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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

May 1865: End of War in Louisiana

May of 1865 saw the unraveling of the Confederate war effort in Louisiana. Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston and Richard Taylor had surrendered all their armed forced by mid-May. Word was spreading fast and veterans from Lee's and Johnston's armies were beginning to drift into Louisiana in May. Below are two communications from D.F. Boyd, Assistant Adjutant General to Colonel L. A. Bringier of the 7th Louisiana Cavalry.

Headquarters Forces Front Lines,

Alexandria, May 13th, 1865.

Colonel L. A. Bringier,

Commanding Seventh Louisiana Cavalry. Colonel:

General Brent has directed me in his temporary absence to open all communications to him marked "personal" or "private," and if they related to official matters requiring immediate attention to refer them to Col. Vincent, commanding the front.

In accordance with those instructions your communication of the 16th instant was referred to Colonel Vincent, who would respectfully direct you to use your own discretion in granting leaves of absence to your men for such time and purpose, as you think best consistent with preserving Regimental organization. Indeed, with the whole country filled with deserters with arms in their hands> the question would naturally arise whether many of those, who have thus far remained true and fast to their colors should not be allowed to go home to defend their families. The fact can no longer be concealed, that the whole Army and people, with scarce an individual exception, are resolved to fight no more, and to break up the Army at all hazards. All is confusion and demoralization here, nothing like order and discipline remains. Heavy desertions and plundering of Government property of every kind is the order of the day. There are but eighty-six enlisted men at the forts. All the commands of every arm of the service at and near Alexandria are destroyed, viz: Yoist's and McMahan's Batteries; the Heavy Artillery and Infantry at the forts, the Third and Fifth Louisiana Cavalry. The Second Cavalry still retains its organization,, but there have been heavy desertions, the men are thoroughly demoralized and all may leave at any moment; in a word, Colonel, the army is destroyed and we must look the matter square in the face and shape our actions (personally and officially) accordingly. The Colonel Commanding commends you highly for your success in preserving thus long your organization and so many men. He thinks that all that can be expected of you is to use every mild and conciliatory means to preserve your Regimental organization, but any violent measures to restrain desertions now is believed both by him and General Brent to be conducive of no good results, and would only tend to exasperate the soldiery and cause them to commit depredations on citizens, besides endangering the lives of officers uselessly. The Colonel Commanding hopes the tenor of this communication will be properly understood; it is designed to be merely advisory, and you are left free to act as you think best and at the same time to preserve regimental organization.


D. F. Boyd,

Asst. Adjt. Gen.

Headquarters Forces Front Lines,

Alexandria, May 20th, 1865.

Colonel L. A. Bringier.

Commanding Seventh Louisiana Cavalry. Colonel: The Colonel Commanding congratulates you on your safe arrival at Tanner's with your train. He directs that you remain at or near Tanner's till further orders, and if you find yourself unable to preserve your train, you will distribute your wagons and teams to responsible planters in the neighborhood of your camp, taking a receipt, "to be returned on your order." It would be worse than useless to attempt to bring your train here. Every wagon and mule would be stolen in less than four hours after your arrival. There is corn at Tanner's, at your own depot, it is said, and also Government beeves in the swamps near by. Col. Vincent believes, therefore, that you will have no difficulty in subsisting your command. He furthermore impresses upon you the necessity of preserving your regimental organization intact, and for that reason, and the fact that General Brent expressly ordered that your leave of absence be withheld till further orders. Colonel Vincent, in the absence of any order from General Brent on the subject, does not feel authorized to send you your leave of absence. He regrets, that he feels it his duty to contravene your wishes in that regard, but your presence is so necessary at all times to your command, and especially at this juncture, that he feels confident, that you will cheerfully acquiesce in his decision. General Brent is now on the Mississippi River attempting to negotiate a surrender of General Hays' command, District of West Louisiana. The Louisiana Generals are acting independently of General Smith and General Buckner, who are determined in no event to surrender, have now no hope of success, and would bring ruin on Louisiana and Texas merely to enable them to escape with a Corporal's Guard into Mexico. For these reasons Louisiana must look out for herself, and there is but little doubt, that in a few days the district will be surrendered on the terms granted General Taylor. Enclosed please find copy of General Order from Headquarters. Should you have any difficulty to subsist, let it be known; an effort (but in vain we fear) will be made to relieve you.


