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In a Louisiana Regiment. [from the New Orleans Picayune, Aug. 2,9, Sept. 6, 1903.]

Organization of the 13th Louisiana Infantry—Camp Mandeville, the Avegno Zouaves, the Regiment formed at Camp Moore— presentation of Flag—Camp Life—Going to the front.

By General John McGRATH, Baton Rouge.
In a letter from a friend and comrade, recently, a suggestion was made that I write a sketch of the organization and service of the 13th Louisiana Regiment of the Civil war. When that command was a living, actual factor in the events of thirty-five or forty years ago, there were many far better qualified to record the acts and deeds of the famous old regiment than my humble self, but the eyes of most of my loved old comrades have long been closed and the pulsations of their brave hearts stilled in death, and few remain to perform the task. Of the eight or nine hundred gallant souls who marched from the Crescent City in 1861, there are scarcely enough now living to form a firing party at the funeral of a corporal; therefore, poorly qualified as I may be, it devolves upon me to leave a record of the battles and marches, defeats and triumphs, of a regiment as well officered and disciplined as any that served under the Stars and Bars, and which made a record upon the battlefield second to none.

My first acquaintance with what was afterward the 13th regiment, was when, upon receiving the appointment of first lieutenant, I was ordered to report to the battalion of Governor's Guards, better remembered as the Avegno Zouaves, camped at Mandeville, La.

At the time of my appointment I was a member of the Delta Rifles, of the 4th Louisiana Infantry, a company composed very largely of young sugar planters and slave-owners of parishes contiguous to Baton Rouge. Wealthy, refined, gentlemanly fellows they were, those Delta Rifles, my dear reader, and you may imagine my dismay as I stepped ashore at the wharf at Mandeville, and cast my eyes upon as cosmopolitan a body of soldiers as there existed upon the face of God's earth. There were Frenchmen, Spaniards, Mexicans, Dagoes, Germans, Chinese, Irishmen, and, in fact, persons of every clime known to geographers or travellers of that day. Nor was [104] that all, as it seemed to me that every soldier on the grounds, in addition to his jaunty zouave uniform, wore a black eye, a broken nose or a bandaged head, having just been recruited, and only getting over the usual enlistment spree. In my gold-trimmed, close-fitting full-dress uniform, my young heart beat with pride and ambition as I neared my destination, but I must confess a glance at the motley crowd of soldiers caused a sigh of regret that I had left my old company, even to assume higher rank.

I was in it, however, and putting on a bold front, pursued my way through company streets in search of headquarters to report for duty. That remarks not altogether flattering were made in all modern languages, I was painfully aware; but as I did not understand much of what was said, I held my temper in check until finally one fellow remarked to another in a rich Irish brogue: ‘Oh, Mike, look at that new lefttenant! Don't he think he is purtty wid the new chicken guts (narrow gold lace, insignia of rank), on his arms. Look at his strut!’ Then it was I broke loose and blessed the impudent rascal in vigorous language. 'Twas thus I first became acquainted with Private Dan Dunn, who subsequently became as brave as Julius Caesar. Poor, dear old Dan, whose name appears three separate times upon the roll of honor issued by the Confederate government! Rough, uncultured old hero and patriot, little thought I that day at Mandeville that in days to come you would be the one to rescue me from in front of the Yankee breastwork, and help carry me to a place unswept by shot or shell, until you sank yourself exhausted by the blood flowing from your own wounds!

‘Such men they were—the men I loved.’

But I digress. I will, no doubt, digress quite frequently, otherwise my historical sketch will be dry reading.

If the enlisted men were somewhat mixed, the officers were gentlemen—gentlemen in every sense of the word—by birth and prestige, by education and travel, by wealth and social standing. Gay, bright, dashing young soldiers, ready at all times to dance or to fight. French Creoles, with a few exceptions, scions of families which had furnished soldiers to every war in which Louisiana ever engaged, and to whom honor was dearer than life. Handsome boys, proud boys, most of whom fill warriors' graves. Happy days were those at Mandeville, notwithstanding the mixed and turbulent soldiers to be subdued and subjected to discipline. But that was accomplished and accomplished effectively.

This battalion was organized to become one of two regiments of [105] regular zouaves provided by act of Congress, and for that reason its officers were appointed and its enlisted men regularly recruited and sworn in. Colonel Aristide Girard was Lieutenant-Colonel and Anatole Avegno, Major. The companies were six in number, with the following captains: Bernard Avegno, E. M. Dubroca, O. M. Tracy, A. Cassard, J. Fremeaux and F. L. Campbell.

