War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 0918 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

men at Bayou des Allemands in October, 1862. Since then I have worked faithfully and diligently, giving the matter my personal attention, in arresting parties who were accused or who I incidentally found were connected with it, and have obliged them to give bonds for their appearance for trial. I have examined a great many witnesses and have taken some depositions, and can now, I think, give you something of a history of the case and offer some suggestions for the action of the major-general commanding. In the spring of 1862 the rebels began to conscript in this region, when some of the loyal people fled to General Butler, at New Orleans, for safety. Seven of these refugees joined a company of the Eighth Vermont,and were stationed afterward at Bayou des Allemands. This company was captured by the rebels, and in September,.1862, a court-martial, composed of militia officers, was called by Colonel Vick, which assembled at Thibodeaux, La., and proceeded to try those seven men of the Eighth Vermont for desertion. They had undoubtedly been enrolled in the Louisiana militia, but had never been mustered into the Confederate service, and could not have in any way been held accountable to the so-called Confederate States. They were, however, found guilty, and on or about October 24, 1862, seven of them shot to death with musketry at Bayou des Allemands.

There were, it appears, twelve men ordered as a court-martial, but seven of which acted through the whole trial and voted in the case, not one of which appears to have dared to remain here. Two of those who commenced with the court, but who it appears by the testimony were opposed to the court-martialing, managed not to be present at the last part nor to vote, are yet here. One, Mr. Thomas J. Harges, I believe to be a good and true Union man. He has been arrested and confined a long time in New Orleans and was released without trial by Major-General Banks, upon the suggestions of Major-General Butler, by General Orders, No. 115, of December 23, 1863. The other person, Mr. Joseph Tucker, whose loyalty is of a negative rather than active character, has also been held a long time in prison in New Orleans, and it appears at last, on application of citizens and the recommendation of Brigadier-General Weitzel (who had given the case some attention), was also conditionally released without trial. The shooting party consisted of eighty-four men, some of which were detailed,and some were hired at $50 apiece as substitutes. Of this class all have fled to the rebel lines. Another class were drafted, and as the testimony of eye-witnesses show, were compelled to take part in the execution from fear of great bodily harm. Of this latter class three men, T. Toups, Francois Bourgeois, and Thomas Boudrian, are here,and have given bonds for their appearance for trial when called for. I would respectfully suggest that for the interest of all parties these five men named have a trial. It is needed to satisfy the friends of the honored dead and to protect these men from further and constant arrests. I would however, further respectfully suggest that the military commission should sit at this place, as more than a hundred witnesses must be examined all of which live handy here, and that the parties, with the exception of Joseph Tucker, are very poor,and as their cotton crop has failed it would distress them and the witnesses very much to be taken to New Orleans.

I am, major,very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. A. CAMERON,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding District.