28th Thomas' Regiment Louisiana Infantry
James Wesley Bryan
...Flag design is based on a small torn
section of a regimental battle flag which is on display in
the Confederate Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana. 19 May 1865,
the regiment was disbanded at Mansfield, LA. Usually when a
regiment was disbanded the flag was torn into ten pieces and
a piece given to each of the ten company commanders.
(Placement of Battle Inscriptions is specualtive and based
on similar Confederate battle flags of the same period.)
Bryan, James Wesley
Capt., Co. I.
~ Military Record ~
Bryan, James Wesley, Capt., Co. I., 28th La.
~ Biography No. 1 ~
First Mayor of Lake Charles
By Michael Dan Jones
Bryan, James Wesley, Capt. Co. I. 28th
La. Infty. (Thomas'). En. April 15th, 1862. New Orleans, La.
Present on Rolls to Sept., 1862. Rolls from Oct., 1862, to
Feb., 1863, Present. Acting Major. Federal Rolls of
Prisoners of War. Captured and paroled at Vicksburg. Miss.,
July 4th, 1863. On Official Rolls of Paroled Officers Bryan.
J. W., Capt. 28th La. Vols. Co. I., Paroled at Houston,
Tex., June 27th, 1865.
A few interesting and colorful
The first mayor of Lake Charles, Captain
James Wesley Bryan, was born in Calcasieu Parish on December
28, 1834. His parents were pioneer settlers John Bryan and
Nancy A. Lyons.
The family moved in 1839 to the neighboring Republic of
Texas, but returned to Louisiana after John Bryan died in
1844. Bryan's widow later married Jacob E. Harmon.
Although educational facilities in Calcasieu Parish were
very limited at that time, the young James Bryan expanded
his horizons as much as he could, largely educating himself.
He acquired a life-long love of education and became a
teacher himself, teaching in the first school house in Lake
At the outbreak of the War Between the States in 1861,
Bryan's natural leadership ability came forth and he helped
organize four companies of infantry for the defense of the
He became commander of Company I (Calcasieu Tigers), 28th
Louisiana Infantry. The future mayor saw extensive combat,
fighting at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou, Miss. in
December, 1862 and throughout the Siege of Vicksburg, Miss.
At one point in the siege he served as commander of the
regiment with the temporary rank of major, in the absence of
the other regimental officers.
Although he survived the war, his older brother, Lt.
Pryor L. Bryan, died in Virginia on May 28, 1862, while
serving in the Fifth Texas Infantry.
After the war, James Bryan picked up the pieces of his
life, resuming his teaching duties in a private school he
established, and opening a general store on North Court
Bryan married Delia K. Singleton on September 9, 1869.
The couple had three boys and five girls. One of his sons,
James W. Bryan Jr., became a U.S. Congressman in the state
He was elected mayor of Lake Charles in 1868 and served
Following his service as mayor, Bryan was elected to the
position of state representative in the Louisiana
Legislature. He also served the community as a member of the
City Council (Board of Aldermen), president of the Calcasieu
Parish Police Jury, member of the Lake Charles School Board,
and was one of the first Lake Charles policemen.
He was editor and publisher of the Lake Charles Echo from
Bryan was a Mason, a charter member of United Confederate
Veterans, and an active member of First Baptist Church of
Captain James W. Bryan died on June 17, 1897, at the age
of 62. He was mourned by the entire community of Southwest
regarding Captain James W. Bryan
~ Thank You ~
Captain Bryan had a duel with the captain of
another volunteer company in Opelousas on the way to New
Orleans to be mustered in. The other captain (un- named) was
killed in the duel. This story was related by a member of
Bryan's company and published in the local newspaper many
His (Captain Bryan) descendants also tell me (Michael
Jones) that Captain Bryan was red-headed and blue eyed.
It is also interesting to note that Captain Bryan
enlisted a "free man of color" who served in his unit, a
Pvt. Auguste. Later Auguste applied for and received
a Confederate Pension from the State of Louisiana, in which
it is mentioned that he was wounded in action at Vicksburg.
It is one of the best documented instances of a free black
man being enlisted in the Confederate Army and fighting as a
combat soldier. This information comes from a scholarly
article by Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr. in the Civil War
Journal a number of years ago.
...or should you wish to visit
We at the 28th Thomas' Louisiana Infantry
Regiment (Volunteers) are proud to send out this very
special and grateful "THANK YOU" which is extended
for the abovementioned biography No. 1, and terrific
photograph of Captain James W. Bryan supplied by Capt.
Michael Dan Jones, of the Calcasieu Greys, Camp 1390, Sons
of Confederate Veterans Newsletter Online, Lake Charles,
Should you wish to contact Captain Jones and share
information with regards to Captain James W. Bryan and/or
other decendants of the 28th Thomas' Regiment Louisiana
Infantry (Volunteers), Captain Michael D. Jones' e-mail
address is listed below.
