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General Taylor foils Union campaign in Louisiana

April
08
1864

On this day in 1864, Confederate forces under Richard Taylor defeated a much larger Union force at the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana. Union general Nathaniel Banks had gathered an army of some 17,000 Federal troops to advance up the Red River to Alexandria and Shreveport, hoping to cut off the flow of supplies from Texas and to capture large quantities of cotton. General Taylor, commanding a Confederate force of Texas and Louisiana units, attacked the long, 12,000-man Union column three miles south of Mansfield with an army of 8,800 men. Taylor's force killed or wounded 700 Union soldiers, captured 1,500, and took 20 Union cannons and 200 wagons. About 1,000 Confederates were killed or wounded. It was one of the most humiliating Union defeats of the war. The following day Taylor's army was repulsed when it attacked the Union army at Pleasant Hill. Nevertheless, stung by his defeat on the 8th and convinced that Taylor's army was much larger than it was, Banks gave the order to retire on the night of April 9.

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