The Battle of Mansfield or Battle of Sabine Crossroads, occurred on April 8, 1864, in De Soto Parish, Louisiana. The battle was a decisive Confederate victory which stopped the advance of the Union Army's Red River Campaign during the American Civil War.


During the second half of March, 1864, a combined US Army and US Navy force led by Major General Nathaniel P. Banks ascended the Red River with the goal of defeating the rebel forces in Louisiana and capturing Shreveport. By April 1 US forces had occupied Grand Ecore and Natchitoches. While the accompanying gunboat fleet with a portion of the infantry continued up the river, the main force followed the road inland toward Mansfield, where Banks knew his opponent was concentrating.

Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor, in command of the Confederate forces in Louisiana, had retreated up the Red River in order to connect with reinforcements from Texas and Arkansas. Taylor selected a clearing a few miles south of Mansfield as the spot where he would take a stand against the US forces. Sending his cavalry to harass the US vanguard as it approached, Taylor called his infantry divisions forward.

Banks command was stretched out along a single road through the woods between Natchitoches and Mansfield. When the cavalry at the front of the column found the enemy taking a strong position along the edge of a clearing, it stopped and called for infantry support. Riding to the front, Banks decided that he would fight Taylor at that spot and he ordered all his infantry to hurry up the road. It became a race to see which side could bring its forces to the front first.

Forces Involved


At the start of the battle, Taylor had approximately 9,000 troops consisting of Mouton's Louisiana/Texas infantry division, Walker's Texas infantry division, Green's Texas Cavalry Division, and Vincent's Louisiana cavalry brigade.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that there were additional Louisiana men in the ranks. This included paroled soldiers from units that had surrendered at Vicksburg. Historian Gary Joiner claimed that "there may have been from several hundred to several thousand of them." The Confederate Governor of Louisiana, Henry Watkins Allen, had organized two battalions of the State Guard and brought them to Taylor's aid, yet the documentary record is unclear as to what role they played in the battle. Joseph Blessington, a soldier in Walker's Division, wrote that "The Louisiana militia, under command of Governor Allen, was held in reserve, in case of an emergency." In addition, Blessington wrote that, from the surrounding communities, "old men shouldered their muskets and came to our assistance".

Other forces nearby included Parson's Missouri Division and Churchill's Arkansas Division. They arrived too late to participate in the fighting that day.


At the start of the battle, the US forces consisted of a cavalry division commanded by Brig. Gen. Albert L. Lee, consisting of approximately 3,500 men, and the 4th Division of the 13th Corps, commanded by Col. William J. Landram, consisting of approximately 2,500 men. During the battle the 3rd Division of the 13th Corps, commanded by Brig. Gen. Robert A. Cameron, arrived with approximately 1,500 men. The battle ended when the pursuing confederates met the 1st Division of the 19th Corps, commanded by Brig. Gen. William H Emory, with approximately 5,000 men.

The battle

During the morning, Taylor positioned Mouton’s division on the east side of the clearing. Walker’s division arrived in the afternoon and formed on Mouton's right. As Green's cavalry fell back from the advancing US forces, two brigades moved to Mouton’s flank and the third to Walker’s flank. The Arkansas division arrived around 3:30 but was sent to watch a road to the east.[6] The Missouri division did not arrive until around 6pm, after the battle was fought.

About noon, the US cavalry division supported by one infantry brigade of Landram's division was deployed across a small hill at the south end of the clearing. Shortly thereafter the other brigade of Landram's division arrived. General Cameron's division was on its way, but would not get there until the battle had already begun.

For about two hours the two side faced each other across the clearing as Banks waited for more of his troops to arrive and Taylor arranged his men. At that point, Taylor enjoyed a numeric advantage over Banks. At about 4 p.m., the Confederates surged forward. On the east side of the road, General Mouton was killed and the charge of his division repulsed. However, west of the road Walker's Texas division wrapped around the US position, folding it in on itself. Hundreds of US troops were captured and the rest retreated in a panic.

As the first US line collapsed, Cameron's division was arriving to form a second line but it too was pushed back by the charging confederates. For several miles the Confederates pursued the retreating US troops until a third line was formed by Gen. Emory's division, ending the pursuit.

Battle of Mansfield Aftermath

US forces had suffered 113 killed, 581 wounded, and 1,541 captured as well as the loss of 20 cannon, 156 wagons, and a thousand horses and mules killed or captured. More than half of the US casualties were from 4 regiments—77th Illinois, 130th Illinois, 19th Kentucky and 48th Ohio.

General Edmund Kirby Smith would report that Confederate loss was "about 1,000 killed and wounded" at Mansfield, but precise details of Confederate losses were not recorded. Some of the wounded, perhaps thirty, were taken to Minden for treatment. Those who died of wounds there were interred without markers in the historic Minden Cemetery. They were finally recognized with markers erected on March 25, 2008. The local town of Keatchi converted its Women's College into a hospital and morgue on its second floor. 100 soldiers' remains are marked nearby in Keatchi's Confederate Cemetery, maintained by the local Sons of Confederate Veterans and Daughters of the Confederacy.

Battle of Mansfield
Part of the American Civil War
Date April 8, 1864
Location De Soto Parish, Louisiana
Result Confederate victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Nathaniel P. Banks Richard Taylor
6,000 initially; 12,000 total Over 9,000(estm)
Casualties and losses
694 killed/wounded
1,423 captured/missing