As a decidedly large majority of the officers were from the second district (below Canal street), it is not to be wondered at that the battalion was a favorite command with the good people of that section. Nor is it surprising that mothers, sisters and sweethearts of the young officers should present a magnificent flag to the battalion.

The tattered old flag, discolored by the destroying hand of time, shorn of its beauty, hangs in Memorial Hall, a dingy and silent reminder of the past, with few to gaze upon it who know what it once represented or whence it came. With the exception of one or two others, the writer is the only survivor of the officers of the Avegno Zouaves, at least of those residing in Louisiana. All others long since answered the last roll call and laid them down to sleep in God's eternal bivouac.

Long years have passed since the time of which I write, and yet it seems but yesterday, with bands playing stirring quick steps, arms aslant and steady, warlike tramp, we entered the sacred portals of St. Louis Cathedral, of New Orleans, that the venerable bishop might bless the banner, now drooping languidly, infirm with age, like unto the survivors of those who once wildly swore to defend it and bring it back in triumph to the Crescent City.

Alas! the victory was not ours, nor would anyone recognize the once strong battallion in the few war-worn and weary veterans who came straggling back at the end of four long, bloody years.

The official language of our battalion was French; we were drilled in French, commanded in French, and orders were issued in French, and as I was the only officer who did not understand the language, you can well imagine my awkwardness. However, I soon became familiar with the commands most frequently used, and it was not long before I could get my company through dress parade in a more or less creditable manner. Orders came after awhile from General Twiggs to discontinue the French language and to adopt English, and matters went along more smoothly as far as I was concerned. The company to which I was assigned was composed principally of Irishmen, who resented the change quite fiercely. One of our fellows, who enlisted under the name of Jones, but whose name was [106] Branagan, while somewhat more than half drunk, approached the writer, and, touching his kepi, said: ‘Leftenant, I don't know what oi'll do. You want us to drill in English, and the divil a wurd I know but French.’ Absurd as it may appear, he spoke the truth. He had never been a soldier before, and when he had learned to drill by French commands, they were all the military terms he knew. ‘Right shoulder shift arms’ was something far beyond his comprehension and he was forced to learn anew.

As the battalion was formed by the enlistment of recruits who were assigned to companies without regard to their wishes or desires, and as no two men had ever seen each other previous to enlistment, there was only one thing in common between them, and that was to get all the fun and all the whiskey possible, and this they did to the great annoyance of the officers. It must not be understood that by this statement that the men were low vagabonds, for they were not. They were simply young and wild and were going to war, probably never to return, and when the clash of battle came none were braver, none more loyal to the cause, and none more easily handled in fight or controlled in quarters. There were bad men among them, but good soldiers predominated.

We had barracks at the foot of Conti street, where recruits were sent as enlisted, and where uniforms and blankets were issued to them, and from whence they were sent under guard to the old Pontchartrain Depot for shipment to Mandeville. They were not guarded to prevent desertion, but simply as a precaution against straggling and drunkenness. Among others, I was sent upon recruiting service, and selecting Baton Rouge as the point of advantage, opened office and secured some thirty-five or forty recruits. There were a few young Baton Rougeans left behind by the many volunteer companies which from time to time had left for the seat of war, so I was compelled to depend upon strangers, with four or five notable exceptions. There were a few who, for one reason or another, had remained at home, and among those was one who had joined and quit almost every company raised in the parish. He was a drunken, reckless little scamp, whom the police and citizens were anxious to get rid of, and I was early approached and begged to enlist him. Objecting at first, I finally consented, and the Chief of Police hunted him up and brought him before me. ‘Do you wish to become a soldier,—?’ I asked, and receiving a favorable response, I informed him that if he enlisted I would compel him to go; that he would not be permitted to back out, as he had been doing. ‘All [107] right, Cap.; I want to serve my country. Just give me your list and I will sign.’ ‘Oh, no, my boy; we don't manage in that way; but just step across the street to the office of the justice of the peace and take the enlisting oath, and I will attend to the rest,’ said I. ‘Ain't you going to give me something? Gim'me a dollar,’ said the dodger. Handing him the money, we entered the office of the venerable Judge Walker, and the young fellow was shortly after a Confederate soldier. As soon as he had taken the oath, he remarked, a smile of cunning on his face, that he would meet me next day in time to catch the New Orleans boat. ‘No,’ I said. ‘There will be no more parting. The constable will take you down under the hill where the other recruits are quartered, and there you will remain strictly guarded until we leave.’ The smile instantly vanished; he was sobered by the intelligence, and quietly remarked: ‘Well, I'll be d——d if I ain't trapped!’ He had a father and several sisters whom I had not taken into account, who soon came weeping and begging for the release of the worthless vagabond. I thought of the great relief of the taking off of the fellow would be to the townspeople, and remained obdurate and hard-hearted. Besides, I had no right to discharge an enlisted soldier. The boat was due about noon, and not caring to march on board at the head of my Falstaffian army, I appointed a corporal from among my embryonic heroes, with strict instructions to take——on board, whether he would or not. Hearing the boat's whistle shortly after, I started for the landing. What a picture presented itself to my vision! Some forty men, most of whom were drunk as lords, were marching two by two, singing ‘Dixie,’ while the rear was brought up by three of the strongest, partly dragging and partly carrying the only native among my recruits, and those in turn were followed by an old father and the sisters imploring the men to turn ‘Buddie’ loose, and when tears and prayers failed to soften the hearts of the soldiers, they showered imprecations good and strong upon their heads. ‘Buddie’ was taken aboard and seated upon the capstan by a big raftsman detailed for the purpose. ‘Set thar, sonny, and stop your whimpering, er I'll turn you up an spank ye,’ said the big fellow. Buddie heeded not, but gazing ashore at his weeping relatives and familiar scenes of his childhood, exclaimed: ‘Well, I'll be d——d. They have got me off to the war at last, and I wouldn't give a picayune for my life.’

