Battle of San Jacinto (21 April 1836)
- The Red River Campaign. The Red River Campaign was a series of battles fought along the Red River in Louisiana during the American Civil War from March 10 to May 22, 1864. Its two primary goals were to stop rampant unemployment caused by the lack of cotton for textile mills (the cotton would be pillaged from the large stockpiles in the southwest, not yet ravaged by war), and to seize Texas to prevent the French, supporting Mexican emperor Maximilian I, from creating land trade routes to get the cotton. Participants: The Chief-of-Operations for the campaign was Maj. Gen. . Although Franklin controlled a small part of the forces, the majority was controlled by the Army of the Gulf's. Because of garrison duties over the long stretch of conquered land the Union had taken, he could only muster around 15,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and possibly 40 guns. Under Banks's request, sent 15,000 men (in three divisions) from his Army of the West under the command of Maj. Gen. . However, these troops were recalled back to Sherman's army when he prepared for his Atlanta Campaign on May 1. Even more troops, commanded by Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele, numbering at about 7,000including a brigade of marines and a brigade of colored troopswould join the campaign. All of these forces mustered at Shreveport, numbering nearly 50,000 men. Accompanying them were Admiral 's 58-ship flotilla, with 23 gunboats, 13 of them ironclad. Chief-of-Operations Franklin stationed his headquarters in Franklin, Louisiana. The Confederates had been planning for an invasion like this for more than a year. Despite this, they were unprepared to fight it. Lieutenant General commanded a majority of the participating Southern forces, organized under the Trans-Mississippi Department. Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder commanded a smaller amount in the form of the East Texas Department. Maj. Gen. 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. promised reinforcements, but Magruder was slow to send troops to Louisiana. Kirby Smith also ordered two tiny divisions, numbering 4,000 men total, to Louisiana to support Taylor. Banks began his march on March 10. Meanwhile, A. J. Smith and his XVI Corps traveled via boat from Vicksburg down to Simmesport. He surprised and captured the half-built Fort DeRussy on March 14, capturing 200 Confederate prisoners and the only heavy guns available to the Confederates. This signaled the beginning of the campaign. Taylor was forced to retreat, giving south and central Louisiana to the Union forces. He demanded reinforcements from Kirby Smith, who continued to tell him to retreat toward Shreveport to draw Banks into a trap. Kirby Smith had nearly 50,000 men to call upon, but refused to do so. Taylor would never fight with more than 12,500 men throughout the entire campaign. By March 31, Banks had reached Natchitoches, only 65 miles south of Shreveport. Taylor stationed himself 25 miles northwest on Pleasant Hill, still with less that 10,000 men. Banks continued advancing a week later, which would have left enough time to amass the 50,000 forces Kirby Smith had, but Taylor was left with 8,800 men still. Constant cavalry skirmishing had been going on since March 21. On April 2, Brig. Gen. Albert Lee's 5,000-man division of cavalry was struck a serious shock by 1,500 Confederate cavalry at a crossroads called Crump's Corner. Although the battle was inconclusive, Lee recognized that resistance was stiffening and a major battle would occur soon. Franklin scoffed at the idea, thinking the Confederates would keep falling back. When Banks advanced on Pleasant Hill with Taylor nowhere to be seen (April 6), Taylor had indeed retreated to Shreveport. Battle of Mansfield: Heavy cavalry fighting 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. Pursuit ended when Confederate infantry made their first appearance. Here was Taylor's entire, albeit small, army. Albert Lee organized a defense along Honeycutt Hill with the help of two infantry brigades. At 4:30 that afternoon, without orders, Brig. Gen. Alfred Mouton marched across an 800-yard wide field and attacked the Union forces from behind a rail fence. This would be one of the most gallant and bloody charges in the war and would signal the beginning of a startling Confederate victory. As Moulton continued his assault, Taylor advanced his entire line to support. Confederate dismounted cavalry was sent the Union's right flank. Reaching the fence was a ghastly ordeal, but once they took cover behind it, the Confederates ripped the Union forces to pieces with rifle fire. The Union forces panicked, their flanks had been turned, and they fled as quick as they could. Phase one of the battle of Mansfield was a Confederate victory. A mile to the south, at Sabine Crossroads, Brig. Gen. Cameron had just deployed his division. He watched the fleeing soldiers pass by and prepared his troops for the onslaught. Screaming their rebel yell, Confederate troops hit Cameron's lines hard. In ten minutes, his flanks were turned and he was forced to flee. Confederate cavalry, continuing the pursuit, reported a third Union force of about 5,800 men sitting atop a hill. Taylor ordered the attack to continue, but three attempts couldn't dislodge the forces off the ridge overlooking Chapman's Bayou. The Battle of Mansfield was over. In all, the Federals suffered 3,200 casualties, while the Confederates suffered a mere 1,000. April 9, the next day, Taylor learned that Banks had retreated back to Pleasant Hill. At 4 p.m. the next day Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Churchill started the attack on the Union forces. Bodies piled high in a deep ravine as the close battle continued. Finally, the Confederates pushed the Federals back. Confederate cavalry was ordered to cut off Banks's retreat. At that time, A. J. Smith unleashed two divisions of his XVI Corps against startled Confederate forces. Taylor ordered a short withdrawal to restabilize his lines. Despite his subordinates' opinions, Banks retreated 25 miles south back to Natchitoches. The Confederates had won a major victory. Both sides suffered roughly equal casulties of 1,600. Ten days after retiring to Natchitoches, he learned that Steele was defeated by and that he would not be able to support him. Banks ordered a general retreat back to Alexandria, 50 miles to the south. Seeing Banks defeated let Kirby Smith send two divisions north into Arkansas to crush Steele's army even more (a campaign that ultimately failed), leaving Taylor only 5,000 men to pursue with. The rest of the campaign in Louisiana would be fought in three battles: Monette's Ferry, April 23, Mansura, May 16, and finally Yellow Bayou, May 18. All the while, Banks's army battled narrow roads, scarce water, and the Confederates. Admiral Porter was also having to deal with the Red River, which was at a 20-year low. His boats constantly ran into sandbars and many of his bigger ships, such as the , couldn't fit between them. When Porter saw Confederate scouts on April 10, he ordered his ships to pull farther south. However, Confederate cannons (many captured from Banks) and sharpshooters opened at point blank range on the ships as they passed down the river. While passing Blair's Landing, Porter's lead boat, the , was hit so much that it careened out of control and crashed into the nearby bank. By the time Porter reached Alexandria, he had lost an ironclad (), two transports, and a pumper. The , struck by a torpedo, had to be scuttled. Although the Confederates had won a major victory, Banks's army and Porter's fleet had made their escape and the fate of the Confederacy had been sealed. The Red River Campaign would be the last major Confederate victory in the war.
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