Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
|The Battle of Buzzard's Prairie, Louisiana. The Chretien Point plantation|
can be seen in the distance. (Frank Leslie's Illustrated News)
The Battle of Buzzard's Prairie occurred on October 15, 1863 on the grounds of Chretien Point Plantation near modern day Sunset, Louisiana. It was part of the Great Texas Overland Expedition in the fall of that year when the occupying Federal Army in New Orleans was trying to invade Texas across the Cajun prairies and bayous of Southwest Louisiana.
The expedition force in this battle was made up of part of Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Bank's Army of the Gulf and led in the field by Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin. Opposing the invaders was the Confederate cavalry division of Brig. Gen. Thomas Green. The three Federal divisions in the battle were those of Brig. Gen. Stephen Burbridge's 4th Division, 13th Corps, men from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Kentucky; Brig. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel's 1st Division, 19th Corps, men from New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont; and Brig. Gen. Cuvier Grover's 3rd Division, 19th Corps, men from New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.
The Confederate force was made up of Green's Cavalry Division, including the 1st Cavalry Brigade of Col. Arthur P. Bagby, including the 4th, 5th and 7th Texas Cavalry regiments; 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Arizona brigade); 13th Texas "Horse" Battalion; 2nd Louisiana Cavalry and the Valverde Battery. Also in the division was the 2nd Cavalry Brigade of Col. John P. Major, made up of the 1st Regiment (Lane's) Partisan Rangers; 3rd Regiment (Arizona brigade) Partisan Rangers; 6th Regiment (Stone's) Partisan Rangers; and Capt. Oliver Semmes' 1st Confederate Battery.
The battlefield was an open prairie in front of the Chretien plantation, near Bayou Bourbeau, and the road from Opelousas to Vermilionville (modern day Lafayette). The Federals had been camped the previous night, stretched across the road and along Bayou Carencro. Green had moved up the previous day and camped his division behind Bayou Bourbeau and along the plantation road.
|Col. W.P. Hardeman|
4th Texas Cavalry
of the Civil War)
The horse soldiers of the 4th, 5th and 7th Texas cavalry regiments then made a wild dash and full-throated "Rebel Yell" on the right of Weitzel's line. The soldiers from New York and Massachusetts became panic-stricken and the Yankee right collapsed. Coming to the rescue for the Federals was Lt. William Marland of Nim's Battery who stopped the rout and drove the Confederates back with grape and cannister, as well as exploding an ammunition chest of Semmes' Battery.
The battle then settled into an exchange of musket and cannon fire that lasted several hours. While the Federals had overwhelming numbers, Franklin didn't order another full strength attack until about 10 o'clock that morning, led by the Mid-Westerners of Burbridge's Brigade. The Confederates withdrew behind Bayou Bourbeau while Hardeman had the 7th Texas Cavalry slow down the Yankees from concealed positions, around the Chretien Plantation. The 7th then wirthdrew across the bayou and the 4th and 5th Texas began skirmishing with the Mid-Westerners to slow their advance. Green's men were driven off, but he accomplished his goal of taking the measure of the Federal Army's strength.
Posted by Michael Jones at 7:35 AM
Saturday, October 19, 2013
|Non-commissioned officers of the 19th Iowa Infantry|
following their release from Camp Ford, Texas. They
had been captured at the Battle of Bayou Fordoche
(Stirling's Plantation) September 29, 1863.
(Library of Congress)
|Brig. Gen. Tom Green|
Following the Union defeat at Sabine Pass earlier in the month, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks intended to occupy important locations in Texas. He decided to send troops up the Bayou Teche, disembark them on the plains and march overland to Texas. Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant sent him a
|Brig. Gen. Alfred Mouton|
(Photo. History of C.W.)
|Commissioned officers of the 19th Iowa Infantry after|
their release from Camp Ford, Texas.
(Library of Congress)
Posted by Michael Jones at 6:31 AM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
|Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor|
Confederate Cmdr. in Red River Campaign
(M.D. Jones collection)
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Red River Campaign was fought in Louisiana and Arkansas in 1864. Using artifacts donated long ago to Memorial Hall by participants in that crucial action, the museum revisits Louisiana's part of the Red River Campaign in a series of new displays in the Annex. Also, be sure to see their Photographic Exhibit on the Camp Nicholls Soldiers Home depicting the history of what was often the last "battle" engaged in by the Confederate veterans in New Orleans.
