Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Anniversary of Jeanerette's Role in the Civil War

One hundred and fifty years ago, on April 14, 1863, Jeanerette was in the middle of the Civil War. The role Jeanerette played during this war was discussed in a history talk led by well known historian, Roger Busbice, at the Jeanerette Bicentennial Museum. By the morning of April 14, both the Union and Confederate armies were in position. The patched up gunboat Diana was in Bayou Tehce ready to support Conferate commander General Richard Taylor, Busbice said. The Union army, consisted of fresh troops while the Confederates were outnumbered and near exhaustion. As the Union troops advanced towards Nerson's Woods near Franklin, they found the Confederates ready to fight. Union troops fired at the Confederate line. The Confederates responded as the Gunboat Diana's shells began to strike the Union troops, Busbice said. Casulaties were high on both sides.Confederate forces led by Colonel Tom Green near Centerville tried to slow the advance of Union troops coming from the east. Despite success at Irish Bend, General Taylor knew that Yankee troops would soon surround his army so he gave the order to begin a retreat to New Iberia using the Yokely Bridge. The bridge was burned by the Confederates after they passed. The Gunboat Diana was destroyed by the crew near the courthouse in Franklin.The Confederate hospital boat, the Carnie, was tranferred to Union control, Busbice said. "General Taylor's army, having eluded Bank's newly designated Army of the Gulf, spent the night near Jeanerette camped on the grounds of Albania Plantation," Busbice said.This was the role that Jeanerette played during the war. On Grand Lake, the next morning small Confederate and Union gunboats entered into a battle which resulted in the loss of the Confederate vessel, Queen of the West.The Confederate army, facing a lack of food and medicine as well as desertions from some of the country troops struggled through New Iberia towards Vermilionville (Lafayette), Busbice said. On April 16, Union troops marched into New Iberia terrorizing residents and looting much of the town. The next night the salt works at Avery Island were destroyed and Union General Nataniel Banks, ignoring the protests of the Moore family, established his headquarters at the Shadows.

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