image_pdfimage_print
11/24/15

The Last Confederate Surrenders

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series The Confederate Surrenders

General Richard TaylorAfter the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman at Bennett Place, North Carolina it became clear that it was just a matter of time that the remainder of the Confederate armies would surrender. Gen. Johnston’s surrender was the largest for the Southern armies with 89,270 soldiers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. His surrender was finalized on April 25, 1865.

Lt. General Richard Taylor was a brother-in-law of Jefferson Davis and also a son of President Zachary Taylor. He was given command of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana. After John Bell Hood’s disastrous campaign into Tennessee, Taylor was given command of the Army of Tennessee. Taylor had a total of only 12,000 men in his command.

With the closing of April 1865, knowing full well that all hope was lost for the Confederacy, Gen. Taylor agreed to meet with Union Maj. Gen. E.R.S. Canby for a conference a few miles north of Mobile, Alabama. After learning of the surrender of Lt. Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army near Appomattox, Virginia, Canby and Taylor established a truce on April 29th. Two days after the initial truce was established, Taylor received additional news which told of Maj. Gen. Johnston’s surrender to Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in North Carolina, and of President Jefferson Davis’s capture in Georgia.

With pressure to broker a favorable peace for his army, Taylor elected to surrender rather than initiate a campaign of guerrilla warfare. On the 4th of May at Citronelle, Alabama, Taylor surrendered the last Confederate Army east of the Mississippi. Under the terms of surrender, officers retained their sidearms, and mounted men their horses; all other property and equipment, however, was to be turned over to the Federals. Confederate soldiers under Taylor’s command were paroled, began their long and sad journey’s home, and the war east of the Mississippi was finally over.

The last sizable Confederate Army left in the field was that of the Trans-Mississippi Department commanded by Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith. Smith’s main area of operation was west of the General Edmund Kirby SmithMississippi in Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, present day Oklahoma, and as far west as the New Mexico Territory. Upon hearing the news of the crippling major surrenders in the Eastern Theater – Lee surrendering the Army of Northern Virginia on the 12th of April and Gen. Johnston the Army of the Tennessee on the 26th – Smith, nevertheless, desired to continue his fight for Confederate Independence.

He remained resolute even as his relatively small 20,000 man force began to melt away into the Texas brush. In a last ditch effort to morale, Smith took a stagecoach on the 18th of May bound for Houston in hopes of mustering more men. Along the way however, the remnants of his army further dissolved when Lt. Gen. Simon B. Buckner, acting in Smith’s name, surrendered the Trans-Mississippi Department on the 26th of May. Finally reaching Houston on the 27th and realizing that he had virtually no troops left to command, Smith reluctantly agreed to surrender his forces and did so officially on June 2nd in Galveston Harbor aboard the Fort Jackson. Thus ended all major and organized Confederate military resistance in North America.

The very last force to surrender was led by Brig. Gen. Stand Watie. He was a leader of the Cherokee Nation and a brigadier general of the Confederate Army. During the Civil War Watie served as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (1862–1866). By then, the majority of the tribe supported the Confederacy. A minority supported the Union and refused to ratify his election.

Fearful of the Federal Government and the threat to create a State (Oklahoma) out of most of, what was then, the semi-sovereign “Indian Territory”, a majority of the Cherokee Nation initially voted to support the Confederacy for pragmatic reasons, though less than a tenth of the Cherokee owned slaves. Watie organized a regiment of cavalry. In October 1861, he was commissioned as colonel in the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles.

Although he fought Federal troops, he also led his men in fighting between factions of the Cherokee and in attacks on Cherokee civilians and farms, as well as against the Creek, Seminole and others in Indian Territory who chose to support the Union. Watie is noted for his role in the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, on March 6–8, 1862. Under the overall command of General Benjamin McCulloch, Watie’s troops captured Union artillery positions and covered the retreat of Confederate forces from the battlefield after the Union took control. However, most of the Cherokees who had joined Colonel John Drew’s regiment defected to the Union Side. Drew, a nephew of Chief Ross, remained loyal to the Confederacy.

