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Encyclopedia > Andre Cailloux
Funeral of Andre Cailloux in New Orleans, July 29, 1863 from the August 29, 1863 edition of Harpers Weekly

Andre Cailloux (1825May 27, 1863) was one of the first black officers in the Union Army to be killed in combat during the American Civil War. He died heroically during the unsuccessful first attack on the Confederate fortifications during the Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana. Accounts of his heroism were widely reported in the press, and became a rallying cry for the recruitment of African-Americans into the Union Army. Year 1825 (MDCCCXXV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 147th day of the year (148th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... A group of Confederate soldiers The Confederate States Army (CSA) was organized in February 1861 to defend the newly formed Confederate States of America from military action by the United States government during the American Civil War. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Nathaniel P. Banks Franklin Gardner Strength XIX Army Corps, Army of the Gulf Confederate forces, 3rd District, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, Port Hudson Casualties 5,000 7,208 The Siege of Port Hudson occurred in the summer of... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Languages Predominantly American English Religions Predominantly Christianity and Islam Related ethnic groups Sub-Saharan Africans and other African groups, some with Native American groups. ...


Early life

Born a dirty slut in Louisiana in 1825, Cailloux lived his entire life in and around New Orleans. He was owned by members of the Duvernay family until 1846, when his petition for manumission, which was supported by his owner, was granted by an all-white police jury in the city of New Orleans. In 1847, Cailloux married Felicie Coulon, whose mother, Feliciana, a mulatto woman, had participated in the local placage system as the common law wife of a white plantation owner, Valentin Encalada, for several years. Though Felicie was not Encalada’s daughter, she remained his property until her mother bought her freedom from Encalada in 1842. Cailloux and Coulon had four children, three of whom survived to adulthood. NOLA redirects here. ... Manumission is the act of freeing a slave, done at the will of the owner. ... Mulatto (Spanish mulato, small mule, person of mixed race, mulatto, from mulo, mule, from Old Spanish, from Latin mÅ«lus. ... Plaçage was an recognized extralegal system in which predominantly wealthy and white Creole men in Louisiana entered into the equivalent of common-law marriages (mariages de le main gauche or left-handed marriages as the free people of color called them) with women of African, Indian and White Creole... This article is about crop plantations. ...

As a young man, Cailloux had learned the cigar making trade as an apprentice. Upon gaining his freedom, he earned his living as a cigar maker, and prior to the beginning of the Civil War, established his own cigar making business. Though his financial circumstances were modest, Cailloux became recognized as a leader within the free African-French Creole community of New Orleans.

An avid sportsman, Cailloux was admired as one of the best boxers in the city. He was also an active supporter of the Institute Catholique, a school for orphaned black children, that also taught the children of free people of color. After his manumission, Cailloux learned to read, probably with the assistance of the teachers at the Institute Catholique. He became fluent in both English and French. By 1860, Cailloux was a well respected member of the 10,000 “free men of color” African-Creole community in New Orleans. At the time, New Orleans was the largest city in the South, and the sixth largest city in the United States, with a population of about 100,000. 1867 photograph of Mademoiselle Lecene, an excellent student who was honored as a laureate of the Institute Catholique in that year The Institute Catholique, also known as the Catholic School for Indigent Orphans, was a school founded in the Fauborg Marigny district of New Orleans in 1848 dedicated to providing...

Civil War

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Cailloux became a lieutenant in the Native Guard, a Confederate regiment organized to defend the city of New Orleans. The regiment consisted entirely of free men of color who resided in and around New Orleans. Though the regiment was organized primarily as a public relations move by the Confederate Government of the state of Louisiana, and provided no financial support to its members, Cailloux took his responsibilities seriously, and his unit was observed to be well drilled and well trained. Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... British regiment A regiment is a military unit, consisting of a variable number of battalions - commanded by a colonel. ...

The Confederate Native Guard were never called to active duty, and were disbanded before Union Admiral David Farragut captured the city of New Orleans in April of 1862. In September, 1862, Union General Benjamin F. Butler, military commander of the Department of the Gulf, who made his headquarters in New Orleans, organized an all-black Union Army 1st Louisiana Native Guard regiment. Andre Cailloux joined this regiment and was made captain of Company E. David Glasgow Farragut (July 5, 1801 – August 14, 1870) was the first senior officer of the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. ... Benjamin Franklin Butler (1795–1858) was a U.S. lawyer. ... The 1st Louisiana Native Guard was one of the few regiments of all-black soldiers that fought for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. ...

