previous next
[546] against 22,000 The simple fact that Taylor, and Pollard after him, with Kirby Smith's report of the campaign, are silent with regard to the Rebel losses, is eloquent on this point. Assuming Banks's entire loss during this campaign at 5,000 men, it is morally certain that he inflicted at least equal loss on the Rebels. Even in guns — counting those captured with Fort de Russy--they had nothing to boast of.

Still, the prestige of victory was with them, the mortification of high-raised, blasted hopes, with us. We had undertaken to crush the Rebel power west of the Mississippi, and had fitted out costly expeditions — naval as well as military — for that end; and had ingloriously failed. Not only were the Rebels encouraged by this, but the timid and the wavering Louisianians and Texans were attached to the Rebel cause; while the cowering, silent, long-expectant, heart-sick Unionists of the South-west were plunged into a new abyss of bitter anguish and despair.

Gen. Banks fell back, unassailed, to Grand Ecore; the enemy now giving more immediate attention to Porter's fleet, which had worked its way slowly and laboriously up the river to Springfield landing; where the Rebels had sunk a large steamboat across the channel to arrest its progress. Just as Porter was commencing operations for its removal, a courier from Gen. Banks brought tidings of the reverse at Sabine Cross-roads, and the recoil of our army; with directions to turn back; which were sadly obeyed. The river was remarkably low, and still falling; the difficulty of navigating it with our lighter gunboats and transports almost insuperable; and now the enemy commenced annoying us at every bend and from every covert; the banks being often so high that their sharp-shooters could with perfect impunity fire over them at the men hard at work on the decks of our vessels, getting them over the numerous shoals and bars. The first attack was made at a point called Coushatta; after that, Harrison, with 1,900 cavalry, and 4 guns, persistently annoyed us: our vessels making at best but 30 miles per day; and compelled to tie up at night, which enabled him easily to keep up with them. At length,1 a more determined attack was made from the right or south bank, by 2,000 infantry (Texans) with 2 guns, led by Gen. Tom Green, whose head was blown off by a shell and one of his guns disabled, before his men could be quieted. Never was attack more reckless than that made by his infuriated, rum-crazed followers, who fancied that they could carry gunboats in that narrow, crooked channel, by infantry charges; and would not be undeceived until the Lexington, Lt. G. M. Bache, got them under a raking fire of canister, which soon strewed the banks for a mile with their bodies. Porter reports their loss here at 500. Kilby Smith's land force of course cooperated with the gunboats in the contest. The lesson was so impressive that 5,000 Rebels, who were hastening to intercept the fleet at a point below, concluded, on hearing of it, to defer the enterprise.

Meantime, our fleet pursued its arduous voyage till, at Compte,2 several being hopelessly aground, Porter

1 April 12.

2 April 13.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Grand Ecore (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Fort De Russy (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Coushatta (Louisiana, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Fitz-John Porter (4)
Nathaniel P. Banks (3)
Unionists (1)
Dick Taylor (1)
Kirby Smith (1)
Kilby Smith (1)
Pollard (1)
M. L. Harrison (1)
Tom Green (1)
Compte (1)
G. M. Bache (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 13th (1)
April 12th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: