Like many other soldiers who fought in the Civil War, New Orleans newspaper editor William J. Seymour left behind an account of his wartime experiences. It is the only memoir by any field or staff officer of the famous 1st Louisiana Brigade (Hays’ Brigade) in the Army of Northern Virginia. Long out of print, The Civil War Memoirs of Captain William J. Seymour: Reminiscences of a Louisiana Tiger is available once more in this updated and completely revised edition by award-winning author Terry L. Jones.
Seymour’s invaluable narrative begins with his service as a volunteer aide to Confederate Gen. Johnson K. Duncan during the 1862 New Orleans campaign. Utilizing his journalistic background and eye for detail, Seymour recalls in great detail the siege of Fort Jackson (the only Southern soldier’s account except for official reports), the bickering and confusion among Confederate officers, and the subsequent mutiny and surrender of the fort’s defenders. Jailed after the fall of New Orleans for violating Maj. Gen. Ben Butler’s censorship order, Seymour was eventually released and joined General Hays’ staff in Virginia.
Seymour’s memoirs cover his experiences in the army of Northern Virginia in great detail, including the campaigns of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, and Shenandoah Valley, ending with the Battle of Cedar Creek in 1864. His pen recounts the activities of the Louisiana Brigade while offering a critical analysis of the tactics and strategies employed by the army.
A perceptive and articulate officer, Seymour left behind an invaluable account of the Civil War’s drudgery and horror, pomp and glory. Terry L. Jones’ spare and judicious editing enhances Seymour’s memoirs to create an indispensable resource for Civil War historians and enthusiasts.