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.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Daniel Beltzhoover of Watson's Louisiana Battery

A little history about the Watson Artillery: The battery was organized in New Orleans on July 1, 1861. The battery fought in the Battles of Belmont, Shiloh, 2nd Corinth and served in the Siege of Port Hudson. After its surrender at Port Hudson, the men that remained with the battery after parole were not enough to maintain the battery's strength. The men were merged into a Mississippi battery in late 1863 and the unit ceased to exist.

From Professor to Civil War Hero

Confederate Lt. Colonel Daniel Beltzhoover

John Miller

Writer's Note: This article is a work in progress. As more information is researched, this article will be updated.

Daniel Beltzhoover was a professor at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary near Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he taught mathematics. Before entering his profession at Mount Saint Mary's, Daniel was a graduate of the 1847 class at West Point. He was also a veteran who served in the United States Military during the wars in Florida and in Mexico. While teaching at the Mount, Daniel married Elizabeth Miles who was the sister to Professor George Miles, who also taught at the Mount. With this being said, one can speculate, that Daniel was a highly religious man.

Before the Civil War, he commanded a company of Zouave Mountain Cadets at Mount Saint Mary's, and drilled them thoroughly on Eardin's and Casey's tactics. During the winter of 1860, Daniel Beltzhoover gave a lecture on "Modern Fortifications". This was his last lecture before he entered the Confederate Army.

In March of 1861, before the first shots of the Civil War rang out in the Charleston Harbor at South Carolina, Daniel set out for his home state of Louisiana resigning from Mount Saint Mary's Seminary. Major Daniel Beltzhoover was then commissioned into Confederate service. On April 26, 1861, Major Beltzhoover, who was headquartered at New Orleans sent a dispatch to 1st Lieutenant H. W. Fossler requesting him to report for duty at Fort Jackson to be mustered in and to receive his official commission from the Confederate States. This is the first record stating Daniel's rank in the Confederate Army.

On July 25, 1861, Major Beltzhoover received a dispatch from the Assistant Adjutant-General R. Chilton at Richmond, Virginia stating: "When troops are organized under State laws and received into service as so organized, as, for instance, by battalions or regiments, all vacancies occurring are filled according to State laws; but where independent companies are tendered as such and so received by the President, all vacancies are filled by his appointment." This dispatch was sent to several other officers as well.

At Baton Rouge or New Orleans on July 1, 1861, Daniel helped organiz Watson's Artillery, named after A. C. Watson. A. C. Watson was a wealthy planter from the Tensas parish and equipped the battery with four 6-lb. Smoothbores and two 12-lb. Howitzers. The men serving in the battery were from Livingston, East Baton Rouge, and St. Helena parishes. According to the Story of the Mountain at least thirty Mountaineers (Mount Saint Mary's Students) also served in the ranks of Watson's Artillery.

Once the battery was equipped and enough manpower recruited, Watson's artillery set out for camp in August of 1861. On August 14, 1861, Major Beltzhoover was promoted to Lt. Colonel while serving in Watson's Artillery. At Lake Bruin, near St. Joseph the men drilled until they were fit for active service. Watson's Battery reported for duty in early October at Columbus, Kentucky.

On November 7, the men of Watson's Artillery received their first baptism of fire at Belmont, Missouri. During the battle of Belmont, Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover supported Colonel John V. Wright's 13th Tennessee Regiment, who was on Beltzhoover's left and the 13th Arkansas Regiment under Colonel Tappan, with the regiments of Colonels Pickett, Freeman, and Russell on the right. Beltzhoover's guns were directed to take up position in a field about a hundred yards from the Mississippi River. Watson's Artillery kept the fire hot and Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover was noted by several regimental officers for his gallant conduct during the battle. The Federals made an attempt to turn the left wing of the Confederates but was defeated by the destructive fire of Beltzhoover's battery supported by Colonel Wright's Tennessee Regiment.

Colonel Beltzhoover was ordered to remove his battery to the rear when it ran out of ammunition. During the execution to fall back, one of the teams of horses ran off with the limber, leaving the gun in its position where the battery was first stationed. Some reports claim that a Federal artillery shell had exploded near Watson's Battery. While the other pieces of Watson's Artillery were withdrawn to the bank of the river, the gun fell into Federal hands. Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover asked for assistance in recovering the lost gun.

Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover states the day after the Battle at Belmont: "About 8 a.m., November 7, you informed me at Camp Johnston, Missouri, that the enemy were advancing in force against us, and ordered me to put the Watson Battery in position. I immediately posted a section at the end of each of the three roads by which our camp could be approached, and when you came out with your regiment you gave me a company to support each section. We stood as thus placed until the arrival of Brigadier-General Pillow, who ordered your companies back to the regiment, and united my battery at the edge of the woods and the bend of the right-hand road from the usual landing of the enemy's gunboats. There we stood doing our best until the whole line retreated to the river. At the river I formed in battery again, although I had no ammunition, and so remained until carried down the bank by the force of retreating troops. My loss is 2 killed and 8 wounded and missing; 45 horses killed; 2 guns missing."

"I feel bound to mention, for your favorable notice, Lieutenant C. P. Ball, than whom a braver or more accomplished officer cannot be found, and Privates White and Frederick. I am afraid Lieutenant Ball is seriously wounded by being run over by a caisson." Signed: Lt. Colonel D. M. Beltzhoover

On November 30, Watson's Artillery had 5 officers and 94 men present for duty. In late December, Watson's Artillery reported at Bowling Green, Kentucky where they were assigned to Colonel John S. Bowen's Brigade. From there, they would travel to Corinth Mississippi in February of 1862.

On March 13, 1862, Lt. Colonel Daniel Beltzhoover received an appointment for a staff position as Chief of Artillery and it was requested that Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover enter his duties at once. On April 13, 1862, Brigadier General Breckinridge announced his staff in the Army of the Mississippi and Lt. Colonel Daniel Beltzhoover was appointed to Chief of Artillery. Because of this order, Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover resigned from Watson's Artillery.

From this point, Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover becomes associated with the 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery under the command of Colonel Charles A. Fuller. Colonel Fuller just as Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover also holds a staff position as Inspector-General for the Confederate Army. The 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery Regiment was organized with men from the New Orleans area during the spring of 1861. It served at Forts Jackson and St. Phillip in New Orleans.

Watson's Artillery was assigned to Moaxey's and Beall's Brigade, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. After serving in Mississippi, Watson's Artillery became part of the garrison at Port Hudson and surrendered on July 9, 1863. Watson's Artillery was exchanged, but many of its members joined the 1st Louisiana Regular Artillery Regiment under the command of Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover. Watson's Artillery had ceased to exist.

During the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover was attached to Colonel Edward Higgins’ Water Batteries that served as a portion of the Vicksburg defenses. Commander Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton, wrote on January 31, 1863, describing the layout of the area where Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover and the rest of Colonel Higgins’ Brigade was stationed. The batteries were divided into three commands. The upper batteries, or those immediately on the city front, were under the command of Major F. N. Ogden, Eighth Louisiana Artillery Battalion, to whose command was attached Captain S. C. Bain's company of Vaiden Light Artillery. The Lowe batteries were under the command Lt. Colonel Daniel Beltzhoover of the First Louisiana Artillery. A portion of the Twenty-Third Louisiana Volunteers was joined to Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover's command.

On July 4th, 1863, the 1st Louisiana Artillery surrendered and was paroled several months later at Enterprise, Mississippi. At Demopolis, Alabama on August 29, 1863, Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover reported "I cannot give any idea of the ordnance stores lost, because I have none of the reports of returns. During the siege the commanders of garrisons had nothing to do with the ordnance stores further than to see that they were taken care of. Ammunition was sent to the batteries and removed from them without our knowledge. Colonel Higgins and all his staff are absent, and I get no better information than given above."

Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover also assessed the losses of heavy artillery from his Brigade during the surrender of Vicksburg. The losses were: eight 10-inch Columbiads, one 9-inch navies, one 8-inch Columbiads, one 10-inch mortar, three 42-pounders, five 32-pounder rifles, five 32-pounder smooth-bores, two Brooks', one Blakely's, and two 6-pounder field guns. Twenty-nine guns in all were lost.

After the Confederate surrender of Vicksburg, Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover took over the Brigade and reorganized it. Beltzhoover's Brigade included the 27th Louisiana, 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery, 8th Louisiana Heavy Artillery Battalion, 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery, Anderson's Artillery, Bains' Artillery company, Wade's Missouri Battery, and one company of Sapper’s and Miner’s.

