Wayne Cosby, a longtime preservationist of Camp Moore and Sons of Confederate Veterans member, recently gave a chronological history of the events in Louisiana that to the formation of Camp Moore at the Louisiana Division, SCV, reunion in Hammond.
He said when word reached Louisiana that South Carolina seceded from the Union 20 Dec. 1860, a specially designed Pelican flag was flown from the window of the Southern Rights Association in New Orleans. The flag reportedly had white field, red star in the center with a pelican feeding her young in the center of that.
Gov. T.O. Moore
Then on 9 January 1861, he noted that Governor Thomas Overton Moore ordered the U.S. Arsenal in Baton Rouge seized by state militia forces. This was done without bloodshed. He said Moore then had the forts seized around New Orleans, also without bloodshed.On 26 January 1861, Louisiana seceded from the Union and a Pelican flag was raised in the state's capital city of Baton Rouge, Cosby noted.
Beginning 8 March 1861, he said Confederate Secretary of War Leroy Pope began a long exchange of confusing orders with regards to the length of service of volunteers to the Confederate Army. Most volunteers wanted to enlist for 12 months, but the Confederate central government changed that to "for the war," which many were not willing to volunteer for because it was so indefinite.
This led to a disbandment of many 12 months units and considerable confusion, Cosby said.
Also the Confederate government began asking for an increasingly large number of volunteers from the state, which governor's such as Moore were responsible for raising, equipping and training at the expense of the state, until they were called into Confederate service.
On 22 April 1861, Cosby said Camp Walker was formed at the Metairie horse racing track. Recruits congregated at Camp Walker but it had no suitable source of water for the large number of men gathering there. He said the regiments were formed by gatherings of company level officers who would decide what regiment to join and then the men of the regiment could elect their colonels, lieutenant colonels and majors.
Some of the officers from the 4th Louisiana Infantry went looking for a more suitable training camp site and found it at what became Camp Moore in Tangipahoa, located about 80 miles north of New Orleans on the railroad between New Orleans and Jackson, Mississippi. The camp opened 14 May 1861 and was named in honor of Gov. Moore.
The first man to die at Camp Moore was Bill Douglas of Wheat's Special Battalion, Louisiana Infantry, in a railroad accident, he said. Most early war Louisiana regiments were then formed and equipped and received some training at Camp Moore before being shipped out to the various fighting fronts of the war. Cosby said that from late 1862 onward, Camp Moore was mainly a conscript camp.