Other new displays showcase rarely seen flags and uniforms, some of which have not been on display in the modern era. Their recently produced DVD on the history of the Museum is also for sale in the gift shop and on their website. The website will also sport a new look, coming soon.
The Confederate Memorial Hall Museum is located at 929 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130,
Here is a selected list of books on the Red River Campaign:
Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War by Ludwell H. Johnson (Aug 4, 1999).One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864 (The American Crisis Series by Gary Dillard Joiner (Dec 20, 2002),
Richard Taylor and the Red River Campaign of 1864 by Samuel Mitcham Jr. (Apr 27, 2012)
The Red River Campaign of 1864 and the Loss by the Confederacy of the Civil War by Michael J. Forsyth (Apr 13, 2010).
War Along the Bayou: The 1864 Red River Campaign in Louisiana by William Riley Brooksher (Feb 2001).General Mouton's Regiment: The 18th Louisiana Infantry by Michael Dan Jones (Oct 1, 2012)
Posted by Michael Jones at 5:43 AM
Monday, October 14, 2013
The Richmond Daily Dispatch, Oct. 14, 1863
C.S. Steamer Georgia
(U.S. Naval Historical Center)
Alarming raids of Confederate Steamers off the Cape of Good Hope.
The Alabama, Capt. Semmes; Georgia, Capt. Maury; and Tuscaloosa, Lieut. Low, were all in or off the harbor of Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, in August, and were driving a brisk business among the Yankee shipping. The Cape Town Argus, of August 10th, says:
During the whole of Saturday the Alabama lay quietly at anchor in Table bay, the waters of which had then become comparatively calm, but with the Valorous no longer alongside, that vessel having dragged her anchors during Friday night and drifted a considerable distance to leeward. In the latter part of the day, although the weather was gloomy, a goodly number of visitors went off to the vessel, and were received with the courteous urbanity which distinguished the conduct of the officers of the ship towards the crowds who thronged around her on Thursday.
As soon as it was known that the Alabama was in Saldanha bay, Mr. Graham, the United States Consul at Cape Town, addressed a letter to the Governor, requesting that the vessel might be "at once seized and sent to England, from whence also clandestinely escaped," on the ground that the British Government, which had a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States, had not "recognized the persons in rebellion against the United States as a Government at all."His Excellency replied that he had no instructions or authority to seize or detain the vessel, and that the course taken by Captain Semmes was, in his opinion, in conformity with the instructions he had received relative to ships-of-war and privateers belonging to the Government of the United States and the States calling themselves the Confederate States visiting British ports.
Against the capture of the Sea Bride Mr. Graham protested, on the ground that the capture was made within British waters, contending that neutral waters were limited to the fighting distance from land, which, since the invention of Armstrong guns, must be held to be six miles. He also subsequently claimed her forfeiture on the ground that, on the day succeeding her capture the prize crew on board of her brought her within a mile and a half of Green Point lighthouse, which he maintained "was a violation of neutrality as much as if the capture had taken place at that distance from land." But on both points the decision of the Governor was adverse to his views. Mr. Graham also claimed the delivery to him, as the official agent of the former owners of the Conrad, of the Tuscaloosa, on the ground that being a prize and "not having been condemned by any admiralty court of any recognized Government, " she was debarred from entering any British port, and ought, therefore, "to revert to her real owners" the moment she violated the Queen's proclamation.
His Excellency replied that he was not aware of any provision of international law by which captured ships, as soon as they entered neutral ports, reverted to their real owners. He believed that the claims of contending parties to captured vessels could be determined in the first instance only by the courts of the captor's country, and was satisfied that the Tuscaloosa was entitled to be regarded as a vessel of war.
Against the decision of his Excellency in each case Mr. Graham formally "protested" in the name of his Government. Having completed on Saturday the repairs intended to be effected here, at an early hour on Sunday morning Capt. Semmes weighed anchor, and at 6 o'clock the Alabama took her first departure from Table bay.
