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The Battle of Monett's Ferry

April 23, 1864 in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
Red River Campaign

Union Forces Commanded by:
Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks
Forces Killed Wounded Captured
- 350 k&w - -

Confederate Forces Commanded by:
Brig. Gen. Hamilton P. Bee
Forces Killed Wounded Captured
- 400 k&w - -

**Missing and Captured
Conclusion: Union Victory


Near the end of the Red River Expedition, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's army evacuated Grand Ecore and retreated to Alexandria, pursued by Confederate forces of Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor. In the morning of the 23rd, Banks's advance party, commanded by Brig. Gen. William H. Emory, surprised Brig. Gen. Hamilton P. Bee's cavalry division near Monett's Ferry (Cane River Crossing). Realizing the importance of holding the crossing, Bee took a position at Monett Ferry, the only fordable point in the vincinity. The Confederates were protected by a high bank on 1 side and by swamps, lakes, and ravines on the other. Reluctant to attack their strong position, Emory feigned a demonstration while sending 2 brigades in search of another crossing. One brigade finally found a crossing and crossed the river and located the Confederates by late afternoon.
Col. Francis Fessenden led an attack against the Confederate's front and, after he was wounded, Lt. Col. Justus W. Blanchard continued the assault. The Confederates, outnumbered and already demoralized from Union shelling, fell back to a second hill until Bee ordered a general retreat, enabling Banks' men to lay a pontoon bridge.
By early afternoon on the 24th, all had crossed the river. The devastation of the country began at Grand Encore and continued to Alexandria. Taylor was highly critical of Bee for losing Monett's Ferry and allowing Banks to escape, faulting him for not having constructed breastworks and for having concentrated his forces in the center.
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