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An Eye of Silver: The Life and Times of Andrew D. Lytle

Build Up To and Occupation by Union Forces

In 1862, the Civil War came to Baton Rouge bringing enormous change in A.D.’s life. Less than two years after the Lytles finally settled in Baton Rouge and only eighteen days after the birth of their second son, William Lundy Lytle (b. 11 April 1862), Union forces captured New Orleans. Baton Rouge expected Union forces at any moment. Some of those forces arrived on warships like the U.S.S. Choctaw, seen in the picture above as A.D. saw it from the riverfront.

Both Union and Confederate factions did their best to gain support for their causes. The songs The Southern Wagon and We Are the Union put new words to popular tunes of the day. A printed form letter signed by Tom Bynum, W. D. Phillips, and D.C. Montan took a more direct approach.

The Civil War Diary of Sarah Morgan, an extraordinary work based on the 19-year-old native Baton Rougean’s personal diary, provides insights into the social and intellectual life of Baton Rouge and Louisiana during the early years of the War. The following excerpts reveal the mood surrounding events leading up to the occupation of Baton Rouge:

26 April 1862: “There is no word in the English language which can express the state in which we are all now, and have been for the last three days. Day before yesterday news came early in the morning of three of the enemy’s boats passing the forts [guarding the Mississippi River below New Orleans]…. We went this morning to see the cotton burning….”

5 May 1862: “Vile old Yankee boats… passed up this morning without stopping! … The river was covered with burning cotton; perhaps they want to see where it came from.”

9 May 1862: “Our lawful (?) owners have at last arrived. About sunset day before yesterday, the Iroquois anchored here, and a graceful young Federal stepped ashore, carrying a Yankee flag over his shoulder, and asked the way to the Mayor’s office.”

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