Andre Cailloux: "The Funeral of a Brave Colored Officer"

Sketch of an eagle spreading its wings with a banner in its mouth

A description of the funeral of Captain Andre Cailloux of the 1st Louisiana Native Guards Regiment (Union). There are some inaccuracies in the reporting, including that Cailloux was actually killed on May 27, 1863, and he was not mulatto in his ancestral heritage and had often boasted about his Black heritage. 



The Funeral of a Brave Colored Officer.

A correspondent writing from New Orleans, under date of July 30, says:

The most extraordinary local event that has been seen within our borders, and, I think, one of the most extraordinary exhibitions brought forth by this rebellion, was the funeral of Captain Andre Cailloux, company E, First Louisiana National Guards. Here, in this Southern emporium, was performed a funeral ceremony that for numbers and impressiveness never had its superior in this city; and it was originated and carried through in honor of a gallant soldier of the despised race.

Captain Cailloux was a fine-looking mulatto, and, in his military dress, had an imposing appearance. I remember seeing him at General Banks' headquarters, in company with at least fifteen of our most prominent officers, and he was a marked personage among them all. In the celebrated assault and repulse on Port Hudson by General Banks, Captain Cailloux fell at the head of his company, on the 16th of May last, while gallantly leading it on to the enemy's works. His body, along with others of the national regiment, after the battle lay within deadly reach of the rebel sharpshooters, and all attempts to recover the body was met with a shower of minie bullets.

Thus guarded by the enemy, or I might say thus honored by the attention, the body lay exposed until the surrender of the place, on the 8th of July, when it was received and brought to this city, to receive the astonishing ovation connected with the last rites of humanity.

The arrival of the body developed to the white population here that the colored population had powerful organizations in the form of civic societies, as the "Friends of the Order," of which Captain Cailloux was a prominent member, received the body, and had the coffin containing it draped with the American flag, exposed in the commodious hall.

The Corpse.

The body, as before mentioned, lay in state in the hall of the "Friends of the Order," on a raised platform in the center of the room. The coffin was draped in the American flag, on which was placed his sword and belt and uniform coat and cap. Around the coffin flowers were strewn in the greatest profusion, and candles were kept continually burning. All the rites o the Catholic Church were strictly complied with. The guard paced silently to and from, and altogether it presented as solemn a scene as was ever witnessed.

The Ceremonies.

In due time the band of the Forty-second Massachusetts regiment made their appearance and discoursed the customary solemn airs. The officiating priest—Father Le Maistre, of the church of St. rose of Lima—who, we are glad to see, has not paid the least attention to the excommunication and denunciations issued against him by the archbishop of the diocese—then performed the Catholic service for the dead. After the regular service he ascended to the President's chair and delivered a glowing and eloquent eulogy on the virtues of the deceased. He called upon all present to offer themselves, like Cailloux had done, martyrs to the cause of justice, freedom, and good government. It was a death the proudest might envy.

The Procession.

Immense crowds of colored people had by this time gathered around the building, and the streets leading thereto were rendered almost impassible. Two companies of the Sixth Louisiana (colored) regiment, from their camp on the Company canal, were there to act as an escort, and Esplanade street, for more than a mile, was lined with colored societies, both male and female, in open order, waiting for the hearse to pass through.

After a short pause, a sudden silence fell upon the crowd, the band commenced playing a dirge, and the body was brought from the hall on the shoulders of eight soldiers, escorted by six members of the society and six colored captains, who acted as pall bearers. The corpse was conveyed to the hearse through a crowd composed of both white and black people, and in silence profound as death itself. Not a sound was heard save the mournful music of the band, and not a head in all that vase multitude but was uncovered.

The procession then moved off in the following order: The hearse containing the body, with Captain J.W. Ringgold, W.B. Barrett, S.J. Wilkinson, Eugene Maillieur, J.A. Glea, and A. St. Leger, (all of who, we believe, belong to the Second Louisiana Native Guard,) and six members of "The Friends of the Order" as pall-bearers, about a hundred convalescent sick and wounded colored soldiers, the two companies of the Sixth regiment, a large number of colored officers of all Native Guard regiments, and carriages containing Captain Cailloux's family, and a number of army officers, winding up with a large number of private individuals and the following named societies:

Friends of Order, Society of Economy and Mutual Assistance, United Brethren, Arts and Mechanics' Association, Free Friends, Good Shepherd Conclave No. 2, Artisans' Brotherhood, Good Shepherd Conclave No. 1, Union Sons' Relief, Perseverance Society, Ladies of Bon Secours, La Fleur de Marte, St. Rose of Lima, the Children of  Mary Society, St. Angela Society, the Immaculate Conception Society, The Sacred Union Society, the Children of Jesus, St. Veronica Society, St. Alphonsus Society, St. Joschim Society, Star of the Cross, St. Theresa Society, St. Eulaile Society, St. Magdalen Scoiety, God Protects Us Society, United Sisterhood, Angel Gabriel Society, St. Louis Roi Society, St. Benoit Society, Benevolence Society, Well Beloved Sisters' Society, St. Peter Society, St. Michael Archangel Society, St. Louis de Gorzague Society, St. Ann Society, the Children of Moses.

After moving through the principal down town streets, the body was taken to the Bienville Street Cemetery, and there interred with military honors due his rank.

Captain Cailloux was a native of this city, aged 45 years, and was one of the first to raise a company under the call of General Butler for colored volunteers. In conclusion, we cannot do better than quote from the Union of this city. It says: 

"By his gallant bearing, his gentlemanly deportment, his amiable disposition, and his capacities as a soldier—having received a very good education—he became the idol of his men, and won the respect and confidence of his superior officers. He was a true type of Louisianan. In this city, where he passed his life, he was loved and respected by all who knew him. 

"In Captain Cailloux the cause of the Union and freedom has lost a valuable friend. Captain Cailloux, defending the integrity of the sacred cause of liberty, vindicated his race from the opprobrium with which it was charged. He leaves a wife and several children, who will have the consolation that he died the death of the patriot and the righteous."



"An Extraordinary Scene, The Funeral of a Brave Colored Officer," Washington Chronicle, Tuesday, August 11, 1863, Page 1. Accessed through