Sunday, February 26, 2012


Daily Iberian reporter Patrick Flanagan, left, interviews Michael
Dan Jones, about his book, The Tiger Rifles: The Making of a Louisiana Legend,
 at his presentation Saturday, Feb. 25, at theYoung-Sanders Center for the Study
 of the War Between the States in Louisiana, in Franklin, Louisiana. Flanagan's
article can be found at the Daily Iberian.
(Photo by Susan Jones)
          FRANKLIN, La. -- The Tiger Rifles were the "toughest" fighting men in the War for Southern Independence, according to Michael Dan Jones, the author of The Tiger Rifles: The Making of a Louisiana Legend.
          Jones was the guest speaker at the Young-Sanders Center for the Study of the War Between the States in Louisiana, Saturday, Feb. 25.
          The author noted that the book has a number of examples of just how tough they really were. "Not only could  they trot along for miles and then go right into battle, they also charged the enemy  numerous times and carved them up with their bowie knives. In addition, there is at least one instance of "Tiger" soldier chewing the face of a Yankee soldier to 'jelly,'" Jones said.
         However, the speaker also noted that the men weren't just mercenaries fight for the love of it. He said the mottoes on their hats also show that they really believed in the cause of Southern Independence for which they were fighting. Jones cited such mottoes on their hats as "Lincoln's Life or a Tiger's Death" and "Sure Death to  Lincoln" and "Abe's Tiger."
        Jones said he highlights the South's "Cause" in the books. He noted that they were fighting for Southern Independence because they  really  believed in the  Doctrine of States Rights, as espoused by Thomas Jefferson and further developed by John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis.
        The author also highlighted the leaders and men of the unit. He said Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat was the commander of their battalion, the 1st Special Battalion (Wheat's) Louisiana Volunteers. The commander of the company, Company B (Tiger Rifles), was a man with a rather shady past, Captain Alexander White, but who was also a charismatic leader of men.
        With regards to the enlisted men, he said their unique "Zouave" uniforms  set them apart from other Confederates, as well as their fierce fighting abilities. He said most of the men were Irish immigrants working on the docks of New Orleans, and the steamboats of the Mississippi River. Others were from Germany, many northern states, southern states and at least two possible "free men of color." He said there were also four women soldiers in the Tiger Rifles, called "vivandieres," who wore a feminine versions of the Zouave uniform, and provided first aid for the soldiers in battle.
          Jones also highlighted the Tiger Rifles heroics in the battles they were in, the First Battle of Manassas, Front Royal, Middletown, Winchester, Port Republic, Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill. He said in most of those battles they played key  roles in bringing about Confederate victories.
          Click here for more information about the Young-Sanders Center.

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