Stand WatieHe was promoted to brigadier general by General Samuel Bell Maxey on May 10, 1864, though he did not receive word of his promotion until after he led the ambush of the steamboat J. R. Williams on July 16, 1864. He commanded the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, composed of two regiments of Mounted Rifles and three battalions of Cherokee, Seminole and Osage infantry. These troops were based south of the Canadian River, and periodically crossed the river into Union territory.

Among the battles in which he participated were Wilson Creek, Bird Creek, Pea Ridge, and Cabin Creek. In the battle of Cabin Creek, the Confederates routed the Federals and captured about three hundred wagons loaded with supplies, thus, for a time, enabling the destitute Indian Confederates to continue in the war. The total value was estimated at about $1 million. The Confederate Army put Watie in command of the Indian Division of Indian Territory in February, 1865. By then, however, the Confederates were no longer able to fight in the territory effectively.

On June 23, 1865, at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation, Watie signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives for his command, the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. He was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender.

02/18/13

The Union Forces Retreat

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series The Red River Campaign

After the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks‘ Army of the Gulf began their retreat back down the Red River to the Atchafalaya River. In the course of this retreat his forces fought several actions in attempts to fend off the advancing Confederates under Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor.

At Blair’s Landing in Red River Parish, Louisiana a mixed force of troops from Union Brig. Gen. Thomas Kilby Smith‘s Provisional Division, XVII Corps, and the Navy gunboats furnished protection for the army transports engaged  Brig. Gen. Tom Green‘s Cavalry Division on April 12, 1864.

Green’s force charged the boats at the landing area.  Hiding behind bales of cotton, sacks of oats, and other ersatz obstructions, the men on the vessels, along with the Navy gunboats, repelled the attack, killed Green, and savaged the Confederate ranks.

Map of the Red River CampaignThe Confederates withdrew and most of the Union transports continued downriver. On April 13, at Campti, other boats ran aground and came under enemy fire from Brig. Gen. St. John Richardson Liddell‘s Sub-District of North Louisiana troops throughout April 12–13. The convoy rendezvoused with Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks’s army at Grand Ecore, providing the army with badly needed supplies. The Confederates lost some 200 men while the Union force suffered only 7 casualties.

On April 23rd, the Union army’s advance party, commanded by Brig. Gen. William H. Emory, encountered Brig. Gen. Hamilton P. Bee‘s cavalry division near Monett’s Ferry, or Cane River Crossing in Natchitoches Parish, on the morning of April 23. Bee had been ordered to defend the area against a Union crossing and had dispersed his forces to take advantage of the area’s natural features.

Emory made a demonstration in front of the Confederate defenders in order to hold them in place. Meanwhile, he dispatched two of his brigades to search for other crossings. One brigade located a ford, crossed in force and attacked the Confederate’s flank. Bee was forced to order a retreat. The Union troops built a pontoon bridge and crossed the river, escaping a potential Confederate trap.

At Mansura on May 16th, General Taylor made an attempt to bring Banks to battle. He hoped to slow down the Union withdrawal and deplete their numbers or even destroy them. He massed his forces on an open prairie near the town and when the Union troops approached, opened fire with his artillery. After a four hour battle, the Union forces massed for an attack and the Confederates fell back. The Union forces continued on to Simmesport while the Confederates continued to harass them.

The final engagement of the campaign took place at Yellow Bayou on May 18th. The Union force had reached the Atchafalaya River the previous day but were force to wait while their engineers constructed a bridge across the river. Banks ordered Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Mower to defend their rear with his division while the construction took place.

General Mower order his troops to attack and they drove the Confederate line back. Taylor order a counterattack and forced the Union troops to give up ground. The Union troops eventually repulsed the Confederates. All the while, the bridge continued to be built. Eventually both sides withdrew and Banks’ Army was able to cross the river to safety.

