One of the last men to leave the steamship Republic was Louis Caziarc, a 21-year-old Army lieutenant from Boston who had to swim through floating debris in the storm-tossed sea, not only to save himself but also to help others to safety. Caziarc had spent the previous three years as a volunteer in the Union Army, serving most of that time as aide-de-camp to Gen. George Andrews and Gen. Edward R. S. Canby in the campaigns of Port Hudson, Baton Rouge, and Mobile. Caziarc was brevetted a captain because of his "faithful and meritorious service during the campaign against the city of Mobile." He didn't hold that rank long as a volunteer officer, but it did help him to remain a lieutenant when he chose to enlist in the regular Army at the close of the war.
When the steamship Republic went down, Lieutenant Caziarc was returning from a much deserved leave in Boston and New York. The New York Times reported: "The Lieutenant was indefatigable in his exertions to rescue his fellow passengers." Eventually rescued by one of the lifeboats, Caziarc resumed his post as aide-de-camp to General Canby. Working for Canby during the immediate years of Reconstruction in the South, Caziarc helped oversee the restoration of Louisiana, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Caziarc's career in the Army was mainly administrative, but he had some colorful assignments. He served on the West Coast with Canby until 1873, when the Modoc Indians in northern California killed the general. Later, as a major, Caziarc was in Cuba during the Spanish-American War and in 1901 served as supervisor of the police, provost marshal, and head of the secret service police of Havana. He retired in 1906 with the rank of brigadier general. Spending part of his retirement in Europe, Caziarc occasionally wrote to the headquarters of the Army to check in and let them know his location, just in case his service was needed. Brig. Gen. Louis V. Caziarc, 91, passed away in 1935, perhaps the last survivor of the steamship Republic. —David W. Wooddell