Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/113

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In a Louisiana Regiment. 105

regular zouaves provided by act of Congress, and for that reason its officers were appointed and its enlisted men regularly recruited and sworn in. Colonel Aristide Girard was Lieutenant-Colonel and Anatole Avegno, Major. The companies were six in number, with the following captains: Bernard Avegno, E. M. Dubroca, O. M. Tracy, A. Cassard, J. Fremeaux and F. L. Campbell.

As a decidedly large majority of the officers were from the second district (below Canal street), it is not to be wondered at that the battalion was a favorite command with the good people of that sec- tion. Nor is it surprising that mothers, sisters and sweethearts of the young officers should present a magnificent flag to the battalion.

The tattered old flag, discolored by the destroying hand of time, shorn of its beauty, hangs in Memorial Hall, a dingy and silent re- minder of the past, with few to gaze upon it who know what it once represented or whence it came. With the exception of one or two others, the writer is the only survivor of the officers of the Avegno Zouaves, at least of those residing in Louisiana. All others long since answered the last roll call and laid them down to sleep in God's eternal bivouac.

Long years have passed since the time of which I write, and yet it seems but yesterday, with bands playing stirring quick steps, arms aslant and steady, warlike tramp, we entered the sacred portals of St. Louis Cathedral, of New Orleans, that the venerable bishop might bless the banner, now drooping languidly, infirm with age, like unto the survivors of those who once wildly swore to defend it and bring it back in triumph to the Crescent City.

Alas ! the victory was not ours, nor would anyone recognize the once strong battallion in the few war-worn and weary veterans who came straggling back at the end of four long, bloody years.

The official language of our battalion was French; we were drilled in French, commanded in French, and orders were issued in French, and as I was the only officer who did not understand the language, you can well imagine my awkwardness. However, I soon became familiar with the commands most frequently used, and it was not long before I could get my company through dress parade in a more or less creditable manner. Orders came after awhile from General Twiggs to discontinue the French language and to adopt English, and matters went along more smoothly as far as I was concerned. The company to which I was assigned was composed principally of Irishmen, who resented the change quite fiercely. One of our fel- lows, who enlisted under the name of Jones, but whose name was