On Saturday the Confederate ship cruiser Tuscaloosa, Lieut. Low, commander, formerly the Conrad, of Philadelphia, captured by the Alabama and converted by Capt. Semmes into a tender to his ship, put into Simon's bay for the purpose of refitting. She carries two guns and ten men before the masts. About fourteen days ago she fell in with the American ship Santee, bound from Rangoon to Falmouth, and captured her; but as the vessel was laden with a cargo belonging to British owners she was allowed to proceed on giving a bond of $150,000.
|Capt. William Lewis Maury|
(Recollections of a Rebel Reefer)
A few days after the Tuscaloosa fell in with the American China clipper ship Snow Squall, eight hundred tons, homeward bound. It was blowing hard at the time, and the Tuscaloosa having fired at the Snow Squall without bringing her to, made chase; but the latter, being the fastest sailer, escaped. On Sunday afternoon the Confederate ship steamer Georgia, Captain Maury, entered Simon's Bay for coal and repairs. She appears to be an ordinarily-built packet boat, certainly not intended for a fighting craft, but having a good crew, and being armed with two Whitworth rifled guns aft, one large fifty-six gun forward, and two thirty-twos on her quarter-deck, and being a fast sailer, is well suited to capture merchant ships and run from war vessels of superior armament but inferior speed. As she got into the entrance of the harbor of St. Vincent she discovered a man-of-war with the American colors flying, put about and went to the north side of the island, where she lay until dark and then stood out for sea.
The Georgia on her way captured the ship bark Good Hope, of Boston, bound to Agulhas, with a general cargo. Her captain had died some days before, and his body being preserved in salt, Captain Maury had it brought on board the Georgia, read the funeral service over it, and committed it to the deep. During the service the ship bark J. W. Sever hove in sight and was chased by the Georgia. She was from Boston, bound to the Amoor river, with machinery for the Russian Government. The prisoners of the Good Hope were put on board and she was bonded.
On the 25th of June she captured the ship Constitution, of New York, loaded with coal for Shanghai, made a prize of her, and took her into the island. On the 28th of July the Georgia captured the ship City of Bath, of Bath, from Callao to Antwerp. The cargo being neutral, she was bonded, and the prisoners of the Constitution were put on board her. On the 16th of July the Georgia captured the ship Prince of Wales, of Bath, from Valparaiso, bound to Antwerp with guano.--The cargo being neutral, the ship was bonded.
The following is a list of the Georgia's officers: W. L. Maury, Commander; Chapman, First Lieutenant; Evans, Second Lieutenant; Smith, Third Lieutenant; Ingraham, Fourth Lieutenant; Walker, Passed Midshipman; Morgan, Midshipman; Curtis, Paymaster; Wheedon, Doctor, and Pearson, Chief Engineer. The Georgia will take in from two hundred to three hundred tons of coal, besides general supplies.
Posted by Michael Jones at 5:23 AM
Monday, October 7, 2013
|Four unidentified soldiers of the 1st Texas Infantry near|
Dumfries, Va. in the winter of 1861-62.
(Library of Congress)
October 21, 1863
1st Texas Regiment,
Near Culpeper, Va., Aug. 3d, 1863.
Friend Sallie—E'er this you know we have invaded the enemy's country, and fought a desperate battle on his own soil. When we first entered Penn. we found every one in the greatest state of excitement. They were very much frightened about their private property, and gave our men everything they asked for. It seems they were informed by the authorities of the State that if we ever came in their country we would destroy everything that we could lay our hands on. But they were soon happily disappointed, for Gen. Lee, so soon as he entered the enemy's country, issued a very stringent order prohibiting the use or destruction of private property, and enjoined upon both officers and men the necessity of its rigid enforcement. The consequence was our men conducted themselves with the same propriety as if they had been in their own country, with the exception of stragglers and a few black sheep, who took everything that was eatable within their reach, thereby faring sumptuously. Such men, when detected, were dealt with and punished according to the nature of the offence committed. I did not hear of a house being wantonly burned by our troops while in Pennsylvania or Maryland—there were some destroyed and burned in battle.
