Pvt. , Co. K, 18th Louisiana Infantry Regiment Enlisted: January 6, 1862, Camp Benjamin, La. Deserted at Camp Qui Vive, December 25, 1862(?) Residence: Lans Mege, Evangeline/St. Landry Parish, La.
How does someone write a narrative about a distant ancestor who is listed in the military records of his "country" as a "deserter"? That is one of the main reasons that this page has been saved as a last page in the sequence of pages listing the 18th Regiment Louisiana Infantry. It is also extremely difficult to put into words the feelings and emotions that the word "deserted" brings to mind. Anyone can read the cold, curt records listing the notations made on muster roll cards/records about an individual soldier during the months this soldier served with his unit.
No attempt is being made here to justify in any way what may or may not have happened regarding Pvt. Placide Richard. This researcher was NOT there and can only speculate as to what MAY have happened.
Let us examine just what those records say and do not say. First off, Placide Richard did enlist for one year and served just one week shy of his one year of enlistment. He did serve with his company at the Battle of Shiloh for the Muster Roll records of May 1862 show him present and so do the records for July 1862. The records for the month of April 1862 are missing. The next set of records are for the month of December 1862 and the notation in the remarks section indicate him "deserting at Camp Qui Vieve on 24/25 December 1862". These are the official records...that currently exist. A portion of the records have disappeared and may never surface.
What makes a man leave his unit...his friends? The official records show Pvt. Placide Richard enlisting for one year...and he fulfills that obligation almost to the day. The men of the 18th Regiment take horrific casualities at the Battle of Shiloh and they are sent to the defense of southern Louisiana where one skirmish after another ends with the Confederate forces in retreat up an down Louisiana.
The men even passed within sight of their homes (See "Civil War Time Line: With regards to Pvt. Placide (Fabien) Richard" and the entry for Oct 1862) in some cases and are not allowed to return home for a visit with their families for fear of their not returning to their units. Some chose to go home and did not return...either being cut off by the advancing Federal forces or for whatever other reasons. Some did go home only to return at a later date.
Does the date of 24/25 December 1862 have some significance to his leaving? Of course it does, for it was Christmas, and one of the strongest urges anyone of Christian upbringing is to be with ones family at Christmas time. He may have gone home to see his family for Christmas. Camp Qui Vieve is within a day's hard march of the farm where his family lived. He may have intended to return immediately after Christmas and upon reaching home was compelled by conditions there to remain with his family. Many men who served in the Confederacy are listed as "deserting" and this term is appended to his name if he does not show for Muster Roll.
Is it possible that a brief entry for a Richard, F., Pvt. with the 10th Battn. is Placide Fabien Richard? The 10th Battn. La. Inf. was operating in the same general area that Placide Richard resided after his "desertion from the 18th Regiment". The 10th Battn. La. Inf. (Yellow Jacket Battalion) was consolidated with the 18th Regiment on 14 Nov 1863, and in doing so, many of the men were reassigned to different units and another account indicates that the 18th Consolidated Infantry Regiment was made up in part with a number of men listed as deserters from previous regiment...we may never know if Placide Fabien Richard was part of this group. Looking at the civil records of his children's births give some indication that he just might have rejoined his fellow soldiers.
Richard, F., Pvt. Co. B, 10th Battn. La. Inf.
Placide Fabien Richard served in the Civil War (with the Confederate States of America...CSA) with Co. K, 18th LA Infantry. As of this writing, it is not known as to where Placide Fabien is laid to rest, but the earliest record this author can locate, of a Richard Cemetery is on the former property of his son Placide. The 1st wife of this son, Placide Richard, an Ernestine Smith (Schmidt) is laid to rest in a small, peaceful family cemetery (recently designated as a public cemetery) simply known as the Richard Cemetery, about halfway between Eunice and Mamou. Driving north from Eunice and after emerging from an area that is heavily tree covered, there is a country road that crosses La. Hwy.13. (La. Hwy. 104) Take a right on that country road. About a mile down this road, on your right, is a dirt lane, with a gate and beyond, about a quarter mile, is a clump of trees overlooking a small family cemetery which is located on the right side of the lane.
