Louisiana Governors 1861 - 1877


 Thomas Overton Moore 1861-1864
Thomas Overton Moore - Democrat
Thomas Moore held office through the secession crisis after the election of Abraham Lincoln, the formation of the Confederate States of America and the first three years of the War Between the States.

After Lincoln's election, Moore directed the state militia to seize control of all federal military posts in Louisiana. He supported secession and was devoted to the Confederate States of America. After the war broke out, he encouraged enlistment in the Southern armed forces and supplied 8,000 men to the Confederate Army -- 5,000 more than President Jefferson Davis requested.

Moore advocated a strong defense of New Orleans, clearly seeing its strategic importance in the controlling of the Mississippi River. When New Orleans fell in April 1862, and Baton Rouge, La. in May, he moved the capital to Opelousas, La. and then to Shreveport, La. where he attempted to organize resistance to the Union forces in Louisiana west of the Mississippi.

Moore prohibited trade with the enemy and promoted the burning of crops likely to be captured by Union forces.

After his term, Thomas Overton Moore returned to his plantation near Alexandria, La. Federal troops burned his home. He escaped to Mexico, and then Cuba after the war, but later received a full pardon. Moore died in Rapides Parish in 1876.

 Henry Watkins Allen 1864-1865
Henry Watkins Allen - Democrat
Henry Allen served Confederate Louisiana as an officer in the Battle of Shiloh and in the defense of Baton Rouge, La. where he was wounded in both legs. As governor, Allen persuaded the Legislature to adopt programs which benefited a poverty-stricken populace: approving the free distribution of cotton cards and the free distribution of medicine. He established a system of unified currency and state-run stores for citizens to buy basic supplies at low cost.

His administration began a program of cotton collection and trading that defeated the Union blockade, maintained public schools and opened two medical dispensaries in northern Louisiana.

Allen doggedly promoted military resistance, forming the 8th Louisiana Cavalry Regiment and advocating freeing and arming slaves to fight for the Confederacy. He favored continued resistance after Lee's surrender.

Allen fled to Mexico in 1865 where he began publishing an English language newspaper. He died in Mexico City in 1866. Gov. Allen's body now lies at rest on the grounds of the Old State Capitol.



 Gen. George F. Shepley 1862-1864
Gen. George F. Shepley - Democrat (Unionist)
George F. Shepley, a native of Maine, befriended Benjamin Butler when they were both attending the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore. Shepley's relationship with Butler, the commander of the Department of the Gulf for the Union, brought him to Louisiana.

After the fall of New Orleans, Butler appointed Shepley commandant of New Orleans. In June 1862, he was appointed governor. Shepley presided over the civil government of those Louisiana parishes occupied by federal troops. He acted as no more than a middle man who communicated the directives from Washington and received the requests of citizens' groups.

Shepley became military governor of Virginia after Richmond fell, but soon returned to Maine where he practiced law. He died in Portland in 1878.

 Michael Hahn 1864-1865
Michael Hahn - Free State Party
Michael Hahn, born in Bavaria, but orphaned and educated in Orleans Parish, opposed secession, avoided swearing loyalty to the Confederacy and collaborated with the federal occupation forces in New Orleans.

Union Department of the Gulf Cmdr. Nathaniel Banks, successor to the infamous Ben Butler, called the state elections of 1864 to begin the process of Reconstruction. Hahn, elected as civil governor, received miliary powers from Lincoln. This authority was ignored by Banks' replacement, Maj. Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut, who refused to honor Hahn's appointments. Hahn resigned in March 1865 to take a U.S. Senate seat but it was withheld from him after Lincoln's assassination when the Radical Congress refused to seat congressmen and senators from the South.

During Hahn's brief term, he worked with the Legislature to abolish slavery and prepare for the enfranchisement of blacks and for their education through a statewide school system.

Hahn founded the village of Hahnville, La. near his plantation in St. Charles Parish. He later served in the Legislature and won election to Congress. He died in 1886 in Washington -- before completing his first term -- of a ruptured blood vessel. He is buried in Metairie, La.



 James Madison Wells 1865-1867
James Madison Wells - Republican
James Madison Wells became governor upon the resignation of Gov. Hahn who left office to serve in the U.S. Senate. As Hahn's lieutenant governor, Well's pro-Union stance was no secret, his opposition to black civil rights was, however, less well known.As governor, Wells took the side of those who wanted a mild Reconstruction: he supported President Andrew Johnson's plan of allowing quick Reconstruction led by former Confederates and he appointed ex-Confederates to office. In his first address to the Legislature, he urged the end of public education and pushed for taxes from only blacks to pay for freedmen's schools.

In the second year of his term, Wells switched loyalties. He began supporting the policies of Radical Reconstruction which gave blacks the right to vote and urged the Legislature to ratify the 14th Amendment and to fund black schools.

Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, the head of the military district containing Louisiana, removed Wells from office. The districts had been created by the Military Reconstruction Act of 1867 and gave the Army power over civil authority. Sheridan did not trust Wells' unusual shift of allegiance.

The former governor returned home to Rapides Parish. He later held additional state offices, including Surveyor of Customs for the Port of New Orleans. He died in Lecompte, La. in 1899.

 Benjamin Franklin Flanders 1867-1868
Benjamin Franklin Flanders - Republican
Benjamin Franklin Flanders held important pro-Union posts before being appointed governor by the New Orleans military district commander, Gen. Philip Sheridan.

During the war, as special agent of the Treasury Department of the Southern Region, Flanders earned commissions from the sale of confiscated cotton. After the war, he led the movement to organize the Republican Party in Louisiana. As the first republican governor, Flanders supported black suffrage.

