Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard
(CDV, M.D. Jones collection)
      General Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard (1818-1893) was one of the greatest military men in all American history, and certainly the most famous Louisianian of the 19th Century. His name became so famous during the War For Southern Independence, it has become a cultural icon that is still being perpetuated to this day. During his lifetime, he became the first national Confederate hero when he opened fire on Fort Sumter, April 12, 1861, in Charleston, South Carolina, and then won the first major battle of the war July 21, 1861 at the First Battle of Manassas, Va.
       Beauregard became such a celebrity that he had songs and poems published about him, and received fan letters, especially from women, throughout the war. After the war he received offers from a number nations for him to command their armies. He turned them all down. Even today his name is used in advertising products and for the names of cartoon characters. Beauregard Parish is named in his honor, as are four SCV camps. The magnificent equestrian statue of Beauregard is still standing in New Orleans, at least as of this writing.
      Yet, in spite of all this fame, there have only been three major biographies published about his life. The first biography was written in Beauregard’s own time by a friend and former staff officer, Confederate Colonel Alfred Roman. It was written with the full cooperation of Beauregard and directly from his own notes and wartime records. Titled Military Operations of General Beauregard in the War Between the States, 1861- 1865; Including a Brief Personal Sketch and a Narrative of His Services in the War With Mexico, 1846-48, it was published in 1884 in two-volumes.
     Roman devoted the work to a strong defense of Beauregard from his post-war critics, particularly President Jefferson Davis. The Davis-Beauregard feud was sparked by a fundamental disagreement over strategy for winning Southern Independence. Davis wanted to defend the entire Confederacy, which required Confederate armies to be parceled out throughout the vast territory of the new Southern Republic. Beauregard wanted to concentrate great Confederate armies and go on the offensive before the Confederacy was overwhelmed by the North’s greater population and industrial might.
      The feud spilled over into the post-war period with dueling histories of the Confederacy. Roman was at the beginning of the war the lieutenant colonel and colonel of the 18th Louisiana Infantry and then joined Beauregard’s staff following the Battle of Shiloh. The author was the son of pre-war Louisiana Governor A.B. Roman. The two-volumes are still available in inexpensive electronic versions and also inexpensive reprints are readily available on the internet from booksellers. The two-volumes cover over 1,300 pages. Roman’s Beauregard biography has been an invaluable historical resource for all subsequent historians, since it gives a great amount of detail about Beauregard’s military operations and the reasons for the various actions the Great Louisianian took during the war. It has a brief sketch about his ancestry, boyhood and education. But it does give many insights about Beauregard that make it a priceless historical resource.
       The next major biography of Beauregard did not come until 1933 with Beauregard: The Great Creole, written by Hamilton Basso, an accomplished journalist, novelist, biographer and historian. His Beauregard biography is a well-written, entertaining and a thorough history of the Louisiana general. Being a native of New Orleans himself, Basso’s biography is very sympathetic to Beauregard and covers his entire life with some local insights from people who knew him. While it doesn’t have the detail of the previous biography or a subsequent one, it is most enjoyable and an easy read. It was published by Scribner, 333 pages, photographs, maps and photographs. Although out of print, it is still readily available in the internet from sellers of used books.
      L.S.U. historian T. Harry Williams wrote what is generally considered a classic biography, P.G.T. Beauregard, Napoleon in Gray, published by L.S.U. Press in 1955. Williams’ work is thoroughly academic and scholarly, and digs deep in the records available at the time he was writing. It can be rather dry at times and is both critical and complimentary of Beauregard. The L.S.U. historian follows the usual academic take on Beauregard, that is that he was too visionary in his strategic thinking, too Napoleonic and not always practical. But Williams also credits Beauregard as being a great battlefield commander who had the rare talent of being able to manage a battle in the midst of all the chaos, confusion and changing circumstances. Williams also gives much more detail on Beauregard’s post-war contribution in helping Louisiana and New Orleans recover from the devastation of war with his business ventures, which included investing in Sulphur in Calcasieu Parish, and which made him one of the wealthiest Confederate veterans by the end of his life.
      Beauregard was also very active in promoting and preserving the French language and culture in New Orleans, founding the Southern Historical Society and taking an active part in the social life of the city. P.G.T. Beauregard, Napoleon in Gray, is still in print from L.S.U. Press, and is also available in electronic versions. The original hardback, still available used on the internet, has 345 pages with photographs, illustrations and maps.
      Hopefully some enterprising biographer will take on another major Beauregard biography and expand knowledge on this important historical figure’s life and times.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Confederate Guards Response Battalion by Michael Dan Jones

