Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Donald S. Frazier has written two books on the war in Louisiana (two of three books planned). His books have been well received and liked. Always trying to provide a resource for all interested in the war in Louisiana these are two highly recommended books.
(Author of numerous books on Louisiana in the Civil War).
Thunder Across the Swamp: Review of the book by Dale Phillips of the National Park Service.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
A great resource for researching the Civil War (and finding stories on and by Louisianains) are the Southern Historical Society Papers.
- Southern Historical Society Papers Wiki: Very, very user friendly organization of most of the SHSP.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
The Confederate Veteran is a great publication that ran from 1893-1932. They are all scanned and online at archive.org. Here is a master listing of all the volumes - GREAT RESOURCE for any researcher.
An example of what you can find in the Confederate Veteran. Here is a group photo of veterans of the 1st Louisiana Cavalry "Scott's" on May 21, 1903 in New Orleans. This is from CV 1903.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Dr. Terry Jones of ULM has a piece published at the New York Times' "Disunion" series commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the war. Jones covers the roles of the two Louisiana Brigades that fought at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam for you Yanks). Its a great write up and includes good information on the photographs taken at the battlefield in relation to the dead Louisianians and Colonel Strong's dead white horse.
The Dead at Antietam by Terry Jones
Posted by Stuart Salling at 5:37 AM
Friday, September 21, 2012
In October 1863 General Nathaniel Banks began his Overland Campaign to march from the New Iberia-Franklin area to reach Texas by land. The plan was to march to Opelousas and from there take the Opelousas-Lake Charles Road to Lake Charles, then to the Sabine River. Once his column reached Opelousas, the advance stalled. One of the regiments on this advance was the 26th Massachusetts Infantry. One of its members, William B. Reed, wrote a letter home while his regiment was camped near Opelousas. Please follow this link to the Acton Memorial Library Civil War Archives. They have posted his letter online (with scans of the original available).
Monday, September 17, 2012
The following link is on the role of the 24th Iowa in the Louisiana. Its titled, "William T. Rigby and the Read Oak Boys in Louisiana," by Terrence J. Winschel at the University of Iowa. A significant part of this article is on the 24th Iowa in the Red River Campaign.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
From Vermont in the Civil War by G.G. Benedict, 1888 (p.87-88) we have an account of the arrival of the 8th Vermont Infantry Regiment in Louisiana. The 8th Vermont was recruited to be part of Major General "Beast" Butler's expedition against New Orleans. The regiment arrived at Ship Island in early April and remained for about a month. In early May it was transferred to New Orleans to be part of the occupation force of the recently captured city. From pages 87-88 we pick up with the 8th Vermont's travel up the Mississippi River toward New Orleans:
The passage up the river was full of interest and excitement. The semi-tropical vegetation; the levees, filled to the brim with the vast volume of waters, on which the ship rode high above the rice plantations; the shores strewn with the wrecks of the Confederate gunboats destroyed in the naval fight ; the forts on either hand over which now flew the stars and stripes ; the throngs of blacks along the banks, who hailed the troops with every sign of welcome, — were new and interesting sights to the Vermonters. A little before sunset of the 12th, they first caught sight of the Crescent City, still canopied with smoke from its burned warehouses and smouldering docks. It was filled with multitudes of unemployed workmen and roughs, most of whom made no attempt to conceal their hatred toward the Union troops. The richer and influential citizens excited rather than soothed the passions of the mob. The women were bold and persistent in their insults. The entrance on such a scene was not likely to be forgotten by any of the Vermonters. Colonel Thomas reported to General Shepley, who had arrived two days before and had been appointed military commandant of the city, and in the evening of the 12th the regiment landed, loaded muskets in the street, and marched, to the strains of Yankee Doodle, which drowned the secession songs with which the crowds around them greeted the new comers, to the Union Cotton Press, close to the river, where the regiment was temporarily quartered. They were in a hostile city ; and there was no sleep for the officers and little for the men, that night.' Strong guards were posted and the men felt under little temptation to leave quarters. One man, however," undertook to run the guard, was challenged by the sentinel, and refusing to stop, was fired on and received a wound from which he died three weeks after. On the 17th the regiment was established in permanent quarters in the large building of the Mechanics Institute and in the ad- joining Medical College of Louisiana.
Colonel Stephen Thomas, 8th Vermont Infantry
- Colonel Stephen Thomas of the 8th Vermont: Appointed colonel with no prior military experience. His father was a veteran of the War of 1812 and his grandfather served in the American Revolution. He became an apprentice "to a manufacturer of woolens," and became a woolen manufacture as his career. Thomas became a sheriff, judge of probate and a member of the Vermont House of Reprsentatives for six terms and its senate for two before the war. In November of 1861 Thomas was given the rank of colonel to command a regiment at the age of 51. In his post-Louisiana service in the war, Colonel Thomas won the U.S. Medal of Honor at the Battle of Cedar Creek (19 October 1864) for "Distinguished conduct in a desperate hand-to-hand encounter, in which the advance of the enemy was checked."
