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[211] services, the sacrifices and renown of their seniors and predecessors.

I do not, Mr. Chairman, propose to pronounce a eulogy upon this occasion, nor would it be fitting that I should, but in my great pride for my old command I may, I trust, without undue egotism, be permitted briefly to refer to our antecedent history.

The Washington Artillery is distinguished by being the oldest military organization in Louisiana, and the oldest perhaps in any of the Southern States.

In the year 1840, the Washington Regiment, commanded by Colonel Persifer F. Smith, was the only military organization of note above Canal street. It was composed of cavalry, artillery and infantry, partaking of the character of a legion. The Washington Artillery, then just reorganized (February 22, 1840), was the right flank company. Thus composed, the regiment under its distinguished Colonel became the crack corps of the State.

Upon the breaking out of hostilities with Mexico, in the spring of 1846, the Washington Artillery, under a requisition from General Zachary Taylor, volunteered with their battery—which had been increased by purchase to six six-pounder bronze guns—and proceeded to Corpus Christi, Texas, where Taylor's army was then encamped, remaining there in the service of the United States three months, without incident. At the expiration of that time the battery returned to New Orleans and was mustered out of service.

In May, 1846, another requisition was made upon the State of Louisiana, now for a brigade of four regiments of infantry. The Washington regiment was the first to offer its services, and was the first in the field. The Washington Artillery, acting as infantry, was Company A of the regiment, and served with it, under Taylor, until all the volunteers on the Rio Grande line were, by orders of Secretary Marcy, sent home and discharged.

From that period the company, in face of all adverse circumstances—the neglect of the State and city authorities, the absence of any appropriations for their support—constantly maintained their organization in a state of efficiency and readiness for service at the individual cost of the members. Such was the spirit of the Washington Artillery more than forty years ago, and, I am proud to say, such it has ever been and such it is to-day.

After the war with Mexico the military enthusiasm very much weakened; organization after organization was disbanded, leaving the Washington Artillery almost alone, struggling and apathetic. In 1852 it was found necessary again to rally for another reorganization.


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