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.

Friday, March 23, 2012

3rd Louisiana Battalion in Virginia

Wayne Cosby has forwarded this story on the 3rd Louisiana Battalion in Virginia from the Richmond Daily Dispatch dated January 29, 1862.

The Third Louisiana Battalion in Virginia

Yesterday, the 26th, being the anniversary of the secession of Louisiana, it was celebrated by the citizens of that State now in this department. The 26th falling upon Sunday, the entertainments were mostly given to-day; but some, I believe, chose Saturday as their reception day, while others followed the circle custom and gave a dinner on Sunday. In company with a delightful party of Norfolk ladies and gentlemen, I visited the camp of the 3d Louisiana battalion, some few miles out of the city, where we were promised a review, flag-raising, dinner, dance, and a warm welcome. Leaving the city at twelve, by a special train, half an hour's ride placed us beside a neat and quiet village of log-huts located in a small pine clearing close by, which was drawn up a body of as fine and soldierly-looking men as one would wish to see. As the cars stopped we were greeted, by the music of an excellent band, which escorted us through the line of soldiers into the quadrangular space formed by the rows of log-cabins, built by the skillful hands of their occupants. While the ladies retired to their reception-room, a few of us wandered around the enclosure to see how volunteers lived, and were agreeably surprised at the neatness and orderly appearance of the quarters. 

Before going further I will say that this is the battalion about which so many hard things have been said by the public on account of its having contained some desperate and bad men who brought disgrace upon all. It has since been well pruned, and under command of Col. Bradford has become a really well disciplined and desirable corps. It was originally raised by Tochman, and was known as the "Polish Brigade." Perhaps some may hold up their hands with horror at the mention of this fact, but wait until you hear me through. The following is the present organization of the battalion: 

Lt. Col. O. M, Bradford. 
Maj. Edmund Pendleton. 
Adjutant A. Marks. 
Surgeon, Dr. Cromwell, of Ga. 
First Company--Capt. A. Brady, Lieuts. Merrick, McClelland, and Marks. 
Second Company--Capt. R. A. Wilkinson, Lieuts. Egan, Penrose, and Jemison. 
Third Company--Capt. Wm. Patrick, Lts. Bowman, Pardoe, and Cram. 
Fourth Company--Captain Levi T. Jennings; Lieutenants Power, Stockwood, and Cady. 
Fifth Company--Captain S. D. McChesney; Lieutenants Haynes, Murray, and Shaw. 
Sixth Company--Captain W. H. Murphy; Lieutenants Jones and--. 
Seventh Company--Captain William C. Michie; Lieutenants Brigham, Bowman, and Andrews. 
Eighth Company--Captain Jos. F. Withurup; Lieutenants Doubiller, Miller, and --. 

The companies are all full and the men in as fine health and physical condition as any I have seen since coming to this post. In passing around the quarters, we found that the utmost order, quiet, and neatness, prevailed in everything. "How is it," said I to my guide, "if these men are as wild and unruly as represented, that they take such care of themselves, their arms, and their houses." "Because," he replied, "Colonel Bradford has taught them the motto, 'A place for everything, and everything in its place.'" 

The cabins, about forty in number, were built in the form of a square, leaving a large and level compass or parade ground in the centre. They were uniform in size and appearance, 30 by 20 feet, having capacious fire places, fine brick chimneys, and, in a majority of cases, glass windows and half glass doors. The roofs were covered with shingles made by the men, the battalion having drawn from the Government brick for their chimneys, instead of shingles. Inside there was some similarity in the arrangement of furniture, although that was left entirely to the taste and desire of the men. It was optional with them to sleep in double or single beds, to have the bunks, arranged like steamboat berths, as double beds, as in ordinary houses, or like the single cots of a hospital ward. The best arrangement was, undoubtedly, bunks, one above the other, placed in a corner of the room. The beds were neatly made up and had a plenty of warm and cleanly looking blankets, furnished, I was told, by the State of Louisiana in every house there was a table, several constructed cupboards, board chairs, rocking chairs, sofas, ottomans, and in one instance I saw a charming tete-a-tete setting before a blazing pine-knot fire. All had racks upon one side for the arms, and a cleaner, brighter set of muskets I have never seen in the Army since I commenced writing about it, more than 12 months age. There were many other little arrangements I would like to mention, did not space forbid, for every house contained some peculiar articles suggested by the taste and skill of the occupants. In one was a miniature steamboat, which had been carved by some skillful volunteer. 

Passing around the square, we came again to the officers' quarters, which are of the same size of those occupied by the privates, but I must confess, show that much less labor has been bestowed upon them. Both officers and privates have, however, mere comfortable homes than many to be found among the small planters in the piny woods of the extreme Southern estates. 

I regret exceedingly that military necessity prevented Col. Bradford from being present on the occasion, but the battalion was brought out by Major Pendleton, and after a short parade the regimental flag raised. Then came an elegant collation, and afterwards the rooms were cleared for a dance. A charming picture was then spread out before us. Without the neat village; the groups of orderly, well-dressed soldiers; crowds of country people; the dark pine forest; and the sentinels walking their solitary beats, presented a picture not soon forgotten. Within, a score of beautiful women and as many manly forms were moving in harmony with the music, in rustic huts, as perhaps our ancestors, more than two hundred years ago, in the primeval forests, walked through the contraction and stately minute. 

"How beautiful," said a German to me in his rich native tongue, "it gives me the heart-ache to look at it, when I think of the may dances of Fatherland." 

It was indeed beautiful, and it was possible more than my German friend had the heartache before the dusky shadows of night drove us again to the city. 

I would like to say much more of the day's pleasures, but the mail will soon close, and I must close also my nastily written description. One word, however, before writing "finis." This day "your own" has celebrated his birthday, and has just now entered on his — he will not say what year, for fear of losing somewhat the love of his youthful friends. Not to be too particular in such matters, it may be stated that he is still on the sunny side of forty--that he has not yet offered rewards for grey hairs — and that the crows feet are not very strongly marked in the outer angles of his eyes. In that satisfactory? If not, let his friends come and see him, and judge for themselves. 

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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