THE DEATH OF A HERO
Gilbert LaBauve's Journal
July 17, 1917
I am about recording the death of a hero, Gustave Labauve, Orderly Sergeant of a Company of the 18th regiment of Infantry commanded by Col. Armant of St James' Parish, participated in the battle of Mansfield, during the Confederate War.
The 18th regiment was ordered to charge a battery disployed behind a rail fence. As soon as the colonel received the order to charge the battery, he arose, leaving his regiment prone on the field. And, answering "The order to charge will be executed; but charging that battery is leading my men to death." whereupon he mounted his fiery steed, no sooner had he mounted, than a ball ended his military career. He fell dead; but the regiment made the charge nevertheless, and, in advancing at a double quick, the Standard bearer fell. No sooner had he been killed than Alexander Breaux of Fausse Pointe raised it high, telling the boys to follow their standard.
He had made only a few steps onward when he was killed, Leonce Ransonette also of Fausse Pointe, raised the color on high and advanced on toward the goal, but he also fell, mortally wounded.
Gustave Labauve, happened to be, the only officer of the company unscathed. All the others had either been wounded out of action, or killed; he, as follows, in such emergencies, would not allow the regimental color to trail in the dust. On picking it up, he raised it on high and called to the men to follow him on to victory; no sooner were these words uttered than he was perforated by a mines? ball. And, fall on the bloody field, covered with immortal glory.
He was my first cousin, Uncle Victor Labauve being his father. There was not a lazy bone in that boy, fear was an unknown quantity in him. He was always ready to do his part in everything. I knew the boy well, for we split boards together in the Fausse Pointe swamps on Bayou Crocodile that empties into Lake Pond. For nearly two months we were encamped near that bayou; I was then 15 years old, and Gustave was about two years older than myself.
The Company must have been the center of the regiment, as it was entrusted with the Regimental Color. The regiment got to the rail fence, anyhow.
All at once the battery which had been pouring grape shot and canister into the ranks of the 18th regiment ceased. firing, and the whole battery with its support of infantry, were captured as prisoners of war, but the Confederates who had flanked them by a circutious movement around them. They all surrendered, about 5000 men in all. To accomplish this Genl. Dick Taylor had sacrificed nearly one whole regiment. Gustave Labauve was every inch a man;
To prove his sense of honor, it is only necessary to relate about his furlough at his home at Fausse Pointe, for he was on furlough home at the time the yankees went up the Teche to Red River. His wife and wife's relatives begged him to remain home--that his furlough was not yet up. But nothing could prevail on him to remain home while his company would be exposed to the enemy's fire on the battlefield. So, eluding the yankee army by a flank movement, he left his home and arrived at the headquarters, just in time to enter into action.