Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 23, 1864

April 23, 1864

---Battle of Cane River Crossing, Louisiana: In a sharp action on Gen. Banks’ retreat, at a crossing at the Cane River, Gen. Hamilton Bee, CSA, has a division of cavalry in a strong position on the bluffs across the river at Monett’s Ferry, with their position covered by 16 cannon. (1) Banks’ lead troops are a corps of infantry (Franklin’s) under Gen. William Emory; Emory sends his cavalry across the river to drive in the Confederate pickets. But they cannot get any closer, so Banks orders up reinforcements from Smith, but Smith reports that Rebel cavalry are attacking his rear. Emory sends his cavalry to the left to make a demonstration, and send Gen. Henry Birge and three divisions to the right---who find a crossing farther upstream from Monett’s Ferry, crosses, and makes his way towards the Rebel left flank. But Birge encounters rough terrain, sloughs, bayous, and sharp ridges. Emory sends his artillery forward to engage the Rebel position, waiting for Birge to move into position. When Birge finally strikes the Rebel flank, the Federals struggle to make headway. Emory moves artillery forward, with heavy skirmish lines to the hammer the Confederate center. The Rebels launch a counterattack, which fails. Birge attacks again, and finally carries the bluffs the Rebels have been defending. Monett’s Ferry is open, and the Federals are able to cross.

Cane River Crossing - click map to enlarge

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