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Encyclopedia > Red River Campaign

The Red River Campaign or Red River Expedition consisted of a series of battles fought along the Red River in Louisiana during the American Civil War from March 10 to May 22, 1864. The ultimate Union goal was to occupy Shreveport, Louisiana, in the northwestern part of the state, and perhaps also northeastern Texas, in order to restrict future Confederate operations in that area. Red River may refer to the following: Rivers Red River of the North, flows through Minnesota, North Dakota, and Manitoba, in the Red River Valley Red River of the South,, a. ... Official language(s) English and French Capital Baton Rouge Largest city New Orleans at last census; probably Baton Rouge since Hurricane Katrina Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 31st 134,382 km² 210 km 610 km 16 29°N to 33°N 89°W to 94°W Population... Combatants Union (remaining U.S. states) Confederate States of America Commanders Abraham Lincoln† Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis Robert E. Lee Strength 2,213,363 1,064,200 Casualties KIA: 110,100 Total dead: 359,500 Wounded: 275,200 KIA: 94,000 Total dead: 258,000 Wounded: 137,000+  The... March 10 is the 69th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (70th in Leap years). ... May 22 is the 142nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (143rd in leap years). ... 1864 (MDCCCLXIV) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... Official website: www. ... Motto: Deo Vindice (Latin: With God As Our Vindicator) Anthem: God Save the South (unofficial) Dixie (popular) Capital Montgomery, Alabama February 4, 1861–May 29, 1861 Richmond, Virginia May 29, 1861–April 9, 1865 Danville, Virginia April 3–April 10, 1865 Largest city New Orleans February 4, 1861–May 1...



Union General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck had strongly advocated a thrust into Texas along the Red River since mid-1863. General William T. Sherman likewise had interest in conducting a raid in that area and received permission in late 1863 from General Ulysses S. Grant in Nashville, Tennessee, to do so. Union Admiral David D. Porter in Cairo, Illinois, was cooperating with Sherman on this, but the Red River water level was yet too low for his heavy gunboats. Sherman and Porter were unaware that Halleck was urging General Nathaniel P. Banks at New Orleans to undertake the same operation with the goal of occupying Texas. Banks sent to all these men except Grant a copy of a report of Major David Houston clearly showing the near impossibility of maintaining an occupation there without major resources. Halleck, turning neutral, left it to Banks as to whether to go or not, but no one advised Grant, the new general-in-chief, of the anticipated problems. Sherman was still anxious to command on Red River but only loaned two corps of his men for thirty days when he learned Banks intended to assume command. Grant, meanwhile, insisted Major General Frederick Steele lead another force south from Arkansas toward Shreveport to become the garrison force there. Sherman's men would come by the Mississippi River. Most of Banks's men, accompanied by a large, poorly trained, cavalry force would march north toward the middle river. Banks would allow cotton speculators to come along, and Porter was bringing barges to collect cotton as lucrative naval prizes. Henry Wager Halleck (1815 - 1872) was an American soldier and politician. ... 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar). ... Portrait of William Tecumseh Sherman by Mathew Brady William Tecumseh Sherman (February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) was an American soldier, businessman, and author. ... Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant, April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877). ... Nickname: Music City Official website: http://www. ... Portrait of David Dixon Porter during the Civil War Vice Admiral David Dixon Porter (June 8, 1813 – February 13, 1891) was a United States naval officer who became one of the most noted naval heroes of the Civil War. ... Map Alexander County, Illinois Political Statistics Founded 1818 Incorporated 1858 County Alexander County Mayor Paul Farris Geographic Statistics Area  - Total  - Land  - Water 23. ... Nathaniel Prentiss Banks (January 30, 1816–September 1, 1894), American politician and soldier, was born at Waltham, Massachusetts. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... Frederick Steele (January 14, 1819, Delhi, New York – January 19, 1868, San Mateo, California), American Civil War Union Major General. ... This article is about the river in the United States. ...

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. The commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department, Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith, nevertheless started moving many of his men to the Shreveport area. Motto: Nickname: The Azalea City Map Political Statistics Founded 1702 Incorporated 1814 Mobile County Mayor Sam Jones Geographic Statistics Area  - Total  - Land  - Water 412. ... Portrait of Edmund Kirby Smith during the Civil War Edmund Kirby Smith (May 16, 1824 – March 28, 1893) was a career U.S. Army officer, an educator, and a general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, notable for his command of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the...


Banks had overall command of army forces, but he delegated march operations to Major General William B. Franklin. The Franklin component had available around 15,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and possibly 40 guns. Sherman, now in charge of the impending Georgia campaign, loaned 15,000 men (in three divisions) and a river brigade from his Army of the West under the command of Major General Andrew J. Smith. Steele was bringing about 7,000 from Arkansas. Accompanying the river movement was Porter's 58-ship flotilla, with 23 gunboats, 13 of them ironclad. This would be the largest Union operation west of the Mississippi River during the war. Major General William B. Franklin William Buel Franklin ( February 27, 1823 – March 8, 1903) was a career Army officer and Union Army general in the American Civil War. ... Palisades and chevaux-de-frise in front of the Potter House, Atlanta, Georgia, 1864. ... The Army of the West, a unit of the Union Army during the American Civil War, was created on Jan 29, 1862. ... Andrew Jackson Smith (April 28, 1815 – January 30, 1897) was a U.S. Army general during the American Civil War, rising to the command of a corps. ...

To counter Union operations, Confederate Major General John B. Magruder sent mostly cavalrymen from his East Texas Department. Major General Richard Taylor of the West Louisiana Department, son of President Zachary Taylor, would fight most of the battles in the campaign. He started the campaign with barely 7,000 men. Magruder's men were slow to arrive in Louisiana. Kirby Smith also ordered two tiny divisions, numbering 4,000 men total, to northwestern Louisiana to support Taylor. John B. Magruder John Bankhead Magruder (May 1, 1807 – February 19, 1871) was a U.S. Army officer in the Mexican War, and a Confederate general in the American Civil War. ... Richard Taylor Richard Taylor (January 27, 1826 – April 12, 1879) was a Confederate general in the American Civil War. ... The presidential seal was used by president Hayes in 1880 and last modified in 1959 by adding the 50th star for Hawaii. ... Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784–July 9, 1850) was an American military leader and the twelfth president of the United States. ...


Franklin's march from southern Louisiana began March 10. Meanwhile, A. J. Smith and his two corps traveled via boat from Vicksburg down to Simmesport. After an all-night march, Smith's men surprised and captured Fort de Russy on the Red River on March 14, capturing 200 Confederate prisoners and the only heavy guns available to the Confederates. This signaled the beginning of the campaign. Admiral Porter was then able to remove a giant raft blocking the river without much difficulty. March 10 is the 69th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (70th in Leap years). ... Vicksburg is the name of some places in the United States of America: Vicksburg, Michigan Vicksburg, Mississippi Vicksburg may also refer to the Battle of Vicksburg in the American Civil War (fought near the Mississippi city above). ... Simmesport is a town located in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. ... March 14 is the 73rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (74th in Leap years) with 292 days remaining in the year. ...

Taylor was forced to retreat, abandoning Alexandria, Louisiana, and ceding south and central Louisiana to the Union forces. To add to his woes, a Federal force under Brigadier General Joseph Mower captured much of Taylor's cavalry and his outpost upriver from Alexandria at Henderson's Hill on March 21. Kirby Smith had nearly 50,000 men to call upon but was yet undecided where to move them to counter the three Union forces now known to be moving toward Shreveport. Taylor would never fight with more than 12,500 men throughout the entire campaign. Alexandria is a city in Louisiana, U.S.A.; it is the parish seat of Rapides Parish, on the south bank of the Red River in almost the exact geographic center of the state. ... Joseph Anthony Mower (1827-1870) was a Union general during the American Civil War. ... March 21 is the 80th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (81st in leap years). ...

By March 31, Banks's men had reached Natchitoches, only 65 miles south of Shreveport. Franklin's men had been delayed most of a week by rain, but it had not mattered because Admiral Porter had a similar delay trying to get his heaviest gunboats over the falls at Alexandria. The river had failed to achieve its seasonal rise in water level. Porter had also spent time gathering cotton in the interior, and Banks conducted an election in the interim. March 31 is the 90th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (91st in Leap years), with 275 days remaining. ... The Natchitoches are a Native American people. ...

Taylor now stationed himself 25 miles northwest at Pleasant Hill, still with less that 10,000 men. Once Banks assembled more supplies, he continued advancing a week later.

Constant cavalry skirmishing had been going on since March 21. On April 2, Brigadier General Albert Lee's division of Union cavalry collided with 1,500 arriving Confederate Texas cavalrymen. These Confederates would continue to resist any Union advance. Union intelligence, meanwhile, had determined that there were additional forces besides Taylor and the cavalry up the road from them. All the senior Union officers expressed doubts there would be any serious Confederate opposition. Banks's army followed Taylor and the cavalry into a dense pine forest area away from the river, probably to keep them in their front. Approaching Pleasant Hill, the Union army was excessively long due both to the existence of only a few camping areas with water and no monitoring of the position of the rear elements. Taylor kept moving back toward Shreveport. March 21 is the 80th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (81st in leap years). ... April 2 is the 92nd day of the year (93rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 273 days remaining. ... Pleasant Hill is the name of some places in the United States of America: Pleasant Hill, California Pleasant Hill, Illinois Pleasant Hill, Iowa Pleasant Hill, Kentucky Pleasant Hill, Louisiana Pleasant Hill, Missouri Pleasant Hill, North Carolina Pleasant Hill, Pennsylvania Pleasant Hill, Tennessee Pleasant Hill, Ohio This is a disambiguation page...

