Vivandiere, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle (2)

8 05 2020

Vivandiere, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle (2)

From the Seat of War in Virginia.
—————

Special to the New Orleans Crescent

Headquarters Seventh Regiment La. Vols.
2 ½ Miles from Centreville, VA, August 3.

Mr. Editor – My multitudinous duties of a military character have kept me so constantly employed for the past few days as to cause me, unwillingly, to delay the “continuation” of my letter of the 23rd ult., relative to the great battles of Bull Run and Stone Bridge, or “Manassas.” Of the full particulars of both these memorable battles, you are, ere this, fully informed through other correspondents, and the official returns published in the Richmond papers and the Northern press. Even the interesting episodes of which such tragic scenes are always so prolific have been ere this served upon the public platter, as food for the insatiable appetite, proceeding from the “animal which is in man,” and hashed and re-hashed until they have become insipid and tasteless.

A few incidents which either occurred under my own observation, or for the truthfulness whereof I will vouch, have thus far however escaped other argus-eyed correspondents for the press, and I will claim for the Crescent the honor of being fist in the field with them. Of one of these, the historian should make note, as a link forever binding the name of Beauregard to that of all that is truly great and honorable.

It was not until late in the afternoon of the eventful 21st that President Davis arrived on the battle-field, and Beauregard had from an elevated stand-point seen the last gallant horseman of our pursuing cavalry disappear in the distance after the retreating Federalists ere he was informed of the President’s coming. I was near him, as his staff and the field-officers of the day approached to congratulate him on his safety and his victory. He was thus occupied when one of his aids approached at the top of his horse’s speed and announced the fact of the President’s arrival and request to have the pleasure of seeing him immediately. The reply of Beauregard was firm and unimpassioned: “I cannot wait upon the President himself till I have first seen and attended to the wants of my wounded!” This saying he turned his horse in the direction of the most fatal portion of the bloody field. Such a man is our Beauregard.

In conversation with many apparently intelligent Yankee prisoners, and from letters picked up on the field of battle, we gain a much better idea of public sentiment at the North than is discoverable from the perusal of the hireling papers of that section. When asked why they had taken up arms against us and invaded our soil, many of the prisoners would reply that they had enlisted for three months with a view of protecting the “National Capital” against a “Southern mob,” and had been marched, against their wills and wishes, into Southern territory, and would prefer to remain prisoners at Richmond until the suspension of hostilities than to rejoin the “grand army” of Northern aggression and invasion. I was engaged, at Manassas Junction, a day or two after the battle of the 21st, in conversation with a prisoner, a Sergeant in a Connecticut regiment, when a large and good natured looking darkie, belonging to an officer from South Carolina, came in, having in charge two live Yankee prisoners, whom he had surprised, disarmed, and captured, unaided. The negro was much pleased with his exploit, and became the lion of the hour. My Connecticut sergeant appeared somewhat astonished that the negroes – the downtrodden, bechained, bestrapped, misused, maltreated and crushed – should thus turn upon their liberators and friends (?). Your correspondent “took occasion” to read Connecticut a homily, with the above mentioned circumstance for a text, and felt sufficiently repaid for my efforts, in my first lesson, in the assurance on the parted Nutmeg, that there had “no doubt been considerable fault on both sides.”

The regiment to which I am attached, the Seventh of Louisiana, under Col. Hays, is now encamped on the battle-field of Bull Run, abut two hundred yards from Blackburn’s Ford, across which the enemy attempted to force a passage – and did’nt. The Sixth, of Louisiana, (Col. Seymour’s,) is quartered to our left a few hundred yards, and the Washington Artillery about a mile farther up the Run. The Ninth is at Manassas Junction. All the Louisiana troops in this section have been formed into a Brigade, under command of Senior Colonel Seymour, which arrangement appears to be generally satisfactory to all.

I have just had placed in my hands the monthly reports of the several companies of the Seventh Regiment, from which I collate the following of the killed and wounded in the late battles:

Continental Guards, Capt. Geo. Clark – Killed, Wm. Maylau on the 18th ult., and Thos. R. Clay on the 21st. Wounded, Sergeant [?], and Privates Jno. Flynn and J. W. Kelly, all on the 21st.

Crescent Rifles, Company B, Capt H. T. Jett – Killed, Jno. S. Brooks, on the 18th ult. Wounded, Corporal Chas. V. Fisher, on the 21st, doing well.

American Rifles, Capt. Wm. D. Rickarby – Wounded, Wm. Stanton, slightly, in the battle of the 21st.

Irish volunteers, of Lafourche, Capt. W. B. Ratliff – Killed [?] Murphy, 21st; Wounded on the 21st. Corporal Fallan lost an arm, James Hammond, Jas. McCarty, Francis Manley and Timothy Noon.

Baton Rouge Fencibles – Wounded, 21st, J. T. [?] and W. H. Banks.

Virginia Blues, Capt. D. A Wilson, Jr. – Killed, Miles Smythe, July 18; Wounded, Patrick Cane and Jno. McMahan. Total killed, 5; wounded, 14.

Of the loss of the Eighth Regiment, I see you are already informed, and also relative to the cutting up of Wheat’s Battalion.

Our boys are in the best of spirits, and eager for more fighting.

I enclose you a discourse delivered by our Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Howard of New Orleans, on the Sunday succeeding the great battle of Stone Bridge, on the very spot where the battle raged the hottest on the ever memorable 21st of July. It was entirely extemporaneous, and written out afterwards from recollection. I send it to you by urgent request of nearly all our officers, and very many others who were present on the occasion of its delivery. It will well repay perusal. More anon.

Vivandiere

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/6/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

*The writer’s enlistment in the 7th Louisiana is assumed, but not certain.





A Louisianan, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On the Regiment’s (and the State’s) Role at Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle

6 05 2020

Letter from Camp Pickens, Va.
—————

Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction, July 26, 1861.

Mr. Editor –  No doubt by this time you are well acquainted with the particulars of the battles of the 18th and 19th instant. Virginians claim for themselves the honor of having gained both of them. I am a Louisianan. And as Louisiana was well represented on the field on both occasions, I wish to see given them the honor which is their just due. The Richmond papers give the first honors to their own citizens, of course, but to Louisiana, they have as yet barely mentioned her name. I am willing that Virginia should have the honor due them, but I am unwilling that Louisianans should be defrauded of their honors. They have come a long way to fight the battles of their country, and ought to be, at least, treated with due respect. In some statements of the battles, Louisiana receives no credit whatever, not even the presence of her sons being mentioned. They have given to the Washington Artillery and Major Wheat’s Battalion, a portion of their dues; but to the Louisiana Seventh they have rendered nothing, besides several independent Louisiana companies, which were in the thickest of the fight. Among them was the Crescent Blues.

On the 18th the Louisiana Seventh was in the hottest part of the battle, and was acknowledged to the best fighting regiment on the ground, by all but Virginians.

You have heard how the Tiger Rifles charged Ellsworth’s Zouaves with bowie-knives; you have heard how bravely the Washington Artillery fought; but have you seen any mention made of the Louisiana Seventh? If you have, I have not. No Virginia paper has spoken in any manner of the achievements of this regiment. They spoke of the Eighth, and gave that regiment credit for several brave and resolute charges, which I know were not made by it or any other regiment.

In this, as in everything else, Virginia is allowed first honors; but if you give her an inch, she wants an ell; so, she must needs claim all the honor, and leave her sister States go a begging. Although she does not deserve first honors, I am willing she should enjoy them; but I am still not willing that our State, old Louisiana, should lose her dues in this. While we were in Lynchburg, Va., I was conversing with a Virginian about the number of troops sent by the different States. He said that, after Virginia, Louisiana was the most prompt in sending troops. Said I, “Sir, I consider Louisiana second to no State, not even Virginia.” He was then willing to acknowledge that Louisiana was equal to Virginia.

