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August 1861 to May 1862
Last Updated: April 29, 2008
May 1862 to April 1865
The Claiborne Rangers were organized in Claiborne Parish under the command of Captain Thomas Moore Scott and departed Homer, Louisiana on July 1, 1861. Traveling by road with plenty of wagons to haul the men plus their equipment and supplies, they covered the 60 miles to Monroe in three days camping on the courthouse lawn at Monroe at the end of the third day. From Monroe they traveled east by rail with a brief stopover at Vicksburg and then on to Jackson, Mississippi. At Jackson they transferred to the New Orleans, Jackson, & Great Northern Railroad which took them south to Camp Moore, Louisiana just across the state line in modern day Tangipahoa Parish.
Enrolled in the 12th Regiment of Louisiana Volunteers and transferred to Confederate service on August 13, 1861, this company furnished a large share of the regimental staff and leadership throughout the war. Confederate volunteer regiments were allowed the privilege of electing their officers and non-commissioned officers and Camp Moore was a hot bed of political intrigue in the summer of 1861. Thomas M. Scott was elected Colonel of the 12th Louisiana and served in this capacity until his promotion to brigade command in 1864. Isaac L. Leonard was elected Captain of the company at Camp Moore to replace Scott and served in this capacity until his death in early January 1862. Noel L. Nelson who was serving as 1st Lieutenant was promoted to Captain to replace Leonard the next day.
At the May 10, 1862 re-organization of the regiment for 3 years or the duration of the war, Nelson was promoted to Major of the regiment and succeeded James A. Boyd as Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment in January 1863. When Colonel Thomas M. Scott was give a brigade to command in the spring of 1864, Nelson succeeded him as Colonel of the 12th Louisiana Infantry and served in this capacity until he was mortally wounded at Franklin, Tennessee on November 30, 1864.
Nelson was replaced as Captain by Robert A. Crow. When Crow died in mid-September 1863 from disease, he was replaced briefly by 1st Lieutenant Benjamin F. Hargroves. However, Hargroves was suffering from health problems and after several weeks gave up the job to James J. Crow who had been elected 1st Sergeant of the company in May 1862. James J. Crow was company's Captain until the end of the war. Hargroves recovered and served as 1st Lieutenant for the balance of the war.
Jones P. Smith was elected 1st Sergeant a Camp Moore but was transferred to regimental headquarters within a few days and in November 1861 was promoted to Captain and Regimental Commissary Officer. He served in this capacity at regimental and brigade headquarters levels for the duration of the war.
Joseph W. Boring was detailed as Regimental Ordnance Sergeant on May 25, 1863 and was promoted to Brigade Ordnance Officer [Lieutenant] under General Scott. He held this position at the end of the war in North Carolina even though the company clerk persisted in caring him on the roles at the permanent rank of Private.
At the beginning of the final Vicksburg campaign in 1863, the Farmer Guards and the Claiborne Rangers were detached from the 12th Louisiana Infantry and mounted to serve as cavalry. The Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana had been depleted of cavalry to support General Bragg's 1862 expedition into Kentucky. When General Grant sent Colonel Grierson on his raid down through Mississippi to Newton Station and on to Baton Rouge in mid-April 1863, the Claiborne Rangers were involved in the pursuit. On May 14, 1863 when lead elements of Grant's army entered the city of Jackson, Mississippi, a Minnesota soldier collected the Claiborne Rangers' company flag off the ground where it had been dropped. This flag is described in the Flag Page narrative and resides today in the museum of the Minnesota Historical Society. Captain James Crow did not mention cavalry service at all in his record of events for the muster periods of March/April and May/June 1863!
When the war ended in North Carolina for the regiment, 1st Lieutenant Neely McCoy and 27 enlisted men were present for duty with the company. A number of other men from the company were also present but assigned to various details with the army.
Perhaps the most prominent post-war personality in this company was Sergeant James W. Nicholson. Nicholson taught school briefly before enrolling in the company in 1861 at 17 years of age. He was skilled at music, gifted at mathematics, and made a significant contribution to the 12th Louisiana Regimental Brass Band in which he played bass tuba on occasion. Nicholson also served as a line sergeant in the Claiborne Rangers. We are indebted to him for his account of the trip home from North Carolina at the end of the war and his light hearted anecdotes about affairs in the 12th Louisiana Infantry throughout the war. "Nick" as he called himself in these accounts turned 21 years of age three weeks after reaching his home. He resumed teaching after the war and became the Chairman of the Mathematics Department at Louisiana State University in 1877. Nicholson served two terms as President of the University [1883-1884 and1887-1896]. Louisiana Governor McHenry made him a Colonel on his staff in conjunction with his position as President of LSU. Known thereafter as Colonel Nicholson, he gave a eulogy at the funeral of Jefferson Davis and presided over the dedication of the captured Confederate battle flags which were returned by the Federal War Department to the State of Louisiana in 1905.
COMPANY L ROSTER
The Compiled Military Service Records are organized alphabetically by regiment.
This company roster was derived from the author's 12th Louisiana database
and is not available as such from the National Archives.
Copyright registered with the Library of Congress.
Data presented below: (1) name as it appears in the Compiled Military Service Records with spelling variations, (2) last rank held, and (3) initial enrollment data. Camp Moore volunteers are designated by the letters CM. Volunteers who joined after the regiment left Camp Moore are designated by the year of their enrollment. Asterisks behind names indicate service at regimental or higher headquarters.
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LSU Class of 1965. Geaux Tigers!!