My recruits reached camp in due time, and most of them proved excellent soldiers, and many finally fell in the front ranks in battle, [108] and are now sleeping in unknown and unmarked graves. Buddie was an exception all along the line. He spent most of his time in the guard-house or in the hospital, and was an unmitigated, all-around scamp. Knowing it would only be a matter of time before he would be sent in chains to work upon the fortification, I went one night to the guard tent, where he was a prisoner, and, taking him aside, informed him that I would secure him his release if he would desert. Agreeing, I gave him money to pay his way home and have never laid eyes on him since. Was I justified in encouraging desertion? I believe I was in this case.

I have dwelt longer than I should have done in relating this incident, but I had two objects in view—one was to show the trouble and annoyance frequently experienced by recruiting officers, and the other to emphasize the fact that respectable, law-abiding citizens invariable make the best soldiers.

After waiting for months at Mandeville for the appearance of an officer to muster the battalion into the Confederate service, a proposition was made by the Adjutant General to the effect that, with four other companies ready for service, we form a full regiment of infantry, and the proposition was accepted. A few days after the camp was thrown into intense excitement by an order for the battalion to proceed to Camp Moore, preparatory to being sent to the seat of war. The good people of Mandeville had been exceedingly kind and hospitable to officers and men during our long stay among them, and now that the boys were going forth to assist in fighting the battles of the South, they overwhelmed us with kindness. The company to which the writer belonged was left behind when the battalion departed, to pack up and guard quartermasters' stores while in transit from Mandeville by schooner, through Lake Pontchartrain, to Pass Manchac, where we were to board a railroad train for Camp Moore. The boat carrying the five companies had scarcely started on her way ere a saturnalia of drunken fury took possession of the men of our company, accompanied by incipient mutiny, which might have had a serious termination had it not been for the courage of the officers, manfully aided by the sergeants and a few of the sober men. We passed an alarming night, but by morning the whiskey had died out, and, as the bar-rooms remained closed, order was brought out of chaos. The citizens of Mandeville were seriously alarmed by the riotous conduct of the soldiers, a condition brought about by the unstinted generosity of themselves, and were careful next day not to furnish much whiskey with their kindness. The men, too, kept [109] busy loading schooners, were under better control, but along about the time of embarking I began to detect the preliminary symptoms of another big drunk. Finding the soldiers about to take final leave of their dear old town, citizens again filled their canteens with the best to be had, so that when the hawser was cast loose we had another drunken company. To the patriotic people of Mandeville nothing was too good for Southern soldiers.

Night falling as we got well under ways, as a means of pacification I suggested that the men sing songs of their native land, and soon a dozen voices were raised in as many languages, and the singing, interspersed with a few fights, continued until one after another the drunken soldiers fell asleep upon the deck, the only covering being the starry canopy of the heavens.

Reaching Camp Moore the next day we found four companies awaiting to be added to the six of zouaves, and when this was accomplished we were no longer a battalion, but the 13th Louisiana Regiment of Infantry. That's another chapter of my story, however.

The four companies awaiting the Avegno Zouaves, or Governor's Guards, for the purpose of forming a regiment, were the Southern Celts, Captain Steve O'Leary (the famous ex-Chief of Police of New Orleans); the St. Mary Volunteers, Captain James Murphy; Norton Guards, Captain George Norton, and Crescent Rifles, Captain W. A. Metcalf.