     From the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee in 1862, to the Battle of Mansfield in Louisiana in 1864, the Confederate Guards Response Battalion was one of the hardest fighting units from the Pelican State in the War for Southern Independence.
     The battalion, organized in March, 1862 in New Orleans, was formed in response to General P.G.T. Beauregard's appeal to the governors of Southern states to immediately raise and dispatch 90 day volunteers and other organized state militia to help him stop the rampaging Federal army of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Tennessee.
     Fort Henry and Fort Donaldson had fallen and the Northern invaders took Nashville and were threatening to crush the Confederacy in the Mississippi Valley. New Orleans, the largest and most industrialized Southern city would surely fall if the Federals were not stopped.
     Commanding the battalion was Lt. Col. Franklin H. Clack, a native of Florida who became a leading citizen of New Orleans and was appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana by President Franklin Pierce. Clack was a graduate of Mount Saint Mary's College and Yale College law school. He had also served as the Secretary of the U.S. delegation in Brazil in 1851.
     Clack, whose image is on the book cover, was also a humanitarian who volunteered with other New Orleans residents to help the people of Norfolk, Virginia in 1855 during a yellow fever epidemic. Prior to the War for Southern Independence, he supported Sen. Stephen Douglas in the 1860 election and was a cooperationist during the secession crisis. But when Louisiana seceded, Clack went with his state and was devoted to the cause of Southern Independence.
     The officers of the Confederate Guards Response Battalion were made up mostly of professional and business men of New Orleans. The enlisted ranks came from the urban middle class, including policemen, printers, clerks and other typical urban occupations of the time. They came from the ranks of the Louisiana State Militia, particularly the Confederate Guards Regiment, and what volunteers they could sign up before leaving for the front.
     In less than a month after they were organized, the Confederate Guards Response Battalion was in one of the major battles of the war, the Battle of Shiloh. There, they performed well and earned the praise of their brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Patton Anderson.
     After another praise-worthy performance a the Battle of Farmington, Miss., May 9, 1862, and the Siege of Corinth, Miss., the battalion was transferred back to Louisiana to defend their own state from the invasions led by Federal generals Benjamin "Beast" Buter in 1862 and Nathaniel P. Banks in 1863 and 1864.
     Also covered in the book, besides Shiloh and Farmington, are the battles of Georgia's Landing, Irish Bend, Stirling's Plantation, Mansfields and Yellow Bayou, the Bayou LaFourche Campaign, Bayou Teche Campaign and the Red Rivers Campaign.
     The book has photographs, including one of the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Franklin H. Clack, maps, illustrations, roster of the unit, bibliography, and index; trade paperback, $15.95. It is published by and is available on that web site as well as other online book sellers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A noble young Confederate who lost his life on the Altar of Southern Independence.
(Library of Congress)


By Rev. Abram Joseph Ryan
DO we weep for the heroes who died for us?
Who living were true and tried for us,
And dying sleep side by side for us;--
The Martyr-band
That hallowed our land
With the blood they shed in a tide for us.
Ah! fearless on many a day for us
They stood in the front of the fray for us,
And held the foeman at bay for us,
And tears should fall
Fore'er o'er all
Who fell while wearing the gray for us.
How many a glorious name for us,
How many a story of fame for us,
They left,--would it not be a blame for us,
If their memories part
From our land and heart,
And a wrong to them, and shame for us?
No—no—no—they were brave for us,
And bright were the lives they gave for us,--
The land they struggled to save for us
Will not forget
Its warriors yet
Who sleep in so many a grave for us.
On many and many a plain for us
Their blood poured down all in vain for us,
Red, rich and pure,--like a rain for us;
They bleed,--we weep,
We live,--they sleep--
"All Lost"--the only refrain for us.
But their memories e'er shall remain for us,
And their names, bright names, without stain for us,-- 
The glory they won shall not wane for us,
In legend and lay
Our heroes in gray
Shall forever live over again for us.

Friday, February 12, 2016

General Edmund Kirby Smith -- A Biography

[Editor's note: The Florida State Legislature has voted to remove General Edmund Kirby Smith's statue from statuary hall in the capitol at Washington, D.C. Here is biography from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Hugh Chisholm, ed. (1911), "Smith, Edmund Kirby", 25 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 260.What a shame.]

