Thursday, April 10, 2014

April 8, 1864

April 8, 1864

---Battle of Sabine Crossroads (Mansfield), Louisiana:  As Gen. Banks’ Federal troops of the Army of the Gulf march towards Shreveport, Brig. Gen. Albert Lee is out in front with his division of cavalry: two brigades under Lee and Dudley.  Gen. Taylor, contrary to Gen. Kirby-Smith’s wishes, wants to advance, and he sends out Gen. Thomas Green’s newly-arrived Texas mounted division ahead to anticipate Banks’ arrival.  Taylor has infantry divisions under Alfred Mouton and John G. Walker.  He sends to Keachie to order Churchill and Parsons to advance with their divisions, too.  It becomes clear to Taylor, after scouting reports come in that the Federals are stretched out in a marching column 20 miles long, that attacking the head of that column would give him better odds, before the long train of Banks’ troops can come up. 

Battle of Mansfield
(maps by Civil War Trust)

As Lee’s’ blue riders move into the clearing at the crossroads, they meet Confederate infantry coming up to strengthen Green’s cavalry, which retires to the flanks, as Gen. Mouton and Gen. Walker place their brigades for action.  In the meantime, on Honeycutt Hill, Gen. Landram arrives with his infantry, and he places his troops in the center, with Lee’s cavalry on the flanks.  Around 4:00 PM, Taylor sends his troops forward, in a crescent line that overlaps both flanks of the Union salient.  Mouton’s division of Louisiana and Texas troops attacks first, and pour through the Federal defenses.  Then Taylor sends in Gen. Walker, whose Texans drive Landram and Lee from the hill.  Ransom arrives with his division of Federals, followed by Cameron’s division.  Ransom is wounded and carried from the field.   A second round of attacks at around 7:30 PM drives the Yankees back further.  Rebel losses are heavy, and Gen. Mouton is dying on the field, along with a number of ranking officers.  Gen . Cameron tries to form a second line, but he is driven, as well.  As darkness falls, the Rebels push on, eventually running into a third line formed near Pleasant Hill, with

Gen. Emory’s Federal division.  The Confederates hit this wall, and come off with losses.  Confederate Victory.


Losses:     Killed       Wounded     Captured          Total

U.S.             113             581                  1,541                  2,235

C.S.                                                                            over 1,000

The Federals also lose over 1,000 horses and mules, 20 cannon, and 156 wagons.


---Sergeant Alexander Downing, of the 11th Iowa Infantry, writes in his journal while on furlough, and expresses a hearty disgust of Copperheadism at home:

Friday, 8th—Another wet day and I stayed at home all day. It is so lonesome that I almost wish I was back in the army; although if I did not have to go back, I could enjoy myself a great deal better. May God hasten the day when this cruel war will be fought to a close, so that the soldiers may return to their homes and friends. What a cruel thing this war is! Think of the thousands of our brave men suffering in the hospitals and in the camps, and many being killed on the battlefield. And yet, think of the everlasting Copperheads in the North, how they sympathize with the South! Such men as they are not fit to be compared with the negroes of the South! I would like to see such men as they are be made to go down there and fight for the South, and be compelled to live on mule beef at that!

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