Union Soldiers in Louisiana

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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.
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