Union Soldiers in Louisiana


The Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) preserves an internationally-renowned collection of Civil War documents. One of LaRC's special missions is preserving letters and diaries of Union soldiers serving in Louisiana.

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 containing roughly five hundred pages and two diaries.
Alfred A. Parmenter Papers, 1861-1862; 1962-1963
Alfred A. Parmenter (1835-1880) was a musician in the 26th Regiment Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry. The Union regiment participated in General Butler's expedition on the Gulf Coast and against New Orleans. Parmenter was born in Lowell, Massachusetts and enlisted in the Union army on 1861 September 26 and was mustered out of service on 1862 September 15. The collection is primarily made up of the correspondence of Alfred A. Parmenter (1836-1880) to his parents, Horace and Betsey Parmenter in Lowell, Massachusetts (1861-1862). Parmenter corresponds with his parents while he is stationed at Ship Island, Quarantine Station, Fort Saint Philip, New Orleans, and on board the Steamship Constitution. He often describes Ship Island, drilling operations, regimental organization, and work activities of the band. Parmenter recalls the sinking of the Manassas, the fall of Fort Saint Philip and the surrender of New Orleans. He also makes note of important Union military figures, including General Benjamin Butler, Colonel Edward Jones, Colonel George Foster Shepley, General Thomas Williams, Admiral David Farragut, and General John Wolcott Phelps. The collection contains copies of Parmenter's marriage and death certificates as well as his military record. His military records list his occupation as teacher. Parmenter married Letitia M. Fillmore 1862 July 2 and died of apoplexy at Lynn, Massachusetts in 1880. Also included in the collection are correspondence and notes relating to Alvin E. Brizzard's search for information concerning Parmenter and his regiment., Collection processed in 1983 by JAE. Finding aid information entered in Archon by LAC Group in 2011.
Algernon Badger Family Papers, 1813-1920
Badger is best-known as Chief of the Metropolitan Police of New Orleans from 1870 to 1875. As police chief, Badger was on the front lines of the increasing political unrest between Southern white conservatives and Louisiana’s Reconstruction-era government. During his tenure, he defended the city of New Orleans from multiple riots and attempted insurrection by the White League. The most notable of these conflicts was the Battle of Liberty Place. He resigned to become state tax collector and went on to hold a number of political offices in Louisiana, including postmaster of New Orleans and Customs House appraiser. This collection includes correspondence, legal documents, financial records, photographs and ephemera collected or created by the Badger family. Much of the correspondence is focused on the military and political career of Algernon Badger. The majority of the letters are addressed to John Beighton Badger, Algernon Badger's father. A significant portion of the records deal with family affairs taking place in Milton, Massachusetts, Algernon Badger's hometown. Algernon Badger's letters to his father detail his rise through the ranks of the Union Army during the Civil War, as well as his life in New Orleans during Reconstruction. Highlights of his letters include a description of a Union army camp at Harper's Ferry, his account of the Battle of Liberty Place in New Orleans, and his experiences campaigning and working alongside Governor William Pitt Kellogg., Collection 1080 consists of: 4 boxes, 200 documents, about 1000 pages, and 1 oversize folder containing 2 documents.
Bartlett Family Papers, 1860-1884
The Bartlett family papers consist of correspondence between various members of the Bartlett family collected by Mary Bartlett, later named Mary Weller. Letter writers include Samuel, William, Julia, Amanda, and Lucy. This correspondence spans the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era. Both William and Samuel served in the Union's Cumberland Army during the American Civil War and William suffered injuries causing him to be hospitalized. Their letters from this period document daily life in the Union Army and give some general information about the war, including hardships suffered by the soldiers, disease, daily activities and drills, and life in a military hospital. Throughout the war, Samuel was stationed in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. In 1884, Samuel moved from St. Louis, Missouri, to Nashville, Tennessee. The rest of the Bartlett family lived in Ohio. In 1868 Mary Bartlett married H.L Weller. The letters dated to the Reconstruction Era give insight into daily life following the Civil War, including faith in God, work, illness, and finances.