I am one of those who like to see every one “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s;” so, you must excuse my egotism. I have not given Louisiana half she deserves. I only wish that Louisianans should know how she is honored in Virginia by Virginians.

Yours respectfully,

A Louisianan

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/6/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

*The writer’s enlistment in the 7th Louisiana is assumed, but not certain.





Vivandiere, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle (1)

4 05 2020

From the Seat of War in Virginia
—————
Special to the New Orleans Crescent

Manassas Junction, July 21, 1861.

Mr. Editor – A few hours having elapsed since the smoke of the two late desperate conflicts between despotism and liberty cleared away, I will endeavor to disrobe wild rumor of its exaggerations and give your readers as correct and intelligible a report of the past few days in Eastern Virginia as it is possible at present to communicate. On Tuesday, the 16th inst., the entire corps d’armie, constituting the column under the command of Brigadier-General McDowell, left Arlington Heights, with the intention of forcing its way through to Richmond, via Fairfax and Manassas. The advance was made by four different routes leading towards Fairfax Court-house, and directly to Centreville.

The right wing, composed of the first division, four brigades under Gen. Tyler of Connecticut, approached by the [?]town turnpike. The center, composed of the second division, two brigades, Col Hunter, U.S.A., came by the Leesburg or Centreville road. The left wing was composed of the third division, three brigades, Col. Heintzelman, U.S.A., and the fifth division, two brigades, under Col. Miles, U.S.A. The latter approached by the “Old Braddock road,” and the third by the “Little River turnpike.” The fourth division, under Gen. Runyon, of New Jersey, constituted the reserve. In the whole column there were sixty-two regiments, about 55,000 men.

Meeting with but little resistance, these several divisions were concentrated at Fairfax Court-house where there was but about three thousand men under Gen. Bonham, of South Carolina. This position was surrendered by Gen. Bonham’s command, which fell back towards Centreville and Blackburn’s Ford on a small creek called Bull’s Run, about four and a half miles north-west from Manassas Junction. On Thursday, the 18th inst., the center of this imposing army, composed of the second division, numbering upwards of 12,000 men, under the immediate command of [?], were reported approaching Blackburn’s Ford. This ford is about twenty-five feet in width, and is approached by an irregular ravine made by the spongy nature of the soil. The northern bank is a perpendicular bluff about thirty feet high, with sides of a precipitate character. The southern bank is low and subject o overflow at high water.

Gen. Beauregard, hearing of the approach of McDowell to this ford, was on the alert and in a few hours had concentrated about 3,000 infantry and three pieces of artillery (Major Walton’s) at the ford. McDowell opened the ball with a [?] from a portion of Sherman’s celebrated battery, consisting of six or seven assorted pieces, including the famous eighteen pounder. The first few shots from the battery were directed at temporary headquarters of Gen. Beauregard, situated about half a mile to the rear of the ford, and the aim of the heaviest gun was directed at our hospital, from the top of which, in plain sight, a yellow flag was flying. The Washington Artillery, taking a position to draw the fire of the enemy from the hospital, responded, and soon had the six pieces of the enemy’s battery in full play upon their own guns. On the fourth or fifth fire, our six-pounder disabled the great eighteen-ponder of Boston, and soon after the music of the enemy was less deafening. Gen Beauregard, who commanded in person, now ordered the Seventh Regiment of Louisiana, under Colonel Harry T. Hays, and the First, Eleventh and Twenty-fourth Regiments of Virginia, to take position at the extreme southern flank of the ford, and prepare to give a warm reception to the enemy, who were seen approaching the opposite bank with their whole force of infantry. Gen. Bonham, meanwhile, had stationed his command of brave South Carolinians, consisting of several thousand gallant troops, and two batteries, a few miles above the ford, but did not come into action. The “bully Seventh of Louisiana,” under the inspiring command of ‘our Harry,’ charged the narrow border of timber that skirted the run at the ford, and with two of the three Virginia regiments above mentioned in close order beside them opened a most murderous fire on the thickets upon the opposite bank. “Our Seventh” in this, its first engagement, proved an honor to the State which sent it forth to battle for Southern independence.

Hitherto untried and inexperienced in the arts of war, both officers and men proved their mettle and efficiency. Col. Hays was not only theoretically but practically the head and front of his command, rushing with heroic coolness and bravery into the thick though narrow chaparral of undergrowth which skirted the banks of the stream, closely followed by his entire command. The Virginia regiments, coming in about the same time, drew a raking fire from the enemy on the [?], almost directly over our heads, the aim, however, being too high for effect. The Virginia Blues, under command of Capt. D. A. Wilson, Jr., of New Orleans, following their gallant leader, who, sword in hand, led his scarcely less heroic company down to the very brink of the stream, occupied the southern bank of the ford, being, in the absence of Capt. Terry’s Livingston Rifles, on the extreme left of the regiment. The conduct of Capt. Wilson and Lieuts. H. C. Thompson and C. E. Bellenger of the same company, is worthy of all praise; but being desirous of mentioning other names in connection with heroism on this memorable day, I am compelled to omit any detailed description of their acts. Under one of the most pouring showers of [?] [?] ever witnessed, the Virginia Blues followed the lead of the officers mentioned, almost to the water’s edge, the other companies of the regiment following obliquely to the right. The First Virginia Regiment having been the first to enter the woods, about a quarter mile above the ford, was under a most murderous fire, when the Seventh Louisiana entered. Encouraged by the reinforcement of the latter, who went into the thicket with a war-whoop which would have one credit to a band of Comanches, the Third, which was being slowly forced back from the water’s edge, returned to the charge with renewed vigor, and, sustained by the Third and Eleventh of Virginia in the rear, the First of Virginia and the Seventh of Louisiana stood their ground without flinching, receiving and returning the fire of the enemy for eight or ten rounds, when the Yankees retreated from the ford and scattered up and down the run.

Our own forces were also somewhat distributed, the Seventh and First Regiments still holding their position at the ford. Sherman’s Battery now opened with renewed vigor, and the fight lasted for two or three hours, when the little battery of Capt. Eschelman, of the Washington Artillery, proving too strong for the enemy, the latter retired, and the hard-fought day was ours. Of the conduct of our officers, too much cannot be said in their praise. From prisoners captured yesterday at the battle of Stone Bridge, I learn that the Seventh Regiment of Louisiana come in for more than its mere numerical proportion of credit in bringing about the result, among the enemy. The idea obtained that the “Seventh” was composed of New Orleans thugs, murderers and jail birds, a la Billy Wilson’s “Zous,” and was known among the Federalists as the “ragged Seventh.” Even this rather exceptional character is preferable to the treatment the Seventh received at the hands of the telegraphic reporter, at this point, for the Richmond press, who, in his dispatches, I perceive entirely ignored the fact of the presence of the regiment on the battle-field.

I do not wish to appear partial or invidious, but cannot forbear mentioning a few of the names of the officers of the Seventh whose opportunities for the exhibition of valorous conduct were perhaps better than their brothers-in-arms. Of the conduct of Capt. D. A. Wilson, Jr., and Lieutenants Bellenger and Thompson, I have already spoken. Capt. Wilson, when the order to charge was given, drew his sword, and waving it above his head, shouted at the top of his voice, “Come on, blue birds! follow me!” And they did, through a shower of balls thicker than hail-stones, followed by the remaining companies of the regiment at irregular intervals, but a short distance behind. Capt. S. H. Gilman, of the Crescent Rifles, Company C, ably and bravely supported by Lieutenants Driver and Dawson, was also conspicuous in the fight. Capt. W. B. Ratliff, of the Irish Volunteers, was remarkable for his close attention to duty and his cool courage. Lieutenants Hewitt and Kernington, of the same company, also distinguished themselves. Of Lieut. W. P. Harper, of the Crescent Rifles Company B, who, owing to the illness of Capt. Jett, took command of the company, I have only space to say that he is every inch a man, and a leader of coolness, bravery and efficiency. He was well sustained by Lieutenants A. E. Knox and H. Grimshaw, of the same company. Of Col. Harry T. Hays, it would not be necessary for me to say more than that he was present in the fray, for those who know him to feel assured, that he did his duty valiantly, and came out with additional laurels. To others, let me say should his life be spared, which may the Lord of Battle grant, his name will be remembered as one of the best military commanders of the war.

