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.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

30th Massachusetts' Tour in Louisiana, Part III

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 pick up with Howe's February 1863 entries:

February 1, 1863. Sunday. Rainy all day. Inspection at 9 a. m. Wrote home. Read in Handy Andy. It is reported that Stonewall Jackson is outside some thirty miles. Let him come, we are ready for him.
February 2, 1863. Rainy. There was to have been an inspection to-day by the Assistant Inspector of the Division, but the rain prevented.
February 3, 1863. Pleasant. In the morning our regiment was inspected by the Assistant Inspector of the Division. In the afternoon no drill.
February 4, 1863. Rainy. Drills as usual. No indication of the enemy about. Camp life is monotonous if lasting too long; a soldier desires constant change.
February 6 and 7, 1863. Pleasant. Drill on the 6th, none on the 7th. Our regiment is second to none in drill and soldierly bearing.
February 8, 1863. Sunday. Inspection and review by General Dudley. Captain E. A. Fiske has obtained three days' leave and gone to Donaldsonville to visit his brother, which leaves me in command. A flag of truce has gone outside under charge of Captain McGee, who goes as a Sergeant, toward Port Hudson, to ascertain anything about the enemy.
February 9, 1863. Pleasant, not so cold. Drill as usual, also brigade drill. The flag of truce has returned, the enemy's pickets are within six miles of our line. I feel tired to-night. At reveille, we form into line of battle, then wheel into columns of companies and the roll is called.
February 10, 1863. Pleasant. Brigade drill very good. The battalions were instructed in forming squares in a new way, viz., centre divisions march forward, then the companies on the right, left face forward and file right, the company on the left, right face and file left and the 10th company join the 1st. Very pretty and quickly executed.
February 11, 1863. Showery. In the afternoon, a brigade line was formed, and we were caught in a shower; got completely wet through. The officers, in the evening, called on the officers of the regiments in our brigade; we took a band along, and our Glee Club.
February 12, 1863. Manual drill. I drilled the company as skirmishers. Battalion drill this afternoon. I did not go out, as I had been summoned to attend a court-martial. A mail arrived to-day; no letter for me. All quiet at the front. I have only twenty-five men for duty; the regiment will never turn out 500 men again.
February 13, 1863. Pleasant. Company drill in the morning, brigade drill in the afternoon. The Captain has not yet returned. I wish a forward movement would be made; we have troops enough to accomplish something. A vocal and instrumental concert was given this evening, for the benefit of the Orphan Asylum here. The State has neglected it since the war broke out. The concert was given by our soldiers.
February 14, 1863. Saturday. Captain Fiske arrived to-day. No drills. Policing camp the order of the day.
February 15, 1863. Sunday. Review and inspection, afterwards a march down town. We have quite a brigade, five regiments. I am on picket duty to-day; have the right of the line, with forty-five men, quartered in an old building. The general officer and the brigade officer of the day visited me in the forenoon.
February 16, 1863. Cloudy. Was relieved from picket duty at 12.30 p. m., by Lieutenant Prince of our regiment; feel pretty tired; took a nap in the afternoon. Captain H. C. Wells has gone home on a leave of absence. I sent home, by him, my Quartermaster Sergeant's warrant. No indication of any fight about here.
