Louis Charles Perret

Louis Charles Perret was born in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, around 1821 to Pierre Charles Perret and Elisabeth Constance De Vaugine. His father, a wealthy planter, died in November 1836. Louis enrolled at the University of Virginia in the spring of 1840 to study moral philosophy and natural philosophy. He began studying law a year later, and he earned a “Bachelor of Laws” degree on July 1, 1843.

Perret returned to Louisiana, and he married Amanda Kerr in the mid-1840s. They had at least nine children together: Louis, born around 1847; Elliot, born around 1852; Charles, born around 1854; Victor, born around 1855; Valerie, born around 1857; Louis, born around 1860; Amelie, born around 1864; Jules, born around 1867; and Pierre, born around 1869. By 1860, the family was living in Jefferson Parish, and Perret owned 22 slaves and $12,000 in real estate.

In January 1861, Perret helped organize a “grand military civic and fancy dress ball” for the local Jefferson Rifles military company. Louisiana seceded later that month, and parish officials organized a vigilance committee to guard against the “diabolical threats of the Black Republicans.” As one writer observed, the men focused their attention on the “junction corner of L. C. Perret’s levee, because in that short space lies the greatest danger.” It is unclear, however, if officials deemed the area vulnerable because of Perret’s political convictions or simply the levee’s location.

In early 1861, Perret served as an election commissioner and sat on the local police and finance committees. Once the war began, however, he apparently retreated from public life. The Union military captured New Orleans in the spring of 1862 and stationed soldiers in Camp Parapet in Jefferson Parish. As Perret later reported, Union General John W. Phelps “took possession of my house and property,” which were situated near the camp. Perret appealed to General John T. Sherman, and a court of assessment agreed to pay him for “damages, and rent due.”

Then, in April 1864, Perret helped organize a Unionist meeting in New Orleans. He called for a “vigorous war” to bring about the “complete suppression of the existing rebellion,” and he urged all men who “desire the unconditional maintenance of the Union” to gather in Lafayette Square. Perret hoped to organize a state convention and elect delegates to the National Union Party Convention meeting in Baltimore that June. A year later, in April 1865, he attended a “solemn” meeting mourning the death of President Abraham Lincoln. The crowd praised the fallen president as the “redeemer of his country”—"one of the best friends of liberty and greatest benefactors of mankind.” They called for a “public demonstration of grief,” recommending that “all public buildings and private residences be draped in mourning.”

Governor James Madison Wells named Perret a justice of the peace in June 1865, and he held the position until at least 1870. In that role, he helped Black and White Unionists secure compensation for property seized by Union soldiers during the war. Perret, however, fiercely opposed Radical Reconstruction. In 1865, he expressed “full faith and confidence” in President Andrew Johnson, hoping that he would govern in the “spirit of peace and reconciliation.” In 1868, he “stood by” and watched as conservatives beat and stabbed a Republican voter in Carrollton, Louisiana. Despite being a justice of the peace, one writer observed, Perret “willingly approved and encouraged” the violence. Commissioner Robert H. Shannon, another UVA Unionist, collected evidence for the case and ordered Perret and the other men to face trial.

Then, in 1872, Perret helped spearhead Louisiana’s “Liberal movement,” hoping to bring an end to Reconstruction. He accused Republicans of fraud and corruption and blamed them for prolonging the country’s sectional conflict. He denounced Republicans’ “ruinous policy” and argued that Louisiana’s voters should manage their own affairs. That August, he attended the Liberal State Convention, which sought to unite “all the opposing elements to the Grant administration.” The delegates nominated New York editor Horace Greeley for president, but President Ulysses S. Grant ultimately triumphed in the election.

After Reconstruction, Perret once again retired from public life and returned to work as a lawyer. His wife Amanda passed away in 1892, and he died in New Orleans from a cerebral embolism on December 11, 1894.


Louis C. Perret Mourns Lincoln's Death

Louis C. Perret Organizes Liberal Republican Party Meeting

Name:Perret, Louis Charles
Alternative names:
  • UVA (Union)
  • Civilian
Branch of service:
Residence at UVA:Louisiana
UVA Begin Year:1840
UVA End Year:1843
Residence at enlistment:
Rank In:
Rank Out:
Highest rank achieved:
Birth date:1821
Birth date certainty:Around
Birth place:St. Charles Parish, LA
Death date:1894-12-11
Death place:New Orleans, LA
Causes of death:
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Perret, Louis Charlesparent ofPerret, Louis
Perret, Louis Charlesparent ofPerret, Elliott
Perret, Louis Charlesparent ofPerret, Charles
Perret, Louis Charlesparent ofPerret, Victor
Perret, Louis Charlesparent ofPerret, Valerie
Perret, Louis Charlesparent ofPerret, Louis
Perret, Louis Charlesparent ofPerret, Amelie
Perret, Louis Charlesparent ofPerret, Jules
Perret, Louis Charlesparent ofPerret, Pierre
Perret, Amandawife ofPerret, Louis Charles

1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, and 1870 United States Censuses, available from Ancestry.com; Session 16 of the Faculty Minutes, September 1, 1839 - July 4, 1840, Jefferson's University: The Early Life; Session 19 of the Faculty Minutes, October 1, 1842 - July 4, 1843, Jefferson's University: The Early LifeThe Carrollton Sun, 22 August 1860, 2 January 1861, and 11 May 1861; The Daily True Delta, 23 April 1864; The Times Democrat, 22 April 1865; The Times Picayune, 17 June 1865, 23 May 1869; New Orleans Republican, 17 April 1868, 30 April 1868, 19 July 1872, and 23 July 1872; Louisiana, Orleans Parish Death Records and Certificates, 1835-1954, available from Ancestry.com.