Randall Lee Gibson, a captain of the First Louisiana Regular Artillery, was First Colonel. Aristide Gerard and Anatole Avegno Lieutenant Colonel and Major of the battalion, were given corresponding rank in the new organization. Lieutenant King, who had resigned a commission in the United States Army and cast his lot with the South, was appointed Adjutant. With these field officers and ten companies complete was formed a regiment with the unlucky number, the Thirteenth.

Camp Moore was the rendezvous for State troops, where, as the companies arrived, they were assigned to regiments and drilled and disciplined until transferred to the Confederate government. Gen-. eral Tracey, Major General of the Louisiana Militia, was in command of the camp, and a most trying position it was, with officers new to military duties and enlisted men untaught and undisciplined.

The 10th Louisiana had departed for Virginia a few days before our arrival, to the evident satisfaction of the old General, who found the men of this command rather difficult to handle, and from what we were told, it appeared no love was lost between the General and [110] the 10th. Be that as it may, he no sooner laid eyes on the battalion of Zouaves than he exclaimed: ‘Heavens above! When I sent the 10th away I thought I would never see its like again, but these fellows are chips from the same block.’

Tents pitched, drilling became the order of the day, and what some of our military college-bred officers did not know, but thought they knew, of tactics and company evolutions would fill more sheets of paper than I can well afford, and in strict deference to truth, I must say that the military knowledge of our Colonel was infinitesimal. Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard and Adjutant King were adepts in military science, and had been well and thoroughly trained, the former in the French army, and this, together with the fact that many of the company officers of the 13th Regiment had received initial training in the earlier-formed regiments, in which they had entered the service as privates, furnished a fairly good starting point.

Colonel Gibson, an exceedingly bright man, soon mastered tactics, and was never after at a loss in handling regiment or brigade. There were, however, company officers who firmly believed they possessed a knowledge of tactics equal to General Hardee, but who really ranked along with the Georgia captain, who, finding his company face to face with a rail fence which he wished to cross, gave the command: ‘Scatter, fellows, and cluster up on the other side.’ Yet the day came when General Hardee, at the close of a competitive drill at Tullahoma, addressed to the 13th the following words: ‘You are one of the best drilled regiments I ever saw.’ This was a high compliment to come from the author of Hardee's Tactics, and went to prove that while there were few, if any, professors of military science in our regiment, the young fellows were earnest, painstaking students of company and battalion formations.

Young men bearing such names as Norton, Cammack, Labouisse, Lallande, Luzenberg, Crouch, and many other of the best families of New Orleans and Louisiana were naturally bound to excel where ambition, duty and patriotism pointed the way. Self-confidence in ability to beat ‘old Hardee’ at his own game was not the only claim to superiority the boys set up, but to valor as well, and I may be permitted to say right here, that there was scarcely an officer or man in the 13th Regiment, in its early days, who did not honestly and conscientiously believe that he could, singly and alone, whip a ten-acre lot full of Yankees. Many afterwards undertook the job, only to find it an extremely difficult and disagreeable one, and alas, the shame of it, some of the fiercest of our aggregation of ferocity [111] did not even put their valor to the test, but got out of the service just as soon as it became positively certain that there would be Yankees to whip.

One in particular, I remember, was so bloodthirsty that he fairly foamed at the mouth whenever Yankees were mentioned, and yet he let the regiment proceed to bloody fields without accompanying it, and I often thought that the war might have terminated differently had this indignation and anger been of a more enduring nature. Instead of remaining at home, after Yankee occupation, calmly transacting mercantile business, if the three or four individuals who quit the regiment at Camp Moore, or shortly after, had remained steadfast, the surrender of Appomattox might not be embraced in the history of the country. Fortunately for the honor of the State and the regiment, those who back-tracked were decidedly few. There were two or three, but with these exceptions, officers and men alike, were eager for the fray, and as Camp Moore was a dull spot in the pine woods, soon began grumbling at the delay in sending them to the front.

Drilling and guard mounting became extremely irksome and monotonous, and if it had not been for our little games of poker and frequent trip to the sutler's store to indulge in convivial fellowship, it would have been almost unendurable. Wines and liquors were sold at the canteen to officers without regard to quantity, and to the enlisted men upon presentation of a written order signed by a company officer. Don't be shocked, gentle readers, when I say that many officers and the men that could do so, became liberal patrons of the deadfall, for I boldly assert that the average soldier, whether wearing the shoulder straps of an officer or the plain, unadorned jacket of a private, will indulge, to a greater or less extent, in ardent spirits when it is to be had, and it is generally to be had. Liquor was as easily procurable in the Thirteenth Louisiana as in any prohibition town you ever struck, and the latter is an easy proposition.