Friday, September 7, 2012
Following the conclusion of the Overland Expedition during October-early November 1863 there occurred a skirmish at Carrion Crow Bayou. Brigadier General Albert Lee took his two brigade division of cavalry and made a reconnaissance north toward the Carrion Crow Bayou. Lee was supported by First Brigade of the Third Division of the XIX Corps under the command of Colonel Lewis Benedict. The account below from the Worcester National Aegis and Transcript that gave a very detailed account of the skirmish at Prairie Vermillion:
Worcester National Aegis and Transcript, December 19, 1863
NOVEMBER 12, 1863.
SKIRMISH AT PRAIRIE VERMILLION, LA.
A correspondent of the New York Evening Post, writing from Vermillion Bayou, La., under the date of November 12, gives an interesting account of the skirmish of Prairie Vermillion, in which the celebrated New York brigade of the 19th army corps, Col. Benedict commanding, acquitted themselves most heroically. This brigade, which is composed of the 110th, 162d, 165th, and 173d New York Volunteers, four of the best regiments from the State, had been detailed, with a cavalry division, consisting of two brigades, to support Brig. Gen. Lee, chief of cavalry, in making a reconnoissance of the enemy then concentrated at or near Carrion Crow bayou. The fact that Lieut. Col. Green of the 173d N. Y., who performed a conspicuous creditable part in the affair, is a Worcester boy, (Wm. N. Green, Jr., son of Judge Green,) will give additional interest to the perusal of the following details, in which his action is prominently mentioned:
The cavalry division, consisting of the brigade numbering eight hundred each, started from Vermillionville, to Carrion Crow Bayou, (a distance due north of twelve miles) at 6.30 a. m., and soon commenced running fight then ensued for some eight miles, ending in Gen. Lee charging them vigorously and driving them into confusion into a dense wood. Nim's battery of light flying artillery was quickly brought up, and after shelling the woods Gen. Lee advanced his whole force in line of battle through the woods, and found the enemy drawn up in line of battle on the opposite side of a prairie about two miles in width, numbering as near as could be estimated, about seven thousand. Upon discovering that the enemy outnumbered his force four to one, and having accomplished the object of his reconnioeance, Gen. Lee ordered his cavalry to retreat.
The enemy, discovering his intentions, sent a large force to make a demonstration on Lee's left flank, upon which the general dispatched the First (Col. Lucas's) brigade to protect the left flack, while the General in person remained with the main column on the road.
During this time the New York brigade, having with them Trull's Fourth Massachusetts battery, had marched, (starting at 7.30 a. m.,) through Vermillion, and proceeded to a point about three miles from that place holding themselves in good supporting distance of Gen. Lee. On the march, they captures several stragglers of the enemy. Whilst halting for a brief period, Col. Peck commanding the advance, discovered an important rebel signal station, and sent a detachment of the One Hundred and Seventy-third New York State Volunteers, under command of Lieut. Colonel Green of that regiment, who succeeded in destroying the station, and returned without losing a single man.
Soon afterwards, by direction of General Lee, the New York brigade fell back to large plain, and the One Hundred and Sixty-second and One Hundred and Seventy-third regiments were deployed in line of battle on the right of the road; the One Hundred and Tenth and One Hundred Sixty- fifth on the left; directly in rear of the brigade were the batteries of Trull and Nims, well masked by a dense growth of woods, &c. A column of the enemy soon appeared, coming swiftly down the road, deploying to the right and left; they advanced unsuspectingly, not supposing for one instant that such a storm of missiles was prepared to greet them. Having advanced within good rifle range, the order was given to the batteries to fire, and the enemy was greeted with a tremendous discharge of canister and shell, which made a deep gap in their ranks. They soon brought up a section of artillery, and feebly responded to our batteries for a few moments, which continued to pour destructive volleys into their columns. Seeing it was suicide to attempt to advance his forces in the face of such terrible artillery fire, the rebel general withdrew his forces and made a slight demonstration on General Lee's left flank. They were, however, handsomely repulsed by the first brigade of the cavalry division. They soon retreated back to Carrion Crow Bayou, after which General Lee's whole force returned to their camps.
General Lee's loss was about thirty killed and wounded. The loss of the New York brigade was two killed and five wounded.
