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, May 7, 2010

Fort Burton? Yep, its Real

Fort Donelson, Fort Pickens, Arkansas Post, Forts Jackson and St. Philip, Fort Pillow, Fotress Monroe, Fort Steedman and thus the list can go on for a long time of well known forts during the Civil War. Then there is...Fort Burton. There is a serious lack of major academic work on Louisiana west of the Mississippi during the war-but its changing and growing! Fort Burton in Butte-la-Rose, Louisiana is another little piece of Louisiana history that doesn't cross many pages of Civil War books. I found a few images over the past few months while doing "some work " on the Battle of Bayou Borbeau and thought I'd throw them on the blog.

Richard Taylor began contstruction on Fort Burton in late 1862, after he took command of the District of Western Louisiana. In a letter to John C. Pemberton dated 21 November 1862, Taylor said: "I have commenced erecting a work on the Atchafalaya at the Butte-à-la-Rose. This is the only point on that stream at which all the numerous branches and arms unite in one channel. If it can be held, it secures us the free use of the Upper Atchafalaya, and gives us a means of transporting salt, &c., to Vicksburg so long as we control the Mississippi." (OR, vol. 15, p. 873). In another letter to Pemberton dated 20 February 1863 Taylor reported that, "my battery on the Atchafalya at Butte-la-Rose is ready for action." (OR, vol. 24, p. 38).

Images of Fort Burton below. The sateliette images were found online and several of the drawings were from Union regimental histories that served in the area.

  • Fort Burton was taken on April 20, 1863 by a small expidition of four ships (Estrella, Arizona, Clifton and Calhous) accompanies by six companies of the 16th New Hampshire.
  • It was claimed when the fort was captured 65 Confederates were taken, two 30-pounder guns and thata "bonnie blue flag" was taken down. (Historic Record and Complete Biographic Record Roster by Jos. T. Woodward, 108). Whereas Waite in his New Hamsphire in the Great Rebellion only said "...the Confederate flag was hauled down" and gave no specifics to its kind. (532).
  • A soldier in the 47th Massachusettes described the fort as: "...the interior of that fort, the tents set upon the sides of the dyke or road in the interior, to keep them out of the swamp. I had never seen before this an undisguised swamp in the parade-ground of a fort, and the terrible discomfort and danger of this to the troops were obvious." (Townsend and Johnson, History of the Sixteenth New Hampshire Volunteers, 207).
  • Member of the 17th New Hampshire said: "Butte a la Rose, aside from a very strategic position froma military point of view, proved also to be such from several other points of view. It was the grand rendezvous of mosquitoes, fleas, woodticks, lice, lizards, frogs, snakes, alligators, fever bacteria, dysentery microbes, and every conceivalbe type of malarial poison." (History of the Seventeenth regiment, New Hampshire volunteer infantry. 1862-1863, by Charles Nelson Kent, 172).

Fort Burton

Drawing of Fort Burton in 16th New Hampshire Regimental History (p. 163)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the Confederate Forts in Eastern Arkansas don't get much love either.


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