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

RobertP

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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]
If you've ever watched a Gator Boys episode you might get an idea of what that jabbering sounded like. :D
 

RobertP

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And his name was Richard.
Richard Taylor; son of Zachary Taylor, brother in law to Jeff Davis, was the original Colonel of the 9th Louisiana. In the Fall of 1861 he was promoted to Brig. Gen. and assumed command of the Louisiana Brigade. After the war he wrote Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences from the Late War, from which these quotes come.

Valley Campaign

While in camp near Conrad's store, the 7th Louisiana, Colonel Hays, a crack regiment, on picket down stream, had a spirited affair, in which the enemy was driven with the loss of a score of prisoners. Shortly after, for convenience of supplies, I was directed to cross the river and camp some miles to the southwest. The command was in superb condition, and a four-gun battery from Bedford county, Virginia, Captain Bowyer, had recently been added to it. The four regiments, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Louisiana, would average above eight hundred bayonets. Of Wheat's battalion of "Tigers" and the 7th I have written. The 6th, Colonel Seymour, recruited in New Orleans, was composed of Irishmen, stout, hardy fellows, turbulent in camp and requiring a strong hand, but responding to kindness and justice, and ready to follow their officers to the death. The 9th, Colonel Stafford, was from North Louisiana. Planters or sons of planters, many of them men of fortune, soldiering was a hard task to which they only became reconciled by reflecting that it was "niddering" in gentlemen to assume voluntarily the discharge of duties and then shirk. The 8th, Colonel Kelly, was from the Attakapas - "Acadians," the race of which Longfellow sings in "Evangeline." A home loving, simple people, few spoke English, fewer still had ever before moved ten miles from their natal cabanas; and the war to them was "a liberal education," as was the society of the lady of quality to honest Dick Steele. They had all the light gayety of the Gaul, and, after the manner of their ancestors, were born cooks. A capital regimental band accompanied them, and whenever weather and ground permitted, even after long marches, they would waltz and "polk" in couples with as much zest as if their arms encircled the supple waists of the Célestines and Mélazies of their native Téche. The Valley soldiers were largely of the Presbyterian faith, and of a solemn, pious demeanor, and looked askant at the caperings of my Creoles, holding them to be "devices and snares."
 
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Pat Young

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The 6th, Colonel Seymour, recruited in New Orleans, was composed of Irishmen, stout, hardy fellows, turbulent in camp and requiring a strong hand, but responding to kindness and justice, and ready to follow their officers to the death.

It is interesting that this reminds me of Wheat's men as well. They had a bad reputation, but he saw that if they were treated fairly as men and not as a servile class they responded as men. Interestingly, Wheat was the son of a Protestant minister but he was accepted completely by his Irish Catholic men because he was on the level with them.
 

RobertP

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From the same source on BG Richard Taylor's first encounter with Stonewall Jackson near Harrisonburg:

The mounted officer who had been sent on in advance pointed out a figure perched on the topmost rail of a fence overlooking the road and field, and said it was Jackson. Approaching, I saluted and declared my name and rank, then waited for a response. Before this came I had time to see a pair of cavalry boots covering feet of gigantic size, a mangy cap with visor drawn low, a heavy, dark beard, and weary eyes - eyes I afterward saw filled with intense but never brilliant light. A low, gentle voice inquired the road and distance marched that day. "Keazletown road, six and twenty miles." "You seem to have no stragglers." "Never allow straggling." "You must teach my people; they straggle badly." A bow in reply. Just then my creoles started their band and a waltz. After a contemplative suck at a lemon, "Thoughtless fellows for serious work" came forth. I expressed a hope that the work would not be less well done because of the gayety. A return to the lemon gave me the opportunity to retire. Where Jackson got his lemons "no fellow could find out," but he was rarely without one. To have lived twelve miles from that fruit would have disturbed him as much as it did the witty Dean.

Quite late that night General Jackson came to my camp fire, where he stayed some hours. He said we would move at dawn, asked a few questions about the marching of my men, which seemed to have impressed him, and then remained silent. If silence be golden, he was a "bonanza." He sucked lemons, ate hard-tack, and drank water, and praying and fighting appeared to be his idea of the "whole duty of man."
 
