LOUISIANA IN THE CIVIL WAR
The goal of Louisiana in the Civil War is to provide an online resource of information and links to our great state's involvement in the war. Topics expected to be commonly covered are: Battles fought in Louisiana, battles that Louisianians participated in, unit histories, rosters, uniforms and equipment of Louisiana soldiers, personalities to include not only the leadership of the state and armies but the common soldier, flags and resources to research/read on the state's role in the war.
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Sunday, July 26, 2015
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Letter from Port Hudson, from a Member of Co, E. 114th Regiment.
REAR OF PORT HUDSON, LA.,
June 15, 1863.
DEAR SIR: It is with pain I have to relate the proceedings of yesterday, which day will ever be remembered by the 114th Regiment. On the evening of the 13th we were all served out with sixty rounds of catridge [sic] at twelve o'clock at night, our cooks made their appearance with rations of which we supplied ourselves. We were soon ordered to fall in and in a few minutes were ready to march. Accordingly five Companies of our Regiment started with Col. Smith and Major Morse as our leaders. Soon were joined by the 15th and 160th New York Regiments, 8th Vermont and 12th Connecticut, which Regiments constitute Wietzel's Brigade. We marched along silently through the woods, except some remarks about what we were going to do, every one forming his own opinion; but it being Sunday, a day so remarkable for the battles of the American army, every one was satisfied that we were going to charge the enemy's works. As we went along from one ravine to another we found troops under arms, and after a little while we came up with a group of officers, among whom was Gen. WIETZEL. The sight of our General seemed to give us new courage. Gen. Wietzel is highly esteemed by his command and their confidence in him is such that whenever he is near we anticipate no danger.
Soon our artillery opened fire and as we turned in a ravine we halted and fixed bayonets. We soon heard a cheer on our left which told us that PAYNE'S Brigade charged the enemy's works, and the roar of artillery and musketry told the bloody work had commenced. We started ahead but soon had to halt on account of the 91st New York Regiment, which was in the ravine before us. Soon the General's Aids run by us to see what was the matter. As soon as the way was clear for our Regiment we proceeded in the best of spirits expecting to cover ourselves with honor by entering the enemy's works. About six o'clock we got to the scene of action, and soon the command was given to charge on a double quick. With a yell we darted forward under a raking fire from the enemy from behind their works, until our colors got shot. At this time we poured a volley into their works and lay down until reloaded. Our gallant Major stepped in front and asked us if we were ready, to which we responded yes. He then told us to give three cheers and follow him. This time a number of us got into a ditch under the enemy’s works where our boys were slain like sheep. Our Major, like the Colonel, got wounded in this charge. Most all of our officers were either killed or wounded. Once more our shattered companies tried a charge led by Lieut. SEARLES, of Co. G. He also got wounded at this time—nearly half our men lay wounded on the field. It was a most thrilling scene to witness the groans of our brave men in their agony of pain—all our color guards were wounded, and the color bearer killed, but a Lieut. of the 160th New York picked up our colors, and one of our boys stepped forward and demanded them, so we had the honor of bringing them off the field.
After laying two hours under fire and making three charges, we fell to the rear to form again. Never did five Companies of men go into a charge more willingly or with better courage, than did the officers and men of the 114th; but there was no such thing as entering the works, for we had to charge over fallen timber and brush, and there was a ditch at least six feet wide and six feet deep on our side of their works, the breast work or parapet being eight or ten feet high so it was impossible for any man to scale them without use of ladders or plank. If we had any fair kind of a chance we would enter the works, for never was there a more determined lot of men as the number of killed and wounded will show. There were several other charges made but without effect. There was a Regiment sent in ahead with bags of cotton to fill the ditch for us to charge over, but they could not be made to go there. Out of the officers of our five Companies there were only three came out whole. I don't intend to give only a feint idea of what it was, for if I tried to I could not. Those who lived or was not wounded remained under fire until after dark. To look round the little place our Company occupied in the woods, and to see so many missing made us very sad.
The following is a list of causalities in Co. E. Lieut. Longwell, of Co. D., who took command of our Company, was wounded in the hand while leading us into action. Much praise is due him, as he is the only man who ever led Co. E. into action yet. Indeed he is a brave officer.
