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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

15th Louisiana's Losses at Chancellorsville

Found this piece in the Richmond Daily Dispatch.

On May 14, 1863, the Richmond Daily Dispatch published a list of casualties for the 15th Louisiana in the Battle of Chancellorsville.  Colonel Pendleton’s finger was shot off in the fight.

List of killed and wounded in the 15th Louisiana regiment (Col. E. Pendleton) at the battle of Chancellorsville, May 2d and 3d, 1863.
Field and Staff.--Wounded: Col Edmond Pendleton, Lt-Col M G Goodwyn, Serg't Maj Haskins.
  1. Company A.--Killed: Privates Whittle, Hoffman, Burns. Wounded: Serg't Lente. Missing; Private Cain, (reported killed.)
  2. Company B.--Killed; Privates Walker, Finnegan, Vest, Brake. Wounded; Serg't Hinrick, Corp'l McArthy; privates Conroy, Brenan, Fitzgerald, Haffy, Russell. Missing; Petere.
  3. Company C.--Killed: Private Brown.--Wounded; Lieut Erwin, (in right arm,) Lieut Gross, (slightly,) Serg't Hanck, (seriously.) Serg't Dupuy, (flesh wound in leg;) privates Vizer and P Smith. Missing; Privates Bernard, O Badeaux, and P Badeaux.
  4. Company D.--Killed: Private H Johnson. Wounded: Lieut Power, Lieut Lockwood, Serg't Simcox; privates Riley, Krechbaum, Lehauey, Fanning, Guravin.
  5. Company E.--Killed: Lieut Haynes and Serg't Paul. Wounded: Privates Cormady and Brown. Missing: Corp'l Rourke.
  6. Company F.--Killed; Sergt Rowe. Wounded; Sergts Roden and Clendenning, Corporal Wynn, privates Knight and Donley. Missing: Corpl Holloway, privates Carroll and Flynn.
  7. Company G.--Killed: Sgt McElwel, Corpl Tucker, private Bigger. Wounded: Captain Michie, slightly; Lts Bowman and Davenport slightly; Sgts Wynn and Brown, dead; Corpl Aldridge, privates Lott, Carroll, England, Dawson, Merillian, Braddock, Cannedy, J W Nuggatt, Crawford, Womack. Missing: Manning.
  8. Company H.--Killed: W Woff. Wounded; Capt Withemp, Lt Blackstone, Corpl Vinet. Missing: McPherson, M Gainer, Barnett.
  9. Company I.--Killed: D Hogan, E Clark. Wounded; Lt Brown, since dead; Sgts Trumzler and Napier, Cpl Trisher, privates Tiller, McClure, Manning, Greer, McQuaid, Shae.
  10. Company K.--Wounded: Sgt Brown, prisoner, Sgt Beck, Cpls Salois and Dillon, privates Norris, Keefer, Cunningham, Rank, Heno; Arnauld, Hoff. Missing: Private Messing. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

1st Louisiana at the Battle of King's School House

This story from the Richmond Daily Dispatch was advanced to me by Terry L. Jones (Lee's Tigers, Campbell Brown's Civil War: With Ewell and the Army of Northern Virginia, The Civil War Memoirs of Captain William J. Seymour: Reminiscences of a Louisiana Tiger). This is a great story on one of the more obscure Louisiana regiments in the Army of Northern Virginia. 


The Seven Days Campaign began on June 25, 1862, when Union General George B. McClellan advanced his line outside Richmond, Virginia—a day before Robert E. Lee attacked McClellan’s right flank at Mechanicsville and started driving the Yankees back.  As part of A. P. Wright’s brigade, Lt. Col. W. R. Shivers’1st Louisiana helped stop McClellan’s advance on June 25.  In the fierce fighting known as the Battle of King’s School House, the Louisianians captured a battle flag from Daniel Sickles’ famed Excelsior Brigade but lost many men in the process.  Colonel Shivers was shot through the arm and a total of 16 of the regiment’s 27 officers were killed or wounded, along with 128 of the 328 men.  Two days after the battle, the Richmond Daily Dispatch ran a story describing the 1st Louisiana’s role in the fight.

