Mike Talplacido
Civil War  |  News

Mansfield Property Is Among 95 Acres Targeted for Protection by American Battlefield Trust

Effort also includes two Virginia battlefields: The Wilderness and a “twice hallowed” site with important ties to Richmond’s African American history

(Washington, D.C.) — The latest campaign by the American Battlefield Trust to protect historic landscapes includes 20 acres at Mansfield, La., where an 1864 battle figured significantly in the larger strategies that characterized the final year of the American Civil War. 

“There is simply no substitute for walking on the very ground where important history happened,” said Trust President David Duncan. “Protecting these landscapes ensures that future generations will always be able to explore and learn from our unique American battlefields.” 

Red River Campaign
"The war in Louisiana - destruction of the U.S. transport John Warner by Confederate batteries on Red River, May 4, 1864." C.E.H. Bonwill, courtesy of Library of Congress

In the spring of 1864, Union forces launched an offensive known as the Red River Campaign. Its objective was to capture Louisiana’s Confederate capital at Shreveport and then open the gateway for Federal troops to enter Texas.  

Union forces made their way north from New Orleans, encountering a Confederate force about half their size at Mansfield, also called Sabine’s Crossroads. Skirmishing ensued at Honeycutt Hill as the Union desperately awaited reinforcements, but help did not arrive before the line collapsed, reversing the course of the entire campaign. Casualties among some units were staggering — one division in the Union XII Corps lost nearly half its men.  

This latest project lies southeast of Honeycutt Hill, near land previously protected by the Trust, which has saved 421 acres there to date. Overall, the Trust has saved 750 acres in the Pelican State, including 73 acres at Fort DeRussey and property that is now part of Port Hudson State Historic Site.  

The acreage in Louisiana is part of the latest fundraising effort by the Trust, which is also seeking to protect two other battlefield properties that were consequential in 1864:  39 acres at First Deep Bottom, Va., and 36 acres at the Wilderness, Va.  Together, the three sites are valued at $1.2 million. But thanks to a combination of anticipated federal grants and gifts from our great local partners at the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, only the final $144,671 must be raised from private donations.  

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today.  The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 53,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.