Sergts. Uri Rorapaugh, acting Lieut. Wm. J. Rogers, Seymour C. Horton, wounded. Corpl. John C. Stoughton, missing. Privates, Jack Chidester, David McBirney, Chas. R. Hayward, Rob't. Wedge, Benjamin Pittsley, Chas. B. Davis, Sophronus Henmon, Joseph J. Smith Freeman S. Wedge, Edw'd Post, Lewis Handy,* Preston R. Peck, all slightly wounded, excepting Preston and Handy who were mortally wounded and left on the field, probably dead. Col. Smith is living. Capt. Tucker, and Lieut. Corben, of Co. G., are killed.
I remain truly yours,
WM. B. CORBETT.
The following extract from a private letter from C. E. Thompson to his parents, will not be without interest to those who have friends in the 114th Regiment. The letter is dated at Port Hudson, June 19:
Last Sunday morning about 7 o'clock, five companies of our Regiment, B, D, E, F and G, were ordered up, and with the rest of Weitzel's brigade began moving around to the left, leaving the other five companies for picket on our lines. About daylight we arrived at the mouth of a deep ravine which our men had been clearing out for the purpose of making a charge on some earthworks ruining parallel with it. They wanted these works to plant some artillery on. Our artillery began to roar about this time, throwing shot and shell over our heads into the rebel lines, and soon we heard the yells of our boys charging on the works, and then how the muskets popped. We pushed along through the ravine as fast as we could, and soon it came our turn to charge. We had to file right, out of the ravine and go up a hill, over logs and brush about ten rods, to the rebel breastworks. From the time we filed out of the ravine until we got within a rod of the works, it was a continual whiz of bullets sounding more like bees swarming than anything else. Capt. Tucker was at the head of the company until we filed out of the ravine, he stopped on the corner saying, "I don't know about going in there." As the rear of the company passed by he rushed toward the head, and was within two feet of me when a bullet entered his breast and he fell over a log exclaiming, "Oh, my God! I am shot," and died within fifteen minutes. The last words he said were to tell his friends that he died for his country. I had just seen Capt. Tucker fall when four men came down with Col. Smith, who was shot at the head of the Regiment, the ball passing near his spine. He died last night and his body is now on the way home. Capt. Tucker was burried [sic] at Baton Rouge. We rushed on over every conceivable obstacle, the bullets flying thicker than hailstones all the time, and finally reached the foot of a little hill, about a rod from their works, which partly covered us from their fire. Major Morse was shot through the ankle, and there was no one to lead the regiment. They called for the Captain of Co. B, but he was no where to be found. Capt. Fitch of Co. F, had been wounded, and there were but two officers of our regiment to be found, Lieuts. Searles and Corbin of our company. The 160th N. Y. were supporting us. Their cowardly old Colonel kept bellowing for an officer of the 114th. Finally, as he was the senior officer on the field, he got orders to take command of the brigade and charge again. Instead of taking the lead as Col. Smith had done, he lay down in a ditch and roared out for the 114th to go on, saying he would support us. Lieuts. Searles and Corbin made a dash and the boys after them. Corbin was going into the ditch in front of the works when he was shot in the head, killed instantly and fell into the ditch. Searles received two balls in his leg and one through his body, but they think he will recover. Andrew Sawdy was shot just over the heart, the ball passing down and out at his side. We were afraid he would die at first, but he is better now and has gone to Baton Rouge—Leroy Woods was wounded in the leg, rather serious but not dangerous. Alberto Fish, of Cole Hill, was laying by my side when a bullet from the left struck him in the leg and passing down on the bone. I believe that was all that were wounded from our way. There were 13 wounded in our company besides Capt. Tucker and Lieut. Corbin. We rallied twice after making the first charge, but it was impossible for men to go over the bank as fast as the rebels would mow them down. Our regiment was then ordered to the rear and finally got out, or part of it did. There were 86 killed and wounded in the 114th.