Our Lieutenant-Colonel, Chas. D. Choiseul, proved himself in this battle an officer whose native element is war; while in regard to Major Davidson Penn, I have but time to say that his action on the field of battle contributed in no small degree to the success of our regiment in the fight. Of our adjutant, Lieut. A. M. Merriam, his native coolness and excellent military ability did not desert him when under fire; while, in relation to the Sergeant Major, Redwood, who, with rifle I hand, entered with spirit into the hottest of the fight, allow me to remark that the regiment made and auspicious selection when it placed him in the position he occupies.

I have been thus minute in recording the part taken by our “crack Seventh” in the battle of the 18th, from the fact that the very existence, or at least the presence of the regiment in Virginia, has been almost, if not entirely, overlooked by the Virginia press. While the telegraph has been made to give other regiments the glory which should attach to its proud banner, President Davis and Generals Beauregard and Johnson have not been slow to perceive and acknowledge the prominent position which the Seventh of Louisiana had held in both engagements on Bull Runn, and will all in good time contribute their testimony in favor of the gallant and indispensable services rendered by it on both occasions. Meanwhile the friends of the members of the regiment will be pleased to learn that “Our Harry” and his command have not been idle spectators during the exciting events of the past few days.

Of the battle on Sunday, the 21st, at Stone Bridge, I will not attempt a reportorial description, as the telegraph ad official accounts have reached you before this can appear in your columns. I wish, however, to correct one or two blunders of the telegraphic agent, and again claim a little need of credit for our favorite “Seventh.” In the first really intelligible account of the fight you received over the wires, you were informed that at about 3 o’clock P.M. of the eventful 21st, when our heroic Spartan force of but 15,000 men, after a most valiant and desperate struggle of four hours, against 35,000 of the enemy, were being slowly forced from their position near the Stone Bridge, that Gen. Kirby Smith arrived with his brigade, on the railroad from Winchester to Manassas Junction; and that when within two miles of the bridge, seeing the violence of the contest there, he stopped the cars, dismounted his men, and, without orders, marched to, and arrived at, the scene of the action just in season to prevent the loss of our position and to change the tide of the battle in our favor.

Now, without wishing to deduct one iota from the importance of this fortunate and providential movement of Gen. Smith, I beg to submit that Louisiana, represented by her gallant Seventh, played an important part at this most critical juncture of the battle. The position of the Seventh of Louisiana having been in the center division of the defense during the early part of the day, (where, without coming into actual contact with the center of the enemy, it had been kept marching, on double-quick time, from one station to another, for several hours) was, about 12 o’clock, ordered suddenly to march in company with the Thirteenth Regiment of Mississippi, under Col. Barksdale, to the Stone Bridge, seven miles above. These two regiments were immediately on their way, and arrived on the field at about 2 o’clock, just in time to reinforce and relieve the tired and almost fainting troops already in the fight. Fatigued and almost ready to sink from exhaustion and the influence of a broiling sun, Col. Hays and his ever-ready staff immediately proffered their services to jump to the rescue, and, together with Col. Barksdale of the Mississippi Thirteenth, under Col. Early in command of the brigade, started on double-quick across the field to encounter the foe, then drawn up about three-fourths of a mile distant, and in the midst of a most murderous fire of shot, shell and bullets, Col. Hays, seeing at a glance the urgent necessity for prompt action, formed his own men on the march, Major Penn taking a position in the front, at which point Co. Hays joined him as soon as possible. After receiving two or three volleys of minie balls from a large body of regulars and volunteers, an order from Col. Early to charge this body, was communicated by an aid to Col. Hays, who gave it to his command with such vim as to occasion a spontaneous and unflinching response from the entire regiment. The boys sent up a shout which was heard above the roar of the artillery and the incessant firing of infantry, and which struck terror to the very heart of the volunteers, who beat a precipitate retreat, but who were soon rallied by the sterner regulars.

The Thirteenth of Mississippi and our Seventh were now within about a quarter of a mile of the enemy, when an order from Col. Early to halt, placed both regiments at the mercy of the fire of the enemy. The order was founded on the mistaken belief of Col. Early that the body on whom the charge was being made were friends. Several sharp volleys from their ranks soon put all doubts to rest as to the character of the body, and a fresh order to charge, accompanied by a perfect war-whoop from both regiments, struck terror to the souls of both regulars and volunteers, ad a quick retreat of the enemy, however, in excellent order, was made. Gen. Smith now came up in line, and a general charge was made, when the entire force of the Federalists brake and fled precipitately in the direction of Centreville, followed closely by about three thousand fresh cavalry, Gen. Johnston’s division bringing up the rear, in hot pursuit. This is the truth, the whole truth, and simply the truth. And when the history of the never-to-be-forgotten battle is written by hands guided by cool and stubborn facts, it will be seen that Louisiana contributed not only her Beauregard but other brave officers and men, to aid materially in the accomplishment of the grand result.

In this engagement the following officers of the Seventh are said to have distinguished themselves in various ways: Capt. Geo. D. Clark, Lieuts. McFarland and Davis of the Continental Guards, of New Orleans; Capt. Ratcliff, and Lieuts. Hewitt and Kernington, of the Irish Volunteers of LaFourche; Capt. T. Moore Wilson, and Lieut T. Gibbs Morgan, of the Sarsfield Rangers; and Lieuts. Harper, Knox, and Grimshaw, of Crescent Rifles, Company B. Lieut. Harper, on the 18th, led this fine company into the field; Lieut. Saml. Flower led the American Rifles into the field and was active and efficient. Lieut. Driver, of Company C, Crescent Rifles, did the state good service on this memorable day. In the Virginia Blues, Capt. C. A. Wilson, Jr., and Lieuts. Thompson and Bellenger, and, indeed, the entire company present on the field, numbering some 76 privates, were highly applauded for their gallant and soldierly bearing. A private in the ranks of the Continental Guards, Mr. Antony Offergeld, was also highly complimented by his Colonel. The Seventh Regiment, Washington Artillery, and Major Wheat’s Battalion, were the only Louisiana troops engaged in that part of the fight which took place at Stone Bridge.

Vivandiere

P. S. Our loss in killed and wounded will not exceed 1300. About 1000 prisoners have passed through this place for Richmond, up to this writing.

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/1/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

*The writer’s enlistment in the 7th Louisiana is assumed, but not certain.





Unknown, Co. B (Tiger Rifles), 1st Special Louisiana Battalion, On the Battle

28 04 2020

The Tiger Rifles at Manassas.
—————

We have before us a private letter from a member of the Tiger Rifles, who were in the thickest of the fight at Stone Bridge, and rendered efficient service as one of the companies of Wheat’s Battalion:

On Sunday, 21st, at sunrise, the enemy commenced throwing shot and shell among us. Our second platoon, under command of Lieutenant Adrian, ran a party of cavalry some distance towards their lines. We were then ordered to deploy towards the left, and hold them in check for reinforcements to prevent being outflanked on our left, and here we had the honor to open the ball and receive the first fire.

