10th Louisiana: "Jabbering" CSA Immigrants Pass Through Lynchburg, Va. 1861

Pat Young

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The 10th Louisiana Regiment.
--When the Tiger Rifles, who played such fearful havoc with Lincoln's "Pet Lambs, " at Manassas, on the memorable 21st July, passed through this city, we thought that we had seen a specimen of the toughest and most ferocious set of men on earth, but when we speak of the 10th Louisiana Regiment of New Orleans, which passed through this city on Sunday, language is inadequate to give a description, composed as it was of English, French, Germans, Dutch, Italians, Sicilians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Swiss, Mexicans, Indians, and Creoles, who in their jabbering seemed to represent a second Rebel. The commander, together with many other officers, are veterans who served throughout the Crimean war. The commands are all given in French, Dutch, Spanish, or something else which we could not exactly understand, but seemed to be executed with promptness and a remarkable degree of precision. The Mexicans particularly were objects of much curiosity with our citizens, most of whom had never seen one before. The entire regiment has gone to a point where they will be likely to get a chance at Lincoln's minions, and we confidently predict that when the 10th Louisiana Regiment is again hea[r]d from ‘"somebody else will be hurt."’--Lynchburg Republican.
[August 7, 1861. Richmond Dispatch. 4 pages. by Cowardin & Hammersley. Richmond. August 7, 1861. microfilm. Ann Arbor, Mi : Proquest. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:2006.05.0238:article=pos=86]
 

Pat Young

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I posted this article from 1861 to do a little in-depth textual analysis of a commentary on an immigrant regiment. Since I will be away from my computer much of the day, I will post as time allows. Please post your thoughts on this interesting article as well.

The article originally appeared in the Lynchburg, Va. Republican and was reprinted in the Richmond Dispatch. This was a common practice among papers in the U.S. until the wire services took over the task.

The Dispatch article begins with:
"When the Tiger Rifles, who played such fearful havoc with Lincoln's "Pet Lambs, " at Manassas".

The Tiger Rifles were the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion commanded by Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat.

Originally only a company of the 1st had been called the Tiger Rifles, but soon after it arrived in Virginia the entire unit was called the Tigers. Eventually, the Louisiana brigades in the Army of Northern Virginia would take on the Tiger nickname. The original Tigers were mostly immigrant Irish who did dock or other "water work" in New Orleans and surrounding areas.

During their travel to New Orleans, the Tigers were given a reputation as tough and dangerous men. At 1st Bull Run, they became famous throughout the South for their fearsome defense of the Confederate line early in the battle.

I am guessing that the author is comparing the 10th La. to Wheat's Battalion because: 1) both are from La.; 2) both were mostly immigrant.

The "Pet Lamb's" mocked in the article are Elmer Ellsworth's Fire Zouaves, also a heavily immigrant unit.
 

Pat Young

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I like this model of a Tiger.
tiger.PNG


Here is my description of how they were raised in 1861:

http://www.longislandwins.com/news/detail/the_irish_tigers_from_louisiana
 

Rebforever

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Oct 26, 2012
I think Wheat's men were made up of a large mix of immigrants. These fellows came into Stonewall Jackson's army
under Ewell and were led by Walter Taylor. Vicious bunch for sure. Especially at Port Republic.
 

Pat Young

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I think Wheat's men were made up of a large mix of immigrants. These fellows came into Stonewall Jackson's army
under Ewell and were led by Walter Taylor. Vicious bunch for sure. Especially at Port Republic.
Wheat's men were primarily Irish, but they included a number of native-born as well.
 

Pat Young

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My bad. Taylor had the 9th Louisiana Tigers.
The 6th Louisiana was another mixed ethnicity regiment. According to James P. Gannon's Irish Rebels Confederate Tigers (p. 393), the regiment's soldiers were born in the following places:
Ireland 468
Louisiana 163
Germany 123
Union States 88
Other CSA States 65
England 30
France 13
Scotland 9
Canada 9
Latino immigrants 2
Other immigrants 1o
No Reported Place of Birth 235
 

Pat Young

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Back to the close analysis:

The Lynchburg Republican described the Tiger Rifle (Wheat's Battalion) this way:

"we thought that we had seen a specimen of the toughest and most ferocious set of men on earth"


This was a fairly typical way to characterize the Tigers. There are a number of letters and diaries where Southern soldiers and civilians indicate that they went to look at the Tigers. One wonders at how these working class Irish immigrants felt about being on display as exotica. The notion of the immigrant, particularly the Irish immigrant, as a dangerous, violent "other" is repeated both South and North. Many Southerners, however, had never encountered large numbers of immigrants before, so the experience must have been even more strange.
 
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