Elisha Leffingwell Tracy
Elisha Leffingwell Tracy, general
of Louisiana militia, was born on March 31, 1800, in Norwich, Connecticut, to
Henry and Alice (Leffingwell) Tracy. The Tracys trace their descent from one
Thomas Tracy, who came to Connecticut in 1637 and settled in Norwich. Elisha
Tracy married Eliza Early of New Orleans in 1825 and moved to that city shortly
thereafter. In New Orleans he became a wealthy public weigher and produce
broker. The public-spirited Tracy involved himself in various civic activities,
including a term as member of the New Orleans Board of Assistant Aldermen.
Interested in military matters, Tracy was first an officer of the 4th Militia
Regiment, then captain and later major of New Orleans' crack volunteer militia
organization, the Washington Artillery. By 1852 he had risen to the rank of
brigadier general, commanding the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the
On April 29, 1861, Governor Thomas Moore ordered Tracy to leave his militia brigade and assume command of Camp Walker, near New Orleans, which had been established to house and train incoming Confederate volunteers. The camp was quickly transferred to northeast Louisiana, where the climate was healthier. On May 13, 1861, Tracy was assigned to command the new camp, named Camp Moore in honor of the governor. One waggish volunteer encamped there described Tracy as "a noble old man . . . with a very respectable rotundity. His head and chin resemble the summits of high mountains.. . . He acts very spry, and his short legs clamp lightly around a proud charger that must have been young twenty years ago." Tracy probably returned to New Orleans that fall when Confederate General Mansfield Lovell assumed command of the camp. On January 31, 1862, Tracy was commissioned brigadier general of the newly formed 2nd Brigade of the Louisiana Militia Volunteers. On March 1, 1862, when Admiral Fanagut's fleet threatened New Orleans, Tracy's militia brigade—1,500 strong—was mustered into Confederate service for ninety days. It was placed under General Lovell's command and stationed on the inner defenses of the city. Indifferently armed, lacking ammunition, food, and artillery, the militia could do little to impede the progress of the Union fleet as it steamed up the Mississippi River, and so dispersed. Tracy himself traveled to Camp Moore and without authority discharged the few militia troops who had fled there. General Tracy died on October 16, 1862, at Chatawa Station, Mississippi, just north of Camp Moore. His remains were reinterred in the family tomb in St. Patrick's Cemetery No. 2 in New Orleans, in 1865.
General Tracy's command of a brigade of militia that served in a campaign qualifies him to be considered a Confederate general.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.