d and 3d, 1863.
Field and Staff.--Wounded: Col Edmond Pendleton, Lt-Col M G Goodwyn, Serg't Maj Haskins.
  1. Company A.--Killed: Privates Whittle, Hoffman, Burns. Wounded: Serg't Lente. Missing; Private Cain, (reported killed.)
  2. Company B.--Killed; Privates Walker, Finnegan, Vest, Brake. Wounded; Serg't Hinrick, Corp'l McArthy; privates Conroy, Brenan, Fitzgerald, Haffy, Russell. Missing; Petere.
  3. Company C.--Killed: Private Brown.--Wounded; Lieut Erwin, (in right arm,) Lieut Gross, (slightly,) Serg't Hanck, (seriously.) Serg't Dupuy, (flesh wound in leg;) privates Vizer and P Smith. Missing; Privates Bernard, O Badeaux, and P Badeaux.
  4. Company D.--Killed: Private H Johnson. Wounded: Lieut Power, Lieut Lockwood, Serg't Simcox; privates Riley, Krechbaum, Lehauey, Fanning, Guravin.
  5. Company E.--Killed: Lieut Haynes and Serg't Paul. Wounded: Privates Cormady and Brown. Missing: Corp'l Rourke.
  6. Company F.--Killed; Sergt Rowe. Wounded; Sergts Roden and Clendenning, Corporal Wynn, privates Knight and Donley. Missing: Corpl Holloway, privates Carroll and Flynn.
  7. Company G.--Killed: Sgt McElwel, Corpl Tucker, private Bigger. Wounded: Captain Michie, slightly; Lts Bowman and Davenport slightly; Sgts Wynn and Brown, dead; Corpl Aldridge, privates Lott, Carroll, England, Dawson, Merillian, Braddock, Cannedy, J W Nuggatt, Crawford, Womack. Missing: Manning.
  8. Company H.--Killed: W Woff. Wounded; Capt Withemp, Lt Blackstone, Corpl Vinet. Missing: McPherson, M Gainer, Barnett.
  9. Company I.--Killed: D Hogan, E Clark. Wounded; Lt Brown, since dead; Sgts Trumzler and Napier, Cpl Trisher, privates Tiller, McClure, Manning, Greer, McQuaid, Shae.
  10. Company K.--Wounded: Sgt Brown, prisoner, Sgt Beck, Cpls Salois and Dillon, privates Norris, Keefer, Cunningham, Rank, Heno; Arnauld, Hoff. Missing: Private Messing. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

1st Louisiana at the Battle of King's School House



This story from the Richmond Daily Dispatch was advanced to me by Terry L. Jones (Lee's Tigers, Campbell Brown's Civil War: With Ewell and the Army of Northern Virginia, The Civil War Memoirs of Captain William J. Seymour: Reminiscences of a Louisiana Tiger). This is a great story on one of the more obscure Louisiana regiments in the Army of Northern Virginia. 


THE FIRST LOUISIANA AT KING’S SCHOOL HOUSE

The Seven Days Campaign began on June 25, 1862, when Union General George B. McClellan advanced his line outside Richmond, Virginia—a day before Robert E. Lee attacked McClellan’s right flank at Mechanicsville and started driving the Yankees back.  As part of A. P. Wright’s brigade, Lt. Col. W. R. Shivers’1st Louisiana helped stop McClellan’s advance on June 25.  In the fierce fighting known as the Battle of King’s School House, the Louisianians captured a battle flag from Daniel Sickles’ famed Excelsior Brigade but lost many men in the process.  Colonel Shivers was shot through the arm and a total of 16 of the regiment’s 27 officers were killed or wounded, along with 128 of the 328 men.  Two days after the battle, the Richmond Daily Dispatch ran a story describing the 1st Louisiana’s role in the fight.

Believing an attack was imminent, Gen. Wright ordered up the 48th North Carolina (Col. Rutledge's) regiment, which moved up the road and took position to the left of it, in an open field, with dense woods on their left flank. The right of the road was occupied by the 1st Louisiana, and to their right were the 22d and 4th Georgia. The North Carolinians were in an exposed position, but maintained their ground without flinching, losing not less than 100 killed and wounded. The position of the 1st Louisiana was equally disadvantageous.  Before them was a thick chaparral, in which the enemy were strongly posted. Behind this, also, several brigades were drawn up, their flanks extending beyond, so that they kept up a continual fire upon the Louisianians, inflicting sad loss. Being ordered to charge, the 1st advanced nobly, with the "Butler! and New Orleans!" and at the first dash drove the enemy forth with great havoc. But emerging into the open field behind, they were astonished to discover not less than three brigades opposing them, viz: Thomas Francis Meagher's Irish brigade, Sickles's Excelsior brigade, and another one, the name of which we could not ascertain. Bravely holding their ground, the Louisianians maintained the unequal contest with great dash and boldness, the enemy quailing and retiring before their steady and deadly fire. To their right, however, things were progressing favorably, where the 4th and 22d Georgia were hotly engaged with the enemy, who, after some two hours hard fighting, slowly and reluctantly retired. Comparisons are odious, but it is admitted that the conduct of the 48th N. C., 1st La., and 4th Ga., was beyond all praise. The first of these regiments was perfectly fresh from home, and had never been under fire before; yet there they stood, in open field, waiting for the cowards to advance, and although Col. Rutledge reports a loss of 100 killed and wounded, his brave fellows never gave an inch of ground, but kept up a murderous fire upon the foe, who suffered so much that, although five to one, they did not dare to leave the woods. The Louisianians went into action with 300, and lost 144 killed and wounded. These figures are more than enough to demonstrate their conduct in the fight — for every second man fell! The 4th Georgia, it is said, acted like very devils, and fought and charged three regiments three several times!--and, more than this routed them, losing not less than 50 in killed and wounded. The 22d Georgia lost some ninety odd in killed and wounded, and behaved splendidly.

We would conclude by mentioning the heroic conduct of Private James Henderson, Company A, First Louisiana. This brave fellow had undergone the severe fiery ordeal with his regiment in the morning, and when it was ordered to fall back he voluntarily moved to the front to assist the wounded, as there were neither surgeon nor stretcher bearers with his regiment. Henderson brought off Col. Shivers from the field on his back, returned and recovered the same officer's sword and other equipments, and whenever finding a wounded man sufficiently strong to be removed, he carried him from the field on his back, despite the repeated vollies which the cowardly enemy fired upon him. More than this — when the enemy had posted their pickets, this fine soldier stole through the grass upon his hands and knees, and actually stole our wounded men from under the enemy's guns! We always delight to record the deeds of privates, but can any words of ours add to the honor of such a brave fellow as Henderson? There are, doubtless, many who did as well, in some capacity or other, but we regret that none will advise us of their names and deeds.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

4th Wisconsin from Opelousas to Port Hudson


From the Fourth Wisconsin

Campaign on the Red River

The Assault on Port Hudson

Correspondence of the Sheboygan Times

Port Hudson, La. May 25, 1863

My last communication was from Opelousas, since which time, we have eaten, drank, and slept in the saddle. We have performed some wonderful equestrian feats, some matchless tumbling, and kept in a perfect whirl of excitement night and day. We have roamed the extensive prairies, forded bayous, lassooed horses, chased Rebs., and other acts too numerous to mention. While at Opelousas we were transferred into Dwight’s brigade, Grovers division, went down to Washington and had a running fight of six miles with the enemy, then commenced our march to Alexandria on River river eighty miles distant; our advance was in sight of the rear of the enemy nearly all the time. On this march Gen. Dwights’ brother was shot by a guerilla; the assassin was caught, tried and shot. We made a grand cavalry dash into Alexandria, coming in on the dead run, hooting and yelling like so many savages, and what a notable figure we did cut; rough, ragged and dirty are feeble words to express our conditions; we found that Commodore Davis had beaten us, having reached there, the night before, took possession of the town and hoisted the stars and stripes, in the center of the town; we stopped and gave three rousing cheers for the flag, three for the navy, three for Commodore Davis and cheered for everybody and with a will too, such as the 4th Wis. had not evinced since the first three or four months in the service. - We had been on a long march and endured much hardship and we fancied that we were going to have a season of rest, but in this we were deceived.
            We started the next day in pursuit of the enemy, and overtook him at Cane river, 45 miles from Alexandria, completely surprising him, taking about forty five prisoners and scattering the rest; we captured about 1,000 horses and mules. Co. C was detailed to guard the baggage train back to Alexandria, since which time we have been detached from the Regt. Immediately upon reaching Alexandria, the company was detailed to guard Gen. Bank’s headquarters baggage train; we proceeded to Simmsport, 80 miles distant on the Atchafalaya, twelve miles from the month of Red river, crossed as expeditiously as possible, on a flat boat, rowed by six negroes; you may guess how fast that was, over a river a mile wide and very rapid. Gen. Grover’s division arrived while we were crossing; next morning Co. C, 4th Wisconsin, and Co. F, 1st La. cavalry, started on a reconnoitering expedition; we were joined by three companies of New York cavalry, all under the command of Major ---. We proceeded down the Red river to its mouth, where we saw the steamship Hatfield, watching for rebel prey. We then descended the Mississippi, going through the towns of Williamsport, St. Coupee and a couple of other little places sporting no name, and stopped opposite Port Hudson, while the chief engineer on Gen. Grover’s staff made observations and gained the desired information. We had a splendid view of the fortifications, and the examination was highly satisfactory. We took a prisoner who informed us there was a rebel force on that side the river on the point opposite Port Hudson, which point was separated from us by a small bayou. Of the strength of the force we knew nothing, but it was determined that we should find out something about them; so we proceeded about three miles down the bayou, and we crossed a little neck of land connecting with the point, we then proceeded up the point, thinking to bag them. Co. F being the only ones that were fully armed, we sent out as skirmishers. Co. C had no sabres, nothing but our long muskets which were useless on a horse; the New York boys had no carbines, nothing but sabres and revolvers, good enough on a charge, but worthless as skirmishers, so we only had eighteen men fully armed; we had not proceeded far, when the skirmishers were attacked by the enemy in the edge of a piece of woods, they held their ground bravely, returning the fire with surprising rapidity.
            Co. C, under Lieut. Brooks, immediately dashed forward to their support, but the N.Y. cavalry hung back; Lieut. Mack of Co. F rode back urging them to come forward and make a charge and we could take them prisoners; but they refused. He came back swearing horribly, and addressing us said: “Come on Wisconsin, we can do it alone, such cavalry as that ought to be in h-ll.” We joined his company, Co. C, numbering 37 and Co. F numbering 18. The enemy retired farther into the woods, we followed and deployed. Co. F, with the first platoon of Co. C, under Lieut. Mack, deployed to the right of the road, while the 2nd platoon of Co. C, 15 men, under Lieut. Brooks, deployed to the left extending from the road to the Bayou. Thus forty-five men began a fight with an unknown force of the enemy right under the guns of Port Hudson, that famous stronghold of the Southwest, frowning down upon us, the garrison viewing the contest, and we being 57 miles from reinforcements.
            The attempt was hazardous in the extreme; the major in command was five miles behind, drunk! [bully for the Major!] Abandoned by our comrades, each Lieutenant had to fight on his own hook; but we had found the enemy and was bound to fight him. Lieut. Brooks advanced through the woods about forty rods, when he struck the levee road, and the advance of the rebels being in sight, we commenced firing briskly, the enemy again retreating, we chased them about forty rods further to a turn in the road and levee, Lieut. Brooks and Serg’t O’Conner taking the lead. The Lieutenant becoming convinced that the enemy were endeavoring to draw us into an ambuscade, gave orders to halt. We were now in rather a nice position. Our horses were untrained and would become unmanageable, if we went to firing guns about their ears, and having only fifteen men we could not afford to dismount and let a part hold horses while the rest fought. - Several of the boys dismounted and holding their own horses fired whenever they saw a reb. The enemy waited some time in silence, hoping that we would advance into their snare, but Lieut. Brooks was not to be caught in that way. Sergeant O’Conner went over the levee and advanced alone into the woods to within ten rods of the ambuscade, and finding that they were discovered, they opened a tremendous fire of musketry upon us, to which we replied with some effect, for we saw some fall; but the overwhelming numbers of the enemy convinced us that we could do nothing there, with no force to fall back to, so be were ordered to retreat. About this time, Wm. Sager, of Lima, was shot through the hand. He had just charged cartridge and was drawing rammer, when the shot took him in the right hand, but he succeeded in loading his piece and fired. By this time we had returned some distance; he then mounted his horse and fled, the bullets coming after him like hailstones, but he was true blue. He went a short distance to the rear, where one of the boys tied up his hand the best he could, and he rejoined the company and remained through the action.
            A bullet went through the stock of E. Estry’s gun, between the barrel and rammer, the splinters skinning his knuckles. We retreated about forty rods and halted, when Sergeant O’Conner came trotting up leading his horse, which was so badly frightened he could not mount him. The rebels then sent up a yell of exultation which made us feel wolfish, but could not resent it, so we fell back into the clearing behind the levee, so if they came out in sight we could pepper them. Sergeant O’Conner was dispatched to inform Lieut. Mack that we had retired, so that the enemy should not flank him and cut him off, but the Sergeant could not find him. Meantime Lieut. Mack with his men had advanced rapidly, not meeting any opposition, and the New Yorkers were advancing along the road at a respectful distance behind. Upon hearing that loud firing upon his left, he ordered his men to about face and come to the support of Lieut. Brooks. Before he could get his men together in the road and get back, however, the firing ceased, and he supposing that we were all prisoners ordered a retreat, the New Yorkers, being behind, now became the advance, next Co. F, then the first platoon of Co. C. The rebels had stationed themselves in the woods by the roadside, and now poured in a terrible fire upon them as they passed by. Here occurred a striking instance of the heroic daring that characterized our boys and made them conspicuous. One of the New York cavalry was killed, and his comrades rode on and left him, not a man paying any regard to it. When Co. C came strong, Wm. S. Buzzell stopped and ordered two negroes, that rode in the rear, to dismount and lift the body on his horse. They did so, and he took that dead body across the neck of his horse and carried it five miles, when it seemed like certain death to stop. It won for him the encomiums of the whole party, and too much cannot be said in his praise. It was a noble act, prompted only by the determination that the enemy should not obtain it as a trophy. Wisconson should be proud of such a noble son.
            We learned next morning from the citizens that the enemy had two regiments of infantry, two companies of cavalry, and a section of artillery on that point, and had we advanced fifteen rods further we should have been annihilated. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