As we were crossing a field in an exposed situation, we were fired upon (through mistake) by a body of South Carolinians, and at once the enemy let loose as if all hell had been let loose. Flat upon our faces we received their showers of balls; a moment’s pause, and we rose, closed in upon them with a fierce yell, clubbing our rifles and using our long knives. This hand to hand fight lasted until fresh reinforcements drive us back beyond our original position, we carrying our wounded with us. Major Wheat was here shot from his horse; Capt. White’s horse was shot under him, our First Lieutenant was wounded in the thigh, Dick Hawkins shot through the breast and wrist, and any number of killed and wounded were strewn all about. The New York Fire Zouaves, seeing our momentary confusion, gave three cheers and started for us, but it was the last shout that most of them ever gave. We covered the ground with their dead and dying, and had driven them beyond their first position, when just then we heard three cheers for the Tigers and Louisiana. The struggle was decided. The gallant Seventh has “double-quicked” it for nine miles, and came rushing into the fight. They fired as they came within point blank range, and charged with fixed bayonets. The enemy broke and fled panic-stricken, with our men in full pursuit.

When the fight and pursuit were over, we were drawn up in line and received the thanks of Gen. Johnston for what he termed our “extraordinary and desperate stand.” Gen. Beauregard sent word to Major Wheat, “you, and your battalion, for this day’s work, shall never be forgotten, whether you live or die.”

At the close of his letter the writer speaks of some of the minor casualties in the following humorous vein:

Tom Williams got his in the jaw by a spent ball, which caused him to shift his chew of tobacco to the other side; Tom Malloy got the tip of his nose chipped off by a splinter from a rail, but says he can spare the piece, as he has plenty left; Old Kelly got it through the calf of the leg, and now he growls because he can’t have the limb cut off, so that he can peddle cigars on the levee; Ben White cursed his luck because he could not get shot, and concluded he’d cut himself, but when he looked for his knife, someone had stolen it, etc.

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/1/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy





Unknown, Co. E, 7th Louisiana Infantry, On the Battle

25 04 2020

Letter from the Field of Battle.
—————

The following is a private letter from a gentleman belonging to Company C, Crescent Rifles, addressed to a friend in this city. It contains some interesting items in regard to the great battle.

Stone Bridge at Battle Ground
July 27, 1861.

Dear B. – Again we are victorious, having driven the enemy beyond Fairfax, taken all their rifled cannon, among them the famous Sherman Battery, the finest in the States, fifty wagon loads of provisions, about fifteen hundred stand of arms, killing between four and five thousand of them, and taking fifteen hundred prisoners. Such a victory was never known since the days of Napoleon, and it was fought on Sunday, the day Waterloo was won. The Tigers commenced the fight at 5 o’clock A. M., charging on and taking a battery, having to give it up twice, but at last succeeding in unlimbering it. Gen. Scott was in the vicinity of the battle; so was President Davis, who visited our regiment in person. He complimented us highly for the work we had done. We had been maneuvering all the morning before the enemy, deceiving them as to our numbers, but getting shelled all the time. Four men were killed not six feet from me by the explosion of a shell thrown two miles from a hill commanding our position; in fact, they always had the advantage, because we had to force them to fight us. You should have seen the devils run when we, with our brigade, charged up the hill on their left flank, the Washington Artillery pouring shot and shell into them. General Beauregard was with the detachment of Washington Artillery when his horse was shot under him. He seems perfectly happy with the result, and says two millions of dollars will not replace the things taken from the enemy. It has been a glorious victory. One would suppose, from the things they brought with them, that all they had to do was come and conquer. Cooking stoves, all kinds of cooking utensils, and provisions enough last the army for sometime to come, they had; but fortune and the God of Battles was against them, and now we are enjoying all their good things. Yesterday I cut one-half a fine fruit-cake made by some Yankee girl for her sweet-heart. And the letters! You would laugh to read them. Everything has been done and said to encourage their soldiers for their cause. Envelopes, with all kinds of bombast, such as Jeff. Davis hanging by a limb of a tree, and the Manassas Railroad, with U. S. Soldiers, their flag flying, with the following words: “Come on, boys, only six miles to the Junction,” (assuming Manassas) and hundreds of others too numerous to mention. Be assured, I never wish to see such another flight. The horrors of this battle-field are enough to make the stoutest heard quake – horses, friends and enemies laying in heaps all around us; and to think of our sleeping on the field, when we could hear the groans of the wounded and their piteous cries for water, was as much as I could endure. The ambulances were going all night, carrying off the dead and wounded. The enemy did not stop to pick up their dead. We had to bury them to get clear of the stench, which was intolerable. In the first fight we were in, I was selected, after it was over, to watch the motions of the enemy. They were all around me. They shot at us a great many times during the day. Some of my men crept through the woods and picked off two of their sentinels. Colonel Hays complimented our behavior on that day, having the most dangerous position on the whole line. But on Sunday our brigade turned the battle in our favor. Our coming on, whooping and yelling, like so many devils, struck terror into their souls. Had we arrived ten minutes later, I think the battle would have been different; as it was, we had marched twenty-five miles under double quick time. We were tired, indeed, without water, dusty and black as negroes. I have had no chance to wash my face for five days. We have been our in the open fields, with the rain on us, for three days, and nothing but the blankets we gathered up from the enemy to cover with. You can judge from that we have had no child’s play. The Washington Artillery boys are trumps, you can tell all; and are considered by all the commanding officers to be the best in the United States, (that way) They returned shot for shot, even when shot and shell were flying all around them; in fact, Louisiana can boast of her soldiers in Virginia. They have done their duty. I might write you sheet on sheet of the incidents of the battle, but will reserve it until I can see you, if ever I do. God knows, I wish this battle may do the thing and peace be declared, as it is a horrible thing to see friend and brother against friend and brother.

This is a Yankee paper, pen and ink I am writing with.

God bless you and yours, is the earnest prayer of your friend.

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 7/31/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy





Pvt. John F. “Fred” Gruber, Co. A, 7th Louisiana Infantry, On Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle

2 11 2016

The Continental Guards at Bull Run and Stone Bridge.

———-

The town having waited with much impatience for news of Capt. George Clark and his gallant Continentals, it affords us much pleasure to lay before our readers the following letter, descriptive of what the Continentals saw and did during the ever memorable battles of the 18th and 21st of July. It was addressed to Mr. J. M. Laborde, and by that gentleman kindly placed at our disposal. The fact that the letter is from our old friend, Fred Gruber, will render it especially interesting:

Stone Bridge, Virginia, July 24, 1861

J. M. Laborde, Esq. – My Old Friend: Having by note to my wife apprised you that I am still in the land of the living, I avail myself of this first opportunity to give you a rough sketch of our doings since my last. The camp life at Camp Pickens, at the Junction, went on in the usual routine of business – drill, parade, etc., – until the 9th inst., when our company was ordered a few miles from camp, on picket duty, where we remained up to the 12th, on the morning of which day we were ordered back to camp, on order to join our regiment in the march of advance on the enemy.

While on picket duty the life was pleasant enough, with the exception of the fare, which was rather scant, consisting of salt pork and bread, and one young hog, which lost its way and strolled into our camp, where, owing to an unmistakeable Abolition proclivities, it met with an untimely death, greatly to the gusto of the boys. On the morning after our return to camp we struck the tents and marched to Camp Wigfall, about five miles distant, and there took up our abode for the time being. Reports constantly reaching us from Manassas Junction of the frequent arrivals of large bodies of troops, at once admonished us that our stay there would not be a long one, and our surmises proved correct, as on the evening of the 16th we struck tents again, leaving them and knapsacks behind, and provided with three days’ provisions in our haversacks, forty rounds of cartridges and guns, we quartered for that night on the ridge of one of those romantic mountains with which Virginia abounds. Here we met, for the first time, the Washington Artillery, or at least a good portion thereof. Of course the courtesies of war were exchanged, without, however, that usual New Orleans appendix, “Let us take a drink” as we had ‘nary drop.” After having, during a pleasant night, inhaled a sufficient supply of cool Virginia breeze and indulged in sweet dreams on rather hard ground, we broke camp in the early morn, and joined by a Virginia regiment and a battery of Washington Artillery, went over hill and dale, until about 12 o’clock, when we halted and took up, very mysteriously, our quarters under cover of a point of woods. At first, I thought strange of the movement; but in a very short time, with my usual quickness of perception, sharpened by a number of rifled cannon balls of the enemy flying right and left of us, I fully discovered the propriety of this order. Balls continued whistling, and at intervals musketry could be heard. Finally, when the report of arms indicated the progress of a general engagement, the word “march” was given and the brigade under Col. Early, of which the 7th regiment formed a prominent part, went in double quick time to the scene of action. On the way we were continually saluted by shells and balls of the enemy’s artillery, and it was a real miracle that some of us did not get killed; but God seemed then, as he has up to this time, to have held his protecting hand over us.

