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, February 26, 2010

Art Bergeron

Historian Art Bergeron passed away early this month. I wanted to take the time to acknowledge the loss of a major contributor to Louisiana and its role in the Civil War. He proved to be a pioneer with Louisiana Confederate military history. Mr. Bergeron proved to be a patient and gracious man. I came into contact with him around 1995-96 time span when I was conducting research as an undergraduate student at McNeese State University. Since that time, Mr. Bergeron assisted me on various issues up to just a few months ago. I wanted to take the time to acknowledge the accomplishments of Mr. Bergeron and encourage all to read a tribute posted to Mr. Bergeron on the Civil War Message Board. A quick Google search will show that Mr. Bergeron touched and reached a lot of people in the Civil War community through his work.


We put together a post on Louisiana's Jayhawkers of southwest Louisiana a few weeks ago. Some good stories on Jayhawking were linked and included were some newspaper accounts on the fighting that took place from the Ville Platte-Opelousas-Vermillionville region. Texans fighting in the region, fighting against the Jayhawkers and those that were simply passing across the region quickly drew an unfavorable opinion of Louisianians in this area. Included in our post on Jayhawking was an article from the Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph. Here is another story from the same paper informing its readers on "Cagins" of southwest Louisiana:


Much has been said by our Texas soldier in Louisiana against the Cagins [sic] of that State. It is probable that many of our readers may be ignorant of the character of these Cagins. From a citizen of that State we learn they are an extremely ignorant class of population, inhabiting the rural districts, who have descended from the criminals transported by the French in the last century to this region. They are viscous by nature, and little better by education, looked upon with distrust by the people, and the antipathies between them and our troops are hardly less than that between them and the whites of that State. They are said in fact to be about on a level with the negro in intelligence, and two degrees below him in viciousness. Just previous to the war, the Governor of Louisiana made a raid upon them for some sort of scoundrelism or other, and scattered them far and wide, some even having found a refuge in the pine forests and cypress swamps on the Sabine. These Cagins, on the breaking out of the present war regarded it as in some way connected with that raid, and they look upon the United States troops as coming to revenge them of the injuries they suffered from the Louisiana State authorities. These Cagins being free, are all subjects to conscription, and the result of attemptying to conscript them has been to fill that country with outlaws, whose jayhawking is a terror to the people. When put in the ranks they are worse than useless, pursuing that dogged and stubborn disposition characteristic of all criminals under civilized restraint. Many have been shot for desertion, and our opinion is the army would be better for driving every man of them into the enemy's lines.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Louisiana's Colonels

Bruce Allardice author of Confederate Colonels has extended an open hand to our readers seeking assistance with our great state's Colonels. I speak first hand of the gracious help Bruce extended me in my research on the Colonels in the Adams-Gibson Louisiana Brigade. A brigade that contained numerous Colonels it required me at times to seek outside assistance. I found his book on Confederate Colonels to be a great assest in helping to find new information or fill in holes when I ran into a dead end. Click on the link provided to visit Mr. Allardice's site with his contact information. Thank you Mr. Allardice for your assistance!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bewitching Grace?


It is a pity the ladies of Atlanta have as little of the good taste in dress or the bewitching grace of their fair countrywomen of Louisiana. If they combined these latter with the beauties with which nature has endowed them, the Turk would resign all claims to Paradise, for the privilege of living out his natural term in the society of half a dozen of these Georgian houris.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

10th Louisiana Letters

Michael Jones, author of the history of the 10th Louisiana Infantry and the man behind The South's Defender, posted a write up on some letters from Edward Seton of Co. K of the 10th Louisiana. Nice read. Thanks for the post Mike!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Louisiana Rum

Multiple accounts of Yanks in Louisiana talk about the "Louisiana rum" and how they (Yanks) made good use of the item when they stole it from the local inhabitants. General William Dwight noted in his official report on the Teche Campaign (April-May 1863). Following the Battles of Fort Bisland and Irish Bend, Dwight took part in the pursuit of Richard Taylor's army through New Iberia:

April 23rd: "...Having obtaind a good guide, I sent a force of cavalry to capture this flat-boat. It was captured...It turned out to be loaded with about 50 barrels of the best quality of Louisiana rum (made from the sugar instead of molasses), some sugar, and some lard."

April 27th: "At night in New Iberia there was some noise and confusion in this brigade, owing to the fact that some soldiers got hold of Louisiana rum."

Brigadier General Robert A. Cameron reported an incident with the 16th Indiana Mounted Infantry in the La Fourche District on November 30, 1864:

"I heard by rumor that Captain Moore, his officers and men, had seized a quantity of Louisiana rum and were on a drunken spree, committing various depredations, and that one of his men had attempted to rape a mulatto girl and had shot and killed her for resisting. I immediately sent a messanger with an order to Captain Moore to return...The messanger found the officers gone, but the senior sergeant opened the order and returned with the command. The sergeant reported that Captain Moore had taken all the officers witih him, a sergeant and six men, in an open boat and had been absent from his command for four days...It appears that Captain Moore with the balance of his officers abandonded their command in a state of intoxication on the evening of the 23rd and was led by Raymond Luke to the camp of a rebel officer and his recruiting party and fell an easy prey...I have the murderer Hilton in custody and he will be tried for murder."

In an account in Among the Cotton Thieves the author, Colonel Bacon of the 6th Michigan, describes a particular situation where the flanking skirmishers of his regiment advanced too far. Bacon said, " returning the fire of the enemy my own men are likely to send some shots among their friends, and the effect of the Louisiana rum, which has been freely used, may be such as to give another fine example of federal soldiers getting into a skirmish among themselves."

