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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Funeral of Charles Dreux, 1st Louisiana Battalion

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Dreux, commander of the 1st Louisiana Battalion, had the unfortunate distinction of being the first Confederate field officer, and probably the first Louisianian, killed in the Civil War.  Dreux was killed on July 4, 1861, in a minor skirmish near Young’s Mill, Virginia, while trying to ambush and capture some Union officers who frequented the area.  Dreux was a Louisiana blue-blood.  His New Orleans funeral, which drew 30,000 mourners, was said to the be the largest ever held in the city up to that time.  The following report of the funeral comes from the July 20, 1861, Richmond Daily Dispatch.

Grand military and civic Obsequies of the late Lieut. Col. Dreux.
[from the New Orleans Picayune, 16th]
One of the largest military and civic funeral processions which ever was seen in this city, took place yesterday afternoon from the City Hall, on the occasion of the burial of the late gallant Lieut. Col. Charles D. Dreux.
The remains continued to lie in state during the day at the Mayor's reception room, the metallic coffin being placed on a large high bier in the centre of the room, which was covered with a flag of the Confederacy. On the top of the coffin lay the cap and uniform of the deceased, covered with a wreath of white flowers, while loose fresh flowers were strewn all around it. A stack of arms was placed at each corner of the tier, which was also guarded by a detachment of soldiers. The walls and windows of the room were tapestried with flags of the State and the Confederacy, draped with black. Incense was burned on the mantles, and a fine cabinet oil painting of the deceased, hung with crape, also adorned the room.
Hundreds visited the remains during the day. At 2 o'clock the room was cleared, when the relatives of the family of the deceased paid their last sorrowful tribute of affectionate regard to the memory of the departed.
The procession formed in front of the City Hall at half-past 4 o'clock, extending on St. Charles and Lafayette streets. All the stores on our principal streets were closed, and flags were displayed at half-mast from the public buildings, hotels, public offices and the shipping.  During the procession the bells of the several churches were tolled. The procession moved according to the order which has already been published, passing up St. Charles street to Julia street, down Julia to Camp street, thence to Chartres street, and down Chartres to Esplanade, and down Esplanade to the new St Louis Cemetery. It had been intended to perform the religious rites and mass at the St. Louis Cathedral, but the order was changed, and the ceremonies were performed at the cemetery. All the windows, verandahs and balconies of the houses on the streets through which the procession passed were crowded with ladies, as well as the sidewalks. When the funeral cortege had reached Jackson Square, the crowd was immense, besides the windows and balconies of the Pontiac Buildings, the old Municipal Hall and the Court-House being filled. The procession was one hour and twenty minutes-passing the Cathedral.
The military display was the largest and most imposing ever witnessed in this city. It is estimated that between three and four thousand troops were in the ranks, and that the total number in the procession, including citizens, was between eight and ten thousand.--The Confederate Army was represented by Major General Twiggs and staff, and Colonel Sulakowski with some fifteen officers of the Polish Brigade. The Navy was represented by Commodore Rousseau, and officers of the Confederate States shipsteamers St. Philip and McRae.
A large advance of cavalry and infantry preceded the open hearse, which was draped with flags, and covered by a canopy hung with black, and drawn by six black horses — An escort followed, composed of Orleans Cadets, Jefferson Mounted Guards, Capt. Guy Dreux, on each side of the hearse, followed by the special detachment from the 1st Battalion of Louisiana Volunteers, who escorted the remains from Virginia, under Lieut. H. F. Bend. Twelve carriages then followed, containing Bishop Odin and the Catholic clergy, preceded by the relatives of the deceased.--Next came Major Gen. Lewis and other officers, the Governor, Mayor, police, firemen and the different societies, citizens, &c.
The police of the several districts made a fine turn-out, headed by their chief.
The Fire Department was also well represented, considering the large number of firemen who have left to join the army:
On arriving at the cemetery, the funeral rites were performed by Bishop Odin, assisted by the priests, who sang the "Requiescat in pace," after which Lieut. Col. Olivier, followed by Randell Hunt, Esq., delivered most touching addresses on the spotless character, the noble qualities, and chivalrous intrepidity of the deceased. Three salvos of musketry were then fired by the Louisiana Battalion with exact precision. The procession was then dismissed, and the military and other companies proceeded separately to their quarters. 

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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