Arrived at a small river. Bull’s Run, the line of contention, the enemy occupied the top and slope of a hill on one side, while we were on a plain on the other side of the stream. One Virginia regiment, stationed there before us, had repelled the enemy already three times, and actually crossed the river and driven them to the top of the hills, when again they had to retreat and give way to numerical odds twenty to one. It was then our brigade arrived; and of such volleys of musketry, and the roaring of six pieces of the Washington Artillery, one who never was in battle cannot form an idea. The commanding voices of their officers, the shouts and hurrahs of the boys, the bursting of shells and howling of balls, formed a concert which was rather calculated to strengthen nerves, no matter how weak, or else kill instanter. For more than two hours this state of affairs lasted, when finally, the Artillery, after then enemy had been driven up the infantry, so effectively poured their shells and rifle balls into the ranks and batteries of the same, that the former must have suffered a terrible loss, and the latter were completely silenced. Our loss on that day was comparatively small – ten killed and about twenty-five wounded; among the latter Ernest [Siball?], of whose fate you, no doubt, know more than I do. The boys, though in their first battle, showed great spirit and spunk, and not one seemed to realize the constant danger impending. The officers were cool and collected and led their men to the front. I should not particularize, but I cannot refrain from mentioning particularly big Captain Wilson, (tobacco merchant on Gravier street) of the Virginia Blues. He, by our marching by the left flank, held the post of honor, and well did he fill it; no sooner in front of the ford, than he exclaimed, in his characteristic style, “Light on me, blue birds;” and so they did; they fought like good fellows, while their gallant Captain crossed swords with a Yankee Lieutenant, when one of the men expedited him to the other side of the Jordan. To make this rather hasty sketch complete, you must imagine Capt. Wilson, with nothing on but a dirty woolen shirt and a pair of blue pants and a slouch hat. Shortly after the firing had ceased, the dead on our side removed, and the wounded been properly cared for, I went in a squad of about twenty, in command of Lieut. Harper, across the stream to the slope of the hill. The sight here beggared description; so precipitate was their flight that they even did not take time to carry their dead off, and even left wounded behind; who, after suffering and groaning all night, were finally brought over and cared for by us; their dead on the side of the hill, where only musketry reached, to the number of more than twenty five, were buried by us, while the ground was literally covered with clothing, haversacks, equipments of all descriptions, and thousands of other things. Over 160 stands of the most improved fire-arms fell into our hands, together with more than that number of soldier’s caps.

In searching over the effects thus suddenly acquired, we found that the main force of this army seemed to have been letter writers, specimens of which fell into our hands, testifying strongly that imagination, no matter how vivid, at a Southern standard, could compare with the poetical flight of these consummate liars. Envelopes with colored engravings of the most disgusting and fanatical character, and franked by some Abolition member of Congress, were to be found in every pocket, while the general outfit of all seemed to be more appropriate to a barbecue of three days duration, or a regular week of camp meeting, than for war purposes.

Our Colonel, Harry Hays, is a trump; so is Lieut Col. DeChoiseul; and young Major Penn has a veteran’s head on young shoulders; he is the coolest man I ever saw, while the Adjutant, Merriam, is good naturedly smiling, whether in battle or in jovial conversation. Their behavior throughout was such as only to increase the confidence of their men in their favor.

I cannot close this brief sketch of this skirmish without alluding to the trojan services rendered by the Washington Artillery. They are au fait in their business. Prisoners since captured acknowledge that they estimated the number of pieces engaged at eighteen, while only six were there, and sometimes only four in play. But it is useless to dwell now upon the precursory marks of that gallant band of New Orleans soldiery, as they have already won laurels since that occurrence, which eclipse any previous one of their or any other corps of a like number.

It was on that evening that poor Maylan, of No. 18, was out on picket guard, when a wrong alarm was given, and on the quick return of the picket the poor fellow was shot through the heart while crossing the stream. He was a good fellow, and was well liked by his fellow soldiers. During the same night we commenced throwing up entrenchments along the stream for nearly a half mile, in order to protect us against the attacks of the enemy, in case they should feel disposed to renew the play, but they did not. Over five hundred men slept on their arms, if sleeping it can be called, anxiously waiting, [?] nothing occurred except one or two false alarms. On the following morning work again commenced, until we were completely protected against the fire of the infantry of the enemy, some companies working as late as [?] o’clock. During the following night, two companies, who had been stationed at a ford about a mile further down the stream, were surprised by the enemy; they, however, returned the fire very promptly and with such telling effect, that everything was quiet on the following day. Feeling now rather secure and having recovered most of our blankets, canteens and other equipments, which we had thrown away in our quick march, we expected a few days rest and ease, but such was not our luck. ON the following morning we received orders to march and make room for another Virginia and one South Carolina regiment. In less than half an hour the whole brigade was under way, and we were moving in the direction of Camp Wigfall, when about half way the order was countermanded and we camped that day and the following, until 7 o’clock on the morning of the 21st, (Sunday,) at the very place the courier overtook us. From here we returned to where we had started from, only by a different road; arrived there, we were soon honored by shot and shell from the enemy, but did not return, as we had no artillery. About 9 o’clock that morning a regiment of Virginians, together with the Continentals and Baton Rouge Fencibles, crossed the stream to storm the battery if it should become too annoying to us, it having already then killed four and wounded several of our men. At that time, in fact from early daybreak, we heard cannonading at some distance, and well aware that a general engagement must necessarily soon take place, we came to the conclusion that the crisis had at length arrived. At about 1 1/2 o’clock we were ordered to recross the river, and the whole brigade took up march in the direction of the firing, namely, the great battle of Stone Bridge. The distance is about twelve miles, and was made principally running, over fields, through woods, not one hundred yards even soil. You may well imagine how we felt at mid-day, the thermometer ranging about 85 [degrees]. Of course we threw off knapsacks, provisions, blankets and everything calculated to lighten us, but, nevertheless, a good many lagged behind and some others actually gave out; as for myself, I never experienced such fatigue and heat in all my various exploits. But what was that in comparison to what was to come? Closer and closer sounded the artillery and vollies of the infantry. Miles distant from the battlefield, dead and wounded lay strewn about on both sides of the road, while not a step we could go without meeting some one returning from the battle wounded or assisting the wounded, or one whose appearance already indicated that the battlefield of this world was closed for him forever; but not one passed who was able to speak, who did not hail us with some words of encouragement – such as, hurry up, boys; you are just in time; or, we have got them, boys – hurrah! and at them; while some, actually despairing, encouraged and begged us to be quick, as their regiments had suffered terribly; and if no reinforcements had come soon, the battle would have been lost. Both appeals, though contradictory, had the desired effect – the last eminences were gained, and there lay before our view two armies in deadly combat, deciding whether a nation of freemen shall be free or be subjugated to the rule of their would-be oppressors; every prominent point occupied by batteries pouring forth their deadly missiles, while brigade after brigade marched to and fro to protect them and gain for themselves more advantageous positions. A more appropriate place, so far as name is concerned, could not have been selected than Stone bridge, as had the enemy been successful, the North would indeed have had a stone bridge to cross over to the very streams of Southern heart’s blood. But, to the battle. Before sunrise, the special battalion if Major Wheat, composed of the Tigers, Capt. Alex White, the Walker Guards, Capt. Harris, the Old Dominion Guards, Capt. O. P. Walker, the Delta Rangers, Capt. Gardner, and Catahoula Guerillas, Capt. Buhoup, numbering together about 460, rank and file, commenced paying their respects to the advanced guard of the enemy. In this they were assisted by companies of South Carolina Regiments; but, owing to the rapidity of the advance in overwhelming numbers, it became necessary to retreat and resort to all stratagems known to warfare to escape the deadly Minie balls of the enemy. It was when emerging from the woods on our side of the road, to await the arrival of the enemy, that the South Carolinians mistook this battalion for the enemy, and fired into them; and the fire was returned before the unfortunate mistake was discovered; but this accident, as it were, cemented both only closer together for the balance of the day; wherever the fight was the hottest, the gallant Wheat, with his battalion, was foremost, assisted and seconded by the captains and officers of the companies, who are too well known by all of you, to need any praise at my hands for personal courage and bravery. It was very near the close of the battle when Maj. Wheat was wounded. His command having suffered severely, he rallied once more all remnants and scattered factions, and brought them again before the enemy only to dare them once more to come on, and their refusal to charge, to fall mortally wounded.

