Archive for January, 2011

American Civil War Folklore or Legend, the story of the Confederate Louisiana Native Guards [Black History MMXI. Part i.]

Monday, January 31st, 2011

by Ann DeWitt

“Equality is the moral compass”

~Desmond Tutu

Initially on May 2, 1861, Louisiana Governor Thomas D. Moore accepted into a militia regiment approximately 1,500 African-American men, who were free.  These men formed the Confederate Louisiana Native Guards to protect their homes and Louisiana against “any enemy who may come and disturb its tranquility.”1 The muster roll of the Confederate Louisiana Native Guards (1861-1862) is listed in the Appendix of the book titled “A Black Patriot and a White Priest” by Stephen J Ochs.

Also noted is that the men of the Louisiana Native Guard were affluent and well learned.  As an example, many were successful architects, brick masons, dentists, doctors, and carpenters to name a few occupations.  One could only imagine the pride in the eyes of these men as they participated in two grand reviews: November 23, 1861 and January 7, 1862.  They marched as part of a racially integrated Confederate Louisiana militia force. For the November grand review, there were 33 black officers and 731 black enlisted men.

In the end, these men enlisted with Confederate Louisiana but were never deployed.  Thus, General Benjamin Butler seized the opportunity; and later in 1862, the Confederate Louisiana Native Guard changed sides and joined the Union Army.  Ultimately, the Louisiana Native Guards made history as the only African-American military regiment to have enlisted in both the Confederate and Union Armies.

Currently, no pictures of the original Confederate Louisiana Native Guards have been recorded.  The following picture is circulating around the internet; however, the picture has not been authenticated as the Confederate Louisiana Native Guards.  The picture below is thought to be the Union 25th United States Colored Troops, Company C or G.

Mistaken picture of the Louisiana Native Guard

Mistaken picture of the Louisiana Native Guard

For more information about African Americans who served with the Confederate States Army, visit

This article is sponsored by The Street Life Series Youth Edition. Contact email:
Peel Back the Sticker and Reveal the Names of Black Confederates

Peel back the sticker and reveal the names of African-American men who served in various capacities with the Confederate States Army (Black Confederates) during the American Civil War.

Recommended Reading:

  • The Louisiana Native Guards by James G. Hollandsworth, Jr.
  • Entangled In Freedom: A Civil War Story by Ann DeWitt and Kevin M. Weeks