John McGrath, "In a Louisiana Regiment" Part V

John McGrath began his military career as a Sergeant in the Delta Rifles of the 4th Louisiana Regiment. We have several of his accounts posted at Louisiana Civil War documenting his role in the 4th Louisiana. McGrath also took the time to write the New Orleans Picayune and include a brief write up of his early days in 13th Louisiana. He actually focuses his attention on joining "Avegno's Zouaves" as a Lieutenant. The six companies of the Governor Guards' Battalion ("Avegno's Zouaves") combined with four independent companies to form the 13th Louisiana in September of 1861.

In a Louisiana Regiment.

New Orleans Picayune, Aug. 2, 9; Sept. 6, 1903


Well, we are off at last. Off to where battles are being fought and where heroes are developed, and every officer and enlisted man in the Thirteenth is eager and anxious to participate in the fray. The all-absorbing desire is to reach a battlefield before the war closes. ‘It cannot possibly last longer than six months,’ say the wise ones. ‘Were not Mason and Slidell taken from an English ship and will not Great Britain avenge the gross insult to her flag?’ With an English fleet at their doors and Southerners at the heels of their soldiers, [117] short work will be made of the Northern armies. Throw fresh fuel into the furnace, firemen. Put on more steam, engineer, to hurry us on our journey. It depends largely on the speed of the boat whether we return conquering heroes, to be welcomed by the shouts and cheers of grateful and admiring thousands, or slink back to peaceful pursuits ‘unknown, unhonored and unsung.’ Ah! my debonnaire comrades, could you but glance into the book of fate and read what is there recorded; see before you the long, weary marches under burning suns, pelting rains or cutting hail storms, your hearts would be heavy and your faces serious. Could you, Major, see that shallow grave gaping to receive your mortal remains on the fiercely contested field of Shiloh, you would cease the interesting story you are telling and turn to beads and prayer. Charley, gallant, light and hearty Charley, could you picture in your mind that solemn midnight scene, on the banks of Stone river, where your body was laid away by tender hands of comrades, Il Trovatore, snatches of which you are softly humming, would suddenly cease and in its stead arise the solemn De Profundis.

Comfortably seated in an armchair, inditing these crude reminiscences forty-two years after, it appears strange and unreasonable that young men are ever ready to leave the comforts of home life to go where chances of early sepulcher are great, limbless bodies abundant, and at the best only hardships and suffering are to be found. So it was, is and always will be.

Readers of these sketches must expect quite a number of twists in the thread of my story. I am not writing a history of the 13th, but my own experience, as a soldier ‘in a Louisiana regiment.’ History tells the tale of the regiment. Nor will I cover more ground than that occupied by the Louisiana Brigade of the Army of Tennessee. While I was at the birth, baptism and death of that great Southern army, I only know what occurred outside of my brigade by hearsay. It was understood in our regiment that they who knew most of the general features of an engagement were company cooks, servants and skulkers, who gathered around wagon trains and viewed ‘the battle from afar.’ I felt in those days that a soldier who stood by his colors was doing his full duty without wandering over the field, watching the operations of brigades to which he did not belong. The truant's excuse, ‘I became entangled with other troops and could not again find my regiment,’ was met by a sneer in the 13th, and to avoid being sneered at, if not for loftier motives, [118] I confined myself and my knowledge of battles to regimental and brigade lines.

Now that we are afoot and fairly on our way, it might be well to furnish a roster of the regiment, which was as follows:

Randall Gibson, Colonel; Aristide Gerard, Lieutenant-Colonel; Anatole P. Avegno, Major;——King, Adjutant.

First Company, Governor's Guards—Auguste Cassard, Captain; Charles Richard, First Lieutenant; Victor Mossy, Second Lieutenant; Victor Olivier, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Second Company, Governor's Guards—J. Fremaux, Captain; B. Bennett, First Lieutenant; C. H. Luzenburg, Second Lieutenant; Charles Hepburn, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Third Company, Governor's Guards—Bernard Avegno, Captain; St. Leon Deetez, First Lieutenant; Henry Castillo, Second Lieutenant; Eugene Lagarique, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Fourth Company, Governor's Guards—M. O. Tracey, Captain; Hugh H. Bein, First Lieutenant; Eugene Blasco; Second Lieutenant; George W. Boylon, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Fifth Company, Governor's Guards-Lee Campbell, Captain; John M. King, First Lieutenant; J. B. Sallaude, Second Lieutenant; Norman Story, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Sixth Company, Governor's Guards—W. Dubroca, Captain; John McGrath, First Lieutenant; A. M. Dubroca, Second Lieutenant; Robert Cade, Junior Second Lieutenant.

St. Mary Volunteers—Thomas G. Wilson, Captain; James Murphy, First Lieutenant; H. H. Strawbridge, Second Lieutenant; Adolph Dumartrait, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Gladden Rifles—William A. Metcalf, Captain; John W. Labuisse, First Lieutenant; Walter V. Crouch, Second Lieutenant; E. B. Musgrove, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Southern Celts—Stephen O'Leary, Captain; John Daly, First Lieutenant; E. J. Connolly, Second Lieutenant; John Dooley, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Norton Guards—George W. Norton, Captain; M. Hunly, First Lieutenant; A. S. Stuart, Second Lieutenant; George Cammack, Junior Second Lieutenant.

J. M. Parker, Sergeant Major.

Colonel Gibson, a graduate of Yale, wealthy, refined and polished by travel and association with the most famous men of the day, served as Colonel or Brigade Commander from the firing of the first gun until the battle-torn and stained flags of the regiments were [119] furled for the last time, and never missed a battle or skirmish in which his command was engaged, and these numbered one hundred or more. In my opinion, Gibson was not what one might call a great commander, but that he was a brave and faithful one his splendid record bears testimony. He was a good soldier, if not a military genius.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard was a Frenchman by birth and a soldier by profession. He was a master of the science of war, and brave to a degree of rashness. Arriving in New Orleans some years previous to the war, while occupying an editorial position on one of the French papers, he became prominent through a duel with a notorious duelist, in which the latter was fatally wounded. Colonel Gerard was not long with the regiment, receiving a severe wound atFarmington, and upon recovery being assigned to duty in the Transmississippi Department.

Major Avegno was a Creole of Louisiana, educated, refined and wealthy. His service was also short, as he fell mortally wounded on the second day at Shiloh, and died a day or two after.

Adjutant King, at the breaking out of the war, was a second lieutenant in the United States Army, resigning to take service with the Confederacy. He was a thorough soldier, and to him in a great measure was due the fine discipline and perfect drill which were always characteristic of the regiment.

