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.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

30th Massachusetts' Tour in Louisiana, Part I

Henry Warren Howe was a member of the 30th Massachusetts during the war. Howe's regiment was organized in December of 1861 and served in Virginia before it was sent to Ship Island. From February 12th - April 15th, the 30th Massachusetts garrisoned Ship Island. The regiment was attached to the Department of the Gulf in August 1862 and served in Louisiana until the summer of 1864. Howe wrote a book following the war titled, Life of Henry Warren Howe, Consisting of Diary and Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865: A Condensed History of the Thirtieth Massachusetts Regiment and Its Flags, together with Genealogies of the Different Branches of the Family.

We will begin posting Howe's time in Louisiana over the next couple of months. We start off with Howe's diary in April 1862, when his regiment is leaving Virginia for Ship Island and conclude with his last entry in 1862:

April 29, 1882. All aboard and steamed up the river. Beautiful views of orange groves. Negroes on the banks waving bandannas. Arrived at New Orleans May 1. Disembarked May 2 and quartered in the Odd Fellows' Hall and Lafayette Square near by. I was so weak I did not go ahead with the regiment, but reported later. I went to the top of the building to a hall used for the sick; lay on the floorover night. The next morning made up my mind I must get out of there or I should die, so I crawled down; bought a milk punch, which braced me. I continued to use this medicine, and got well, after which, aside from my duties, I enjoyed my stay in the city very much.

May 30, 1862. We went aboard the steamer Mississippi, and proceeded up the river to Baton Rouge.

June 1, 1862. Arrived in the evening.

June 2, 1862. Landed and quartered in the State House, over which we raised the Stars and Stripes. During our stay, expeditions were sent outside the lines, which captured stock, provisions and prisoners. This is a pretty place and healthy.

June 16, 1862. Regiment went aboard the steamer Iberville, on a trip up the river for provisions, wood, etc, and to see if any guerrillas were about.

June 20, 1862. The remainder of the troops at Baton Rouge went aboard steamers and, with the gun-boats, proceeded up the river to Vicksburg. I did not go, being detailed to remain to care for the stores.

July 26,1862. Troops returned; accomplished nothing; many sick. We hear the enemy are coming on us.

August 4, 1862. Regimental line was formed and we marched out of the town and bivouacked.

August 5, 1862. At daylight the long roll was beaten and the line quickly formed. We had proceeded a short distance when we received the enemy's fire on our left. A dense fog was prevailing, which prevented us from seeing them, and we could only judge of their position by the flash of their muskets. We were ordered to lie down and load and fire at will, so the enemy's fire passed over our heads. Nim's Battery and our regiment silenced the enemy's fire and they retreated, when we returned to our bivouac. We lost some in killed and wounded. Early in the day, Colonel Dudley commanded us, later he commanded the right wing of the brigade and Major Whittemore took command.

August 6, 1862. While riding over the field of battle, searching for the dead and wounded, I met Colonel Dudley who asked what I was doing. He ordered me to follow him and said: "Consider yourself on my staff. I will write to the Governor recommending you for promotion to Second Lieutenant."

A detail from my company was made this morning, to go on guard. One of the men did not care to go, on pretence of having a lame leg. He went to the Surgeon, and told him of his lameness, when the Surgeon asked him to hold out his tongue. My man replied "What has my tongue to do with my leg?"

August 10,1862. Regiment returned to quarters in the State House.

August 11, 1862. Regiment bivouacked on the grounds of the United States Arsenal and our brigade entrenched themselves under cover of the gun-boats. The exposure to the hot sun, the damp air at night, and the hard work on the trenches prostrated the regiment.

August 12,1862. General Butler has issued the following congratulations to the soldiers of the Army of the Gulf:

New Orleans, August 9, 1862.

Soldiers of the Army of the Gulf:

Your successes have heretofore been substantially bloodless.

Taking and holding the most important strategic and commercial positions, with the aid of the gallant navy, by the wisdom of your combinations, and the moral power of your arms, it has been left for the last few days to baptize you in blood.

The Spanish conqueror of Mexico won imperishable renown by landing in that country and burning his transport ships, to cut off all hope of retreat. You, more wise and economical, but with equal providence against retreat, sent yours home.

Organized to operate on the sea coast, you advanced your outposts to Baton Rouge, the capital of the State of Louisiana, more than two hundred and fifty miles into the interior.

Attacked there by a division of our rebel enemies, under command of a Major General recreant to loyal Kentucky, whom some of us would have honored before his apostasy, of doubly superior numbers, you have repulsed in the open field his myrmidons, who took advantage of your sickness, from the malaria of the marshes of Vicksburg, to make a cowardly attack.

The Brigade at Baton Rouge has routed the enemy.

He has lost three Brigadier-Generals, killed, wounded and prisoners; many Colonels and field officers. He has more than a thousand killed and wounded.

You have captured three pieces of artillery, six caissons, two stand of colors, and a large number of prisoners.

You have buried his dead on the field of battle, and are caring for his wounded. You have convinced him that you are never so sick as not to fight your enemy? if he desires the contest.

You have shown him that if he cannot take an outpost after weeks of preparation, what would be his fate with the main body. If your General should say he was proud of you, it would only be to praise himself; but he will say he is proud to be one of you.

In this battle, the Northeast and the Northwest mingled their blood on the field—as they had long ago joined their hearts—in the support of the Union.

Michigan stood by Maine, Massachusetts supported Indiana, Wisconsin aided Vermont, while Connecticut, represented by the sons of the ever-green shamrock, fought as our fathers did at Boyne Waters.

While we all mourn the loss of many brave comrades, we, who were absent, envy them the privilege of dying upon the battle-field for our country, under the starry folds of her victorious flag.

The colors and guidons of the several corps engaged in the contest will have inscribed on them, "Baton Rouge."

To complete the victory, the iron-clad steamer Arkansas, the last naval hope of the Rebellion, hardly awaited the gallant attack of the Essex, but followed the example of her sisters, the Merrimac, the Manassas, the Mississippi, and the Louisiana, by her own destruction.

Major-general Butler.

By command of

R. 8. Davis, Captain and A. A. A. G.

August 21, 1862. Embarked on board the transports, and arrived at Carrollton, near New Orleans, on the 22d. Disembarked and camped near the parapet, close to the river.

August 24, 1862. Changed our camp to Materie Ridge, distance two miles; called it Camp Williams, for General Williams, who was killed at the battle of Baton Rouge. The 5th Brigade was here formed, and our regiment put into it, with three others, three batteries and one cavalry company, Colonel Dudley, Acting BrigadierGeneral, commanding.

September 15, 1862. Up to this date we were drilled on brigade movements, but our regiment suffered terribly from sickness, and we were ordered to Carrollton.

November 3,1862. Lieutenant-Colonel Bullock resumed command, and we moved to the United States barracks, four miles below New Orleans, and close to the river.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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