Fort De Russy, LA
March 14, 1864
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Fort de Russy, Avoyelles, Louisiana, United States
Red River Campaign 
In early 1864 the Union launched a multi-purpose
expedition into Confederate Gen. E. Kirby Smith’s
Trans-Mississippi Department which was headquartered in
Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P.
Banks and Rear Adm. David D. Porter
jointly commanded the combined force.
and Brig. Gen. A. J. Smith's XVI and XVII
Army Corps detachments of the Army of the Tennessee set out on March 12, 1864,
up the Red River, the most direct route to Shreveport.
Banks with the
XIII and XIX Army Corps advanced by way of Berwick Bay and Bayou Teche.
Brig. Gen. A. J. Smith and Brig. Gen. Joseph Mower
Lt. Col. William Byrd
3rd Division, XVI Army Corps
Fort DeRussy Garrison (approx.
After removing various obstructions that the
Confederates had placed in the river, the major impediment to the Union
expedition was the formidable Fort DeRussy.
Fort DeRussy was an earthen fortification with a
partly iron-plated battery designed to resist the fire of Union ironclads that
might come up river.
Union Brig. Gen. A. J.
Smith’s command had left Vicksburg on transports and
disembarked at Simsport, about thirty miles from Fort DeRussy, on the 12th.
Smith sent out
some troops on the morning of the 13th to determine if any enemy was in their
This force dispersed and chased an enemy brigade,
after which, Smith set his men in motion up
the Fort DeRussy road.
They did not proceed far before night. Early the
next morning, the 14th, they continued the march, discovering that a Confederate
division threatened their advance.
Always mindful of this threat,
Smith had to place part of his command in a
position to intercept these Confederate forces if they attacked.
arrived at the fort, the enemy garrison of 350 men opened fire.
to use Mower’s division, XVI Army Corps, to
take the fort and set about positioning it for the attack.
Around 6:30 pm, Smith
ordered a charge on the fort and about twenty minutes later,
Mower’s men scaled the parapet, causing the
enemy to surrender.
Fort DeRussy, which some had said was impregnable,
had fallen and the Red River to Alexandria was open.
1 National Park
- having a decisive influence on a
campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war
having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign
having observable influence on the
outcome of a campaign
having a limited influence on the
outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important
3 Casualties are
someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.