D. F. Boyd,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

150th Anniversary of Louisiana's Secession

January 26, 1861 is a pretty historic day in relation to Louisiana and the Civil War. It was the day Louisiana voted to secede from the United States. Louisiana's Ordinance of Secession is here for your reading:

AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of Louisiana and other States united with her under the compact entitled "The Constitution of the United States of America."

We, the people of the State of Louisiana, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance passed by us in convention on the 22d day of November, in the year eighteen hundred and eleven, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America and the amendments of the said Constitution were adopted, and all laws and ordinances by which the State of Louisiana became a member of the Federal Union, be, and the same are hereby, repealed and abrogated; and that the union now subsisting between Louisiana and other States under the name of "The United States of America" is hereby dissolved.

We do further declare and ordain, That the State of Louisiana hereby resumes all rights and powers heretofore delegated to the Government of the United States of America; that her citizens are absolved from all allegiance to said Government; and that she is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which appertain to a free and independent State.

We do further declare and ordain, That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or any act of Congress, or treaty, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.

Adopted in convention at Baton Rouge this 26th day of January, 1861.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why Louisiana Supported Secession

Charles P. Roland wrote a great article tracking the reasons as to WHY Louisiana went from a strong supporter of the Compromise of 1850 to supporting secession in January of 1861. I strongly urge all to read. Please click on the link below.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

3rd Louisiana Battalion Celebrates Independence

Dr. Terry Jones forwarded this newspaper article about the 3rd Louisiana Battalion. On the one year anniversary of Louisiana's secession, the 3rd Battalion celebrated its state withdrawal from the Union. With this being January and with the 26th of this month being the 150th Anniversary of Louisiana's secession, it only seems appropriate to post this article.

From Dr. Jones:

January 26 will mark the 150th anniversary of Louisiana’s secession from the Union. On January 27, 1862, a correspondent for the Richmond Daily Dispatch visited the 3rd Louisiana Battalion’s camp at Norfolk, Virginia, and filed the following report two days later.

Yesterday, the 26th, being the anniversary of the secession of Louisiana, it was celebrated by the citizens of that State now in this department. The 26th falling upon Sunday, the entertainments were mostly given to-day; but some, I believe, chose Saturday as their reception day, while others followed the circle custom and gave a dinner on Sunday. In company with a delightful party of Norfolk ladies and gentlemen, I visited the camp of the 3d Louisiana battalion, some few miles out of the city, where we were promised a review, flag-raising, dinner, dance, and a warm welcome. Leaving the city at twelve, by a special train, half an hour's ride placed us beside a neat and quiet village of log-huts located in a small pine clearing close by, which was drawn up a body of as fine and soldierly-looking men as one would wish to see. As the cars stopped we were greeted, by the music of an excellent band, which escorted us through the line of soldiers into the quadrangular space formed by the rows of log-cabins, built by the skillful hands of their occupants. While the ladies retired to their reception-room, a few of us wandered around the enclosure to see how volunteers lived, and were agreeably surprised at the neatness and orderly appearance of the quarters.

Before going further I will say that this is the battalion about which so many hard things have been said by the public on account of its having contained some desperate and bad men who brought disgrace upon all. It has since been well pruned, and under command of Col. Bradford has become a really well disciplined and desirable corps. It was originally raised by Tochman, and was known as the "Polish Brigade." Perhaps some may hold up their hands with horror at the mention of this fact, but wait until you hear me through. The following is the present organization of the battalion:

Lt. Col. O. M, Bradford.

Maj. Edmund Pendleton.

Adjutant A. Marks.

Surgeon, Dr. Cromwell, of Ga.

First Company--Capt. A. Brady, Lieuts. Merrick, McClelland, and Marks.

Second Company--Capt. R. A. Wilkinson, Lieuts. Egan, Penrose, and Jemison.

Third Company--Capt. Wm. Patrick, Lts. Bowman, Pardoe, and Cram.

Fourth Company--Captain Levi T. Jennings; Lieutenants Power, Stockwood, and Cady.

Fifth Company--Captain S. D. McChesney; Lieutenants Haynes, Murray, and Shaw.

