Civil War Louisiana (CWLA)

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Civil War Louisiana (CWLA)
CWLA seeks to provide an online resource of any and all material of the Civil War relating to Louisiana with a special interest in the war in Acadiana in southwest Louisiana.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wisconsin on South Louisiana in 1863


Below is an account of the 11th Wisconsin in Louisiana in the Overland Expedition (October - November 1863) from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Vermillionville, Oct. 17, 1863.

Messrs. Editors: - The pleasant weather we are having reminds me of the time spent in Camp Randall two years ago, when we were learning the soldiers' duties. the prairie across the bayou resembles the country around Token Creek, north of Madison. the trees along the bayou are covered with long gray moss.

We marched up the Teche to New Iberia, over the road traversed by Gen. Banks' army last spring. The planters' houses, with the large sugar mills surrounded by negro quarters, make the plantations look like a succession of villages among the beautiful shade trees. It is the best part of the South we have seen. I should think they might have been contented in their beautiful homes, but they will have time to regret the part they have taken in this rebellion. Some of them have gone to Texas, and others have put out the English and French flags, to insure protection of their property.

The Teche is navigable to New Iberia, and our supplies are brought up there are on boats.-If you could see the bayou, covered with floating weeds, and overhung with trees covered with moss, you would think "Uncle Sam's web feet" would find some difficulty in getting through. The rebels had iron-clad gunboats on this bayou in the spring, which were destroyed by our gunboats. The rebels obtained their supply of salt from the mines near New Iberia.

Our division moved to this place one week ago to-day. Our regiment was in the advance when we came to St. Martin, and it was left there until all the troops had passed through. We captured a rebel picket and quartermaster who was stopping in town.-Capt. Lang found him in a French shoemaker's, who had protested that he "no keep secesh solder." Some one found out that a slave was confined in the jail for running away from his master in Texas. Gen. Washburn ordered the man released, and I was sent to see that the order was carried out.-We found Joe the only inmate of the jail. The French jailor politely handed over the keys, and Joseph Smith was at liberty. His father was a Spanish gentleman. He lived in New Orleans before he was sent to Texas. He will go with me.

The citizens have treated the negroes very harshly, shooting and hanging many of them. A colored man came into camp yesterday morning with his former master's horse and saddle, which he had used to effect his escape. He joined the Third Louisiana Engineers, and turned his horse over to the Quartermaster. There are now nineteen negro regiments, and officers have been commissioned for six more. The rebels do not like the idea of arming the negroes, as they say this is a white man's war, and it is only proper to use them in making fortifications and on the plantations.

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Coppens' Zouave Battalion

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