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, January 18, 2012

30th Massachusetts' Tour in Louisiana, Part II

Henry Warren Howe was a member of the 30th Massachusetts during the war. Howe's regiment was organized in December of 1861 and served in Virginia before it was sent to Ship Island. From February 12th - April 15th, the 30th Massachusetts garrisoned Ship Island. The regiment was attached to the Department of the Gulf in August 1862 and served in Louisiana until the summer of 1864. Howe wrote a book following the war titled, Life of Henry Warren Howe, Consisting of Diary and Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865: A Condensed History of the Thirtieth Massachusetts Regiment and Its Flags, together with Genealogies of the Different Branches of the Family.

We pick up with Howe's journal in January of 1863. Here is his notes for the month of January 1863:

January 1, 1863. Arose at reveille, and attended roll-call; wished all the officers and my men "A happy New Year." Up to this date we have been going through the usual routine of duties, and recruiting the health of the men; many are in the hospital. Made out the monthly return of my company (G), also the quarterly return of the deceased soldiers, of whom nine of my company died during the last quarter. Wrote home. Lieutenant Norcross is officer of the guard to-day. Lieutenant E. A. Fiske is sick. Pleasant, but cool.

January 2, 1863. Pleasant. Attended an anniversary dinner of the officers in the evening. One year ago we left old Massachusetts. Colonels Dudley and French came down from the city.
January 3, 1863. Saturday. Pleasant. Muster rolls all right. Went up to New Orleans, bought a pair of shoes, and two hundred pistol cartridges; had a nice time.
January 4, 1863. Pleasant. Inspection at 8.30. Went with the Colonel to the various quarters, also to the hospital. Quiet all day. Some of the officers went to the theatre in the evening, Sunday. Such is the custom in New Orleans. A report that Galveston had been re-taken, and three gun-boats.
January 5, 1863. Splendid day. I am detailed for officer of the guard. The guard consists of one Lieutenant, one Sergeant, four Corporals, and fifty-four privates.
January 7, 1863. Pleasant, but quite chilly. I had a good guard; was relieved by Lieutenant Emerson.
January 8, 1863. Pleasant. Anniversary of the battle of New Orleans, under General Jackson. A salute was fired at noon. We had a battalion drill in the afternoon. The officers met in the evening, to celebrate the day; there were toasts and speeches. Steamer Cambria returned to-day from Galveston, Texas; everybody supposed she had been re-taken. She waited at the entrance of the harbor forty-eight hours for a pilot. After she took one on board, the Captain mistrusted something was wrong, and returned to New Orleans.
January 9, 1863. Pleasant. Made out descriptive lists of members of the company who are in the hospital to enable them to draw their pay. Lieutenant Norcross and I drilled the company to-day as skirmishers. The officers met at Captain Whittier's quarters in the evening and had a social time, singing, speeches, toasts, etc., with egg-nog in abundance. Parting song, " Home, Sweet Home."
January 10,1863. Some rain. Lieutenants Loring, Ferris, Fay and myself visited a planter to-day, down the river, a Mr. Ducros. I formed his acquaintance when on patrol duty with a squad. We had a nice dinner, he gave us some wine he had imported from France. He believes in slavery because the Constitution allows it. We returned at sunset on the cars.
January 11, 1863. Sunday. Pleasant. Inspection at 8.30 o'clock. My company looked well, small numbers, fifty comprise the company and there were only twenty-five for duty. At sundown, the 47th Massachusetts Regiment marched inside of the barracks, they came from Carrollton. Pleasant time in the evening all around. They are a nine months' regiment lately arrived.
January 12, 1863. Monday. Pleasant. I am twenty-two years old to-day. Time passes rapidly; but no one could use it better than in defending the flag of his country. Went up to the city in the evening.
January 13, 1863. I returned to quarters in the morning. Our regiment has orders to go to Baton Rouge and join General Dudley's brigade. We ought to stay here two months longer; cannot muster over three hundred men for duty. Went aboard the steamer Iberville, the same boat which carried our boys to Vicksburg last summer.
January 14, 1863. Rainy. Touched at Donaldsonvilie on the way. Met three officers of the 1st Louisiana Regiment with whom I am acquainted. Occupied a state-room with Lieutenant Haley, had a pleasant trip, arrived at Baton Rouge at 3 p. m., stayed aboard during the night. Six companies went ashore and quartered in the theatre building.
January 15, 1863. Rainy. The balance of the regiment went into quarters at the theatre building. I looked after the company's baggage. We all slept in the hall at night. Quite cold.
January 16,1863. Friday. Cold, ice formed. Lieutenant Norcross on guard. The regiment had a march and a drill in the afternoon. We looked fine. Some of our officers have hired a house. I quarter in the building, find my bed very hard. Baton Rouge looks deserted, the citizens are nearly all gone. The State House is now merely a shell, as only the walls stand, the enemy having burned it last summer after we left.
January 17, 1863. Pleasant but cold. No drill to-day. I visited the battle-field with other officers, it looks natural. We have some eighteen thousand troops here.
January 18,1863. Sunday. Warmer. Inspection at 10 a. m., after which we were marched. Turned out three hundred and eighty men. We are to be brigaded to-morrow. Happy day this, as I was notified that the Governor has commissioned me, which makes me a fullfledged Lieutenant and not an acting one any longer. Mail arrived but no letter for me. Rainy to-night.
January 19, 1863. I am boarding at a coffee house at 85.00 per week. Moved our quarters, occupy three rooms, one for my servant.
January 20, 1863. Pleasant. General Auger takes command. I made out our ordnance returns in the morning. Battalion drill in the afternoon by General Dudley. Captain McGee, of the cavalry, went outside with his company scouting; reported that he saw quite a force nine miles out. Our regiment has the reputation of being "the crack regiment," and the neatest looking.
January 21, 1863. Pleasant. Company drill as skirmishers in the morning. Battalion drill in the afternoon. General Banks is in town to-day. General Auger is now in command. Our regiment is in General Grover's division. Our brigade is composed of the 30th Massachusetts, the 50th Massachusetts, the 2d Louisiana, the 161st and the 174th New York regiments. We expect to go into camp soon. Wrote home. Sent for a suit of clothes.
January 22, 1863. Pleasant. Company drill in the morning; battalion drill in the afternoon. Quiet, nothing new to-day.
January 23, 1863. Cloudy. Went into camp on our old drillgrounds. We are on the right of the brigade. I had all the tents pitched by sunset.
January 24, 1863. Saturday. Marched into and occupied our camp at sunrise. Policing camp is the order of the day. Received my commission to-day from the hands of Lieutenant-Colonel Bullock; it is dated August 19, 1862. I was the senior Sergeant who was promoted.
January 25, 1863. Sunday. Our brigade was reviewed by General Dudley in the morning, after which inspection took place. Started a mess to-day; there are eight in it; we hire a room in a house and a cook. It is quite cold.