But Flanders' short term in office featured much conflict among Republicans about control of the party and political patronage.

The governor resigned when Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, the new military district commander, removed Radical Republicans appointed by Flanders from state offices.

Two years later, Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth appointed Flanders mayor of New Orleans. He was later elected to that position.

Flanders died on his plantation in Lafayette Parish in 1896.

 Joshua Baker 1868
Joshua Baker - Democrat (Unionist)
Joshua Baker, a pro-Union conservative democrat who supported the less stringent plan of Reconstruction, took office in January 1868. Gen. Winfield Scoft Hancock, the new military district commander and a conservative democrat himself, preferred President Andrew Johnson's lenient program of Reconstruction. Upon taking command, Hancock began slowly removing Radical Republicans from office.

When Gov. Flanders resigned in protest against Hancock's actions, Hancock appointed Baker.

Baker held little power. Under the Military Reconstruction Acts of 1867, his orders could be reversed by the military. After Baker removed nine New Orleans city councilmen from office, Ulysses Grant, general-in-chief of the Army, cancelled Baker's action. The governor then resigned.

"Only a footnote in the history of Louisiana, Baker provided an illustration of the confusion and chaos brought on by the revolutionary conditions of the war years and the failure of the government in Washington to devise a consistent and coherent policy of Reconstruction," one historian has written.

Baker died in 1885 while visiting his daughter in Connecticut.

 Henry Clay Warmoth 1868-1872
Henry Clay Warmoth - Republican
Henry Clay Warmoth epitomizes the corruption of Louisiana politics during Reconstruction and at other times as well.

Elected governor at age 26 as the republican candidate, Warmoth speculated in state bonds and treasury notes, profited from part ownership in the newspaper which held the contract for state printing and created the State Returning Board to supervise election returns.

The board had the power to throw out votes from any precinct thought to have tainted results. Radical Republicans used the board to maintain power by enabling them to steal elections from the conservative democrats.

Although he supported voting rights for blacks, Warmoth prevented other civil rights provisions from becoming part of the Constitution of 1868.

He led a faction of the Republican Party in Louisiana which opposed the faction loyal to President Ulysses Grant. Warmoth's group allied itself with the democrats in the controversial election of 1872, supporting John McEnery over Grant's candidate, William Kellogg. For his role in the fraudulent election, Warmoth was impeached but never brought to trial. Warmoth lived 60 more years, staying active in Republican party politics.

He died in 1931 in New Orleans.

 John McEnery 1872
John McEnery - Democrat; Liberal Republican
In the election of 1872 John McEnery, a democrat, faced republican William Pitt Kellogg. Sitting Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth, a republican, supported McEnery because Warmoth opposed the Republican Party faction loyal to President U.S. Grant, who supported Kellogg. Confusing? Not as strange as the results.

As governor, Warmoth controlled the State Returning Board, the institution which administered elections. His board named McEnery the winner but a rival board claimed Kellogg the victorious. Warmoth was impeached for allegedly stealing the election. A black Republican, P.B.S. Pinchback, became governor for 35 days until Grant seated Kellogg with federal protection as governor.

McEnery's faction established a "rump Legislature" in New Orleans to oppose Kellogg's actions. McEnery urged his supporters to take up arms against Kellogg's fraudulent government. Action by the anti-Republican White League caused President Grant to send federal reinforcements to New Orleans. Until federal troops were removed from Louisiana in 1877, no democrat could be elected.

Gov. McEnery died in 1890.

 Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback 1872-1873
P.B.S. Pinchback - Republican
Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, the son of a Mississippi white planter and a freed slave, became active in Republican Party politics in Louisiana as a delegate in the Republican State Convention of 1867 and to the Constitutional Convention of 1868.

Pinchback became lieutenant governor under Henry Clay Warmoth when Oscar Dunn died. After Warmoth was impeached, Pinchback became governor. He held office for only 35 days, but ten acts of the Legislature became law during that time.

After William Pitt Kellogg took office as a result of the controversial election of 1872, Pinchback continued his career, holding various offices including a seat on the State Board of Education, Internal Revenue agent and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Southern University.

Pinchback helped established Southern University when, in the Constitutional Convention of 1879, he pushed for the creation of a college for blacks in Louisiana.

Pinchback and his family moved to Washington and then New York where he was a federal marshal. He later moved back to Washington to practice law and died there in 1921. Pinchback is buried in Metairie, La.

 William Pitt Kellogg 1872-1877
William Pitt Kellogg - Republican
William Pitt Kellogg, a native of Vermont, spent most of his adult career in Illinois until Lincoln appointed him collector of customs in New Orleans in 1865.

As the republican nominee for governor in 1872, Kellogg faced Louisiana native and democrat John McEnery. McEnery was supported by acting Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth who controlled the State Returning Board, the institution which supposedly regulated returns. Both sides claimed victory; it took an executive order from President Ulysses Grant to seat Kellogg.

Kellogg's term, marred by the refusal of many to recognize him as governor, was largely a failure because the Legislature refused to enact his measures to bring economic stability to the state. Kellogg received armed support from federal troops after a group of former Confederates tried to overthrow his administration in 1874. The Louisiana House of Representatives voted to impeach Kellogg in 1876, but the Senate did not convict him. Besides the considerable political turmoil, the national depression of the 1870s hampered Kellogg's initiatives.

He remained in politics, and was elected by his former democratic enemies to the U.S. Senate. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Kellogg died in Washington, D.C. in 1918.