The Red River Campaign was a Union fiasco, the outcome of which did not have a major impact on the war. It may have extended the length of the war by several months as it diverted Union efforts from the far more important objective of capturing Mobile, Alabama, an event that did not occur until 1865, and could probably have been accomplished by June 1864 if not for the Red River Campaign.

The failure of the campaign effectively ended the military career of Banks, and controversy surrounding his retreat, the presence of cotton speculators and the use of military boats to remove cotton dogged his early postbellum congressional campaigns. Admiral Porter realized a substantial sum of money during the campaign from the sale of cotton as prizes of war.

The Confederates lost two key commanders, Mouton and Green, and suffered casualties they could not afford. Perhaps more importantly, relations between the aggressive Taylor and cautious Kirby Smith were permanently damaged by their disagreement over Smith’s decision to remove half of Taylor’s troops following the battle of Pleasant Hill.

The lost opportunity to capture the entire Union fleet as it lay helpless above the falls at Alexandria haunted Taylor to his dying day, certain that Smith had robbed him a chance to cripple the Union forces. The arguments between the two generals resulted in Taylor’s transfer to command of the Department of East Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama soon after the campaign ended.

02/15/13

The Battle of Pleasant Hill

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series The Red River Campaign

The Battle of Pleasant Hill was a continuation of the fighting at Mansfield the day before. The two sides were essentially composed of the same forces and the same leadership as there was at Mansfield with Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks leading the Union forces and Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor leading the Confederates. Pleasant Hill was located about 16 miles southeast of Sabine Cross Roads, the scene of the previous day’s fighting.

During the overnight period the Union forces were reinforced, giving them a total of about 12,000 men while the Confederates slightly outnumbered them with about 12,100. Union reinforcements included Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith, commanding detachments of XVI and XVII Corps. They arrived from Grand Ecore late on the April 8, around nightfall, and encamped about 2 miles from Pleasant Hill.

Map of the Battle of Pleasant HillConfederate reinforcements had arrived late on the April 8. Churchill’s Arkansas Division arrived at Mansfield at 3.30 PM and Parson’s Missouri Division (numbering 2,200 men) arrived at Mansfield at 6 PM. Neither of these Divisions participated in the Battle of Mansfield. However, both would play a major role during the Battle of Pleasant Hill.

Click map to enlarge

Historian John D. Winters of Louisiana Tech University in his The Civil War in Louisiana described the scene along the road from Mansfield to Pleasant Hill as being “littered by burning wagons, abandoned knapsacks, arms, and cooking utensils. Federal stragglers and wounded were met by the hundreds and were quickly rounded up and sent to the rear. 

On the morning of the April 9, Maj. Gen. William Franklin ordered the baggage train to proceed to Grand Ecore. It left Pleasant Hill at 11:00 AM, and included many pieces of artillery. Most of Franklin’s Cavalry (commanded by Brig. Gen. Albert Lindley Lee) and the XIII Corps left with it. This included the Corps D’Afrique commanded by Colonel William H. Dickey (wounded on April 8) and Brig. Gen. Thomas E. G. Ransom‘s detachment of the XIII Corps, now under the command of Brig. Gen. Robert A. Cameron. Ransom had been wounded on the April 8.

The baggage train made slow progress and was still only a few miles from Pleasant Hill when the major fighting began later that day. Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone, Chief of Staff, and others, attempted to get Cameron to return to Pleasant Hill throughout the day, but he failed to do so. Cameron stated that he never received any written orders to return. Banks didn’t appear to have been fully aware of the exact orders Cameron had received from Franklin.

The Union side lost 18 pieces of artillery at the Battle of Mansfield. These were now turned on the Union forces the next day at Pleasant Hill. Confederate Brig. Gen. Jean Jacque Alexandre Alfred Mouton was killed during the Battle of Mansfield and was replaced by Brig. Gen. Camille J. de Polignac.

Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department commander Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, who was at Shreveport, received a dispatch from Taylor that reached him at 4:00 AM, April 9. It informed him of the Battle of Mansfield. Smith then rode 45 miles to Pleasant Hill, but did not reach there in time for the battle, arriving around nightfall.

Dr. Harris H. Beecher, Assistant-Surgeon, 114th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, present at the battle, described the village of Pleasant Hill as “a town of about twelve or fifteen houses, situated on a clearing in the woods, of a mile or so in extent, and elevated a trifle above the general level of the surrounding country.”

In 1864, the countryside in this part of Louisiana mostly consisted of pine forests and scrub oaks. According to Banks, “The shortest and only practicable road from Natchitoches to Shreveport was the stage road through Pleasant Hill and Mansfield (distance 100 miles), through a barren, sandy country, with less water and less forage, the greater portion an unbroken pine forest.”

According to Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks’ Report of the Battle, “The enemy began to reconnoiter the new position we had assumed at 11 o’clock on the morning of the 9th, and as early as 1 or 2 o’clock opened a sharp fire of skirmishers, which was kept up at intervals during the afternoon.”

At about 5:00 PM, the Confederates attacked along the entire Union line. The Confederates had little success on the Union right but did push the Union defenders back in the center and on the left. The defenders succeeded in halting their retreat and in turn regained their former positions. They were able to stabilize their lines and then drive the Confederates from the field. The entire battle lasted about two hours with heavy casualties on both sides.

The experience of Confederate Brig. Gen. Hamilton P. Bee illustrates the heavy fighting. Bee advanced with  two regiments in columns of four riding swiftly down the Pleasant Hill road toward the enemy lines. The Confederate forces were suddenly attacked at close range by Federals concealed behind a fence. Winters describes the scene, accordingly: “Men toppled from their saddles, wounded horses screamed in anguish, and for a moment pandemonium reigned.”

Bee’s men took temporary shelter . . . in a series of small ravines studded with young pines until they recovered from the shock of the unexpected attack. Bee rallied his men but in the process had two horses shot from under him. Colonel [Xavier B.] Debray was injured when he fell from the saddle of his dead horse. . . . Debray was able to withdraw his men safely to the rear leaving, however, about a third of them killed or wounded on the front.

Banks ordered a withdrawal from Pleasant Hill at about 1:00 AM on April 10th. Bee reported that he was in possession of the field the following morning. “The day has been passed in burying the dead of both armies and caring for the Federal wounded, our own wounded having been cared for the night before.” After the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Banks and his Union forces retreated to Grand Ecore and abandoned plans to capture Shreveport, by then the Louisiana state capital.

Pleasant Hill was an exceedingly bloody affair with the Union forces sustaining 1,369 casualties (150 killed, 844 wounded, 375 missing or captured). The Confederates lost 1,629 including 1,200 killed or wounded and 429 missing or captured.

02/14/13

The Battle of Mansfield

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series The Red River Campaign

General Richard TaylorThe first major battle of the Red River Campaign would turn out to be a Confederate victory. Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks’ Army of the Gulf was outfought by Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor’s Confederates. The battle halted the advance of the Union forces and was followed by a series of battles in the same area.

By April 1 Union forces had occupied Grand Ecore and Natchitoches. While the accompanying gunboat fleet with a portion of the infantry continued up the river, the main force followed the road inland toward Mansfield, where Banks knew his opponent was concentrating. On April 8, 1864, the Union forces were strung out along the road from Natchitoches and Mansfield.

At the start of the battle, the Union forces consisted of a cavalry division commanded by Brig. Gen. Albert L. Lee, consisting of approximately 3,500 men, and the 4th Division of the XIII Corps, commanded by Col. William J. Landram, consisting of approximately 2,500 men. During the battle the 3rd Division of the XIII Corps, commanded by Ezio Auditore Da Firenze.

