Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A French Louisianian Confederate

Confederate General Jean Jacques Alfred Alexandre Mouton was killed leading a charge April 8th 1864 during the Battle of Mansfield.

Jean Jacques Alfred Alexandre Mouton was born February 10th 1829 in Opelousas, Louisiana, the son of Alexandre Mouton, a former Governor of Louisiana.  He attended St Charles College in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, and following his graduation, received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.  His trip north would be the first time Mouton was exposed langue and customs other than French.  He was an average student and struggled with English, but graduated from the Military Academy in 1850, ranking 38 out 44.  Shortly after graduating Mouton resigned his commission and took a post as an assistant engineer for the New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western Railroad.  In 1853 Mouton left this position to become a grower of sugar cane in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana.  He was also at that time a Brigadier General in Louisiana State Militia.

When the Civil War started Mouton organized a company from Lafayette Parish, and was elected the Captain of the company which would become part of the 18th Louisiana Infantry.  He would be elected Colonel of the 18th, and set to making them a disciplined regiment.  One of his soldiers said of Mouton, "As a drillmaster, he had few, if any, equals. I have seen him drill the regiment for an hour in a square, the sides of which were equal to the length of his line of battle, without once throwing a company outside or recalling a command when given. He was a strict disciplinarian and allowed no deviation from orders either by officers or soldiers."  The first action for Mouton and the 18th was at the Battle of Shiloh, where they took on Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops and where Mouton was wounded.  Back in Louisiana, Mouton and 18th took part in the Battle of Labadieville.  Mouton’s Louisiana brigade was part of Confederate force that kept the Union out of the Bayou Teche area of Louisiana.

At the Battle of Mansfield Mouton’s men were the lead unit in the Confederate attack.  It was while in the lead that Mouton was shot and killed on April 8th 1864.  He was buried on the battlefield, but in 1874 Mouton’s body was moved to St John’s Cemetery in Lafayette, Louisiana.

1 comment:


Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

Your article is very well done, a good read.