Battle of Pleasant Hill, 9 April 1864

The second of two battles in two days that ended any chance of success for the Red River campaign. The real damage had been done on the previous day at Sabine Crossroads, or Mansfield, where a Confederate force 11,000 strong under General Richard Taylor had defeated 4,500 men from the Federal advance guard and forced them to retreat in some disorder.

The bulk of the Federal army came back together at Pleasant Hill. Banks then decided to withdraw to Grand Ecore, while leaving a strong rearguard at Pleasant Hill. This force, under Generals Emory and A. J. Smith, probably numbered around 11,000 men. To oppose it Taylor now had close to 13,000 men, having been reinforced by two divisions late on 8 April.

The Confederate pursuit reached Pleasant Hill on the afternoon on 9 April. Taylor launched a vigorous attack, which met with some initial success. However, a Federal counterattack got around the Confederate right wing and the attacking line collapsed. By the end of the day only one Confederate division remaining intact. If Banks had known that, he could have easily brushed aside the remaining Confederate defences and captured Shreveport virtually unopposed. This was certainly Edmund Kirby Smith’s fear after the defeat at Pleasant Hill, but when he arrived on the battlefield late on the evening of 9 April he discovered that Banks had continued his retreat to Grand Ecore.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 August 2007), Battle of Pleasant Hill, 9 April 1864 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_pleasant_hill.html

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