Believing an attack was imminent, Gen. Wright ordered up the 48th North Carolina (Col. Rutledge's) regiment, which moved up the road and took position to the left of it, in an open field, with dense woods on their left flank. The right of the road was occupied by the 1st Louisiana, and to their right were the 22d and 4th Georgia. The North Carolinians were in an exposed position, but maintained their ground without flinching, losing not less than 100 killed and wounded. The position of the 1st Louisiana was equally disadvantageous.  Before them was a thick chaparral, in which the enemy were strongly posted. Behind this, also, several brigades were drawn up, their flanks extending beyond, so that they kept up a continual fire upon the Louisianians, inflicting sad loss. Being ordered to charge, the 1st advanced nobly, with the "Butler! and New Orleans!" and at the first dash drove the enemy forth with great havoc. But emerging into the open field behind, they were astonished to discover not less than three brigades opposing them, viz: Thomas Francis Meagher's Irish brigade, Sickles's Excelsior brigade, and another one, the name of which we could not ascertain. Bravely holding their ground, the Louisianians maintained the unequal contest with great dash and boldness, the enemy quailing and retiring before their steady and deadly fire. To their right, however, things were progressing favorably, where the 4th and 22d Georgia were hotly engaged with the enemy, who, after some two hours hard fighting, slowly and reluctantly retired. Comparisons are odious, but it is admitted that the conduct of the 48th N. C., 1st La., and 4th Ga., was beyond all praise. The first of these regiments was perfectly fresh from home, and had never been under fire before; yet there they stood, in open field, waiting for the cowards to advance, and although Col. Rutledge reports a loss of 100 killed and wounded, his brave fellows never gave an inch of ground, but kept up a murderous fire upon the foe, who suffered so much that, although five to one, they did not dare to leave the woods. The Louisianians went into action with 300, and lost 144 killed and wounded. These figures are more than enough to demonstrate their conduct in the fight — for every second man fell! The 4th Georgia, it is said, acted like very devils, and fought and charged three regiments three several times!--and, more than this routed them, losing not less than 50 in killed and wounded. The 22d Georgia lost some ninety odd in killed and wounded, and behaved splendidly.

We would conclude by mentioning the heroic conduct of Private James Henderson, Company A, First Louisiana. This brave fellow had undergone the severe fiery ordeal with his regiment in the morning, and when it was ordered to fall back he voluntarily moved to the front to assist the wounded, as there were neither surgeon nor stretcher bearers with his regiment. Henderson brought off Col. Shivers from the field on his back, returned and recovered the same officer's sword and other equipments, and whenever finding a wounded man sufficiently strong to be removed, he carried him from the field on his back, despite the repeated vollies which the cowardly enemy fired upon him. More than this — when the enemy had posted their pickets, this fine soldier stole through the grass upon his hands and knees, and actually stole our wounded men from under the enemy's guns! We always delight to record the deeds of privates, but can any words of ours add to the honor of such a brave fellow as Henderson? There are, doubtless, many who did as well, in some capacity or other, but we regret that none will advise us of their names and deeds.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

