Sunday, March 20, 2016

Confederate Guards Response Battalion by Michael Dan Jones

     From the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee in 1862, to the Battle of Mansfield in Louisiana in 1864, the Confederate Guards Response Battalion was one of the hardest fighting units from the Pelican State in the War for Southern Independence.
     The battalion, organized in March, 1862 in New Orleans, was formed in response to General P.G.T. Beauregard's appeal to the governors of Southern states to immediately raise and dispatch 90 day volunteers and other organized state militia to help him stop the rampaging Federal army of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Tennessee.
     Fort Henry and Fort Donaldson had fallen and the Northern invaders took Nashville and were threatening to crush the Confederacy in the Mississippi Valley. New Orleans, the largest and most industrialized Southern city would surely fall if the Federals were not stopped.
     Commanding the battalion was Lt. Col. Franklin H. Clack, a native of Florida who became a leading citizen of New Orleans and was appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana by President Franklin Pierce. Clack was a graduate of Mount Saint Mary's College and Yale College law school. He had also served as the Secretary of the U.S. delegation in Brazil in 1851.
     Clack, whose image is on the book cover, was also a humanitarian who volunteered with other New Orleans residents to help the people of Norfolk, Virginia in 1855 during a yellow fever epidemic. Prior to the War for Southern Independence, he supported Sen. Stephen Douglas in the 1860 election and was a cooperationist during the secession crisis. But when Louisiana seceded, Clack went with his state and was devoted to the cause of Southern Independence.
     The officers of the Confederate Guards Response Battalion were made up mostly of professional and business men of New Orleans. The enlisted ranks came from the urban middle class, including policemen, printers, clerks and other typical urban occupations of the time. They came from the ranks of the Louisiana State Militia, particularly the Confederate Guards Regiment, and what volunteers they could sign up before leaving for the front.
     In less than a month after they were organized, the Confederate Guards Response Battalion was in one of the major battles of the war, the Battle of Shiloh. There, they performed well and earned the praise of their brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Patton Anderson.
     After another praise-worthy performance a the Battle of Farmington, Miss., May 9, 1862, and the Siege of Corinth, Miss., the battalion was transferred back to Louisiana to defend their own state from the invasions led by Federal generals Benjamin "Beast" Buter in 1862 and Nathaniel P. Banks in 1863 and 1864.
     Also covered in the book, besides Shiloh and Farmington, are the battles of Georgia's Landing, Irish Bend, Stirling's Plantation, Mansfields and Yellow Bayou, the Bayou LaFourche Campaign, Bayou Teche Campaign and the Red Rivers Campaign.
     The book has photographs, including one of the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Franklin H. Clack, maps, illustrations, roster of the unit, bibliography, and index; trade paperback, $15.95. It is published by and is available on that web site as well as other online book sellers.

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