GDG- Louisiana Tigers- In the beginning, there was one
jlawrence at kc.rr.com
Wed Jan 18 16:49:33 CST 2012
Here is a story about the original Louisiana Tiger.
>From The Opinionator
January 17, 2012, 9:30 pm
Sherman's Southern Sympathies
By THOM BASSETT
Disunion follows the Civil War as it unfolded.
Louisiana, slaves, The Civil War, William T. Sherman
The Baton Rouge dinner party in early 1860 had been enjoyable, but as it
went on William Tecumseh Sherman couldn't help but hear his name mentioned
repeatedly down at the table's far end. He suspected it had something to do
with his position as superintendent of the newly formed Louisiana State
Seminary of Learning and Military Academy (today's Louisiana State
University). He had held the post for a few months and was well regarded by
those who knew him personally, but many who didn't were concerned that the
state's only college was run by a Northerner whose congressman brother was
seen across the South as an abolitionist.
The party's host, Gov. Thomas O. Moore, finally invited Sherman to join the
discussion. "Won't you speak your mind freely on this question of slavery,
that so agitates the land?" Moore asked. "You are under my roof," he added,
"and, whatever you say, you have my protection." His guest wouldn't need it.
Sherman is remembered today mainly as the Union general who led marches
through Georgia and the Carolinas that crippled the Confederacy's war-making
capacity and demoralized its people. But that evening, surrounded by some of
Louisiana's leading citizens, Sherman would prove how Southern his views on
William T. Sherman"The people of Louisiana were hardly responsible for
slavery, as they had inherited it," Sherman assured his audience. Further,
while the well-being of field slaves might depend on "the temper and
dispositions of their masters and overseers," Sherman thought slaves who
worked in family homes were "probably better treated than any slaves on
earth." When he explained that he favored keeping slave families intact and
allowing slaves to read and write in order to increase their value as
property, a fellow guest pounded the table in excited support of Sherman's
remarks. A lively but congenial debate ensued that left Sherman feeling
relieved, "because at the time all men in Louisiana were dreadfully excited
on questions affecting their slaves."
Sherman's comments shouldn't surprise us, nor the fact that they were so
well received. Though born in Ohio, Sherman had spent much of his life among
Southerners. In 1836 he entered West Point, where the emphasis on hierarchy
and obedience would prepare Sherman well to move later among aristocratic
Southerners. Upon graduation in 1840, Sherman spent the next six years at
postings across the Deep South, in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South
Carolina. It was especially while in Charleston that Sherman got to know the
South's aristocracy, attending parties and going on deer hunts along the
Sherman resigned from the Army after a posting in California and embarked on
what turned out to be a spectacularly unsuccessful business career. With the
help of old Army friends, he was hired in the summer of 1859 to head the
nascent Louisiana military academy.
At Governor Moore's dinner party, in fact, Sherman had if anything actually
understated his views. For one thing, Sherman was a white supremacist. "All
the congresses on earth can't make the negro anything else than what he is;
he must be subject to the white man," Sherman wrote his wife in 1860. "Two
such races cannot live in harmony save as master and slave." In a letter to
his antislavery brother-in-law about plans to bring his family to Louisiana,
Sherman crassly joked about becoming a slave master himself. Making light of
the problems he anticipated in keeping white servants, he wrote that his
wife Ellen "will have to wait on herself or buy a nigger. What will you
think of that - our buying niggers?"
Blinded by his implacable racism, Sherman could see no worthwhile moral or
legal debate to be had over slavery. History had forced this institution on
the South, Sherman thought, and its continued prosperity depended on
embracing it. "Theoretical notions of humanity and religion," he flatly
declared, "cannot shake the commercial fact that their labor is of great
value and cannot be dispensed with." Further, Sherman believed that slavery
benefited both races. In 1854 he assured his brother that blacks thrived in
the Southern heat and later told David F. Boyd, one of his professors at the
Louisiana military academy and eventual friend, that he considered slavery
in the South "the mildest and best regulated system of slavery in the world,
now or heretofore."
Still, slavery did trouble Sherman in one way: He grew increasingly worried
that the political fight over it would threaten the stability of the Union.
However, while he occasionally singled out Southerners for overreacting to
antislavery sentiment - once writing that they "pretend to think that the
northern people have nothing to do but steal niggers and preach sedition" -
Sherman overall displayed a clear sympathy for their side in the growing
schism. He was emphatic in an 1859 letter to his wife that the South should
make its own decisions regarding slavery and then "receive its reward or
doom." Sherman thus anticipated Jefferson Davis' famous plea of two years
later that the South simply be left alone.