Seems the reputation of Louisiana Rum was known outside of south Louisiana:


The liquors purchased in this section of country by ex-members of the "Sons of Temperance," are very inferior to those described by our Richmond friend. An article generally known as Louisiana rum, is becoming rather too common for health among our military friends. To use the language of a recent purchaser, "It would burst up a bible society." If a man is rash enough to take more than one drink, he becomes mean enough to steal his mother's wedding ring, for the purpose of exchanging it for a negro's possum dog. Not using the article, we cannot be positive, but we honestly believe it would kill an able bodied man, off hand, at less than thirty yards.

It would burst up a bible society...he'll become mean enough to steal his mother's wedding ring to exchange for a negro's possum dog? WOW! More to come on this topic!

Monday, February 15, 2010

1st La Regulars Christmas Party


Murfreesboro', Christmas night, 1862.

The day has been observed here with more than anticipated festivity, considering the situation of our country and the surrounding circumstances. On Christmas day, wherever we may be, all our thoughts fly homewards and to distant friends. I cannot help thinking what a sad picture New Orleans presented to-day, under the iron rule of the Cyclops Beast Butler, to the happy family scenes of security and protection of Christmas a year ago! But the change is too sad and sorrowful to dwell upon, and but give place to thoughts and feelings of a stinging vengeance yet to be reeked upon the foe. Had Bouligny, the Creole duelist, have fallen in destroying the life of Butler the Beast, he would have left a name covered with glory—instead of which his defeat but doubly damns his infamy. But let us turn from such miserable contemplations to pleasanter reflections. Last night was one of joyous revelry. Besides the private entertainments on the occasion of Christmas eve, a grand ball came off a the Courthouse, given by the officers of the 2d Kentucky and 1st Louisiana Regiments. It was gotten up in splendid style, and with that exquisite taste which Louisianans and Kentuckians have ever excelled in. The following is a copy of the card of
Murfreesboro', Dec. 24, 1862. Mr. ______: The pleasure of your company is requested to a party to be given by the officers of the 2d Kentucky and 1st Louisiana Regiments, at the Courthouse, Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1862.
Committee of Invitation:
Mrs. Lewis Maney.

Mrs. Dr. Valentine
Mrs. Leiper

Col. Jno. A. Jaques, 1st La."

.Maj. Jas. W. Hewitt, Commanding 2d Ky."

Gentlemen not accompanied with ladies will be required to present this at the door. The grand ball room was magnificently decorated, the walls being festooned with evergreens and banners, while on the corners were stacks of arms with glistening bayonets. At the head of the hall was a beautiful wreath, with the letters "Ky. and La.", beneath which was the music stand, beautifully decorated with the colors of both regiments and Gen. Polk's battle flag. At the foot was written the word "Shiloh," and the letter B, in a circle of evergreens, to represent Beauregard, in which battle the 1st Louisiana distinguished itself. On the right was "Hartsville," with the letter B over it, encircled with evergreens, to represent Breckinridge, beneath which was a splendid silken flag of the old Union, drooping in disorder and disgrace, captured from the Abolitionists at Hartsville. Following on the same side, was "Donelson," with another B over it, for Buckner, in which the gallant 2d Kentucky fought with such heroism, and underneath was draped their battle flag. On the left were the words "Pensacola—Santa Rosa," with a B over both to represent Bragg, the Commanding General. Beneath were captured flags of the enemy. In the corners of the room were large branches of cedar trees, representing a grove, to which were attached different colored lanterns, giving to the hall a most rural and romantic appearance of illuminated garden bowers. It was the most elegant and select ball of the season, and drew together the most accomplished, beautiful and lovely women of Rutherford county which is so deservedly famed for its beauty and intelligence. "He who hath loved not here would learn that love, And make his heart a spirit; he who knows That tender mystery, will love the more, For this is love's recess, where vain men's woes And the world's waste, have driven him far from those, For 'tis his nature to advance or die; * * but * * * grows Into a boundless blessing! * * *

The coup d'oeuil was bewildering and dazzling as "the lamps o'er fair women and brave men," for beauty and chivalry were grouped together, forming exquisite tableaux in various parts of the hall—Generals Bragg, Polk, Cheatam, Breckenridge, Wheeler, all being surrounded by batteries of bright eyes, which were found far more dangerous and irresistible than the enemy's artillery. Deep emotions rose and fell with the swelling airs of voluptuous music, as fairy forms glided through the mazes of the dance, or bended gracefully to catch the broken whisper of the tale of love. The Marys and Medoras, Elizas and Ellens, Bettys and Kates, Alices and Annas, were all most exquisitely dressed, developing exquisite charms and irresistible fascinations. At 12, midnight, the band struck up a grand march, and the company repaired to the supper room, where a magnificent "spread" awaited them. There was no sparkling champagne, but the delicious egg nogg [sic] made up for it, and wit and sentiment flowed freely. It was one of the few assemblages in life's dreary voyage that I shall never forget. Kentucky and Louisiana were inseparably connected, and their destinies forever linked together.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"The Vicksburg Captives"

The Richmond Daily Dispatch printed, August 19, 1863, an article based off a piece it read out of the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune piece was titled "The Vicksburg Captives" and listed all the units captured and it also included numbers of included in those regiments. I edited the piece to simply show the Louisiana units:

Commands and commanding officers.

22d Louisiana, infantry, S Jones, captain.
23d Louisiana, John T Plattiner, colonel, 153 men.
3d Louisiana, David Pierson, major, 230 men.
31st Louisiana, James W Draughon, col., 523 men.
27th Louisiana, Joseph T Hatch, captain, 595 men.
17th Louisiana, Robert Richardson, col., 382 men.
25th Louisiana, llenThomas, colonel, 339 men.
26th Louisiana, W. C. Crow, Lieut colonel, 494 men.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

21st, 22nd, 23rd...22nd Consolidated?

