By this time, Major General Nathaniel P. Bank's Red River Expedition had advanced about 150 miles up Red River. Major General Richard Taylor, without any instructions from his commander, General E. Kirby Smith, decided that it was time to try and stem this Union drive. He established a defensive position just below Mansfield, near Sabine Cross-Roads, an important communications center.
On April 8, Banks's men approached, driving Confederate cavalry before them. For the rest of the morning, the Federals probed the Rebel lines. In late afternoon, Taylor, though outnumbered, decided to attack.
His men made a determined assault on both flanks, rolling up one and then another of Banks's divisions. Finally, about three miles from the original contact, a third Union division met Taylor's attack at 6:00 pm and halted it after more than an hour's fighting.
That night, Taylor unsuccessfully attempted to turn Banks's right flank. Banks withdrew but met Taylor again on the 9th at Pleasant Hill. Mansfield was the decisive battle of the Red River Campaign, influencing Banks to retreat back toward Alexandria.
Result(s): Confederate victory
Location: DeSoto Parish
Campaign: Red River Campaign (1864)
Date(s): April 8, 1864
Principal Commanders: Major General Nathaniel P. Banks [US]; Major General Richard Taylor [CS]
Forces Engaged: Banks's Red River Expeditionary Force [US]; District of West Louisiana (two divisions) [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 4,400 total (US 2,900; CS 1,500)