The Hellfire Stew Mess/Bouanchaud's Battery


The Hellfire Stew Mess/Bouanchaud's Battery

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Welcome to the Camp of
The Hellfire Stew Mess/Bouanchaud's Battery!

The Hellfire Stew Mess is:

Denis Gaubert
Barry Naquin (deceased)
Johnny Authement
Allen Thibodeaux
Alan Authement (deceased)
David Beaudry
Joseph Beaudry (recruit)
Ben Bernard (recruit)
Ashlee Authement (civilian "pretty lady")
Alex Authement (camp knave)
Annabelle (senior mascot)
Edgar (junior mascot)

Friends of the Mess:

Colbi Rosenthal
Patrick Landrum
Casey Cleveland
Shannon Tilley
Jamie Barr
Clayton Sweeney
We are a small group of Civil War living historians based in the Houma-Thibodaux area of south Louisiana. Although most of us are direct descendants of Confederate soldiers, we do what all quality reenactors do - we "galvanize" or portray Union soldiers as well as Confederate soldiers. We now generally portray artillery soldiers, but occasionally infantry, as Pvt. Authement has acquired a replica 12-pound Napoleon cannon and limber. We have christened the cannon "Big Al,"in memory of our late member and Johnny's brother, Alan Authement.

When we portray infantry, we choose not to designate our group with the name of an original regiment or company in order to allow for variety in our impressions, and to facilitate our group's consolidation with larger units at reenactment events. We emphasize a campaign-style impression at most events, but we are willing to adapt our impressions to the requirements of most event scenarios. We also enjoy participating in school and other educational presentations in our local area - unlike some pseudo-"elitist" reenactment units, we encourage interaction with the public as an integral part of our hobby.

Although the Hellfire Stew Mess has been in existence as a mess since 1995, first as a component of another infantry reenactment unit, we are now an independent mess, loosely affiliated with other quality units. When asked by a member of another large unit if we needed a "home," Pvt. Authement replied, "Our home is where we throw down our knapsacks." We're just free spirits (some would call us other things), who choose not to be burdened by pompous bureaucracy and egotism in our hobby.

Although we strive to maintain correct period campaign impressions, we realize that the average Civil War enlisted soldier wasn't over 50 years old, as some of us now are. To suggest otherwise to the public would be to convey an inaccurate impression of history, and we are not egotistical enough to commission ourselves as officers. The main goal of us older guys is to experience a small part of what the Civil War veterans did, while at the same time enjoying the camaraderie, fresh air, and campfire joie de vivre that are some of the best aspects of reenacting!


This original tintype depicts an unknown Confederate lieutenant. This image is particularly interesting given his use of U.S. rank straps and the feathered plume on his slouch hat!
(Denis Gaubert Collection- All Reproduction Rights Reserved)

Be sure to take a look at our pages featuring Soldiers' Letters (transcripts of previously unpublished original letters, relating to the Lafourche region) and Soldiers' Images (original period photographs). We also have other pages with excerpts from period literature on various topics, which we hope may be helpful in improving reenactors' overall impressions. For example, in our Cooking on Campaign page, we feature recipes and other excerpts from original period sources on cooking in the field.

Original Pelican Badge worn by a Louisiana Confederate Soldier

Old Zouave Militaria

The Drill Network

The Authentic Campaigner

Lazy Jacks Mess (British ACW reenactors)

The Edward Douglass White Historic Site, Thibodaux, Louisiana