On November 20, 1863, Major General John H. Forney made his report of paroled and exchanged troops at Enterprise, Mississippi. The Confederate troops involved during the parole and exchange for the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana under General Joseph E. Johnston listed Beltzhoover in command of the Henry Artillery Brigade. The Brigade consisted of the following units: 1st Louisiana commanded by Lieutenant Colonel D. Beltzhoover, 8th Louisiana Battalion commanded by Captain Toby Hart, 22nd Louisiana commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Jones, Vaiden Mississippi Artillery commanded by Captain Samuel C. Bains, Watson Louisiana Battery which was unassigned, 1st Mississippi commanded by Colonel John M. Simonton and the 1st Mississippi Light Artillery commanded by Captain James J. Cowan.

On January 1st, 1864, Beltzhoover's command consisted of the 1st Louisiana Artillery, 8th Louisiana Battalion, 22nd Louisiana, 14th Mississippi Artillery Battalion, J. S. Smyth's cavalry battalion, Trans-Mississippi Battalion, Vaiden (Mississippi) Artillery, 1st Mississippi Light Artillery, and a Signal Corps Detachment.

On April 23, 1864, Major General Dabney H. Maury who was stationed at Mobile Alabama wrote to Major General Samuel Cooper for the consideration of the establishment of a military school for the education of young officers. General Maury suggested that Mobile was the best place in the southwest for the establishment of military schools, and at this time there are several officers on duty here, graduates of military colleges and men of good ability and attainments, who will gladly aid in organizing a good system of military education. He had requested that Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover as well as a few other officers to teach the young officers and men in the enlisted ranks.

Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover accepted the teaching position and was transferred to Mobile, Alabama, commanding the School of Practice for Artillerists. The school was located on Government Street.

William T. Mumford of the 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery Company B was ordered to report to class on May 10th, 1864. His teacher was Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover. By May 30th, class was in session. On June 28th, Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover left Mobile at 5 A.M. and took his class to Forts Morgan, Gaines and Powell. At Fort Gaines, there were 13 Federal blockading vessels in full view. The Class didn't return to Mobile until 7 P.M. that evening.

On July 5th, the class received orders to be ready to march out of Mobile. Rations were to be cooked for five days and a hundred rounds of ammunition were issued to each man. They were to march to Meridian at 3 A.M. the next morning to assist in repelling a raiding party of Federal soldiers coming from the north in Mississippi.

Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover marched his battalion of artillerist into Mississippi. At Tupelo, Mississippi Beltzhoover's Battalion was used as Infantry. According to William Mumford of the 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery during the battle of Tupelo, Mississippi several officers and men were left behind among them was Colonel Daniel Beltzhoover.

According to the "The Story of the Mountain", Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover is believed to have died near Natchez, Mississippi. He left behind three daughters, who are nuns, and himself lies buried on the Mountain near Mount Saint Mary's Seminary. John Devereux, who served with Lt. Colonel Beltzhoover as his Lieutenant in Watson's Artillery, visited Mount Saint Mary's College forty years later, looking for the grave of his old teacher Daniel Beltzhoover, and for that three of Beltzhoover's Louisiana comrades, whose beautiful epitaph was written by another of their teachers, George Henry Miles. It is said by his pupils, that Colonel Beltzhoover stood far above General Grant at West Point.


  • Official Records: Series 4, vol 1, Part 1 (Blockade Runners)
  • Official Records: Series 1, vol 3, Part 1 (Wilson's Creek Campaign)
  • Official Records: Series 1, vol 10, Part 2 (Shiloh)
  • Official Records: Series 1, vol 52, Part 2 (Supplements)
  • Official Records: Series 1, vol 30, Part 4 (Chickamauga)
  • Official Records: Series 1, vol 31, Part 3 (Knoxville and Lookout Mountain)
  • Official Records: Series 1, vol 24, Part 2 (Vicksburg)
  • Official Records: Series 4, vol 3, Part 1 (Blockade Runners)
  • Official Records: Series 1, vol 32, Part 3 (Forrest's Expedition)
  • The First Louisiana Heavy Artillery Regiment-Jon Crane
  • The Story of the Mountain - Mary E. Meline & Edward F.X. McSween

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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