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[134]

Taylor did not count numbers. It mattered little to him that he was to hurl 9,000 men at that Federal wall of three times his number. He resolved to make a stand at Mansfield. With his battle already outlined in his mind, he sent a dispatch to Gen. Kirby Smith, stating his purpose. Fearing Taylor's impetuosity, Smith had the day before Mansfield sent a courier to him with this message: ‘Not to fight, but to withdraw nearer Shreveport.’ Smith had also sent from headquarters another dispatch of general application to all Confederates of Christian faith in his department. He had appointed April 8, 1864, as a day of fasting and prayer. The women of west Louisiana were on their knees weeping before their altars. Its soldiers were in the field, exultantly driving the enemy before them, a disorganized mass.

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