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The 7th Louisiana Volunteer Infantry, sometimes called the Pelican Regiment, was
organized in May, 1861. Although composed mainly of laborers, clerks, and farmers from New
Orleans, Baton Rouge, Donaldsonville, and Livingston, Louisiana, these men would later
perform so well that Gen. Richard Taylor would refer to them as a "crack
regiment." Muster roll records show that, though the ten companies were raised in and
around New Orleans, only 373 men were native to Louisiana. An additional 331 men were born
in Ireland along with 179 hailing from other states. There were also 50 Germans, 24
Englishman, and others including Canadians, French, Swiss, Scots, and Swedes.
The unit was mustered into Confederate service, for the
duration of the war, at Camp Moore, Taugipahoa, Louisiana, on June 7, 1861.
Later that month the 7th, numbering more than 850 men, was ordered to Virginia where it
was brigaded, along with the 7th Virginia, Colonel Kemper and the 7th Mississippi, Colonel
Humphreys, under Gen. Jubal Early. On July 17, 1861 the 7th was engaged in the skirmish at
Blackburn's Ford with a loss of 9 killed and 15 wounded. Several days later the regiment
fought at First Manassas.
Under the command of Col. Harry T. Hays, the 7th would play a prominent part in Jackson's
Valley Campaign as part of Gen.Richard Taylor's famed Louisiana (Tigers) Brigade. Later
the unit would serve from the Seven Days Battles to Cold Harbor, fight in Jubal Early's
1864 excursion to the Shenandoah Valley, and join in the retreat to Appomattox. After Col.
Hays' promotion to Brig. Gen. the regiment came under the command of Col. Davidson Penn.
Other field officers included Lt. Cols. Charles DeChoiseul and Thomas Terry, and Major J.
7th lost 132 men at Cross Keys and Port Republic in the spring of 1862. Later it would
lose 68 during Seven Days and 69 during the Maryland Campaign. At Chancellorsville 80 were
killed or wounded and 24 were casualties at Second Winchester. Of the 235 engaged at
Gettysburg 24% were lost. In November, 1863, at Rappahannock Station 180 were captured.
Total casualties during the war were, from a total roll of 1,077 men; 190 killed , 68 died
of disease, 2 died in an accident, and 1 murdered. About 53 deserted. When surrendered at
Appomattox, the 7th numbered 42 men and no officers.