Mansfield, LA

Date(s): April 8, 1864

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Mansfield Battle Memorial Park (battlefield), Mansfield, Louisiana, United States

Campaign(s): Red River Campaign [1864]

Battles in Campaign:

Situation:

After the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson in July 1863, the Mississippi River was controlled by the Union.  President Lincoln and his staff decided that the next objectives in the Trans-Mississippi area should be the capture of Texas and the Confederate Trans-Mississippi headquarters at Shreveport, LA. The Red River was selected as the best approach to Texas.  A combined army-navy advance was planned with an army of 35,000 troops led by General N. P. Banks and naval support under the command of Flag Officer D. D. Porter.

The Union command believed that a successful Red River campaign would accomplish the following goals: 

  • Confiscation of cotton for mills in New England
  • Destruction of Confederate supply plants
  • Prevent a French-Mexican army from joining forces with the Confederates
  • Prevent supplies from Texas reaching Confederate troops
  • Provide protection for Union loyalists in Texas and facilitate Texas rejoining the Union

The Union army and navy had progressed with little opposition on their route along the Red River to Alexandria and Natchitoches.  In early April 1864, the army veered away from Red River at Natchitoches and proceeded toward Shreveport via Mansfield.  This move left the army without naval support.  

Commanders:

  • Union: Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks

  • Confederate: Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Banks’ Red River Expeditionary Force

  • Confederate: District of West Louisiana (two divisions)

Description:

  • Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks' Red River Expedition had advanced about 150 miles up Red River.

  • Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor, without any instructions from his commander, Gen. E. Kirby Smith, decided that it was time to try and stem this Union drive.  He established a defensive position just below Mansfield, near Sabine Cross-Roads, an important communications center.

  • On April 8, Banks’ men approached, driving Confederate cavalry before them. For the rest of the morning, the Federals probed the Rebel lines.

  • In late afternoon, Taylor, though outnumbered, decided to attack. His men made a determined assault on both flanks, rolling up one and then another of Banks’ divisions.

  • Finally, about three miles from the original contact, a third Union division met Taylor’s attack at 6:00 pm and halted it after more than an hour's fighting.

  • That night, Taylor unsuccessfully attempted to turn Banks’ right flank. Banks withdrew but met Taylor again on the 9th at Pleasant Hill.

  • Mansfield was the decisive battle of the Red River Campaign, influencing Banks to retreat back toward Alexandria.

Photo Gallery:2

Mansfield State Historic Site

Confederates Achieve Vistory at Mansfield

Mansfield Battlefield Map

Texas Marker Outside of Visitor Center

Map showing openning phases of the Battle of Mansfield

Copy of Hardee's Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics

Colt Model 1860 Revolver

0.69 Caliber Musket Ball Mold

Swords

Shells of the Red River Campaign

Shells of the Red River Campaign

Model of the U.S.S. Carondelet

Description of the U.S.S. Carondelet

Uniform of the New York Zoave Regiment

Officer's Tent

Officer's Tent

Entrance to General Mounton Trail

General Mouton Trail

Polignac's Texas Infantry Brigade

Snake-fence line

Site of the bloodiest fighting at Mansfield

130th Illinois Infantry Regiment

Gray's Louisiana Infantry Brigade

48th Ohio Infantry Regiment

77th Illinois Infantry Regiment

Interpretive Field Encampment

Interpretive Field Encampment

Interpretive Field Encampment

Interpretive Field Encampment

Interpretive Field Encampment

Interpretive Field Encampment

Chicago (Mercantile) Battery and 1st Indiana Battery

Line of First Phase of Battle

2nd Massachusetts Light Artillery Battery

67th Indiana Infantry Regiment

6-Pounder Field Gun

6-Pounder Field Gun

3-inch Ordinance Rifle

3-inch Ordinance Rifle

Marker Honoring Major General Polignac

Marker Commemorating Park's Founding in 1924

Marker indicating location of Federal Hospital

 

Classification3: A

Casualties4:

  • Union: 2,900

  • Confederate: 1,500

Results: Confederate Victory

Battlefield Website:

Lodging and Restaurants: Louisiana Tourism

Recommended Resources:


1 National Park Service summary.

2 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of civil-war-journeys.org."

3 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

4 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 03/22/2013