|Map of the Red River Campaign|
In the spring of 1864 the Union Army began a campaign up the Red River in Western Louisiana. An army under Nathaniel Banks, supported by a flotilla of gunboats, headed upriver towards Shreveport, LA. The Confederate commander in the area was Richard Taylor. When he received news of Banks' advance, he ordered his troops to concentrate at Mansfield. When Banks drew near the area, he left the immediate support of the gunboats to fight Taylor there.
|Battle of Mansfield|
At the beginning of the day the Confederates had 9,000 men on one side of a clearing, with more reinforcements on the way. Although the Federal army was much larger, they were still on their way to the battlefield. Both sides waited during the first part of the day, until finally the Confederates struck at 4 pm. The Confederate left was repulsed and many of its commanders killed, but on the right they overlapped the Union position. The Federal line broke and many prisoners fell into Confederate hands. A second line was quickly organized, but it too was overrun by Confederate charges. After pursuing the retreating Yankees for several miles, the Confederates encountered a third Federal line, which they were unable to capture before nightfall.
The Union lost 113 killed, 581 wounded and 1,541 captured, along with 20 cannon and many wagons. The losses of the Confederates were not precisely recorded, but they were about 1,000 killed and wounded combined.