Milliken's Bend Battle

Milliken's Bend

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On June 6, 1863, Col. Hermann Lieb with the African Brigade and two companies of the 10th Illinois Cavalry made a reconnaissance toward Richmond, Louisiana just west of the Mississippi River opposite Vicksburg. Lieb encountered enemy troops at the Tallulah railroad depot and drove them back but then retired, fearing that many more Rebels might be near. Lieb formed his men into a battle line at Milliken’s Bend on the river and prepared to meet the pursuing enemy. The 23rd Iowa Infantry and two gunboats came to his assistance. Early the next morning, Maj. Gen. John G. Walker's Texas Division appeared in force and drove toward the Union left flank. In spite of receiving more volleys, the Rebels came on, and hand-to-hand combat ensued. In this intense fighting, the Confederates succeeded in flanking the Union force with enfilade fire. The Union force fell bank to the river’s bank. The Navy gunboats USS Choctaw and USS Lexington appeared and fired upon the Rebels. The Confederates continued firing and began extending their right to envelop the Federals but failed in their objective. Fighting continued until noon when the Confederates withdrew. The Union pursued, and the gunboats pounded the Confederates as they retreated to Walnut Bayou. Although a relatively small battle, Milliken's Bend was distinguished by the prominent role played by the black Union soldiers who, despite lacking much military training, fought bravely with inferior weaponry and succeeded in driving off the Confederates.

Battle Facts

Result

Union Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
2,561

Union

1,061

Confederate

1,500
Total Estimated Casualties
837

Union

652
101
killed
285
wounded
266
missing & captured

Confederate

185
44
killed
131
wounded
10
missing & captured