Battle of Mansfield

Heavy cavalry fighting, often dismounted, had continued on April 7, at Wilson's Farm and Tenmile Bayou. On April 8, Lee boldly charged a small force of Confederate cavalry at the Moss Plantation, three miles south of Mansfield, Louisiana. He pushed the Confederate horsemen off Honeycutt Hill with the help of two infantry brigades. Taylor had stationed one infantry division in the woods along one of the few fields along the heavily wooded route. Taylor brought up a second division to the woods on the other side of the road in the middle of the day. Banks arrived at the front, and both sides were probably not fully aware of how many men they were facing. Kirby Smith was absent from the scene. Seeing no arrival of Union reinforcements, someone on the Confederate side ordered an attack about 4 p.m. Brigadier General Alfred Mouton and his infantry marched across an 800-yard wide field and attacked the Union forces behind a rail fence in several bloody charges. April 7 is the 97th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (98th in leap years). ... April 8 is the 98th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (99th in leap years). ... Mansfield is a city located in De Soto Parish, Louisiana. ...

As Moulton continued his assault, Taylor advanced his entire line, including Walker's division, in support. Confederate dismounted cavalry went to the Union flanks. The time that Banks called for support is controversial, but these men did not arrive in time to stop the front from being surrounded. Franklin set up a second line with artillery at the back of the initial fighting. These men, too, were eventually put in flight when faced with superior numbers. Some wagons overturned on the narrow road in the Union rear, and the Union artillery was captured. Confederate soldiers halted to loot some of the Union wagons. The Battle of Mansfield was over. In all, the Federals suffered 3,200 casualties, the Confederates a mere 1,000. The Battle of Mansfield, also known as the Battle of Sabine Cross-Roads or Pleasant Grove, on April 9, 1864 in De Soto Parish, Louisiana, was the first major clash of the Unions Red River campaign. ...

As Confederate command and control was reestablished for the pursuit, the men ran into a third Union force under General William Emory of about 5,800 men sitting atop a ridge overlooking Chatman's Bayou as ordered there by Banks and Franklin. The Union side called this Pleasant Grove. As night fell, it was clear Banks's men had repulsed the attempts to take this location, but the Federals did not have control of the precious water. April 9, the next day, Taylor learned that Banks had retreated back to Pleasant Hill. The lack of water and questions as to whether General A. J. Smith could bring up his men were probably the principal reasons for the withdrawal. April 9 is the 99th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (100th in leap years). ...

At 4 p.m. the next day Confederate Brigadier General Thomas J. Churchill's arriving infantry started the attack on the Union forces. Taylor thought he was sending them into the Union flank, but it was actually the center. Confederate cavalry also miscalculated positions and suffered heavily from flank fire. Churchill's men did succeed in collapsing this Union center position, but this also brought his men into the middle of a U-shaped position, with A. J. Smith's unused divisions forming the base of the "U." Though part of the advanced Union right had also collapsed, the forces of Smith and Mower next launched a counterattack, and joined by neighboring regiments they routed Taylor's men from the vicinity of Pleasant Hill. Some cannon were recaptured.

Short of water and feed for the horses, not knowing where his supply boats were and receiving divided opinions from his senior officers, Banks ordered a rapid retreat downriver to Natchitoches and Grand Ecore. Both sides at Pleasant Hill suffered roughly equal casualties of 1,600. It was a tactical victory for the Federals but a strategic Confederate victory because the Union effort was wasted unless they could occupy something upriver.

General Steele would never make it to Shreveport due to supply difficulties and fights with Confederates, but Banks could not establish contact with him.

On the river, the Confederates had diverted water into a tributary causing the already low Red River level to fall further. When Admiral Porter slowly heading upriver learned Banks was returning, he followed suit. There was a brief engagement en route in which Confederate cavalry chief, Tom Green, was decapitated by a naval shell.

At Grand Ecore, Banks received orders from Grant to move the army to New Orleans and maintain profound secrecy about this. The river also continued to fall, and all the supply boats had to return downriver. Sensing that they were involved in a perceived defeat, Banks's relations with the cantankerous A. J. Smith and the navy and with most of the other generals deteriorated.

