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Leopold L. Armant

1st. Lt., Maj., Col., F. & S.

 

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Battle Flag
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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 Leopold L. Armant

Leopold L. Armant,
1st. Lt., Maj., Col., F. & S.

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Leopold L. Armant

1st. Lt., Maj., Col., F. & S.

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~ Military Record ~

Armant, Leopold L.,1st Lt., Major, Col. F. & S. 18th La. Infty. En. Oct. 5th, 1861, Camp Moore, La. Present on All Rolls to Feb., 1862. Roll for May and June, 1862, “Elected Major May 13th, 1862.” Roll for July and Aug., 1862, “Present. Elected Major May 10th, 1862. Promoted Col. July 19th, 1862.” Roll for May and June, 1863, “Present.” Roll for July and Aug., 1863, “Absent. Commanding Mouton's Brigade Since —.” Also on Rolls of F. & S. Cons. 18th Regt. and Yellow Jacket Battn. La. Infty. Roll for Jan. and Feb., 1864, “Present.” (April 8th, 1864, Mansfield...“Col. Armant, the brave and youthful commander of the 18th, was instantly killed:...”, Additional information transcribed from pg. 157, Reminiscences of Uncle Silas, by Silas T. Grisamore.)

~ Biography ~

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

LEOPOLD L. ARMANT

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 Shiloh Church.

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 rear.

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 blood.

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 my mind.

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 fatal day.

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 friends.

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.160 and 219-228


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