Despite Sherman's strong affinities for the white aristocratic South, there
were parts of Southern life that he seemed to dislike, and even despise. He
enjoyed, for example, socializing in the 1840s with the better people of
Charleston, but he at least once called their scions "worthless sons of
broken down, proud Carolina families." After the war, as the South struggled
to rise above the devastation and impoverishment it had suffered, Sherman
admonished Boyd to leave Louisiana for a teaching position in the North.
"The commonest of the common schools of Iowa outrank in public estimation
your university," Sherman unkindly informed his friend, somehow overlooking
that he was referring to the same college he himself had helped found and
was otherwise often proud of. It's not clear, though, how seriously to take
these attacks: Sherman's relationship with the South, like so many other
areas of his life, was marked by a penchant for overheated rhetoric and a
shifting array of firmly held opinions that can be hard to reconcile.
On the other hand, Sherman was always consistent when it came to the most
fundamental disagreement between himself and his Southern friends and
colleagues. He resigned his superintendency in January 1861 when it was
clear Louisiana would follow the cotton states out of the Union. Sherman
would help Southern whites "protect themselves against negroes and
abolitionists," but he refused to accept disunion under any circumstances.
Sherman's decision was painful for all concerned. "You cannot regret more
than I do the necessity which deprives us of your services," Governor Moore
wrote Sherman. For his own part, Sherman told Moore he left with "the
kindest feelings toward all." At a final ceremony at the academy, Sherman
bid farewell to each of his cadets individually; he then turned to the
assembled faculty, but at first was unable to speak. After a moment, he
placed a hand over his heart and choked out, "You are all here."
Even so, Sherman would also hold rage in his heart at what he considered
Confederate treason, and he came to embrace a war strategy to make the South
pay for its disloyalty. "My aim," according to his memoirs, "was to whip the
rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and
make them fear and dread us." This Sherman, the scourge of the South, is
well-established in Civil War history.
Much less well known, but equally essential to a proper understanding of
this man, is the Sherman who wrote his oldest daughter of his sadness at
fighting "some of the very families in whose houses I used to spend some
happy days" and of his relief whenever battle against them could be avoided.
The Sherman who received under flag of truce in 1864 a letter of thanks from
several captured Louisiana students and professors for whom he'd secured
release and protection. The Sherman who, a decade later in his memoirs,
still recalled by name a former cadet killed in the terrible carnage at
Sherman's relationship with the South makes him one of the most paradoxical
and polarizing figures of the Civil War. He understood, and to a great
extent embraced, the beliefs and values that led the South to secede. Yet of
all Union generals he was the most viscerally opposed to the rebellion,
causing him, as the war went on, to become the Confederacy's sympathetic,
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "George Connell" <georgeconnell at mac.com>
> To: "GDG" <gettysburg at arthes.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 3:25 PM
> Subject: Re: GDG- BG Harry Hayes - Louisiana Tigers
> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> I think that's another Looziana CW military entity. The Tigers, of course,
> were a brigade in the ANV and anything but bandbox soldiers.
> 26ª11'56"N 81ª48'19W"
> On Jan 18, 2012, at 4:07 PM, Jack Lawrence wrote:
>> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>> They also "opened" their ranks to freedmen who had relatives still
>> enslaved with a promise of freedom for their relatives.
>> The most egregious of this sort were the freedman with wives who were
>> still slave who rented the marital beds for a dollar a week. They were
>> cut off if not enlisted.
>> Even so, these were "bandbox" soldiers, used for display purpose. Only
>> one unit was ever put in harms way, on a barrier island, but withdrawn
>> prior to any action.
>> See: Thank God My Regiment's an African One: The Civil War Diary of
>> Nathan W. Daniels by Nathan W. Daniels From LSU Press.
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andy Mills" <amills at jplcreative.com>
>> To: "GDG" <gettysburg at arthes.com>
>> Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 10:33 AM
>> Subject: GDG- BG Harry Hayes - Louisiana Tigers
>>> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>>> I got to thinking about another story told during the "Ghost Tour" and
>>> wondered if this is a true story.
>>> The Louisiana Tigers were recruited from the seediest elements
>>> underbelly of the Louisianan society. That Louisiana opened their
>>> prisons to anyone who would volunteer and should they survive the war,
>>> they will be granted their freedom, as well as the criminal elements
>>> around New Orleans and the hardened backwoodsmen of the Bayous' and as a
>>> result, this made them one of the most feared troops in both armies.
>>> Is this another "good story" or did they fill their ranks in this
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