Chambersburg was the first city of any importance that we passed through in Pennsylvania. I noticed the citizens all wore an acid look—a gloom seemed to o'erspread the city, the doors and blinds were all closed to us as we marched through the principal streets.
Many of the females wore small Federal flags, others red, white and blue ribbons upon their breast in defiance to us, and emblems of their true Yankee fanatic idea of patriotism and devotion to their country, while the men stood on the side walks gazing on in mute amazement, with heavy hearts and heads bent and drooping in humble submission as we passed along.
The scene was an uninviting and unpleasant one to them. Of course we did not anticipate a reception such as we were want [sic] to receive in our Old Dominion State. There were no bright smiling faces or delicate white handkerchiefs waving us on in triumph, there. In place of these were forced upon our ears words of contempt, hatred and a wish for our defeat. But our boys were overflowing in spirit, victory and success seemed to be imprinted on every brow. Their flaunting words fell upon their undaunted spirits like oil upon the waters, only reducing their laughter and merriment into complacency and thought. Thus marched through the first city in the enemy's country "an army that had never been beaten, and opposed to an army that had never been victorious." On the morning of the 2d inst. about 8 o'clock a.m., our division halted on an eminence overlooking the city of Gettysburg, Penn. There was heavy cannonading and skirmishing going on at 12 m. We were ordered to the front and right, moving by the right flank along the edge and through the woods about four miles, until we crossed a creek into an open field, where we suffered severely from shells, not so much in our regiment as in other regiments belonging to the brigade. The 3d Arkansas had twenty killed and wounded, (mostly wounded,) the second shell I thought passed about five feet from my head. I was on horseback at the time, (the troops had halted and laid down.) Being rather higher in the world than was healthy at the time, I immediately dismounted. As soon as the shelling subsided we continued to move by the right a short distance, when we moved by the left flank into line of battle at 3 o'clock p.m. We were ordered to charge forward over a rugged open country,--down a slope and up the other side. On top of this the Yankees had a battery, supported by infantry, who lay behind immense rocks. We captured the battery, drove the enemy back and occupied the position on the brow of the hill which the enemy had just left. They fell back to the side of the mountain, where they were strongly entrenched—their position was invincible. Here we fought until night closed her dark mantle over us, which was a befitting mourning over the appalling scene which lay before us. The loss of the enemy was more severe than ours. The usual duties after battle having been performed, (viz., collecting arms, hauling the captured artillery to the rear, etc.) I laid down on a small piece of an old tent, which I picked up on the field, to sleep among the living and the dead, as they lay mingled together on the field. After a hard day's fight one can lay down in line of battle and sleep as soundly and sweetly upon the bare ground as he could at home on a nice clean bed.
The painful duty devolved upon me of recording the death of our mutual friend, J. W. Southwick. Poor Joe, he was brave to a fault; he was upon the brow of the hill before mentioned, with his head and shoulders exposed above the rock. Some of his comrades told him to squat down and load. Joe remarked, laughingly, that they could not hit him; just then he was pierced through the head by a minnie ball, a little over or behind the left temple—he fell dead. Thus has been added to the register of brave ones who filled an honorable and useful place in society. To the hearts torn by this sad event, we can offer no earthly consolation. Any enumeration of his virtues will but embitter the agony of his loss. But when a Higher Power shall have assuaged their sorrow, it will be a source of melancholy consolation that he fell fighting to give liberty and freedom to his adopted land, and that his friends and countrymen will treasure his memory and deplore his death.
Joe Love and Col. Powell were severely wounded and left in the hands of the enemy.
