This is the second of two articles devoted to the Donaldsonville Artillery Battery. Previously, I wrote about the unit itself and the part it played in the Battle of Fredericksburg (here). In this post, I shift my focus to the individuals who were touched by the battery.
It is seldom that one event appears in the written narratives of both Confederate and Union accounts. Here is one that involved the Donaldsonville artillery battery on the Confederate side and on the Union side, the forces of Generals Howard and Humphreys. These accounts took place on the afternoon of Saturday December 13th during the Battle of Fredericksburg. I feel this one small event within the battle itself encapsulates the drama of the entire battle.
I start with a portion of the report of Captain Victor Maurin, the battery commander of the Donaldsonville artillery.
“…Captain [O.] Latrobe, of General Longstreet’s staff, came and suggested the propriety of dislodging two or three regiments standing behind a steep hill, which not only protected, but also concealed them from our men, on whom they were evidently preparing to make a charge. But my 10-pounder Parrott could not be brought to bear on them without taking it out of the bastion, and, to do this, were to meet almost certain death from the guns in front, which had by this time obtained a perfect range. However, the suggestion was no sooner made than Lieutenant Landry ordered it out, and, together with Captain Latrobe, helped the men to pull and put in position. It was scarcely out, and not yet in position, when Cannoneer [Claudius] Linossier fell, dead, pierced to the heart by a piece of shell. The fate of their comrade seemed to inspire my men with renewed determination, and, undaunted by the shots of the guns and bullets of the sharpshooters, which were flying thick and fast around them, they behaved with the calm courage which deserves the highest praise. The piece was loaded and fired with such precision that not one shot was lost, but every one telling with frightful effect. It was loaded for the fourth time, and was ready to fire, when it was disabled by a shell, which broke a wheel, and at the same time wounded 3 men-Corpl. Thomas Morel, whose skill as a gunner cannot be too highly prized, Cannoneer Dernon Leblanc, whose foot has since been amputated, and F. Perez, severely wounded in three different places. But the object was accomplished; some fled, some were killed, and the remainder dared not leave their cover. At night the broken wheel was replaced, and the piece relieved…” Continue reading