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Alfred Roman

Lt. Col., Col., F. & S.

 

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Battle Flag
of the
18th Regiment Louisiana Infantry

...Flag design is based on a small torn section of the regimental battle flag which is on display in the Confederate Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana. May 19, 1865. When the 18th Regiment was disbanded the flag was torn into ten pieces and a piece given to each of the ten company commanders. (Placement of Battle Inscriptions is specualtive and based on similar Confederate battle flags of the same period.)

IMAGE of Alfred Roman

Alfred Roman,
Lt. Col., Col., F. & S.

~*~
Alfred Roman

Lt. Col., Col., F. & S.

~*~

~ Military Record ~

Roman, Alfred, Lt. Col., Field and Staff, 18th La. Inf. En. --. Rolls Oct. 5, 1861, to Dec. 31, 1861, Present, Camp Roman, La. Commsd. Lt. Col., Oct. 5, 1861. Roll Jan. and Feb., 1862, Present. Signs Roll as Commanding Regt. Signs certificate as Inspector and Mustering Officer. Alfred Roman, Lt. Col., 18th Regiment

~ Biography ~

ALFRED ROMAN 1, second son of Andre Bienvenu Roman, was born on his father's sugar estate in the parish of St. James, La., in 1824. Of creole descent from both parents, he represents a noble type of that misunderstood and maligned portion of the population of Louisiana, and a cursory glance at the ancestry, social position, characteristics and life of this distinguished gentleman, may serve to throw much light, upon the status of a race often superficially and unjustly considered to be of tainted origin and of inferior capabilities.

The singular misconception of the term "creole," in the public mind, both in America and Europe, where it erroneously implies a blending of French or Spanish and negro blood, is all the more reprehensible that the creole population of Louisiana is mostly of high birth and extraction, the superior class being descended from the nobility of both France and Spain. Scrupulously proud of their origin, whose salient traits, even to the present day, denote unmistakably the social rank they and their predecessors have over held; reserved, exclusive, sensitive and proud, honorable, courteous and cultured, such is the creole of the dominant class, which embraces those historic names scattered throughout the pages of the history of their state and whose titles are engraved on the marble headstones of the old St. Louis cemetery in the French quarter of New Orleans and in those other "cities of the dead" throughout the creole parishes. The creole population far surpassed in education, integrity and birth the original American element which flowed into Louisiana from various quarters when she first entered the American Union.

For many years the creoles kept disdainfully aloof, but a better acquaintance and many inter-marriages with a succeeding and superior generation have caused a harmonious blending, beneficial to both. Of late years wealth has been absorbed by the American portion and prosperity has drifted away from the creoles, doubtless, to be regained in a near future, for the race is determined and energetic, and has ever been at the head of the learned professions and of letters. Eminently courageous and brilliant, the creole stands foremost in the field and in the forum, and, has furnished some of the most profound jurists of the American bar.

It were safe to predict an eventual return of fortune to such men. The records now in the possession of the family state that in 1889 Balthazer Roman resided
in Grenoble, Dauphin, France, and was a man of large means. His son, Jacques Roman, came over to the colony of Louisiana under the reign of Louis XV., as an officer of the "Compagnie des Indes," which position he owed to the influence of Paris Duverway, the renowned French financier of the period, to whom he was closely related through his mother. The silver-hilted sword habitually worn by Jacques Roman as a side-arm still hangs among other antique arms, on a picturesque ' Panopli d' Armes," which adorns the walls of his descendant's drawing room. This gentleman married Marguerite d' Argle, in the parish of St. Charles, in 1747, and left at his death a large estate.

His son, Jacques Etienne Roman, married Miss Palm, and had nine children by their-union. He lived and died a man of influence and wealth. His fourth son, Andre Bienvenu Roman, was unquestionably the most remarkable creole that fine race has thus far produced. He occupied, with conspicuous ability, the highest positions of trust and honor in the gift of the state of Louisiana. He ever commanded throughout his noble career the admiration and profound esteem of the entire population, from the purity of his character and the broad and lofty patriotism of his life. At the age of twenty two he was made speaker of the house of representatives. In 1831 he was elected governor of the state, and re-elected eight years later, not on account of his personal popularity, for being of a stern and reserved nature he neither courted not bowed to popular favor, but because his services toward his state had been so conspicuous, her prosperity had so largely accrued under his wise and patriotic administration, that the people rewarded, in him, a public servant of inestimable value.