The 21st, 22nd and 23rd Louisiana Regiments are pretty obscure to the history books. Besides slipping between the cracks, these three regiments did not participate in many battles and so missed the glorified reports of sacrifice in battle. Vicksburg and Farmington stand out as the only two major encounter of these regiments. We have documented the fate of Colonel Kennedy's 21st Louisiana Regiment before. That regiment was disbanded in July-August of 1862 and dispersed between the 13th and 20th Louisiana Regiments. The 22nd and 23rd Regiments...well, its interesting. Get a drink, mute the cell phone...

The 22nd Louisiana Regiment (M.L. Smith as Colonel and Edward Higgins as Lt. Colonel) was organized in April of 1862 and was sent to Vicksburg the next month. It remained part of that city's garrison until the surrender in July of 1863. While at Vicksburg the regiment's title was changed to the 21st Regiment (likely due to the disbandment of Kennedy's 21st?). After their surrender the regiment went to the parolee camp at Enterprise, Mississippi. It remained here until January 1864, when it was merged with various units to create the 22nd Louisiana Consolidated Regiment. Easy enough...

The 23rd Regiment was originally organized in January of 1862 in New Orleans. When that city fell in April of 1862, most of the regiment disbanded itself rather than leave the city. One company, Co. I, was part of the Ft. Jackson garrison. In May, three companies and remnants of the other seven collected itself at Camp Moore. By consolidated the pieces of the other companies the old regiment was able to muster four full companies. Once "reorganized", the four-company regiment was sent to Vicksburg. Once there, the regiment was slowly augmented with exchanged prisoners to create a fifth company. Similar to the 21st (old 22nd Regiment), the 23rd Regiment was designated the new 22nd Regiment. Four of the regiment's five companies were captured at Vicksburg and they joined the parolee camp at Enterprise. While here, the 22nd (Old 23rd) was merged with the 21st (Old 22nd) to help created the 22nd Louisiana Consolidated Regiment.

The 22nd Consolidated Regiment? The Louisianians captured at Vicksburg was kept at a camp in Enterprise. They camped here waiting to be paroled so they could be reactivated. A large number of men, though, took advantage of furloughs to go to Louisiana and never return. Multiple numbers of men never returned to their former commands at Enterprise (There will be a follow up post on those men who reorganized west of the river into Brigadier Allen Thomas' Birgade). Those remaining at Enterprise were declared exchanged in late 1863 and were organized in January 1864 into the 22nd Consolidated Regiment. The following Vicksburg-Louisiana units made up the new regiment: 3rd, 17th, 21st, 22nd, 26th, 27th, 29th and 31st Regiments. The late and esteemed Art Bergeron put the regiment's numbers at 780 men. So few men remained east of the river that it took all eight of these regiments to put together that many men "on paper." The new regiment was organized as follows:

22nd Consolidated Regiment
Co. A-Co. A of 22nd (Old 23rd) Regiment
Co. B-Co. B of 22nd (Old 23rd) Regiment
Co. C-Co. C of 22nd (Old 23rd) Regiment
Co. D-Co. D of 22nd (Old 23rd) Regiment
Co. E-Co. E of 22nd (Old 23rd) Regiment
Co. F-Remnants of the 26th, 27th and 31t Regiments
Co. G-Remnants of the 17th and 29th Regiments
Co. H-Remnants of the 3rd Regiment
Co. I-Cos. A and B of 21st (Old 22nd) Regiment
Co. K-Cos. C,D and E of 21st (Old 22nd) Regiment

Mobile became the base of operations for this regiment for the remainder of the war. It eventually surrendered at Meridian in May of 1865. For the exploits of that regiment during the Mobile Campaign you should read Arthur Bergeron's "The Twenty-Second Louisiana Consolidated Infantry in the Defense of Mobile, 1864-1865," Alabama Historical Quarterly, XXXVIII (1976), 204-213.

LSU Special Collections

Being from Louisiana and researching Louisiana in the Civil War means I have come across and dealt with Louisiana State University's (LSU) Special Collections at Hill Memorial Library. This organization is great to work with! I have worked with them off-and-on for a few years but especially in 2009 trying to wrap things up for Louisianians in the Western Confederacy. They are great and I felt that I'd put a blurb about some of their resources.

Friday, February 12, 2010


MEMPHIS DAILY APPEAL, [MEMPHIS, TN], February 23, 1862, p. 1, c. 2

What a knapsack should contain.—The official regulations in Louisiana enumerate as follows: One blanket, one shirt, one undershirt, one pair of drawers, three pairs of socks, one pair of shoes, one towel, one tin cup, one tin pan or plate, one knife and fork, one cake of soap, one handkerchief, a piece of oil cloth to use under the blanket, and nothing else. No token of friendship, no daguerreotypes, no books, are allowed. But we don't suppose there would be any objection to a hair brush, a comb, a toothbrush, a box of blacking, a shoe brush, a little looking glass, and scissors, with thread, needles and pins. We suppose many ladies will be called upon to pack the knapsack of their volunteering friends. Let them make a note of the above.

Louisiana Jayhawkers

"No Man's Land": The land between Opelousas and Lake Charles proved to be a difficult country for Confederate authorities. Ville Platte or "Flat Town" is highlighted because it did not appear on the origianl map. (Source: OR Atlas, Plates CLVI and CLVII).

I came across two pieces about Jayhawkers in Southwest Louisiana this week and thought I'd put them on the blog for everyone to see. I did a little more work and found that Mr. W.T. Block has done some exceptional work on this topic. Mr. Block's work focuses on Texas units and their role in the war. He has done some outstanding work on the Texas units that fought in Louisiana. This explains why he has taken an interest and done some great work on the Jayhawking of Southwest Louisiana. Basically, the area between Opelousas and Lake Charles was sparsely populated (look at the size of those parishes in 1860-they had to be drawn big for a large enough population to compose the parish). While thousand of Texas served from Alexandria to Vermillionville areas the roads between Opelousas and Texas was filled with furloughed soldiers, supply wagons, etc. The country was great, though, for deserters and pro-Unionist to operate and became a "lawless" region.

