The Famed Louisiana Tigers at Waynesboro, Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Campaign began for General Jubal Early’s Division on June 4th, 1863, as they marched from Hamilton’s Crossing, Virginia to Spotsylvania Court-House, Virginia. Early’s Division continued its line of march toward Winchester, Virginia. By June 13th, Early’s Division, part of General Richard Ewell’s Corps began their assault and flanking movements of what would become known as the Second Battle of Winchester. On June 15th, the Union soldiers under General Robert Milroy managed to escape but not before Ewell had captured 23 pieces of artillery (nearly all rifled), 4,000 prisoners, 300 loaded wagons, more than 300 horses, and quite a large amount of commissary and quartermaster’s stores.

Just prior to the Pennsylvania Campaign, General Early noted that his division of more than 7,200 soldiers was lacking in supplies. More than a third of his men were without bayonets, some were barefooted, while many others were indifferently shod. Their uniforms, blankets and equipment were very limited, so the captured supplies at Winchester were a welcome necessity to Early’s men. At Winchester, the artillerists of the Charlottesville Artillery looked around the Union garrison that was captured for supplies that hopefully was not taken by the Louisiana soldiers of Hays’ Brigade. They only thing they found was a surplus of artillery sabers, in which all non-commissioned officers of the artillery were to be issued.

John Kerr of the 6th North Carolina Infantry, part of Colonel Isaac Avery’s (Hoke’s) Brigade, recalled “I have plenty of clothes we all got just anything that we wanted when we took Winchester.” Hays’ and Avery’s Brigades took clothing articles such as drawers, shoes, shirts, socks and sky-blue trousers. It was noted that General John Gordon’s men of Early’s Division were dirty and ragged, but some of their equipment consisted of Federal pattern double bag knapsacks that they had captured at Winchester from the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry.

There seems to be a misconception of the Louisiana Tigers and the topic of wearing captured Union goods pulled off of the dead, in addition to wearing their original early war Zouave uniforms. Even during the 1960’s in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania information was passed along from Stoner’s book on the history of the area that stated the Tigers were wearing blue trousers stripped off of the dead bodies of Union troops. Today, a few historians continue to make the same assumptions. If there was any documentation of blue trousers being worn by the Tigers or any other regiment in General Early’s Division, it was because of the goods captured at Winchester, not from the dead lying on the battlefield. In history, there are a few accounts of soldiers looking for clothing on the battlefield, but they also state the condition they found the trousers in. Finding a pair that were not soiled by the body was hard to come by and because of this, many soldiers left those trousers on their fallen occupant.

References to the Tigers wearing their Zouave uniforms in Waynesboro by this point of the Civil War are absolutely incorrect. As the war progressed in 1862, the Bureau of Clothing in Richmond (Richmond Depot) was already consolidating and issuing Richmond patterned clothing to the men of the Army of North Virginia. The commutation system of clothing was already prohibited by this point and the issuances of clothing to the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia consisted of a Richmond Depot made shell jacket, trousers, headgear and other various clothing and equipment. Although several states that clothed its soldiers such as North Carolina or South Carolina were prominent, there is no evidence suggesting the Tigers were wearing flashy uniforms. This can be attested to by the citizens of Waynesboro itself, in that the residents could not tell the Tigers apart from other units of Early’s Division.

In 1862, most of the Louisiana troops received clothing from the Richmond Depot. The Tigers were among those men to receive clothing. Some of the soldiers decided to consolidate the new look, while keeping portions of their sun bleached uniforms. Taking into consideration the clothing issuances after the Maryland Campaign of 1862, the Tigers lost the Zouave appearance and looked no different than that of the average soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia.

By late morning of June 15th, the first portions of General Ewell’s Corps, under the command of General Albert Jenkins, and his cavalry brigade advanced into Maryland, marching down the Shenandoah Valley Turnpike. General Ewell had sent word to General Robert Rodes’ about General Milroy escaping into Harper’s Ferry, but there were no Confederates in that direction. General Early was sent by way of Harper’s Ferry to threaten the garrison there that had already been evacuated.

On the 22nd, with no threat of Union troops at Harper’s Ferry, General Early’s Division crossed the Potomac River at Shepherdstown, moving through the town of Sharpsburg, and passed by portions of the Antietam Battlefield to Boonsboro. Early’s soldiers encamped along the National Road, about three miles north of Boonsboro.