Sixth Company--Captain W. H. Murphy; Lieutenants Jones and--.

Seventh Company--Captain William C. Michie; Lieutenants Brigham, Bowman, and Andrews.

Eighth Company--Captain Jos. F. Withurup; Lieutenants Doubiller, Miller, and --.

The companies are all full and the men in as fine health and physical condition as any I have seen since coming to this post.

In passing around the quarters, we found that the utmost order, quiet, and neatness, prevailed in everything. "How is it," said I to my guide, "if these men are as wild and unruly as represented, that they take such care of themselves, their arms, and their houses."

"Because," he replied, "Colonel Bradford has taught them the motto, 'A place for everything, and everything in its place.'"

The cabin, about forty in number, were built in the form of a square, leaving a large and level compass or parade ground in the centre. They were uniform in size and appearance, 30 by 20 feet, having capacious fire places, fine brick chimneys, and, in a majority of cases, glass windows and half glass doors. The roofs were covered with shingles made by the men, the battalion having drawn from the Government brick for their chimneys, instead of shingles. Inside there was some similarity in the arrangement of furniture, although that was left entirely to the taste and desire of the men. It was optional with them to sleep in double or single beds, to have the bunks, arranged like steamboat berths, as double beds, as in ordinary houses, or like the single cots of a hospital ward. The best arrangement was, undoubtedly, bunks, one above the other, placed in a corner of the room. The beds were neatly made up and had a plenty of warm and cleanly looking blankets, furnished, I was told, by the State of Louisiana in every house there was a table, several constructed cupboards, board chairs, rocking chairs, sofas, ottomans, and in one instance I saw a charming tete-a-tete setting before a blazing pine-knot fire. All had racks upon one side for the arms, and a cleaner, brighter set of muskets I have never seen in the Army since I commenced writing about it, more than 12 months age. There were many other little arrangements I would like to mention, did not space forbid, for every house contained some peculiar articles suggested by the taste and skill of the occupants. In one was a miniature steamboat, which had been carved by some skillful volunteer.

Passing around the square, we came again to the officers' quarters, which are of the same size of those occupied by the privates, but I must confess, show that much less labor has been bestowed upon them. Both officers and privates have, however, more comfortable homes than many to be found among the small planters in the piny woods of the extreme Southern estates.

I regret exceedingly that military necessity prevented Col. Bradford from being present on the occasion, but the battalion was brought out by Major Pendleton, and after a short parade the regimental flag raised. Then came an elegant collation, and afterwards the rooms were cleared for a dance. A charming picture was then spread out before us. Without the neat village; the groups of orderly, well-dressed soldiers; crowds of country people; the dark pine forest; and the sentinels walking their solitary beats, presented a picture not soon forgotten. Within, a score of beautiful women and as many manly forms were moving in harmony with the music, in rustic huts, as perhaps our ancestors, more than two hundred years ago, in the primeval forests, walked through the contraction and stately minute.

"How beautiful," said a German to me in his rich native tongue, "it gives me the heart-ache to look at it, when I think of the may dances of Fatherland."

It was indeed beautiful, and it was possible more than my German friend had the heartache before the dusky shadows of night drove us again to the city.

I would like to say much more of the day's pleasures, but the mail will soon close, and I must close also my nastily written description. One word, however, before writing "finis." This day "your own" has celebrated his birthday, and has just now entered on his — he will not say what year, for fear of losing somewhat the love of his youthful friends. Not to be too particular in such matters, it may be stated that he is still on the sunny side of forty--that he has not yet offered rewards for grey hairs — and that the crows feet are not very strongly marked in the outer angles of his eyes. In that satisfactory? If not, let his friends come and see him, and judge for themselves.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

One Year Anniversary!

Louisiana Civil War hit its 1st Year Anniversary on January 10th of last week! In looking at the stats for this blog there have been 15,567 visits to this website over the past year. Really looking forward to making more information available, especially in the area of biographies, unit histories, flags and more rosters.

