Sunday, January 22, 2012


Mike Jones, left, outgoing commander of Camp 1390,
Texas Div. Cmdr. Granvel Block and Camp 1390 Cmdr.
Archie Toombs. at the Lee-Jackson Banquet.

          Granvel Block, Sons of Confederate Veterans Texas Division Commander, told members of the Captain James  W. Bryan Camp 1390, SCV, at the Lee-Jackson Banquet that the planed Confederate Flag Memorial Project on Interstate 10 in Orange, Texas will display over 30 Confederate Flags in spectacular fashion.
         The banquet was  held Saturday, January 21, in honor of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and General Robert E. Lee, at Pat's of Henderson Restaurant in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Jackson was born January 21, 1824 in Clarksburg, Virginia (now West Virginia) and Lee on  January 19, 1807, at Stratford, Virginia.
          Block said the Flag Memorial will be located at a prime location on Interstate 10 in Orange, which is located on the border with Louisiana near Lake Charles. It will be a colorful and spectacular display with the flags, ornate pillars and educational plaques about the the flags.
          The Texas Division commander said the  property  has been paid for, is privately owned and is now the property of  the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a 30,000 member international organization headquartered in Columbia, Tennessee and with camps all over the United States and a number of foreign nations. SCV is a history and heritage organization whose members are descendants of Confederate soldiers, sailors and government officials.
         Block also told the story of "The Little Dixie Bell," which was a paper making machine that made paper for the Confederate government in Atlanta, Georgia during the War Between the States. After the war the machine was used by private paper mills in Georgia, Florida and finally Orange,  Texas. He said the  machine was destroyed in a fire in Orange in the 1990s but relics of  the "Little Dixie Bell" have been salvaged and he hopes one day can be displayed in a museum.
         Also at the banquet the 2012 officers and a new member were installed. Tributes were paid to Lee and Jackson and to  the Confederate veteran ancestor of the members.


Friday, January 13, 2012


                                                     LEE-JACKSON BANQUET 2012

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA -- Captain James W. Bryan Camp 1390 will hold its annual Lee-Jackson Banquet from at 6 p.m. Saturday, January 21, at Pat’s of Henderson Restaurant, 1500 Siebarth Drive in Lake Charles. Our guest speaker will be Granvel Block, S.C.V. Texas Div. Cmdr.

The banquet cost is $30 per person, including appetizer, main course, dessert, drink and tip. The menu choices are Crawfish Fettuccine, Fried Shrimp, Stuffed Snapper, 10 oz. ribeye (cooked medium), and Italian Chicken Breast; dessert, cheesecake with topping or pecan pie. The appetizer will be friend bite-size catfish and popcorn shrimp.

Please send checks made out to Sons of Confederate Veterans to Luke Dartez,, 908 Henning Road, Sulphur, La. 70665 by January 15. Thank you.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tidbits of History -- The Tiger Rifles: The Making of a Louisiana Legend

Living history reenactor Luke Jones
demonstrates the look of a stalking
Tiger from the famous Tiger Rifles of
Louisiana. (Photo by Mike Jones).
By Mike Jones
 [Author of The Tiger Rifles: The Making of a Louisiana Legend]
      Today, July 21, 186, is the 156th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas, one of the greatest Confederate victories of the War for Southern Independence. The Tiger Rifles, Company B of the 1st Battalion (Wheat's) Louisiana Volunteers, have long been a special interest of mine, and I thought this would be a good time to highlight their history. They gained their fame in the First Battle of Manassas and popularized the nickname "Louisiana Tigers."
      Being the largest city in the state and in the South in 1861, New Orleans became the central place for recruits to gather to  be organized into fighting regiments and battalions.It is there, on April 25, 1861,  that the Tiger Rifles were mustered into Confederate service on April 25, 1861. I found at least two men from Calcasieu Parish who joined the Tiger Rifles at that time, Corporal Joseph Nichols and Private Joseph Perkins.
     Most of the recruits in the company were Irish immigrants who had been working on the Mississippi River steamboats, or had been working as longshoremen or laborers in New Orleans. There were also men from other nations, including Germany and Mexico, as well from all over the United States, both North and South. These men were motivated by defending the founding principles of 1776, which were limited, constitutional government, as outlined by Thomas Jefferson in the "Doctrine of  States Rights."
     The reason the Tiger Rifles became so famous, so early, was because of the fame of their leaders, their unusual and colorful Zouave uniforms, and their heroics in the first big battle of the war, the First Battle of Manassas, Virginia on 21 January 1861. The Tiger Rifles became Company B of the 1st Special Battalion (Wheat's) Louisiana Volunteers. The battalion commander, Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat, was among the most well-known soldiers in the country in 1861. He had seen service in the Mexican War, and then became a filibuster (soldier of fortune) in the 1850s and fought in revolutions in Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua and in Italy. The company  commander, Captain Alexander White, who was rumored to have been the son of a Kentucky governor who killed a man over a card game, left the state and changed his name. White is known to have been in the Mexican War, where he served heroically in the Battle of Buena Vista, served in the U. S. Navy and then became a Mississippi River steamboat mate. He also may have fought in some of the filibuster wars in the 1850s.
Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat
(Confederate Veteran Magazine)

     The zouave uniforms of the Tiger Rifles were given them by a wealthy New Orleans and Kentucky businessman named A. Keene Richards. White, who was also a native of Kentucky, may have been an old friend of Richards. The uniform was inspired by the French Army zouave regiments and became popular in both the North and the South just prior to the war. The Tigers were also equipped with the U. S. Model 1841 "Mississippi" Rifle, a beautiful and accurate weapon. They also received Baton Rouge Arsenal accoutrements and Bowie knifes rather than bayonets.
    The company also played a key role in the First Battle of Manassas. Wheat had requested that the battalion be placed in the greatest point of danger on the front lines, and in the battle  that was one the extreme left flank of the Confederate line along Bull Run Creek. On the 21st of July of 1861, the Union Army struck  first at Sudley Ford of Bull Run, which was the left flank of the Confederates. As part of the brigade of Col. Nathan G. "Shanks" Evans, the Wheat's Tigers, along with the 4th South Carolina and Virginia Artillery and Cavalry, rushed to stop the enemy flanking movement of the Federals, even though out numbered by over 10 to one.
    In that crucial first hour of the battle, Wheat launched several Bowie knife charges against the Yankees on Matthews Hill, which stopped them long enough for reinforcements, such as Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson's First Virginia Brigade, to come up on nearby Henry House Hill. When driven back by overwhelming numbers, the retreating Confederates, including the Tigers, were rallied on by Brig. Gen. Bernard Bee who famously called them to rally behind Jackson and the Virginians, who he said were standing like a "stonewall." The battle then concentrated around Henry Hill and the Confederates eventually routed the bluecoats and won a great victory.
     The Tigers received a great deal of press coverage and became instantly famous in both North and South. It was soon that all of  Wheat's Battalion were being called Tigers, and then all Louisiana troops fighting in Virginia became known as the "Louisiana Tigers." After the war, a Tiger from the 9th Louisiana Infantry, David French Boyd, became chancellor of Louisiana State University, and in 1896, the LSU football team took on the nickname Tigers, to honor their fathers and grandfathers who had fought so  gallantly  of the cause of Southern Independence. The name Tigers also is carried by the modern day 256th Infantry Brigade of the Louisiana National Guard, and a number of Louisiana high school athletic teams. The Tiger Rifles' lasting legacy is still honored in their home state of Louisiana.
     The book, The Tiger Rifles: The Making of a Louisiana Legend, is available  both at and at