Placide Richard served during the Civil War with the Confederate States of America with Co. K, 18th Louisiana Infantry. The following is from the Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers and Louisiana Confederate Commands compiled by Andrew B. Booth, Commissioner of Louisiana Military Records, New Orleans, LA 1920. The entry is from Volume III, Book I and is on page 306.
"Richard, Placide, Pvt. Co. K. 18th La. Inf. En. January 6, 1862, Camp Benjamin, La. Rolls May 1862 to Aug. 1862. Present. Rolls Jan. 1863 to June 30, 1863. Deserted at Camp Qui Vive, Dec. 25, 1862." 2
After receiving and reviewing Pvt. Placide Richard's military records, very little additional information is available except the following: There was no pension benefits claim filed on behalf of his wife...Elisa (Pauline) Zapoline Marcantel Richard (reason being...his being listed as "deserted (?) " ( a speculative guess on researcher's part ) .
" *This regiment was discontinued by Special Orders No. 280, Headquarters District of W. Louisiana, dated Alexandria, November 12, 1863, which directed that the following changes be made in Mouton's Brigade, to take effect November 1, 1863: The 18th REGIMENT LOUISIANA INFANTRY to be consolidated into a battalion of six companies. The YELLOW JACKET BATTALION (also known as the 10th Battalion) Louisiana Infantry to be consolidated into a battalion of four companies. The two battalions thus formed to be consolidated into one regiment of ten companies to be know as the CONSOLIDATED 18th REGIMENT and YELLOW JACKET BATTALION, LOUISIANA INFANTRY." 3
The following is additional information regarding Placide Fabien Richard, along the lines of his personal life. He was born 12 August 1834 in Opelousas. (no church record found) the 10th child of Pierre Placide Richard and Anastasie "Clarissa" Hebert. He was a poor farmer who scraped out a living off the land. Placide Fabien Richard was married in a civil ceremony to Elisa Pauline "Zapuline" "Toutote" Marcantel 17 August 1859, Opel. Ct. Hse. Mar. #1916 , followed by a church ceremony on 29 February 1864, Opel. Ch. : v. 2, p. 332, and this marriage produced six known issues. 4
1. Marie Alzina Richard, b. 12 December 1860, (no church record found)
2. Elina Richard, b. 20 September 1862, Opel. Ch. v. 6, p. 197
* There appears to be a gap here that could account for an absence by
Placide / OR it could be that he was hiding out, avoiding being brought back for
punishment for desertion...again, pure speculation on this researcher's part.*
3. Placide "Palcide" Richard, b. about 1867 , (no church record found) in what is present day Evangeline Parish. Additional information by way of the 1870 census places the birth of Placide about 1867 (census shows him as being 3 years old at time of census in July of 1870). Additional information indicates Placide being born about 1865...and passing away in 1962 at age of 99? (...inscription on his headstone). (Information as provided by Placide Fabien's Great-grandson, S.J. Richard, living in Eunice, LA. at the time of this writing.)
4. Anastasie Richard, b. 15 October 1869, Eunice Ch. v. 1, p. 6-A
5. Jean Baptiste Gustave Richard, b. after 1870 , (no church record found)
6. Ena Richard, b. after 1870 , (no church record found)
The next record containing an entry for Ena is her marriage to Allibe Fruge in 1885. Richard, Ena (Placide & Toutoute Marcantel) m. 4 Aug. 1885 Allibe Fruge (Eunice Ch. : v. 2, p. 41) with an additional entry of a civil ceremony: (Opel. Ct. Hse. : Mar.#13652). Was Toutoute Marcantel deceased at this point?