February 17, 1863. Pleasant. Nothing new. They bury a soldier occasionally. The music of the funeral dirge causes sad feelings, and turns our thoughts homewards. The air is often whistled by our boys about camp, so much so, we have given orders to stop it, it is so solemn.
February 18, 1863. Pleasant. I made application for a leave of absence, to go to New Orleans to draw my pay.
February 19, 1863. Leave of absence granted; also one to Lieutenant Ferris, who goes on the same errand. Went on board the steamer Laurel Hill; started at 1 p. m. Made landings several times on the way down, to take sugar, cotton, etc., onboard; arrived the next day at 10 o'clock.
February 20, 1&63. Went to City Hotel to see if Lieutenant Ferris was there. Did not meet him. Went to Paymaster Sherman. No satisfaction there. Shall wait until Monday, then call on Major Vedder, our Paymaster.
February 21, 1863. Saturday. Met Ferris yesterday. To-day we did the city, "going the grand rounds," as we style it. Met many comrades.
February 22, 1863. Pleasant. Lieutenant Fuller of our regiment is here. An exchange of prisoners is to be made; secesh are on the streets and many are going to the levee to the steamer where the exchange is to take place; there are some four or five hundred to be exchanged. Nothing vexes me so much as to see the citizens carrying rebel flags, wearing badges, etc., emblematic of their traitorous cause. It would not have been allowed under Butler's administration. Think of it! also on Washington's birthday! Thefeelingis as strong as ever, only smothered. Mail from the North arrived to-day.
February 23, 1863. Pleasant. Called on Major Vedder; no satisfaction, no money; shall have to wait till pay day. I learned from the express office that my trunk, which contained clothing, was lost on the steamer Walla Walla, as she came from the North. She was run into and sunk. "Fortunes of War." I suppose the mermaids are sporting in my new clothes. I am "out" $60. I care more for the trouble my family have had in getting the things together to please me.
February 24, 1863. Started for Baton Rouge at 6.30 o'clock last evening. Made slow time during the night, it being foggy; arrived at 3 p. m. The boys were all glad to see me. I brought some express matter for the regiment. A company of Louisiana Cavalry and the 12th Massachusetts Battery came on the same boat. I had a pleasant trip; was gone six days. Met Mr. Fiske in New Orleans; he is coming to Baton Rouge to see his son, who is Captain of my company. He brought a bundle for me, a pair of pants and a vest. Received sister Lizzie's photograph; it is a good one. I have two loving and patriotic sisters.
February 25, 1863. Pleasant. Drill as usual. Brigade drill in the afternoon. We were caught in a shower and went to quarters. There is a report the enemy are coming down the river in boats to board our naval fleet to-night.
February 26, 1863. Rainy all day. No drill. Wrote home. At work on our pay roll. No appearance nor sign of the enemy. We have now some five companies of cavalry. Continued work on the pay rolls in the morning.
February 27, 1863. Cloudy. Drills as usual. No squad drills now. Made out a descriptive list of men of the company who are in the hospital at New Orleans. Brigade drill in the afternoon; went through street firing. Worked on pay rolls in the morning.
February 28,1863. Saturday. Rainy. No drill to-day. Mr. Fiske arrived. Wrote home.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Claiborne Rangers at Camp Moore, 1861