Besides his able conduct of public affairs, Andre Bienvena Roman founded Jefferson college, in the parish of St. James, and there built up, for the state of Louisiana, an educational institution on a par with Princeton and Yale. Public calamities and after events destroyed his admirable endeavor, and that fine building is now occupied by an ecclesiastical order, whose efforts, doubtless praiseworthy, do not approach the standard of education projected by Governor Roman. A scientific experiment station for the benefit of the agriculturists of the state was also established by him. The city of New Orleans was drained and thus greatly improved by the draining pumps and their attached system of canals, planned and constructed under his supervision, after a personal study of the method employed for this end, in Holland.

After the completion of his second term as governor, A. B. Roman was unanimously elected to the senate of the United States, an honor he was forced to decline for private and personal reasons, to the profound regret of the entire state. At the close of his life he received the appointment, from the confederate government, then in Richmond, of peace commissioner, and, with Mr. Forsyth and Mr. Crawford, proceeded to Washington, there to negotiate an amicable settlement of the momentous issue, then dividing the North and the South, with he federal cabinet. So signal and unsolicited a mark of confidence was the fitting termination of a public career, unsurpassed in purity and rarely equaled in usefulness.

Of a tall and commanding presence, keen and reflective blue-gray eyes, a cold but studiously courteous manner, Governor Roman ever drew and compelled attention. His influence in public assemblies was unbounded, and those measures approved of and supported by him were ever triumphant. So during the constitutional convention of 1848 he caused to be resuscitated the great Citizens' bank, of Louisiana, in the face of the powerful opposition, on constitutional grounds, of Mr. Benjamin and other distinguished men of that day. The charter of the bank had expired, and its downfall would have brought about the ruin of a large number of the wealthiest planters of the state. The subsequent negotiations in Europe, with the banking firms of Baring, Bros., of London, and the Vanderhops, of Amsterdam, for the firm establishment of the bank, were successfully conducted by Governor Roman. No personal benefit for so signal a service was ever expected or demanded by him. The farewell address to the people of the state of Governor Roman, upon his leaving the gubernatorial chair, still upon record, is unsurpassed for strength and force of style, for pure patriotism, and for a far-seeing and sagacious statesmanship. Possessing considerable wealth as a large sugar planter of the parish of St. James, Governor Roman's energies and talents were devoted to public life.

At an early age he married Miss Amiee Parant, a creole lady of excellent parentage. Alfred Roman, the subject of this sketch, was their second son. So distinguished a father would of necessity give as a heritage to his offspring much of those characteristics and mental endowment which had lifted him so far above other men. It is therefore but natural to note in the son the same traits which were conspicuous in the father. Of a stern inflexible firmness, a sensitive honor, a bold and courageous nature, a high intellect and a refined though unapproachable manner, Alfred Roman ever occupied a high position in public esteem, and exerted much influence over the political life of his parish, in which, from early youth, he had taken a keen interest.

Educated at Jefferson college, he would have there graduated with high honors but for its sudden destruction by fire. Selecting the law for his profession, Alfred Roman entered, as a student, the law office of Etienne Maganan, one of the greatest jurist consulates Louisiana has known. Although endowed with the fire and passion of an ardent temperament, Alfred Roman had ever been a careful student. He graduated at the bar in his twenty-first year with so much brilliancy as to give promise of a successful legal career. A law partnership was then formed with an old and experienced lawyer, and the young creole seemed to have passed the threshold and entered triumphantly upon a life, where all the usual obstructions which block and dishearten youth had been erased and eliminated.

The presidential campaign of Henry Clay, which swept over the country at that time, aroused all his enthusiasm, the more so that Mr. Clay was a warm, personal friend of Governor Roman. Through the fiery eloquence of the speeches he then delivered on the hustings, he acquired a reputation for eloquence which has justly accompanied him throughout his career. The know-nothing agitation, so fierce in Louisiana, was another occasion for young Roman to exert influence through his persuasive speech. Governor Roman had studiously kept aloof from this movement, but Alfred Roman, with the impetuosity of successful youth, plunged into the excitement of the political fight editing a newspaper to disseminate his views with an incisive and witty pen. The excesses into which that party was drawn caused him to abandon it. The year following he left for Europe, as secretary to his father, who went to negotiate with European bankers for the Citizens' bank.