Here are two articles written by Mr. Block on Southwest Louisiana Jayhawking. Both articles are very well documented to provide you with more leads for research:

Below I have put two contemporary stories about the Jayhawkers. The first is from the Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph, August 29, 1863:

Camp Stonewall Jackson, near Washington, La. } August 17th, 1863. }

Editor Telegraph.—As you are aware, our army has long since "changed its base" and fallen back west of the Atchafalaya, and south of Red River. A small "squad," who generally go along with Gen. Tom Green on his excursions around, stopped here awaiting orders, (principally from Banks) where we have been permitted for two or three weeks to enjoy rest for man and beast, the first for many days—but the outrageous acts of the conscripts, deserters and free negroes who inhabit the country west of this, came to the knowledge of the "powers that be" and our rest was broken. There has long been quite a number of the aforesaid class, who have taken to the woods and bottoms and evaded the enrolling officers, and declared it to be their intention not to fight for either Federal or Confederate Governments, but at the time the Federal army occupied "these parts," I have been credibly informed that the leading members of this clan formed an alliance with the "rail splitters" minions, and after giving all information required, obtained permission to remain here and plunder good citizens and murder alike citizen and soldier. They are said to be 300 or 400 strong, and commanded by one Carrier. They are principally armed with double barreled shot guns. They having recently killed some good citizens, and 4 or 5 C. S. soldiers, it was determined, if possible, to bring some at lest, of the offenders to justice. Accordingly, on the night of the 8th inst., a detachment of Co. B, Lieut. Coleman commanding, and of Co. C, Capt. Clough commanding, all of the 5th T. M. V., were ordered to report to Capt. West, (I think of Gen. Taylor's Staff) at Washington. At Opelousas we were joined by ten more belonging to Co. E, 4th T. M. V., and after dark, while on the march, by the Home Guard, 20 strong, making in all about 75 men. We proceeded about 10 miles to the westward—to a neighborhood composed principally of these fellows (Jayhawkers) and situated along bayou Mallet. We then divided into two or three parties and the performance commenced. Each party had so many, and certain houses to surround and search. The parties were to move cautiously and as noiselessly as possible until near the house. Then rush up, dismount and surround the "castle," guard every door and window, while a "storming" party entered each house, demanded lights and searched every nook and corner. Thus we hunt conscripts, visiting a man's home at the hour of midnight, and in some instances, we took them away. The women in some cases appeared, much grieved, and cried and begged at an awful rate, when their husbands, fathers and brothers were being taken away, but as they all cried and talked in French (!) and as we could not "Parley Francais," their wails amounted to nothing at all. We captured 10 or a dozen during the night. Some of them were deserters from the army, while others were liable to conscription and accused of being connected with the clan known as Jayhawkers. All of them were sent to Opelousas for imprisonment and trial. On the morning of the 9th, and our command having had nothing to eat since noon of the 8th, divided into small parties and sent to the houses in the neighborhood for breakfast, and while this state of affairs was existing, a party of 40 or 50 mounted Jayhawkers surprised a party of about 25 of our command, who believed they were some of our own command returning, and consequently they were permitted to move up in rear and on both flanks within shot gun range and fire, before it was discovered who they were. Being desirous of concentrating our different parties and as they were in the edge of the woods, rendering it impossible to learn their numbers, the order was given to fall back into the prairie. Our boys formed and dashed through their lines, the Jayhawkers firing rapidly. Roy Blondelle and Chas. Elkin, of Co. B, T. M. V., were wounded. Roy has since died—also Pearson, of Co. C. had a mule shot under him. The scoundrels never followed, having a great terror for the prairies and cavalry. There was a speedy concentration of our little party from breakfast, and so we remained concentrated during the day. For this impudence the remainder of the 5th T. M. V., Lt. Col. McPhail commanding, and 2d Louisiana Cavalry, Maj. Thompson commanding, were sent to our aid, with orders to scour the woods and country for miles around, and to shoot every man connected with the clan. We remained for that purpose until the night of the 15th, we returned. We scoured the woods and country for miles, forming in line of battle and marching abreast, across bodies of timber and the swamps—driving for them as if for deer, and on the evening of the 10th inst., while moving in this manner, we surprised them in their camp and fired into them. Most of them fled, while two or three stood up, fired, and badly wounded James C. Francis of Co. G, 5th T. M. V., (since died,) and John Watson, a member of 5th Texas Infantry. Three of them captured on the spot, and another in the same neighborhood, were shot per order the next day. The family of one of them came to take leave of him a few minutes before he was led out to be shot, and it was truly an unpleasant scene. Methinks I can hear that woman and her children's cries to this moment. However, they had already killed two of the most gallant soldiers of our regiment, and were found in arms resisting the laws of their country and as such should have died. Col. McPhail, on leaving, issued a proclamation promising pardon to all who may in future return to their due allegiance, but death to all who may be caught in these disloyal practices—whether plundering, or murdering, or caught in arms and skulking in the woods from justice. I have written this for the purpose of informing the citizens of Texas, who may intend traveling from Niblett's Bluff to the eastward, of the state of affairs existing in that portion of the State, and to ask them to remember that the late punishment inflicted on some of the conscripts renders it very unsafe for small parties to travel alone. Respectfully, W. R. H.

The Opelousas Courier, August 15, 1863:
"On Sunday last, a company of mounted troops, joined, it appears, by some citizens, started in pursuit of the jayhawkers, and when arrived in their quarter, dismounted and leisurely laid down, waiting for something or other, when, all at once here come the jayhawkers pouncing upon them and throwing dismay among the crowd. Firing commenced, running too commenced, and from what we can learn we had one man killed and several wounded, one of whom has since died. We know not the loss of the othe side..."

