Among the rolls of the Orleans Guard Battalion is a
well-known private, who although present at the Battle of Shiloh, is listed as
“Absent, on duty”. Following his official resignation from the U.S. Army in
1861, Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard enlisted in the Orleans Guard
Battalion. This was largely ceremonial, as it was well known that he would
receive a commission from the State. Nevertheless, membership in the Orleans
Guard Battalion was not only preparation for war, but a social status as well.
Beauregard would go on to become a General, but the Orleans Guard continued to
call his name during roll call.
Each morning of the event, the battalion will form in parade. Roll call will be conducted, with each absence, including that of “Beauregard, P. G. T.”, will be announced by the Color Sergeant.
The Orleans Guard Battalion will advance upon the camp of the 6th Iowa. After a brief skirmish, viewed as a parting volley, the 6th Iowa will retreat. The Guard will then rummage through the camp and liberate them of certain provisions; bread, cheese, other delicacies, and wine (actually grape juice as no drinking is permitted during battle). We will take our time, perhaps ten or fifteen minutes sitting in this camp enjoying ourselves with food and drink. After perhaps a rider telling us to get busy comes along, we will reform the battalion and begin to march back towards the fight. In this moment a Confederate horseman will come through with a Union flag draped across him. We will shout “Yankee” and begin to fire. Immediately we will be fired upon by the 6th Kentucky, who will mistake us for a Federal unit, on account of our blue uniforms. Some heated words, and fire, will be exchanged before the incident ceases. Though there can be some minor wounds, only two of our numbers are to fall, representing the two men killed during this friendly fire incident.
Following the capture of the camp, and after some time liberating it of provisions, or if the event has separated Saturday’s battle into two, the Orleans Guard Battalion will regroup and advance upon the strong enemy position. Another battalion will advance separately against the enemy and be thoroughly defeated. They will return bloody and beaten, and we will advance the enemy with vigor, though suffering the same fate. At least twenty-five percent of our number is to be taken out during this event. Our flag will fall four times, changing hands five times during the engagement. Major Queyrouze will take a hit in the knee, and the commander of Company A will take command of the battalion, ordering them to retreat, carrying as many of the wounded back with them as they can, though many will remain on the field to cry out their suffering for the remainder of the battle.
On the final day of the battle, the Orleans Guard Battalion will be ordered to turn their jackets inside out, revealing a white lining resembling a costume for a Masquerade Ball. We will be the first to be hit, and although we try to fight, it will be useless against the fresh Union troops. Once having retreated a bit, the commanding General of the Confederate forces, portraying General P. G. T. Beauregard, will take our colors and attempt to rally the troops. We will follow our beloved General through one final charge, but ultimately prove to be unsuccessful. Defeated, we will make our way back to Corinth (leaving the field).