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RobertP

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Same source, Gen. Taylor describing a French Acadian soldier at Winchester in the Valley:

Breaking into column, we pursued closely. Jackson came up and grasped my hand, worth a thousand words from another, and we were soon in the streets of Winchester, a quaint old town of some five thousand inhabitants. There was a little fighting in the streets, but the people were all abroad - certainly all the women and babies. They were frantic with delight, only regretting that so many "Yankees" had escaped, and seriously impeded our movements. A buxom, comely dame of some five and thirty summers, with bright eyes and tight ankles, and conscious of these advantages, was especially demonstrative, exclaiming, "Oh! you are too late - too late!" Whereupon, a tall creole from the Téche sprang from the ranks of the 8th regiment, just passing, clasped her in his arms, and imprinted a sounding kiss on her ripe lips, with "Madame! je n'arrive jamais trop tard." (Madame, I am never to late) A loud laugh followed, and the dame, with a rosy face but merry twinkle in her eye, escaped.
 

RobertP

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To add to the immigrant theme here's Richard Taylor on the capture of German soldiers at Strasburg in the Valley. I read when many say Southerners were anti-immigrant, this man certainly wasn't:

"The prisoners taken in our promenade were Germans, speaking no English; and we had a similar experience a few days later. In the Federal Army was a German corps, the 11th, commanded by General O. O. Howard, and called by both sides "the Flying Dutchmen." Since the time of Arminius the Germans have been a brave people; to-day, in military renown, they lead the van of the nations; but they require a cause and leaders. In our Revolutionary struggle the Hessians were unfortunate at Bennington, Saratoga, and Trenton. We have millions of German citizens, and excellent citizens they are. Let us hope that the foregoing facts may be commended to them, so their ways may be ways of peace in their adopted land."
 
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Pat Young

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To add to the immigrant theme here's Richard Taylor on the capture of German soldiers at Strasburg in the Valley. I read when many say Southerners were anti-immigrant, this man certainly wasn't:
Robert, I read Taylor's book a decade ago and have not looked at it much since. You have given me a lot of reasons here to re-examine it.
 

RobertP

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Robert, I read Taylor's book a decade ago and have not looked at it much since. You have given me a lot of reasons here to re-examine it.
Pat, one more section from Taylor's book about his men in the 6th Louisiana (Irish) at Winchester in the Valley, I think very cool;

Our pursuers' fire was wild, passing over head; so we had few casualties, and these slight; but they were bold and enterprising, and well led, often charging close up to the bayonets. I remarked this, whereupon the Irishmen answered, "Devil thank 'em for that same." There was no danger on the flanks. The white of the pike alone guided us. Owls could not have found their way across the fields. The face of the country has been described as a succession of rolling swells, and later the enemy got up guns, but always fired from the summits, so that his shells passed far above us, exploding in the fields. Had the guns been trained low, with canister, it might have proved uncomfortable, for the pike ran straight to the south. "It was a fine night intirely for divarsion," said the Irishmen, with which sentiment I did not agree; but they were as steady as clocks and chirpy as crickets, indulging in many a jest whenever the attentions of our friends in the rear were slackened. They had heard of Shields's proximity, and knew him to be an Irishman by birth, and that he had Irish regiments with him. During an interlude I was asked if it was not probable that we would encounter Shields, and answering affirmatively, heard: "Them Germans is poor creatures, but Shields's boys will be after fighting." Expressing a belief that my "boys" could match Shields's any day, I received loud assurance from half a hundred Tipperary throats: "You may bet your life on that, sor." Thus we beguiled the weary hours. During the night I desired to relieve the guard, but was diverted from my purpose by scornful howls of "We are the boys to see it out." As Argyle's to the tartan, my heart has warmed to an Irishman since that night.
 

RobertP

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Last piece in the book about Taylor's Irishmen at Port Republic:

Jackson came up, with intense light in his eyes, grasped my hand, and said the brigade should have the captured battery. I thought the men would go mad with cheering, especially the Irishmen. A huge fellow, with one eye closed and half his whiskers burned by powder, was riding cock-horse on a gun, and, catching my attention, yelled out, "We told you to bet on your boys." Their success against brother Patlanders seemed doubly welcome. Strange people, these Irish! Fighting every one's battles, and cheerfully taking the hot end of the poker, they are only found wanting when engaged in what they believe to be their national cause. Excepting the defense of Limerick under brilliant Sarsfield, I recall no domestic struggle in which they have shown their worth.
 

Pat Young

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and whenever weather and ground permitted, even after long marches, they would waltz and "polk" in couples with as much zest as if their arms encircled the supple waists of the Célestines and Mélazies of their native Téche. The Valley soldiers were largely of the Presbyterian faith, and of a solemn, pious demeanor, and looked askant at the caperings of my Creoles, holding them to be "devices and snares."
I wonder if some of the negatives associated with the Louisiana troops was their Catholic capacity for dance, drink, and food. These may well have stirred up prejudices.
 