Friday, January 14, 2011


New Orleans, January 14, 1861.
I. Major-generals of divisions of the Louisiana militia will cause their divisions to be organized without delay, in conformity to the act of the Legislature of the 30th of April, 1853, relative to the organization of the militia, and place the brigades and regiments under their commands into active service and prepared for all orders which may be issued from headquarters.
II. Major-generals of divisions will report to headquarters upon receipt of this order.
By order of His Excellency Thomas O. Moore, Governor and commander-in-chief:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

CWRT of North Louisiana

I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at the Civil War Round Table of North Louisiana Tuesday night, 11 January 2011. The CWRTNL holds their meetings at the Bossier Parish History Center, located adjacent to the Bossier Parish Library. It is an extremely nice facility with a very nice and helpful staff. I presented a basic background the history & formation of the Adams-Gibson Brigade. The main topic was the stand of the Louisiana Brigade at Missionary Ridge on 25 November 1863. A big thank you to Mr. Billy Maples, Dr. Tom Pressly and Mr. Jerry Spears.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Seizure of Forts & Public Property in Louisiana in 1861

With January being the 150th anniversary of Louisiana seceding I think its appropriate to link an article written by Edwin C. Bearss titled "The Seizure of the Forts and Public Property in Louisiana" that appeared in Louisiana History.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2nd Louisiana July 4th Letter

From the diary of WILLIAM CLEGG of Louisiana, a Confederate soldier in the 2nd Louisiana
Infantry, July 4, 1861 (Gilder Lehrman Collection, GLC03133)

4th July, 1861 –

Camp in a fever of excitement, on account of rumors from below, a battle expected in a day or so This is the first 4th dawning upon our glorious confederacy, but what a change has come upon the country, “the home of the free the land of the brave.” We are a disrupted Union, & feel sensibly that after all, no written constitution & laws framed by the wisest of our ancestors, no comon country made sacred by the blood of our forefathers, no brotherly share in past victories is proof against a separation that wreaks its passion in slaughter, & furnishes with the victims of the battle field so many proofs of the fact, that our ones the best of human governments is a failure, & was but an experiment.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Floating Arsenal!

The Carrollton Sun (Carrollton, Jefferson Parish) had this article printed on May 01, 1861:

A Floating Arsenal. - The Pensacola correspondent of the Mobile Advertiser under date 15th, writes:

A shark was caught this morning with a pair of red breeches and a whole parcel of bowie-knives in his belly, supposed to be the remains of a Zouave. I didn't see the shark. It will be remembered I reported the drowning of a Zouave the other day.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Report on the Secession of Louisiana, January 2, 1861

At Civil War Causes they have printed from the Official Records the report of an Alabama commissioner to Louisiana in January of 1861. John A. Winston was the commissioner and I encourage you to visit Civil War Causes to see a picture of him and a small bio on him. Below is the report Winston gave to the Governor of Alabama, A.B. Moore.