At one of the landings made by the boat it was learned that a battle had been fought at Belmont, opposite Columbus, and that the Yankees had been defeated with great loss and had returned to Cairo pell-mell, and that, too, without the presence of the 13th. Thus, thought we, faded the only opportunity of ever facing the enemy. Defeated at Manassas and at Belmont, the Federals would realize the folly of attempting invasion of the South and throw up the sponge. The disappointment had a most depressing effect on officers and men alike, the former cursing the slowness of the boat, while the latter, more superstitious, laid it on the unlucky number of the regiment. ‘Oh, why the blazes did I join the 13th. I might have known we'd be unlucky,’ was a common remark. It was a most discouraging piece of news to all, but I lived to see a time when the boys were not so anxious; when they could have remained on board a Confederate boat with perfect complacency while others were dying. The 13th always performed its full duty when called upon; the men did the fighting falling to their share, but, like the man who ate the crow, ‘didn't hanker arter it.’ After one or [120] two good stiff battles indignation meetings were not held if the regiment found itself in reserve. We might say right here, however, that no battle was fought by the Army of Tennessee where we were overlooked, when a battery was to be captured or a line of battle attacked. ‘Oh, go on, Mike, don't ye know we'll be sent in. We're not voters, an' they'll want to save the Hoosier regiments so as to have as many men after the war as they can to vote. Every last man of the colonels will be running for office,’ I heard one of the men of the Southern Celts say on one occasion.

About evening of the sixth day the journey ended. Columbus was covered by snow and the men without overcoats. Crowds of soldiers came down to the river to see us land, and as many of these had never seen a zouave before, they were surprised beyond measure. They took the baggy trousers for petticoats and one loud-mouthed Hoosier shouted: ‘Jeems, come over here and see the Loosyane wimmen soldiers. All of you'ns come.’ Disgust was plainly discernible on the countenances of the men at being taken for women, and the remarks addressed to the country soldiers were not such as to be printable.

At last the 13th was at the front.




Thursday, August 4, 2011

Black Louisiana Confederates

Here is a link to a piece Arthur Bergeron wrote in Civil War History, Volume XXXII, No. 3, September 1986. It highlights the role of free men of color that fought in Louisiana units.

Monday, August 1, 2011

14th Louisiana Goes to War Pt. VII

The following write up comes from Wayne Cosby. It is a first hand account of Private W.P. Snakenburg of Co. K, 14th Louisiana Infantry. Wayne informed me that the original source of Snakenburg's letter is unknown but his account was printed in 1984 in the Amite News Digest. This is the last piece on Snakenburg's role in the Civil War. This post picks up after Snakenburg's capture at Spotsylvania Court House in May of 1864.

The prisoners were taken to Fredericksburg and next day to a place near Aquia Creek and placed in a bottom or hollow place that put me in mind of a place they called "The Devil's Punch Bowl" that I read of in a book when a boy. There we were kept two or three days, then were taken to Point Lookout at the mouth of the Potomac River on the Chesapeake Bay. There we were kept in a prison guarded by white and negro troops. There was water on three sides of us and no shade at all. As well as I can remember, there was no shade trees at all and the water we were forced to drink as bad as could be, as it was full of copperas, and very little to eat and plenty of salt in what we did get. The officers of the prison were in another stockade, near to ours, but we never could see each other. From our prison camp we could see across Chesapeake Bay to the eastern shore of Maryland on a very calm morning. Men-of-War lay out in the Bay as guards, as also infantry and batteries of artillery were posted to guard the prisoners. Around the prison a plank wall twelve or fourteen feet high was built with a platform about four feet above the top, on the outside, for the guards to walk day and night. While at this prison, I learned through letters from my mother that one of my cousins on her side was there guarding prisoners and belonged to a company attached to the 144th Ohio Regiment. He also learned through his people that I was there a prisoner, and they made arrangements with the officers to send for me. I went to the gate and was taken down to the landing where I met him. His name is John Hemphill, a first cousin. We talked for one hour, I suppose, and the general drift of the conversation was to advise me to take the oath of allegiance to the United States and not go back South to the army. I would not do so and went back to the prison. I was to go back the next day to the same place to meet him as he promised to get me some things I needed, as I lost everything in way of clothes when captured in the works. I went to the place two or three days but did not see him there. When I did see him afterward on guard duty, he told me that he had got into the guard house for some insubordination and could not go. I thought that he was not telling me the truth and did not try to see him any more, and rather than be troubled and worried by him and some officers of the prison about taking the oath, I went to another prison camp in New York as soon as I got the chance. I did not let him know that I was going and he did not find out until I was gone.

While in prison at Point Lookout, I saw a negro soldier, who was walking a beat near the eating houses, fire into a crowd of prisoners going and coming out of the eating houses and were crowded in his path. His ball mortally wounded two and one slightly in the hand. The negro was removed from the camp and we were told that he was tried by a drumhead court marshall and shot the next morning. We did not believe it, as no witnesses were taken out of the prison to such a court. When I left Point Lookout, I and others were taken to Elmira, New York on the Chemung River. We had large plank houses to live in, which was much better than the tents at Point Lookout and good water, but no more to eat than before, but that salted well. I will try to give you our bill of fare and tell you how it was cooked. In the evening, after we ate our dinner, the cooks would put meat (mess pork) into large kettles and boil in clear water, and then take the meat out and let it get cold for breakfast next morning. A slice of the meat and a slice of loaf bread (five or six slices to the loaf) was given each of us for breakfast. After breakfast, the soup in which the meat was boiled the evening before was heated again and a sack or sacks of peas or beans were thrown into the kettle and boiled. Many times we thought that the cooks made a mistake and took up a sack of salt in place of beans and poured it into the kettles, as often we would not see a pea or bean in our plate. A tin cup of the soup and another slice of bread was our dinner. No supper. Many of us had the scurvy in our limbs, which was very painful and would draw the muscles of our bodies bad. Mine were drawn for several weeks. I was crippled badly and my feet broke out with a very bad rising in the instep, one of them the summer after the war was over. It snowed there on the 10th of October, 1864 and we did see the ground any more until March, f1865, excepting when the snow was cleared away. Small pox broke out among the prisoners and there were many cases, but very few died from that trouble, but many from pneumonia and bowel trouble. I suppose the cause of so few deaths from small pox was because we were so lean that the disease could not make an impression on us.

Part 6 - 19 October 1984

During my imprisonment there, I received letters from my home and also from my uncle and aunt in Ohio and Illinois, all wanting me to take the oath and go to their home until the war ended, if I would not go to Louisiana. A certain Doctor, named Green, a citizen of Elmira, who was engaged by the United States Government to attend to the sick in certain wards in prison, was after me nearly every day when he came to prison to make application to take the oath and go to his house and live with his family until the end of the War. I would not.

During the political campaign in the fall of 1864, when Lincoln was elected the second term, there was a large mass meeting and speaking in Elmira one mile from the prison. After the meeting was over and the cannon had ceased to fire salutes, and were returning to their position near the prison, some rascal put a rock in the gun when near the camp and fired it through the roof of our ward near where I lay. The rock came through the roof and struck a hat on the opposite side of the house, cut the hat badly and dropped down in the bunk where two prisoners were lying.

During the winter of 1864, I received several letters from Uncle Paul Jones in Illinois. I kept them and brought them with others back to North Carolina when I left prison and left them with your mother when I went off. She let your Uncle Willy Gardner have them to read and he lost them and they could never be found afterwards. I would have given much for some of them. I would have been glad for all my children to see and read at least one of them from Uncle Paul. I do not think that I can repeat it accurately, but nearly so. He wrote as follows: After speaking of mother and family matters, he wrote me thus -

- Letter -

"And now, William, I hear that you have been wounded and are now a prisoner. How is it? Have you like thousands of others, been made the victims of a few designing slave holders who have, by their peculiar cunning, made you believe that the Constitutional rights and Liberties of the South had been, or were going to be, taken away by the Republican party, who were just then coming to power? If so, read the history of the country and you will find that the Rebellion has been secretly contemplated for almost thirty years, at almost every presidential campaign. Reading the records of the country, will, no doubt, reveal to you the facts in the case, that their intention was to destroy the Union and on its ruins to erect a government with slavery in place of freedom as its chief corner stone and then having used the poor white trash to accomplish their undermining schemes, they would enjoy about as much Liberty, Freedom and Peace as the serfs of Russia did or the peasantry of Ireland do. Such miserable mudsills of society, as you and I, could get employment only when a negro could not be hired and then only at such low rates of wages as they saw proper to give or not being able to own so many acres of land, or so many human chattels, would be debarred from holding any voice or office in government. This may sound ridiculous to you, but it is the inevitable result of carrying out their pet principle, that capital should own labor; that they abhor and detest the laboring class, is evinced by almost all their orators and editors, for they seem to take great delight in calling us by such names as "small fisted farmers", greasy flinty mechanics, "Hot house wifery & Co.", which you, no doubt, have seen posted in their speeches and editorial columns. What better evidence do we need, that they hate us and would continue to hate us even after we had fought their battles and shed our blood to gain their independence? But space tells me to close." etc. (signed) Your Uncle, Paul Jones.

I am satisfied that I have not quoted all of the letter, I cannot remember it exactly. That letter was the first I received from him and was written in the fall of 1864. I received another from him though, shortly. We received notice from the prison officials that in writing to relatives or friends that we must not write more than one page of note paper in an answer. I have seen some comrades receive letters torn in two and only get a part of a letter. That with the signature of my uncles letter was 4 1/2 pages of foolscap and came to me marked in red ink across the letter "Examined, too long, notify your party not to write so long", but I think that the contents of Uncle Paul's letter to me suited the examiners too well to be torn in two, as it might have more effect on me, a rebel, than several personal visits to me while a prisoner. I wrote him that I was not in a position to answer his letter; that all letters were examined and any answer from me to his letter would not leave the prison and so would not undertake it. I also received one, I partly remember, from Aunt Aggie Nichols, of New Richmond, O. She told me that they dwelt in a large brick mansion, owned a large farm, and wanted me to come over some evening and sup with her and get some nice biscuits made of wheat grown on their land, some nice young chicks, some nice milk and butter of her own making and many things of the kind that were good and would have been very good to me then. I simply wrote here I could not go and that when I did leave my present home that I should strike for Dixie. I received letters from others somewhat of the same strain.

The last of February, 1865, I with others was called out to be sent South to be exchanged and I know that I was glad of it, as I had been confined a prisoner since the 12th of May, 1864, and also glad to get out of hearing of some of these people. We were placed under guard and took the train at Elmira, N.Y. and traveled to Little Fork, Harrisburg, Pa., to Baltimore, Md., then took the boat from Baltimore, Md. by Fortress Monroe and Newport News, to the mouth of the James River and up the James to the landing twelve miles from Richmond, Va. As we passed Newport News, we could see the masts of the man-of-war "Cumberland" sticking up out of the water where she was sunk by the Merrimac early in 1862. We got to Richmond March 2nd, 1865, and then learned that the cartel was broken and that we would not be exchanged. I never was anything after but a paroled prisoner. I stayed in Richmond several days and then came down in North Carolina and stayed about ten days and started for Georgia, intending to stay there until exchanged, then return to my Company, but when I got to Raleigh, N.C., I learned that Gen'l Johnston's army won fighting Gen'l William Tecumseh Sherman's army at Bentonville, only a short distance from Raleigh and that Johnston's army was retreating. I could not get by Sherman's army and being a paroled prisoner, did not want to be taken by Sherman's troops a prisoner again, so after staying in Raleigh and vicinity, returned to Edgecombe County. After staying there a while, I went down in Martin County to spend a week and while there learned that Gen'l Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. I did not believe it at first hearing, but after I had gone back to Edgecombe County found that it was so.