At the age of twenty-five Alfred Roman married his cousin, Miss Feleni Amie, the third daughter of Valour Amie, the wealthiest sugar planter of that section of country. This lady, who was endowed with much beauty and many accomplishments, died at the close of 1858 in Paris, where she was temporarily residing with her husband. During the short term of his happy married life Alfred Roman had abandoned the practice of the law for the, to him, more attractive life of a sugar planter.

Upon his return to Louisiana already the heavy clouds of the approaching war between the state were thickening over the land. Ever of a martial spirit, and urged by distress of mind to seek a diversion from oppressive thoughts, Alfred Roman immediately organized a cavalry company, the "Chasteurs de St. Jacques," which, under his active and spirited command, soon became for number, quality and drill a model company. When, in 1861, war was declared and the governors of the states forming the confederacy made a call for troops, Captain Roman offered his company for active service, requesting to be enrolled in the confederate army. Upon being informed by Governor Moore that infantry was more needed than cavalry, Captain Roman requested the requisite number of muskets, and rearming his men converted them into an infantry command.

This company formed the nucleus of the Eighteenth Louisiana regiment, whose career during the entire war was one of brilliant achievements. The admirable discipline, fine march and material of this command gave it ever a conspicuous position in the field, and made of it an example and a model to others. The Eighteenth Louisiana was formed while Captain Roman was stationed at Camp Moore, and was cormposed, of ten companies, with Alfred Mouton, colonel; Alfred Roman, lieutenant-colonel, and Louis. Bush, major. When General Beauregard wrote to Governor Moore February 21, 1802, from Jackson, Tenn., requesting him to send all disposable troops for a sixty-day campaign, his object being to effect a concentration near Corinth to oppose the federal advance, the Eighteenth received orders to leave for Tennessee with other troops. General Beauregard, believing that Pittsburg, on the Tennessee, would be selected by the enemy for a place of landing, ordered General Ruggles to station troops there.

The Eighteenth, with Captain Gibson's light battery in support, reached there on April 1. The day following the federals attempted a landing, when the Eighteenth, armed with rifles, fired from the steep bluffs overhanging the river, forced the landing party to take to their boats, and drove back the two large gunboats, . "Lexington" and "Tyler," inflicting heavy loss upon them. This dashing and curious encounter caused the regiment to be highly complimented in general orders. Forming part of Pond's brigade, Ruggles' division, Bragg's corps, the Eighteenth took a prominent part in the heavy fighting during the two days of the battle of Shiloh.

At 4 P. M. on the afternoon of the 6th General Hardee, who was engaged on the left with MeClernand's regiments and the remnant of Sherman's command, while Colonel Pond was reconnoitering to move understandingly against the heavy batteries confronting him, General Hardee issued the order for an immediate assault to be made in front. The Eighteenth thereupon, under Colonel Mouton, made the movement, charging with fixed bayonets right up the hill to the muzzles of the federals' guns. The batteries wavered, and were already in retreat, when three supporting regiments of MeClernand's division opened a cross-fire, which decimated the Eighteenth, compelling it to retire, leaving 207 officers and men on the field. Colonel Mouton was likewise wounded. The day following an equally brilliant charge was made by the Eighteenth, despite its then exhausted and depleted condition, led by Colonel Roman, holding the colors of the regiment during the retreat of the confederate forces toward Corinth.

The Eighteenth moved toward Tupelo, and Colonel Roman, whose health had suffered severely from the rigors of the recent hard campaign, obtained a leave of absence and came to Louisiana to recuperate. Two months later, just after New Orleans had fallen into the possession of the federals, Colonel Roman, still too much of an invalid for field service, returned to the confederate lines as inspector-general on the staff of General Beauregard.

From that period up to the close of the war Colonel Roman performed the duties of inspector and aide-do-camp with conspicuous fidelity and scrupulous firmness. Being often called upon by his military functions to make reports of a delicate and dangerous character, his bold and unalterable firmness served as a guarantee that the investigation and statements made were absolutely reliable. In the capacity of inspector he was of inestimable service to General Beauregard, and as an aide was ever the fearless, zealous officer, unmoved by danger and untiring in his services to his general and his country. During the long siege of Charleston Colonel Roman was in daily contact with General Beauregard as his faithful officer and friend. When the latter was ordered to Virginia Colonel Roman accompanied hin, and was through the terrible ordeal of the siege of Petersburg and the ensuing campaign, sharing the hopes, fears and bitter anxieties of the general in command.