SCV Camp 1390 Newsletter Online
you can do so by clicking on the link listed below...
Camp 1390 Newsletter Online
~ Biography No. 2 ~
CAPT. J. W. BRYAN, LAKE
CHARLES.&emdash;Capt. J. W. Bryan is descended from good
old Irish ancestry, but the family has been so long in this
country, and become so thoroughly Americanized, that few of
the Irish traits now appear upon the surface. One
characteristic that remains, however, is that of sterling
honesty. His great-grandfather (O'Brien) emigrated to
America when a boy and settled in Virginia; married and
raised a family there. Luke Bryan, one of his sons, and the
grandfather of the subject of our sketch came to Louisiana
early in life and married Miss Rebecca W. Berwick, in 1802;
from her family Berwick's Bay derives its name. One of the
sons born to them was John Bryan, the father of Capt. Bryan,
who was reared and educated there. In early manhood he
married Miss Nancy A. Lyons. and, about 1832, settled in
Calcasieu parish. In 1839 he removed to Texas, and resided
there until his death, in1844, when the family returned to
Calcasieu parish. Here Mrs. Bryan was married a second time,
to Mr. Jacob E. Harmon, by whom she had three children.
Capt. Bryan, whose name stands at the head of this
sketch, was born in this parish, December 28, 1834. His
early educational facilities were limited, and he belongs to
that very numerous class of prominent men who owe their
education to their own aspirations and unaided exertions to
rise above the station in which they were born to one of
greater exertions and more extensive and higher uselulness.
Up to the time of his mother's death, young Bryan spent his
time farming and attending the country schools, when here
were any to attend, which in his early days were few and far
between. Not content with an occupation in which his chances
for development and usefulness were so restricted, he
determined to obtain a mental discipline which would fit him
for literary pursuits.
In this good republican country of ours, where organic
laws denounce hereditary patents to nobility, most men
indulge the vanity of pride at achievements so marked and
great as those which lead and direct a Clay or a Lincoln
from the humblest walks of life to the highest position in
the councils of the nation. The great ambition of young
Bryan was to fit himself for literary work. To this end he
attended school and pursued a literary course, teaching and
studying alternately, until he attained the age of
twenty-five years. His course had not yet been completed
when the civil war came on and caused such confusion and
derangement in all the affairs of life. Laying aside all
selfish claims and personal desires, that he might serve his
country unfettered, he quit school and in 1861 organized the
militia of Calcasieu parish, for the purpose of home
protection. Early in 1862, being called on for four
companies, he organized the four volunteer companies, and
within twenty days from the time of receiving the
requisition, he was on the march to Opelousas with these
companies to report for duty, from whence the command
p:oceeded to New Orleans, and thence to Camp Moore, and it
was there that the Twenty-eighth Louisiana Infantry, under
Col. Allen Thomas, which distinguished itself in the battle
of Chickasaw, and the memorable siege of Vicksburg, which
began on the 21st of May and was raised on the 4th of July,
was organized. During the siege Capt. Bryan, being the
ranking officer of his regiment, commanded it, Col. Thomas
having been promoted to brigadier general.
Capt. Bryan sheathed his sword when the cause was lost,
returned home and cast about him for "ways and means" to
repair the ravages of the war. He resumed teaching, which he
continued for about four years, the last three in the town
of Lake Charles, studying and improving his mind in the
meantime. In 1869 he opened a mercantile business in the
town, which he followed up to 1884. In 1871 he became editor
and proprietor of the Lake Charles Echo, which he conducted
with great ability until the 14th of March, 1890, when he
sold the paper and retired from its editorship. Under his
management the Echo became one of the ablest and most
popular country weeklies in Louisiana and contributed
greatly to the building up and development of Lake Charles
and Calcasieu parish. For some time Capt. Bryan has been
engaged in the real estate business. He has always taken an
active interest in the local affairs of the town and parish,
and he is especially noted for the interest he has
manifested in school work. To him, perhaps, more than any
one man is due the credit of the efficient school system of
Lake Charles. At different times Capt. Bryan has served as
mayor and councilman of the town, and several times has
represented his parish in the board of police jurors, as
well as General Assembly of the State.
Capt. Bryan was married to Miss Delia K. Singleton,
September 9, 1869. They have three promising sons and five
bright and lovely daughters. The eldest of the latter is the
wife of J. C. F. Kyger, President of the Commercial College,
of the Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
Southwest Louisiana Biographical and Historical
by William Henry Perrin
Published in 1891
by L. Graham & Sons, Printers,
99, 101, 103 Gravier St.
New Orleans, Louisiana