Alas! our sleep was short. At 2 o'clock A.M. (it being 11 o'clock when we lay down) we were ordered to change our position to the right. We arrived at the place designated a little before dawn. We immediately went to work piling up rocks for breastworks on our line. At 11 o'clock A.M. on the 3d inst., we were moved still further to the right, (and detached from the brigade) we now being on the right flank of the army, to prevent the enemy's cavalry from flanking us in that direction. We occupied an extended line along a road, having a stone fence in our front, on our right in front an open field, on the left a skirt of timber. Our regiment was extended along the fence in a single rank, and the men four or five feet apart covering a front of ¾ of a mile. We connected on the left with an Alabama regiment; upon our right there was a space of three hundred yards, which was protected by artillery. At about 6 o'clock P.M. the enemy's cavalry charged through the lines of the Alabama regiment on the left, at the same time charging our left, but our boys repulsed them. After firing our guns, not having time to load, our boys threw rocks at them and knocked some off their horses, the balance going through the gap made in the Alabama regiment.—After getting through they divided, some going to the right, others to the left; the last named filed along a fence running perpendicular to our rear on the left, when they made a dash on Rieley's battery, which was half a mile in our rear. Finding it rather hot and themselves in danger of being cut off (our battery pouring grape and canister into them) by our infantry, which was moving towards them in rear of our battery, and thinking we were merely a line of skirmishers, they about face and came dashing across the field in our rear. We about face to receive the charge, which brought our stone fence in our rear, and having a rail fence which was on the opposite side of the road in front. We had taken the necessary precaution, before the enemy charged, to throw a rail fence across the road at either end of our regiment, thus completely barricading the road, forming an entire fence round our regiment, which served a very good purpose. (I forgot to say they previously charged down the road on our left and finding it blockaded, went back through the gap into our rear.) They could only charge to the fence which rendered their sabers useless but our boys did not wait—many of them jumped over the fence into the field and shot them from their saddles at 3 and 400 yards distance. They were the bravest set of men I ever saw. After their line was broken and all was disorder and confusion and many of their men shot, they would advance singly, brandishing their swords.—We called out for them to throw down their sabres and get off their horses, but they still kept on until shot. I will relate one case in particular; it was that of a Yankee captain. Capt. Massey, Co. K, of my regiment, called to him to surrender; he paid no attention, but continued coming forward. Captain Massey ordered one of his men to shoot him; he did so, shooting him through the mouth. He was taken prisoner, there being no chance for a wounded man to escape, (scarcely any for a well one.) Captain Massey asked him why he did not surrender; his reply was that a brave soldier never surrenders.—Many of his followers met with the same fate, some even worse.
There was only one outlet; that led through a gate which was about 300 yards to the right of our regiment. Our boys ran up the wood to try and head them off, but were not swift enough for their fleet horses. Only eight, however, made their escape out of 75 or 100. In the cavalry fight we only lost one killed, three wounded and eighteen prisoners.—This being the first cavalry fight that our boys had ever been engaged in, they acquitted themselves with credit. For our loss in the battle of Gettysburg, I refer you to a list of casualties published in the Galveston News.
In the late battles suffice it to say that the "Old First" bore herself and flag through nobly, and has won fresh laurels and lasting honors for herself, capturing five guns, of which three were taken safely off the field. We drove the enemy back in our front, and held the ground until we were ordered to the right of the army, where we whipped the cavalry, almost annihilating them. The Yankees had the advantage of position over us. We had them badly whipped. They commenced retreating before we did. Our artillery ammunition was almost exhausted and we were forced to fall back towards the Potomac. We offered them battle for three days at Hagerstown, Md. On the 10th we moved six miles to the right of Hagerstown, where we threw up breast works and remained four days offering the enemy battle and awaiting the construction of a bridge across to [sic] Potomac, the river being too high, from recent rains, to ford. We recrossed the Potomac on the morning of the 14th inst., and marched from day to day until we reached this our old camp on the afternoon of the 24th inst. . . .
Posted by Michael Jones at 6:13 AM
Friday, October 4, 2013
(Liljenquist Family Collection/Library of
Oct. 5, 1863
Gen. Longstreet and his troops.Gen. Longstreet has addressed to his gallant corps the following congratulatory General Order:
Headq'rs left wing Army Tenn.,
General Orders, No. 2.
I. The Lieutenant General commanding expresses his congratulation to the brave troops of this command on the brilliant victory which has crowned their heroic efforts.