This is an article from Harpers Weekly, December 19, 1863, commenting on captured orders from a Confederate officer that were issued by Alfred Mouton:

THE following letter comes to the Lounger from an officer of one of the New York regiments in the Army of the Gulf. The revelation of the suffering of faithful American citizens under the fierce terrorism of the rebellion is startling. The rebel General Orders which our correspondent incloses, and which follow his letter, were found upon an officer of the rebel General Mouton's brigade, captured by a detachment of Major-General Washburn's division, near St. Martinsville, south of the Red River. They show how desperate is the resistance made by Southern men against the "Confederate Government," and how earnest their hate of the "liberty and independence" proffered them by a slaveholding oligarchy:
To the Lounger:
The circular which I inclose will tell you its own story, and will be allowed, I hope, to appeal through you to the sympathies and faith of a hundred thousand loyal men
and women. Were there no other evidence existing of loyalty in rebellious Louisiana—of true, tried, unswerving loyalty, which lives and has its being, even though hunted, persecuted, and massacred by such incarnations of traitorous hate and cruelty as Sterling Price, Richard Taylor, and Alfred Mouton—this circular would nevertheless triumphantly prove the fact.
Are there, Mr. Lounger, among the worthy people whom you visit weekly, some who have never felt the burdens of the war, save as the tax-gatherer has knocked more loudly at their doors, and who have never felt the bitter afflictions of the war, save as they have mourned the decline of gold, and yet who have complained loudly of its hardships? Are there haply those whose faith that the old Union ship must yet outride the storm has wavered, and whose hearts have grown apathetic, even beneath the peaceful shelter of the Old Flag? If such there be, let me ask them to read and learn how the Wittingtons, the Ozimes, the Carrieres, the Huddlestons, of Louisiana, have been made the victims of a relentless and cold-blooded persecution; hunted through the swamps and brakes of their State: proscribed, outlawed, murdered in secret, because—and I would that it might be blazoned in characters of fire before Copperhead eyes—because they could not lift the traitor's hand against their beloved country! Honor, thrice honor, to these gallant spirits! The soul of all the Army of the Gulf cries out to them in sympathy and encouragement.
This circular has probably been prepared for distribution to the people of the State, and has, undoubtedly, the authority of our Generals in this Department.
Yours in loyalty.

VERMILIONVILLE, June 12, 1863.
Information has been received that there are bands of outlaws, deserters, conscripts, and stragglers from a point above Hineston, on the Calcasieu River, in the parish of Rapides, down to the lower parishes, extending into the parishes of Calcasieu, through to the Bayou Teche, which are committing depredations, robberies, and incendiarism, and who are openly violating the Confederate laws, with arms in their hands. Such men can only be considered as outlaws, highwaymen, and traitors.
In consequence:
I. You will proceed with your battalion up to the Calcasieu River, and in the vicinity of Hineston, in the parish of Rapides, and from that point scour the whole country to the outer limit of Calcasieu Parish, if necessary, to the Bayou Teche, in search of these outlaws, highwaymen, and traitors. These bands, beyond the pale of society, must be exterminated, especially the leaders; and every man found with arms for the purpose of resisting the operations of the Confederate laws, or against whom satisfactory evidence may be given, must be executed on the spot.
No prisoners should be taken. Such as are not sufficiently guilty to deserve immediate execution must be liberated, and, if conscripts, ordered to report forthwith. Men by the name of Wittington, Elliot, Ozime, Carriere, Huddleston, have been designated as some of the ringleaders.
By order of Brigadier-General ALFRED MOUTON:
LOUIS BUSH, Assistant Adjutant-General,
To Major G.A. FOURNET, commanding Yellow Jacket Battalion.
These instructions are to be kept secret, and no one is allowed to know the objects of your movements except yourself.
True copy:
LOUIS BUSH, Assistant Adjutant-General.
Lieutenant G. J. DEBLANC, Acting Adjutant.

Ozeme Carrier: Jayhawk Leader in Southwest Louisiana (Acadians in Gray)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rappahannock Humor

Battle of Rappahannock Station (Harpers Weekly)

Harry Hays' 1st Louisiana Brigade was given a bloody nose at Rappahannock Station on November 7, 1863. Two Yank brigades were sent against the exposed position and after the attack the Louisianians lost an estimated 700 of the 1,600 Confederates captured. Following the battle, a veteran of the 10th Maine came across a group of the Louisiana soldiers and said the following:

"Some of the prisoners were the famous Louisiana Tigers, a fine lot of men physically, and as they marched by, in the best of humor, some of them remarked, 'We're going to see Father Abraham and get some soft bread.' "

Source: Alfred Roe, The Tenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865 (1909), 231.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Found on at least two occassions there were two large review of Louisiana soldiers in New Orleans. I am posting the first of two I found (April 29, 1861) and will post the second newspaper article on the other one (November 1861) when I can find a copy.

The Daily Picayune, Monday April 29, 1861:

The Military spectacle yesterday was a lovely day, bright breezy, and bracing: There could not possibly have been a better weather for a grand turnout of the population. The grand review of the Military took place on Canal Street. The line of the review was nearly a mile in length, from the levee to Rampart Street. Some three or four thousand of our city soldiers and their burnished bayonets and accoutrement's with their flags giving them a gay and most imposing appearance. Outside of the space cleared for the review the crowd was perfectly compact, through the courtesy of the storekeepers ladies had admission to their windows and Verandes; the street was never on any occasion more greatly crowded or more splendidly embellished by the presence of the soldiers and their fair fex. There must have been about thirty or forty thousand people on the streets when the review took place.