January 26, 1863. Looks like rain. I am detailed for picket duty, as the junior officer. Lieutenant Johnston and Lieutenant Norcross also detailed. After guard mounting, we marched out into the country two miles. I had charge of six posts, three privates to a post, the last post connecting with the picket of another brigade on our left. Lieutenant Norcross connected with a brigade on our right. Lieutenant Johnston in command and at our reserve. All quiet, no enemy in sight. Some citizens passed through the lines during the day with passes. Visited by the General and the officer of the day at 1 a. m., and at night by the officer of the day. It commenced to rain at dark; it was very cold, and no shelter; had to "grin and bear it." Had an old chair and sat in it all night. Was relieved at 10 o'clock the next day by a detachment of the 2d Louisiana Regiment. This regiment is composed of all nations; it was raised in New Orleans; there is one Chinese in it; he cannot speak English, pretty soldier, he! My negro servant found a pocket-hook, which belonged to one of our men; he was seen when he picked it up, but stoutly denied it. I threatened to shoot him and gave him two minutes to either produce it or die; then he handed it over.
January 27, 1863. Tuesday. Cold and muddy. No drill to-day. We are laying floors in our tents; I have finished mine, which makes it quite comfortable. Nothing new. No expectation of a fight at present.
January 28, 1863. Pleasant but cold. Received a long letter from home and it was a good one, mother's picture was in it.
January 29, 1863. Pleasant but cold, water froze in my tent last night, the ice was quite thick. I have set up a small stove. Drill in the morning from 7.30 to 8.30, then from 10 to 6 o'clock. Battalion drill in the afternoon, from 2 to 4 o'clock.
January 30,1863. Captain and I drilled the company in the manual to-day. Battalion drill in the afternoon. No excitement to-day.
January 31, 1863. Saturday. Our brigade was reviewed by General Grover. The 30th received their usual praise from the commanding officer for soldierly appearance. The Captain is on picket duty. I preferred charges against two privates of Company H for deserting their post while on picket with me, as I was ordered to do so by General Dudley.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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