Pvt.  Wesley E. Pipes

Pvt.  Washington Pipes

28th Louisiana Infantry , Company I ( Gray's Regiment)

The information on these two soldiers was supplied by Steve Pipes,  a descendent and GG Grandson of Wesley E. Pipes. The story is made more interesting because they were raised as brothers but in fact Wesley was a nephew to Washington.

The lineage of these two men is from John Pipes Sr. to his son Abner to his son Phillip.

Abner came to Mississippi in the late 1770s or early 1780's to join his brother Windsor. We speculate that they came to Mississippi through the newly opened territory of Kentucky or what was then known as the "Illinois Country". There is evidence that Abner was in South Carolina with his father, John Sr. in the early 1780s, so he may have migrated from South Carolina to join Windsor in Mississippi. We have proof that Windsor and his family were in Kentucky in 1780.

 Abner married a woman that we only know as Mary and they raised 9 children, born between 1779 and 1795. This story is then focused on their fourth child, a son named Phillip, born in 1789 in Mississippi. Phillip married Elizabeth Raney, a daughter of William and Mary Raney on August 7th, 1812 in Adams County, Mississippi. Later census records indicate that Elizabeth was born in South Carolina about 1787.

Phillip and Elizabeth bore 7 children: Abner William, b. 1813; Nancy, b. 1815; Mary, b. 1818; twins Mary Ann and David, b. 1823 who both died in 1825; Charles, b. 1826 and Washington, b. 1831.

Washington Pipes is one of the focal points of our story and Abner William, the oldest son, is the other. Abner William married Penatha Barnes on March 11, 1832 in Ouachita Parish, Monroe, Louisiana. She was the daughter of  Adam and Mary Barnes and was born  April 7th, 1810. Abner William and Penatha had a son that they named Wesley E. Pipes, Wesley was born February 20, 1833 and about six months later, on August 19th,  his father, Abner William, suddenly passed away. Steven Pipes tells me that Wesley was then raised by his grandparents, Phillip and Elizabeth, appearing in later census records in their household. Wesley and Washington must have been raised like brothers, being only two years apart in age.

We then move forward several years and find that Washington Married Lavinia Barnes in 1849 and Wesley married  Mary Francis Wilson on October 28, 1858. We know that Wesley and Mary had a son named Louis in 1859. They also had a daughter named Dora who was born and died in 1863, during the war. After the war Wesley had 5 more children: Louise, b. 1866; William Elijah, b. 1868; Ella May, b. 1870; Alice, b. 1874 and Eugenia, b. 1878.

May of 1862 saw the organization of several regiments in Louisiana, including the 28th Infantry, raised in and around Monroe, Louisiana. In all, 902 men signed up for the 28th and they promptly moved off to Vienna for drill and instruction for several months before being assigned to camp at Milliken's Bend. We get a brief glimpse of Washington and Wesley in their enlistment forms, signed on the 11th of May of 1862. A brief physical description tells us that Washington was 31 years old, 5 feet 8 and 3/4 inches tall, with gray eyes, black hair and a florid complexion, while Wesley at 27 years, has red hair, blue eyes and stands 5 feet 7 and 1/2 inches tall. Both men were enlisted by S. W Odell and were paid a 50 dollar bounty for enlisting for a 3 year term.

In November of 1862 the regiment was ordered to report to General Richard Taylor in South Louisiana. The men were in camp at Avery Island for a time and then moved to Fort Bisland near Centerville. On March 28, 1863 a detachment from the 28th helped capture the federal gunboat "Diana" in a skirmish on the Atchafalaya River. The 28th fought in the battle of Fort Bisland on Bayou Teche on April 12th and 13th and was instrumental in the Confederate victory in the battle of Irish Bend on April 14th. The Regiment, under the command of Colonel Gray,  spent the next  year marching back and forth across Louisiana, camping at Pineville, Natchitoches and Monroe. The next major encounter with the Union forces occurred at the battle of Mansfield on April 8, 1864 where the unit distinguished itself, and the next day at the battle of Pleasant Hill they were held in reserve and saw little action. This Regiment suffered several casualties in the Battle of Yellow Bayou on May 18th, 1864. The unit spent the rest of the war moving back and forth across Louisiana and Arkansas and was disbanded on May 19th, 1865 just prior to the surrender of the Trans Mississippi Department and the end of the war.

Steve Pipes is a descendant of Wesley E. Pipes and has a Web Page that covers the history of the 28th Louisiana Infantry.

