Madison Parish, LA | Jun 7, 1863
In late May, 1863, as his Army of the Tennessee encircled the strategic Mississippi River town of Vicksburg, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant established advanced supply bases on the Yazoo River north of the city to feed his army. Supporting this supply route were other depots and camps on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi near Young’s Point and Milliken’s Bend. At the latter, several newly-recruited black regiments were posted to defend the facilities. Confederates, seeking to disrupt Grant’s supply lines, developed plans to attack the bases on the west side of the river. On June 7, the Texas Division under Maj. Gen. John G. Walker attacked the garrison at Milliken’s Bend, commanded by Col. Hermann Lieb. Hand-to-hand combat ensued as the Rebels breached the Union defenses. Lieb’s former slaves, with little training, fought valiantly against their attackers. Two Navy gunboats supported the infantry, and after heavy fighting Walker’s Texans withdrew. Although a small battle, the result proved that black Union soldiers would fight hard for their freedom.