The loss of the enemy is not definitely known, but their loss is supposed to have been very large.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The following article is from the Boston Herald dated July 27, 1863 (story written on July 13, 1863). It is from a soldier of the 3rd Massachusetts Cavalry (formally the 41st Massachusetts Infantry) after the surrender of Port Hudson. As always, its interesting to see the perspective of Yanks serving in Louisiana. I found this article transcribed and posted at the website American Civil War.
Long ere this letter reaches you, will have received news of the surrender of Port Hudson, but having been to the fortifications I thought I would write a few lines to you informing you of what I saw there. The breastworks are about six miles in extent, and the natural defenses of the place are good.
After entering the gate you proceed for about a mile and half, which will bring you to the landing. You there find a high bluff, some eighty feet above the river, where the rebs had their guns placed to prevent our gunboats getting by, and it certainly looks as if a few pieces of cannon could blow any ship out of the water that should attempt to pass.
On arriving at the General's quarters I found in the vicinity a large number of rebs, who were disposed to trade confederate money for greenbacks, at the rate of ten dollars for one. Others were trying to trade articles of clothing, gold, pens, &c.
It did not seem possible that these could be the same men that a few days ago were bound to kill all of our forces that they could, but who now were as sociable and cheerful as you could wish. They all allowed that our men have fought well and for the skill displayed by our artillery men, they gave them unbounded praise.
There was one large gun in the fort that had created a vast deal of trouble to our men, and Mack's Black Horse Battery commenced firing at it, and hit it twelve times, and the twelfth brought it. The rebs think they can shoot with the musket or rifle as well if not better than our men, but as for firing with cannon they say we are too much for them. There are some fifty-five hundred prisoners in the fort. The enlisted men will be paroled, but the officers will probably not be. There were a number of planters and their families in the fort, who had sought safety, as they thought, in going there, deeming the place impregnable. Their families were allowed to depart, and what a scene of desolation must have met their eyes when they returned to what were once their homes! Their negroes, horses and mules gone; their corn and fodder all carried off, and their furniture taken away or destroyed. By this time, probably, they have fully realized the effects of war. Col. Chickering has been appointed Provost Marshal at the Fort, and has business enough to attend to in getting the prisoners off.
Since I last wrote you, our regiment has been organized as a cavalry regiment, by an order from General Banks, June 17, 1863. We are equipped with Sharpe's carbines, Colt's large size pistols, and sabres. Capt. McGee's and Capt. Cowen's companies have been joined to us, so that now we have twelve companies. The boys were much pleased when the began to be mounted, but the funny part is beginning to wear away, and they find there is a great deal of work in being in the cavalry. But anything, they say, is better than being obliged to foot it on those long marches. The health of the men in the regiment is, as a general thing, good. Three deaths have occurred within a mouth in Co. D, (Ward XI, Guard,) and the names of the men are Horace Rathbun, Adam Armstrong and Wm. Curran. The latter formerly worked in Rand and Avery's office, in Boston. He was the one who printed the paper in Opelousas while we were staying there.
Some of the regiments in Grover's division have been awfully cut up in the severe actions that occurred before Port Hudson. The 91st N. Y. Vols. are reduced to one hundred and seventy-three men; the 8th New Hampshire Vols. to a still less number, while the 4th Wisconsin Vols. have also been badly cut up!
Nim's Battery has been very fortunate so far, having several horses killed, but not a man wounded. Capt. Nims is on his taps, as usual, and ready for another brush.
Now if we can only hear as good news from Virginia as they have heard from us, everything will be lovely, "and the goose hang high." I cannot give you fuller details. And now the nine months' troops are eager for home, and I understand that several of the regiments have been promised to be sent home by the way of Vicksburg.
Some of the rebels here will not believe that Vicksburg is in possession of our forces, they say it was impossible to take it, but they will find it is too true. At the springfield landing, a place where all the Ordnance, Commissary and Quartermaster's stores were left for this Department, a raid was made by the rebels a short time ago. Some three hundred rebel cavalry made their appearance there one fine morning, and there was some tall specimen of walking.-Some laughable incidents occurred before the rebs were driven off. A teamster belonging to the 26th Maine Volunteers was quietly sitting on the front part of his wagon waiting for his turn to come for forage for his horses, when three rebs rode up and sung out to him "surrender you d--d Yankee, surrender." "Not by a d--d sight," says Yankee, still sitting calmly on his wagon. The rebs then turned to a negro who was sitting close by, and said to him, "harness up those mules, you d--d nigger, and do it quick too." "hold on," says Sacarapp, "Hold on, Mr. Nigger; if you undertake to harness those mules I'll break your head." The rebs not deigning to take any more notice of Sacarapp burst out laughing and rode away, and I saw the same teamster at Port Hudson this afternoon, as clam as a clock.