See it at: http://www.penandsaber.com/grays28th/

Summary of the Battle of Fort Bisland

Date(s): April 12-13, 1863

Commanders: Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks [US]; Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor [CS]

Forces Engaged: Banks' Department of the Gulf, XIX Army Corps [US]; District of Western Louisiana [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Total 684 (US 234; CS 450)

In April 1863, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks launched an expedition up Bayou Teche in western Louisiana aimed at Alexandria. On April 9, two divisions crossed Berwick Bay from Brashear City to the west side at Berwick. On the 12th, a third division went up the Atchafalaya River to land in the rear of Franklin intending to intercept a Rebel retreat from Fort Bisland or turn the enemy's position. Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor and sent Col. Tom Green's regiment to the front to ascertain the enemy's strength and retard his advance. On the 11th, the Yankees began their advance in earnest. Late on the 12th, Union troops arrived outside the defenses in battle line. An artillery barrage ensued from both sides until dark when the Yankees, many of whom were hit by Rebel cannon fire, fell back and camped for the night. About 9:00 am on the 13th, the Union forces again advanced on Fort Bisland. Combat did not begin until after 11:00 am and continued until dusk. In addition to Rebel forces in the earthworks, the gunboat Diana, now in Confederate hands, shelled the Yankees. U.S. gunboats joined the fray in late afternoon. The fighting ceased after this. Later that night, Taylor learned that the Yankee division that went up the Atchafalaya and landed in his rear was now in a position to cut off a Confederate retreat. Taylor began evacuating supplies, men, and weapons, leaving a small force to retard any enemy movement. The next morning, the Yankees found the fort abandoned. Fort Bisland was the only fortification that could have impeded this Union offensive, and it had fallen.

Summary of the Battle of Irish Bend

Date(s): April 14, 1863

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Cuvier Grover [US]; Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor [CS]

Forces Engaged: 4th Division, XIX Army Corps [US]; 28th Louisiana Infantry [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 353; CS unknown)

While the other two Union XIX Army Corps divisions comprising the expedition into West Louisiana moved across Berwick Bay towards Fort Bisland, Brig. Gen. Cuvier Grover's division went up the Atchafalaya River into Grand Lake, intending to intercept a Confederate retreat from Fort Bisland or turn the enemy's position. On the morning of April 13, the division landed in the vicinity of Franklin and scattered Rebel troops attempting to stop them from disembarking. That night, Grover ordered the division to cross Bayou Teche and prepare for an attack towards Franklin at dawn. In the meantime, Confederate Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor had sent some men to meet Grover's threat. On the morning of the 14th, Taylor and his men were at Nerson's Woods, around a mile and a half above Franklin. As Grover's lead brigade marched out a few miles, it encountered Rebels on its right and began skirmishing with them. The fighting became intense; the Rebels attacked, forcing the Yankees to fall back. The gunboat Diana arrived and anchored the Confederate right flank. The Confederates were outnumbered, however, and, as Grover began making dispositions for an attack, they retreated leaving the field to the Union. This victory, along with the one at Fort Bisland, two days earlier, assured the success of the expedition into West Louisiana.

Summary of the Battle of Yellow Bayou

Date(s): May 18, 1864

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Mower [US]; Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor [CS]

Forces Engaged: 1st and 3rd Divisions, XVI Army Corps [US]; District of Western Louisiana [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 860 total (US 360; CS 500)

Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks during his retreat in the Red River Campaign, following the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, reached the Atchafalaya River on May 17. Once on the other side of the river he would be shielded from the continuous Confederate harassment. But, he had to wait to cross the river until the army engineers constructed a bridge. On the 18th, Banks learned that Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor's force was near Yellow Bayou so he ordered Brig. Gen. A.J. Smith to stop them. Since Smith could not comply himself, he ordered Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Mower to meet Taylor. The Yankees attacked and drove the Rebels to their main line. The Confederates counterattacked, forcing the Federals to give ground. The Union force finally repulsed the Confederates. This see-saw action continued for several hours until the ground cover caught fire forcing both sides to retire. On May 20, Yellow Bayou was the last battle of Banks's ill-fated Red River Expedition, and it insured that the Federals would escape as an army to fight again.


Steve Pipes' 28th Infantry page (See link above)

Book: Windsor & Abner Pipes by Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry

National Archives Civil War Records (NARA)

Book: Guide to Louisiana Confederate Military Units By Arthur W. Bergeron Jr.

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