I soon had to go to Goldsboro to get more papers to enable me to go about without being molested by the United States troops. That was the end of the War for me. I carried those papers for several years and would not take the oath of allegiance to the United States until Gen'l Lee had published a letter advising all his army comrades to take the oath so that we would be entitled to rights of citizenship. Before and election held in 1867, I went before a negro registrar in Greenville who was very ignorant, could scarcely read, and with many mental reservations swallowed what he read. I then voted against changing the Constitution of North Carolina and my name and all others who did so were sent to Gen'l Edward Richard Sprigg Canby who was in command of the Department, but we never heard any more of the matter. Since then I have always voted the Democratic ticket and shall always do so, I hope.

I do not know anything of the work of the Company after I was taken prisoner, excepting from information, but have learned that they fought Sept. 19th, when Col. Jim Williams was killed and Col. York lost the very horse that he rode in the battle, a shell going through him. They fought in the 2nd Cold Harbor fight, near Petersburg, then were sent off with Gen'l Early through the Valley of Virginia, through Maryland and into Pennsylvania, then to the suburbs of Washington D. C. On this trip they fought at Kernstown, Va., Winchester, Monocacy Bridge in Maryland; near Frederick City, then Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek, where York, who had been promoted General in the field of Cold Harbor, lost his arm. Corporal Peter Reilly was also killed there.

I will now close this account of our work for the Confederacy and hope it may interest you. I could have written more, as I have written nothing of our marching and fighting and very little of camp life, particularly as to how we spent our time while in Winter Quarters, such as playing ball, singing, etc.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

John McGrath "In a Louisiana Regiment" Part IV

John McGrath began his military career as a Sergeant in the Delta Rifles of the 4th Louisiana Regiment. We have several of his accounts posted at Louisiana Civil War documenting his role in the 4th Louisiana. McGrath also took the time to write the New Orleans Picayune and include a brief write up of his early days in 13th Louisiana. He actually focuses his attention on joining "Avegno's Zouaves" as a Lieutenant. The six companies of the Governor Guards' Battalion ("Avegno's Zouaves") combined with four independent companies to form the 13th Louisiana in September of 1861.


In a Louisiana Regiment.

New Orleans Picayune, Aug. 2, 9; Sept. 6, 1903


After a month or more spent between the banks of Beaver creek and the river Tangipahoa orders came to proceed to Camp Chalmette, below New Orleans. Officers and men alike had been anxiously expecting orders to proceed to Virginia, and were greatly disappointed at change of destination, but as any change was desirable, marching orders were hailed with intense satisfaction.

Soon after receipt of orders a reign of busy activity began. Tents were taken down, trunks packed, blankets rolled and the regiment aligned along the railroad track to await the train. Every officer had one trunk at least at Camp Moore, but a day came when all one's surplus clothing was rolled in a blanket to be slung and carried over the shoulder. Trunks shrunk to valises, valises to hand grips and hand grips to nothing in a remarkably short time.

The train to carry the regiment and its belongings came snorting along about 3 o'clock in the morning, and as soon as filled with men and camp equipage was off for the Crescent City. Without regret, we bade farewell to the old camp in the pines, with its six or seven hundred graves, containing the remains of Louisianians who yielded up their patriotic young lives without having once faced the enemies of their beloved South. Not one single mound, however, was erected over the body of a member of the 13th, a fact which gives emphasis to the remark I often heard, that soldiers from urban communities withstand disease and hardships far better than those raised in the country, where regular hours are maintained and diseases usual to congested communities unknown. To measles may be largely charged the loss of life at Camp Moore, and as this disease is generally contracted in childhood by inhabitants in cities and towns, and as a great majority of our men were city bred, the 13th was as nearly immune as a regiment could well be.

After a few hours' travel, the train pulled into the old Jackson Railroad Depot, where an unusually animated scene presented itself. The surroundings were black with a dense mass of humanity. It was a bright Sunday morning, and fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sweethearts, and throngs of persons drawn hither by simple curiosity, or it may be, moved by patriotic impulses, arrayed in holiday garb, packed the depot until it was well-nigh impossible to alight from the cars or to form companies. [113]

Nine-tenths of the men of the 13th were from New Orleans, mechanics, screwmen, longshoremen, sailors, barbers, cooks, and, in fact, men of all trades and callings, some with parents, sisters and brothers, others with wives and children, and all with scores of friends, and it seemed this Sunday morning as if neither relatives or friends were absent—as if the last one was crowding in upon the cars as the train stopped. Nor was that the worst, for it seemed that every wife, mother or sister in the mob expected her soldier boy to accompany her home for the day. ‘Oh, Captain, for the love of God, let Patrick go home with me. I have a good dinner cooked for him, and he'll be in camp to-night. Oh, do, Captain; maybe I'll never see my boy again,’ importuned an old Irish mother. ‘Impossible, madam, strict orders to keep the men in ranks,’ was the reply. ‘Mon Dieu, Lieutenant! let my lila garcon, Jules, go my'ouse. His petitesis-tar seek. Come back queek,’ said another. ‘Impossible, madam..’ But Patrick slipped, and Mike followed; Jules dodged through the pressing crowd, and Pierre also. Of course, in such a crowd of admiring patriots, with hearts overflowing with patriotism, whiskey was slipped to the boys going off to fight the battles of the country, and the liquor soon began to tell, so by the time the march began many of the soldiers were decidedly groggy. Nevertheless enough sober and slightly intoxicated men remained with the colors to present a fine appearance as we bravely marched through Louisiana's great city, cheered to the echo by crowds massed on the sidewalks. With handsome field-officers, on gaily-prancing steeds, drum and bugle corps beating quicksteps, flashing uniforms of officers and men, the regiment presented a picture the like of which had not been witnessed in the Crescent City since Jackson's army fought at Chalmette—if then.

It was a long march from where the old Jackson depot was located to Camp Chalmette, and, as the men had not made any marches previously, it was absolutely necessary that frequent halts should be made, and every halt meant more whiskey. Only one gross violation of civil or military law resulted from excessive drinking, however, and that was the brutal and unprovoked murder of one soldier by another while resting in front of the Mint. This murder was committed by a Frenchman, a member of the Third Company, called the ‘Zoo-Zoos,’ who, crazed by drink, without the least justification, raised his musket and shot and killed a German of Company D. The murderer was disarmed, arrested and turned over to the civil authorities, but it is doubtful if he was ever brought to trial, as [114] the regiment left Louisiana not long after, taking all witnesses to the tragedy along.

The longest march comes to an end at last, and so did ours, and we arrived at Camp Chalmette in time to pitch tents for the night. Next morning stragglers came in by ones and twos, so that by evening roll call the regiment was itself again. At the time of which we are writing the battle field was a stretch of smooth pasture land, well adapted for regimental manoeuvers, and, as crowds of visitors came down from the city every afternoon, it was thought well to give daily exhibitions of the proficiency of the regiment. These drills and dress parades were no ordinary affairs, but on the most elaborate scale. Officers, mounted on handsome steeds, oceans of gold lace flashing in the sunlight, gorgeous Zouave uniforms and high-class military music, thousands of lovely bright-eyed women looking on admiringly, made every man of us feel as the old song expresses it:

Oh, there is not a trade a-going,

Worth the knowing or the showing

Like that from glory growing,

Says the bold soldier boy.

Nothing in the way of soldiering could have been more pleasant or agreeable than life at Camp Chalmette, and yet every unmarried man in the regiment was eager to be off. We were dreadfully afraid the war would end and we would be mustered out without experiencing the wild excitement of battle. To fight was what we had joined the army to do, and an opportunity to fight we ardently desired, yet, I think I speak truth, when I assert that in less than ten minutes in the ‘hornets' nest’ at Shiloh, the appetite for fighting of nine-tenths of the members of the regiment was satiated to repletion. If my readers will permit, I will digress right here long enough to say that the average patriot gets enough fighting to do him a lifetime in ten minutes under a good heavy fire of artillery and musketry, such as we had in the Civil War. A little of it goes a long way.

We were at Camp Chalmette some five or six weeks, and began to think the Secretary of War was ignorant of our existence or that he had a sufficient number of soldiers without us to whip all the Yankees this side of the Kennebec river, when orders came to strike tents and go by steamer to Columbus, Ky., where a Confederate army was then forming. Within five minutes after receipt of this order there was a hurrying and scurrying to and fro, such as was never before witnessed in the 13th. Striking tents, packing knapsacks, [115] filling haversacks and loading wagons to take our plunder to the steamer Morrison, which arrived almost simultaneously with the order to move. The news of our early departure had spread uptown before the soldiers themselves were made aware of it, thanks to the energy of newspaper reporters, and it was not long before, what appeared to be, a big half of the city's population was on the ground. Wives, mothers, sisters, sweethearts, with weeping eyes and saddened hearts, clinging to their loved ones, could be seen on every hand, and even those who were from other portions of the State were made serious and depressed by the sorrowful lamentations of the weeping women.

The last load of camp equipage had been sent to the river and only the stacks of arms and uniformed soldiers were left to mark the spot where our home had been for weeks, when loud above the hum of conversation and crying of women a bugle was heard sounding the assembly, followed by the short, sharp commands of ‘Fall in! Fall in!’ With a great cheer the men fell into their respective places, were brought to ‘Attention.’ ‘Take arms,’ ‘Carry arms,’ ‘Right face,’ ‘Forward march,’ quickly followed, the band struck up ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me,’ and the regiment marched gayly to the river, followed by the multitude of civilians, men and women, waving handkerchiefs and wishing Godspeed to those about to enter actively upon a war of four years duration, and which left only poverty, desolation and misery in its wake.

Weep, mothers, weep; weep, heartbroken wife; weep, gentle sister, for you are perhaps parting forever from your loved ones. Were you gifted with prophetic vision whereby you could penetrate the dark war-clouds of the future, you might see many of the dear ones now marching so bravely and proudly aboard the majestic steamer, lying stark and cold in death, on bloody shot-torn fields, or dying in fever-infected hospitals, with nothing but strangers to wipe the death-damp from their brows, or to utter a prayer for their soul's repose. Soldiers, take a last lingering look at your Crescent City, while the mighty engines throb and pulsate, impatient of restraint, for the years will pass before those of you who survive the bloody conflict will tread its streets again.

“I wish I had a gurl to cry for me; but the devil a wun cares whether I go or stay,” said a brawny young Irishman, as he looked on at the parting of other soldiers from those they held dearest in life.

