church

In the quiet dignity of the Cathedral of St. John in Lafayette, a mass was held to honor General Alfred Mouton - Acadian, Louisianian and Confederate. Daughters gathered in the vestibule of the church to enter as a group and be seated in a place of honor on the front rows.

At the conclusion of the mass, the congregation gathered behind the Cathedral for wreath laying ceremonies.

UDC wreath
Wreaths To Be Placed
Theresa Maturin, on the right, placed the UDC wreath.

At the conclusion of the wreath ceremonies, the gathering of people - Mouton family members, UDC members, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and others interested or conntected with the service - walked as a body to the statue of General Mouton, located on the corner of Jefferson and Lee Streets. The procession was led by a riderless horse, with back-turned boots. Our President, Patricia Gallagher carried the Daughters flag, the First National Flag of the Confederacy.

Pat with flag

red bar

THE NOBLE CHARACTER
OF GENERAL ALFRED MOUTON

by Michael Jones, Member of Capt. James Bryan Camp #1390
Sons of Confederan Veterans, Lake Charles

The greatest character trait of the gallant General Mouton was self sacrifice. This was a man who had everything...wealth, prominence and a beautiful family. Yet in 1861, when his country was threatened with invasion by a ruthless invader, rather than just think of himself and his possessions, he did as the heroes of 1776 and pledged his life, his fortune and his sacred honor to the cause of Southern Independence.

General Mouton exhibited this great character trait of self sacrifice over and over again during the war. At the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, he was a Colonel of the 18th Louisiana Infantry. Mouton was ordered to take an enemy artillery battery by frontal assault, and although he thought the attack ill advised, he drew his sword and said, "Forward the 18th, follow men." Through a dense cloud of gun smoke and whining musket balls, Mouton led his men in the futile attack that was thrown back. The young Acadian Colonel was so distraught over the needless slaughter of his men, he is reported to have openly wept.

The next day, April 7th, reinforced Union ranks launched a counterattack against the exhausted Confederates who were driven back into Mississippi. At 2 p.m., the 18th Louisiana and the Orleans Guard Battalion were ordered to counterattack. Once again Colonel Mouton gallantly led a charge into murderous fire. The losses were staggering, and the assault failed. Mouton was severly wounded.

Because of his gallantry, President Jefferson Davis promoted him to Brigadier General and placed him in command of the LaFourche District of Louisiana. Recovering from his wound, Mouton again showed his willingness to sacrifice his life for his country in the Battle of Irish Bend on April 14th, 1863.

In his report of the battle, Mouton wrote, "The enemy were in a position and threatened to cut off our retreat, but by means of a by-path, I succeeded in eluding their pursuit and extricated the troops from a very perilous attitude; arising from information not having been given me in time of arrival of our rearguard in Franklin, and saw every man file over a burning bridge in the rear of the village, myself and staff crossing when it was almost entirely consumed." Mouton made sure his men were safely over the bridge before he crossed.

Mouton's final act of self sacrifice was perhaps the noblest of all. It was during the Battle of Mansfield on the 8th of April, 1864.

At 4 p.m., Mouton, mounted on a magnificent steed, began the attack out in front of his old regiment. As the charge progressed, Mouton approached a group of 35 Union soldiers, who in the face of the deadly onslaught, laid down their arms in surrender. Mouton gallantly ordered his men not to fire at the surrendering enemy.

However, seeing the Confederate General, five of the Yankee soldiers picked up their muskets and treacherously fired a volley into Mouton. The Acadian General was dead before he fell to the ground. He sacrificed his life trying to save the lives of others.

In seconds, Mouton's outraged men proceeded to shoot down all 35 Union infantrymen. "Before their officers could check the savage impulse, 30 guiltless Federals had paid with their lives for the cowardly act of five," according to a contempory account. Mouton's battle hardened veterans openly wept over the death of their gallant leader.

Two years later, Mouton's remains were brought home to Lafayette.

When the coffin was opened, the five bullet holes could be plainly seen in his coat. With an elaborate ceremony conducted by five Priests at St. John's Cathedral, his body was laid to rest in the church cemetery amid the tears of his family, friends and old comrades-in-arms.

In the words of Mouton's Commander, General Richard Taylor (son of President Zachary Taylor) and a Texan who was also at the Battle of Mansfield...."Above all, the death of gallant Mouton affected me. He had joined me soon after I reached western Louisiana and had ever proven faithful to duty. Modest, unselfish, and patriotic, he showed best in action, always leading his men."

Mouton statue

President Patricia Gallagher places wreath at Mouton statue
Pat and group to place wreath at statue

The Louisiana Sons of Confederate Veterans

SCV unit

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