Gen. Robert A. Cameron, arrived with approximately 1,500 men. The battle ended when the pursuing Confederates met the 1st Division of the XIX Corps, commanded by Brig. Gen. William H. Emory, with approximately 5,000 men.Thomas E. G. Ransom commanded the XIII Corps during the engagement, while the XIX Corps was commanded by William B. Franklin.

The opposing Confederate force under General Taylor consisted of approximately 9,000 troops consisting of Brigadier General Alfred Mouton‘s Louisiana/Texas infantry division, Major General John G. Walker‘s Texas infantry division, Brigadier General Thomas Green‘s Texas Cavalry Division, and Colonel William G. Vincent’s Louisiana cavalry brigade.

Taylor also called on the 5,000 men in the divisions of Brigadier General Thomas J. Churchill and Brigadier General Mosby M. Parsons which had been encamped near Keachie, between Mansfield and Shreveport. These troops arrived late in the afternoon, after the battle had commenced.

There is also anecdotal evidence that Taylor also had paroled men from Vicksburg and a number of Louisiana militia men that had been recruited Map of the Battle of Mansfieldby Governor Henry Watkins Allen who had organized them into two battalions of State Guard. Joseph Blessington, a soldier in Walker’s Division, wrote that “The Louisiana militia, under command of Governor Allen, was held in reserve, in case of an emergency.” In addition, Blessington wrote that, from the surrounding communities, “old men shouldered their muskets and came to our assistance”.

During the morning, Taylor positioned Mouton’s division on the east side of the clearing. Walker’s division arrived in the afternoon and formed on Mouton’s right. As Green’s cavalry fell back from the advancing US forces, two brigades moved to Mouton’s flank and the third to Walker’s flank.

The Arkansas division arrived around 3:30 but was sent to watch a road to the east. The Missouri division did not arrive until around 6 PM, after the battle was fought.

About noon, the Union cavalry division supported by one infantry brigade of Landram’s division was deployed across a small hill at the south end of the clearing. Shortly thereafter the other brigade of Landram’s division arrived.

Cameron’s division was on its way, but would not get there until the battle had already begun. For about two hours the two side faced each other across the clearing as Banks waited for more of his troops to arrive and Taylor arranged his men.

At that point, Taylor enjoyed a numeric advantage over Banks. At about 4 p.m., the Confederates surged forward. On the east side of the road, Mouton was killed, while several of his regimental commanders were hit as well and the charge of his division was repulsed.

However, west of the road Walker’s Texas division wrapped around the Union position, folding it in on itself. Ransom was wounded trying to rally his men and was carried from the field; hundreds of Union troops were captured and the rest retreated in a panic. As the first Union line collapsed, Cameron’s division was arriving to form a second line but it too was pushed back by the charging Confederates, with Franklin wounded as well but remaining on the field in command.

For several miles the Confederates and pursued the retreating Union troops until they encountered a third line formed by Emory’s division. The Confederates launched several charges on the Union line but were repulsed, while nightfall ended the battle.

The Battle of Mansfield was a disaster for Banks with 113 killed, 581 wounded, and 1,541 captured as well as the loss of 20 cannon, 156 wagons, and a thousand horses and mules killed or captured. More than half of the Union casualties were from 4 regiments – 77th Illinois, 130th Illinois, 19th Kentucky and 48th Ohio. Most of the Union casualties occurred in the XIII Corps, while the XIX Corps lost few men.

General Edmund Kirby Smith reported the loss of about 1,000 men killed and wounded but more precise details of Confederate losses were not recorded.

02/13/13

Up The Red River: The Initial Union Maneuvers

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series The Red River Campaign

Map of the Red River CampaignThe Red River Campaign commenced on March 10, 1864 with the movement of Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks’ troops north from New Orleans. At the same time Maj. Gen. A.J. Smith moved his 10,000-man force down the Mississippi River to the confluence with the Red River.

