Private Louis G. Cortez of Company G, 7th Louisiana

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
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Jan 16, 2015
The obituary of Private Louis G. Cortez identified him as a color bearer during the assault on Cemetery Hill on the evening of July 2. With primary source accounts being scarce on the 7th Louisiana, I can find nothing to support the claim.

Service records indicate 4th Sergeant Thomas Thorpe was color bearer of the 7th Louisiana at Gettysburg, until he was killed during the same assault. Therefore it is possible that Cortez carried the colors after Thorpe was shot down. Cortez was himself wounded in the left thigh and subsequently captured. His leg was amputated. On July 18, he was admitted to Chester General Hospital, and was afterwards sent to Fort Delaware. On October 4, he was forwarded to Hammond General Hospital at Point Lookout, from where he was exchanged circa August 1864. The regiment then detailed him to the post office at General Hospital #1 in Lynchburg, Virginia, at which point he was paroled on April 13, 1865.

In July 1888, Cortez was invited to speak at the George G. Meade Post (Grand Army of the Republic) in Philadelphia, where he presumably recounted his role at Gettysburg. He never made it back home. His obituary read: “L. G. Cortez, the man who carried the colors of the ‘Louisiana Tigers’ when they charged on Rickett’s battery at Gettysburg, was killed in a railroad accident in Virginia last week. He had been the guest of Geo. G. Meade Post, Philadelphia, and was on his way home from that city when the accident happened.”

Sources:
-Obituary, The National Tribune, July 19, 1888, p. 5.
-Compiled Service Records of Louis G. Cortez.
-Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg, by John W. Busey and Travis W. Busey, 1:570.
 
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