‘A gurl to cry for ye, do you? Maybe ye'd like to have a wife [116] and two childer, like McMahon, over there, to be clinging to ye and begging ye not to lave'em. Be me soul, I'm glad I've no wun. If I get kilt me people will never know what became of me, and the only monument I'll get will be an entry on the Company books— Killed in battle, Mike Morrisy—and that's not me thrue name, at that.’

All aboard! The pilot has signaled the engineer, the shrill whistle gives warning that all is in readiness, the hawser is cast loose and the palatial steamer gracefully swings out into the stream. Nine hundred soldiers, five or six hundred of whom wore brilliant red caps and baggy trousers, cover the forecastle, the main upper deck and every spot available, except the cabin, which is reserved for the forty-five officers. A pretty picture was the majestic steamer, with its living cargo, as the gold lace and red and blue colors of the uniforms flashed in the evening sunlight, to elicit thunders of applause from immense crowds at points of vantage all along the city's front. Cannon saluted the departing soldiers as the boat passed the barracks; bells tolled out their sad farewells, and steam whistles shrieked shrilly and wildly. When the boat reached the upper limits of the city I noticed that every eye was turned cityward, and every face saddened at the thought of leaving home and friends. Ah, soldiers, take a long farewell look at your beloved Crescent City fading in the twilight. Feast your eyes once again on the crescent-shaped place of your birth, and the land of your fathers, for when the great steamer turns yon bend you will have passed from its life, many of you, forever. Even to you few who survive the dreadful carnage, will all be changed. Returning weary, emaciated, warworn, aye, limbless, you will find social, political and economic conditions far different from what you knew them, and the conqueror's steady tramp will be heard resounding through streets you proudly and bravely trod in the heyday of your military career. Turn away, soldiers, your city is no longer visible. The taps have sounded. Good-night.

Well, we are off at last. Off to where battles are being fought and where heroes are developed, and every officer and enlisted man in the Thirteenth is eager and anxious to participate in the fray. The all-absorbing desire is to reach a battlefield before the war closes. ‘It cannot possibly last longer than six months,’ say the wise ones. ‘Were not Mason and Slidell taken from an English ship and will not Great Britain avenge the gross insult to her flag?’ With an English fleet at their doors and Southerners at the heels of their soldiers, [117] short work will be made of the Northern armies. Throw fresh fuel into the furnace, firemen. Put on more steam, engineer, to hurry us on our journey. It depends largely on the speed of the boat whether we return conquering heroes, to be welcomed by the shouts and cheers of grateful and admiring thousands, or slink back to peaceful pursuits ‘unknown, unhonored and unsung.’ Ah! my debonnaire comrades, could you but glance into the book of fate and read what is there recorded; see before you the long, weary marches under burning suns, pelting rains or cutting hail storms, your hearts would be heavy and your faces serious. Could you, Major, see that shallow grave gaping to receive your mortal remains on the fiercely contested field of Shiloh, you would cease the interesting story you are telling and turn to beads and prayer. Charley, gallant, light and hearty Charley, could you picture in your mind that solemn midnight scene, on the banks of Stone river, where your body was laid away by tender hands of comrades, Il Trovatore, snatches of which you are softly humming, would suddenly cease and in its stead arise the solemn De Profundis.

Comfortably seated in an armchair, inditing these crude reminiscences forty-two years after, it appears strange and unreasonable that young men are ever ready to leave the comforts of home life to go where chances of early sepulcher are great, limbless bodies abundant, and at the best only hardships and suffering are to be found. So it was, is and always will be.

Readers of these sketches must expect quite a number of twists in the thread of my story. I am not writing a history of the 13th, but my own experience, as a soldier ‘in a Louisiana regiment.’ History tells the tale of the regiment. Nor will I cover more ground than that occupied by the Louisiana Brigade of the Army of Tennessee. While I was at the birth, baptism and death of that great Southern army, I only know what occurred outside of my brigade by hearsay. It was understood in our regiment that they who knew most of the general features of an engagement were company cooks, servants and skulkers, who gathered around wagon trains and viewed ‘the battle from afar.’ I felt in those days that a soldier who stood by his colors was doing his full duty without wandering over the field, watching the operations of brigades to which he did not belong. The truant's excuse, ‘I became entangled with other troops and could not again find my regiment,’ was met by a sneer in the 13th, and to avoid being sneered at, if not for loftier motives, [118] I confined myself and my knowledge of battles to regimental and brigade lines.

Now that we are afoot and fairly on our way, it might be well to furnish a roster of the regiment, which was as follows:

Randall Gibson, Colonel; Aristide Gerard, Lieutenant-Colonel; Anatole P. Avegno, Major;——King, Adjutant.

First Company, Governor's Guards—Auguste Cassard, Captain; Charles Richard, First Lieutenant; Victor Mossy, Second Lieutenant; Victor Olivier, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Second Company, Governor's Guards—J. Fremaux, Captain; B. Bennett, First Lieutenant; C. H. Luzenburg, Second Lieutenant; Charles Hepburn, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Third Company, Governor's Guards—Bernard Avegno, Captain; St. Leon Deetez, First Lieutenant; Henry Castillo, Second Lieutenant; Eugene Lagarique, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Fourth Company, Governor's Guards—M. O. Tracey, Captain; Hugh H. Bein, First Lieutenant; Eugene Blasco; Second Lieutenant; George W. Boylon, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Fifth Company, Governor's Guards-Lee Campbell, Captain; John M. King, First Lieutenant; J. B. Sallaude, Second Lieutenant; Norman Story, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Sixth Company, Governor's Guards—W. Dubroca, Captain; John McGrath, First Lieutenant; A. M. Dubroca, Second Lieutenant; Robert Cade, Junior Second Lieutenant.

St. Mary Volunteers—Thomas G. Wilson, Captain; James Murphy, First Lieutenant; H. H. Strawbridge, Second Lieutenant; Adolph Dumartrait, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Gladden Rifles—William A. Metcalf, Captain; John W. Labuisse, First Lieutenant; Walter V. Crouch, Second Lieutenant; E. B. Musgrove, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Southern Celts—Stephen O'Leary, Captain; John Daly, First Lieutenant; E. J. Connolly, Second Lieutenant; John Dooley, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Norton Guards—George W. Norton, Captain; M. Hunly, First Lieutenant; A. S. Stuart, Second Lieutenant; George Cammack, Junior Second Lieutenant.

J. M. Parker, Sergeant Major.

Colonel Gibson, a graduate of Yale, wealthy, refined and polished by travel and association with the most famous men of the day, served as Colonel or Brigade Commander from the firing of the first gun until the battle-torn and stained flags of the regiments were [119] furled for the last time, and never missed a battle or skirmish in which his command was engaged, and these numbered one hundred or more. In my opinion, Gibson was not what one might call a great commander, but that he was a brave and faithful one his splendid record bears testimony. He was a good soldier, if not a military genius.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard was a Frenchman by birth and a soldier by profession. He was a master of the science of war, and brave to a degree of rashness. Arriving in New Orleans some years previous to the war, while occupying an editorial position on one of the French papers, he became prominent through a duel with a notorious duelist, in which the latter was fatally wounded. Colonel Gerard was not long with the regiment, receiving a severe wound at Farmington, and upon recovery being assigned to duty in the Transmississippi Department.

Major Avegno was a Creole of Louisiana, educated, refined and wealthy. His service was also short, as he fell mortally wounded on the second day at Shiloh, and died a day or two after.

Adjutant King, at the breaking out of the war, was a second lieutenant in the United States Army, resigning to take service with the Confederacy. He was a thorough soldier, and to him in a great measure was due the fine discipline and perfect drill which were always characteristic of the regiment.

At one of the landings made by the boat it was learned that a battle had been fought at Belmont, opposite Columbus, and that the Yankees had been defeated with great loss and had returned to Cairo pell-mell, and that, too, without the presence of the 13th. Thus, thought we, faded the only opportunity of ever facing the enemy. Defeated at Manassas and at Belmont, the Federals would realize the folly of attempting invasion of the South and throw up the sponge. The disappointment had a most depressing effect on officers and men alike, the former cursing the slowness of the boat, while the latter, more superstitious, laid it on the unlucky number of the regiment. ‘Oh, why the blazes did I join the 13th. I might have known we'd be unlucky,’ was a common remark. It was a most discouraging piece of news to all, but I lived to see a time when the boys were not so anxious; when they could have remained on board a Confederate boat with perfect complacency while others were dying. The 13th always performed its full duty when called upon; the men did the fighting falling to their share, but, like the man who ate the crow, ‘didn't hanker arter it.’ After one or [120] two good stiff battles indignation meetings were not held if the regiment found itself in reserve. We might say right here, however, that no battle was fought by the Army of Tennessee where we were overlooked, when a battery was to be captured or a line of battle attacked. ‘Oh, go on, Mike, don't ye know we'll be sent in. We're not voters, an' they'll want to save the Hoosier regiments so as to have as many men after the war as they can to vote. Every last man of the colonels will be running for office,’ I heard one of the men of the Southern Celts say on one occasion.

About evening of the sixth day the journey ended. Columbus was covered by snow and the men without overcoats. Crowds of soldiers came down to the river to see us land, and as many of these had never seen a zouave before, they were surprised beyond measure. They took the baggy trousers for petticoats and one loud-mouthed Hoosier shouted: ‘Jeems, come over here and see the Loosyane wimmen soldiers. All of you'ns come.’ Disgust was plainly discernible on the countenances of the men at being taken for women, and the remarks addressed to the country soldiers were not such as to be printable.

At last the 13th was at the front.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Corps D'Afrique

The Corps D'Afrique was created by by an order of Major General Nathaniel Banks while he was in Opelousas, Louisiana. Quite an interesting piece of history for our Opelousas. Below is a New York Times printing of Banks' order that he made on 1 May 1863.



CORPS D'AFRIQUE.

Published: May 18, 1863

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS, OPELOUSAS, May 1, 1863.

GENERAL ORDERS No. 40. -- The Major-General commanding the Department proposes the organization of a Corps d'Armee of colored troops, to be designated as the "Corps d'Afrique." It will consist ultimately of eighteen regiments, representing all arms -- infantry, artillery, cavalry -- making nine brigades of two regiments each, and three divisions of three brigades each, with appropriate corps of engineers, and flying hospitals for each division. Appropriate uniforms, and the graduation of pay to correspond with the value of services, will be hereafter awarded.

