's (1st) Division, and participated in the assaults of May 27th and June 14th, in which its principal loss occurred, its dead lying among those nearest the enemy's works.
This regiment should not be confounded with the First Louisiana Infantry, also of Angur
's Division,--a white regiment which, also, sustained a severe loss at Port Hudson
On June 7th, 1863, the colored troops composing the garrison at Milliken's Bend, La.
, were attacked by Walker
's Division numbering 3,000 men. The garrison consisted of three colored regiments: the Ninth Louisiana, Eleventh Louisiana, and First Mississippi, In addition there were 200 men of the 23d Iowa (white) who had been escorting prisoners up the river, and were on their return to the front.
The regiments were small, many of the men, and most of the officers, being absent on recruiting service or other duty.
When attacked the garrison was driven back to the river, where two gunboats came to their assistance.
The troops then made a counter charge, regaining possession of their works and capturing several prisoners.
The fighting was desperate in the extreme, many of the combatants on each side falling by bayonet thrusts or blows from clubbed muskets.
The loss, as officially stated by the Assistant Secretary of War
, who was then at Vicksburg
, amounted to:
|Regiment. ||Killed. ||Wounded. ||Total. |
|9th Louisiana ||62 ||130 ||192 |
|11th Louisiana ||30 ||120 ||150 |
|1st Mississippi ||3 ||21 ||24 |
|23d Iowa (white) ||26 ||60 ||86 |
With the wounded are included those who were mortally wounded.
, of the Ninth Louisiana,1
states that his regiment had only 300 men engaged, and that the whole force of the garrison was about 600 men.
The next action in which colored troops were engaged was the grand assault on Fort Wagner
, July 18, 1863.
To the 54th Massachusetts Colored was assigned the honor of leading the attack, and after the troops were formed on the beach, ready for the assault, the order to advance was withheld until the Fifty-fourth could march by and take position at the head of the column.
The assault failed; but, not until the Colonel
of the Fifty-fourth and many of his men had fallen dead on the parapet, or within the fort.
The loss of the regiment in this affair was--3 officers and 31 men killed, 11 officers and 135 men wounded (including those mortally so), and 92 men missing; total, 272--out of 650 engaged.
An impression has gained ground that no quarter was given to black troops; and, that the 92 missing or captured men met their death in the fort, after they had surrendered.
But the official records show that 49 of these men died of disease in Confederate prisons, and that others of the captured men returned at the close of the war, rejoining their regiment before its muster-out.
One of the severest regimental losses during the war, occurred in the Eighth United States Colored Infantry, at the battle of Olustee
, February 20, 1864.
It lost there 2 officers and 49 men killed, 9 officers and 180 men wounded, and 63 missing; total, 303.
The missing ones were, mostly, dead or wounded men who were left on the field; for, in this action the Confederates
held possession of the ground, General Seymour
's forces being obliged to retreat.
of the Eighth was among the killed.
The number of the killed was increased to 87 by those who died of wounds,and certain ones who were erroneously included with the missing.
This same regiment distinguished itself, also, at Chaffin's Farm.
Upon the opening of the spring campaign in 1864, colored troops were a common feature of the armies before Richmond
's Division of the Ninth Corps, and Hinks
' Division of the Eighteenth Corps, were composed entirely of black regiments.
In the first attack on