The enemy, late so defiant and exulting, has been driven from his chosen positions with slaughter, and the loss of artillery, prisoners, arms, and colors. To this glorious result you have contributed no mean share. The gallant troops of the Army of Tennessee have once more exhibited that prowess that has ever illustrated the bloody battle holds of the West, and have fulfilled the high expectations that were entertained for them. Side by side with their brave comrades from Virginia they have breasted the wave of invasion and rolled it back.
Soldiers! Much has been done, but not all. The fruits of your splendid victory are to be enjoyed. Tennessee and Kentucky, with their rolling fields and smiling valleys, are to be reclaimed to freedom and independence. You are to be the agent of their deliverance, and your task requires the same heroic fortitude, patience, and courage, always shown by you in the trying past.
Your General looks to you for renewed exertions.
II. The Commanding General takes pleasure in publishing to his command the following names of soldiers who have distinguished themselves by the capture, each, of a stand of the enemy's colors:
Private W. H. Barnett, Co. A, 21st Mississippi regiment, Humphries's brigade.
Corp'l R. Conrad, co. F, 21st Miss. regiment, Humphries's brigade.
Corp'l J. F. M. Skinner, co. G, 13th Miss. regiment, Humphries's brigade.
Serg't L. E. Timmons, co. I, 7th Florida regiment, Triggs's brigade.
Private Oscar F. Honaker, co. F, 54th Va. regiment, Triggs's brigade.
Private W. F. Harris, co. F, 54th Va. regiment, Triggs's brigade.
Private W. W. Harris, co. F, 54th Va. regiment, Triggs's brigade.
Private Henderson Hylton, co. F, 54th Va. regiment, Triggs's brigade.
By command of Lieut.-Gen. Longstreet.
(Signed,)G. M. Sorrell, A. A. Gen.
Posted by Michael Jones at 5:04 AM
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The Richmond Daily Dispatch
Oct. 1, 1863
|Gen. Preston Smith|
One of the most brilliant feats of this war was performed by Lieutenant-Colonel Frank A. Reynolds, of the 39th North Carolina.--This gallant officer, with only 238 men, charged a brigade of Yankees, and, after a desperate hand-to-hand fight of forty minutes duration, succeeded in routing the enemy, capturing ten pieces of artillery and two stand of colors, seven of which he brought off safely.In this charge he lost nearly half of his men. This is no doubt one of the most gallant feats on record. It stamps Col. Reynolds as a gallant officer, and should well make North Carolina proud of her valiant sons. Col. Reynolds is a graduate of West Point, and was the last Southerner who graduated at that place. He is also a son of Gen. A. W. Reynolds, who commanded a brigade of Tennessean during the Vicksburg campaign, and was taken prisoner there.
The Rebel, in an obituary of Captain Thomas E. King, a volunteer aid, says:
At the first battle of Manassas, in which he commanded a company in the 8th Georgia (Dartow's) regiment, he received a desperate wound, and has been upon crutches up to a very recent period. He could not endure the thought that the enemy was invading his native State, and be at home in quiet. He reached the field on Saturday, and was invited to take position on the staff of Lieut-Gen. Polk, but accepted a position on the staff of Gen. Preston Smith, as it would enable him to render more immediate service.
During the desperate and continuous fighting all day on Saturday, he escaped unhurt, up to 5 P. M., when the firing ceased, and it was generally believed that the strife was ended for that day. He had just taken out his note book, and had written under date of Saturday, 5 P. M.: I thank my God that I have been spared through this day; when an order came from Gen. Polk to make another advance upon the enemy to drive them from a strong position on a creek in front of our lines. Gen. Smith advanced with his brigade, and by a splendid charge drove the enemy some distance. Gen. Smith was still driving the enemy, himself and staff riding some distance in advance of the brigade and close upon the heels of the retreating enemy. A sudden volley cut down Gen. Smith and three of the officers who were with him, including Capt. King, who lived about an hour and a half after receiving the fatal wound.
Brig.-Gen. Benning's horse was shot from under him during one of the late battles on the Chickamauga. He dismounted, cut a horse loose from an artillery wagon, mounted it bare-back, returned to his command, and was seen, with the utmost sang froid, eating a biscuit, amid the din and danger of arms.
Posted by Michael Jones at 5:15 AM