The command of the battalion, which was on that day reduced from 460 to 260, fell on Capt. Harris – a soldier and gentleman well known to all of you – who, during the battle, had his horse shot from under him, and had, in fact, several narrow escapes from death. And, while on escapes, allow me to relate to you the escape of Henry S. Carey of New Orleans. He got shot in the leg, and being left by his company, very quietly laid down and awaited coming events. He did not wait long; for one of those chivalrous Yankee brigades soon retreated in the direction where he was lying, when a straggling lieutenant discovered him some distance off, ran to him and said, “Aw, we have got you, [?]” “Yes.” said Carey, “you have, and I hope you will treat me like we treat you.” With that the Yankee ran his sword through Carey’s thigh, having, of course, missed his aim, (the heart) when Carey very quietly drew his revolver and blowed off the whole back part of the head of this Northern ruffian. Such is their bravery.

In the fore part of the battle, and while the enemy had the regulars of the United States Army to push forward, the battle was very well contested; and, with numerical strength over us, well-drilled and battle-tried soldiers in front, and more artillery than we hat, they no doubt thought to have quite an easy thing of it, and on several occasions actually did have the advantage. But they lacked one thing – the spirit and spunk which animated every one on our side. Whenever a charge was made, our boys would make the welkin ring with their shouts and hurrahs – so much so, that in the latter portion of the battle, we had only to hallo and run towards them, when they would leave in a hurry without even firing a shot.

The Northern army was commanded by Gen. McDowell, with Gen. Scott at Centreville as the “power behind the throne,” etc., etc.; while Gens. Beauregard, Evans, Johnston and Jefferson Davis, Esq., managed the youngsters of the Young Republic. You cannot imagine that I could give you a full detail of all the movements of the different wings of the army; and I therefore confine myself to such abstracts as may be interesting. Of all the different portions of the Northern army, the New York Zouaves suffered most. They are completely burst up. What are not killed, are wounded or taken prisoners. I actually don’t think that, out of 1100, 200 left the field with sound hides. They fought well, and were the especial favorites of the South Carolinians, Tigers, and particularly of the Washington Artillery. The prisoners and wounded say that they never expected to meet an army here, but merely a concourse of people in open rebellion – something like a Centre street riot in New York. The episode of the battle, however, was the critical moment, when, in order to save the day, it became necessary to storm a battery at all hazards. This duty, dangerous and important, was entrusted to a Virginia regiment, assisted by another, of what State I do not recollect. Their charge was terrible, but of no avail. Again they charged, with the same result. Reinforced, they fought their way, inch by inch, to the top of the hill, and the battery was captured, not, however, before 700 noble lives on our side had been sacrificed. This gave the battle a decided inclination to our side, but notwithstanding this, regiments after brigades and reserves of infantry kept pouring in, and the plan was at once changed.

While their infantry in overwhelming numbers were to keep our infantry harmless, their artillery, which had taken prominent positions, were to operate against our strongholds; but they had, no doubt, forgotten that there was also Washington Artillery in the field at Stone Bridge. Through the thickest of a perfect shower of minie’ rifle balls, they moved their batteries to the point selected by Gen. Beauregard himself, and his horse just then having been shot from under him, he very quietly helped himself to the horse of one of the artillery band left them with the bare admonition, “don’t waste your powder, boys, but take good aim;” and they did take good aim. In less than a half hour, that battery, as well as the surrounding infantry, were rather quiet, while cannons, ammunition wagons, horses, drivers and soldiers were all piled up in one heap. All hope was now gone; the whole reserve of the infantry was now called into action, the enemy not having one cannon left. It was then that our brigade made its appearance on one hill, the Rockville Artillery and a squadron of cavalry on the next. We led off with a charge, supported by the artillery, and if mortal eye ever beheld a sunning set of cowards, it was the thousands then making their way through the fields, over fences, etc., etc., in the direction of Rhode Island and intermediate landings. Escaped from reach of infantry, these brave ones were once more rallied by their commander to resist the cavalry, which they feared would attack them in their flight. Two solid squares were formed on a hill on the very end of the woods, and no sooner formed than they were scattered to the winds by the shells of rifle balls of the artillery. This was too much; to stop the Mississippi would be an easy job to the one of attempting to stop the flying infantry of Abe and Scott. Pursuit was almost useless, as no one could catch them; but General Johnston met them a short distance on their way, giving them his farewell compliment by taking fifty wagons of all sorts of camp equipage and the remainder of their cannon, horses attached, together with a good supply of ammunition, and last, but not least, the private equipage of Gen. McDowell, unfortunately, however, without the General. The number of killed is very large on both sides; ours not less than 1500, while the enemy’s cannot be under 2500. All houses in the neighborhood are converted into hospitals, while even a church serves for the present the same purpose; and it is in it where over 400 Zouaves are now under the treatment and kind care of the rebels, as they call us. The prisoners thus far taken amount to over 1500, and every day some fellows turn up, wither from their own will or caught by our soldiers. The total killed, wounded and taken prisoners of the enemy cannot fall short of nine thousand, while we have about twenty-five hundred all told. What made our loss so great was, first, the great superiority of their fire-arms in the hands of regular troops; and secondly, the storming of that battery. While it is horrible to think of such loss of human life, it is also gratifying to know that a decisive blow has been struck, the enemy routed, driven back, and completely disorganized, and their fondest hopes of subjugating the South are blasted for the present, at least. How sure they were of gaining this battle, I can prove to you by letters found in their pockets to their relatives, where they tell them to direct their letters to Manassas Junction; and from the fact that two trains of ladies and gentlemen accompanied Gen. Scott to Centreville, in order to assist the old chieftain in his triumphant march to Manassas, the key of the valley of Virginia, and thence return by railroad to Washington. Another corroborating fact is stated by the prisoners, who say that their term of three months was out some days ago, but they were not allowed to leave until after this battle, when they were to have been paid off in Manassas, and sent to Washington by railroad: but alas! “There is many a slip between the cup and the lip.” It is almost a pity that a man like Gen. Scott, enshrined in life-long glory, should, at the very brink of the grave, follow the promptings of vindictiveness, and avarice, and destroy, with one blow, all affection, love and admiration a grateful country had for him; but “such is life,” as Bill Adams says.