James W. Nicholson enlisted in Claiborne Rangers which became Company L of the 12th Louisiana Infantry Regiment. In 1915 he wrote Stories of Dixie. In his book he recounted his time at Camp Moore, Louisiana. Camp Moore was the main training camp for Louisiana units at the beginning of the war. The 12th Louisiana Infantry was formed at Camp Moore on August 13, 1861. Below is Nicholson's experience at Camp Moore.

Private James W. Nicholson, "Claiborne Rangers" 
Company L, 12th Louisiana Infantry


In the piny woods of Tangipahoa Parish there is a certain old field neglected and overgrown with pine bushes. Thousands have seen it from the passing trains of the Illinois Central without suspecting that it was the site of a great military encampment in the stormy days of '61. Here Camp Moore, named after the governor of Louisiana, was located. Hardly could a more appropriate place for the purpose have been found seventy-five miles from New Orleans, sufficiently rolling for easy drainage, and level enough for military evolutions. Situated as it was in the ozone belt, the air was pure and sweet, and redolent with the odor of fresh pine straw. On one side was Beaver Creek and on the other the Tangipahoa River, both running streams of clear sparkling water. 

Here the sons of Louisiana went to enlist in the army and to be trained in the duties of soldiers. When the war began these sons knew nothing of drilling, guard mounting, and many other duties which alone make men efficient in the camp and on the march and the battle field. Camp Moore was established by the state to provide this instruction. In a word, it was a real military school in which men were trained for war and formed into battalions and regiments. In this school they were kept usually six or eight weeks and then forwarded to the "front," where the fighting was to be done. 

As green and awkward as the Claiborne boys were with respect to drilling, there were three things in military life they could do as well as the drill master: shoot quick and straight, put up tents, and march in "route-step" (go as you please). They marched in this go-as-you-please style from the depot to the camp, a large drill-ground in front of "a little city of white tents." The grounds were as smooth as a floor and as clean as a newly swept yard, and the white tents were arranged in straight parallel rows. Everything seemed to have been designed and finished with a single eye to order and cleanliness. Here and there on the campus were squads of soldiers, each being drilled by an officer who was as straight as an Indian and as " bossy as a new overseer." " Shoulder arms!" "Forward, guide right, march!" "Company, left half wheel, march!" The welkin rang with these and other commands, each having something of the clear crack of a rifle. 

