BOOK TWELVE:  Acadians in Gray

 

BOOK ONE:        French Acadia

BOOK TWO:        British Nova Scotia

BOOK THREE:     Families, Migration, and the Acadian "Begats"

BOOK FOUR:      The French Maritimes

BOOK FIVE:         The Great Upheaval

BOOK SIX:          The Acadian Immigrants of Louisiana

BOOK SEVEN:     French Louisiana

BOOK EIGHT:      A New Acadia

BOOK NINE:        The Bayou State

BOOK TEN:          The Louisiana Acadian "Begats"

BOOK ELEVEN:  The Non-Acadian "Cajun" Families of South Louisiana

  

Flag Officer David Glasgow Faragut's flagship, the USS Hartford, enters the Mississippi River, 13 March 1762.  ...01

Secession

After the federal Congress counted the electoral ballots and certified the election of Abraham Lincoln as the sixteenth President of the United States, South Carolinians called for a convention of delegates to re-consider their place in the Union.  The result was a secession ordinance, passed unanimously at Charleston on December 20, followed four days later by the publication of a "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union."  Emphasizing the sovereignty of the separate states, the South Carolinians reminded the world of the nature of the "law of compact."  This included that part of the federal Constitution which guaranteed the return of individuals "held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another....  For many years these laws were executed," the South Carolinians reminded the world, "But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the general government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution."  Pointing out specific instances of Northern refusal to return fugitive slaves to their owners and even to "surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia," the South Carolinians insisted "the constitutional compact had been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation."  After indicting Northerners for denouncing "as sinful the institution of Slavery" and for creating "a sectional party" devoted to the abolition of the South's peculiar institution, the South Carolinians declared that "A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.  He is to be entrusted with the administration of the Common Government," they contended, "because he has declared that that 'Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,' and that the public mind must rest in the belief that Slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction." 

Soon after South Carolina's secession, the Louisiana legislature, answering the call of Governor Thomas O. Moore, authorized the election of a convention of delegates to address the momentous question.  On 7 January 1861, delegates were chosen by popular vote to convene at the capitol in Baton Rouge on January 23.  The convention would conduct its business there until the state legislature opened its new session, after which, if necessary, it would reconvene at New Orleans, where it could complete its work.  Lafayette Parish chose Alexandre Mouton as its delegate to the state convention.  Reflecting the fact that he was still a popular and respected leader in his native Louisiana, the convention at its opening session elected the 56-year-old former governor as its president.  Mouton, still a loyal Democrat, openly supported secession, as did a majority of his fellow delegates.  After three days of debate and deliberation, on 26 January 1861, the convention, still meeting at Baton Rouge, voted 113 to 17 to secede from the Union, the sixth state to do so.  Soon afterwards, delegates from the seven seceded states--South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas--met in the Alabama state capitol at Montgomery.  On February 4, while the Louisiana convention was still in session at New Orleans, the delegates at Montgomery authorized the creation of a southern Confederacy.  Three days later, on February 7, the delegates fashioned a provisional constitution for the new nation, dubbed the Confederate States of America.  On March 11, the delegates signed a "permanent" constitution for the Southern Confederacy, which it submitted for ratification to the seceded states.  The Louisiana convention, having recessed at New Orleans on February 12, reconvened in the city on March 4, the day of Lincoln's inauguration, and took up the question of ratification of a new national constitution.  On March 21, with a vote of 101 to 7, the Louisiana convention ratified the national constitution, and Louisiana became a member of the Southern Confederacy.  The convention adjourned fives days later, exactly two months after it had taken Louisiana out of the federal Union. 

In the weeks following Louisiana's secession and while the state prepared frantically for war, more memorable actions shook the South and sunk the Union into civil conflict:  On March 4, Lincoln was inaugurated the sixteenth President of the United States.  On the evening of April 12, Confederate forces fired on the Federal garrison in Fort Sumter, South Carolina.  Three days later, Lincoln called for volunteers to suppress what he insisted was a Southern rebellion.  More Southern states seceded that spring and summer.  By the end of May, the Confederate government moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia, now perceived as the "seat of war."230  

The business of secession concluded, Governor Mouton returned to his home near Vermilionville to await the consequences of these momentous actions.  Because the state convention did not adjourn at New Orleans until late March, the former governor was not one of the Louisiana delegates sent to the convention of states at Montgomery.  An enthusiastic Confederate, he offered himself as a candidate for a seat in the national senate.  For the first time in his political career, however, he failed to win election.  He would sit out the war for Southern independence as a private citizen.  But his son Alfred and thousands of other Louisianans would endure the war as soldiers, wearing the gray uniforms of a new American nation the "Acadian of the Acadians" helped to create. ...231 

 

BOOK ONE:        French Acadia

BOOK TWO:        British Nova Scotia

BOOK THREE:     Families, Migration, and the Acadian "Begats"

BOOK FOUR:      The French Maritimes

BOOK FIVE:         The Great Upheaval

BOOK SIX:          The Acadian Immigrants of Louisiana

BOOK SEVEN:     French Louisiana

BOOK EIGHT:      A New Acadia

BOOK NINE:        The Bayou State

BOOK TEN:          The Louisiana Acadian "Begats"

BOOK ELEVEN:  The Non-Acadian "Cajun" Families of South Louisiana

 

SOURCE NOTES - BOOK TWELVE

01.  See Hearn, Capture of New Orleans 1862, 135.

230.  See Bragg, LA in the Confederacy, 27-46; Marshall, M., Gallant Creoles, 16. 

The LA Convention remained in session a little over two months, first in Baton Rouge, convening on Jan 23 in the state capitol and meeting there until the state legislature convened a few days later.  The convention then moved to New Orleans, where it reconvened on Jan 29, went into recess on Feb 12, reconvened on Mar 4, and adjourned on Mar 26.  One of the convention's most significant actions during its session in New Orleans was the ratification of the Constitution of the Confederate States by a vote of 101 to 7 on Mar 21, 5 days before it adjourned.  When the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter on Apr 12 & Lincoln called for volunteers to suppress the Southern rebellion 3 days later, the LA Convention had been done with its work for 2 1/2 weeks.  See Bragg.

231.  See Bragg, LA in the Confederacy, 180-81; Marshall, M., Gallant Creoles, 14-15. 

As in the U.S. at the time, the C.S. constitution provided that state legislators, not the voters, would choose national senators, 2 per state.  The LA state legislature cast ballots for the office on 28 Nov 1861.  Mouton came out sixth of 10 on the first ballot & was not even considered for the second ballot, which elected men from Concordia & Orleans parishes to the national senate, meeting in Richmond.  So one could claim that Alexandre Mouton never lost a popular election.

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Copyright (c) 2001-16  Steven A. Cormier