True, there were some who did not indulge, nor did I ever see an officer intoxicated at Camp Moore, but the whiskey was there to be sold, and was sold in vast quantities. The enlisted men secured the signatures of captains when they could do so, but to save time and chances of being met by a refusal most frequently forged the names of their officers. They were lively chaps, those soldiers of ours, to whom forgery of an officer's name to a pass or to a whiskey order was a small matter—a good joke. It was said parties high in authority [112] had an interest in the sutler's store, and for that reason signatures were not too closely scrutinized. This may not have been true; but that a wonderful number of men purchased liquor on forged orders is a fact.

After a month or more spent between the banks of Beaver creek and the river Tangipahoa orders came to proceed to Camp Chalmette, below New Orleans. Officers and men alike had been anxiously expecting orders to proceed to Virginia, and were greatly disappointed at change of destination, but as any change was desirable, marching orders were hailed with intense satisfaction.

Soon after receipt of orders a reign of busy activity began. Tents were taken down, trunks packed, blankets rolled and the regiment aligned along the railroad track to await the train. Every officer had one trunk at least at Camp Moore, but a day came when all one's surplus clothing was rolled in a blanket to be slung and carried over the shoulder. Trunks shrunk to valises, valises to hand grips and hand grips to nothing in a remarkably short time.

The train to carry the regiment and its belongings came snorting along about 3 o'clock in the morning, and as soon as filled with men and camp equipage was off for the Crescent City. Without regret, we bade farewell to the old camp in the pines, with its six or seven hundred graves, containing the remains of Louisianians who yielded up their patriotic young lives without having once faced the enemies of their beloved South. Not one single mound, however, was erected over the body of a member of the 13th, a fact which gives emphasis to the remark I often heard, that soldiers from urban communities withstand disease and hardships far better than those raised in the country, where regular hours are maintained and diseases usual to congested communities unknown. To measles may be largely charged the loss of life at Camp Moore, and as this disease is generally contracted in childhood by inhabitants in cities and towns, and as a great majority of our men were city bred, the 13th was as nearly immune as a regiment could well be.

After a few hours' travel, the train pulled into the old Jackson Railroad Depot, where an unusually animated scene presented itself. The surroundings were black with a dense mass of humanity. It was a bright Sunday morning, and fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sweethearts, and throngs of persons drawn hither by simple curiosity, or it may be, moved by patriotic impulses, arrayed in holiday garb, packed the depot until it was well-nigh impossible to alight from the cars or to form companies. [113]

Nine-tenths of the men of the 13th were from New Orleans, mechanics, screwmen, longshoremen, sailors, barbers, cooks, and, in fact, men of all trades and callings, some with parents, sisters and brothers, others with wives and children, and all with scores of friends, and it seemed this Sunday morning as if neither relatives or friends were absent—as if the last one was crowding in upon the cars as the train stopped. Nor was that the worst, for it seemed that every wife, mother or sister in the mob expected her soldier boy to accompany her home for the day. ‘Oh, Captain, for the love of God, let Patrick go home with me. I have a good dinner cooked for him, and he'll be in camp to-night. Oh, do, Captain; maybe I'll never see my boy again,’ importuned an old Irish mother. ‘Impossible, madam, strict orders to keep the men in ranks,’ was the reply. ‘Mon Dieu, Lieutenant! let my lila garcon, Jules, go my'ouse. His petitesis-tar seek. Come back queek,’ said another. ‘Impossible, madam..’ But Patrick slipped, and Mike followed; Jules dodged through the pressing crowd, and Pierre also. Of course, in such a crowd of admiring patriots, with hearts overflowing with patriotism, whiskey was slipped to the boys going off to fight the battles of the country, and the liquor soon began to tell, so by the time the march began many of the soldiers were decidedly groggy. Nevertheless enough sober and slightly intoxicated men remained with the colors to present a fine appearance as we bravely marched through Louisiana's great city, cheered to the echo by crowds massed on the sidewalks. With handsome field-officers, on gaily-prancing steeds, drum and bugle corps beating quicksteps, flashing uniforms of officers and men, the regiment presented a picture the like of which had not been witnessed in the Crescent City since Jackson's army fought at Chalmette—if then.

It was a long march from where the old Jackson depot was located to Camp Chalmette, and, as the men had not made any marches previously, it was absolutely necessary that frequent halts should be made, and every halt meant more whiskey. Only one gross violation of civil or military law resulted from excessive drinking, however, and that was the brutal and unprovoked murder of one soldier by another while resting in front of the Mint. This murder was committed by a Frenchman, a member of the Third Company, called the ‘Zoo-Zoos,’ who, crazed by drink, without the least justification, raised his musket and shot and killed a German of Company D. The murderer was disarmed, arrested and turned over to the civil authorities, but it is doubtful if he was ever brought to trial, as [114] the regiment left Louisiana not long after, taking all witnesses to the tragedy along.

