|Color Sergeant Joseph C. LeBleu of Co. K,|
10th La. Inf. He carried the regimental
battleflag in the bloody Battle of Malvern
Hill, July 1, 1862. His flag staff was shot in two
but he survived the battle and the war.
(Photo courtesy of Dan Jones)
[Excerpted from the Southwest Louisiana Biographical and Historical, 1892]
JOSEPH C. LeBLEU, Lake Charles.—Joseph C. LeBleu, one of the pioneer planters of Calcasieu parish, who resides at English Bayou, Ward 3, is a native of the parish, born April 8, 1841. He is the son of Arsine and Eliza (Milhomme) LeBleu, natives of Louisiana, born 1783 and 1800, respectively. Arsine LeBleu emigrated to California in 1849l; he died in Sacramento in 1850. His wife died in 1883. By occupation Arsine LeBleu was a planter and stock raiser.
Our subject is the youngest of a family of eight children, two of whom are now living. Mr. LeBleu spent his youthful days in Calcasieu parish. At the beginning of the civil struggle he entered Company K, 10th Louisiana Regiment [Ed. Note: the original story mistakenly gave his unit as the 18th La. Inf.], under Captain A.B. [Actually William H.] Spencer. He was in the battles of Williamsburg, Seven Pines, [In the 10th La. Inf.] Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, [In the 7th La. Cav.] and numerous other minor engagements. He was paroled at Natchitoches, Louisiana. After the war he returned home and resumed farming, which he has closely followed ever since. He owns a good plantation where he resides, and upon which he raises, principally, rice. He is president of the Lake Charles Farmer’s Union, 587, and was the organizer of the Union in Calcasieu parish. Mr. LeBleu was married, in 1867, to Leoneze [Laonaise] Hebert, a native of Louisiana. They are the parents of ten children, five sons and five daughters, six of whom are living: Beatrice (widow of Arthur Rosteet), Grace (wife of J.W. Rosteet), Polignac, Evelina, Farrel and Ella.
[Excerpted from the Lake Charles Daily Press Special Edition, 1895]
When the war drum sounded, Mr. LeBleu and fourteen other young men in the neighborhood came at once to Lake Charles and started toward the front. At Opelousas they joined a company being organized by Capt. W.H. Spencer, which became connected with the 10th Louisiana Volunteer Infantry.
He served with this regiment for two years in Virginia, when he was transferred to the 7th Louisiana Volunteer Cavalry, serving for the remainder of the war in the South.
Since the war Mr. LeBleu has held a number of official positions, among them chief constable of the parish until that office was abolished, and he is at present a member of the police jury from the third ward.
[Obituary of Joseph C. LeBleu, Lake Charles Daily American Press, Saturday, Nov. 7, 1914]
MAJOR J.C. LEBLEU, PRESIDENT OF THE POLICE JURY, PASSES AWAY
A most distinguished and venerable figure strongly associated with Calcasieu history and Calcasieu up-building, passed from human ken last night when Major Joseph C. LeBleu, president of the police jury and son of Calcasieu’s pioneer settler, passed away at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Henry Little in Seventh street. For the past few years, Major LeBleu has been in failing health, but his energy and strong will triumphed for weeks over the ravages of his ailment. Some weeks ago he came from Chloe to that of his daughter to be in better reach of his physician and here last evening about six o’clock the end came.
The funeral will take place from the Church of the Immaculate Conception Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock. Interment will be at the Catholic cemetery on Common street. The funeral will be attended by Calcasieu Camp, United Confederate Veterans and Calcasieu council, Knights of Columbus in a body, and by a host of people prominent in public and civic life.
Joseph C. LeBleu was born April 8, 1841, the youngest of eight children of Arsene LeBleu and Eliza Milhomme, at the old LeBleu homestead east of Lake Charles. His father, Arsene LeBleu, was born in 1787 and was the first settler in Calcasieu east of the river. He made his home on the prairie east of Lake Charles over a hundred years ago, and in this locality Major LeBleu was reared to manhood and spent his whole life. His father was attracted by the California gold discovery in 1849 and was one of the first to cross the plains to the new El Dorado, but did not live to return. He died in Sacramento in 1850. His mother died in 1883, aged 83 years.
When the war between the state broke out, Major LeBleu enlisted in Co. K, Eighteenth [10th] Louisiana, and served throughout the war, participating in the battles of Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Mansfield and other engagements. He was mustered out at Natchitoches and returning to the old home, took up residence on the home farm east of Lake Charles where the rest of his life was spent. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers’ union in Calcasieu parish in the 70’s and served as president of the local organization. Eleven years ago he organized the LeBleu Rangers, a troop of cavalry in the Louisiana National Guard, which at that time had no unit in western Louisiana, and officiated as its commander and later as major commanding the cavalry force of the state national guard. Thanks to the interest aroused by his initiative, several other national guard commands were formed later in western Louisiana.
Major LeBleu was elected a member of the Calcasieu parish police jury in 1888 and served twenty years in that capacity until 1908 when his precarious state of health forced him to retire for a time from public affairs. He was re-elected in 1912. During most of his service he was president of the governing body of the parish and was always a worker for the public improvements which have made this parish pre-eminent throughout the state.
Mr. LeBleu was married to Leoneze [Laonaise] Hebert who survives him, with five of the ten children. The surviving children are Mrs. Grace Rosteet, Mrs. Beatrice Richard, Mrs. Evalena Little, Mrs. Aarons and Mr. P.D. LeBleu.
Other Historical Notes:
According to LeBleu’s military service record, he was appointed color-bearer of the 10th Louisiana Infantry 1 Sept. 1861. He carried the regimental battle flag in the Battle of Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862, one of the bloodiest battles in the War for Southern Independence. Lt. Edward A. Seton of his company, wrote that LeBleu’s flag staff was shot in two during the charge, but the color sergeant was miraculously not wounded. The 10th Louisiana was the only Confederate regiment to penetrate the Federal line and temporarily captured 10 Yankee cannons. When the regiment was not reinforced, they were driven back by a powerful Yankee counterattack. His record also states, “Deserted his regiment and joined the Confederate cavalry.” LeBleu later explained he was home on furlough when Vicksburg fell and couldn’t return to Virginia. He then joined the 7th Louisiana Cavalry with the rank of second lieutenant and fought in the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill in the Red River Campaign. The 7th Louisiana Cavalry also helped eradicate Jayhawkers in Southwest Louisiana, who were terrorizing the population. During the Spanish-American War, he raised a cavalry unit, called the LeBleu Rangers, serving as the major, in the Louisiana State Militia. He was an active charter member of Calcasieu Camp No. 62, United Confederate Veterans, and organized the first Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Calcasieu Parish in his police jury office in 1911. Joseph Camarsac LeBleu died Nov. 6, 1914 and is buried in the Old Catholic Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana.