St. Charles Parish’s most famous Civil War skirmish

Battle of des Allemands Marker

Nearly 157 years ago, the North and South fought in Des Allemands.

Called the Battle of Des Allemands, a historic marker commemorates what is considered the most famous of three major Civil War skirmishes in St. Charles Parish, according to the book, “St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History.”

Leading up to the battle, which took place Sept. 4, 1862, came the arrival of Confederate Gen. Richard Taylor, said Rachel Allemand, Destrehan Plantation’s heritage education coordinator. Taylor, owner of Fashion Plantation and son of then President Zachary Taylor, was assigned to command the Confederate forces in the District of Western Louisiana.

Soon after the fall of New Orleans to Union forces, the “Federals” were reportedly plundering homes with much of it occurring in St. Charles Parish, including Taylor’s plantation. He summoned Col. Edwin Waller Jr. and his cavalry of Texas riflemen. The troops, along with state militia units, were ordered to attack the Federal outpost at Bayou Des Allemands.

They captured two companies of infantry, including guns and ammunition, burned a railroad station and set fire to transports and bridges. Though it was small, Louisiana rejoiced over the victory, according to the book, “The Battle in the Bayou Country.”

In a Union account, the Confederates were referred to as “guerrillas” and had apparently used a flag of truce to win the day. But they actually used it to seize Union soldiers and get the rest of the soldiers to surrender before military support could arrive. The supporting force was reportedly delayed by an ox on the railroad track that caused the approaching Union train to derail.

In a second report, seven Germans among the Union troops seized were recognized by locals in the Confederate guard and executed as deserters. The doomed soldiers argued they had the right to enlist with the North, but were still marched under trees beside a railroad track where a long trench had been dug. They were lined up and shot one by one, falling into their shallow grave. The report also mentions an aged, heartbroken father who shoveled the dirt away from the remains of his only son.

Fighting also occurred near the St. Charles Courthouse on Aug. 29, 1862 where Union troops marched from Boutte to the courthouse to camp for the night. The next day, they encountered troops delivering cattle to feed Confederate soldiers and a battled ensued. Union forces prevailed.

On Sept. 4 of the same year at Boutte Station, a Union train with 60 men was ambushed by Confederate forces of Louisiana militia and volunteers. Known as the Battle of Boutte, the train escaped to New Orleans with wounded and 14 dead.

Until 1877, the German Coast remained under federal occupation.

 

About Anna Thibodeaux 2004 Articles
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