Downtown New Orleans. The red lines on the map marks the streets mentioned in this news article. Canal Street is in the middle running in a North-South Direction. To its left, running in same direction is Laura and to its right is Esplande. St. Charles runs closer to the Mississippi River and Rampart runs parallel with St. Charles.

It is useless for us to attempt to enumerate the whole of the companies that formed the long and splendid line. General Trudeau's brigade from down town consisting of the Orleans battalion of Artillery, the Chasseurs-a-Pied, the Orleans Guards battalion, the Expande Guards, the Youthful Louisiana Cadets, the Garibaldi Rifles, and the German and other companies were out in full force, the whole presenting the most splendid appearance as they rested on Canal Street from St. Charles to the levee.

General Tracey's Brigade rested on Canal from St. Charles to Rampart, and made an equally disposing display. The Washington Artillery Battalion the Continental Guards[Co. A, 7th La], Louisiana Greys, Chalmette Guards [Co. B, 5th La], Calhoun Guards [Co. B, 6th La], Sarsfield Rifles [Co. C, 7th La], De Soto Rifles [Co. F, 9th La], Delta Rifles [Co. F, 4th La], Southern Cadets, Second Company Orleans Cadets, Bienville Guards, Bienville Rifles, and other companies constituted this brigade. The Bienville Guards [Co. C, 5th La], Bienville Rifle [Co. B, 8th La], and a splendid looking body men from Algiers (whose title we did not learn) Appeared in citizens dress their uniforms being not yet ready though they ahd their kepis and guns and they were none the less admirable fro want of their uniforms. But for the want of their uniforms numerous other new companies would have been out to swell the already large splendid display.

A company in blue from Carroliton made an excellent show. The cavalry or mounted companies eight in all (four companies each division) also made a gay and beautiful show comprising as they did, many of the best and bravest citizens of this city and parish and of Jefferson and St. Bernard parish well mounted and elegantly equipped. One of these companies was from Plaquemins. Had those companies which did not turn out for want of uniforms, and the twenty or thirty thousand quartered and encamped companies about town, joined in the review it would have been about twice as large. The country companies especially would have given it more length, breadth, and solidity. The Orleans and Washington Artillery Battalions had each eight or ten of their brass pieces along, each piece attended by a squad; and the rest of the battalion marching as infantry. These two battalions and the Orleans Guard Battalion were the largest and most splendid features of the turnout. The Orleans Guards turned out no less than 427 guns.

The battalions and companies being ranged in line the right to the river and left on Rampart Street. The Review took place His Excellency Governor Thomas O. Moore attended by Major General John L. Lewis and the usual full cortege of staff officers, rode past and inspected the long line, the companies presenting arms and the band playing as they passed. Many persons amid the dense throng of spectators cheered the Governor as passed.

The review over the brigades formed in procession and marched around Canal Street up town to Julia St. and as far down as Esplande Street. The immense multitude on Canal Street dispersed, and divisions of the multitude flocked to meet the procession and get a nearer view of it as it wound its way through the city. Between 2 and 3 o'clock the march ended, and the companies separated and proceeded to their respective armories. The day through Sunday was a regular military gala day in which the greater part of the population took part either as actors or spectators. The combination in Louisiana is dispersing beautifully.


I found this article online posted by the Fort Sam Houston Museum. I think its a great piece on a Louisianian by the name of Captain William Wallace Walker. I will let you read the piece on him-veteran of the Civil War and Spanish-American War! When you click on the article you will notice a photograph of a group officers. These were members of the "Tensas Cavalry" and were officers of the 3rd Louisiana Cavalry. The officer sitting at the bottom left was the eventual Colonel of the 3rd Louisiana Cavalry, Isaac F. Harrison. Its a great photo!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

From the Front

-Daily Chronicle & Sentinel ( Augusta, GA), Aug. 4, 1861

Female Hessian and Her Companion
Capt. Fremaux and Wm. S. Read of the 8th Louisiana Regiment, arrived on Wednesday evening, with the first female prisoner, a Mrs. Curtis, who was captured at Fall’s Church on Sunday last, dressed in military clothes. She belongs, it appears, to the 2nd N.Y. Regiment. The woman was on horseback at the time.

19th Louisiana at Kelly Field

On the morning of September 20, 1863, Adams’ Louisiana Brigade was part of John C. Breckinridge’s flank attack on William Rosecrans’ left flank. The Louisiana Brigade was able to turn the enemy line and advanced south along the Lafayette-Chattanooga Road. Its route brought it to the rear of the anchor of Rosecrans' left flank: Kelly Field. In the letter below, Captain Winfrey Scott of Co. D, 19th Louisiana Infantry, left an account of the battle in a letter to his wife. Scott's letter is courtesy of Stephen Osman (Permission for use must be sought through Mr. Osman).

Lagrange Oct 3rd, 1863 Ga.

Mrs. E. C. Scott
My dear wife, through mercy I am permitted to write you a few lines again. I have heard nothing from you or home since the 3rd of July, if I knew you could hear from me I would be comparatively easy. I have written two letters since we left Jackson. We have enjoyed most excellent health since we wrote, but we have past through another great battle, and by the great kindness and the watchfulness and preserving care of Almighty God we are spared from the shaft of death, that has fallen upon so many comrades in arms. On the 19th and 20th of last month we met the enemy at Chickamauga in this State some 12 or 13 miles from Chattanooga. On the first day our division did not engage the enemy, it was on the extreme left wing of our line of battle, the enemy threw themselves in line, but when we offered battle, they retired except an ______ engagement, enough it was a day of great excitement, yet I did not forget it was the 24th anniversary of our nupine union: In the evening we were marched to the extreme right wing of our line, we reached here about 11 o’clock p.m., here we _____ and rested until 4 in the morning 20th, when we took up the line of march to the center of the enemy line where they had concentrated their whole force and where they had a very strong position supported by strong breastworks. Our brigade was on the extreme right of our wing (the right) at the first charge we drove their line almost without the fire of a gun except our sharp shooters, and took a battery; the enemy disappeared for a short time when they again appeared formed in line of battle to our left forming a right angle with our line, we then changed our line parallel with theirs fronting theirs, and could see them very distinctly they were in an old field on a hill in tree lines lieing, kneeling, and standing with heavy batteries in their rear, the attention of Gen. Adams was called to the front by Grables(sp), he replied with an oath, that we must take them.

Kelly's Field, Morning of September 20, 1863
(Map provided by Stuart Salling)

We had but one line, we moved within about 2 hundred and fifty yards, halted, and corrected our line, as yet, no gun had been fired, we now sent out sharp shooters, as our advance guard, the command was now given, forward march, our boys were keen for the fray, and we marched on with rappid steps, when within a hundred and fifty paces, we opened a terrific fire upon them and loaded as we advanced, they fired and, apparently in some confusion fell back in rear of their artillery, when a most dreadful fire was opened on us by their artillery, and their infantry their artillery shot canister, grape and leaden balls, it would be vain for me to attempt to describe it, the shell, canister, and grape flow fast and thick, our boys fell on the right and left, but on we went, with nothing to shelter us but the unseen arm of God until we got I suppose within 90 or 100 yards of them, when our line ceased to advance and there was evidently some confusion among our troops and how could it expected to be otherwise. Here we stood our ground for a few minutes here our boys tried to protect themselves by huddling round some old trees and stumps that were still left. Gralter(sp) and myself were trying to scatter them to keep them all from being killed or wounded, we were both wounded near the same time he with a shell on the thigh and I with a ball through the calf of the leg. The Regt. soon had to fall back, and we both got off the field without help. Thank the good Lord it was no worse with me than it was. I went in with about 30, lost 4 killed. A.K. Gibson, A. Morris [Austin Morris], Carl and Hall Grith [G.G. Hall, William Pool, Alfred Wilson]some 13 or 14 wounded. John Shellsworth [John F. Shettlesworth] was badly wounded by the explosion of a shell but I think will recover. Drury Brazeal [Drury Ballard Brazeal] was badly wounded in the head and leg but from what I hear of him he will probably recover. James Geren is shot thru ____ the foot is doing well, will get over it, but I fear will not be fit for service in some time. B White [William Bloomer White] is shout through the ankle will not be fit for service for some time. Do___ Jarvis and ______ Bill were shot through the thigh they will probably soon be ready to go into service. Langford [John Langford] was shot through the side of the neck will soon be well. Bob was not in the fight he had been detached to bring up some baggage. I have not seen him yet but heard he had gone to the Regt. We drove the enemy back to Chattanooga where we will probably fight them again. The loss on both sides was great it is believed theirs was much greater than ours, our loss has been estimated at 12000 killed and wounded theirs at 20 to 25000. I and Mattis are at the house of Cal Long who married the mother of Mrs. Grigs (Mrs. ______) it is a very kind family, Sister Long sends her love to you – says she will be a mother to me, which she has surely been so far. Mr. Grigs is at home he is very sick – he is a fine looking man when well. Ella is a very smart child – sings like a nightingail, and plays fine on the piano. I have just heard through the Sue Carlton from her brother that Bob has reach the Regt. and is well. Mrs. Grigs sends her very best home to you, says she would be pleased to see you and daughter. I have suffered considerably from my wound, but it is improving. I think in a few days I shall be able to return to my command. Major Butler was killed in the late battle. Gen Adams was wounded and taken prisoner but will be exchanged in a few days. Our Regt. lost in the charge a _____ __ ______ killed & wounded 159 out of 300. I can not give all the particulars you will [see] them in the papers. Every thing is so high that we have to buy that I can hardly live on what I draw so that I have not been able to send any thing home this year you must do the best with things at home that you can. Counsel with your friends in reference to business matters. Console yourself that I am trying to do my duty as a citizen and a Christian If one should never be permitted to enjoy each others society in life I hope we shall have to _____ as to meet where there shall be one long eternal _____ of peace. Give my love to daughters & all my dear friends. Remember me in kindness to the servants.
Yours affectionately,
Write when you can.

Losses of Co. D, 19th La at Chickamauga

Killed: G.G. Hall, William Pool, Alfred Wilson, Austin Morris and Alfred Kennedy Wilson.

Wounded: Drury Ballard Brazeal, John Harrison Childers (and captured), Washington Lafayette Culbertson, John Matthew Dance (and captured), James Marion Geren, Hughes Henry Howard (and captured), Washington Columbus Hussey, Jasper Newman Lewis, William Benjamin Lewis, Isaac Leonard McIntyre, Augustus W. Rhymes (and captured), John F. Shettlesworth, William Bloomer White,

Captured: John H. Webb. Total of five but the other four captured are listed in the wounded list.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Andrew Devilbiss: 11th Louisiana/Austin's Battalion of Sharpshooters
(Courtesy from Private Collection)

Private Andrew Devilbiss of Austin's Sharpshooter's Battalion had a most unfortunate end to a very successful military career. When the war started, Devilbiss enlisted in Captain John E. Austin's Cannon Guards from New Orleans. Austin's Company was mustered into the 11th Louisiana Regiment at Camp Moore, Louisiana on August 13, 1861. The 11th Louisiana fought its first battle at Belmont on November 7, 1861. Devilbiss was very descriptive in his letters home to his wife, Mary, and its obvious his first time "seeing the elephant" was sober awakening to the horrors of war. Here is a part of his letter to his wife on November 9th following Belmont:

