Person:Samuel Hilburn (1)

Samuel T. Hilburn
b.19 Jun 1820
  • HSamuel T. Hilburn1820 - 1903
  • WEmily BISHOPAbt 1824 - Bet 1860 & 1865
m. 30 Nov 1839
  1. Francis HILBURN1838 -
  2. Joseph Samuel HILBURN1841 - 1936
  3. Isom C HilburnAbt 1844 - 1862
  4. Pernia A (Penny) HILBURNAbt 1846 -
  5. Priscilla J. or Presley HILBURNAbt 1848 -
  6. Sarah N HILBURN1853 -
  7. David A HILBURNAbt 1856 - Aft 1870
  8. Melvina A HILBURNAbt 1858 -
m. 19 Dec 1865
  1. Sophronia Adeline Hilburn1867 - 1940
  2. Benjamin HilburnAbt 1869 - Bet 1870 & 1880
  3. Emily C HilburnAbt 1870 - Aft 1880
  4. Yancy Malcolm Hilburn1873 - 1949
  5. Mary A "Mollie" Hilburn1878 - 1915
Facts and Events
Name[1] Samuel T. Hilburn
Gender Male
Birth[1][2][3] 19 Jun 1820
Marriage 30 Nov 1839 Copiah Co., MSto Emily BISHOP
Marriage 19 Dec 1865 Gansville, Winn, Louisiana, United Statesto Piety Prudence Adkins
Death[1] 6 May 1903 Cartierville, Bossier, Louisiana, United States
Burial[4] Salem Cemetery, Bossier, Louisiana, United States

Tombstone reads Joe Hilburn. (Photo of tombstone on

Enlisted Sept, 1862 Co. K, Gray's 28th Louisiana

Terry Jones, Northeast Louisiana University writes:

While detailed in the Monroe Department, the regiment saw no action stationed near Milliken's Bend on the Mississippi, they were part of the troops protecting the vital Monroe to Vicksburg Railroad.(13) While here, the men suffered a number of losses from sickness that devastated the troops living in the swamps along the railroad. In September 1862 only 1,000 out of 3,000 men in the Monroe Department could be furnished for duty. The rest were on the sick lists! (14)

In November the 28th was ordered to the Bayou Teche region tohelp Gen. Richard Taylor stop the enemy invasion there. Uponarriving, they were assigned to Gen. Alfred Mouton's Brigade at Camp Bisland, a small fort on the Teche just above Patterson. Col. Gray soon became the commander of the post and was orderedto keep an eye on enemy movements in the Grand Lake area.(15)After nearly a year in the Army, the Louisiana men had yet toface the enemy. Their chance came shortly in the form of the Yankee gunboat Diana. While on a reconnaisance mission in theupper Grand Lake area in early March, the Diana's commander disobeyed orders and moved too far up a channel of the Atchafalaya. Since the entire area was under the watchful eye of the Confederates, his blunder was soon exploited by a detachment of the 28th, which along with other units, was lying in Wait.

The Confederates sprang the ambush on the ship and for three hours poured volley after volley of rifle and cannon fire into it. To the men penned up in the Diana it was a nightmarish hell.The decks were slippery with blood and the groans of the woundeddrifted through the darkened, smoke-filled ship. The roar of the Rebel guns, the splat of minie balls against the sides of theship, and the crash of artillery shells splintering the decks helped create an unforgettable scene.

The Diana's commander, after seeing one crewman after another fall to the deck from the Rebells accurate fire, finally raised the white flag. The confederates then removed the 150 sailors, 30 of whom were dead or seriously wounded, and took over the vessel.(16) Taylor had the Winn Parish men of Company K to move the ship up the Teche to help cover Camp Bisland."(17)

In early April, Gen. Nathaniel Banks began moving into the Teche area. His plan called for landing 12,000 troops at Berwick, who were to move up the Teche to Bisland. Gen. Cuvier Grover, meanwhile, would land his 4,000 men near Franklin and move down the Teche to Bisland. If all went well, Taylor and his army would be crushed between the pincers.(18)

When informed of this move, Taylor divided his forces, sending some of his men up to Franklin to try and prevent Grover's landing, while the rest, including the 28th, dug in at Bisland to stop the lower drive. The 28th would hold the center of the line while Company K, on board the Diana, anchored in mid-stream to bolster the defenses. In all, there were less than 5,000 Rebels to stop both Banks and Grover.

Banks' 12,000 men, under Generals William Emory and Godfery Weitzel, arrived before the Rebel works on April 12. For two days they bombarded the breastwork's. Taylor was afraid that the screaming of the shells and the trembling thuds of the balls slamming into the outside embankment would unnerve the raw troops of the 28th and the other units that had to endure this fire. To calm them he lit a cigarette and strolled casually along the breastworks, unmindful of the incoming fire. Taylor observed:

'. . . Near the line was a low tree with spreading branches,which a young officer, Bradford by name [Captain Robert Bradford of Co. F, 28th Infantry] proposed to climb so as to have abetter view. I gave him my field glass, and this plucky youngster sat in his tree as quietly as in a chimney corner, though the branches around were cut away [by the cannon fire]. These examples, especially that of Captain Bradford, gave confidence to the men, who began to expose themselves, and some casualties were suffered in consequence."(19)

The barrage continued to pound the men and soon began to concentrate on the Diana. Seven men were killed or wounded and the ship was disabled when a shell pierced the railroad iron armor and exploded in the engine room. A message was sent to Taylor telling him of the predicament. He found the boat lying against the bank under such a heavy fire that the water around it seemed to be boiling from the shells raining down upon it.(20) An officer came on deck to talk with Taylor but was shot off immediately, Finally, Taylor had to agree to let her back out of range for repairs before the Whole crew was gone.

The Yankees made several half-hearted attempts to storm the Confederate entrenchments, but were hurled back each time. In his official report of the battle, Taylor reported that the28th, along with a detachment of artillery, stopped every advance upon the center of the line and thwarted all attempts to break it.(21)

While the fighting raged around Bisland, Grover succeeded in landing his men above Franklin, blocking Taylor's only escape route. Taylor had no choice but to pull out of his trenches around Bisland under the cover of darkness and try and hack his way through this flanking force. The men silently left their trenches that night and moved towards Franklin.

Taylor was waiting for Grover to make his move on the morning of April 14. The Confederate battle line was on a plantation near aplace called Irish Bend. When Grover's men moved out, they marched into a bottleneck, with the Teche on their left, a swamp on their right, and the Rebels dead ahead.

When the enemy made contact, they briefly drew back in surprise, not having expected any resistance this side of Bisland. However, they quickly regrouped and a brisk fight was underway when Col. Gray and the 28th arrived after their midnight march from Bisland. They were immediately posted on the extreme left of the line on the edge of the swamp. This brought Taylor's Strength up to nearly 1,000 men. With these few men he charged!

The screaming Rebels came bursting out of a strip of woods they had been hiding in and ran across a muddy cane field towards the startled yankees. The forward enemy regiments, taking cover in shallow ditches, tried to make a stand, but were soon outflanked and caught in a terrible crossfire. The Federals later recalled that the Louisiana men used "buck and ball," a type of musket round that included one rifle ball and three buckshot. This was a deadly load at close range, proven by the fact that the 159th New York Regiment, that faced the 28th, lost 115 men our of a total of 375 in the fight! (22)

In this charge it is known that the 28th had Col. Gray and Capt.Bradford wounded. There were others who were killed or wounded,but their names are unknown because the casualty records for the regiment no longer exist.

Meanwhile, the Diana was ordered to throw its shells into the enemy lines while Taylor evacuated his supply train to New Iberia by a cut off road. Taylor left Gen. Mouton in command of the troops at Irish Bend and told him to use the Diana to cover his own withdrawal when the time came. He was to then abandon and burn the ship to keep it from falling back into enemy hands.

Through a mix-up in orders, all the troops were pulled out of the area except for the Diana and her crew of the 28th. They were left behind banging away with their guns, covering the retreat of their comrades. Finally, the ship was abandoned and burned ' but most of the survivors of the crew were captured ina very short time.

The 28th suffered a large number of casualties compared to its size. Many of Company K were killed or wounded on the Diana, andmost of the survivors were captured. The remainder of the regiment suffered a number of killed and wounded, and lost heavily in prisoners taken during the fighting on the 14th. Most of these POW'S, however, were realeased Within a month through the parole system and rejoined the regiment later.

In his report of the fighting, Taylor had high praise for the28th:

Col. Gray and his regiment. . . deserve most favorable mention.Their gallantry in action is enhanced by the excellent discipline which they have preserved, and no veteran soldiers could have excelled them in their conduct during the trying scenes through which they passed (23)

He also wrote of the Diana: .[The] crew conducted themselves with the greatest bravery and intrepidity. . . "(24)

The 28th's baptism of fire had been a violent and trying one,but was bravely met and endured. The confidence and pride instilled in them would serve them well on the bloody fields ahead.

After the battles along the Teche, the 28th followed Taylor northward, with the enemy in pursuit. Col. Arthur W. Hyatt, a member of the 28th's Brigade, described the forced march in his journal:

A regular race from the enemy. Feet sore, dust intolerable . . .. When we halt ' we squat ourselves down, no matter where--in the sand, in the mud, anywhere--and our only hope is that the halt will last fifteen minutes. At night you fall down too tired to be careful of selections, and go to sleep . . . without taking off clothes, shoes or cap . . . . (25)

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Civil War Pension Application.
  2. Census, 1880 Webster Parish, LA.
  3. 1850 Jackson Parish, LA.
  4. Samuel Hilburn's memorial page, in Find A Grave.
  5. Farmer