General Edmund Kirby Smith
(Library of Congress)
SMITH, EDMUND KIRBY (1824-1893), Confederate general
in the American Civil War, was the son of Joseph Lee Smith
(1776-1846), an American lawyer and soldier, who served with
credit in the War of 181 2 and rose to the rank of colonel U.S.A.
His elder brother, Ephraim Kirby Smith (1807-1847), also a
soldier, fell at Molino del Rey; and Joseph Lee Kirby Smith,
Ephraim's son, who took the Federal side in the Civil War, was
mortally wounded at the battle of Corinth, having at the age of
twenty-six attained the rank of brevet-colonel U.S.A. Edmund
Kirby Smith was born at St Augustine, Fla., on the 16th of
May 1824, and graduated at West Point in 1845, being assigned
to the infantry. In the Mexican War he was breveted first
lieutenant, and captain for gallantly at Vera Cruz and Cerro
Gordo and at Contreras-Churubusco. He was assistant pro-
fessor of mathematics at West Point from 1849 to 1852 and
was later engaged in Indian warfare on the Texas frontier. In
1861 he attained the rank of major. When Florida seceded he
resigned his army commission and entered the Confederate service
as a lieutenant-colonel. He was made a brigadier-general on
the 17th of June 1861, and was wounded at the battle of Bull
Run iq.v.). In command of the Confederate forces in the Cumber-
land Gap region Kirby Smith took part in General Bragg's
invasion of Kentucky in the autumn of 1862, and inflicted upon
the Federal forces a severe defeat at Richmond, Ky., on the
30lh of August; and was present at the battles of Perryville
and Murfrecsboro (Stone River). From February 1863 to the
fall of the Confederacy he was in command of the trans-Missis-
sippi department, and was successful in making this section of
the Confederacy (isolated from the rest by the fall of Vicksburg)
self-supporting. He instituted a regular system of blockade-
running, and met and defeated the Red River expedition under
General N. P. Banks in 1864. Kirby Smith and his troops
surrendered on the 26th of May 1865, being the last armed forces
of the Confederate States to do so. After the war, he was from
1866 to 1868 president of the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph
company, from 1868 to 1870 president of the Western Military
.Academy, from 1870 to 1S75 chancellor of the university of
Nashville, and from 1875 to his death professor of mathematics
at the university of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. He died at
Sewanee on the 28th of March 1893. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


[Below is an excerpt about General Robert E. Lee from The Story of a Soldier’s Life by Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley. This is a tribute to General Lee on the occasion of his 209th birthday anniversary, January  19, 2016.]
General Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee described as 'ablest general' - 'greatest man' by Lord Wolseley

                As soon as I could do so I proceeded to General Lee’s Headquarters, about six miles out of town, on the road to  Harper’s Ferry. Every incident in that visit to him is indelibly stamped on my memory. I have taken no special trouble to remember all he said to me then and during subsequent conversations, and yet it is still fresh in my recollection.  But it should be so, for he was the ablest general, and to me, seemed the greatest man I ever conversed with; and yet I have had the privilege of meeting Vom Moltke and Prince Bismark, and at least upon occasion had a very long and intensely interesting conversation with the latter. General Lee was one of the few men who ever seriously impressed and awed me with their natural, their inherent greatness. Forty years have come and gone since our meeting, yet the majesty of his manly bearing, the genial winning grace, the sweetness of his smile and the impressive dignity  of his old-fashioned style of address, come back to me amongst my most cherished recollections. His greatness made me humble, and I never felt my own individual insignificance more keenly than I did in his presence. He was the about fifty years of age, with hair and beard nearly white. Tall, extremely handsome and strongly built, very soldier-like in bearing, he looked a thoroughbred gentleman. Care had, however, already wrinkled his brow, and there came at moments a look of sadness into his clear, honest, and speaking dark brown eyes that indicated much his overwhelming national  responsibility had already told upon him. As he listened to you attentively, he seemed to look into your heart and to search your brain. He spoke of the future with confidence, though one could clearly see he was of no very sanguine temperament. He deplored the bitterness introduced into the struggle, and also the treatment of the Southern folk who fell into hostile hands. But there was no rancor in his tone when he referred to the Northern Government. Not even when he described how they had designedly destroyed his home at Arlington Heights, the property on the Potomac he had inherited from General Washington. He had merely “gone with his State” – Virginia – the pervading principle that had influenced most of the soldiers I spoke with during my visit to the South. His was indeed a beautiful character, and of him it might truthfully be written: “in righteousness he did judge and make war.”

Gen. Lord Wolseley
Who was Viscount Wolseley?
      Garnet Joseph Wolseley, the First Viscount of Wolseley, was one of the great British generals of the last half of the 19th Century. He was known as a tireless advocate of modernization of the British Army and was the "go-to" man whenever there was trouble in some far-flung area of the British Empire.
      He was  the son of a British Army officer born June 4, 1833 in Dublin, Ireland. Wolseley was educated in Dublin and commissioned into the British Army in  1852 in the King's Own Borderers, but transferred to the 80th Regiment of Foot. He served in the Second Burmese War, wounded at the Battle of Donabyu; the Crimean War in Russia;  the Indian Mutiny; the Anglo-French Expedition to China in 1860; the Fenian Invasion of Canada; the Ashanti Campaign in Africa; the Egyptian Army revo0lt; attempted to relieve Gordon at Khartoum; and the Boer War, 1899-1902.
      Wolseley was promoted to Field Marshal in 1894 and to Commander in Chief of the British Army, 1895-1901. He retired in 1903 and died March 26, 1913 in Mertone, France.
      In October, 1862, while stationed in Canada, took a leave of absence to  visit the Confederate Army. He had interviews with both General Robert E. Lee and Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Wolseley left behind his impressions in his auto-biography and in periodical articles.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Click for story>'NO VOTES FOR TURN COATS'
Louisiana Tiger Zouave

Thursday, January 14, 2016