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Maps of Mansfield, Louisiana (1864)
Battle of Mansfield, April 8


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The Battle of Mansfield

Civil War Trust Battle Map: Mansfield, Phases One and Two
April 8, 1864

By April 7, 1864, Union Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks' forces had advanced approximately 150 miles up the Red River. Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor, without instructions from his commanding officer Gen. E. Kirby Smith, decided to try to stem the Union advance. He established a defensive position just south of Mansfield, near Sabine Crossroads, an important communications center. On April 8, Banks' men approached, driving Confederate cavalry in retreat before them. The Federals probed the Rebel lines for the remainder of the morning, but without launching a full-scale attack. Though outnumbered, by the late afternoon, Taylor decided to attack, making a determined assault on both Union flanks, rolling up first 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' retreat back toward Alexandria. 


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