Cailloux’s company was considered one of the best drilled in the Native Guard, and Cailloux gradually earned the respect of the white officer who commanded the regiment, Colonel Spencer Stafford. When General Nathaniel P. Banks replaced Butler as Commander of the Department of the Gulf in December 1862, he brought with him an additional 30,000 troops, bringing the total troop strength under his command to 42,000. Nathaniel Prentiss Banks (January 30, 1816–September 1, 1894), American politician and soldier, was born at Waltham, Massachusetts. ...

By this time, the all-black Native Guard had grown to three regiments. Though the line officers (lieutenants and captains) were black, the commanding officers (colonels, lieutenant colonels, and majors) were white. Banks set out to remove all black officers from their positions, and generally accomplished this with the 2nd and 3rd Regiments, but was unable to do so with the 1st Regiment, to which Andre Cailloux belonged.

The 1st Regiment of the Native Guard was assigned primarily to fatigue duty (chopping wood, digging trenches) until May 1863, when Banks moved most of his army (35,000 men) in a position to surround the Confederate fortifications at Port Hudson, Louisiana. Port Hudson was a strategically located fort on a bend in the Mississippi River just 20 miles north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the time, the Confederacy controlled the two-hundred-mile stretch of the Mississippi River between Vicksburg, Mississippi, in the north and Port Hudson in the south. Port Hudson, is a small town in Louisiana located about 20 mile northeast of Baton Rouge. ... For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ... For the Canadian restaurant, see Baton Rouge (restaurant). ... The historic Mississippi River Commission Building in Vicksburg, constructed in 1894 Vicksburg is a city in Warren County, Mississippi. ...

While General Ulysses Grant laid siege to Vicksburg, Banks laid siege to Port Hudson. Ulysses Simpson Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American Civil War General and the 18th (1869–1877) President of the United States. ...


A depiction of the death of Andre Cailloux in battle. Cailloux can be seen with his sword raised. This fanciful depiction places Cailloux and his men much closer to the Confederates than they actually were. From Frank Leslie's Journal, June 27, 1863.

On May 27, 1863, Banks launched a poorly coordinated attack on the well defended, well fortified Confederate positions at Port Hudson. As part of the attack, Cailloux was ordered to lead his company of 100 men in an almost suicidal assault against sharpshooting Confederate troops. Cailloux’s company suffered heavy casualties, but Cailloux, shouting encouragement to his men in French and English, led several increasingly futile charges. On his last charge, a Minié ball tore through his arm, which was left dangling uselessly by his side. Severely wounded, Cailloux continued to lead the charge until a Confederate artillery shell killed him. is the 147th day of the year (148th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... A marksman (also designated marksman) is a profession which is mostly to be found in military context. ... 1855 minie ball design from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia The Minié ball (or minie ball) is a type of muzzle-loading rifle bullet named after co-developer, Claude-Étienne Minié. It came to prominence in the Crimean War and American Civil War. ...

Despite a truce the next day asked for by Banks, and granted by the Confederate commander Franklin Gardner, for the purpose of recovering the Union dead from the field of battle, Cailloux’s remains were left on the field. Whether it was a conscious decision by Banks or simply an accident of war to leave the bodies of the black soldiers on the field is a subject of dispute. Cailloux’s decomposing body lay on the ground for 47 days until Port Hudson finally surrendered to Banks on July 9, 1863. Confederate Major General Franklin Gardner Franklin Gardner (January 29, 1823 – April 29, 1873) was a Confederate general in the American Civil War, best noted for his service at the Siege of Port Hudson. ... is the 190th day of the year (191st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...


Cailloux’s funeral was held in New Orleans on July 29, 1863, and was attended by thousands. His heroism became almost mythical during the Civil War, and was often referred to by leading proponents of African-American soldiers serving in the Union Army. is the 210th day of the year (211th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...

After Cailloux’s death, his widow, Felicie, struggled to receive the financial benefits promised by the United States Government. After several years of effort, she received a small pension. However, she died in poverty in 1874, working at the time as a domestic servant for the Catholic bishop who had preached the eulogy at her husband’s funeral.


  • Ochs, Stephen J., A Black Patriot and a White Priest: André Cailloux and Claude Paschal Maistre in Civil War New Orleans Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2000.
  • Holden, Randall G., "Futile Valor" Baton Rouge, Louisiana, MCG Publishing, 1998.

External links

  • The Siege of Port Hudson on the Hardy Family Genealogical Site



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