C. E. T.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
May 20. Arrived at Baton Rouge; all knapsacks were
stored. May 21. Early left for Port Hudson, arriving in time to support the ist Vermont Battery; fight at Plains Store. May 23. General Thomas W. Sherman, 2d division, and three brigades with 15 pieces of artillery moved to the left, resting on river at Port Hudson, La. May 24. Our line advanced and occupied the camps de serted by the enemy (and we got more than we bargained for) they having retreated inside of their fortifications; day and night the bombardment from Farragut s fleet kept up ; at night we could see the shells fly through the air, make a graceful curve, hear them strike and explode; motor batteries were placed along our lines at short distances during the siege and mostly used at night to keep the besieged wide awake and to tire them out; it was a grand sight while on picket to witness the display during night bombardment. May 25. The day is clear and pleasant, the men having no tents are making themselves as comfortable as possible. The bombardment all day and night from the fleet; constant firing on the line during the day; many men wounded. May 26. Skirmishing continued all day, also the bombard ment; Co. D went on picket at 4 P.M. Bombardment all night long; no sleep on the picket-line on account of the noise.
May 27, 1863: First major assault on Port Hudson
May 27. Early in the morning we were informed that
there was to be an assault on the works; 9 A.M. we advanced our line of pickets and acted as skirmishers; a lively time we had until 2 P.M., when we were called in to join our regiment which was designated to lead the brigade in the assault; as we advanced through the woods, coming to a clearing, we found trees for several hundred feet felled in all manner of directions; as we emerged from the woods the enemy opened on us with infantry and artillery; we managed to get through the fallen timber, but hardly a man had a decent pair of pants on him; our Colonel formed in division front on color division; this was done under constant fire; as soon as formed the men 17 were ordered to lie down in their positions, waiting for the rest of the brigade to come up ; they did not get up to our line, so the Colonel ordered the charge; when about 150 yards from the works the enemy gave us grape and canister at short range; I never saw anything like it; our men were mowed down; the firing was terrific; Corporal Nels Rosen- steiner, Co. D, carrying the State flag was killed; private Flah erty, of Co. F seized it and bore it through engagement, after wards appointed to carry the flag; our Colonel, Major and line officers wounded, the men by natural instinct deployed as skirmishers taking to whatever protection they could; we finally fell back the best we could. Such a sight; the dead and wounded lay thick ; the wounded groaning and calling for water (of which we had little to give) and calling upon us not to desert them; the firing from the enemy slackened; six of us made an effort to bring in the body of the Colonel ; we finally reached him and brought him in carefully over the fallen timber ; the enemy came out from their works to take as many as they could prisoners; what was left of the regiment re formed in the woods under Captain Agnus (now General Felix Agnus, proprietor of the Baltimore American); the whole army was repulsed with terrible slaughter; everything in our lines was confusion and turmoil; our overcoats, blankets, and haversacks had been left in the woods before making the charge. Night coming on the men were unable to find them ; the battalion was composed of 6 companies and did not number over 350 officers and men; the regimental loss was 18 killed, 70 wounded, 12 missing, prisoners; Co D, i lieutenant and 7 privates killed, 14 wounded, and 3 wounded prisoners; At the time of the assault the 2d division was under com mand of Brigadier-General Thomas W. Sherman; our 3d brigade under command of Brigadier-General Frank S. Nicker- son, composed of the i4th 24th and 28th Maine Volunteers, 1 65th (2d Duryee Zouaves) and 17 7th New York Volunteers, supported by the 2ist New York and ist Vermont Batteries; General Sherman, Division Commander, lost his leg, and 7 staff officers were wounded.
