Lastie's Story Maternal Great, Great, Grandfather of William J. Thibodeaux
Lastie Richard, now and old man with silvery stubble on his face sat in one of the cowhide chairs arranged on the large wooden porch shaded by two huge Chinaball Trees. He began telling his story in French, the only language Eva, his daughter, and Drozin Hebert, Eva’s new husband understood. Everywhere you looked there was carnage. The dead, decaying and swollen bodies of Confederate and Union soldiers lying all around, most were still holding their rifles, pistols or swords. There were dead humans and horses; the stench was almost unbearable. Some of the dead were lying in open lush green pastures that resembled the rolling prairies back home, while others were hanging over rail fences and appeared to be looking at the cornfields; a few were lying in a shallow stream, as if they were taking their last drink of water.
There was an old dilapidated farmhouse and barn nearby that had been burned and they were still smoldering while its inhabitants, an elderly couple, were both dead along with their animals, which consisted of three horses, four hogs, and two cows. Bellowing next to one of the dead cows was a skinny red calf of no more than three or four days old.
I have never seen so much worthless killing and destruction as near the Shenandoah River at Port Republic, in Rockingham County, Virginia,ï¿½ said Lastie Richard, his eyes were red and glittery as he spoke about the battle.
Eva and Drozin repeated Lastie’s story to their daughter, Angela and her husband, Clebert Menard. While Eva was repeating the story, Clebert had to swallow back a lump that was rising in his throat, while Angela’s eyes were red rimmed and puffy as she openly cried for the unfortunate souls and the pain that her grandfather had obviously experienced. It was then, at that moment, when Angela decided she would never again allow guns in her home. A sentiment later shared by her children.
On Monday, June 9, 1862, at the battle of Port Republic, Virginia, a beautiful and spectacular day, too damn pretty to be fighting a war. I remember seeing the Union Armies retreating and the next thing I know I’m in a farmhouse with other wounded soldiers, some dead or dying, and a doctor was removing a lead bullet from my body, added Lastie.
Clebert had never met Lastie, his wifeï¿½s grandfather, but he had great admiration for the old soldier as he listened intently to the story.
When Eva finished with her father’s story, Angela went back to setting pear tree branches into the ground to be used as tomato stakes. Little did she know, the pear branches would later grow to become large pear trees, producing an abundance of fruit.
Lastie was born May 19, 1835, his parents were Joseph and Eugenie Francois Richard. The United States Federal Census of 1860 recorded Lastie as being twenty-five years old and living in Lafayette, Louisiana, and it lists the post office as being in Vermilionville. Lastie enlisted March 3, 1862 in St Landry Parish and was assigned to Company C. Why enlist? Most Acadians did not volunteer, but the stigma of being drafted was so great that it induced potential draftees to volunteer. Many referred to the war as la guerre de les Americians. Translated in English literally meant, the American’s war. Lastie probably didnï¿½t own any slaves and most likely he was against the war, as most Cajuns, but they were forced to fight it.
The Sixth Infantry Regiment was organized in May of 1861 at Camp Moore, in east Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish. It was the largest confederate training base in the state; and its members were recruited in New Orleans and the parishes of Union, Sabine, Ouachita, St. Landry and St. Bernard; and the Louisiana Tigers were organized and trained at Camp Moore; they developed a reputation as being fearless and hard fighting. And now, nearly 150 years later the nickname Louisiana Tigers lives on with the athletic teams of LSU.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis directly authorized the establishment of Camp Moore specifically chosen due to its relatively high ground elevation, abundance of fresh drinking water and being adjacent to the then New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad; made it convenient for sending and receiving men, material and supplies.
The camp was named after Louisiana’s Governor, Thomas O. Moore. Just three months after the camp opened it was struck by an epidemic of measles; a deadly disease, which claimed the lives of nearly 700 young and patriotic Louisiana soldiers without having once faced the enemies of their beloved south.
After their training Lastie and the Louisiana Tigers were ordered to Virginia, the regiment served under General Richard S. Ewell at the First Battle of Manassas, and then were assigned to General Richard Taylor’s, Hay’s and Tork’s Brigade. After participating in Stonewall Jacksonï¿½s Valley Campaign, they fought with the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days Battles to Cold Harbor. It continued the fight with Early in the Shenandoah Valley and later shared in the Appomattox operations. The Sixth Infantry reported sixty-six casualties at Cross Keys and Port Republic, one of which was Lastie Richard. Another forty-seven more casualties were reported during the Maryland Campaign, twelve at Fredericksburg, and eighty-one at Chancellorsville. Forty-three were killed and wounded at Second Winchester, and fifty-four at Gettysburg. After the war Lastie returned home, and married on September 18, 1866 to Emelie Doguet. Four years later the United States Federal Census of 1870 lists Lastie age thirty-three and Emelie, his wife, age thirty-one and at the time they had two children; they were William age three and Olida age one month.
Together Lastie and Emelie had four more children. From the order of their births, they were: Eva, Agnes, Felicianne and Felicia.
There is no record of what happened to their oldest son, William. Olide married on December 9, 1889, to Eva Allemand of Lafayette. Eva Richard married on February 5, 1894 to Drozin Hebert (our Great Grandparents and the parents of Angela Hebert, aka, Mom-mom Menard). Agnes married on January 9, 1895 to Oheluci Roche, Felicia married on October 6, 1897 to Alexis Hebert and Felicianne married on October 1, 1898 to Adam Allemand. All three above mentioned names were from Rayne.
On December 13, 1880 Lastie Richard applied for and probably received Civil War Pension due to being wounded at Port Republic, Virginia.
Lastie Richard died, date unknown, and was buried south of Mire, Louisiana, beside his wife, Emelie Doguet Richard. Lastieï¿½s gravestone is a white concrete Confederate headstone; and is located next to a sugarcane field along Soldier Road, just off of highway 95.
Written by William J. Thibodeaux