The longest march comes to an end at last, and so did ours, and we arrived at Camp Chalmette in time to pitch tents for the night. Next morning stragglers came in by ones and twos, so that by evening roll call the regiment was itself again. At the time of which we are writing the battle field was a stretch of smooth pasture land, well adapted for regimental manoeuvers, and, as crowds of visitors came down from the city every afternoon, it was thought well to give daily exhibitions of the proficiency of the regiment. These drills and dress parades were no ordinary affairs, but on the most elaborate scale. Officers, mounted on handsome steeds, oceans of gold lace flashing in the sunlight, gorgeous Zouave uniforms and high-class military music, thousands of lovely bright-eyed women looking on admiringly, made every man of us feel as the old song expresses it:

Oh, there is not a trade a-going,
Worth the knowing or the showing
Like that from glory growing,
Says the bold soldier boy.

Nothing in the way of soldiering could have been more pleasant or agreeable than life at Camp Chalmette, and yet every unmarried man in the regiment was eager to be off. We were dreadfully afraid the war would end and we would be mustered out without experiencing the wild excitement of battle. To fight was what we had joined the army to do, and an opportunity to fight we ardently desired, yet, I think I speak truth, when I assert that in less than ten minutes in the ‘hornets' nest’ at Shiloh, the appetite for fighting of nine-tenths of the members of the regiment was satiated to repletion. If my readers will permit, I will digress right here long enough to say that the average patriot gets enough fighting to do him a lifetime in ten minutes under a good heavy fire of artillery and musketry, such as we had in the Civil War. A little of it goes a long way.

We were at Camp Chalmette some five or six weeks, and began to think the Secretary of War was ignorant of our existence or that he had a sufficient number of soldiers without us to whip all the Yankees this side of the Kennebec river, when orders came to strike tents and go by steamer to Columbus, Ky., where a Confederate army was then forming. Within five minutes after receipt of this order there was a hurrying and scurrying to and fro, such as was never before witnessed in the 13th. Striking tents, packing knapsacks, [115] filling haversacks and loading wagons to take our plunder to the steamer Morrison, which arrived almost simultaneously with the order to move. The news of our early departure had spread uptown before the soldiers themselves were made aware of it, thanks to the energy of newspaper reporters, and it was not long before, what appeared to be, a big half of the city's population was on the ground. Wives, mothers, sisters, sweethearts, with weeping eyes and saddened hearts, clinging to their loved ones, could be seen on every hand, and even those who were from other portions of the State were made serious and depressed by the sorrowful lamentations of the weeping women.

The last load of camp equipage had been sent to the river and only the stacks of arms and uniformed soldiers were left to mark the spot where our home had been for weeks, when loud above the hum of conversation and crying of women a bugle was heard sounding the assembly, followed by the short, sharp commands of ‘Fall in! Fall in!’ With a great cheer the men fell into their respective places, were brought to ‘Attention.’ ‘Take arms,’ ‘Carry arms,’ ‘Right face,’ ‘Forward march,’ quickly followed, the band struck up ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me,’ and the regiment marched gayly to the river, followed by the multitude of civilians, men and women, waving handkerchiefs and wishing Godspeed to those about to enter actively upon a war of four years duration, and which left only poverty, desolation and misery in its wake.

Weep, mothers, weep; weep, heartbroken wife; weep, gentle sister, for you are perhaps parting forever from your loved ones. Were you gifted with prophetic vision whereby you could penetrate the dark war-clouds of the future, you might see many of the dear ones now marching so bravely and proudly aboard the majestic steamer, lying stark and cold in death, on bloody shot-torn fields, or dying in fever-infected hospitals, with nothing but strangers to wipe the death-damp from their brows, or to utter a prayer for their soul's repose. Soldiers, take a last lingering look at your Crescent City, while the mighty engines throb and pulsate, impatient of restraint, for the years will pass before those of you who survive the bloody conflict will tread its streets again.

“I wish I had a gurl to cry for me; but the devil a wun cares whether I go or stay,” said a brawny young Irishman, as he looked on at the parting of other soldiers from those they held dearest in life.

‘A gurl to cry for ye, do you? Maybe ye'd like to have a wife [116] and two childer, like McMahon, over there, to be clinging to ye and begging ye not to lave'em. Be me soul, I'm glad I've no wun. If I get kilt me people will never know what became of me, and the only monument I'll get will be an entry on the Company books— Killed in battle, Mike Morrisy—and that's not me thrue name, at that.’

