In January 1865, the 11th Wisconsin Infantry undertook an expedition from Brashear City to Bayou Sorrel. Brashear City is what we know today as Morgan City.
Today, that route would take you 46 minutes by car. According to the National Park Service, it took the 11th Wisconsin Infantry two days. The infantry was fortunate enough to have a gunboat, making the trip easier than it would’ve been on foot.
The purpose of the expedition was to find rebel soldiers who were said to be in charge of a torpedo. Those rebel soldiers included William Duvall and John S. Hebert – both of the 26th Louisiana Regiment, Company B. John S. Hebert was my ancestor.
John S. Hebert – really Jean Severin, but he embraced the American version of his name – was my great-grandfather’s father. John S. enlisted on March 27, 1862, in Berwick along with two of his brothers.
John S. was captured in Vicksburg and paroled in 1863 after promising never to take up arms against the U.S. again. Yet, there he was with Union soldiers in pursuit of him two years later.
Perhaps it was a huge misunderstanding. After all, the Union soldiers never found the torpedo. They did find John S.
In the report submitted by Lt. Richard Caddell, all that was found in the search for the torpedo was a small anchor and a palmetto tent. Concluding the anchor was meant to be used to sink a torpedo, Caddell had it tossed into the bayou. Still in search of that torpedo, he headed to John S. Hebert’s house and left four men to stand guard while he searched a neighbor’s home.
Coming back to Hebert’s house, he found his men had located my ancestor. Caddell also apprehended Cleopha Penisson, who was the uncle of John S. Hebert’s wife, rowing a boat down the bayou. The prisoners were taken to Brashear City. The war would be over within a few months.