JANUARY 2, 1861.
His Excellency A. B. MOORE:
SIR: In obedience to your instructions I repaired to the seat of government of the State of Louisiana to confer with the Governor of that State and with the legislative department on the grave and important state of our political relations with the Federal Government, and the duty of the slave-holding States in the matter of their rights and honor, so menacingly involved in matters connected with the institution of African slavery. Owing to the fact that the Legislature was in session only three days, and other unavoidable causes, I did not arrive at Baton Rouge until after the Legislature had adjourned. But I met many members of the legislative corps, and communicated with them and with His Excellency Governor T. O. Moore on the purposes of my embassy, and have the pleasure to report that the legislative mind appeared fully alive to the importance and the absolute necessity of the action of the Southern States in resistance of that settled purpose of aggression on our constitutional and inherent natural rights by the majority of the people of the non-slave-holding States of the Federal Union, which purpose and intention has culminated in the election of a man to the Presidency of the United States whose opinions and constructions of constitutional duty are wholly incompatible with our safety in a longer union with them. In evidence of such a conclusion the Legislature of Louisiana have provided for a convention of the people to consider and take action on the matter, the election of delegates to which takes place on the 7th instant, and the convention assembles on the 23d instant. I was rejoiced to find the Governor fully up to the conclusion that the time had come when the enjoyment of peace and our rights as coequals in this confederacy were no longer to be expected or hoped for, and that the solemn duty now devolved upon us of separating from all political connection with the States so disregarding their constitutional obligations, and of forming such a government as a high sense of our rights, honor, and future peace and safety shall indicate. And that, although the sense of the necessity of such a course may not yet be so nearly general and unanimous in Louisiana as in some other States, he was of the opinion that the conclusion was hourly gaining ground that there was no hope of justice or safety to us except in a separation, and that the State of Louisiana would not hesitate to co-operate with those Southern States who might prove equal to the emergency of decided action.
The State of Louisiana, from the fact that the Mississippi River flows through its extent and debouches through her borders, and that the great commercial depot of that river and its tributaries is the city of New Orleans, occupies a position somewhat more complicated than any other of the Southern States, and may present some cause of delay in the consummation and execution of the purpose of a separation from the Northwestern States and the adoption of a new political status. In consideration of these facts, more time may be required for reflection than might otherwise appear necessary, and as the convention does not assemble for some weeks, that may prevent action on the question until some time in February. As a point of policy it might be advisable for the State of Alabama to announce her intention as a foregone conclusion, a fixed fact, that on a day appointed our relations as a member of the political association known as the United States had ceased, and that Alabama, acting as a sovereign for herself in the act of separation, was prepared to form such political relations with States having a community of interest and sympathies as to them may seem just and proper. I feel assured that by such a course of respectful delay on our part other States would more promptly respond to whatever action Alabama may take, and that there is little or no doubt but that Louisiana will co-operate with the States taking action, and so add dignity and importance to the movement which is so essential to secure the respect and recognition of foreign nations and the support of hesitating States. Should it be considered advisable by Your Excellency to communicate further with the authorities of the State of Louisiana after her convention shall have assembled, I will be in Mobile, and can receive readily by mail or telegraph any instructions you may deem it advisable to make, and I will without delay endeavor to discharge them.
Trusting that the time has come when not only Alabama but the entire South will prove prepared to vindicate her honor by a fearless assertion of her rights and her determination to enjoy them,
Most respectfully, your obedient servant, &c.,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Book Tour"

It is with exciting news I announce that my first book, Louisianians in the Western Confederacy, has entered into its second printing and is moving along quite well in its first six weeks of life. There are several locations I will be attending to discuss the book and/or do book signings. They are listed below and I will update as more information comes into light. I will post the latest speaking engagement in red as to highlight where I will be going next:

  • Barnes and Nobles held their 'New Authors Night' this past Thursday night. I was graciously invited to attend. There was a full crowd for 2 1/2 hours and appears Louisianians in the Western Confederacy was a big hit. The manager of the Lafayette Barnes and Nobles and I have discussed me coming back in the fall for another book signing. Very humbling and exciting.
  • Confederate Memorial Hall Museum in New Orleans: I will be the featured speaker at Memorial Hall on June 26, 2010. Light refreshments will be served at 6pm and the presentation will begin at 7pm. Memorial Hall was instrumental in providing key images for the book and I want to give special attention to those images donated for the work.
  • Opelousas, La. Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp, July 19th at 7pm at the Palace Cafe. I will be talking about Adams-Gibson Brigade but will focus the majority of the topic on the life of the common soldier at Camp Moore in 1861.
  • Barnes and Nobles of Baton Rouge, August 7th. The store is located at 2590 CitiPlace Court and I will be there from 6:00pm - 7:30pm.
  • Civil War Round Table of New Iberia, September 21st.
  • Henry Watkins Allen SCV Camp, Baton Rouge, October 28th. The meeting will be at Drusilla Seafood Restaurant. Time to be posted. Placing of orders for supper begins at 6:30 and my presentation will begin about 7:30.
  • Civil War Round Table of Baton Rouge, November 18, 2010 at 7:00pm. Meeting to be held at Drusilla Seafood Restaurant.
  • Civil War Round Table of Shreveport, January 11, 2011. Details to be announced soon.
  • Lee-Jackson Banquet, James W. Bryan SCV Camp, Lake Charles, La.: Mike Jones of the Bryan camp has invited me to speak at their honored Lee-Jackson Banquet on January 22, 2011. Details of time, etc. to come.
  • Lee-Jackson Banquet, Henry Watkins Allen SCV Camp, Baton Rouge, La: January 29, 2011 @ 6:30 PM.
  • Houston, TX. SCV Albert Sidney Johnston Camp #67: March 16, 2011.

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