Friday, February 27, 2009

Battle of Mansfield

The Red River Campaign was the Union's effort to capture Texas and take control of the Trans-Mississippi headquarters at Shreveport, Louisiana. Union troops under the command of General N. P. Banks, and Navy troops under Flag Officer D. D. Porter, moved up the Red River through Alexandria, Louisiana to Natchitoches. At that point, General Banks moved away from the Red River and his naval support. He was not expecting to meet Confederate troops until he reached Shreveport.

On the morning of April 7, 1864, Union troops encountered Confederate troops under the command of General Richard Taylor (son of President Zachary Taylor) near Wilson's Farm south of the town of Mansfield. At noon the next day, April 8, 1864, Confederate forces met the Union forces in battle about four miles south of Mansfield. This is where the Mansfield State Historic site is today. The Confederate forces overtook the Union soldiers, taking many prisoners, and causing the Union forces to retreat to Pleasant Hill. The next day, the Battle of Pleasant Hill was fought with both sides sustaining heavy losses and withdrawing. After the two battles, the Union army retreated back to Natchitoches and down the Red River, thus ending the Red River Campaign.

The Battle of Mansfield has been called the most important battle west of the Mississippi. It was the turning point in the Red River Campaign, and it saved Texas from the invasion of Union Troops.

Three sons of my 3rd great grandfather, David Blanton, fought at Mansfield and Pleasant Hill:

John Martin Blanton (1827-1873)
James Elijah Blanton (1842-1919)
David Robert Blanton (1844-1894)

They were members of the 23rd Texas Cavalry Regiment which was assigned to H. Bee's and Debray's Brigade, Trans-Mississippi Dept.

The Mansfield State Historic Site is operated by the State of Louisiana. Inside the Interpretive Center, visitors can watch an interesting 10 minute video about the Battle of Mansfield and view several exhibits containing artifacts from the war including weapons, uniforms, letters and diaries.

Copyright © 2009 Deborah Blanton McCoy.
Do not copy the articles or pictures in this blog without the consent of the author.


  1. This is something my husband and I would love to see. I have a number of ancestors who were in Texas cavalry units. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Very good article, Debbie. Thanks for writing such a clear historical record of this battle.

  3. The Friends of Battle of Mansfield has a great website.


    Louisiana Genealogy Blogs

  4. Debbie, I was attracted to your Battle of Mansfield blog while also researching my family tree. Unlike you, I am new to geneology study and am just discovering these kinds of great stories that involved my family. I found it coincidental and even more interesting because, similar to you, it was my third Great Grandfather who was with the 23rd Texas Cavalry along with his older brother. His name was William Lynell Nathan Elmore (listed as "W N Elmore" in the Regiment) and his older brother was James Christopher Columbus Elmore (listed as "J C C Elmore"). I believe they were with Company B. They were from Hopkins, TX. Anyways, I just wanted to share that with you and to thank you for some new information I got from your blog about the battle. I am sorry that I read it too late to visit the reenactment. Is it a yearly event?

  5. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.


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