previous next

[57] Massachusetts batteries were landed and placed behind the levee at Barney's Point, and were used to reply to the heavy guns on the high bluff; this being the only part taken in the affair by the army. Later, in the contest between the Union gunboats and the formidable rebel ram Arkansas, there were on board the Carondelet, when run ashore, twenty men of the 30th Mass., under Lieut. E. A. Fiske. No casualties occurred, but the troops returned, July 26, to Baton Rouge, after having, for more than three months, ‘undergone hardships such as have seldom fallen to the lot of soldiers, in a campaign whose existence is scarcely known and whose name is well-nigh forgotten.’1

In the battle of Baton Rouge, Aug. 5, 1862, the Massachusetts troops in the Department of the Gulf came for the first time under fire. The attacking party comprised about three thousand men with eleven guns under Breckenridge, and the party of defence about two thousand five hundred men with eighteen guns under Williams. Among the Confederates were many who had been under fire at Shiloh or who had defended Vicksburg, thus far successfully; while Weitzel said of the Union forces ‘there were not twelve hundred who could have marched five miles. None of our men had been in battle; very few had been under fire.’2 The Massachusetts troops engaged were the 30th Mass. on the right and rear in column, supporting Nims's (2d) Battery, under Lieutenant Trull; and on the centre and left the 6th Battery, under Lieutenant Carruth, and the 4th Battery, Captain Manning. The battle was short but severe, and there seems to have been confusion, sometimes approaching panic, on both sides. The naval vessels also took part on both sides, and produced some effect on the land forces. General Williams was killed and Colonel Dudley of the 30th Mass. (a regular army officer) took his place. It was a drawn battle, but left the Union forces in such a state that the burning and evacuation of Baton Rouge were afterwards ordered by General Butler, though the first part of the order was countermanded, through the earnest remonstrance of Gen. H. E. Paine of Wisconsin, to whom it was intrusted. Capt. Eugene Kelty of Lawrence (30th Mass. Infantry) was killed in this engagement.

It is unnecessary here to enter on the vexed question of General Butler's government of the conquered city from May to December, 1862. New

1 Irvin's 19th Army Corps, p. 32.

2 Irwin's 19th Army Corps, p. 35.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Williams (2)
B. F. Butler (2)
Weitzel (1)
G. G. Trull (1)
H. E. Paine (1)
Nims (1)
Manning (1)
S. C. Lawrence (1)
Eugene Kelty (1)
Irwin (1)
Irvin (1)
Edward A. Fiske (1)
Dudley (1)
Sumner Carruth (1)
Breckenridge (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December, 1862 AD (1)
August 5th, 1862 AD (1)
May, 1862 AD (1)
July 26th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: