Leopold L. Armant was a native of St. James
Parish and had all the advantages of education and culture
that wealth could bestow upon him. He was one of the most
efficient lieutenants in the 18th Regiment and soon
became popular in the command both as an accomplished
officer and as an agreeable, social gentleman. The young
lieutenant first be came conspicuous in March 1862. Our
regiment was stationed on picket duty in front of Corinth,
at which point the army that fought the battle of Shiloh was
then in process of organization, amand encamped near
Monterey, some five miles from Pittsburg Landing.
The Federal forces were being debarked at this landing
and placed in position in the forests between that point and
Col. Alfred Mouton desired to obtain some accurate
information of the movement of the Federal forces, their
position, and probable strength. He summoned Lieut. Armant,
requested him to make an investigation, and to procure the
requisite information. Although their mission was fraught
with danger, requiring boldness, tact, and audacity to
accomplish, the young officer accepted the duty assigned him
without a moment's 's hesitation.
The following night, using the screen that the darkness
afforded him in the dense woods amid which the hostile
troops ware encamped, he approached sufficiently near the
Federal lines to hear the soldiers talking and, by climbing
into trees, obtained, by the dim light of the camp fires
that ware visible, a fair enumeration of the number of
regiments that had debarked at Pittsburg Landing and been
placed in position, and at dawn of day, stood at the door of
the tent of his commander, ready to render to his chief a
satisfactory report of his nocturnal feat. For this gallant,
daring, and successful deed, he was officially thanked in
special orders read to the regiment at dress parade.
This at once gave prestige to the youthful lieutenant as
a bold, reliable, and gallant officer. Lieut. Armant passed
unhurt through the two days' fighting at Shiloh which proved
so disastrous to the Eighteenth Regiment.
He was at all times at his position, gallantly leading
his mien through those bloody days and faithfully performing
all duties incumbent upon him as an officer and soldier.
At Corinth, in April 1862, a reorganization of the
companies took place under directions from the government at
Richmond. Lieut. Armant was elected captain
of his company, and in May 1862, at the reorganization of
the field officers, Roman was elected colonel, Bush lieut.
colonel, and Armant major.
For gallant services at Shiloh, Col. Mounton had been
appointed brigadier- general and was at home in Attakapas,
chafing under the sufferings of disease that kept him in the
The sufferings of the Confederate army at Corinth in
1862, the sick mess and privation to which they ware
subject, require no repetition here. They are indelibly
impressed upon the memory of the half&emdash;sick and
scantily-clothed troops who remained to the end and made the
long, weary, and hungry retreat to Tupelo.
Ill health had forced Col. Roman to offer his
resignation, and having had the same accepted, he bade
farewell to the soldiers to whom he had endeared himself by
his urbanity, dignity, and kindness amid left the command
regretted by both rank and file. On July 15, 1862 , Lieut.
Col. Bush received the acceptance of his resignation, which
he had for warded to army headquarters for reasons similar
to those given by Col. Roman.
He immediately left the command at Tupelo and came over
to the Trans &emdash;Mississippi Department. These
resignations, it was supposed, made by promotion, Major
Armant colonel, Capt. Joseph Collins lieut., colonel, and
Capt. Wm. Mouton major.
In August 1862, the Eighteenth La. Regiment
received orders to remove to Pollard, Alabama.
My duties required me to travel across the mountains of
Alabama to Chattanooga, at which point Gen. Bragg was
organizing his army and putting it on the march into
Kentucky. On my arrival at Pollard in September 1862, I
learned that the Confederate government refused to sanction
the promotion of field of officers as above mentioned and
had directed that an election should be held to fill the
vacancies, the election then taking place.
Absent for more than a month, I was surprised at this
order. An effort was being made to elect Major Wm. Mouton in
place of Armant.
I, at once, visited the colonel to ascertain the facts. I
inquired whether he was aware that he had opposition. He
replied that he was.
I then asked if he was a candidate for the colonelcy. His
answer was "that he was not; that if his brother officers
saw proper to select him as their colonel he would accept
the position with thanks and gratitude, but that he had not
sought the vote of any officer nor did he propose to do so."
His manner and his language impressed me very favorably.
Leaving his tent, I went to the polling booth and cast my
vote for him. He was elected by a handsome majority.
In October, orders required us to remove to the
Trans-Mississippi, our first halt being in New Iberia.
The regiment was delighted to find themselves once more
under the immediate command of their beloved colonel...now
brigadier general...Mouton, who was commander-in-chief of
all the forces in the Attakapas country. On his staff were
our former lieut. col., Bush, as chief of staff and Lieut.
Watts as aide-de-camp.
Headquarters were soon removed to Thibodaux. The Federal
forces were reported to be moving down the bayou from
Donaldsonville. Col. Mouton was afflicted with rheumatism
and was compelled to place the troops on the west side of
the Lafourche under the command of Col. Armant.
The Confederates, consisting of the 18th La. and Crescent
regiments of infantry, badly armed...less than 400 men...and
Ralston' s Battery were in the woods at Georgia Landing
awaiting an attack on October 27. The Federals were
descending on the opposite side of the bayou but crossed
three or four regiments over about two miles above.
The Confederates were placed in line behind the fence
along Winn's road, which led to the Texas Brusly. Bayou
Lafourche was on one flank and an impenetrable swamp on the
other, so that the impending battle would be a square one,
face to face, no room being found for strategy.
