Civil War Louisiana (CWLA)

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tennessee Diary Account of Port Hudson

At the University of Notre Dame's Rare Books and Special Collections sits the Thomas Benton Alexander Diary. Thomas Benton Alexander joined the Maury Artillery in October 1861 in Tennessee. He served with that unit at Fort Donelson. Alexander and his unit were exchanged in October of 1862 and reorganized and assigned to Port Hudson. He and his unit served there until their capture (the second time in the war) when that post surrendered on July 9, 1863. Most of Alexander's diary is transcribed and available for viewing (even the scanned pages as well). His account while in Louisiana is included in this post. Please visit the link to see Alexander's diary at Notre Dame and their indexed list of all of his entries. REALLY impressive what they have done with his diary.

Alexander left with a batch of prisoners from Camp Douglas on September 2, 1862. Once exchanged they reached Vicksburg on September 17th. From there they took cars to Jackson and then on September 22nd took the rail to Camp Moore, La. The Tennesseans stayed at Camp Moore for two days before leaving for Port Hudson on the 25th. They marched overland to Port Hudson where they arrived two days later.

December 12, 1862March 25, 1863

Dec the 12 gunboats come up in sight and fired several times also the 13th the 14 heavy firing was heard some distance off

March the 13/'63 Gunboats came up in sight. The bombardment commenced 14th 3 oclk P.M. lasted 2 1/2 hours at night commenced 11.ock lasted 3 1/2 hours the 15th the boats insight but all quiet 16th boats in sight no firing was heard 17th at 2 ock P.M. Commenced & fired a few times every now a then during the adressing at night commenced firing

The 18th boats in sight all qiet The yanks came in on the other side of River & fired fine house busted down in short time 19th 2 oclk P.M. several shells was thrown our & fired a few times 20th Through a good many shel during the day some were acurate all quiet at night 21st in Evening several shot was thrown at our stemers some very acurate no damage done sunday 22nd through the day all qiet 23rd all qiet along the lines 24th qiet 25. 2 oclock A.M. yanks set fire to a shugar mill & burnt 25 a few shells out of a sege [?] piece

May 17 – June 3, 1863

breast works 17. shot several times 18. at night shelled 19th shelled one hour at night 20th shelled one hour 21. fighting on land most all day at night as usual 22nd all quiet on land shelled from the Gunboats & shelled at night 24th fighting by land & water most all day very little damage done 25 heavy skirmish all day but few killed 26th skirmishing all the Day & canonading some at night 27th commenced fighting six oclok.A.M. lasted all day M. Hutchenson killed wounded Gus Mays D. M. Deckesy D. Kerr I. Bruce EC Alexander Capt Sparkman

it was the hardest fight I ever was in lasted all day 29th skirmishing all day shelling at night 30th I took a musket and went to the Biffle Pitts. skirmishing all day and shell at night 31th fighting all Day & shelling at night 1863 June the 1st skirmishing and cannonading all day shelling at night from the morters 2nd sharp shooting and cannonading during the day shelling from the mortery at night 3rd sharpshooting & cannonading all day shelling

June 4 – 14, 1863

at night from the morter Boats shelled 4 hours June the 4th sharpshooting & cannonading all day shell at night 5th sharpshooting and cannonading & shelling at night shelled 6th sharpshooting & shelling all day & shelled at night 7th sharpshooting & canona all day & shelled at night. 8th some sharpshooting & canonading through the day shelling at night 9th cannonading & sharpshooting all day shelled at night from the morters 10th sharp & canonading all day & night by land and water

The .11. sharp shooting & cannonading all day & night. several killed. 12th skirmishing & cannon fighting all Day & most all night 13th sharpshooting & cannonading all day about 12.oclock Federal charged our works was repulsed several killed one of the Rebels killed at shelled as usual by land & water 14th commenced fighting about Day in the morning on the left wing we repulsed them There loss very heavy They made attempt to charged the Right wing our Artillery played on them they was compel to give back our

June 14

was 3 killed zero wounded there loss supposed to be heavy fight about half hour their felled back sharpshoot & cannon fighting the balance of the day 15th sharpshooting & cannonading all Day some at night 16th sharpshooting & cannonading all day & some at night 17th some sharp shooting & cannonading all day & night 18th some little sharp shooting morters still & cannonading through the day & night 19th sharp shooting & cannonading all day and night morters quit shelling 20th sharp shooting and canonading all day & night morters all quiet

June the 21 1863

21st sharp shooting & some cannonading all day some at night 22nd some sharp shooting & cannonading all day & some at night Morters quiet 23rd sharpshooting & cannonading all day some at night 24th some shooting along the line all day & night 25th sharp shooting & some cannon during the day & night 26th sharp shooting cannonading on the right lasted 4 hours hardest sheeling I ever seen by land or water 4 of our men killed sevral wound

June 27 – July 9, 1863

June the 27.1863

27th cannonading & sharp shooting all day and most all night 28th sharp shooting heavy cannonading all day some at night 29 cannonading and sharp shooting all day and night some few killed & 3 wounded 30th Feds made a small charge on the right and get in our works but we drove them our loss 4 killed 7 wounded there loss was heaver than our July the 1 sharp shooting cannonading all day few killed several wounded they planted a battery across the river oposite our brestworks

on the right July the 2nd sharp shooting cannonading most all some at night 3rd sharp shooting and cannonading some all day & at night 4th sharp shooting cannonading day & night 5th sharpshooting and cannonading all day some at night 6th some cannond & sharp shooting during day & night 7th sharp shooting cannonading all day & some at night 8th surrendered Port Hudson at 2 oclock P.M. I was ordered to Depo then was surrounded by the Federals and Guarded

July 10 – July 31, 1863

The 10 we signed our parols still at the depot

11th at Depot yet

12th at Depot sick

13th at Depot we got our parols

14th we got our Parole and started home in the eavening sick was left that was not able to go

15th I moved to the hospital and there found Eben [i.e., Eben C. Alexander]

16th we still at hospital

17th in Hospital Port Hudson

18th no prospects of geting away

19th we made an attempt to get on a boat to start home was too late late the boat left

July the 20 1863

20th some of my company left Port Hudson to day for home a few ones still left behind 21st no prospects of getting away 22nd still at Port no prospects of geting away 23rd at Port Hud 24th all quiet 25 some little of going to mobile hear yet 26 still at Pt Hudson 27th some prospects of going away 28 was ordered to pack up our baggage but did not get off that day 29th packed up but did not get off 30th still disappointed not off yet 31st get on boat Morgan Brown Morgan Brown

August 1stOctober 15, 1863

at 2 1/2 oclock P.M. left the boat landing at 11 oclock P.M. started for New Orleans August the 1st we landed at New Orleans at 3 o'clock half remain all night 2nd layed up at the city all Day & night. 3rd got on boat Gen. Banks and left new orleans at 3 o'clo P.M. run all night got to the bay about 3 ocl.A.M. 4th run all day and got to our fleet & lay up at night 5th day we got on board of a Rebel boat at 2 oclk and started for mobile

got there at night we stay all night 6th stop all day 7th day got aboard of cars at 3 oclok run that evening & night 8th cars run off the track & detained 4 hours done no damage 9th I went to the Hospital at Montgomery I left the Hospital Sept the 25 & went to a private House to Mr J. A. Ware I left Mr Ware Oct 15th & got on boat & went to Oct

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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