Gallant Creoles: A History of the Donaldsonville Cannoniers
Michael Marshall, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press
Gallant Creoles: A History of the Donaldsonville Cannoniers Louisiana artillery unit that saw combat chronicles a in some of the war’s bloodiest engagements, including Gettysburg, Second Cold Harbor and the Siege of Petersburg. Michael Marshall points out the unit’s origins stemmed from a response to slave insurrections in the parishes surrounding Donaldsonville in 1837. Initially known as the Cannoniers de Donaldson, the unit would not be officially recognized until 1839. The Cannoniers saw their mission come to fruition when Louisiana seceded from the Union in January 1861.
Marshall is inclined to depend on quotes from primary sources to advance his narrative, without adding any analysis. This tends to emphasize the regiment’s movements, and in some spots transforms his book into a diatribe, filled with superfluous details. Readers may also notice errors in the chronology.
Despite those problems, Gallant Creoles thoroughly documents an artillery unit that fought with conspicuous valor. One redeeming factor is its inclusion of lengthy biographies of unit members, including details of their lives after the unit disbanded, which is sure to prove useful to readers interested in genealogical research.
Originally published in the February 2014 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.