DeSoto Parish, LA | Apr 8, 1864
The Red River Campaign of 1864 was one General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant's initiatives to apply simultaneous pressure on Confederate armies along five separate fronts from Louisiana to Virginia. In addition to defeating the defending Confederate army, the campaign sought to confiscate cotton stores from plantations along the river and to give support to pro-Union governments in Louisiana. By early April, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks' Union army was about 150 miles up the Red River threatening Shreveport. Confederate Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor sought to strike a blow at the Federals and slow their advance. He established a defensive position just below Mansfield, near Sabine Crossroads, an important road junction. On April 8th, Banks’s men approached, driving Confederate cavalry before them. For the rest of the morning, the Federals probed the Rebel lines. In late afternoon, Taylor, though outnumbered, decided to attack. His men made a determined assault on both flanks, rolling up one and then another of Banks’s divisions. Finally, about three miles from the original contact, a third Union division met Taylor’s attack at 6:00 pm and halted it after more than an hour's fighting. That night, Taylor unsuccessfully attempted to turn Banks’s right flank. Banks withdrew but met Taylor again on April 9th at Pleasant Hill. Mansfield was the decisive battle of the Red River Campaign, influencing Banks to retreat back southward toward Alexandria.