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, September 3, 2010

Letters from the 18th Louisiana

Saw two letters from a Private Eraste Guidry at the 18th Louisiana's website. Guidry was part of Co. F of the 18th Louisiana Regiment. The 18th Regiment was part of the Confederate build-up at Corinth, Mississippi in early 1862. They are letters translated from French to English and are written in early 1862-before and after the Battle of Shiloh. Shiloh was the "wake up call" to the west that the war was not going to be a heroic walk in the park. The letters are quoted in entirety below:

Corinth Mississippi April 2, 1862

My dear Sister:

Behold, I received your letter some time back. You find that
I delay before answering you, but it is not anything of my fault.
I have taken time to cook my food (meal).

We are nearly always working. Now we are making (building) the fortifications around Corinth in case of attack. But, I do
not believe that they will arrive at (reach) Corinth. I believe
that we will attack. We leave tomorrow. Our regiment with nine
or ten other regiments. I guess it is to go meet them (the damn Yankees).

I know that Breaux has also left. Tell Azema to take Courage. There is nothing that has happened here in some months. She will have him near her again. If he left, it is in order to do a very
good other thing.

When you see Mrs. St. Jean give her my adieus. Tell her that
I still have the precious gift that she made for me and that I hope
to return with it. I saw that the fire and the balls (cannon balls
& bullets) did me nothing and I hope that God will preserve me a second time.

My adieus to all the family. Kiss Aurore Rosa.

Adieus Adieus

Your devoted brother,

s/ Eraste Guidry

Pollard, Alabama 22 June 1862

My dear Sisters

Emilie & Azema

I received your two letters. Alas, I have some time. I don't have your answers yet. But it is time that I not miss the occasion. When I received your letters I was at the hospital sick. But now I am well and I have rejoined my company and I am disposed perfectly well. It is not that the nourishment is short. We have almost nothing to eat. But, that is not anything we are accustomed to now.

Everything is exhorbitant. The melons that we were in the habit of paying 15¢ & 20¢ for, we pay $3.00 for. A gallon of molasses 2.50. And when for clothes and shoes, in proportion.

I see that they have brought a substitute for Breaux. I think that he is now returned and that as you say, happy to have this behind him. As for me, I hope to finish the war if the Yankees don't break my head.

I am told that Emelie is to marry. I pray you Emelie to not marry before the war finishes. I tell you to view marriage like your last sister. Her fiancee had the luck to be discharged in order to get married.

It is Gerracin who told me that you were promised to Cleobule his brother.

I saw with pleasure that you had my news. I had the pleasure of seeing Breaux after which I saw that he resembled me which I know you have all seen. I have cheeks like he has. It is not fair with me that he remains so, then I return I see him throw the other parts/party on ones back. I also knew that the College of Grand Coteau is broke. Tell Omer and Edgar to keep quiet that they won't be 18 years old. When, as for me, I am accustomed now, but after all I would be very content to be near my family than to be in the pine forest of Alabama where one doesn't see anything but pine trees and one has nothing to eat. I am nearly accustomed. On my return I believe that I could live without food. My adieus to Mamma, Breaux, Pite, and also to all your family. Tell Orare and Roza to be quiet about the plans for me.

Emelie you clasp the hand of my sweetheart for me when you se her and at the same time my adieus.

Your brother Devoted brother

Eraste Guidry

I forgot to tell you also that this morning I had a magnificent breakfast. We were five. We had 4 small chickens which still followed their mother. They were a little skinny but we didn't pay attention to that. They cost us $2.00.

I had the chance to buy this morning 4 small bits (links) of sausage which probably will make me my supper (be my supper). They cost me $1.00. Tomorrow morning I think that I am going to eat lunch with heart and also dinner and supper.

Excuse my scribble on my knees which serve me as tables.

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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