As soon as we landed, which we did by turning up the river a few hundred yards, Gen. Cheatam or Pillow, I do not know which, came and called us to go through the woods above them, and when we got about 200 yards from the river, we saw four or five Federals, which we could tell by their blue coats, and several companions, without orders, fired on them killing all but one who threw down his arms and came and gave himself up. We went two or three hundred yards further and came into an old field, where we saw the stars and stripes waving and thousands of Federals. We advanced and poured with deadly aim a fire into their rear, at the distance of about 150 yards. They turned on us and such a shower of minnie balls and grapeshotwhistled by our heads. Our whole line wavered beneath it. The cannon guards under Capt. Austin, Lieut. Alexander and Hughes took their stand at a large cottonwood log that lay in the field and over that log our company fired eight rounds. We could hear the balls, as we were loading behind the log, striking it, and when we raised our heads to shoot, they whistled by our heads uncomfortably close. One ball slightly burned my ear. It was here that Alexander fell shot through from shoulder to shoulder with a minnie ball. He died immediately. Our company was three deep behind the log. I was in front, next to the log, and Lieut. Alexander rose to give some order. I saw him first kneel, then sit down; then I caught his eye and saw he was dead. Capt. Austin then told us to retreat to the timber close by and avenge the death of our first Lieutenant. His last words were: "Stand to them my cannon guards for the honor of Louisiana." Myself and three other men started to carry him to the boat. Just then a private on my right fell. His name was Bonco. He had a wife here in the army. Well, we carried him two or three hundred yards toward the river and met the whole column of Federals retreating. They got within fifty yards of us before we saw them. We laid him down and started to run when they saw us. We ran back and told Col. Marks. We then fell into the ranks, and went over and commenced an unmerciful fire on the blue coats. I shot one as he climbed the fence and saw him fall. There were so many obstructions, logs. Brush, trees, etc., etc. here that we pretty much on our own hook. The Federals now and then would return our fire but were more intent on running. Of the cannon guards, forty-five only crossed the river, and of these thirteen were killed and wounded-five killed--. So you see, we lost more than one fourth of our company in killed and wounded. One of the killed was a messmate of mine and I generally marched next to him. He was a fine quiet man.

Following the evacuation of Columbus, the 11th Louisiana marched to Corinth as part of the Confederate buildup to stop U.S. Grant's strike down the Tennessee River. Devlibiss' next battle was Shiloh on April 6-7, 1862. Again, Andrew left vivid details of the battlefield around him in a letter home to Mary:

The Yankee camps, that we took were beautifully located with fine springs running down in branches, but on Monday morning I saw those branches having their waters all colored with blood. O Mary you could never form an idea of the horrors of actual war unless you saw the battlefields while the conflict is progressing. Death in every awful form, if it really be death, is a pleasant sight in comparison to the fearfully and mortally wounded. Some crying oh, my wife, my children, others my Mother, my sister, my brother etc. any and all of these terms you will hear while some pray to God to have mercy and others die cursing the "Yankee sons of b_____s."

Shiloh was the last battle the 11th Louisiana fought. On August 19th, the regiment was disbanded by Braxton Bragg and its members dispersed to the 13th and 20th Louisiana Regiments. Captain Austin, though, was allowed to recruit men from the regiment to form a sharpshooting battalion. Devilbiss was one of the 150 men picked to form Austin's Battalion. He served with the battalion through the Battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and through most of the Atlanta Campaign. He was wounded and did not return to the army until August 1st. For his services on the December 31, 1862 at the Battle of Murfreesboro Devilbiss was awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor. On that day Austin's two companies deployed to cover the retreat of the brigade from a devastating flank attack at the Round Forest. The sharpshooters were able to buy time in the face of multiple regiments for their sister regiments to escape. Apparantly, Devilbiss performed "above and beyond" during this part of the engagement to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Following the fall of Atlanta, Devilbiss marched north with the army toward Tennessee. When the Army of Tennessee went to cross the Tennessee River to invade Tennessee the task of securing a bridgehead at Florence was given to Randal Gibson's Louisiana Brigade. Leading the attack across the river, posted at the head of each slip, were 2-3 sharpshooters of Austin's Battalion (now under the command of Lieutenant A.T. Martin). The Unionist Tennessee cavalry holding the opposite shore put up minimal resistance and the victory-deprived Confederates gave quick chase. Unfortunately for Devilbiss, the quick pursuit was amidst the barrage of friendly artillery fire from the opposite shore. While giving chase to the galvanized Tennessee cavalry Devilbiss was struck in the back by an artillery round. The devoted and hard fought veteran was the only loss of the day-due to friendly fire.

Lieutenant Martin sat down two weeks later to write Mary a letter notifying her of her husband's death:

Hd. Qrs. Austin's Batt. S.S.
Florence, Ala.
Nov. 15th, 1864

Mrs. Mary E. Devilbiss

Dear Madam,

It becomes my sad and painful duty to inform you of the death of you beloved consort, Andrew Devilbiss, who was killed in the attack on this place Oct 30th 1864. He was wounded mortally by one our own shells and expired almost instantly. His last words were "Lieutenant, write my wife." In fulfilling this his last request, I cannot but testify to his many virtues as a soldier and a Christian. His greatest hope was that he might live to see his children once more, as he talked continually of you and them. He had a strong presentiment of his approaching death, as he has often (lately) told his comrades that in the next engagement, he would fall; his words have been truly verified. I have known Andrew since the commencement of the war, and his only wish seems to have been to see his boys and have them with him once more. I shall write you more at length at the first opportunity. His body is interred in the cemetery at this place and marked. I have some $400.00 Confederate money, which I shall send you in current funds as soon as practicable. Sympathizing with you in your affliction and knowing a just God will console you in distress, I am very resp'y

Lt. A. T. Maritn

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