Baton Rouge, LA

Battle of Baton Rouge Painting

[The Battle of Baton Rouge - Harper's Weekly - Courtesy of Son of the South]

Date(s): August 5, 1862

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

Campaign(s): Operations Against Baton Rouge [1862]

Battles in Campaign:


  • In an attempt to regain control of Louisiana, the Confederates wanted to recapture the capital at Baton Rouge.

  • Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge planned a combined land/water expedition with his corps and CSS Ram Arkansas.


  • Union: Brig. Gen. Thomas Williams

  • Confederate: Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge

Principal Forces:

  • Union: 2nd Brigade, Department of the Gulf

  • Confederate: Breckinridge’s Corps


  • Breckinridge's troops advanced west from Camp Moore to around ten miles from Baton Rouge on August 4th.

  • The Confederates reached the outskirts of the capital early in the morning, formed for an attack in two divisions, and drove back each Union unit they encountered.

  • Union gunboats in the river began shelling the Confederates.

  • The Arkansas could have neutralized the Union gunboats, but her engines failed and she did not participate in the battle.

  • Union land forces fell back to a more defensible line.

  • The Union commander, Brig. Gen. Thomas Williams, was killed soon after and the new commander, Col. Thomas W. Cahill, ordered a retreat to a prepared defensive line nearer the river and within the gunboats’ protection.

  • The Confederate troops attacked the new line without success and the Federals finally forced them to retire.

  • The next day the Arkansas’s engines failed again as she closed on the Union gunboats and she was blown up and scuttled by her crew.

  • The Confederates failed to recapture the state capital.

Slide Presentation: None

Classification2: B


  • Union: 371

  • Confederate: 478

Results: Union Victory Miniature Union Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Lodging and Restaurants: Louisiana Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1National Park Service summary.

2 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

3 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 07/20/2013