The First Louisiana Special Battalion

Wheat’s Tigers in the Civil War


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About the Book

From the little-known Filibuster Wars to the Civil War battlefield of Gaines’ Mill, this volume details the fascinating story of one of the South’s most colorful military units, the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion, aka Wheat’s Tigers. Beginning with a brief look at the Filibuster Wars (a set of military attempts to annex Latin American countries into the United States as slave states), the work takes a close look at the men who comprised Wheat’s Tigers: Irish immigrant ship hands, New Orleans dock workers and Filibuster veterans. Commanded by one of the greatest antebellum filibusterers, Chatham Roberdeau Wheat, the Tigers quickly distinguished themselves in battle through their almost reckless bravery, proving instrumental in Southern victories at the battles of Front Royal, Winchester and Port Republic. An in-depth look at Battle of Gaines’ Mill, in which Wheat’s Tigers suffered heavy casualties, including their commander, completes the story. Appendices provide a compiled roster of the Wheat’s Tigers, a look at the 1st Louisiana’s uniforms and a copy of Wheat’s report about the Battle of Manassas. Never-before-published photographs are also included.

About the Author(s)

Author and historian Gary Schreckengost lives in Reinholds, Pennsylvania. An infantry officer in the Army Reserves, his work has been published in American Civil War Magazine, World War II Magazine, Field Artillery Journal and Armor Magazine.

Bibliographic Details

Gary Schreckengost
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 221
Bibliographic Info: 82 photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017 [2008]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7238-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1076-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1

1. Tiger Roots: The Filibuster Wars to Southernize Latin America      5
2. Formation of “Wheat’s Tigers”      32
3. First Blood: Seneca Falls and Matthews’ Hill      48
4. Triumph on Henry Hill      68
5. Dishonored Heroes      77
6. Tiger Fury: The Battle of Front Royal      93
7. Give No Quarter to the Damned Yankees: The Battle of First Winchester      108
8. Retreat to the Upper Valley      119
9. The Very Devil in Them: The Battle of Port Republic      129
10. To the Peninsula      139
11. That’s Hell in There! The Battle of Gaines’ Mill      145
12. Egyptian Darkness: The Battle for Malvern Hill      156
13. A Tiger’s Death      167

Appendix I. Service Record of the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion      171
Appendix II. Uniforms and Accoutrements of the Battalion      183
Appendix III. Wheat’s Official Report of the Battle of Manassas      186
Chapter Notes      189
Bibliography      203
Index      209

Book Reviews & Awards

“a well-written account…it’s time their tale was told, and this book does it well”—Civil War News.