On the 23rd, General Early moved his division through Cavetown, Smithsburg, and Ringgold (Ridgeville) while General John Gordon moved his brigade from Smithsburg to Leitersburg. Many Maryland civilians either fled for their lives via Monterey Pass or they lined the streets and hailed the Confederate soldiers. General Early crossed the Mason Dixon Line into Pennsylvania, following along the western base of South Mountain, and occupied the town of Waynesboro. Later that evening, General Gordon would enter Waynesboro by way of Leitersburg. As word spread about the Confederate invasion with Early’s men crossing the Mason Dixon Line, the citizens of Waynesboro became panick-stricken. John Philips, who was a cashier at the First National Bank, made his escape taking with him documents and money from the bank, fleeing to Fairfield.

As noon approached, the Confederate soldiers marched into Waynesboro. Many citizens noted their raggedness and the worn appearance of their gray uniforms. General Early made his headquarters in the town hall and relieved the local law enforcement of its duties, placing Waynesboro under martial law. According to Ms. Linda Welsh Bender, the Confederate Provost Marshall with General Early issued orders to her father, Jacob Welsh, who was the town Burgess, for the people not to taunt or offer the Confederate soldiers any insult. The Burgess was also told to have any liquor be “put out of reach.” General Early requested a list of names and addresses of the wealthy in the area and ordered the town ransomed for supplies such as shoes, leather, clothing and other items. George Frick had his shop emptied of all leather.

The Louisiana Tigers bivouacked along Church Street in the yard of the Union Church, which is now the Church of the Brethren. The Union Church dated back to 1830, when the Lutherans and the Presbyterians built the Union Church to practice their faith. In 1867 the Presbyterians built their own church and a year later the Lutherans also built their own church. In July of 1871, the church was sold to the Antietam Congregation of the German Baptist Brethren, now the Church of the Brethren. The church that stands today still has the original corner stone from the Union Church, but other than that no signs of the Civil War period church can be seen.

Although General Early had ordered all liquor stills shut down, some of the Tigers managed to get a hold of liquor and caused a minor scare for the townspeople of Waynesboro. Several of the Tigers went foraging for buttermilk, bread, and other rations, and valuables. Some of the men paid for their items in Confederate script while others just took what they wanted. Some of the Tigers took clothing from people by trading something in return, while there were a few cases of Waynesboro men being forced to handover items such as shoes and hats to the Tigers. One member of the 9th Louisiana Infantry was noted as wearing a white top hat he had gotten most likely in Pennsylvania. This top hat managed to get him shot during the Battle of Gettysburg, as it was a great target for a Union sharpshooter.

One Tiger of the 7th Louisiana Infantry walked toward a house and was invited into the private home for buttermilk and bread. The lady of the house asked what unit he was with, and when she received his reply she simply fainted. The soldier rushed to her, and the husband quickly entered the room and demanded to know what was going on. The soldier told the husband what had occured and her husband told the soldier that they had heard about the dreaded Tigers and the reputation they had. For the most part, the Tigers as well as others in Early’s command were very pleasant toward the Waynesboro people. This was due to Early’s orders not to molest the private property of the citizens of Waynesboro.

Early the next morning, on June 24th, the Tiger’s and the rest of General Early’s Division proceeded up Mechanic Street (North Church Street) where the sounds of war slowly disappeared. As they left, some of the local girls heckled and laughed in good fun with those in gray. General Early would again follow the western base of South Mountain, passing through Quincy, Mount Alto (Funkstown), and Greenwood where they would encamp. On the 26th, they marched east upon the Chambersburg Pike, through South Mountain at Cashtown Gap, and burning Stevens’ Caledonia Furnace. As Early’s forces marched away from Waynesboro the reputation of the Tigers remained as they received some negative press from Waynesboro during their stay.

The Tigers would return to Waynesboro following the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg. The march over South Mountain at Monterey Pass was a difficult one. The heavy rains that began late in the afternoon on July 4th, made the roads leading through the mountain a quagmire. It is not known exactly where the Tigers encamped upon their return to Waynesboro, or if they did encamp at Waynesboro at all. Many accounts state that the farms and open ground to the east and south of Waynesboro was used by thousands of Confederate soldiers. Many state that the Confederate infantry marched passed many of the Dutch farms such as Renfrew before entering Waynesboro, coming off of South Mountain and resting briefly. There are also accounts stating that a portion of the Confederate army marched upon Third Street to the Antietam (Waynesboro) and Leitersburg Turnpike, side stepping the square. For fifteen days, Waynesboro was under the occupation of the Confederate army and the people of Waynesboro eventually came to realize that for the most part the Southern soldier was an honest and polite individual after all.

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