GDG- Louisiana Tigers- In the beginning, there was one

Jack Lawrence jlawrence at
Wed Jan 18 16:49:33 CST 2012


Here is a story about the original Louisiana Tiger.



>From The Opinionator

NY Times

January 17, 2012, 9:30 pm
Sherman's Southern Sympathies

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 
slavery were.

 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 
Cooper River.

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, 
vengeful enemy.

 > ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "George Connell" <georgeconnell at>
> To: "GDG" <gettysburg at>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 3:25 PM
> Subject: Re: GDG- BG Harry Hayes - Louisiana Tigers
> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> Jack,
> I think that's another Looziana CW military entity. The Tigers, of course, 
> were a brigade in the ANV and anything but bandbox soldiers.
> Regards,
> George
> 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.
>> Rergards,
>> jack
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andy Mills" <amills at>
>> To: "GDG" <gettysburg at>
>> 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 
>>> manner?
>>> Thanks,
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