Joseph Kleber Gourdain

1st. Lt., Capt., Maj., Co. G.


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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 Joseph Kleber Gourdain

Joseph Kleber Gourdain,
1st. Lt., Capt., Maj., Co. G.

At this point in time, we have been uable to locate a photograph of Joseph K. Gourdain to place with his biograph. Should any of the decendants of Mr. Gourdain care to contribute an image of the late Confederate officer to this page, this researcher would be very grateful.


Joseph Kleber Gourdain

1st. Lt., Capt., Maj., Co. G.


~ Military Record ~

Gourdain, Joseph Kleber, Capt. Co. G, 18th La. Inf. En. Oct. 5, 1861. Camp Moore, La. Rolls from Oct., 1861, to Feb., 1862, Present. Rolls from May to June, 1862, Absent, wounded at Shiloh, April 6, Leave of absence 30 days from April 15, Sick. Roll for July and Aug., 1862. Absent without leave. Roll for Jan. and Feb., 1863, Absent, detached from Nov. 9, 1862, by order from Gen. Hdqrs. Rolls from May to Aug., 1863, Detached June 30, 1863 (Provost Marshal). (April 6th, 1862, Shiloh...”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 killed, wounded, and captured was about 200...Captain Gourdain of Thibodaux,...were wounded;...”, Additional information transcribed from pg. 45, “Reminiscences of Uncle Silas” by Silas T. Grisamore.)

~ Biography ~

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


This officer was first lieutenant in our company when it was organized, but upon the election of Capt. Bush as major of the 18th Regiment at Camp Moore on the 5th of October 1861, he was elected captain of his company.

Capt. Gourdain was a strict disciplinarian and always enforced a rigid obediance to orders and was equally prompt and obedient to orders from his superiors.

The interests and welfare of his men were objects of care, and no efforts were ever spared to secure for them all the supplies to which they were entitled and priviledges which were allowed to others.

At our first skirmish with the enemy 's gunboats, an amusing scene occurred that none of the men with us is likely to have forgotten. Our company was encamped in a shallow ravine about 100 yards from the river bank and almost in a line with the enemy's boats and the battery upon which they were firing. The shells, therefore, very nearly passed over our heads.

Capt. Gourdain, who very often gets a little excited, ordered his men to form into line as soon as the first shot was heard and ordered them to count off by twos. The head of the company began, one, two; one, two; one, two; but before they would get half through a shell would come whizzing along over our heads, and by some peculiar coincidence, each one of us imagined that that identical shell was going to hit us at the root of the right ear, which idea at
once stopped the counting, and every fellow would first bend his head as far out of the way as possible and then drop down on his knee, whilst the shell would pass in perfect safety two or three hundred feet above us.

The captain tried to count off three or four times but was finally compelled to give up the attempt.

At the Battle of Shiloh, Capt. Gourdain received a wound in the right arm on Sunday evening and was compelled to go to the rear.

Subsequently obtaining a leave of absence, he came to his home with the other wounded of his company. He again returned to his regiment when it was stationed at Pollard, Alabama, and accompained it to this side of the Mississippi River and was in the fight at the Texana road above Labadieville, where he was again slightly wounded in the arm but not enough to cause him to leave the field. After our retreat across Berwick's Bay, he was detailed on duty as provost marshal at Franklin for a short time, when he was made commander at the post of New Iberia, on which duty he continued until our retreat, when he assumed command of his company until our return to Thibodaux in June 1863, when he was detailed as post commander there.

After our retreat, he was again stationed in New Iberia and subsequently at Alexandria, at which station he continued until the close of the war.

Upon the fall of Col. Armant at Mansfield, he became major of the 18th Regiment by promotion, being senior captain.

Major Gourdain was a native of Donaldsonville or that vicinity and was raised in the family of the late Capt. A. J. Powell, who was always his warm and devoted friend.

With him he studied practical engineering and located in Thibodaux for the purpose of following that occupation. He was, however, a few years later elected parish recorder, to which position he was re-elected several times and was in the possession of that office when he left in 1861.

After the surrender, he was appointed parish recorder by Gov. Wells and remained in that office until the first election under the new constitution. Previous to that time, however, he had engaged in planting, having leased the Scuddy Plantation, some twelve miles below this place. Three years since, he removed to New Orleans and went into tine commission business, and about one year later formed a co-partnership with one of his former soldiers, and now the (illegible] house of Sevin and Gourdain lll Decatur (illegible].

Information 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. 233-235

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