18thVirginia

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I would think that the Irish men from New Orleans were actually tough, as many had been dockworkers--which had to be tough in New Orleans heat and humidity in those days.

Also, if they were from New Orleans, it was a drinking, brawling, gambling, fighting duels kind of town, so they may have been used to being a lot rowdier than some of the other soldiers.
 
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RobertP

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I wonder if some of the negatives associated with the Louisiana troops was their Catholic capacity for dance, drink, and food. These may well have stirred up prejudices.
No doubt about it, Pat. Even when I was growing up in very Protestant Jackson, Mississippi, the capitol city had only one Catholic Church that I recall. Protestants were suspicious of Catholics even then, saying they believe they can do anything they want, confess to their Priest on Sunday, and start all over again on Monday. My dear twin brother died at 29 of cancer and is buried the family plot of a small Mississippi town. He told Mom that he wanted a cross for his grave stone, which she had made for him. Great Aunt Ella, a wonderful and selfless person who is now in the same plot, said, 'well that will be the only cross in the cemetery.' It was just too Catholic for her.
 

AUG

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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.
Think you mean Richard Taylor :wink:
The 9th Louisiana Infantry were sure one hell of a regiment! I think their stand at the railroad cut at Second Manassas was among their greatest feats, throwing rocks when no more cartridges were left.
 

AUG

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Just to make it clear, the 10th Louisiana Infantry was not the original Louisiana Tigers or the 1st Louisiana Battalion "Tiger Rifles" lead by Roberdeau Wheat. The 10th Louisiana was mustered in at Camp Moore on July 22, 1861. Except for minor skirmishing, their first major battle was Malvern Hill.

The 10th Louisiana Infantry was not in the 1st Louisiana Brigade lead by Richard Taylor and later Harry T. Hays. They were in Paul J. Semmes' Brigade at Malvern Hill and later in the 2nd Louisiana Brigade under William E. Starke.

The 1st Louisiana Battalion under Wheat on the other hand saw action from First Manassas until the Seven Days, where afterwards they were disbanded. The 10th LA continued to fight in the 2nd Louisiana Brigade throughout the remainder of the war.
 
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Pat Young

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Just to make it clear, the 10th Louisiana Infantry was not the original Louisiana Tigers or the 1st Louisiana Battalion "Tiger Rifles" lead by Roberdeau Wheat. The 10th Louisiana was mustered in at Camp Moore on July 22, 1861. Except for minor skirmishing, their first major battle was Malvern Hill.

The 10th Louisiana Infantry was not in the 1st Louisiana Brigade lead by Richard Taylor and later Harry T. Hays. They were in Paul J. Semmes' Brigade at Malvern Hill and later in the 2nd Louisiana Brigade under William E. Starke.

The 1st Louisiana Battalion under Wheat on the other hand saw action from First Manassas until the Seven Days, where afterwards they were disbanded. The 10th LA continued to fight in the 2nd Louisiana Brigade throughout the remainder of the war.
Thanks, although I don't think anyone was confusing the units. The term Tigers eventually came to be applied broadly to La. Troops in the ANV even though it began as the name of one company of Wheat's battalion.
 

Pat Young

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Before this came I had time to see a pair of cavalry boots covering feet of gigantic size, a mangy cap with visor drawn low, a heavy, dark beard, and weary eyes - eyes I afterward saw filled with intense but never brilliant light. A low, gentle voice inquired the road and distance marched that day. "Keazletown road, six and twenty miles." "You seem to have Page 50
no stragglers."
"Never allow straggling." "You must teach my people; they straggle badly." A bow in reply. Just then my creoles started their band and a waltz. After a contemplative suck at a lemon, "Thoughtless fellows for serious work" came forth. I expressed a hope that the work would not be less well done because of the gayety. A return to the lemon gave me the opportunity to retire. Where Jackson got his lemons "no fellow could find out," but he was rarely without one. To have lived twelve miles from that fruit would have disturbed him as much as it did the witty Dean.

Quite late that night General Jackson came to my camp fire, where he stayed some hours. He said we would move at dawn, asked a few questions about the marching of my men, which seemed to have impressed him, and then remained silent. If silence be golden, he was a "bonanza." He sucked lemons, ate hard-tack, and drank water, and praying and fighting appeared to be his idea of the "whole duty of man."
Great piece.
 

DRW

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Louis Witkovski - a Jewish immigrant born in the Posen district of Prussia - served in Co. B 9th Louisiana from July 1861 until his discharge after losing an arm at Chancellorsville. I write extensively about Witkovski's post-war life and murder in Florida at my blog www.bloodandoranges.com.
 
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