When the closing scene of the great drama of the war was enacted and the surrender of the confederate forces was effected, Colonel Roman took leave of his old commander and wended his way homeward, to gather up what remnant of his former wealth might still remain to him. Colonel Roman's first effort was to renew the planting interests of his and his father's sugar estate, using all his energies to maintain harmony between the white and black population of his parish, to curb the encroachments of the carpet-bag element, and to urge the freed men to industry and good behavior. Like Governor Roman, a former whig, he now gave his allegiance to the democratic party, from which he has never swerved. Ever elected to the various conventions and central committees which control the action of the democracy of the state, he took an earnest and active part in the movement which liberated Louisiana from radical negro rule, and was one of the leading men of his section to whom is due the present democratic white supremacy of the state.

With intelligent energy Colonel Roman had hoped to regain the wealth of former years, but two, successive crevasses occurring on a neighboring plantation swept away that hope with the turbulent waters which laid waste the fair sugar fields and the beautiful grounds of the old plantation home, carrying with them broken fortunes, and leaving behind the wreckage and debris of irretrievable misfortune.

When Louisiana regained her right of local self government and installed Governor Nicholls in office, the supreme court appointed by him selected Colonel Roman as clerk of that body. Two years later, Governor Wiltz recognizing the eminent fitness of Colonel Roman for the position, appointed him judge of the criminal court of New Orleans, section A. When Judge Roman ascended the bench, criminal justice had become a by-word in the city, and there was a universal demand was for a strict enforcement of the laws. Judge Roman's incomparably able administration of that court during the eight years of his incumbency will remain on record as being admirable in every respect. In a short period of time he had quelled and dispersed, by the inflexible sternness and justice of his attitude as presiding judge and the immutability of his decrees, that turbulent element termed "hoodlum," which had previously run riot over the city. As a judge it became an established fact, that neither friendship nor influence would avail as an inducement for the mitigation of a just sentence. Nor were hasty and irreflective pardons signed by him. His severity, however, did not preclude justice. Never has the criminal bench of New Orleans been adorned by so fearless, so impartial, and so incorruptible a judge. This tribute the entire population pay to Judge Roman whenever his name is mentioned. By personal example and soldierly discipline, the officers of the criminal court under his administration had acquired a degree of efficiency and were compelled to an honesty unknown before, nor attainable since his withdrawal from the bench. His nature, characteristics and training had made of him the ideal presiding officer of a criminal court; a position requiring exceptional powers and exceptional honesty both were his. Judge Roman had ever wielded a facile and elegant pen, being a constant contributor to the leading papers of the state, writing French and English with equal facility. In his hours of leisure he had written several brilliant French plays and fugitive pieces of poetry and various philosophical essays of considerable merit.

The view of his intimate knowledge of the events of his military career, General Beauregard made the request of Judge Roman to prepare a history of his campaigns. Making use of the voluminous data contained in the correspondence, telegrams, notes and other papers of General Beauregard, collected and preserved during the war with a view to a historical work later on, Judge Roman wrote the fine work entitled "Military Operations of General Beauregard." Four years of arduous labor were given to its preparation, and when presented to the public by Harper Brothers the American and English press were unanimous in their praise of the careful sifting of facts and proofs, the impartial if stern criticism indulged in, the honesty of the conclusions drawn, and the admirable style in which this most valuable work was written. The conspicuous and brilliant services of General Beauregard were recounted and based on irrefutable documentary proofs. Judge Roman's comments and strictures upon the defective foreign internal policy of the cabinet in Richmond, and the undoubted mismanagement of confederate affairs, though severe, are grounded upon facts, and will eventually be conceded as history. The "London Press" in reviewing this work stated that as a resume of confederate statesmanship, this work was the finest ever published by an American author. It is destined to give to Judge Roman a lasting place in the world's estimation as a fine writer and a bold and accurate historian.