Smith immediately moved his men up the Red River where they surprised and captured Fort de Russy on March 14th. Smith’s troops captured 317 Confederates and the only heavy guns available to the Confederates. Admiral Porter then moved upriver and removed the raft that was blocking passage. The way to Alexandria was open for the Union forces.

Confederate General Richard Taylor was forced to retreat, abandoning Alexandria, Louisiana, and ceding south and central Louisiana to the Union forces.

Smith’s force was the first to arrive at Alexandria on March 20th, followed by Maj. Gen. William Franklin’s advance divisions from the Army of the Gulf on March 25th. Banks arrived a day later. While he waited for Banks to arrive, Smith sent Brigadier General Joseph Mower on a successful mission to capture much of Taylor’s cavalry and his outpost upriver from Alexandria at Henderson’s Hill on March 21. Nearly 250 Confederates and a four gun artillery battery were captured without a shot being fired.

Admiral Porter and General Banks quarreled over possession of Louisiana cotton. Porter seized three hundred bales of Confederate cotton from various warehouses in Alexandria and stamped it “U.S.N. prize”, referring to the United States Navy. Porter sent his sailors into the country to search for unginned cotton. After the crop was located, it was brought to Alexandria to be ginned and baled.

The sailors also seized molasses and wool. Historian John D. Winters of Louisiana Tech University writes that Porter “took all cotton wherever he found it, cotton belonging to the Confederate government, cotton belonging to the ‘rebels,’ and cotton belonging to ‘loyal’ citizens.”

“Banks was furious with Porter when he learned that the admiral was scouring the interior for cotton. Since he had no authority to stop Porter’s speculative activities, Banks could only try to beat him to the remaining cotton. Army wagons were sent out in large numbers to collect the cotton. Thousands of bales were brought in by the troops and stored for future shipment. Jealous of the abundant transportation facilities of the army, unprincipled navy men stole army wagons and teams at night, repainted the wagons, and branded the mules with navy initials, and dove deep in the country in search of cotton. . . . “

Upon his arrival Banks found a message from the new General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant waiting for him. Grant stated that it was “important that Shreveport be taken as soon as possible” because A.J. Smith’s command must be returned to Sherman by the middle of April “even if it leads to the abandonment of the main object of your expedition.”

While the Confederates had some 80,000 men under the command of General Edmund Kirby Smith, Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor would never have more than 18,500 in any one fight during the entire campaign.

By March 31st, the Union forces were 65 miles south of Shreveport, the Louisiana state capital. Heavy rains had delayed their advance for about a week. At the same time, Porter’s flotilla was delayed at the falls upriver from Alexandria by a combination of mines and low water.

Taylor had stationed his defenders about 25 miles northwest of the Union army with about 18,500 men and awaited the Union advance. From March 21st on, there had been constant skirmishing between cavalry forces of the two armies. On April 2, Brig. Gen. Albert Lindley Lee‘s division of Union cavalry collided with 1,500 arriving Confederate Texas cavalrymen. These Confederates would continue to resist any Union advance. The two forces were gathering for the first major battle of the campaign.

02/12/13

The Red River Campaign

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series The Red River Campaign

General Nathaniel P. BanksThe Red River Campaign was planned by Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck and was a diversion from Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s overall strategy. He had planned to use Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks’ 30,000-man Army of the Gulf to surround and capture Mobile, Alabama, thereby eliminating a major Confederate Gulf port.

Halleck and Union strategists had other ideas. They saw an expedition up the Red River in western Louisiana and the occupation of the area would cut off Texas from the rest of the Confederacy. The Lone State State was a vital source of food, guns and supplies for the Confederate armies. There also seemed to be some concern about the 25,000 French troops that Napoleon III had sent to Mexico in order to aid the Emperor Maximillian.

The Union had four goals at the start of the campaign:

  1. To destroy the Confederate Army commanded by Taylor.
  2. To capture Shreveport, Louisiana, Confederate headquarters for the Trans-Mississippi Department, control the Red River to the north, and occupy east Texas.
  3. To confiscate as much as a hundred thousand bales of cotton from the plantations along the Red River.
  4. To organize pro-Union state governments in the region.