When the Rangers received their tents they at once put them up in two rows, facing one another, and Captain Scott said, "They look as .well as any on the grounds." The next day officers were elected, and the company mustered into service for one year. Then they drew guns all kinds, scarcely any dozen of them being of the same pattern. Thus equipped, they entered upon all the duties of soldiers; namely, drilling, guard mounting every morning, dress parade every afternoon, policing, inspections, cleaning quarters, washing clothes, drawing rations, cooking and eating the frugal meals. 

When a regiment was formed and sent to the "front" its place was soon filled by new companies coming in from all parts of the state. A few of these were Irish, more French, and still more English. Ten of the English companies from North-Central Louisiana, including the Claiborne Rangers, were formed into a regiment, known as the 12th Regiment, Louisiana Infantry. Of this regiment Captain Scott, of the Rangers, was elected Colonel. 

The 12th was formed of a thousand young men stalwart, muscular, dauntless hobbledehoys. They were the sons of lawyers, doctors, business men, and farmers, and having been reared largely in Christian homes they had that pride and morale which make men towers of strength in peace and in war. Of  course their military potency could not be estimated before training and trial, but there was the assurance in advance that "blood will tell"; for there flowed in their veins the blood of the heroes of Hastings and Marston Moor, Valley Forge and Yorktown, Horse Shoe Bend and New Orleans, Buena Vista and Chapultepec. 

It was a short walk from camp to the Tangipahoa River, and early in the morning and late in the afternoon the soldiers were permitted to go there to bathe and swim. This was much enjoyed by all, and every day the river was lined with the jolly and noisy swimmers. Indeed, throughout the war, the range of their pleasures being so narrow, the men went in the creeks, mill ponds, and rivers whenever they had a chance, even in pretty cold weather, that being about their only pastime. They often took their soiled clothes, washed them, and spread them on the bushes to dry, while they bathed and played in the water. 

It was at Camp Moore that Nick learned to swim. That was queer, for, as a rule, Louisiana boys take to water almost as soon as they can walk. But after that, Nick made up for lost time by swimming in, if not across, nearly every stream between that place and the Atlantic Ocean. 

When the men neglected duty or violated the rules they were punished in severe and singular ways. A soldier once stole something, and was punished for it by having to wear a board fastened to his back on which was printed ROGUE. Often a culprit was punished by having to wear a barrel, or being tied 
up by the thumbs, or put in stocks or a pillory. 

As a rule, it was only the rowdies who had to be treated in this way. The men generally did their duties cheerfully and faithfully. As the war progressed the roughs, rowdies, and bullies gradually "played out." It is men of moral courage that make dependable and enduring soldiers. Hence punishments became fewer as the war went on. 

There was an Irishman in the llth regiment named Kelly, who was punished for drunkenness by being put under guard with a chain and ball attached to his ankle. Kelly had been a steamboat roustabout, and was a giant in size and strength. Nick happened to be on guard that day and had to guard Kelly. Now the big Irishman, moved by a spirit of humor or desperation, seemed to be watching for a chance to spring on Nick and beat the life out of him. So every time he moved down would come Nick's gun. It was loaded with an ounce ball and Kelly knew it. When the corporal of the guard came, Kelly said to him in a whisper: "Would ye be after putting a man in the place of that spalpeen of a lad? The little cuss has got so he won't let me turn over." 

Nick was as glad to go as Kelly was to have him go. 

Exposure and other causes produced much sickness among the troops. At the beginning of the war each camp was supplied with a hospital in which the sick were cared for. In it were clean beds, medicines, and nurses, and many ladies came with flowers and delicacies for the patients. But year by year, as the war went on, camp hospitals became poorer and the medicines scarcer, until they really disappeared altogether. At first the chief kind of sickness was measles, which is usually a harmless disease, but a very fatal one when the subject is exposed. More men died of it during the war than of all other diseases together. It caused the death of more than a dozen of the Claiborne Rangers at Camp Moore. 

Many of the bodies of deceased soldiers were taken to their homes for burial, and the rest were interred on a mound in the woods nearby. The latter were buried with military honors; that is, the remains were escorted to the graveyard by a squad of soldiers, and when the body was put in the ground the 
squad fired three rounds of blank cartridges over the grave. It was a very sad and impressive service. 

The site of Camp Moore is now an old and deserted field. All signs of the camp are gone. There is nothing left to remind one of the stirring scenes of '61. Instead of the merry laugh and heavy tramp of soldiers, one now hears the "mournful song" of the pine straw as it is swept by the passing breeze. 

