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.

Friday, March 16, 2012

30th Louisiana's Flag

Wayne Cosby forwarded this story from The Daily Picayune, May 15, 1887.

The Veterans Come Together to Make Arrangements for the Reception of Their Old Flag
Captured by Ohio Troops at the Battle of Atlanta
The Flag and the Fight – The Story Told by Men on Both Sides

                A number of the surviving members of the Thirtieth Louisiana Regiment met at the armory of the Continental Guards, in Odd Fellows’ Hall, last night, to take action on the communication from J. H. Mallick, Secretary of the Association of the Veterans of the Forty-sixth Ohio Regiment, relative to the return of the battle-flag of the Louisiana regiment which was captured in front of Atlanta on the 28th of July, 1864.
                On motion of Mr. Leon Bertoil, Major F. O. Trepagnier was elected President and Wm. E. Todd, Secretary.
                The following members of the regiment were present: Col. Gus A. Breaux, Major F. O. Trepagnier, Capts. O. F. Vallette, C. B. Cushman and Norbert Trepagnier, Lieuts.  J. U. Landry and A. Malierre and the following non-commissioned officers and privates:
                Company A – Pierre Gravois, C. V. Haile
                Company B -  Adam Wagatha, Jr. William E. Todd
                Company C – Adolphus G. Kane, Frederick Barrett, Shepherd J. Harris, John M. Coos, A. Blanchard
                Company E – Alexander Dapremont, Thos. Herbert
                Company F – Leon Bertil, Louis Burthe, Charles Laudumay, Edward R. Barnett, Charles A. Wilcox, E. Dejean, J. Fecel,  John L. Leefe and D. Mayronne.
                It was resolved to notify each member of the command to be present at a meeting to be held at 8 o’clock next Saturday night at the same place, and the meeting adjourned.
                From some of the gentlemen present the following facts are gleaned: The flag, which was captured at Ezra Church, on the Lick Kettle Road, was presented to the Thirtieth Louisiana Regiment in Mobile, Ala., by the resident Louisiana ladies there.  It was a very beautiful silk battle flag, and the regiment was justly proud of it, and held it safely in numerous battles and skirmishes.  On the 28th of July, 1864, the regiment, or rather battalion, was ordered out to drive back the Federal skirmishers on the left of the Confederate line and right of the Federals.  The entire brigade was only 1500 strong, and of these 225 constituted the Thirtieth Louisiana.   On the left of the road was a dense woods and the command marched forward towards this over comparatively open ground with a line of skirmishers in front.
                A terrible fire was poured into the line from the left flank, where fully 5000 men were concealed in the woods or thicket; In fact the Confederates had virtually marched into an ambush.  The fight only lasted twenty minutes and during that short time it rained lead.  Of twenty-three commissioned officers who went into the fight, only three escaped unhurt, and of the 225 men they commanded only fifty came out of that battle unscathed.  Man after man fell dead with the colors and finally Corporal Belson ran to their Lieut. Landry with the flag upheld, and holding it in his left hand, held up his right, from which the blood was streaming.
                Lieut. Landry knew that the absence of the colors from the center of the regiment would have a demoralizing effect, and seizing them he ran back to the center and there handed them to a young man named William Dalton of the Algiers Guards, Company A in the regiment.  Lieut. Landry instructed Dalton to save the flag at all hazards, and if necessary, to strip it from the staff, wrap it around his body and save it thus.  The flag had been so constructed that by simply pulling a string it could be detached from the staff and with the foregoing instructions Lieut. Landry left Dalton with the colors, and the last seen of them by the command was when Dalton held the flag.  The regiment was terribly cut up and after the firing had ceased retired from the field.
                On going back Quarles’s brigade of Tennesseans came up and advanced to the position abandoned by the Louisianians.  This command was much stronger than the first, yet they were also driven back, and a third line was ordered up.  These advanced toward the place, a short distance, where they halted, and the men positively refused to advance any further as they said they didn’t propose to be butchered  up at the rate the other two commands had been.
                The Thirtieth Louisiana Regiment was composed in part of the American Rifles, Pickett Cadets, Lewis Cadets, Henry Clay Guards and the Orleans Guards of New Orleans, the Algiers Guards, Valsour Aime Guards and one or two companies from Bayou Lafourche.