An interesting twist may come into play at this point in Placide Fabien's life. The 1870 census does NOT show his wife, Elisa Zapoline Marcantel as being a part of his household. Did she die at childbirth? Did they go their separate way? That is unsure. Yet a new chapter in Placide Fabien's life may have unfolded after 1870...Placide Fabien may have re-married...to a lady by the name of Maria L. Roy. Entries in Fr. Hebert's books list the following passages:
7. Marie Ollivia Richard, b. 18 September 1882, Eunice Ch. : v. 1, p. 196. Her parents are listed as Placide Fabien Richard and Maria L. Roy.
8. Marie Ida Richard, b. 30 August 1889, Eunice Ch. : v. 2, p. 126. Her parents are listed as Placide Richard and Dame Roy.
It is possible, though doubtful, that after deserting his unit on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, 1862 (after experiencing firsthand, the horrendous battle of Shiloh, he MAY have had second thoughts, and rejoined his unit during their retreat through the Opelousas area and their reorganization into the Consolidated 18th Regiment and Yellow Jacket Battalion, Louisiana Infantry. This is pure speculation on this researcher's part and further research into this matter may OR may not prove it so. Even so, the Muster Rolls of the 18th Regiment, for the first six months of 1863 show Placide as being "Absent" from his unit...fully six months after his Christmas "desertion".
5 July 1860... 1860 U.S. Census, Post Office (?), County of St. Landry... Placide F. Richard, age 24, is listed as a farmer living with his wife, Zapoline Marcantell, age 21. They are listed as residing on the farm of a Paulus P. Richard, age 33, with no wife listed in census. Also listed as residents are the children of Paulis: Caralie, age 3, and Julie, age 1. The next farmhouse down the road lists Pierre P. Richard, age 78, the father of Placide and Paulus, as being the only resident. Census shows the farm as #405, Ward. (?), County of Opelousas(?). 5
12 Dec 1860... Marie Alzina, a daughter, is born to Placide and Zapoline.
5 Oct 1861... Mouton's 18th Louisiana Infantry Regiment partially organized at Camp Moore...by the addition of seven companies. On October 8, the regiment moved to Camp Roman near Carrollton, where an eighth company joined it. Two additional companies joined the regiment there to complete its organization.
16 Jan 1862... Placide Richard enlists on January 6, 1862, Camp Benjamin. Signed up by Lt. Sandidge.
15 Feb 1862... The men travel by railroad to Corinth, Mississippi.
1 March 1862... Assigned to picket Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. There they engaged and repulsed a landing party from two enemy gunboats and drove away the gunboats on March 1. (It should be noted that according to a passage in Reminiscences of Uncle Silas, A History of the Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry Regiment, by Silas T. Grisamore, 6 the following notation applies:
"...Feb 26. Struck half of our tents and leaving Company K to
guard the remainder, we departed towards Pittsburg Landing,
distant about 20 miles..."
The proceeding entry is from page 27...and strongly indicates that Co. K (Placide Richard's company) probably did not participate in the skirmish at Pittsburg Landing on 1 March 1862.
6-7 April 1862... The regiment fought in the Battle of Shiloh, April 6 - 7; in one attack 200 men were killed or wounded. (Indications are strong that Co. K did indeed participate in the Battle of Shiloh on April 6 and was a part of the carnage of the battle that is briefly described in a passage from Reminiscences of Uncle Silas, A History of the Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry Regiment, by Silas T. Grisamore 7, and the following notation applies:
"...March 4...As soon as the regiment came up, our tents were brought to us and fitted up; Company K, which had been left at Corinth, came out..."
and then the passage listing the casualities during the devestating charge out of the ravine
"...Shiloh, April 6th, 1862. The result of the charge made upon the enemy by the 18th Regiment was disastrous, especially to our company. The loss of officers and men in killed, wounded, and captured was about 200. . Captains Wood of Cloutierville and Lestrappes (Captain, Co. K) of Opelousas were killed;..."
The proceeding entries are from page 33 and 45...and strongly indicates that Co. K (Pvt. Placide Richard's company) more than likely did participate in the Battle of Shiloh on 6-7 April 1862.
