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.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No New Orleans, NOW WHAT?

“How much longer is Louisiana to be considered without the protection or beneath the consideration of the Confederate Government?”

Governor Thomas O. Moore

Letter to Jefferson Davis (July 8, 1862)

In my opinion, the status of Louisiana following the fall of New Orleans is a very interesting topic. For a full year of the war, Louisiana followed a basic format for the war: Volunteer companies were raised in the local communities, they were shipped first to New Orleans to Camp Walker and then to Camp Moore (named after the Governor), they were organized into units and shipped to the front, the state spent its resources equipping these units and New Orleans pumped out the materials needed for uniforms, accouterments and all the other needs for war.

This comfortable routine came to a crashing halt on April 25, 1862, when the U.S. Navy captured New Orleans. There then existed a huge vacuum: The state now lay totally open to Federal incursion, its largest population center, manufacturing base, banking establishment and shipping center was now in enemy hands. Just up river sat the capitol of the state, totally void of any defense against the U.S. Navy's push up the Mississippi River. What military forces that existed in the state centered around New Orleans. When that city came under the guns of the Federal fleet there was a mass exodus of units out of the city...while others simply disbanded and remained in the city.

The May - October 1862 time span was the readjustment period for Louisiana. It was not until early August that Governor Moore and Confederate forces were able to recover from the loss of New Orleans and offer resistance to Yankee incursions into Louisiana. In the meantime, what was going on? This will be a "running post" as more and more is developed it will be posted and added on to this foreward.

At the center of everything that was occurring in this period was Louisiana's Governor Thomas O. Moore. Once New Orleans fell, Moore was very aggressive in pushing President Jefferson Davis to address the needs of Louisiana. The fruition of his long distance campaign did not pay off until the appointment of Major-General Richard Taylor in late July 1862. During the intervening time from April 25th (fall of New Orleans) to July 30th (Taylor's appointment to the Department of Western Louisiana), Moore battled not only President Davis in seeking attention for his state, but also the dejected commander of New Orleans, Mansfield Lovell.

Progressing at the same time in the war were the Shiloh and Corinth Campaigns. The deep strike of U.S. Grant into western Tennessee caused major issues for New Orleans' fall and the post-New Orleans Louisiana. Thousands of men were dispatched from Louisiana to protect Corinth, Mississippi. The result was the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862). The defeat of the Army of the Mississippi led to that army being besieged in Corinth until May 28th-that resulted in sucking the Davis' administrations attention away from Louisiana. These campaigns took importance over a post-New Orleans Louisiana and the significance of this policy left Louisiana stranded until the August-October time. The month of May, June and July were vulnerable months for the people of Louisiana and Governor Moore worked hard to rebuild their hope in the Confederate cause.

I hope "setting the stage" did not confuse anyone. I hope to put forth several more pieces with much more detail in the future. The goal will be to catalog the progression of Moore's struggle to gain proper attention from the Confederate government (April - July 1862) and then to see the result of these actions (August-October 1862).

  • As always, ANY input and on this topic is more than welcome.

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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