Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sesquicentennial anniversary of the capture of New Orleans

Union postal cover from the Alfred S. Lippman collection
In 1862, Union forces made their way past Forts St. Philip and Jackson to capture the city of New Orleans on April 25, with General Benjamin Butler's troops arriving the following week. The city would remain occupied through the remainder of the American Civil War. The Louisiana Research Collection contains a wealth of archives, maps, ephemera and printed materials related to the Civil War. In recent years, we have made a special effort to acquire letters and documents from Union soldiers who were stationed in the Gulf South, as these items shed an enormous amount of light on the Civil War experience in Louisiana.

To mark the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of the capture of New Orleans, LaRC is pleased to highlight some excerpts from our archives. In the spirit of the unique challenges of working with archival documents, we have reproduced text exactly as it appears in the document.

B.B. Smith diary, Manuscripts Collection M-1123

B.B. Smith was a Union soldier from Massachusetts who served in Company A, 30th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which was raised by Major General Benjamin Butler. Smith was with the unit when it entered New Orleans and describes the Union Army's occupation of the city in his 1862 diary.

Sunday 27

Pleasant again, there was a fine raft went down the river this morn but done no harm, the rebels hate to come to
[town?] But the Maj Gen wont wait long for them. the men all well considering Had inspection by the Colonel. Divine worship this pm, we expect to be in the Queen City of the South within a week, that means New Orleans. Oh yes, I guess.

Monday April 28 1862

Fine again, the men are all rejoicing At the news of the surrender of the forts. After a seige of 9 days, rather tough that. We have a steam gun boat alongside To tow us up the river, good, part of the regt & the 4th Battery went on shore in to the forts and hoisted our Flag about 3 oc this pm. The rebels Tried to blow up the forts but did not
[make?] out


Alfred S. Lippman Collection of Civil War letters: Item 7: J.B. Green, Company D, 9th Regiment (state unidentified), of General Butler’s division, Camp Parapet, New Orleans, Louisiana to brother and sister, June 2, 1862

I suppose you have seen in the Papers that New Orleans had surrendered to the Fleet and that the 9th, 12th and 13th and a lot of Western Regt had landed and took charge of the Place, the 9th landed the 2and of May and staid till the 6th and then we moved up to this camp the 31st of May the 9th got Orders to go to Baton Rogue


Ambert O. Remington papers, Manuscripts Collection 89

Ambert Remington was born in July 1842 to a farming family near Auburn, New York. He enlisted with the Union army on September 21st 1861 and was placed in the New York 75th Infantry Company. His career in the military took him to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island near Pensacola, Florida and the area surrounding New Orleans. Remington suffered a “severe wound” to his right arm during a skirmish near Port Hudson in June of 1863. The resulting amputation of his arm led to his death three days later on June 17th.


Letter from Ambert "to the folks at home" April 25, 1862:


Three deserters came over yesterday, and they say that New Orleans was taken day before yesterday. We heard form a brig which came in this morning from the latter place, that they were Fighting when she left. We are begging
[?] to look for better times now, for when N.O. is taken our troops will probably march up this way, and the first we shall hear of it we will be ordered over on the other side to join the Union Army

To find more archival resources on New Orleans' role in the Civil War, please go here.

Image: Union postal cover, Alfred S. Lippman Collection of Civil War postal covers, Manuscripts Collection 993, Louisiana Research Collection, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Images may not be reproduced without permission.

Posted by Eira Tansey

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