In the field the efficiency of every corps depends upon the influence of its officers upon the troops engaged, and the practical limits of one direct command is generally estimated at 1,000 men. The most eminent military historians and commanders, among others THIERS and CHAMBRAY, express the opinion upon a full review of the elements of military power, that the valor of the soldier is rather acquired than natural. Nations whose individual heroism is undisputed, have failed as soldiers in the field. The European and American continents exhibit instances of this character, and the military prowess of every nation may be estimated by the centuries it has devoted to military contest, or the traditional passion of its people for military glory. With a race unaccustomed to military service, much more depends on the immediate influence of officers upon individual members, than with those that have acquired more or less of warlike habits and spirit by centuries of contest. It is deemed best, therefore, in the organization of the Corps d'Afrique, to limit the regiment to the smallest number of men consistent with efficient service in the field, in order to secure the most thorough instruction and discipline, and the largest influence of the officers over the troops. At first they will be limited to five hundred men. The average of American regiments is less than that number.

The Commanding General desires to detail for temporary or permanent duty the best officers of the army for the organization, instruction and discipline of this corps. With their aid he is confident that the corps will render important service to the Government. It is not established upon any dogma of equality or other theory, but as a practical and sensible matter of business. The Government makes use of mules, horses, uneducated and educated white men in the defence of its institutions. Why should not the negro contribute whatever is in his power for the cause in which he is as deeply interested as other men? We may properly demand from him whatever service he can render. The chief defect in organizations of this character has arisen from incorrect ideas of the officers in command. Their discipline has been lax, and in some cases the conduct of their regiments unsatisfactory and discreditable. Controversies unnecessary and injurious to the service have arisen between them and other troops. The organization proposed will reconcile and avoid many of these troubles.

Officers and soldiers will consider the exigencies of the service in this Department, and the absolute necessity of appropriating every element of power to the support of the Government. The prejudices or opinions of men are in no wise involved. The cooperation and active support of all officers and men, and the nomination of fit men from the ranks, and from the lists of non-commissioned and commissioned officers, are respectfully solicited from the Generals commanding the respective divisions.

By command of Maj.-Gen. BANKS.

RICHARD B. IRWIN, A.A. General.




Friday, July 22, 2011

New Book out on the Tiger Rifles


The Tiger Rifles by Michael Dan Jones

Michael ("Mike") Dan Jones of Lake Charles, La. has written a new book titled, The Tiger Rifles: The Making of a Louisiana Legend. If you click on the link it will bring you to the site to order his book. I asked Mr. Jones to elaborate a little on the scope of the book and why he chose the Tiger Rifles:


"As to the book, it is a history of the Tiger Rifles, Company B, 1st Special Battalion (Wheat's) Louisiana Volunteers. Because of their flashy zouave uniforms, their famous battalion commander, Major Roberdeau Wheat, and their heroics at First Manassas, their nickname, Tigers, became attached, first to the battalion, and then to all Louisiana troops serving in the Army of Northern Virginia. I especially tried to separate fact from myth with regards to the Tigers. They became so nortorious for their antics in camp, they got blamed for a lot of things that weren't their fault, although they did plenty on their own to deserve their reputation. I especially looked into the possible real identity of their notorious commander, Captain Alexander White. His name is an alias but as far as I know, his real identity has been a mystery. Also I brought together some information on the wealthy businessman, A. Keene Richards, who gave them their zouave uniforms. I tried to keep the focus tightly on the men of the Tiger Rifles and bring them to life as much as the limited resources allowed. I feel like I accomplished my goal."



Thursday, July 21, 2011

John McGrath, "In a Louisiana Regiment" Part III

John McGrath began his military career as a Sergeant in the Delta Rifles of the 4th Louisiana Regiment. We have several of his accounts posted at Louisiana Civil War documenting his role in the 4th Louisiana. McGrath also took the time to write the New Orleans Picayune and include a brief write up of his early days in 13th Louisiana. He actually focuses his attention on joining "Avegno's Zouaves" as a Lieutenant. The six companies of the Governor Guards' Battalion ("Avegno's Zouaves") combined with four independent companies to form the 13th Louisiana in September of 1861.


In a Louisiana Regiment.

New Orleans Picayune, Aug. 2, 9; Sept. 6, 1903



After waiting for months at Mandeville for the appearance of an officer to muster the battalion into the Confederate service, a proposition was made by the Adjutant General to the effect that, with four other companies ready for service, we form a full regiment of infantry, and the proposition was accepted. A few days after the camp was thrown into intense excitement by an order for the battalion to proceed to Camp Moore, preparatory to being sent to the seat of war. The good people of Mandeville had been exceedingly kind and hospitable to officers and men during our long stay among them, and now that the boys were going forth to assist in fighting the battles of the South, they overwhelmed us with kindness. The company to which the writer belonged was left behind when the battalion departed, to pack up and guard quartermasters' stores while in transit from Mandeville by schooner, through Lake Pontchartrain, to Pass Manchac, where we were to board a railroad train for Camp Moore. The boat carrying the five companies had scarcely started on her way ere a saturnalia of drunken fury took possession of the men of our company, accompanied by incipient mutiny, which might have had a serious termination had it not been for the courage of the officers, manfully aided by the sergeants and a few of the sober men. We passed an alarming night, but by morning the whiskey had died out, and, as the bar-rooms remained closed, order was brought out of chaos. The citizens of Mandeville were seriously alarmed by the riotous conduct of the soldiers, a condition brought about by the unstinted generosity of themselves, and were careful next day not to furnish much whiskey with their kindness. The men, too, kept [109] busy loading schooners, were under better control, but along about the time of embarking I began to detect the preliminary symptoms of another big drunk. Finding the soldiers about to take final leave of their dear old town, citizens again filled their canteens with the best to be had, so that when the hawser was cast loose we had another drunken company. To the patriotic people of Mandeville nothing was too good for Southern soldiers.

Night falling as we got well under ways, as a means of pacification I suggested that the men sing songs of their native land, and soon a dozen voices were raised in as many languages, and the singing, interspersed with a few fights, continued until one after another the drunken soldiers fell asleep upon the deck, the only covering being the starry canopy of the heavens.

Reaching Camp Moore the next day we found four companies awaiting to be added to the six of zouaves, and when this was accomplished we were no longer a battalion, but the 13th Louisiana Regiment of Infantry. That's another chapter of my story, however.

The four companies awaiting the Avegno Zouaves, or Governor's Guards, for the purpose of forming a regiment, were the Southern Celts, Captain Steve O'Leary (the famous ex-Chief of Police of New Orleans); the St. Mary Volunteers, Captain James Murphy; Norton Guards, Captain George Norton, and Crescent Rifles, Captain W. A. Metcalf.

Randall Lee Gibson, a captain of the First Louisiana Regular Artillery, was First Colonel. Aristide Gerard and Anatole Avegno Lieutenant Colonel and Major of the battalion, were given corresponding rank in the new organization. Lieutenant King, who had resigned a commission in the United States Army and cast his lot with the South, was appointed Adjutant. With these field officers and ten companies complete was formed a regiment with the unlucky number, the Thirteenth.

Camp Moore was the rendezvous for State troops, where, as the companies arrived, they were assigned to regiments and drilled and disciplined until transferred to the Confederate government. Gen-. eral Tracey, Major General of the Louisiana Militia, was in command of the camp, and a most trying position it was, with officers new to military duties and enlisted men untaught and undisciplined.

The 10th Louisiana had departed for Virginia a few days before our arrival, to the evident satisfaction of the old General, who found the men of this command rather difficult to handle, and from what we were told, it appeared no love was lost between the General and [110] the 10th. Be that as it may, he no sooner laid eyes on the battalion of Zouaves than he exclaimed: ‘Heavens above! When I sent the 10th away I thought I would never see its like again, but these fellows are chips from the same block.’

Tents pitched, drilling became the order of the day, and what some of our military college-bred officers did not know, but thought they knew, of tactics and company evolutions would fill more sheets of paper than I can well afford, and in strict deference to truth, I must say that the military knowledge of our Colonel was infinitesimal. Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard and Adjutant King were adepts in military science, and had been well and thoroughly trained, the former in the French army, and this, together with the fact that many of the company officers of the 13th Regiment had received initial training in the earlier-formed regiments, in which they had entered the service as privates, furnished a fairly good starting point.

Colonel Gibson, an exceedingly bright man, soon mastered tactics, and was never after at a loss in handling regiment or brigade. There were, however, company officers who firmly believed they possessed a knowledge of tactics equal to General Hardee, but who really ranked along with the Georgia captain, who, finding his company face to face with a rail fence which he wished to cross, gave the command: ‘Scatter, fellows, and cluster up on the other side.’ Yet the day came when General Hardee, at the close of a competitive drill at Tullahoma, addressed to the 13th the following words: ‘You are one of the best drilled regiments I ever saw.’ This was a high compliment to come from the author of Hardee's Tactics, and went to prove that while there were few, if any, professors of military science in our regiment, the young fellows were earnest, painstaking students of company and battalion formations.

Young men bearing such names as Norton, Cammack, Labouisse, Lallande, Luzenberg, Crouch, and many other of the best families of New Orleans and Louisiana were naturally bound to excel where ambition, duty and patriotism pointed the way. Self-confidence in ability to beat ‘old Hardee’ at his own game was not the only claim to superiority the boys set up, but to valor as well, and I may be permitted to say right here, that there was scarcely an officer or man in the 13th Regiment, in its early days, who did not honestly and conscientiously believe that he could, singly and alone, whip a ten-acre lot full of Yankees. Many afterwards undertook the job, only to find it an extremely difficult and disagreeable one, and alas, the shame of it, some of the fiercest of our aggregation of ferocity [111] did not even put their valor to the test, but got out of the service just as soon as it became positively certain that there would be Yankees to whip.

One in particular, I remember, was so bloodthirsty that he fairly foamed at the mouth whenever Yankees were mentioned, and yet he let the regiment proceed to bloody fields without accompanying it, and I often thought that the war might have terminated differently had this indignation and anger been of a more enduring nature. Instead of remaining at home, after Yankee occupation, calmly transacting mercantile business, if the three or four individuals who quit the regiment at Camp Moore, or shortly after, had remained steadfast, the surrender ofAppomattox might not be embraced in the history of the country. Fortunately for the honor of the State and the regiment, those who back-tracked were decidedly few. There were two or three, but with these exceptions, officers and men alike, were eager for the fray, and as CampMoore was a dull spot in the pine woods, soon began grumbling at the delay in sending them to the front.

Drilling and guard mounting became extremely irksome and monotonous, and if it had not been for our little games of poker and frequent trip to the sutler's store to indulge in convivial fellowship, it would have been almost unendurable. Wines and liquors were sold at the canteen to officers without regard to quantity, and to the enlisted men upon presentation of a written order signed by a company officer. Don't be shocked, gentle readers, when I say that many officers and the men that could do so, became liberal patrons of the deadfall, for I boldly assert that the average soldier, whether wearing the shoulder straps of an officer or the plain, unadorned jacket of a private, will indulge, to a greater or less extent, in ardent spirits when it is to be had, and it is generally to be had. Liquor was as easily procurable in the Thirteenth Louisiana as in any prohibition town you ever struck, and the latter is an easy proposition.