In this battle, the Continentals suffered more than any other company in the regiment, and for a very plain reason: we were the first to come down the hill, after the Mississippi regiment had been flanked; close to the woods in the hollow we were halted; while the Virginia regiment , in our rear, was flanked close to the woods on the right. These having been scarcely posted, Col Early commanding, gave order to form in line of battle – not in the hollow – but half way up the hill, in full view of the enemy on the ridge of the other, who used the opportunity to shoot down five of our men in less time than you could count twenty, and in other companies in proportion. The first man shot in our company was Henry Clay. The ball struck him in the neck, severed the jugular vein, and went out on the other side, killing him instantly. He had scarcely reached the ground, before two others fell – Sergt. Clohey shot through the leg, and Flynn badly wounded in the groin. While they were being picked up, a ball struck a canteen of one, went through it, and took the rear file, Kelly, through the hand. During this short time the cry was, “Let us charge,” but Colonel Early said, very coolly, that it was all a mistake, that they on the hill were our friends, etc.; until, when the whole regiment became so clamorous for a charge, that Col. Hays said: “Boys, do you want to charge?” All hands hallooed “Yes,” and charge it was, our gallant officer in front, closely followed by the boys, just in time to see the running Yankees knocked by our artillery over fences, roads, and everything which was not much higher than a one story house. So much for Col. Early.

I would be recreant to all truth and justice were I not here to mention, with all the praise this feeble pen is able to bestow, the coolness and promptness of our captain and lieutenants. McFarland you know too well to need encomiums from me; but, as regards Davis, he has surely more than gratified the most sanguine expectations of his warmest friends; he is a brick, and no mistake.

And now, let me close this rather lengthy and dull epistle, badly written, and scraped together on three different kinds of paper, with a Yankee cartridge box as a desk; read it to some of the Continentals if you deem it of sufficient interest, and allow me to subscribe myself with my best wishes for you and your family’s prosperity and welfare.

Your obedient servant,

JOHN F. GRUBER, Corporal*

In justice to myself I must inform you that I have been promoted to that important post. Give my respects to Jim McGawly, Blessy, Slemmer, Capt. Hodgkins, Th. Murray, and all the boys, and tell them for particulars I must refer them to a verbal report.

J. F. G.

New Orleans Daily Crescent, 8/5/1861

Clipping image

*While Gruber signed this letter as a corporal, records indicate he mustered in and out of the 7th LA as a private.

John F. Gruber at Fold3

Contributed by John J. Hennessy





New Orleans Visit – Confederate Memorial Hall

1 09 2016

In this post, I hipped you to my recent trip to New Orleans. After our stop outside at Lee Circle, we paid the small ($8) fee to tour Confederate Memorial Hall – Louisiana’s Civil War Museum. The exterior is nice, but the inside is very impressive – lots of wood and open timbers. Way old-school, outside of the 20 minute video presented at the end of a hallway on a flat-screen TV. So much to see, and you can check out the history of the place at their website. As with anything that is Confederate in NOLA, don’t put off seeing it until your “next trip,” as it may very well be “lost in time, like tears in rain.” Lots and lots of manicuring going on in the town.

Untitled

One odd thing – the video mentioned a vast store of documents in the basement. When I asked the attendant how one gains access for research purposes, I was told one does not. I asked why and was told the documents are historic, hence no access. Ummm, OK, I guess.

Here are some photos, and I’ll try to let them do the talking for the most part. Click on any image for great big giant versions.

First, the exterior:

IMG_20160825_121305148IMG_20160825_135218466_HDRIMG_20160825_121344277IMG_20160825_121332836IMG_20160825_121415805

The interior:

IMG_20160825_132237991IMG_20160825_132232547IMG_20160825_130107210IMG_20160825_130102123IMG_20160825_122308660

Jefferson Davis ephemera:

IMG_20160825_125337742IMG_20160825_125343149IMG_20160825_125607061IMG_20160825_125613610IMG_20160825_125627524

IMG_20160825_125712645

This is the crib used by Jeff Davis as a child, also used for his children.

IMG_20160825_125753936IMG_20160825_125802881IMG_20160825_125810241

 

First Bull Run stuff:

  • Rob Wheat and the First Special Battalion:

IMG_20160825_131902161IMG_20160825_131855464IMG_20160825_131752539IMG_20160825_131820789IMG_20160825_131048726

IMG_20160825_131104301

Stars and Bars of the First Special Battalion

IMG_20160825_131729176

The story goes that, after his wounding at First Bull Run, Wheat was wrapped in these colors and borne from the field…

IMG_20160825_131735243

…and that his bloodstains are still visible today

  • 6th Louisiana Infantry

IMG_20160825_131207116IMG_20160825_131146652IMG_20160825_131025927IMG_20160825_130846433IMG_20160825_131015037

  • 7th Louisiana Infantry

IMG_20160825_130609721IMG_20160825_130559981

  • 8th Louisiana Infantry

IMG_20160825_125219150IMG_20160825_125211137

  • Washington Artillery

IMG_20160825_124652814IMG_20160825_124641895IMG_20160825_124809491IMG_20160825_124815127IMG_20160825_124824774IMG_20160825_124614931IMG_20160825_124620787IMG_20160825_124630684

IMG_20160825_124752786

About that piece of wood (click on the image to enlarge) – it was not likely taken from Sherman’s Battery at First Bull Run, as the battery was not captured there.

  • P. G. T. Beauregard

IMG_20160825_125512957IMG_20160825_125953977IMG_20160825_130004167IMG_20160825_130021160IMG_20160825_130013013

Odds and Ends:

  • Benjamin Butler

IMG_20160825_124507348IMG_20160825_124514266

  • A Piano, confiscated – or rescued – at Jackson, MS in 1863

IMG_20160825_125858837IMG_20160825_125908085

  • Braxton Bragg

IMG_20160825_130143402IMG_20160825_130153151

IMG_20160825_130222037

Any Masons in the house?

Lee Circle

Metairie Cemetery





Wheat’s Battalion at Stone Bridge

29 11 2011

Wheat’s Battalion at Stone Bridge

Although we have made great exertions to procure for the readers of the Bee a full report of the killed and wounded Louisianians in the great battle of Manassas Plains, it has been impossible as yet to obtain it at any outlay of trouble or expense of the Washington Artillery, all of heard; of Hayes Seventh Regiment we have scattering information of different companies; the Sixth, Colonel Seymour has few or no casualties; we know nothing concerning Colonel Kelly’s  Eight, but believe it suffered very little. Of the special battalion, under Major Robert C. Wheat, we know, also, that from its position and the necessities of the crisis, it was called upon to sacrifice itself. How it answered to the call of duty, its decimated ranks and shattered column can better tell. Its only two field officers, Major Wheat and Adjutant Dickinson, are both badly wounded at Richmond. Dickinson reported that of its four hundred men, only a quarter are left, but a correspondent who had better [means] of information writes that at roll-call, after the battle, less than half answered to their names, and that many of those who did were wounded. With the gallant Georgia Eight who suffered nearly as bad, our dauntless man charged a whole division of the enemy, composing their picked men, regulars Fire Zouaves, and their onset is described by an eye-witness “terrific”. The Tiger Rifles having no bayonets to their Mississippi Rifles, threw them away when ordered to charge, and dashed upon the Fire Zouaves with bowie knives. They are said to have been surrounded and cut to pieces.

As we have been unable up to this time to get the names of the killed and wounded we present to-day the names of the gallant men who have won for [themselves] such imperishable laurels, nearly half, [again], finding the cypress entwined with them. This spartan band will never be forgotten to Louisiana or to the South. We have an additional reason for publishing this list in the fact that a great many people do not know and are anxious to ascertain which companies composed the battalion that has been so prominently brought into notice. Wheat’s Battalion comprised five companies of bold and sturdy men who were well known to be panting for just such an opportunity as that in which they found a field for their valor at the Stone Bridge. This spirit was exhibited by one of the companies choosing their name – Tigers – which they have upheld with their knives. While in Camp here they were accounted “hard nuts to crack”, and no none doubted that they would signalize themselves in battle. Their spirit so pleased A. Keene Richards, Esq. that he fitted them out in a dashing Zouave uniform at their expense. The Catahoula Guerillas, from Trinity, were all animated with the same resolve, to win a name, even if in death. The Walker Guards were a hardy, experienced band of Nicaraguan boys who took their title from General W. Walker. The Delta Rangers and the Old Dominion Guard were crack companies of fighting men. Major Wheat has been Captain of the Old Dominions, and he took his Adjutant  from that company. We take the following list from the State muster rolls.