Many years after the war the Daughters of the Confederacy induced the legislature to appropriate enough money to buy the old graveyard, clean it off, build a strong iron fence around it, and erect a monument in memory of the men, living and dead, who served there. When the monument was unveiled 
(1907) Nick, then a professor in the state university, made the dedication speech. 

Two large beech trees were left standing in the inclosure on account of the many names of the soldiers cut into their bark. Among these old carvings Nick's attention was called to his own initials, " J. W. N.," which were probably cut by him just forty-six years before. 

In the latter part of August the 12th was ordered to "the front." With what a thrill of excitement was the order received by the men ! At last their hopes of getting into a battle were to be realized! Up to this time they had had no news to write home except the details of camp life. Now they were to go far away into Kentucky, where the storm of war would soon be raging. 

There was a great hurry and bustle in preparing to move taking down tents, packing luggage, and cooking three days' rations. When they boarded the train each man carried a knapsack, a haversack, a canteen, two blankets, and a gun and cartridge box. It was a long freight train that was to carry them, and some took passage in and some on top of the box cars. When it "pulled out" a long and loud hurrah was shouted by a thousand jolly fellows. Poor boys ! They little dreamed of the hardships and privations in store for them. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

32nd Iowa at the Battle of Pleasant Hill

From the History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 2, pages 320-321 is the following account of the 32nd Iowa at the Battle of Pleasant Hill. Pleasant Hill was fought on April 9, 1864 following the Federal disaster at the Battle of Mansfield the day before. The 32nd Iowa's brigade was posted at the very front of the Union line across the road to Mansfield. It faced several attacks to his front by Texas Cavalry but was hit in its flank by the Texas brigades of Walker's Division.

Senator W. V. Allen of Nebraska, then a private in Company G, gives the following graphic account of what followed:

“The cloud of smoke from our guns hung for a moment in the breeze, then rose, revealing to us the sickening sight of riders and horses lying in a promiscuous heap of dead and dying. Their warm life-blood was forming little pools, which uniting, ran away in streams, while the pitiful neighing of dying horses, and the sorrowful cries and appeals of the dying soldiers for help and water was a sight to make the soul sick. While we were contemplating this horrible picture there debouched from the opposite woods three strong lines of infantry, the division of Churchill, Parsons and Majors, with wings spread out like a great fan. Their bayonets were fixed ready for use and they carried their guns at right shoulder shift. It was our time to turn pale. There were two of them to one of us, three strong lines to our single line. They broke forth in the ‘Rebel yell,’ which was simply a cheer from fine voiced men, a high piercing noise like the call of a woman made at long distance. It differed from the cheer of our men, which was heavier, heartier and more uniform [Blue emphasis added by me]. They brushed aside our skirmishers and dropped their guns to the position of a charge. They were to fall upon and crush in our center by the fury of their assault and the machine strength of numbers, while other portions of their army were to envelope, overlap and crush our flanks, and thus rout if not capture our entire army. Their success the previous day had made this, to their minds, not an impossible feat. Banks, always fruitful in blunders, had sent back to Grand Ecore a large part of the Thirteenth Corps and all our cavalry except one brigade, which being roughly handled early in the fight was unfit for offensive service when needed; so that when the enemy struck us in full force with his assaulting columns, we were weakened fully by this reduction of our numbers. We were ordered to shield ourselves as best we could from the enemy’s fire, and reserve our own, until he approached within a few rods of us. The chivalrous Shaw was at his best. His usually dull eye kindled with an unnatural fire, and his unusually homely countenance grew almost beautiful in contemplation of the death struggle that was at hand. He rode along the line giving his orders as coolly as if on dress parade. ‘Aim low, boys; it is better to wound than to kill, for it will take two good men to carry a wounded man from the field,’ he said. Above the din of the gathering storm, again rang out the voice of Shaw as the Rebels approached us. [321]‘Fix bayonets,’ he said, and in an instant every man’s bayonet was ready for use. The Rebels were upon us. The noise of 1,600 Springfield rifles rang out in unison as 1,600 minie balls sped into the enemy’s ranks to do their deadly work. He was strong and stopped, but rallied and again renewed the assault with additional fury. Another volley thrown full and fair into his ranks caused the enemy to reel and stagger like a drunken man, but he rallied to renew the attack. The assault was repeated and another made, this time along parts of the line the bayonet was used; but each assault was repulsed with great loss of life and limb on both sides. So the fighting went on, on other parts of the field. Our right wing was crushed in and driven back to the reserves, and this made it necessary to retire Shaw’s Brigade a distance to keep a connected line. The order was given, and the Twenty-fourth Missouri, Fourteenth and Twenty-seventh Iowa drew back, but Adjutant Charlie Huntley, brave as a lion and mild as a woman, while bringing the order to the Thirty-second was killed, and the order never reached the regiment. Having previously orders to hold the position at all hazards there was but one thing for Colonel Scott to do, and that was to hold his position unless wrenched from him by the enemy. The regiment at our left had been withdrawn, leaving both flanks of ours exposed. For more than an hour this regiment alone was fighting ten times its number. Everywhere in front, on the flanks and in the rear the contest raged with great fury and loss of life. Nowhere in ancient or modern warfare can be found an instance of more heroism than was here exhibited. Up to this time the enemy had been the assailant, but now that he was weakened, the time came for us to take the offensive. General Smith had made all preparations to receive the advancing foe; and as the human tide came rolling up the hill, almost to the muzzle of his guns, a sheet of flame flashed along his lines and swept the front like the besom of destruction. Hundreds fell dead and dying before that awful fire. Scarcely had the seething lead left the guns when the word ‘charge’ was given and 7,000 men precipitated themselves upon the shattered ranks of the enemy. Emory’s division was pushed forward and joined the Sixteenth Corps, driving the Rebels rapidly down the hill to the woods, there they broke and fled in confusion. The victory was won, and our troops followed the enemy until night put an end to the pursuit.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

30th Massachusetts' Tour in Louisiana, Part II

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 pick up with Howe's journal in January of 1863. Here is his notes for the month of January 1863:

January 1, 1863. Arose at reveille, and attended roll-call; wished all the officers and my men "A happy New Year." Up to this date we have been going through the usual routine of duties, and recruiting the health of the men; many are in the hospital. Made out the monthly return of my company (G), also the quarterly return of the deceased soldiers, of whom nine of my company died during the last quarter. Wrote home. Lieutenant Norcross is officer of the guard to-day. Lieutenant E. A. Fiske is sick. Pleasant, but cool.

January 2, 1863. Pleasant. Attended an anniversary dinner of the officers in the evening. One year ago we left old Massachusetts. Colonels Dudley and French came down from the city.
January 3, 1863. Saturday. Pleasant. Muster rolls all right. Went up to New Orleans, bought a pair of shoes, and two hundred pistol cartridges; had a nice time.
January 4, 1863. Pleasant. Inspection at 8.30. Went with the Colonel to the various quarters, also to the hospital. Quiet all day. Some of the officers went to the theatre in the evening, Sunday. Such is the custom in New Orleans. A report that Galveston had been re-taken, and three gun-boats.
January 5, 1863. Splendid day. I am detailed for officer of the guard. The guard consists of one Lieutenant, one Sergeant, four Corporals, and fifty-four privates.
January 7, 1863. Pleasant, but quite chilly. I had a good guard; was relieved by Lieutenant Emerson.
January 8, 1863. Pleasant. Anniversary of the battle of New Orleans, under General Jackson. A salute was fired at noon. We had a battalion drill in the afternoon. The officers met in the evening, to celebrate the day; there were toasts and speeches. Steamer Cambria returned to-day from Galveston, Texas; everybody supposed she had been re-taken. She waited at the entrance of the harbor forty-eight hours for a pilot. After she took one on board, the Captain mistrusted something was wrong, and returned to New Orleans.
January 9, 1863. Pleasant. Made out descriptive lists of members of the company who are in the hospital to enable them to draw their pay. Lieutenant Norcross and I drilled the company to-day as skirmishers. The officers met at Captain Whittier's quarters in the evening and had a social time, singing, speeches, toasts, etc., with egg-nog in abundance. Parting song, " Home, Sweet Home."
January 10,1863. Some rain. Lieutenants Loring, Ferris, Fay and myself visited a planter to-day, down the river, a Mr. Ducros. I formed his acquaintance when on patrol duty with a squad. We had a nice dinner, he gave us some wine he had imported from France. He believes in slavery because the Constitution allows it. We returned at sunset on the cars.
January 11, 1863. Sunday. Pleasant. Inspection at 8.30 o'clock. My company looked well, small numbers, fifty comprise the company and there were only twenty-five for duty. At sundown, the 47th Massachusetts Regiment marched inside of the barracks, they came from Carrollton. Pleasant time in the evening all around. They are a nine months' regiment lately arrived.
January 12, 1863. Monday. Pleasant. I am twenty-two years old to-day. Time passes rapidly; but no one could use it better than in defending the flag of his country. Went up to the city in the evening.
January 13, 1863. I returned to quarters in the morning. Our regiment has orders to go to Baton Rouge and join General Dudley's brigade. We ought to stay here two months longer; cannot muster over three hundred men for duty. Went aboard the steamer Iberville, the same boat which carried our boys to Vicksburg last summer.
January 14, 1863. Rainy. Touched at Donaldsonvilie on the way. Met three officers of the 1st Louisiana Regiment with whom I am acquainted. Occupied a state-room with Lieutenant Haley, had a pleasant trip, arrived at Baton Rouge at 3 p. m., stayed aboard during the night. Six companies went ashore and quartered in the theatre building.
January 15, 1863. Rainy. The balance of the regiment went into quarters at the theatre building. I looked after the company's baggage. We all slept in the hall at night. Quite cold.
January 16,1863. Friday. Cold, ice formed. Lieutenant Norcross on guard. The regiment had a march and a drill in the afternoon. We looked fine. Some of our officers have hired a house. I quarter in the building, find my bed very hard. Baton Rouge looks deserted, the citizens are nearly all gone. The State House is now merely a shell, as only the walls stand, the enemy having burned it last summer after we left.
January 17, 1863. Pleasant but cold. No drill to-day. I visited the battle-field with other officers, it looks natural. We have some eighteen thousand troops here.
January 18,1863. Sunday. Warmer. Inspection at 10 a. m., after which we were marched. Turned out three hundred and eighty men. We are to be brigaded to-morrow. Happy day this, as I was notified that the Governor has commissioned me, which makes me a fullfledged Lieutenant and not an acting one any longer. Mail arrived but no letter for me. Rainy to-night.
January 19, 1863. I am boarding at a coffee house at 85.00 per week. Moved our quarters, occupy three rooms, one for my servant.
January 20, 1863. Pleasant. General Auger takes command. I made out our ordnance returns in the morning. Battalion drill in the afternoon by General Dudley. Captain McGee, of the cavalry, went outside with his company scouting; reported that he saw quite a force nine miles out. Our regiment has the reputation of being "the crack regiment," and the neatest looking.
January 21, 1863. Pleasant. Company drill as skirmishers in the morning. Battalion drill in the afternoon. General Banks is in town to-day. General Auger is now in command. Our regiment is in General Grover's division. Our brigade is composed of the 30th Massachusetts, the 50th Massachusetts, the 2d Louisiana, the 161st and the 174th New York regiments. We expect to go into camp soon. Wrote home. Sent for a suit of clothes.
January 22, 1863. Pleasant. Company drill in the morning; battalion drill in the afternoon. Quiet, nothing new to-day.
January 23, 1863. Cloudy. Went into camp on our old drillgrounds. We are on the right of the brigade. I had all the tents pitched by sunset.
January 24, 1863. Saturday. Marched into and occupied our camp at sunrise. Policing camp is the order of the day. Received my commission to-day from the hands of Lieutenant-Colonel Bullock; it is dated August 19, 1862. I was the senior Sergeant who was promoted.
January 25, 1863. Sunday. Our brigade was reviewed by General Dudley in the morning, after which inspection took place. Started a mess to-day; there are eight in it; we hire a room in a house and a cook. It is quite cold.

