Smithsonian Collections

Our Colored Troops--The Line Officers of the First Louisiana National Guards

Image for Our Colored Troops--The Line Officers of the First Louisiana National Guards
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition Label
In the summer of 1862, Union general Benjamin F. Butler addressed a pressing need for reinforcement troops. Acting on his own authority as the military governor of Louisiana, he approved the formation of the First Regiment of Louisiana Native Guards, to be composed entirely of free black recruits. Some of those joining this new regiment had previously served the Confederacy as members of a short-lived, all-black militia unit known as the Louisiana Native Guards. They had been left behind, however, when white Confederate militia regiments abandoned New Orleans to Union forces in April 1862. Mustered into Union service in September 1862, Butler’s Native Guards later performed heroically at the Battle of Port Hudson (July 1863), despite devastating enemy fire.
When Harper’s Weekly published these images of the First Louisiana Native Guards, it noted that although several of the company’s officers could easily be mistaken for white, they all carried "African blood" in their veins.
John R. Hamilton, active 1850s - 1870s
Charles Sentmanat, c. 1830 - 6 Jun 1876
Victor Jean Louis Lavigne, died 17 May 1878
Louis D. Larrieu, 2 Jun 1831 - 28 Jan 1921
Joseph L. Montieu, Nov 1829 - 4 Dec 1876
Edgard Charles Davis, 4 Nov 1830 - 18 Feb 1917
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Wood engraving on paper
Image: 34.1 x 23.1cm (13 7/16 x 9 1/8")
Sheet: 39.9 x 28.1cm (15 11/16 x 11 1/16")
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Mustache
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Beard
Symbols & Motifs\Flag\National\United States
Human Figures\Soldier
Charles Sentmanat: Male
Charles Sentmanat: Military\Soldier\Civil War\Union
Victor Jean Louis Lavigne: Male
Victor Jean Louis Lavigne: Military\Soldier\Civil War\Union
Louis D. Larrieu: Male
Louis D. Larrieu: Military\Soldier\Civil War\Union
Joseph L. Montieu: Male
Joseph L. Montieu: Military\Soldier\Civil War\Union
Edgard Charles Davis: Male
Edgard Charles Davis: Military\Soldier\Civil War\Union