[Roster of Special Battalion of Louisiana Volunteers follows, see link below.]

New Orleans Bee, 8/1/1861.

Jackson Barracks – Historical Military Data on Louisiana Militia, Vol. 113, pp. 3 – 4.





Obituary, Pvt. John Stacker Brooks, Co. H, 7th Louisiana Infantry

24 10 2011

John Stacker Brooks, son of Capt. Brooks, of this city, was a volunteer in the Seventh Louisiana Regiment. Before leaving the city he was in the employ of Messrs. W. M. Perkins & Co; who had for him the highest esteem and respect which they evinced by paying him a handsome salary (though less than 18 years of age) during his term of service with them, and also continuing that salary during his absence in the public service. Prompt in the discharge of every duty, modest, courteous and unassuming in his manners, he won the confidence and love of all who knew him. He was, indeed, a youth of rare promise, in whom centered many bright hopes.

When asked by his now bereaved parents if he thought he could endure the privations and toils incident to a soldier’s life, he replied firmly, but calmly, “yes,” and obtained their consent to join his brothers in arms, to defend his invaded country and avenge her insulted honor.

On the memorable 18th of July, the day that inaugurated and insured the grater victory of the 21st, while gallantly rushing to charge the advancing foe, he was shot first of all in the fight and fell mortally wounded; but though faint and feeble, the valor of the soldier flashed in his eye and beat warm in his youthful breast, he said, “Boys, raise me up and let me shoot once more before I die.” He was borne bleeding from the field and survived near eighteen hours. He asked his attending physician if he could live. Was told it was doubtful. Then he said, his only regret was that he could not do more in his country’s cause. He fortunately did not suffer severely. His mind was calm. Trained in the Sabbath school, taught the lessons of the gospel, he knew the way to God,. We are told his last end was calm and peaceful.

The pastor of the church he attended gave him a letter on the eve of his departure, exhorting him to duty, to purity and to prayer. In his last letter he said, “Tell Brother Walker I often read his letter.”

He sleeps on a lonely bed on the vast field of battle. Loved ones deplore his loss but sorrow not as those who have no hope. With the virtuous and the brave, who have fallen martyrs in the battle for constitutional liberty, he will be embalmed in undying and honored remembrance.

The subjoined is the action of the Sabbath School Methodist Church, Carondelet Street, of which our lamented young friend was a member.

Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God to remove from our midst, and from the number of our Sabbath School, John Stacker Brooks, who fell while bravely defending his country’s rights and honor.

Resolved. That we deeply deplore the loss of so valuable member of our Sabbath School.

Resolved. That we deeply sympathize with his heart-stricken parents, and pray that God may support them in their affliction.

Resolved. That a copy of these resolutions be presented to his afflicted parents and also be published

G. W. W. Goodwin
William Sherry
H. W. Speer

A. Friend.

The Daily Delta, 8/6/1861.
Jackson Barracks – Historical Military Data on Louisiana Militia, Vol. 113, pp. 48 – 50.





L. D., Co. B, 7th Louisiana Infantry, On the Battle

21 10 2011

From One Of Our Boys

The following letter was written to one of our citizens by a young soldier in Hays’s Regiment, on the paper taken from the knapsack of one of the New York Zouaves, who fell on the field of Manassas. The paper has at the heading a beautiful picture of the stars and stripes, and the envelope is enameled with a similar picture, and a stanza from the Star Spangled Banner.

The writer says that he was loaded down with the spoils of victory, as Gen. Scott was at Cerro Gordo; that he had several valuable guns, pistols, etc., and most curious of all the trophies, had captured a box of robes de chambre, presented to the Zouaves by the ladies of New York City. He says that his whole company will have a gown apiece, and that they will be very comfortable to sleep in camp:

Stone Bridge,
July 23, 1861.

I fully intended writing you yesterday, but about 9 O’clock, on the evening of the battle, it commenced to rain, and continued throughout the whole of the following day, and we had no covering but the dark heavens. You, of course, know of our glorious victory. It was an open field and no favor, just what the Tribune prayed for, I can only tell you of that part of the fight in which our brigade was concerned.

The fight extended for some two or three miles; morning broke without a cloud; Dame Nature seemed to have put on her Sunday habiliments; we were encamped on a road leading to Bull Run, about 3 miles from where we fought on Wednesday, (Blackburn’s Ford); had just finished breakfast (hard biscuit and raw bacon,) When we heard a cannon fired; immediately, “fall in!” was heard, and we knew that the long wished for battle had commenced.

After half an hour’s walking the enemy saw us, and welcomed us with a perfect shower of shell and cannon balls. They fired badly, and the regimental loss was one killed and five wounded. We remained at Bull Run until 12, noon, under fire the whole time, from 7 A.M., when we were ordered to push on to this place to support Beauregard.

As rapidly as possible nine miles were gotten over, and in two hours we were again on the Battlefield. We ran the whole way, and, without rest formed into line, to charge a Federal  regiment on our front. They, however, did not wait for us to advance more than a quarter of a mile, but taking us for fresh troops, gave ground.

The Newtown Artillery galloped round to our left, and gave them a perfect shower of balls. Their firing was the admiration of all, and as each leaden messenger struck the front of the retiring columns, cheer after cheer went up from our lines.

At least the poor fellows, unable to stand the awful havoc, fairly turned and fled. Then it would have done your heart good to have heard the shouts Victory! Victory! None thought of how hard we had worked, every man felt new life and energy.

We went at a fair run after them, but never saw them after they entered the wood in front. The cavalry dashed after them, and the day was our own.

The field was covered with the killed and wounded. Our regiment, (7th.) was very fortunate, under fire for seven hours, and only 25 reported killed and wounded.

In our company, (B, Crescent Rifles) one wounded; Corporal Fisher, received a flesh wound; a spent ball struck me on the thumb. It is wonderful that no more of our regiment were killed or wounded as a prisoner told me they saw us coming, and ranged their guns to make sure of us when we passed the open field.

Their best troops were against us all day; the ground, for miles, is strewn with arms, blankets, haversacks, etc.,

This paper was the property of a Fire Zouaves from whose haversack I also made my supper, we having pitched all our things away on the road. I have one of the dressing gowns, presented by the ladies of New York to the soldiers; also, a bayonet for your father’s musket, taken from the above mentioned Zouave. I will send them as soon as I can get a chance. I would have sent the rifle, but was unable to carry it, with so much else.

After the battle, Jeff. Davis reviewed us, with loud cheers all along the lines. I was near him, and this was word for word all he said:

“Soldiers, your country owes you a debt of gratitude, and believe me, every heart is proud of you.”

The morning after the battle, Lieut. Knox and myself went over the field, and such a scene, – men and horses lying together, their blood mingling in one stream. Some poor wounded fellows had been left in the rain all night. We did what we could for them, friend and foe alike, and the simple “God bless you, sir,” was worth more than all the spoils on the field to me.

To-morrow, we will have been a week on the march. Such weather! not a dry day; no clothes to change, and nothing but our blankets to cover us; our food, hard crackers and raw bacon, as we cannot always make fires, for the enemy would see them, but not a murmur was heard for it can’t be helped, and we are here to protect all that we hold most dear.

L. D.

The Daily Delta, 8/1/1861.
Jackson Barracks – Historical Military Data on Louisiana Militia, Vol. 113, pp. 10-15.