Lieutenant Colonel Abel Smith
Wounded on May 27, 1863 (Died from wounds June 27, 1863)
May 28. Flag of truce; the wounded were brought in and
dead buried. June 14. Sunday, at 2 A.M., our regiment left camp, pro ceeded some distance to the left; at daybreak four companies 18 were sent out to the front as sharpshooters, with all the am munition we could store away in our pockets ; canteens filled (no haversacks), we advanced from stump to stump on our hands and knees as far as we could, every man to a stump; the day was intensely hot; the 6th Michigan was on the line parallel with us to our left (a very good regiment) ; our orders were to keep up a regular fire, to keep the enemy from concentrating their men on the center where our main assault was to be made, which assault proved another failure; great bravery was shown by our troops; after repeated charges our army was driven back with another great loss of life; our line of sharpshooters suffered for want of water; several attempts were made, by crawling from one to the other, to gather a few canteens then crawl back; when the detail thought he could up and run a ball would roll him over; after a number of attempts, every man wounded who attempted it, it was given up, and we had to suffer for want of water; several times the enemy s artillery tried to drive us out by grape and cannister, but we held on, remaining on the line all night. June 15. Early in the morning we went back into the trenches. At 10 A.M. we were relieved and returned to camp, and had something to eat and drink after 32 hours fasting. June 19. The regiment went into the rifle pits and con tinued there for 48 hours. June 24. Word came that our Colonel (Abel Smith) died in a hospital at New Orleans. (A great loss to us. He was a strict disciplinarian; had drilled the regiment in infantry, light and heavy artillery, bayonet exercise and skirmish drill by bugle. He went upon the principle that idleness breeds disease. He kept the men busy, demanded cleanliness, drilled the non-commissioned officers personally, and they the squads, so that before we left camp Parapet the regiment was a unit in drill. He looked after the health of the men, inspected cook-houses and rations daily, holding the Commissary-Ser geants responsible, and personally saw that the men got what they were entitled to from the Quartermaster and Commis sary. Company funds were started to buy vegetables and other : ,necessary articles for the comfort of the men. Captains of .companies were held responsible for the appearance of the linen. He encouraged amusements, together with strict sani- tary regulations. The consequence was that during the season, the men becoming acclimated, the death loss was small. The Sanitary Commission that visited the Department to look after the health of the troops, stated in their report that the 1 65th New York Volunteers had the cleanest and healthiest camp in the Department of the Gulf, and that the officers looked after the health of the men. Although nearly every man was sick with fever we only lost three men one by disease, two others accidentally shot. The result wa^ that the men were ready for any duty they were called upon to perform. The camp was in a swamp, and was called Camp Death by the previous regiment that formerly occupied it. They lost a great many men by death, and looked back to it with sorrow. And in our future service we more and more missed his faith fulness to his command). June 26. This afternoon left camp and laid in support of some batteries, at night returned to camp. June 29 and 30. Night assaults with hand-grenades on the water batteries and citadel on the extreme left of our line at Port Hudson; Captain Chas. A. Walker, Co. A, had com mand of the three right companies, and Lieutenant John P. Morris, of Co. E, the three left companies, the detail from each company being under command of a non-commissioned officer of that company, the detail from Co. E being under command of Second Sergeant A. G. Mills, now the president of our Veteran Association; supporting the 6th Michigan Infantry, left, our approaches which were close up to the trenches in front of the citadel drove, the Confederates from their trench, but the posi tion was intolerable and we retired with the loss of i private killed and 6 wounded.
Captain Chas. A Walker
July 1. Regiment returned to camp from attack on water batteries . July 2. Rebel cavalry made a raid on Springfield Landing; our regiment with others were ordered there; returned to camp; July 5 Vicksburg reported surrendered. July 8. Surrender of Port Hudson; 6,000 prisoners, 60 pieces of artillery. July 9. The regiment complimented in orders for its share of the victory, and selected to represent our brigade in receiving the surrender July 9th, marched inside the works, and formed line in front of the Confederate garrison, who at 20 command of General Gardner, their commander, "grounded arms." The American colors were run up to the masthead.
Monday, April 6, 2015
Joshua M. Addeman was a Captain in the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, Colored. The Fourteenth was ordered to Louisiana on November 19, 1863 and served in Louisiana until the end of the war. While traveling from Donaldsonville to Brashear City, Addeman described his long, weary trip along Louisiana's bayous. In doing so, Addeman had comments so say of Louisiana's Cajun population:
"Speaking of the bayous, it would be difficult to give a clear conception of their peculiarities. Equally strange are the people who inhabit those solitudes. Time would not permit me to describe the "Cajans"--corruption of "Acadians,"--descendants of the exiles who early settled the territory of Louisiana, but who have been driven from their first places of settlement by those more ambitious and unscrupulous. Living in isolated communities, with their artless and unambitious characteristics, their simplicity and exclusiveness, they would furnish material enough for an elaborate paper."
Monday, March 30, 2015
Captain Fitts wrote an article titled "A June Day at Port Hudson" in The Galaxy: A Magazine of Entertaining Reading, Volume 2, p. 121-131. Here is most of Fitts' article on the 114th New York at Port Hudson.