It is the greatest achievement of a life, eminent in many respects, where entire honesty and absolute fearlessness are the conspicuous and dominant traits. At the close of the war Colonel Roman married Miss Sallie Rhett, daughter of Robert Barnwell Rhett, senator from South Carolina. Andre Bienvenu Roman and his son Alfred Roman are ornaments to the history of the state of Louisiana. Both were men of high character, great firmness and undoubted ability. It is a fitting tribute that they be put upon record on the pages of this admirable work, for they were men of exceptional worth, and should ever remain the pride of that noble race from which they both derived a pure and honorable, descent &emdash;the Creolos of Louisiana.

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~ Biography ~

The following is a biography by Silas T. Grisamore, who
served with Alfred Roman and adds a measure of the "personal touch"
to the life and times of one of Louisiana's "Leaders in Gray".

ALFRED ROMAN 2

At the reorganization of our regiment at Corinth in April 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Roman was chosen colonel.

He was a son of the popular and well-known A. B. Roman, ex-Governor of this state. A native of St. James Parish, reared and educated among the ancient Creole population of Louisiana all the ease and dignity of manner peculiar to that race of people were exhibited in the character and bearing of the colonel.

After completing his education, Mr. Roman studied law, and at one time, about 1848 or '50, he had an office in this town [Thibodaux] , but for a short period only, having secured a sufficient practice in the river parishes near his residence.

At the beginning of the late war, he raised a splendid company, composed principally of the sons of the wealthiest and most refined families in St. James
and St. John parishes, and upon the organization of the 18th Regiment at Camp Moore on the 5th of October 1861, this officer was unanimously elected lieutenant colonel. Always taking an active part in promoting the welfare of his soldiers and in effecting a thorough and perfect organization of the regiment, he rendered himself popular both with the officers and men.

He was an excellent drill officer and spared no pain in instructing those under his command in the maneuvers and movements which they were soon to test in actual strife with the enemy.

When in command, the strictest obedience and discipline were required, but when off duty, he was social, kind, and indulgent, mixing freely with his subordinates and enjoying the hilarity and sports incident to a camp of soldiers.

At the beginning of the engagement with the gunboats at Pittsburg landing on March 1st, 1862, Col. Mouton was absent reconnoitering the position.

Col. Roman skillfully disposed of the troops, made all the preparations necessary, and was in the midst of the engagement when his superior arrived
and assumed command. During this little battle, the colonel impressed the fact upon the regiment that they could rely safely upon his judgment, ability, and coolness in any emergency that might arise. During the Battle of Shiloh, the colonel bore himself gallantly and was in the thickest of the fight during the two days in which we were engaged, having command of the regiment, or what was left of it, subsequent to the wounding of Col. Mouton. On arriving at Corinth, the health of Col. Roman became so bad that he was compelled to obtain a leave of absence and, subsequently, to forward his resignation.

After his resignation had been forwarded as lt. col., he was elected colonel at the reorganization of his regiment on the 15th April 1862, but in the meantime his resignation had been granted on account of ill health, and he retired from service. Subsequently, he returned to the army and was appointed by Gen. Beauregard as Inspector General of his army and served with that gallant officer throughout the siege of Charleston and during the campaign at Petersburg until the surrender at Appomattox.

Since the war, the colonel has resided in St. James, following the profession of law and also, we believe, engaging in planting.

The colonel is still in the prime of life and vigor of manhood.

He has lately taken a lively interest in the construction of a railroad from his parish by way of Napoleonville to Thibodaux and a few weeks since spent a day in this place, endeavoring to interest our citizens in the enterprise and in talking over old times with his former comrades in arms.

It is to Col. Roman to whom the writer is indebted to a position in the service which relieved him from many of the fatigues and severe duties he would otherwise have, perhaps, been called upon to perform. Whilst acting as colonel at Corinth and during the absence of Capt. Sanders, our assistant quartermaster, wounded at Shiloh, he gave me the temporary appointment of A. Q. M. [Silas T. Grisamore] which was afterward made permanent by a regular appointment to that position by the President of the Confederate States.

1Information from:
Louisiana Biographical and Historical Records, Vo. II
Originally published by: The Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1892
Published in 1975 by Claitor's Publishing Division
3165 S. Acadian at I-10, P. O. Box 3333
Baton Rouge, LA. 70821
pp. 346-350

2 Information and photograph reprinted from:
Reminscences of Uncle Silas:
A History of the Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry Regiment.

© Copyright 1981
Edited by Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr.
Published by: LeComite' des Archives de la Louisiane
P. O. Box 44370, Baton Rouge, La. 70804
pp.120 and 215-217



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