All aboard! The pilot has signaled the engineer, the shrill whistle gives warning that all is in readiness, the hawser is cast loose and the palatial steamer gracefully swings out into the stream. Nine hundred soldiers, five or six hundred of whom wore brilliant red caps and baggy trousers, cover the forecastle, the main upper deck and every spot available, except the cabin, which is reserved for the forty-five officers. A pretty picture was the majestic steamer, with its living cargo, as the gold lace and red and blue colors of the uniforms flashed in the evening sunlight, to elicit thunders of applause from immense crowds at points of vantage all along the city's front. Cannon saluted the departing soldiers as the boat passed the barracks; bells tolled out their sad farewells, and steam whistles shrieked shrilly and wildly. When the boat reached the upper limits of the city I noticed that every eye was turned cityward, and every face saddened at the thought of leaving home and friends. Ah, soldiers, take a long farewell look at your beloved Crescent City fading in the twilight. Feast your eyes once again on the crescent-shaped place of your birth, and the land of your fathers, for when the great steamer turns yon bend you will have passed from its life, many of you, forever. Even to you few who survive the dreadful carnage, will all be changed. Returning weary, emaciated, warworn, aye, limbless, you will find social, political and economic conditions far different from what you knew them, and the conqueror's steady tramp will be heard resounding through streets you proudly and bravely trod in the heyday of your military career. Turn away, soldiers, your city is no longer visible. The taps have sounded. Good-night.

Well, we are off at last. Off to where battles are being fought and where heroes are developed, and every officer and enlisted man in the Thirteenth is eager and anxious to participate in the fray. The all-absorbing desire is to reach a battlefield before the war closes. ‘It cannot possibly last longer than six months,’ say the wise ones. ‘Were not Mason and Slidell taken from an English ship and will not Great Britain avenge the gross insult to her flag?’ With an English fleet at their doors and Southerners at the heels of their soldiers, [117] short work will be made of the Northern armies. Throw fresh fuel into the furnace, firemen. Put on more steam, engineer, to hurry us on our journey. It depends largely on the speed of the boat whether we return conquering heroes, to be welcomed by the shouts and cheers of grateful and admiring thousands, or slink back to peaceful pursuits ‘unknown, unhonored and unsung.’ Ah! my debonnaire comrades, could you but glance into the book of fate and read what is there recorded; see before you the long, weary marches under burning suns, pelting rains or cutting hail storms, your hearts would be heavy and your faces serious. Could you, Major, see that shallow grave gaping to receive your mortal remains on the fiercely contested field of Shiloh, you would cease the interesting story you are telling and turn to beads and prayer. Charley, gallant, light and hearty Charley, could you picture in your mind that solemn midnight scene, on the banks of Stone river, where your body was laid away by tender hands of comrades, Il Trovatore, snatches of which you are softly humming, would suddenly cease and in its stead arise the solemn De Profundis.

Comfortably seated in an armchair, inditing these crude reminiscences forty-two years after, it appears strange and unreasonable that young men are ever ready to leave the comforts of home life to go where chances of early sepulcher are great, limbless bodies abundant, and at the best only hardships and suffering are to be found. So it was, is and always will be.

Readers of these sketches must expect quite a number of twists in the thread of my story. I am not writing a history of the 13th, but my own experience, as a soldier ‘in a Louisiana regiment.’ History tells the tale of the regiment. Nor will I cover more ground than that occupied by the Louisiana Brigade of the Army of Tennessee. While I was at the birth, baptism and death of that great Southern army, I only know what occurred outside of my brigade by hearsay. It was understood in our regiment that they who knew most of the general features of an engagement were company cooks, servants and skulkers, who gathered around wagon trains and viewed ‘the battle from afar.’ I felt in those days that a soldier who stood by his colors was doing his full duty without wandering over the field, watching the operations of brigades to which he did not belong. The truant's excuse, ‘I became entangled with other troops and could not again find my regiment,’ was met by a sneer in the 13th, and to avoid being sneered at, if not for loftier motives, [118] I confined myself and my knowledge of battles to regimental and brigade lines.

Now that we are afoot and fairly on our way, it might be well to furnish a roster of the regiment, which was as follows:

Randall Gibson, Colonel; Aristide Gerard, Lieutenant-Colonel; Anatole P. Avegno, Major;——King, Adjutant.

