John Galbraith Pratt
John Galbraith Pratt, a brigadier
general of Louisiana militia, was born on March 31, 1816, in Hartford,
Connecticut. His father, Joseph Pratt, the postmaster of Hartford, was descended
from John Pratt, an original proprietor of Hartford. His mother, Fanny
Wadsworth, was also descended from an old and prominent Connecticut family. The
family removed to St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, in 1845. Pratt became a merchant
and sugar planter, living a life of seclusion and retirement in Opelousas until
the secession crisis. An ardent states' rights Democrat, Pratt was chosen as a
delegate to the 1860 Democratic Convention in Charleston.
At the start of the war Pratt was commissioned a colonel of the Opelousas regiment of militia. Five days after Fort Sumter he was elected to the rank of brigadier general to command the 1st Brigade of the 4th Division of the Louisiana Militia. In October, 1861, he was promoted to major general to command the 4th Division. Upon the reorganization of the state militia in early 1862, Pratt, reduced in rank to brigadier general, was put in command of the 9th Militia Brigade. In May, 1862, after the fall of New Orleans to a Union invasion force, Governor Thomas Moore of Louisiana called Pratt and his brigade into active service. That same month the governor ordered Pratt to establish a camp of instruction for Confederate army conscripts of south Louisiana. Named Camp Pratt in his honor, the camp (near New Iberia) housed as many as 6,800 draftees, who received their first training under his command. On August 25, 1862, the Confederate government took over operation of the camp, and Pratt returned to his militia brigade. In September, 1862, he led a mixed force of militia and Confederate cavalry in a raid along the Bayou des Allemands, engaging in two skirmishes. On September 4, Pratt's militiamen captured a Federal outpost and 182 Union soldiers. On February 19, 1863, the governor appointed Pratt, whom he called "my most intelligent brigadier," to command the district of south and east Louisiana. In this post Pratt relentlessly enforced the Confederate conscription laws, using militiamen to hunt down reluctant civilians and force them to join the army. Like most conscript officers, Pratt was despised by the stay-at-homes. Because of ill health, he was soon forced to resign his militia commission and return home. On October 12, 1863, a Union patrol ran across General Pratt riding calmly through the streets of Grand Coteau in a buggy. The Union troops sent the protesting general (he claimed to be a private citizen, not a soldier) to a New Orleans prison. Later paroled, Pratt returned home. In the last months of the war Governor Henry Allen chose Pratt to prepare a public report on Union army depredations in Louisiana.
When the war ended Pratt ran for a seat in the U.S. Congress, was defeated, and returned to his native Connecticut. On July 30, 1866, in the town of Portland, Connecticut, General Pratt passed away. He is buried in Trinity Cemetery in Portland.
General Pratt'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.