True, there were some who did not indulge, nor did I ever see an officer intoxicated at Camp Moore, but the whiskey was there to be sold, and was sold in vast quantities. The enlisted men secured the signatures of captains when they could do so, but to save time and chances of being met by a refusal most frequently forged the names of their officers. They were lively chaps, those soldiers of ours, to whom forgery of an officer's name to a pass or to a whiskey order was a small matter—a good joke. It was said parties high in authority [112] had an interest in the sutler's store, and for that reason signatures were not too closely scrutinized. This may not have been true; but that a wonderful number of men purchased liquor on forged orders is a fact.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Van Alystne's Diary, Part VII

We continue with the diary of Lawrence Van Alystne was part of Co. B, 128th New York Infantry. His regiment was assigned to Louisiana in December of 1862. The 128th New York served in our state until July 1864, when it was transferred to Virginia. Van Alystne put together a book that included his diary he kept while serving in the 128th New York, Diary of An Enlisted Man(1910).

This post finishes Van Alystne's chapter on the Siege of Port Hudson. This piece covers June 18 - July 9, 1863 (the surrender).


June 18, 1863.

Thursday. Another squad of deserters came in this morning. I suppose they come in on other parts of the line just the same. This must weaken the enemy faster than our fighting has done. They all tell of hard times and short rations. The weather is hot, and a horrible stench comes from the dead horses and mules, which the buzzards are tearing to pieces. There is scarcely any firing between the sharpshooters. The lines here are so close the men talk with each other, and have agreed to warn each other when the officers come around. At other times it is more like visiting than anything else. It is terribly hot in the rifle pits. I made the rounds to-day, and had a chat with a middle-aged Johnnie. He said we were not at all like they had been told, and there were some who believed we had horns on our heads, and had feet like cattle. Now that they know better they don't want to fight us, and will only do so when obliged to. Three men were sunstruck while in the trenches to-day.

June 19, 1863.

Friday. Three more men knocked out to-day. One sunstruck and two wounded. The Rebs have men posted way back inside the works, with rifles having telescope sights, and it is these that do the mischief, rather than those in the rifle pits. Now that we are warned of these fellows, we must look sharp, and maybe then get a clip. This explains how a couple of balls whistled past me yesterday when no sound of a gun was heard.

June 20, 1863.

Saturday. One of Company B, while poking about yesterday, had the good luck to shoot a cow, and last night he came in dragging as much of it as he could. So we have had another fill up and the world seems well with us now. I went for another swim in the river, and gave my clothes another washing. My one shirt has shrunk so I can hardly get into it. Not a button is left on it. The wristbands only come a little below my elbows, and the bottom only just reaches to my trousers. I have no way to tell how I look, but the others are about as black as the negro troops, and I suppose I must be ditto. The rifle pits are being extended and the Rebs are shoving theirs just as fast, each keeping about the same distance from the other. No shooting is done, a sort of agreement having been made not to fire on each other until another assault is made along the whole line.

June 21, 1863.

Sunday. My diary says tc-day is Sunday. If I have kept my reckoning right it is, but nothing else hints at its being the day set apart for rest. Directly in front of our sleeping quarters is a high knob or hill, and directly back of that is the water battery on ground just as high and only separated from it by a V-shaped hollow between. There are men making a road up that knob, and I think it is going to be fortified. The storming party is said to be full, and are to report at General Banks' headquarters to-night. It is said thirty-five go from the I28th. If all the regiments send a like number there will be several thousand instead of one, as was called for. Nearly half from this regiment are from Company C. Company A is next, with nine, and the rest are from the other companies, except B, G, and E, which send none. They go way up to the right of the line, but where they will make the attempt is not told, if it is known. Captain Keesex goes in command of the squad from the I28th, and with sixteen from his own Company C, nine from Company A, three from Company D, one from Company F, two from Company H, three from Company I, and two from Company K, making thirty-six in all, making a big showing from our regiment. We bid them good-bye, for some of them, and perhaps all, have gone on their last march. There are men left who have proved themselves just as brave as these have ever done. We don't all see it alike, that's all. We feel as if we had had a big funeral in the family, and are a sober set to-night.

June 22,

Monday. Another drenching shower last night made our night miserable, though the sun soon dried us off this morning. A foraging party was sent out for fresh beef to-day, and came in minus one man, who it is supposed was picked up by guerrillas. Parties of them are said to be hovering about outside of our lines. The Rebs asked our pickets to-day when that thousand men was to come and get them. They would not tell how they knew of it, but perhaps General Banks has sent them word, as he has done of every move yet. No doubt the exact time and place will be told them by some one. I am more glad than ever now, that none of Company B went. The general opinion is now that the boys that have volunteered have been sacrified, and that if the thing was to be tried over again, few, if any, would stir a step. All quiet to-day except now and then a gun just to keep up appearances.

June 23, 1863.

Tuesday. Another detail for foragers to-day. I made out to get on this time. The quartermaster's team goes to bring in the beef or mutton or whatever it is we may get.

June 24, 1863

Wednesday. It is only by pure good luck that I am in my usual place of abode to-day, and able to write in my diary of yesterday's foraging expedition. A detail of three from each company set out with a four-mule team. We went until about opposite our old quarters, on the center, and then turned towards Port Hudson Plain. We divided up into squads, Smith Darling, the drummer boy, and myself of Company B making one, and each hunting on our own hook. If firing was heard, it would indicate a kill, and the wagon was to come for the game. We found cattle, but they were wild, and very soon the Company B squad found itself alone and out of sight or hearing of the others. Along in the afternoon we started to find our way back to camp and soon after came upon and shot a two-year-old steer. We fired our guns several times and then went to work and dressed the animal as well as we could with only our knives. We got the backbone apart and strung the hindquarters on a stake. Giving the drummer the liver and tongue, we started, hoping the wagon would pick us up on its way back. The country seemed new to us and we soon made up our minds we were lost, as likely to be going away from Port Hudson as towards it. Just about sundown we came in sight of a house, and before we got to it saw General Dow and George Story ride up. They dismounted, and the General went into the house, leaving George to put up the horses. George had pulled the saddle from his horse when we came up and hailed him. He was as glad to see us as we were to see him. He said the General was stopping there and his foot was getting well fast. He told us to take a path through the bushes and we would soon come to a negro shanty, where he thought we could trade some beef for an old mule the darkey had and so get the rest of the meat into camp. Just then we heard the clank of sabres coming, and fearing it might be some hungry cavalry squad who would want us to divide, we got into the bushes as fast as we could. We were just nicely hidden when they dashed up. We heard them talking with Story and soon after heard them ride on down the road in the direction from which we had come. Why the general left the good quarters inside the lines for this out-of-the-way place is a query we don't understand. We soon reached a clearing and were able to trade a chunk of beef for an old gray mule. It was then dark, but with directions from the darkey we were able to strike the road to camp. Smith rode the mule with the beef strung across in front, and the drummer and I followed on with the liver and tongue. When we were within a couple of miles of home a shower came upon us and soon soaked us through. The thunder and lightning was something awful, but except for the lightning I don't know how we would have kept the road. We reached camp at 10 o'clock, wet, tired and hungry enough to eat raw beef. The team with the rest of the foraging party had got in about dark, and until we came in, it was supposed some wandering squad of rebel cavalry had bagged us. Altogether we had a sufficient supply of beef to last us for some days.

June 25,

Thursday. We have been listening and expecting to hear the beginning of the third attempt to take Port Hudson by storm. But the day has passed without any great excitement. Five deserters came in this morning, and said there was others that would come if they were sure of good, fair treatment. They had agreed upon a signal, which was to be a green bush fastened upon the end of an old building close by. If the bush was put up it would mean they were well treated, otherwise they were to say nothing about the signal, and it would be a warning to their comrades to stay where they are.

A letter from Jane to-day. They have just heard where we are, and are very anxious. The newspapers have Banks' army all cut to pieces.

June 26, 1863.

Friday. Lieutenant Pierce is half sick yet, and ought not to be here. He wished this morning he had some blackberries, so three of us got permission to go for some. So many pickers have cleaned them up, so we found only a few here and there. We went a long way out, and made a thorough search. A shower overtook us and gave us a fine washing. Just after noon we heard the ball open again. It seemed to be all along the line from right to left. One said it was General Banks' notice to the Rebs to get ready to whip him again. We hurried back with what berries we had. The shot and shells were flying both ways. Company B was out on the skirmish line, and did not get in until morning. The firing stopped about dark, and so far as I can find out no one has been killed or wounded.

June 27, 1863.

Saturday. Too many blackberries yesterday have made me sick to-day. I certainly feel slim. I don't care who has Port Hudson; I don't want it. I wouldn't turn my hand over for the whole Confederacy.

Later. Am feeling better, but don't hanker after blackberries yet. Company B turned up four men short but they came in later. They got so close they had to crawl on their bellies for a long ways before they dare stand up.

June 28, 1863.

Sunday. Am all right again. To-day has been a busy one. A big gun, the biggest I ever saw, "Old Abe" it is called, was dragged here last night and got up on the point opposite the Rebels' water battery. To-day the gun has been got into position. Being so near, and having so little to do, I put in the day with them, helping in any way I could. The fort is made of cotton bales, backed up by bags of earth too thick to be shot through. When all was ready it was most sundown. A limb with thick leaves hung over one side, and under this I got to see what happened. When "Old Abe" finally did speak, the shell went into the ground way under the rebel gun, and after what seemed a long time exploded. The whole thing went up in the air, and when the dust settled, the muzzle of the gun lay sticking over the bank, pointed up toward the moon. So ended the famous "water battery" that we have heard so much about. "Billy Wilson's" Zouave regiment, our left-hand neighbor, then came up the ravine dragging a long rope they had got from the gunboats, and slipped it over the muzzle of the gun, intending to drag it over. But they couldn't budge it, and finally gave it up. Next they came back with hand grenades which they fired and tossed over. They had cut the fuses too long and they had no more than landed on the other side when the Rebs threw them back. That made the red legs skedaddle, and all that saved them was the fact that in coming up they had come on a slant, while the grenades rolled directly down. As it was, a piece hit a drummer boy, and he lies here on the ground apparently breathing his last. The top of his head has a large piece chipped off. There has been a good deal of powder burned to-day. What has been done besides tearing up the water battery I don't know. To-night the mortar boats have been throwing shells into the works. They pass directly over us. We are so near, the report is almost stunning. The fuse is cut long enough to last until they drop. I hope none of them may go off while over our quarters.

June 29, 1863.

Monday. The Rebs shelled our quarters last night, and kept us huddled in the ravine until some were asleep. The weather grows hotter every day. Many give out in the rifle pits, though they contrive every way to get in the shade of something.