One rebel Captain rode down to the gangplank of the "Suffolk," a boat that had all the ordnance stores on board, with the evident intention of attempting to blow her up, but had a bullet put through his head that stopped his career. By this time the 162d New York were on hand and the rebs began to drop from their saddles, when finding that matters were getting warm they varmosed, taking with them a number of prisoners. The whole affair did not occupy ten minutes but it was a busy time while it lasted. Some three thousand rebels have started for their homes to-day, and they seem to be much pleased to get away from Port Hudson.
How long our regiment will remain in this forsaken hole I know not, but the shorter the time the better it will suit us. The rebels had possession of a place some eight miles below Donaldsonville, where they have erected fortifications, and for some few days have stopped the boats from running between here and New Orleans. But this morning our eyes were gladdened with the sight of the North America, which came up from New Orleans. She brought the good news that the rebels were driven back from their fortifications, and the river was clear, so that in the course of a day or two we shall have letters from home; and I hope the gentleman who abstracts papers that are sent to me will be a little more liberal than he has been for the last two months. I am willing to divy with him, but this taking them all is a little to steep, and causes everything but blessings to fall on his head. Those papers were the source of a great deal of enjoyment to the sick and well men in the regiment, for after I had read them they were circulated from tent to tent and were the means of passing many a lonesome hour, but now this vandal debars us from this enjoyment by stealing the papers and I want him to stop it.
And that blessed Paymster, is he never going to make his appearance here? The first of next month there will be seven months pay due us, and if ever a man was anxiously expected, he is the man.
Now, Mr. Paymaster, if you have any bowels of compassion for sojer boys who have to smoke "old sojers" and coffee grounds in lieu of tobacco, hurry up your cakes, for we are clean broke, and it would be dusty business for any man to make his appearance in camp with any quantity of tobacco. I don't believe there are five pounds of tobacco in the whole regiment; there is some inside the fortifications, but the sutler only asks two dollars a pound! he might as well ask two hundred, for all the good it will do the boys. Now, Major, you used to be going, going, gone, now be coming, coming, come, and favor us with the sight of some green-backs, or dire consequences will ensue.
If you want to see a busy man, you ought to have drop in quietly on Col. Chickering, the Provost Marshal. He sits at his desk al day long, in his shirt-sleeves, and he is working-some.
But of all the places to land stores, the place at the fort beats all. Imagine an incline plane from the dome of the State House in Boston to the head of West street, and you can form some idea of the ascent that teams have to make. I am not addicted to using hard words, but I must say that I have uttered some words that it would be difficult to find in the dictionary. The rebs below Donaldsonville have all been bagged by Gen. Weitzel assisted by Acting Brig. Gen. Dudley.
Hoping that the mail, when it arrives, will have the "Herald," I remain,
Monday, August 27, 2012
Dr. Terry Jones forwarded this great story from the Harpers Weekly about the Louisiana Tigers in Virginia. GREAT PIECE! The author of this article REALLY poured on some exaggerations to paint a picture of how much he really did not like the Tigers.
Harper’s Weekly, June 7, 1862
GENERAL McCLELLAN telegraphs that the "Fourth Michigan have about finished the Louisiana Tigers." We fancy we shall have some more dispatches of this tenor.
These Southern bravoes, who call themselves "Tigers," and "Lions," and "Grave-diggers," and "Yankee-slayers;" who carry black flags, and refuse quarter to unarmed men; who dig up the corpses of our dead soldiers, and send their bones home to their lady loves as trophies—these creatures, who are a speaking illustration of the brutalizing effect of the institutions among which they have been reared, and whose savage instincts would appall the most ferocious native of Dahomey or Patagonia—these fellows can never withstand the onset of a Christian soldiery. They are capable of assassinating a Union man, or of whipping a black woman to death; but when it comes to standing up in a fair fight against Northern men, in any thing like equal numbers, they run like hares. Brutality and manhood can no more coexist in the same individual than oil and water can mingle.
We are not sorry to hear that the "Louisiana Tigers" are "about finished." It is about time that some other of these Southern regiments, which have desolated the South and done their best to destroy the nation, were "about finished" too. A gentleman from Tennessee reports that in certain neighborhoods the rebel soldiers have not only destroyed crops and fences, but have wantonly torn down houses and barns, burned every thing that would burn, and so thoroughly obliterated every vestige of improvement from the land, that the wretched owners who are now returning to their homes, under cover of our flag, experience some difficulty in discovering whereabouts their houses stood. Others tell still more fearful stories of outrages—outrages nameless and horrible; of whole districts in which not a woman or a girl has escaped the fiendish brutality of the Texans and Louisianians. It is about time, in the name of God and humanity, that the authors of these atrocities should be "finished."