January 26, 1863. Looks like rain. I am detailed for picket duty, as the junior officer. Lieutenant Johnston and Lieutenant Norcross also detailed. After guard mounting, we marched out into the country two miles. I had charge of six posts, three privates to a post, the last post connecting with the picket of another brigade on our left. Lieutenant Norcross connected with a brigade on our right. Lieutenant Johnston in command and at our reserve. All quiet, no enemy in sight. Some citizens passed through the lines during the day with passes. Visited by the General and the officer of the day at 1 a. m., and at night by the officer of the day. It commenced to rain at dark; it was very cold, and no shelter; had to "grin and bear it." Had an old chair and sat in it all night. Was relieved at 10 o'clock the next day by a detachment of the 2d Louisiana Regiment. This regiment is composed of all nations; it was raised in New Orleans; there is one Chinese in it; he cannot speak English, pretty soldier, he! My negro servant found a pocket-hook, which belonged to one of our men; he was seen when he picked it up, but stoutly denied it. I threatened to shoot him and gave him two minutes to either produce it or die; then he handed it over.
January 27, 1863. Tuesday. Cold and muddy. No drill to-day. We are laying floors in our tents; I have finished mine, which makes it quite comfortable. Nothing new. No expectation of a fight at present.
January 28, 1863. Pleasant but cold. Received a long letter from home and it was a good one, mother's picture was in it.
January 29, 1863. Pleasant but cold, water froze in my tent last night, the ice was quite thick. I have set up a small stove. Drill in the morning from 7.30 to 8.30, then from 10 to 6 o'clock. Battalion drill in the afternoon, from 2 to 4 o'clock.
January 30,1863. Captain and I drilled the company in the manual to-day. Battalion drill in the afternoon. No excitement to-day.
January 31, 1863. Saturday. Our brigade was reviewed by General Grover. The 30th received their usual praise from the commanding officer for soldierly appearance. The Captain is on picket duty. I preferred charges against two privates of Company H for deserting their post while on picket with me, as I was ordered to do so by General Dudley.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Alex Morgan Letters, 19th Louisiana

Baylor University has put on display letters from Dr. Alex Morgan of the 19th Louisiana.  The 19th Louisiana was part of Colonel Randall L. Gibson's Brigade at the Battle of Shiloh. Gibson's Brigade included the 1st Arkansas, 4th Louisiana, 13th Louisiana and 19th Louisiana. Morgan's letters describe his life in camp and his involvement at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862). The charge he talks of was made on April 6, 1862 against the Hornets' Nest in the center of the Union line. Gibson's Brigade made three charges against this position and lost about 1/3 of his brigade's strength. To learn about the 19th Louisiana and Gibson's Brigade at Shiloh just grab a copy of my book ;) on the Louisiana Brigade of the Army of Tennessee: Louisianians in the Western Confederacy: The Adams-Gibson Brigade in the Civil War.

Links directly to Baylor's online posting of Dr. Morgan's letters:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Harpers New Monthly Magazine Online!

At Cornell University they have digitized all of the Harpers New Monthly Magazines. It is listed by year and by issue. VERY nicely done.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Louisiana Artillery Plays Prank on Virginians

From The New Eclectic Magazine, Vol. IV, 1869, p. 616-617:

From New Orleans, La., we receive an account of a thrilling scene at the battle of Gettysburg. The writer says:

We were formed in line of battle on that memorable morning, and were waiting orders with feverish eagerness. Every soldier knows how trying is such a time, and how even the order to advance in the very face of death is felt to be a relief from the suspense and anxiety of inaction. A Virginia brigade was thus drawn up, and manifested some of the natural restlessness under such a state of uncertainty. An hour passed, and then another, but still the expected orders did not come. 

Their nervousness had reached a high pitch, when a mounted orderly was seen dashing up, holding aloft an envelope. "The orders have come!" cried the men along the line. The orderly galloped up, inquiring, "Where's the 49th Virginia regiment?"Hundreds of men called out to him, " Here's the 49th Virginia!" but he rode rapidly on, calling out, " Where's the 49th Virginia regiment ?" All order was at an end, one half the brigade broke ranks and deployed as skirmishers to intercept the bewildered orderly with those mysterious orders. Back he came, riding furiously, and still holding up his dispatch. All attempts to stop him were in vain. He galloped right through the 49th Virginia,snouting with all his might, " Where's the 49th Virginia regiment?" 

The men caught at his bridle, yelled to him to stop, but he eluded them all, and never slacking his speed, went out of sight of the brigade. The excitement now was beyond all bounds. Officers and men were eagerly inquiring, " Who is he ? What does it all mean ?" Some said that he was one of Lee's escort; others were sure that they had seen him with Longstreet . While the discussion about the mysterious stranger was being vehemently carried on, he made his appearance again, riding at the same furious pace, and holding up his dispatch as before. " Kill him or stop him this time ! " arose from hundreds of determined men. The orderly was halted at last, and conducted to the regiment he had been inquiring for so long. "Is this the 49th Virginia Regiment?" he inquired, waving ominously the big envelope. "Yes, yes, it is !" broke in many voices. "Well then, 49th Virginia regiment, lie down,for they are gwine fer to shell ye!" And off dashed the mysterious orderly like a shot from a Hotchkiss gun. 