29 May 1862... Falling back to Corinth, the regiment served in the trenches there until the evacuation of the town on May 29.
May 1862 thru June 1862... Pvt. Placide Richard present on Company Muster Rolls. At. Camp Benjamin. Paid by Lt. Grisamore (Silas T. Grisamore?) thru April 30, 1861.
June 1862 thru July 1862... After remaining in camp at Tupelo for two months, the regiment received orders to report for duty at Mobile, Alabama. The men were assigned to a camp at Pollard to guard the approaches to Mobile from Pensacola, Florida.
July 1862 thru Aug 1862... Pvt. Placide Richard present on Company Muster Rolls. At. Camp Benjamin. Paid by Lt. Grisamore (Silas T. Grisamore?) thru June 30, 1861.
2 Oct 1862... On October 2, the regiment left for western Louisiana; it reached New Iberia on October 12.
Oct 1862... In October 1862, a Union force under Gen. Godfrey Weitzel conducted a destructive raid from Donaldsonville down Bayou Lafourche. On October 27, the Federals brushed aside a small Confederate army under Gen. Alfred Mouton in the Battle of Labadieville. Mouton's troops evacuated the region, falling back to the lower Bayou Teche. After occupying the area, Weitzel's men laid waste to the sugar industry along the Lafourche. 8
(It should be noted that according to a passage in Reminiscences of Uncle Silas, A History of the Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry Regiment, by Silas T. Grisamore, 9 the following notation applies:
"...October 18...Some of the boys thought it pretty severe to pass in sight of their houses containing their families, mothers, brothers, and sisters, whom they had not seen for twelve months, without being allowed to stop, but they had to do it notwithstanding..."
The proceeding entry is from page 103-104...and indicates some of the severe hardships that the men of the 18th Regiment endured throughout their marches up and down the state during the years following the Battle of Shiloh.
27 Oct 1862... The men fought in the Battle of Labadieville, October 27, and retreated with the army to Fort Bisland on Bayou Teche.
Oct 1862... The men retreated with the army to Fort Bisland on Bayou Teche.
Winter 1862... They spent the winter and early spring at Camp Qui Vive at Fausse Point and retreated to Bisland in mid-March, 1863.
24-25 Dec 1862... Muster rolls cards for Jan and Feb 1863, as well as June 30, 1863, of the 18th La. Infantry regiment, indicate that Pvt. Placide Richard (along with others) are listed as "deserted at Camp Qui Vive".
Jan 1863 and Feb 1863... Pvt. Placide Richard absent on Company Muster Rolls. Shown as "deserted at Camp Qui Vive on the 25th Dec. 1862". Paid by Capt. McEvry thru Sept. 1, 1862. 10
March 1863... The men retreated to Bisland in mid-March, 1863.
12 & 13 April 1863... The regiment participated in the Battle of Bisland but suffered few casualties. The army retreated through Opelousas and Alexandria to Natchitoches.
June thru July 1863... The regiment returned to south Louisiana and participated in the operations around Bayou Lafourche in July. On June 30, Company K Muster Rolls show Pvt. Placide Richard as "Deserted from Service Dec. 24, 1862".
August thru October 1863... The regiment marched back and forth between Vermillionville, Simmesport, and Moundville.
14 Nov 1863... The regiment was merged with the 10th Louisiana Battalion at Simmesport to form the 18th Louisiana Consolidated Infantry Regiment.
31 Jan 1864... The regiment marched to Monroe. the brigade started for Pineville and reached it ten days later.
March 1864... When the Federal Red River Campaign began in mid-March, the brigade traveled to Lecompte and then retreated with General Richard Taylor's army toward Shreveport.
8 April 1864... The regiment participated in the Battle of Mansfield, April 8; nearly 100 men were killed or wounded.
9 April 1864... During the Battle of Pleasant Hill, April 9, the regiment was only lightly engaged late in the day.
18 May 1864... With Taylor's army, the regiment pursued the Federals down the Red River and fought in the Battle of Yellow Bayou, May 18.
