By Mike Jones
1st Lt. Edward A. Seton of Company K (Confederate States Rangers), 10th Louisiana Infantry Regiment, wrote a lengthy and very informative letter home to his mother in Lake Charles on 28 July 1861 that is filled with rich details about camp life, his officer's uniform and the flag that was flown over the large basic training camp.
Louisiana Republic Flag
(Photo by Mike Jones, author's collection)
In addition, Seton talks about the officier's kepi, uniform and sword that he had to buy. He says the kepi was red but doesn't say what color his long coat is. He does say that he couldn't have his picture made because he had to spend all of his money on his uniform and sword. That is too bad because there are no known photographs of Lt. Seton.
The letter, so rich in detail, is below. The original is at the McNeese State University Archives.
Camp Moore July 28th 1861
I have wrote you but a few days ago but we are now to move soon nearer to the field of action. Here we are in no danger but soon will be but sitll let not the courage fail you my deare mother for my arm is strong, our cause is a just one and God is watchful over the just. We have whipped the enemy at Ball Hill and at every other point, and you must pray to God and ask his blessings on our army. It makes my heart throb to think of the patriotic courage that you withstood the grief of my departure. You will receive my dearest thanks for learning and advisis you gave me, never be uneasy of my misconducting myself for I always think of you dear mother the only beloved parent I have left. Many a true son of Louisiana may fall. I might have to bite the dust with my companions and friends of the lake but my name will never be dishonored.
I will always be worth that which my mother gave me; not longer than yesterday I drempt of seeing you all. Would that I could but press you all to my heart before I leave Camp Moore.
We are to leave heare on Tuesday for Virginia. Our boys are gay and in good health and eager for to be on the field. I went in as Lieutenant of the guards the other day and went thrue my duty very well and also visited general Tracy and was recived very well by his lady and Miss Magnel and maid me a present of a manigere of fine thread and needles & a great many other things and also drank some good shampaign with the General. The ladys of Opelousas gave us a visit yesterday and brought us a flag the prettiest one on the hill. The Major is talking of taking it for the regiment baner it is worked all in silver and is quite heavy. The Louisiana flag has been raised heare to day it is very prety. We have but batalion drill at present and it is very hard to learn, officers are also drilled every day. I wish you could see all the regiment a drilling to gether at a support arms; you can’t look at the bayonets when reflecting in the sun. All the officers have to wear red caps it is very absurd you would think so if you would only see me with mine on and my large striped pants and long tail coat of 65$. If I would have any money I would send you my portrait my money is very scarce at present for I had to buy my own sword and uniform and I asur you it took all my money.
If Amidie could spare more than the fifty dollars I asked him to send it to Lobit & Sharprentier New Orleans and for them to send me a letter of credit to draw in any place one of the Lobits is in our caompany he joined us in the city. I have now to close my letter for it is late and the drum will soon beat for the lites to be put out as I told you we are to leave Monday probably not before Wednesday. I will try to write once more before we leave if possible. Once there it will not be as secure as here and will be a great dell more strict on our men than it has here for there we are in danger and are obliged to keep ready for a call all day and night and picket guard will be in some danger also. I have plenty more to say but cannot express myself so farewell once more. Take courage and pray for your deare son who is at or soon will be at the wars. Give all my friends and all my family my best respects especially to Doris. I sent her a letter in Amidies. Good night once more the drum is beating for me farewell.
Your Beloved Son