The Official Site of Fort DeRussy, Louisiana
Confederate Units at Fort DeRussy
There were three Confederate units stationed at Fort DeRussy when the fort was captured
on March 14, 1864. Two of these were artillery units, and were from Louisiana. These
two units had a history of service at the fort. The third unit was a thrown-
Company A, Crescent Artillery (Hutton’s Artillery)
Hutton’s Artillery was originally made up of men from the New Orleans area, but by 1864, recruitments throughout the war in different areas where they were stationed diluted the New Orleans contingent. The unit was captured in 1862 at the capture of New Orleans, but the men were later exchanged, and served gallantly at Fort DeRussy during the capture of Queen of the West in February 1863, the capture of USS Indianola below Vicksburg later that month, and at the Gunboat Fight at Fort DeRussy in May 1863. Just prior to the capture of the fort, there had been several conscripts taken into the unit, which caused some dissatisfaction among the veterans. The morale among the men was also affected by the fact that the Post Commander was a Texan, and the Louisianians felt that he tended to favor the Texas troops, giving the least pleasant work details to the Louisiana men. A muster taken of the men only a few days before the fort’s capture describes the unit’s military appearance as “very good,” their discipline and instruction as “tolerably good,” and their clothing “indifferent.” However, they were listed as “very deficient” in accoutrements, and “more than half of the company without arms.”
An inventory of captured weapons taken after the fall of the fort shows a total of
173 rifles and smooth-
Hutton’s Artillery had 25 men and 4 officers captured at the fort.
St. Martin Ranger’s (King’s Artillery)
King’s Artillery was originally formed as the St. Martin Rangers, an infantry unit,
and switched to artillery sometime in early 1863. They were at Fort DeRussy and participated
actively in the Gunboat Fight of May 4, 1863. They had also had combat experience
aboard the original gunboat Cotton earlier in the war, in south Louisiana. Captain
Edward King was a particularly crusty old curmudgeon; and Captain Fuller, the commander
before him, had been even tougher, if that was possible. King’s Artillery was split
during the attack on the fort, with some of the men in the fort on the hill manning
the two 24-
Just prior to the arrival of the Yankees at the fort, a portion of King’s men and
guns were sent off to Alexandria. The guns were large siege guns, a 24-
King’s Artillery had 44 men and 1 officer captured at the fort.
Garrison Regiment, Walker’s Texans
Fort DeRussy’s Garrison Regiment was a rather peculiar institution. When Walker’s Division occupied the area around Fort DeRussy in December 1863 and the rebuilding of the fort started, the 14th Texas Infantry was designated as the garrison regiment. At about the same time, the regiment’s CO, Colonel Edward Clark (a former Texas governor) went back to Texas on leave. When he returned, he found that his second in command, Lt. Col. William Byrd, was Post Commander, by virtue of his having been commander of the garrison regiment. For some unexplained reason, Clark’s regiment was returned to his command when he returned from leave, but Byrd was left as Commanding Officer of Fort DeRussy. This put Clark in the awkward, and for him totally unacceptable position, of being answerable to Byrd. Gen. Walker ‘solved’ this problem by sending the 14th Texas back to the Division, and taking one company from each of his regiments and putting them together in a sort of bastard garrison regiment. When the fort was captured, there were men present from the 8th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 22nd, and 28th Texas (some of these units were infantry, others were dismounted cavalry).
Walker’s Texas Division had seen combat in 1863 along the Mississippi
River, in an attempt to divert attention from Vicksburg. In the winter of ’62-
Walker’s Division had 219 men and 16 officers captured at the fort.
Nothing definite is known about the local militia stationed at the fort. Most of them seemed to have slipped away in the confusion and went home.