The Federal regiments moved down in echelon, partly
concealed by fences and high roads, exercising great
caution, deferring their attack for some time. The
engagement lasted about six hours. The ammunition of the
battery was finally exhausted and Capt. Ralston wounded,
when the order to retreat was given.
Col. McPheeters, of the Crescent Regiment, was killed and
some 10 or 12 men fell in that engagement, whilst about 100
were made prisoners. Weitzel was in command of the Federal
troops. When he ascertained that such a small force had kept
him in check almost an entire day, he complimented the
prisoners on their gallantry and paroled all the file on
their own parole of honor.
Col. Armant was conspicuous throughout the engagement,
encouraging the men and leading them into the fight.
Falling back to Labadieville, he collected his scattered
forces, and, in charge of the rear, he kept the enemy at bay
until they had safely reached Morgan City and encamped on
the opposite bank of Berwick Bay.
In the campaign on the Teche which followed and the
fights at Bisland, the colonel always was found at the head
of his regiment and bore himself gallantly whenever occasion
presented. In the long marches which the 18th Regiment
made in northern Louisiana, Colonel Armant accompanied
his men, sharing with them the privations and sufferings to
which they were subject.
Finally, the retreat toward Shreveport before Banks' army
was made. At Mansfield, on April 8, 1864, the collision took
place which sent the Federals to the rear covered with
defeat and disgrace. On that morning, Col. Armant's regiment
was placed on the extreme left of the infantry forces.
He was ordered to hold back one half of his regiment as a
reserve.When the command to charge rang out along the
Confederate line. Instead of remaining with his reserve, he
left it under the command of Lt. Col. Collins and went into
the fight with that vim and soldierly pride that he ever
exhibited when danger was to be encountered.
The gallantry of that heroic charge and the tenacity with
which he held their position formed one of the brightest
pages of the War of Secession. Like leaves before the
chilling blasts of the autuminal winds, the men on both
sides fell before the prowess of their adversaries. The
Federals finally yielded and abandoned their position to
their victorious foes.
But the victory, however brillian, was gained at a
fearful sacrifice. Mouton, Beard, Clack, Walker, Armant,
Canfield, Beatty, Lavery, Martin, and many other heroes went
down in that fearful charge, adding another wreath to the
Confederate escutcheon and sealed it with their life's
In the thickest of the fight, Armant' a horse was shot
from under him. At the same moment, his color bearer went
down; Armant rushed forward and, seizing the flag, received
his death wound whilst gallantly waving the flag in the
shower of bullets in which he was placed. When last seen
alive, he was prostrate, trying to bold up his flag and
bidding defiance to his destroyers. Thus closed the young
life of a true patriot, a heroic soldier, and a noble man.
Col. Armant was generally a strict disciplinarian,
although there were occasions in which he did not enforce
all his orders with that promptness a superior officer
should exhibit. But there were periods in which he would
relax the reins and overlook breaches that upon other
occasions he would not permit and occasionally inflicted
punishment for an infraction of an order that had been for
some time practically a dead letter. This was the occasion
of unpleasant feelings among the officers and men, but
generally the best of feelings were entertained for him,
satisfied that if he committed errors or mistakes they were
faults of the head and not of the heart.
One of his peculiarities was that those who were his most
intimate friends socially were subjected to the most rigid
discipline. He was ambitious and yearned to win honor and
fame upon the field. No danger was shirked, no opportunity
of meeting the enemy was lost. He could have remained
honorably with his reserve at Mansfield but declined to do
so and accompanied his soldiers into that bloody action with
a hero's martial spirit and a heart bounding with a laudable
desire to win renown.
Socially, Col. Armant was pleasant, genial, agreeable. He
was possessed of good conversational powers that had been
polished by study and travel. To all he was affable and
kind, firm in his decisions, honest in his dealings with
other men. His leisure hours were occupied with the study of
such literature as could be had.
During the afternoon before the Battle of Mansfield was
fought, I called upon the colonel to get some papers signed
in his tent, in which I found him reading. After my business
had been transacted, we conversed together for some time
speculating upon the probable prospect of a fight before the
army reached Shreveport, which would be in a few days. As I
rose to leave, the colonel said to me, "Major, we are going
to have a bloody battle ere many days; I owe one of my
officers--naming him-- $800.00 dollars. There are several
months' salary due me. If I should fall, I desire you to
collect that amount and pay it over to him.
His looks and language impressed me deeply, and the idea
that he had a presentiment of his fate was firmly fixed in
The friends of Col. Armant do not claim that he was a
perfect man. He was subject to the same errors, liable to
commit the faults that other men were prone to commit.
His official acts were frequently the subject of warm
criticism by both rank and file. These wayward errors, had
Col. Armant lived, would have been softened by the heavy
polishing of experience. They emanated not from the heart,
and once convinced that he had done an injustice, willingly
and promptly was that injustice repaired.
The whole command had always the most unbounded
confidence in his ability and gallantry in battle, and this
confidence was ever ably sustained by his valor and heroism.
His remains were interred on the topmost height of the
Mansfield Cemetery, side by side with Mouton, Martin,
Beatty, Walker, and others who gave up their lives on that
Subsequently, loving friends have transported the remains
of the dead soldier to his family cemetery in St. James
Parish and placed them by the side of his ancestors and