A Federal Account of the Battle
                The following account of the fight appeared in the Cincinnati Commercial of the 22nd of August, 18__. 
                Editor Commercial: In looking over your correspondent’s account of the battle of the 28th of July, I notice some mistakes with I will correct for the benefit of those to whom honor is due.  The men of the Forty-sixth Ohio ask no credit and honor for services rendered by them.  They have honors without number of their own, (valuable deeds and displays of gallantry) and do not wish that which is justly due of others.  The battle flag of the Thirtieth Louisiana, which was credited to the Forty-sixth, was captured by the Tenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
                By asking permission of Gen. Logan I visited the battlefield in the morning after the bloody engagement.  Going to the right of our Corps (Fifteenth), I found some few dead rebels, and other things that showed there had been a battle fought.  Passing down the lines it was easy to see where the assault had been most terrible.  Coming to the Fourth Division, which, owing to its lines being in the woods, had been more closely engaged, in one place the dead of the enemy were within five paces of the works.  These five paces were just the distance (not guessed but stepped).  The dead who were this close were only some scattering ones, while just back of them lay their line of battle.
                Many of the Thirtieth Louisiana, of whom your correspondent spoke, were here, many being shot in four or five places.  At the head of their gallant command lay Col. Shields, formerly of Ohio.  Along the line were his major, three captains and three lieutenants, two orderly sergeants and, as I learned after they had been gathered together for burial, 205 men, besides 20 wounded taken off this ground the evening after the engagement.
                One hundred yards in the rear of this line, could be seen where the line of support or second line of battle by the dead, which were left, also old hats, blankets, haversacks, canteens, knapsacks, guns and other things which had been left there.
                On looking at the ground in the rear of this terrible slaughter, one could ascertain why the enemy had got so near without having his line broken.  There was a ravine where he could form under cover of a thick wood and plunge out on our line with a yell of sudden surprise and expect to break through, turn and drive back our flank.
                After looking at these, I went to our lines to look at our boys and found them (the Tenth Ohio) cleaning out their guns, strengthening their works, and eager to have them come and try it again.  At the headquarters of this regiment I saw the beautiful flag captured by them from the Thirtieth Louisiana.  Major Brown told me he saw the flag fall four different times, and the last time there being none of its brave bearers left to carry it off the field; and I must here say that the fighting of the enemy at this point merits a better cause.  They came up facing this regiment of ours, too proud and brave to be driven away by slight losses, but stood there, fighting to the last, scarcely enough escaping to tell the sad tale to the remainder.
                The Thirtieth Louisiana have many causes to mourn their gallant Col. Tom Shields, who was both father and leader, their chivalrous Major Bell, if he be indeed taken forever and the many others, friends, schoolmates and comrades who fell amid the leaden storm upon the 28th of July, 1864.  But there is no tinge of dishonor, thank Heaven, mingled with the grief for the loss of their flag.  It fell amid a fire when naught could live and bathed in the sacred blood of the gallant boys, who promised to defend it; and the ladies of Mobile, who may weep for the noble dead, have no cause to ______ for the conduct of those to whom they gave that flag.
                All surviving veterans of the command are earnestly requested to attend the meeting next Saturday night.


  1. “The Nashville Journal of the 24th is full of the Yankee accounts about Hood's reverse. It says: It is said that, in passing through Franklin, the rebels gutted all the stores and a number of private residences. In Maury County they have been conscripting everybody able to go into the army, and confiscating the property of all who had fled the conscription. It is thought they will make a free use of whatever may be in the stores of Columbia, now that they have to leave. A citizen of Columbia informs us that nearly all the mills in Maury County had been burned by the Federals when they were evacuating that region, and when the rebels have left the county the citizens will find themselves poorer by several millions of dollars. Gen. James F. Knipe, of the Seventh Cavalry Division, made a lucky hit on Saturday afternoon near Brentwood, capturing two flags, belonging to the Fourth and Thirtieth Louisiana Cavalry, [Infantry] together with about two hundred and fifty prisoners, including twenty commissioned officers, two brigade musicians, and two sets of musical instruments--one of silver and the other of brass. The flag of the Thirtieth Louisiana was faded and torn, red cotton ground, with blue cross, and twelve silver bullion stars on the cross. That of the Fourth Louisiana (commanded by Colonel Hunter, who was also captured) is a magnificent one. The ground is of red bunting, with a cross made of heavy blue silk, the border of yellow twilled silk, twelve gold stars being upon the cross. This flag bears the following inscription: ‘Jackson, Port Hudson, Baton Rouge, and Shiloh’ ."

    (“CHARLESTON MERCURY,” 4 January, 1865, p. 1, c. 3)

  2. David, that is a great find! I appreciate you posting this information!


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