4th Wisconsin from Opelousas to Port Hudson

From the Fourth Wisconsin

Campaign on the Red River

The Assault on Port Hudson

Correspondence of the Sheboygan Times

Port Hudson, La. May 25, 1863

My last communication was from Opelousas, since which time, we have eaten, drank, and slept in the saddle. We have performed some wonderful equestrian feats, some matchless tumbling, and kept in a perfect whirl of excitement night and day. We have roamed the extensive prairies, forded bayous, lassooed horses, chased Rebs., and other acts too numerous to mention. While at Opelousas we were transferred into Dwight’s brigade, Grovers division, went down to Washington and had a running fight of six miles with the enemy, then commenced our march to Alexandria on River river eighty miles distant; our advance was in sight of the rear of the enemy nearly all the time. On this march Gen. Dwights’ brother was shot by a guerilla; the assassin was caught, tried and shot. We made a grand cavalry dash into Alexandria, coming in on the dead run, hooting and yelling like so many savages, and what a notable figure we did cut; rough, ragged and dirty are feeble words to express our conditions; we found that Commodore Davis had beaten us, having reached there, the night before, took possession of the town and hoisted the stars and stripes, in the center of the town; we stopped and gave three rousing cheers for the flag, three for the navy, three for Commodore Davis and cheered for everybody and with a will too, such as the 4th Wis. had not evinced since the first three or four months in the service. - We had been on a long march and endured much hardship and we fancied that we were going to have a season of rest, but in this we were deceived.
            We started the next day in pursuit of the enemy, and overtook him at Cane river, 45 miles from Alexandria, completely surprising him, taking about forty five prisoners and scattering the rest; we captured about 1,000 horses and mules. Co. C was detailed to guard the baggage train back to Alexandria, since which time we have been detached from the Regt. Immediately upon reaching Alexandria, the company was detailed to guard Gen. Bank’s headquarters baggage train; we proceeded to Simmsport, 80 miles distant on the Atchafalaya, twelve miles from the month of Red river, crossed as expeditiously as possible, on a flat boat, rowed by six negroes; you may guess how fast that was, over a river a mile wide and very rapid. Gen. Grover’s division arrived while we were crossing; next morning Co. C, 4th Wisconsin, and Co. F, 1st La. cavalry, started on a reconnoitering expedition; we were joined by three companies of New York cavalry, all under the command of Major ---. We proceeded down the Red river to its mouth, where we saw the steamship Hatfield, watching for rebel prey. We then descended the Mississippi, going through the towns of Williamsport, St. Coupee and a couple of other little places sporting no name, and stopped opposite Port Hudson, while the chief engineer on Gen. Grover’s staff made observations and gained the desired information. We had a splendid view of the fortifications, and the examination was highly satisfactory. We took a prisoner who informed us there was a rebel force on that side the river on the point opposite Port Hudson, which point was separated from us by a small bayou. Of the strength of the force we knew nothing, but it was determined that we should find out something about them; so we proceeded about three miles down the bayou, and we crossed a little neck of land connecting with the point, we then proceeded up the point, thinking to bag them. Co. F being the only ones that were fully armed, we sent out as skirmishers. Co. C had no sabres, nothing but our long muskets which were useless on a horse; the New York boys had no carbines, nothing but sabres and revolvers, good enough on a charge, but worthless as skirmishers, so we only had eighteen men fully armed; we had not proceeded far, when the skirmishers were attacked by the enemy in the edge of a piece of woods, they held their ground bravely, returning the fire with surprising rapidity.
            Co. C, under Lieut. Brooks, immediately dashed forward to their support, but the N.Y. cavalry hung back; Lieut. Mack of Co. F rode back urging them to come forward and make a charge and we could take them prisoners; but they refused. He came back swearing horribly, and addressing us said: “Come on Wisconsin, we can do it alone, such cavalry as that ought to be in h-ll.” We joined his company, Co. C, numbering 37 and Co. F numbering 18. The enemy retired farther into the woods, we followed and deployed. Co. F, with the first platoon of Co. C, under Lieut. Mack, deployed to the right of the road, while the 2nd platoon of Co. C, 15 men, under Lieut. Brooks, deployed to the left extending from the road to the Bayou. Thus forty-five men began a fight with an unknown force of the enemy right under the guns of Port Hudson, that famous stronghold of the Southwest, frowning down upon us, the garrison viewing the contest, and we being 57 miles from reinforcements.
            The attempt was hazardous in the extreme; the major in command was five miles behind, drunk! [bully for the Major!] Abandoned by our comrades, each Lieutenant had to fight on his own hook; but we had found the enemy and was bound to fight him. Lieut. Brooks advanced through the woods about forty rods, when he struck the levee road, and the advance of the rebels being in sight, we commenced firing briskly, the enemy again retreating, we chased them about forty rods further to a turn in the road and levee, Lieut. Brooks and Serg’t O’Conner taking the lead. The Lieutenant becoming convinced that the enemy were endeavoring to draw us into an ambuscade, gave orders to halt. We were now in rather a nice position. Our horses were untrained and would become unmanageable, if we went to firing guns about their ears, and having only fifteen men we could not afford to dismount and let a part hold horses while the rest fought. - Several of the boys dismounted and holding their own horses fired whenever they saw a reb. The enemy waited some time in silence, hoping that we would advance into their snare, but Lieut. Brooks was not to be caught in that way. Sergeant O’Conner went over the levee and advanced alone into the woods to within ten rods of the ambuscade, and finding that they were discovered, they opened a tremendous fire of musketry upon us, to which we replied with some effect, for we saw some fall; but the overwhelming numbers of the enemy convinced us that we could do nothing there, with no force to fall back to, so be were ordered to retreat. About this time, Wm. Sager, of Lima, was shot through the hand. He had just charged cartridge and was drawing rammer, when the shot took him in the right hand, but he succeeded in loading his piece and fired. By this time we had returned some distance; he then mounted his horse and fled, the bullets coming after him like hailstones, but he was true blue. He went a short distance to the rear, where one of the boys tied up his hand the best he could, and he rejoined the company and remained through the action.
            A bullet went through the stock of E. Estry’s gun, between the barrel and rammer, the splinters skinning his knuckles. We retreated about forty rods and halted, when Sergeant O’Conner came trotting up leading his horse, which was so badly frightened he could not mount him. The rebels then sent up a yell of exultation which made us feel wolfish, but could not resent it, so we fell back into the clearing behind the levee, so if they came out in sight we could pepper them. Sergeant O’Conner was dispatched to inform Lieut. Mack that we had retired, so that the enemy should not flank him and cut him off, but the Sergeant could not find him. Meantime Lieut. Mack with his men had advanced rapidly, not meeting any opposition, and the New Yorkers were advancing along the road at a respectful distance behind. Upon hearing that loud firing upon his left, he ordered his men to about face and come to the support of Lieut. Brooks. Before he could get his men together in the road and get back, however, the firing ceased, and he supposing that we were all prisoners ordered a retreat, the New Yorkers, being behind, now became the advance, next Co. F, then the first platoon of Co. C. The rebels had stationed themselves in the woods by the roadside, and now poured in a terrible fire upon them as they passed by. Here occurred a striking instance of the heroic daring that characterized our boys and made them conspicuous. One of the New York cavalry was killed, and his comrades rode on and left him, not a man paying any regard to it. When Co. C came strong, Wm. S. Buzzell stopped and ordered two negroes, that rode in the rear, to dismount and lift the body on his horse. They did so, and he took that dead body across the neck of his horse and carried it five miles, when it seemed like certain death to stop. It won for him the encomiums of the whole party, and too much cannot be said in his praise. It was a noble act, prompted only by the determination that the enemy should not obtain it as a trophy. Wisconson should be proud of such a noble son.
            We learned next morning from the citizens that the enemy had two regiments of infantry, two companies of cavalry, and a section of artillery on that point, and had we advanced fifteen rods further we should have been annihilated. 

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