Saturday, May 4, 2013

150-years-ago -- The 10th Louisiana Infantry at Chancellorsville.

Cpl. Isaac Reeves, left, and his brother, Sgt.
James Reeves, Co. K, 10th La. Inf. Isaac was
killed in action at Gettysburg and James was
killed in action at Chancellorsville. (Full plate
tintype, courtesy Mrs. Anna Belle Reeves Morris)
[Excerpted from Lee's Foreign Legion: A History of the 10th Louisiana Infantry by Thomas Walter Brooks and Michael Dan Jones, 1995]

          The 10th Louisiana had participated in the days' brilliant victory [of May 2nd], but such success does not come without cost. The 2nd Louisiana Brigade of commander, Francis T. Nicholls, lost his left foot to a well aimed piece of Federal solid shot. The projectile  went clean through his horse, killing the animal instantly. Colonel Jesse Williams of the 2nd Louisiana took charge of the brigade. Lieutenant Colonel John Leggett, commanding the 10th, was cut almost in half by an artillery shell . He lingered long enough to beg forgiveness from his men for the rancor that existed between he and they. Major Henry Monier replaced Leggett to lead the 10th, only to be himself wounded the next day. Eighteen year old Private James Anderson, the color-bearer of record for the day, and ironically a Northerner as he was Ohio born, fell on the second.  Indeed, he was the first of a dozen men in the 10th who fell that day, and one the next, carrying the colors. War has an insatiable appetite for death.

In addition to those already mentioned, twenty-four others in the 10th Louisiana were killed  or died of wounds at Chancellorsville. Six of them were Irish. Two, Michael Flannagan and William Buckley, were married.  Flannagan's widow was given his final account by the paymaster, and Buckley's widow Catherine received, in addition to that, a post-war land grant from the state of Louisiana. William Buckley was one of five men from the regiment who died at Chancellorsville, who were buried in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery.

Three Germans fell as well. The death of one of them, Frederick Sark [of Company K], was described by [First Lieutenant] Edward Seton in his letter home:

"Poor Jim Reeves was killed [on May 3] to my left when I went to get his rifle to give to F. Sark whose gun would not fire and at that moment I was wounded and when I looked around to give Sark the gun I seen poor fellow he was killed also." Sark was 25-years-old.

A Corsican, Jean Bremont, and an Italian, Josua Fumagalli were among the slain. The Frenchman Alphonse Jonte was killed as were two Virginians, Charles Cooper and Henry Fleshman. Six Louisianians died, and one Mississippian, he, the eldest of three Reeves brothers in Company 'K,' James. John Reeves, the younger brother of James, was shot and blinded in both eyes while fighting at his brothers side. To add more grief to the Reeves family already sorrowful circumstances, James Reeves' wife Tabitha died in childbirth. And that wasn't the  end of the misery either. Two months later, on Culp's Hill at Gettysburg, the third Reeves brother, Isaac [twin of John], was slain. In the early 1870s, Isaac Reeves' remains were disinterred from the pit in which he lay at Gettysburg, and re-buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, in a box (box 3-261) with the bones of dozens of other men. The Reeves family of Lake Charles, Louisiana had nothing left to give to the cause. Three sons, a daughter-in-law, and a grandchild had been taken in two short months.

The 10th Louisiana went into battle with about 180 men. The total casualties suffered by the regiment at Chancellorsville, dead, wounded, and missing, totaled ninety-three.

No comments: