1st (Coppens') Battalion Zouaves Volunteer Infantry

[also known as Confederate States Battalion Zouaves Infantry, Coppens' Zouaves, Louisiana Regiment of Zouaves and Chasseurs]



[Companies  A   B   C   D   E(1)  E(2)   F   G   H   ?]


From Sifakis, Compendium of C.S. Armies: Louisiana, 62-63:

Nicknames:  Confederate States Zouaves Battalion, Coppens's Zouaves, Louisiana Regiment of Zouaves and Chasseurs

Organization:  Organized with six companies at Pensacola, Florida on March 22, 1861.  Company E became Company A, 12th Heavy Artillery Battalion in August 1862.  Companies B and C, 7th Infantry Battalion were assigned to this battalion in May 1862.  Reorganized on November 10, 1862.  Surrendered by General Robert E. Lee, commanding the Army of Northern Virginia, on April 9, 1861.  

First Commander:  George A. Gaston Coppens, LTC [killed September 17, 1862]

Field Officers:  Marie A. Coppens, LTC [September 17, 1862; retired on account of wounds, November 17, 1864]; Fulgence DeBordenave, MAJ [August 29, 1862]; Waldhemar Hyllested, MAJ [captured August 29, 1862]

Assignments:  Pensacola, Florida (May-Jun 61); Department of the Peninsula (Jun-Oct 61); Hunt's Brigade, Department of the Peninsula (Oct 61); Rains' Division, Department of the Peninsula (Jan-Feb 62); Pryor's Brigade, Longstreet's Division, Army of Northern Virginia (Jun 62); Pryor's Brigade, Longstreet's Division, 1st Corps, Army of Northern Virginia (Jun-Jul 62); 2nd Louisiana Brigade, McLaw's Division, 1st Corps, Army of Northern Virginia (Jul 62); 2nd Louisiana Brigade, A.P. Hill's Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia (Jul 62); 2nd Louisiana Brigade, Jackson's Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia (Aug-Sep 62); Department of Henrico (Dec 62-Aug 63); Unattached, Ransom's Division, Department of Richmond (Aug-Sep 63); Unattached, Department of North Carolina (Dec 63-May 64); 1st Military District, Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia (Aug-Sep 64); Garnett's Brigade, 1st Military District, Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia (Sep 64-Apr 65)

Battles:  Yorktown Siege (April-May 1862); Williamsburg (May 5, 1862); Seven Pines (May 31-June 1, 1862): Seven Days Battles (June 25-July 1, 1862); Gaines' Mill (June 27, 1862); Frayser's Farm (June 30, 1862); 2nd Bull Run (August 28-30, 1862); Harpers Ferry (September 12-15, 1862); Antietam (September 17, 1862); Petersburg Siege (June 1864-April 1865); Hicksford (December 7-12, 1864)


From Bergeron, La. Confed. Units, 152-54:

"This battalion was organized at Pensacola, Florida, on April 2, 1861, with six companies of 616 men.  In June, the battalion proceeded to Virginia and received orders to join the garrison at Yorktown.  Company E, originally recruited as an artillery unit, was assigned to help build the earthwork defenses.  In August, this company was permanently removed from the battalion and made a heavy artillery company [and in May 1862 became Company A, 12th Battalion Heavy Artillery].  The battalion moved to Williamsburg about the same time because of illness occurring at Yorktown.  At Williamsburg, the battalion helped man Fort Magruder.  The men accompanied the Peninsula Army when it retreated to Richmond in May, 1862.  Companies B and C, 7th Louisiana Battalion, reported to Coppens in late May and served with the battalion through the Seven Days' Campaign.  During this time, the combined unit was called the Regiment of Louisiana Zouaves and Chasseurs.  On May 31, the battalion went into the Battle of Fair Oaks with 255 officers and men and lost nearly half that number.  The battalion fought next in the Battle of Beaver Dam Creek, June 27, where 5 of its men were killed and 42 were wounded.  At the end of July, the battalion was assigned to the 2nd Louisiana Brigade, along with the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 15th Louisiana regiments.  The brigade participated in the Battle of Second Manassas, August 28-30, and the Battle of Sharpsburg, September 17.  On November 10, the battalion was reorganized.  It was in reserved during the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13.  In January, 1863, the battalion was assigned to the Richmond defenses.  After about a month there, the men were sent to the Blackwater River in southeast Virginia.  There they did guard and picket duty and helped bring in conscripts and deserters.  This duty continued until April, 1863, when the battalion joined General James Longstreet's corps in its operations near Suffolk.  Once Longstreet returned to the Army of Northern Virginia, the men resumed their former duties.  They remained in southeastern Virginia and northern North Carolina for the remainder of the battalion's existence.  At various times, the battalion was stationed at Hicksford, Virginia, and Murfree's Depot, Franklin Depot, and Weldon, North Carolina.  On January 29, 1864, the men fought in a skirmish near Windsor, North Carolina.  They skirmished with the enemy near Suffolk in March.  Part of the battalion participated in a fight near Fort Powhatan, Virginia.  The last recorded activity of the battalion was a raid at Hicksford on December 9, in which 1 man was killed and 6 were wounded.  During its war service, 52 of the battalion's men were killed, 26 died of disease, and 2 died by accident."


CSRC, M320, rolls 404-408



A confusion in the records has been detected in researching the muster rolls for this unit and another Louisiana Zouave battalion, the 2nd (Dupeire's) Zouaves.  Sufakis, p. 62, says that "Confederate States Zouaves Battalion" is a nickname of the 1st (Coppens') Battalion Zouaves.  He gives the enlistment date for Coppens' battalion as 22 March 1861.  Sufakis, p. 67 says that Dupeire's battalion organized on April 22, 1862.  Bergeron, p. 152, calls Coppens' unit the "1st Zouave Battalion" and says it was organized April 2, 1861.  Bergeron, p. 155, says the two companies of Dupeire's battalion were mustered into Confederate service in March and April 1862.  Thus, Coppens' battalion was raised in early 1861, Dupeire's in early 1862, a full year apart.  However, the CSRC Index uses the same unit designation ("LA C.S. Zouave Bn.") for individuals from both units!  The compilers of the CSRCs seem to have confused Coppens' battalion with Dupeire's, and Booth seems to have duplicated the mess.  Using the dates of unit enlistment given by Sufakis and Bergeron, plus other telling facts (for instance, Coppens' battalion served mostly in Virginia, while Dupeire's served in Louisiana and Mississippi), I have attempted to unravel the confusion by removing from the rolls of this battalion the service records of those individuals who plainly belong to the two companies of Dupeire's battalion.  If there is doubt as to which Zouave battalion an individual belongs, I have placed him in Coppens' battalion until more accurate information says otherwise.




Company A (M. A. Coppens's, Lange's)