General Kirby Smith decided to send two divisions north into Arkansas to crush Steele's army despite General Taylor's strong protests they should be used against Banks. Learning also that some of Taylor's 5,000 men were operating south of him, Banks ordered a rapid retreat south to Alexandria. At the Battle of Monett's Ferry on April 23, some of Banks's forces crossed Cane River on the Confederate flank and forced a small opposing force to flee. The rest of the march to Alexandria was unremarkable, but Porter ran into a delaying ambush at the mouth of Cane River after he tarried to blow up the stuck USS Eastport. The Battle of Monetts Ferry was fought on April 23, 1864, between Union and Confederate forces. ... April 23 is the 113th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (114th in leap years). ...

Porter could not get many of his ironclads over the falls at Alexandria. Colonel Joseph Bailey designed a dam, to which Banks soon gave night-and-day attention. Several boats got through before a partial dam collapse. An extra upriver dam provided additional water depth, allowing the march to resume. At Alexandria, relations between Banks and many of the others deteriorated further. Each side sent exaggerated accounts to friendly newspapers and supporters. General John McClernand arrived with reinforcements from Texas, and he had also previously had poor relations with A. J. Smith and Porter. A. J. Smith obeyed only those orders he wanted to obey. Taylor made excellent use of his forces to fool the Union command into believing many more men were present, but Taylor did not try to stop the dam construction. He did shut down the lower river by attacking boats. Because the Confederates had burned most of the cotton, many speculators at Alexandria were disappointed. John Alexander McClernand John Alexander McClernand (May 30, 1812 – September 20, 1900) was an American soldier and lawyer. ...

When the Federals left Alexandria, the town went up in flames, the origins of which are disputed. En route to the Mississippi, an engagement at Mansura, May 16, was fought with almost no casualties. Yellow Bayou, the final conflict, took place on May 18 with significant casualties in a burning forest. Transport ships were lashed together to allow Union forces to cross the wide Atchafalaya River. General Taylor had promised to prevent the return of the Federals, but he could not do so. He blamed Kirby Smith for lack of support. General Banks on arrival near the Mississippi found that a new field commander was appointed in his place. May 16 is the 136th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (137th in leap years). ... May 18 the 138th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (139th in leap years). ... The Atchafalaya River is a distributary of the Mississippi and Red rivers, approximately 170 mi (270 km) long, in south central Louisiana in the United States. ...


Except for a few junior commanders, the Red River Campaign was not a positive episode in the military careers of the important participants. Consequently the accounts left behind in the memoirs of Sherman, Grant, Porter, Taylor and others either ignored some of their roles or partially misrepresented them. Some, like Banks, preferred to remain silent, perhaps not wanting to dredge up the troublesome problems created by cotton speculators, some of whom had connections to Lincoln, Grant, and himself. Admiral Porter realized a substantial sum of money during the campaign from the sale of cotton as prizes of war.

The Union forces wasted time and effort on this campaign that could have been used in the Atlanta Campaign and against Mobile. The Confederates lost two key commanders and suffered casualties they could not afford, but they kept the Union forces out of the Red River and new areas of Texas for the rest of the war. If the Confederates could have forced the Federals to blow up their fleet, they could have turned the campaign into a major Confederate victory. Palisades and chevaux-de-frise in front of the Potter House, Atlanta, Georgia, 1864. ...


  • Banks, Raymond H., King of Louisiana, 1862–1865, and Other Government Work: A Biography of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, published by author, 2005, pp. 918-1143.
  • Bounds, Steve, and Milbourn, Curtis, "The Battle of Pleasant Hill," North & South: The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society,vol. 8. no. 6, Nov. 2005, pp. 70-88.
  • Irwin, Richard B., History of The 19th Army Corps. G. P. Putnam's Sons, NY, 1893, pp. 282-355.
  • Milbourn, Curtis, and Bounds, Steve, "The Battle of Mansfield," North & South: The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society, vol 6, no. 2, Feb. 2003, pp. 26-40.
  • Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, vol. 26, Naval Forces on Western Waters (March 1, 1864 - December 31, 1864). GPO, Washington, 1914.


  • Taylor, Richard, Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late War. D. Appleton & Co., NY, 1879, pp. 148-96.
  • The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, vol. XXXIV, Operations in Louisiana and the Trans-Mississippi States and Territories. January 1-June 30, 1864. GPO, Washington, 1891.


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Red River Campaign - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2322 words)
The Red River Campaign or Red River Expedition consisted of a series of battles fought along the Red River in Louisiana during the American Civil War from March 10 to May 22, 1864.
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Except for a few junior commanders, the Red River Campaign was not a positive episode in the military careers of the important participants.
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