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.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Southwest Louisiana Battlefields?

Despite a plethora of small-scale actions during 1863-64, Southwest Louisiana was not the scene of numerous large-scale battles in the Civil War. When you look at the area of Louisiana west of the Mississippi, west of Brashear City (modern-day Morgan City) and below the Alexandria area, the largest battles were Bisland (April 12-13, 1863), Irish Bend (April 14, 1863), Stirling's Plantation (September 29, 1863), Bayou Bourbeaux (November 3, 1863), Camp Pratt (November 20, 1863). This would, of course, make these five very important battlefields to preserve for the future - a chance to educate the public and especially our children. You can drive southwest Louisiana today and there is not a single battlefield park. There are at least numerous historical markers in the region marking skirmishes, battles, important buildings, etc.

In the Update on the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields for Louisiana (issued in October 2010) (CWSAC), Bisland, Irish Bend, and Stirling's Plantation are listed as endangered sites. There is no mention of Bayou Bourbeaux or Camp Pratt. This will be referred to as the CWSAC.

CWSAC Battlefields of Louisiana: Notice that Bayou Bourbeaux and Camp Pratt are not on this list.

Of the battlefields, I listed this is what the CWSAC Preservation wrote in 1993: 
Stirling’s Plantation retains a high degree of integrity. Residential development and oil exploration represent potential, but not immediate, threats. Today, Stirling’s Plantation presents one of best opportunities for comprehensive battlefield landscape protection in Louisiana.
That was written 27 years ago. Again, the only way someone will know there was a battlefield fought in that location is the lone historical marker already identified above.

It IS reported that 253.85 acres of the Bisland battlefield is permanently protected; 2,846.57 acres for Irish Bend and ZERO for Stirling's Plantation. What about Camp Pratt and Bourbeaux - they didn't make the list. All land protected on Bisland and Irish Bend is done entirely through Louisiana's state government with no Federal stewardship or nonprofit organizations. This is not a healthy recipe to see a battlefield park emerge any year soon.

An observant reader will notice "Vermillion Bayou" on the map and might wonder why I did not mention that as a large-scale battle in southwest Louisiana. That is because it was not a large-scale battle. It was simply a skirmish and how the so-called "Vermillion Bayou" battle makes the list and Bayou Bourbeaux doesn't is most likely based on the fact that Bourbeaux is in a much more rural setting that the ever-growing city of Lafayette that the Vermillion runs through. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Civil War Books and Authors

Andrew J. Wagenhoffer has compiled an extremely impressive list of Civil War books he has reviewed at Civil War Books and Authors (CWBA). Sure, Amazon reviews are cool, but Wagenhoffer specializes in reading and review Civil War books. There are numerous books in his collection connected to Louisiana topics. I highly recommend you head to CWBA to look up books and see new ones coming down the pike!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

From New Orleans to Brashear City, 1863

A correspondent from the Daily Missouri Republican of St. Louis, Missouri, wrote of his trip from New Orleans to Brashear City, La. (Modern-day Morgan City). Always interesting to read the views of Yanks in Louisiana - foreign to its climate, vegetation, culture, food, economics, and wildlife. The article is titled "From New Orleans to Brashear City" dated September 27, 1863 (appeared in the October 13th issue of the Daily Missouri Republican).

Map of New Orleans, Opelousas, and Great Western Railroad running from Algiers on the Mississippi to Brashear City to the west.

The lower Teche Country from New Iberia to Brashear City

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

11th Texas Infantry Regimental History

The 11th Texas Infantry Regiment was part of Major John G. Walker's all Texas division that fought in the Trans-Mississippi Department. It was formed in early 1862, by Colonel Oran M. Roberts, a successful lawyer and was the president of Texas' Secession Convention. After serving briefly in Arkansas, the 11th Texas moved into northeast Louisiana during the spring-summer of 1863 and operated in that region during the Siege of Vicksburg. It was a witness to but did not participate in, the Battle of Milliken's Bend on June 7, 1863. After Vicksburg, Walker's Texas Division moved south to Alexandria and partially participated in the Texas Overland Expedition. In early November, Roberts led his 11th Texas, along with the 15th and 18th Texas Regiments, in the Battel of Bayou Bourbeaux. It later participated in the Red River Campaign and fought at Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and later Jenkins Ferry. 

Michael Dan Jones wrote a regimental history on the 11th Texas titled, Fighting for Southern Independence: History of the 11th Texas Infantry Regiment. I recently purchased this book and it is loaded with photographs and Jones incorporates the input of Texans from other units to help tell the story of this battled regiment. I have provided a link above to purchase Jones' book (*disclaimer, I am an affiliate for Amazon and thus make a % of purchases from Amazon linked from this website).

Any student of the Civil War in Louisiana knows that a vast number of Texas units fought in our state during the war. Thousands of Louisianians served in the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennesse, and the Trans-Mississippi region of Louisiana was cut off from New Orleans' manpower. To save the rest of Louisiana from being overrun in the spring of 1863, thousands of Texans serving in Texas, Arkansas, Indian Territory, and northeast Louisiana, were sent to southwest Louisiana. Jones helps fill in yet another gap in the Trans-Mississippi history with his book on the 11th Regiment. He provides details on its organization by company and includes a roster in the back of the book based off the regiment's Compiled Service Record. 

Additional Resources (Links are my affiliate links as mentioned above) you can purchase that relate to the 11th Texas Infantry and Walker's Texas Division:

Monday, May 18, 2020

13th Louisiana Infantry Regimental History

Michael Dan Jones has been very busy the past few years writing numerous books on people, units, and battles relating to the Civil War in Louisiana. One of his latest books is a regimental history on the 13th Louisana Infantry: Fighting for Southern Independence: A History of the 13th Louisiana Infantry Regiment. It was a regiment predominately from New Orleans with numerous immigrants from numerous countries. It's most well-known officer was Randall Lee Gibson. Gibson was later promoted to Brigadier General and played an important role in post-war Louisiana in politics and with Tulane University. The 13th Louisiana's battlefield experiences began with Shiloh in April 1862 and carried through the Perryville Campaign, Murfreesborough, Siege of Jackson, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Atlanta Campaign, Nashville Campaign, and Spanish Fort in the Mobile Campaign. It fought with the Adams-Gibson Louisiana brigade for almost the entire war as part of the Army of the Mississippi/Army of Tennessee.

I found the 13th Louisiana to be one of the most interesting units from Louisiana. They were originally dressed in "Zouave" uniforms but they soon faded to normal attire. Due to high losses suffered by the regiment during the war, it spent a majority of the war consolidated with the heavy-German-filled 20th Louisana Infantry. Leon von Zinken of the 20th then became an important figure in the 13th Louisiana's history as well.

While exploring Jones' book on the 13th Louisiana (from the link above), take time to explore other titles written by him by clicking on the author's name.

Jones is also the author of the blog "The South's Defender".

Related information:

* All links to books are linked through as an Amazon affiliate - I receive a % of the sale if you purchase.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

6th Michigan Regimental History

The 6th Michigan Infantry was active in Louisiana during the Civil War from April 1862 (with the capture of New Orleans) through July 1863 (the Siege of Port Hudson). It took part in numerous actions with significant roles in the Battle of Baton Rouge and the Siege of Port Hudson. Eric R. Faust has written a regimental history of the 6th Michigan titled: The 6th Michigan Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster (2020).

The 6th Michigan Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster by [Eric R. Faust]

Faust's book on the 6th Michigan is 300 pages and is available in Kindle and paperback. 

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