June 30, 1863.

Tuesday. Last night the Zouaves made another try to get the guns from the water battery. Two of them came back on stretchers, and the guns are still there. A man was killed to-day while lying on the ground right among us. He was resting his head on one hand, when a shell burst and a piece as large as my hand came down and passed through his shoulder and so on through his body, coming out near his hip. He merely sank down and did not stir. An order has just come from General Dwight for every man to sleep with his accoutrements on, ready to move at a minute's notice.

July 1, 1863.

Wednesday. Nothing happened at our house last night, although we were ready for visitors or to go visiting at the shortest possible notice. It is reported that a part of the Sixth Michigan got into the water battery last night and brought out a rebel captain with them, and without loss on their part. The enemy are reported gathering in our rear. They captured General Dow and George Story yesterday. We are sorry about George, but no one feels very sorry about the general. A man from the right says General Banks made a speech to the storming party last night, and promised them thatPort Hudson would be taken inside of the next three days.

July 2, 1863.

Thursday. Last night the shot and shells flew thicker than at any time. The Rebs seem to be getting madder all the time. I got my closest call, too. I was sitting on a plankj laid across the ravine when a shell burst in front of me. I don't know how I knew, but I did know a hunk of it was coming straight for me, and I dove off into the weeds just as it struck and tore up the ground behind me. It must have gone within an inch or less of the plank, and right where I sat. It is reported that General Dow and Story were recaptured last night by our cavalry. We hope for Story's sake it is true. An orderly rode in a few minutes ago with an order for troops, saying the Rebels had attacked Springfield Landing. The Zouaves and the 162d New York have started, and probably others from farther up the line. All our stores of supplies are there. The Essex has up with her anchor and gone down there and if there is any righting we shall hear it soon. If our supplies are captured we will have to fight on empty stomachs or be captured ourselves. How the Rebs would laugh at us if such a thing should happen, and who could blame them!

July 3, 1863.

Friday. It was only a scare. The troops came back before midnight. A guerrilla squad attacked a wagon train and were fought off by the guards. But it gave us something new to think and to talk about at any rate. If General Banks hoists the stars and stripes in Port Hudson to-morrow, he will probably begin getting ready to-day. No doubt for some of us it will be our last celebration. Who will be taken and who will be left none of us know, and what a blessed thing it is we don't! Now we can each think it will be the other fellow. We have never had any great love for our head surgeon, Dr. Cole, and to-night we hate him more than ever. Yesterday Corporal Blunt of Company K went to him for an excuse from duty, as he was sick. He told him he was able for duty and he went back into the rifle pit and died. How we wish it had been the doctor instead. Just at night a pair of oxen were discovered in the bushes near by and Smith Darling and I were sent out to capture them. We got near enough for a shot without being discovered, and each got his ox at the first shot. The mules came and dragged them out where they are handy and to-morrow we expect a beef stew. The officers will have beefsteak, of course, but we are not particular about the part so long as we get some. Three of the Zouaves, who were captured during the fight on May 27, made their escape and came in to-night. They had got into the river and swam down, coming in as naked as they were born, and almost starved.

July 4, 1863.

Saturday. Company K lost another man by sickness to-day. There are a good many sick. The health of the I28th has, up to a very recent time, been good. We have had hard usage but seemed to thrive under it until this terrible hot weather came on. Two of Company B go to the hospital to-day, and several others are grunting. Out of the eleven hundred we set out with we have only three hundred and fifty now, and the other regiments can tell the same sort of a story, and some of them even a worse one.

Being a sort of jack-at-all-trades, I help out in any way I can, for so many being laid off, makes double duty for some others. I have been filling out the last two months' pay and muster rolls to-day and that gives me a chance to know about my own company and regiment. So far as we know, General Banks did not take Port Hudson to-day. If I were he I wouldn't set any more dates. It has been a very quiet Fourth of July. Have heard a bigger noise at the "City" many a time.

July 5, 1863.

Sunday. Something wrong with the pay rolls, and I have been all day trying to find out what it is.

Captain Giffbrd, of Company A, who was captured when the Slaughter buildings were burned, came in to-day. He escaped last night, swimming the river and getting here about naked. He says from all he was able to discover, the bulk of the enemy's forces are in front of us, here on the left. Where is that storming party? Somewhere on the right, I suppose, unwinding red tape. I'll bet, if every officer in Banks' army, and General Banks with them, was tied up in a bag and dumped in the river, the privates could take Port Hudson in the next twenty-four hours.

July 6, 1863.

Monday. Another hitch in the pay rolls, though made out as they always have been since I had anything to do with them. The figures are right, but the form is not. This time they are according to the new form and I suppose will stay put. The Rebs are getting real saucy again. They have taken to shooting at the men who carry rations to the men in the rifle pits. Last night a darkey was carrying a kettle of coffee to Company E and a ball struck the rim of the kettle, knocking one side against the other, and also knocking down the darkey and spilling the coffee all over him. Narrow escapes are an every-day occurrence. To-day a man took off his hat to scratch his head. That brought the hat up in sight and a rebel bullet went through his fingers, crippling his hand. Four men died from sunstroke to-day. The weather is very warm though we have no way to tell just how warm.

July 7, 1863.

Tuesday. Hip, hip, hurrah! Vicksburg has surrendered. The news has just reached us, although the place surrendered on Saturday at 10 o'clock. The gunboats got the news some way. The first thing was three cheers from the men, and then three broadside salutes. Next, we have shouted ourselves hoarse, and the news is passing along up the line to the extreme right. The Rebs sent out a flag, to know what ailed us, and were told the joyful news. Someway they didn't seem as glad as we are.

Afternoon. Our regiment and the Sixth Michigan have got marching orders. I wonder what is up now.

Later. The Rebs have again threatened Springfield Landing and the I28th New York, the Sixth Michigan, and the Gray Horse Battery have gone off on the double quick. We hear that 27,000 men and over 200 guns were surrendered at Vicksburg. There is no doubt about it now. Details are coming in all the time, and a whole lot of powder has been burned celebrating. The Rebs on our front seem as glad as we, for they know Port Hudson must surrender or be smashed between the forces of Banks and Grant. The detail sent out towards Springfield Landing has come in and reports the trouble all got along with. They didn't fire a gun. We are happy to-night, about as happy as if Port Hudson was ours. In fact it is ours, for they must give up now or catch it from front and rear at the same time.

July 8, 1863.

Wednesday. A flag of truce came out this morning, and after a short council went back. We don't know what it means, but can guess it is the beginning of the end of the siege of Port Hudson.

Later. The flag was to ask for twenty-four hours cessation of hostilities, looking to a surrender. A few hours were given them to think it over, and we put in the time comparing notes with the Johnnies on our front. They are hard up for tobacco, and for bread. They have plenty of corn meal and molasses, but very little else. I have given away and swapped off everything eatable I have, and am going to make a johnnycake, for a change. The meal is as much of a treat for us as our hard-tack is for them.

Afternoon. Port Hudson has surrendered and possession is to be given at once. The story goes that only a few regiments will go in with the staff officers to receive the surrender. We are so in hopes our regiment will be one of that few. I am dying with curiosity to know what the ceremony of a surrender is like, and I also want to see what the inside of Port Hudson is like. The outside I know all I care to know of, but to go away and not see or know how the place looks after the banging it has had, is too bad. But there is no use thinking about it. Some higher power will decide, and we have only to put up with it.

July 9, 1863.

Thursday. In Port Hudson. Just as I was wondering what regiments would be taken in to receive the surrender, and was worrying for fear ours would not be one, the order came to pack up and go. We marched up to General Auger's headquarters, and slept in the road last night. There was a drizzling rain most all night, but this morning was bright and we soon dried off.

We marched on towards the right until we came to a road that entered the fort, but which did not show signs of recent usage. Here we formed in the order we were to go in, the storming party at the head, then came the n6th and 75th New York, and then the I28th New York. After us were several regiments, about six I think, for I have seen members of that many regiments here to-day. At eight o'clock we marched in, and I should say went three-quarters of a mile, when we found the Rebs in line. We marched along their front and halted, faced to the left, and stood facing each other, some twenty feet apart. Both lines were at "order arms." The officers held a short confab, and then took their respective places, as if on parade. Our regiment was directly opposite "Miles' Legion," or what is left of it. The commanding general then gave the order, "ground arms." This was repeated by the company commanders, and then for the first time I felt sorry for the brave fellows. If their cause is not just, they have been true to it, and it must be like death itself for a brave fighter to lay his arms down before his enemy. However, I did not see any signs of tears. A detail was made to collect and take care of the guns and ammunition, and the order came from both sides to break ranks. In a twinkling we were together. I met the man I had the com meal from, and we put in some time together. The Rebs are mostly large, fine-looking men. They are about as hard up for clothes as we are. What clothing they have on is gray, while ours is what has been a sickly blue, but is now nearly the color of the ground on which we have slept so long. Some of them are glad the fight is over, and others are sorry, at least that is the way they talk. They are asking all sorts of questions about the thousand men who were to storm their works. They think it the biggest kind of a joke. They have known all along much more about what went on outside than we did about the inside. Their scouts have been right among us, wearing the clothes of those they captured on May 27. The officers, without an exception, appear like gentlemen, in spite of the ragged clothes they wear. They have treated the prisoners as well as they could, giving them the same sort of food they ate themselves. Provisions are very scarce, and the men say they have had no meat but mule beef for some time. A whole wagon-train loaded with provisions has come in and they eat as if famished. There are acres of fresh looking graves, showing that they have suffered as well as we. They say, however, that few have been killed, considering the many efforts made to kill them, but there has been a great deal of sickness, which has caused the greatest destruction among them. There are about 500 in the hospital, sick and wounded together. They have suffered for medicines. The wounded had to be operated on without chloroform, and many died while being operated on.

The rebel soldiers are to be paroled, but what will be done with the officers I have not learned. Some of the men say they will fight again as soon as they have a chance, and others say they have had enough. The majority of them that I have talked with feel that their cause will finally lose, and they are for ending it now. There is a large space covered with barrels of sugar and molasses and there is quite a quantity of corn left. They have a curious mill for grinding the corn. A locomotive stands on the track with the drivers jacked up clear from the track. On the driver is a belt which turns a small mill and it looks as if it would grind a grist as quick as any other mill. I have been hunting about the place all day, and have seen many curiosities, or at least things strange to me. The earth is honeycombed with cellars and tunnels where the men hid themselves from our shot and shells. Along the bluff facing the river are several savage-looking guns, made of logs, smoothed off and painted so as to look exactly like cannon. The real guns were all needed for use against the besieging army. We are looking for a good night's sleep to-night. The guns that have made our nights so miserable are all under guard. Things are settling down for the night and I must stop writing. I have written every minute I could get and the half is not told yet. If all goes well I will try again to-morrow.




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