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A critical moment in the red river expedition of April, 1864--Federal transports below the falls On the second Red river expedition, in 1864, Alexandria was garrisoned and made the base for the army and navy operating both above and below that point, in the effort that had for its ultimate object the recovery of Texas to the Union. The fleet under Admiral Porter started up the Red River from Vicksburg with the transports carrying A. J. Smith's column of 10,000 men. Fort De Russy was captured, and Alexandria and Natchitoches fell into Union hands as they advanced. Banks with his army arrived a week later. At Sabine Cross Roads the vanguard met the Confederates in force. Sufficient care had not been taken to keep the several Union bodies together, and the Confederates under General Taylor defeated Franklin April 8th, and drove him back with a loss of 3,000 out of 11,000 engaged. At Pleasant Hill, A. J. Smith made a stand on April 9th, but was unable to hold his own. An immediate retreat was made, without waiting to bury the dead, and the fleet came near being cut off by low water at Alexandria, but the ingenuity of Colonel Bailey in constructing a dam and water-way enabled it to escape. In the picture the level in front of the hotel is piled with ammunition and supplies — elaborate preparations all wasted.

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