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Mutiny at Fort Jackson

The Untold Story of the Fall of New Orleans

Michael D. Pierson

Publication Year: 2009

New Orleans was the largest city--and one of the richest--in the Confederacy, protected in part by Fort Jackson, which was just sixty-five miles down the Mississippi River. On April 27, 1862, Confederate soldiers at Fort Jackson rose up in mutiny against their commanding officers. New Orleans fell to Union forces soon thereafter. Although the Fort Jackson mutiny marked a critical turning point in the Union's campaign to regain control of this vital Confederate financial and industrial center, it has received surprisingly little attention from historians. Michael Pierson examines newly uncovered archival sources to determine why the soldiers rebelled at such a decisive moment.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiii

Essential support has come from institutions. I am grateful to several groups for funding the archival research trips that underlie this work. In particular, I am indebted to the Lowell National Historical Park for making me its Scholar in the City in 2003 and to the Andersonville National...

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Introduction: Massacre on the Levee

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pp. 1-5

On the morning of April 25, 1862, a U.S. fleet steamed toward New Orleans. Quickly brushing aside Confederate batteries just below the city, the warships approached the largest city in the South just before noon. The sailors strove to catch a glimpse of the city, but smoke from a hundred...

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1. Fort Jackson and the Defense of New Orleans

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pp. 7-34

Confederate general Mansfield Lovell, charged with the defense of New Orleans, relied on Forts Jackson and St. Philip. These two forts stood facing each other on either side of the Mississippi about sixty-five miles downriver of New Orleans. They were large brick structures, and...

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2. Confederate New Orleans, February 1861 to May 1862

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pp. 35-65

Most of the Fort Jackson mutineers enlisted in New Orleans, and any search for their motives must start with a long look at the Crescent City. Civil War historians have increasingly focused on the connections between soldiers at the front and their families and communities at home...

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3. Cannoneers, Regulars, and Jagers: Inside Fort Jackson before the Mutiny

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pp. 67-96

Henry E. Lawrence and Alexander Ashton had very little in common. They were born in different parts of the world and did different work. One was rich, the other poor. The Civil War and the fighting at Fort Jackson, in all likelihood, did not mean the same things to the two men. But...

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4. The Mutiny at Fort Jackson and the Collapse of Confederate Authority

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pp. 97-127

The men in Fort Jackson reacted in different ways to the arrival of Butler’s troops outside the fort’s ramparts. Secession and the Confederacy had affected the people in the fort differently depending on their ethnicity, class standing, urban or rural backgrounds, and religious beliefs. For...

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5. The Many Fates of the Fort Jackson Garrison

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pp. 129-153

Nothing is known about Thomas Graham’s life before he enlisted in Company B of the 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery on February 28, 1861. He was then 22 years old, and he volunteered on the first day the regiment started to recruit. Graham’s Confederate military record was uneventful until...

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6. Benjamin F. Butler and Unionist New Orleans

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pp. 155-184

New Orleans experienced dramatic changes after the arrival of U.S. troops. Slavery, not yet dead, nevertheless cracked as enslaved people sought even a tenuous freedom behind Union lines. Whites also adjusted to life under the ‘‘Old Flag.’’ They did this far more quickly than we might have...

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Epilogue: Why the Mutiny at Fort Jackson Matters

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pp. 185-191

For people living in 1862, the mutiny at Fort Jackson was big news. Even if its importance was only imperfectly understood at the time, the mutiny guaranteed success for the Union in its effort to retake New Orleans. With Forts Jackson and St. Philip passing out of their hands, the...

Notes

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pp. 193-231

Bibliography

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pp. 233-246

Index

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pp. 247-250


E-ISBN-13: 9781469606187
E-ISBN-10: 1469606186
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807832288
Print-ISBN-10: 0807832286

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Civil War America

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Subject Headings

  • Fort Jackson (La.) -- History.
  • New Orleans (La.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • Mutiny -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- History -- 19th century.
  • Soldiers -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
  • Unionists (United States Civil War) -- Louisiana -- New Orleans.
  • Confederate States of America. Army -- History.
  • New Orleans (La.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Participation, German American.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Participation, Irish American.
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