First Company, Governor's Guards—Auguste Cassard, Captain; Charles Richard, First Lieutenant; Victor Mossy, Second Lieutenant; Victor Olivier, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Second Company, Governor's Guards—J. Fremaux, Captain; B. Bennett, First Lieutenant; C. H. Luzenburg, Second Lieutenant; Charles Hepburn, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Third Company, Governor's Guards—Bernard Avegno, Captain; St. Leon Deetez, First Lieutenant; Henry Castillo, Second Lieutenant; Eugene Lagarique, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Fourth Company, Governor's Guards—M. O. Tracey, Captain; Hugh H. Bein, First Lieutenant; Eugene Blasco; Second Lieutenant; George W. Boylon, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Fifth Company, Governor's Guards-Lee Campbell, Captain; John M. King, First Lieutenant; J. B. Sallaude, Second Lieutenant; Norman Story, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Sixth Company, Governor's Guards—W. Dubroca, Captain; John McGrath, First Lieutenant; A. M. Dubroca, Second Lieutenant; Robert Cade, Junior Second Lieutenant.

St. Mary Volunteers—Thomas G. Wilson, Captain; James Murphy, First Lieutenant; H. H. Strawbridge, Second Lieutenant; Adolph Dumartrait, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Gladden Rifles—William A. Metcalf, Captain; John W. Labuisse, First Lieutenant; Walter V. Crouch, Second Lieutenant; E. B. Musgrove, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Southern Celts—Stephen O'Leary, Captain; John Daly, First Lieutenant; E. J. Connolly, Second Lieutenant; John Dooley, Junior Second Lieutenant.

Norton Guards—George W. Norton, Captain; M. Hunly, First Lieutenant; A. S. Stuart, Second Lieutenant; George Cammack, Junior Second Lieutenant.

J. M. Parker, Sergeant Major.

Colonel Gibson, a graduate of Yale, wealthy, refined and polished by travel and association with the most famous men of the day, served as Colonel or Brigade Commander from the firing of the first gun until the battle-torn and stained flags of the regiments were [119] furled for the last time, and never missed a battle or skirmish in which his command was engaged, and these numbered one hundred or more. In my opinion, Gibson was not what one might call a great commander, but that he was a brave and faithful one his splendid record bears testimony. He was a good soldier, if not a military genius.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard was a Frenchman by birth and a soldier by profession. He was a master of the science of war, and brave to a degree of rashness. Arriving in New Orleans some years previous to the war, while occupying an editorial position on one of the French papers, he became prominent through a duel with a notorious duelist, in which the latter was fatally wounded. Colonel Gerard was not long with the regiment, receiving a severe wound at Farmington, and upon recovery being assigned to duty in the Transmississippi Department.

Major Avegno was a Creole of Louisiana, educated, refined and wealthy. His service was also short, as he fell mortally wounded on the second day at Shiloh, and died a day or two after.

Adjutant King, at the breaking out of the war, was a second lieutenant in the United States Army, resigning to take service with the Confederacy. He was a thorough soldier, and to him in a great measure was due the fine discipline and perfect drill which were always characteristic of the regiment.

At one of the landings made by the boat it was learned that a battle had been fought at Belmont, opposite Columbus, and that the Yankees had been defeated with great loss and had returned to Cairo pell-mell, and that, too, without the presence of the 13th. Thus, thought we, faded the only opportunity of ever facing the enemy. Defeated at Manassas and at Belmont, the Federals would realize the folly of attempting invasion of the South and throw up the sponge. The disappointment had a most depressing effect on officers and men alike, the former cursing the slowness of the boat, while the latter, more superstitious, laid it on the unlucky number of the regiment. ‘Oh, why the blazes did I join the 13th. I might have known we'd be unlucky,’ was a common remark. It was a most discouraging piece of news to all, but I lived to see a time when the boys were not so anxious; when they could have remained on board a Confederate boat with perfect complacency while others were dying. The 13th always performed its full duty when called upon; the men did the fighting falling to their share, but, like the man who ate the crow, ‘didn't hanker arter it.’ After one or [120] two good stiff battles indignation meetings were not held if the regiment found itself in reserve. We might say right here, however, that no battle was fought by the Army of Tennessee where we were overlooked, when a battery was to be captured or a line of battle attacked. ‘Oh, go on, Mike, don't ye know we'll be sent in. We're not voters, an' they'll want to save the Hoosier regiments so as to have as many men after the war as they can to vote. Every last man of the colonels will be running for office,’ I heard one of the men of the Southern Celts say on one occasion.

About evening of the sixth day the journey ended. Columbus was covered by snow and the men without overcoats. Crowds of soldiers came down to the river to see us land, and as many of these had never seen a zouave before, they were surprised beyond measure. They took the baggy trousers for petticoats and one loud-mouthed Hoosier shouted: ‘Jeems, come over here and see the Loosyane wimmen soldiers. All of you'ns come.’ Disgust was plainly discernible on the countenances of the men at being taken for women, and the remarks addressed to the country soldiers were not such as to be printable.

At last the 13th was at the front.

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