Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tomorrow Marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Baton Rouge-- Part 1

From the August 3rd New York Times Opinionator: The Battle of Baton Rouge" by Terry L. Jones.

I had never heard of this battle and even though both navies were very involved, I will include it here.

The Union Navy captured Baton Rouge in May 1862, a few days after New Orleans was occupied.  Little resistance was offered by Confederates who moved the capital 60 miles away to Opelousas.

A few weeks later, Confederate guerrillas fired on Union sailors rowing ashore to get their laundry done.  An angered Flag Officer David Farragut ordered a bombardment of the city that destroyed several buildings and damaged the capitol and St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

Union General Thomas Williams landed 2,600 Union soldiers and occupied the city.  He protected Southern homes and was extremely strict on his troops, unlike what New Orleans suffered under the rule of Benjamin Butler.

On August 5, 1862, Confederate General John C. Breckenridge (vice president in the James Buchanan administration and presidential contender in 1860) attacked the city, expecting support from the CSS Arkansas, which developed engine problems en route and was unable to assist.   After some initial success, Union troops made a successful stand near the site of the present-day capitol and with the help of Union ships, drove the Confederates off.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

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