Civil War Diary of Simon M. Bott, 1864-1868
The diary of Simon M. Bott, private in the 120 infantry regiment of Ohio (E Company)., larc@tulane.edu
Daniel P. Mason Letters, 1862-1863
The collection consists of correspondence written by Pittsfiled, New Hampshire native, Daniel P. Mason to his mother and sisters, Mary and Abby. Mason lived in Northwood, New Hampshire, when he enlisted in the Union Army as a private in D Company, 15th Volunteer Infantry New Hampshire. He was stationed at Camp N.P. Banks, Jamaica Union Corps, New York, in 1862 and Camp Mansfield and Camp Parapet in Carrollton, Louisiana, during 1863. In his letters, Mason explains his reasons for joining the Union Army, his affection for his family, conditions in camps and the hospital, as well as general attitudes of his soldiers from the North.
J. Harvey Brown Papers, 1861-1864
The collection consists of letters written by J. Harvey Brown of Company B, 91st Infantry of New York during the Civil War. Brown spent much of his time in Louisiana in cities that included Baton Rouge, Opelousas, New Orleans, Port Hudson, and Brashear City. His correspondence began with the formation of his unit in Albany, New York and ended when he was wounded and lost his right thumb at Port Hudson. He later became ill and died in 1864. The collection includes a photograph of J. Harvey Brown., The collection is arranged chronologically and consists of one box. The collection was processed in 2002 by Mary Orazio. Finding aid information entered into Archon by LAC Group in 2011. OCLC Number: 782068326
Lansing Porter Family Papers, 1861-1863, 1906
Captain Lansing Porter served in the 75th New York Infantry out of Auburn, New York. He was first stationed at Santa Rosa island but soon moved to Fort Pickens on Pensacola Bay, Florida. His military career brought him under the command of General Godfrey Weitzel once the 75th was moved to Camp Kearney in Louisiana, allowing him to travel up the Mississippi River through New Orleans, Donaldsonville, Napoleonville, Labadieville, and eventually making camp in Thibodeaux, Louisiana. He received a leave of absence in March of 1863. From January of 1861 to March of 1863, Lansing and his wife Elizabeth wrote a series of letters to one another while Lansing was away at war. Elizabeth wrote primarily of issues of the home in Auburn, New York, while Lansing wrote of his experiences fighting in the South. The couple had three children, Libbie, Annie, and Lansing, who lived at home with their mother. The children periodically wrote letters to their father.
Martin L. Williston Papers, 1862-1866
This collection consists of several letters Martin L. Williston wrote to his sister Annie while serving with the 52nd Infantry in Louisiana. This manuscript collection consists of letters that often span several days at a time and contain an insightful representation of a Unionist soldier's views of the South, as well as the fears and horrors of the first few months of the war. Martin L. Williston enlisted in the Union Army at the age of 19 in Northampton, Massachusetts, on 1862 September 8. Previously a student at a college in Massachusetts, he started in the 52nd Infantry as a Private but was soon promoted to First Sergeant on 1862 October 1. During his time stationed near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he wrote many letters to his sister, Annie in Brooklyn, New York, describing his experiences during the first six or so months of the war. These letters contain an insightful representation of an educated Unionist's views of the "Rebel South," as well as the fears and horrors of war. After seeing slaves quartered at Ship Island, Williston became very passionate regarding emancipation. As a deeply spiritual young man, he often wrote of the importance of remaining pious during his wartime experiences. Participating in skirmishes such as Port Hudson, he gave an account of his first experiences of battle in one of his letters. Williston survived the following years of his enlistment and, by 1866, became the head instructor of a school for 250 African-American children in Wilmington, North Carolina., Each letter often spans several days at a time. They are arranged chronologically. The collection consists of 1 box and is 0.25 linear feet.
William A. Smith Letters, 1862-1863
William A. Smith was a farmer in Granby, Massachusetts, prior to enlisting in 1862 as a private in the Union Army. He enlisted into H Company, 52nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment on 1862 October 11, 1862 and mustered out 1863 August 14. His unit marched with General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks in Louisiana. He wrote to his wife Caroline from places that included Baton Rouge, Opelousas, Barries Landing, Burwicks Bay, and Port Hudson.