Civil War diorama of Wheat’s Louisiana Tigers



To celebrate the upcoming publication of my first hardback book, The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign: June-July 1863, (available from LSU Press in September 2009) I constructed a small mini-diorama of the predecessor organization, Wheat’s Tigers, in action in Virginia. The 15mm figures are by my friend Larry Reber of Gettysburg Miniature Soldiers, whose talents are regularly featured in the hard copy version of Charge! The trees are made by my cheap model tree method, with a Heki model pine tree from a box of them I bought from Doug Kline of Battlefield Terrain Concepts. Foliage and flocking are from Woodland Scenics. The five-rail fencing is from Musket Miniatures.


The pine display case was $3.99 unfinished from the local A.C. Moore’s craft store, which I stained using a polyurethane containing mahogany stain, and then I distressed the box to make it look old and abused.


Side view of the Tigers defending a fenceline somewhere in Virginia. The soldiers are wearing a combination of straw hats and red fezes, and are occupying ground where previously a Confederate battery had been positioned. The gunners withdrew, leaving behind their dead, as well as a wrecked cannon.


The Virginia farmer, his wife, and their five children are huddled in the cellar of their bullet-riddled farmhouse. They are glad the thunder of the artillery is gone from just outside their dwelling, but now the angry whistle of Minie balls can be heard, and the shouts and screams of the Louisianans. Off to the distance, unknown to the terrified residents, a Union brigade is preparing a full frontal assault on the farm.

A dead gunner from the Washington Artillery lies sprawled atop a rock outcropping. Somewhere in New Orleans, a young wife will never see her husband again.


I plan to have this mini-diorama on display at various book signings this autumn when I sell copies of my new book (which, by the way, was sent by the final copy editor to the production staff today!). I hope it is a conversation starter, and might expose Civil War book readers to the hobbies of military dioramas and miniature wargaming.

For a series of more than two dozen of my previous CHARGE! posts on Civil War dioramas of various sizes and scales (with scores of photos!), please visit this link.

Please submit photos of your own dioramas and vignettes, and the Charge! editor will publish them on this blogsite.

Categories: Civil War dioramas, Civil War wargaming | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Civil War diorama of Wheat’s Louisiana Tigers

  1. Martin

    Nice diorama, Scott.

    Of course the scene has to be First Manassas because the traditional Tiger Zouave uniform was worn by just one company of one battalion for a few months in 1861.

  2. Hello Martin!

    This of course is a non-historic diorama based upon an imaginary scene, but it captures the spirit of the early Tigers in action. When I was a kid, I loved creating little vignettes with my 54mm Marx, Lido, MPC, etc. plastic figures, and I found my imaginary battles more interesting at times that the real ones. The Tigers actions’ at First Bull Run were, of course, quite different than this scene I depicted.

    Thanks for the comment!!!!

  3. Jim Hamm

    My gg uncle, F A Hamm(Ham), served in the Tigers and was wounded at the First Manassas. He wrote on the inside cover of a book about the Civil War and may have been a flag carrier as he wrote about Austin Eastman. I left a copy of it at Camp Moore. This was quite a Army of men.

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