Union soldiers in Louisiana online

The Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) preserves an internationally-renowned collection of Civil War documents, including the papers  of Jefferson Davis, the papers of Stonewall Jackson, and the Gettysburg letters of Robert E. Lee. One of LaRC's special missions is preserving letters and diaries of Union soldiers serving in Louisiana, which we have recently made available online. 

While LaRC preserves extensive letters and diaries of Louisiana Confederate soldiers, those materials pertain to conditions where they were stationed, which was often outside of Louisiana. By focusing on Union soldiers serving in Louisiana, this collection reveals military and social conditions within Louisiana itself during the Civil War. Additionally, New Orleans fell to Union troops early in the war. Letters from occupying forces therefore extend over a greater period of time than for elsewhere in the South.

Union letters and diaries record a wide range of information about Louisiana, including the surrender and occupation of New Orleans, the fall of Fort Saint Philip, the siege of Port Hudson, vignettes of camp life, African American support of Union troops, relations with locals, and food and food preparation. Union military figures of note mentioned include General Benjamin Butler, Colonel Edward Jones, Colonel George Foster Shepley, General Thomas Williams, Admiral David Farragut, and General John Wolcott Phelps.

These documents were drawn from eight collections and three diaries containing roughly six hundred pages. The Louisiana Research Collection is indebted to Pat Vince, Jeff Rubin, and Bernadette Bizer in Howard-Tilton Memorial Library's Digital Initiatives and Publishing department for their expertise. You can view LaRC's newest online collection here.


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