It was that graceless scamp of the Louisiana Guard Battery. He had picked up an official envelope somewhere, and had borrowed a sergeant's horse, and thus equipped had been playing orderly for his own amusement. A. M.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Funeral of Charles Dreux, 1st Louisiana Battalion

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Dreux, commander of the 1st Louisiana Battalion, had the unfortunate distinction of being the first Confederate field officer, and probably the first Louisianian, killed in the Civil War.  Dreux was killed on July 4, 1861, in a minor skirmish near Young’s Mill, Virginia, while trying to ambush and capture some Union officers who frequented the area.  Dreux was a Louisiana blue-blood.  His New Orleans funeral, which drew 30,000 mourners, was said to the be the largest ever held in the city up to that time.  The following report of the funeral comes from the July 20, 1861, Richmond Daily Dispatch.

Grand military and civic Obsequies of the late Lieut. Col. Dreux.
[from the New Orleans Picayune, 16th]
One of the largest military and civic funeral processions which ever was seen in this city, took place yesterday afternoon from the City Hall, on the occasion of the burial of the late gallant Lieut. Col. Charles D. Dreux.
The remains continued to lie in state during the day at the Mayor's reception room, the metallic coffin being placed on a large high bier in the centre of the room, which was covered with a flag of the Confederacy. On the top of the coffin lay the cap and uniform of the deceased, covered with a wreath of white flowers, while loose fresh flowers were strewn all around it. A stack of arms was placed at each corner of the tier, which was also guarded by a detachment of soldiers. The walls and windows of the room were tapestried with flags of the State and the Confederacy, draped with black. Incense was burned on the mantles, and a fine cabinet oil painting of the deceased, hung with crape, also adorned the room.
Hundreds visited the remains during the day. At 2 o'clock the room was cleared, when the relatives of the family of the deceased paid their last sorrowful tribute of affectionate regard to the memory of the departed.
The procession formed in front of the City Hall at half-past 4 o'clock, extending on St. Charles and Lafayette streets. All the stores on our principal streets were closed, and flags were displayed at half-mast from the public buildings, hotels, public offices and the shipping.  During the procession the bells of the several churches were tolled. The procession moved according to the order which has already been published, passing up St. Charles street to Julia street, down Julia to Camp street, thence to Chartres street, and down Chartres to Esplanade, and down Esplanade to the new St Louis Cemetery. It had been intended to perform the religious rites and mass at the St. Louis Cathedral, but the order was changed, and the ceremonies were performed at the cemetery. All the windows, verandahs and balconies of the houses on the streets through which the procession passed were crowded with ladies, as well as the sidewalks. When the funeral cortege had reached Jackson Square, the crowd was immense, besides the windows and balconies of the Pontiac Buildings, the old Municipal Hall and the Court-House being filled. The procession was one hour and twenty minutes-passing the Cathedral.
The military display was the largest and most imposing ever witnessed in this city. It is estimated that between three and four thousand troops were in the ranks, and that the total number in the procession, including citizens, was between eight and ten thousand.--The Confederate Army was represented by Major General Twiggs and staff, and Colonel Sulakowski with some fifteen officers of the Polish Brigade. The Navy was represented by Commodore Rousseau, and officers of the Confederate States shipsteamers St. Philip and McRae.
A large advance of cavalry and infantry preceded the open hearse, which was draped with flags, and covered by a canopy hung with black, and drawn by six black horses — An escort followed, composed of Orleans Cadets, Jefferson Mounted Guards, Capt. Guy Dreux, on each side of the hearse, followed by the special detachment from the 1st Battalion of Louisiana Volunteers, who escorted the remains from Virginia, under Lieut. H. F. Bend. Twelve carriages then followed, containing Bishop Odin and the Catholic clergy, preceded by the relatives of the deceased.--Next came Major Gen. Lewis and other officers, the Governor, Mayor, police, firemen and the different societies, citizens, &c.
The police of the several districts made a fine turn-out, headed by their chief.
The Fire Department was also well represented, considering the large number of firemen who have left to join the army:
On arriving at the cemetery, the funeral rites were performed by Bishop Odin, assisted by the priests, who sang the "Requiescat in pace," after which Lieut. Col. Olivier, followed by Randell Hunt, Esq., delivered most touching addresses on the spotless character, the noble qualities, and chivalrous intrepidity of the deceased. Three salvos of musketry were then fired by the Louisiana Battalion with exact precision. The procession was then dismissed, and the military and other companies proceeded separately to their quarters. 

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