June thru July 1864... The regiment camped at Marksville, McNutt's Hill, and Beaver Creek during the next two months.
August 1864... In August, the brigade marched to Monroe.
Sept thru Oct 1864... In September, it accompanied the army into southern Arkansas. The men spent the next two months at Camden and Walnut's Hill.
November 1864... By late November, the brigade had encamped at Minden.
January 1865... In late January, 1865, the brigade marched to Bayou Cotile.
May 1865... In May, the brigade marched to Mansfield; it disbanded there on
May 19 after hearing of the imminent surrender of the Trans- Mississippi Department.
About 1867... Placide, a son is born to Placide and Zapoline. The 1870 census shows a son, Placide as being 3 years old when census was taken on the 20th of July, 1870. Their only other child listed on the census is Marie Alzina, listed as 10 years old for this census.
20 July 1870... 1870 U.S. Census, Post Office Bayou Chicot...Placide Richard, age 37, is listed as a farmer living with his wives(?) parents, Joseph Marcantelle and Frozine. The census does not list his wife, Elisa Zapoline. The children of Placide and Zapoline are listed as: Alzina, age 10, and Placide, age 3. They are listed as residing on the farm of his in laws, Joseph Marcantelle, age 58, and his wife Frozine, age 50. Also listed as a resident is the daughter of Joseph and Frozine: Celestine, age 14. The census shows the farm as #124, 5th Ward. St. Landry Parish. The census was taken 20 July 1870. 11
1. Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers and Louisiana Confederate Commands, compiled by Andrew B. Booth, Commissioner of Louisiana Military Records, New Orleans, LA 1920. The entry is from Volume III, Book I and is on page 303.
2. Ibid., p. 306.
3. Muster Rolls of the 18th Regiment Louisiana Infantry and appears on the bottom of some of the Muster Rolls of Pvt. Placide Richard. Information attained from State of Louisiana, Secretary of State, Division of Archives, Records, Management and History.
This information is further stated on a document dated AGO VAULT BOOK #9, p. 75. in information received from the Military Archives Library, Jackson Barracks, New Orleans, LA.
4. Southwest Louisiana Records. Church and Civil Records of Settlers 1756-1910, by Rev. Donald J. Hebert. ©1974. This is a typical entry for the church and civil records portrayed with regards to Placide Richard, his wife and children.
5. "U. S. Census for year 1860, Schedule 1". Free Inhabitants in (missing) in County of Opelousas, Post Office of (missing), page #62.
6. Reminsences of Uncle Silas, A History of the Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry Regiment, p.27, by Silas T. Grisamore and Edited by Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr. © 1981 Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr.
7. Ibid ., p. 33 and 45.
8. The Civil War in Louisiana: An Overview. Information downloaded from the internet on 1 Dec 1997. http://www.crt.state.la.us/crt/tourism/civilwar/overview.htm.
9. Reminsences of Uncle Silas, A History of the Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry Regiment, p.103-104, by Silas T. Grisamore and Edited by Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr. © 1981 Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr.
10. Jackson Barracks, New Orleans, LA. Index Cards of the 18th Louisiana Infantry. Ledger lists some nine soldiers as "deserting" from the 18th Louisiana Infantry. Information also contained in the Military Records of Placide Richard.
11. "U. S. Census for year 1870, Schedule 1". Free Inhabitants in the 5thWard in Parish of St. Landry, Post Office of Bayou Chicot, page #126. Dated 20 July 1870
This undertaking has been done with a large amount of attention to details supplied by documents of the Civil War as well as a gathering of information from civil documents and by the addition of a small helping of speculation by the author. Keeping in mind, "you are only as good as your sources", this researcher has attempted to paint a picture of his Great-great grandfather during those terrible wars years of 1861-1865.
Information compiled and presented from 10 November thru 14 December 1997 and then modified on 16 June 1999 by: Great-great grandson, of the late
Pvt. Placide Fabien Richard
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