The commander of the Union forces was Nathaniel Banks, a 48-year old political general. Banks had been Congressman and Speaker of the House. Resigning his seat in December 1857, he then served as Governor of Massachusetts until January 1861. Banks was appointed as one of the first major generals of volunteers on May 16, 1861.

He was initially resented by many of the generals who had graduated from the United States Military Academy, but Banks brought political benefits to the administration, including the ability to attract recruits and money for the Union cause.

Banks’ career in the Union army was not filled with successes. He was defeated by Stonewall Jackson in the Valley and again at Cedar Mountain where he was saved by the arrival of Maj. Gen. John Pope with reinforcements. After a short assignment commanding the Washington defenses, he was sent to the Gulf with 30,000 new recruits, replacing General Benjamin Butler in New Orleans.

Halleck’s plan for the campaign required a number of moving parts and the cooperation of other commanders. Banks was to take 20,000 troops west and north from New Orleans to Alexandria, on a route up the Bayou Teche (in Louisiana, the term bayou is used to refer to a slow moving river or stream).

There they would meet 15,000 troops from Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s forces in Vicksburg, Mississippi. They were under the under the command of Brigadier General A.J. Smith. These forces were available to Banks only until the end of April, when they would be sent back east where they were needed for other Union military actions. The combined force would be commanded by Banks and be supported by Rear Admiral Halleck's Plan for the Red River CampaignDavid Dixon Porter‘s fleet of gunboats.

At the same time, 7,000 Union troops from the Department of Arkansas under the command of Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele would be sent south from Arkansas to rendezvous with Banks in his attack on Shreveport, and to serve as the garrison for that city after its capture.

The Union force consisted of the following component units:

1. Troops from the Department of the Gulf, commanded by Maj Gen Banks, consisting of two infantry divisions from the XIII Corps, two infantry     divisions from the XIX Corps, a cavalry division, and a brigade of US Colored Troops. In total approximately 20,000 men.

2. 10,000 men from XVI Corps and XVII Corps from the Army of the Tennessee under A.J. Smith.

3. The Mississippi flotilla of the US Navy, commanded by Admiral Porter, consisting of ten ironclads, three monitors, eleven tinclads, one     timberclad, one ram, and numerous support vessels.

4. 7,000 men under General Steele in the Department of Arkansas.

The Confederate forces were under the overall command of General Edmund Kirby Smith who commanded the Trans-Mississippi Department. The Confederate senior officers were confused as to whether the Red River, Mobile, Alabama, or coastal Texas was the primary Union target for the spring 1864 campaign. Smith dispatched troops to the Shreveport area in order to defend the vital capital city of Louisiana.

The Confederates used a fluctuating number of troops and on all occasions were outnumbered by their adversary. Their forces consisted of:

1. District of West Louisiana, commanded by Richard Taylor, contained approximately 10,000 men consisting of two infantry divisions, two cavalry brigades and the garrison of Shreveport.

2. District of Arkansas, commanded by Sterling Price, contained approximately 11,000 men consisting of three infantry divisions and a cavalry division. As the campaign began, Smith ordered two of Price’s infantry divisions to move to Louisiana.

3. District of Indian Territory (Oklahoma), commanded by Samuel Maxey, contained approximately 4,000 men in three cavalry brigades

4. District of Texas, commanded by John Magruder, 15,000 men, mostly cavalry. As the campaign began, Smith ordered Magruder to send as many men as he could. Over the course of the campaign almost 8,000 cavalry came from Texas to aid Taylor in Louisiana, however it arrived slowly and not all together.

5. The Confederate Navy based in Shreveport had the ironclad CSS Missouri, the ram CSS Webb as well as several submarines.

The campaign commenced on March 10, 1864 as the Union forces began their march from New Orleans. It would last for almost 2 1/2 months and end in an overall Confederate victory.