Pleasant Hill, LA

Date(s): April 9, 1864

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Pleasant Hill, Sabine, Louisiana, United States

Campaign(s): Red River Campaign [1864]

Battles in Campaign:

Situation:

  • By April 1864, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks’ Red River Expedition had advanced about 150 miles up Red River.

  • Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor, commander of the Confederate forces in the area, decided, without any instructions from his commander Gen. E. Kirby Smith, that it was time to try to stop the Union drive.

  • Taylor's forces were victorious at Mansfield on April 8th.

  • Banks withdrew from that battlefield to Pleasant Hill, but he knew that fighting would resume the next day.

Commanders:

  • Union: Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks

  • Confederate: Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor 

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Red River Expeditionary Force (Banks’ Department of the Gulf) 

  • Confederate: District of West Louisiana

Description:

  • Early on the 9th, Taylor’s reinforced forces marched toward Pleasant Hill in the hopes of finishing the destruction of the Union force.

  • Although outnumbered, Taylor felt that the Union army would be timid after Mansfield and that an audacious, well-coordinated attack would be successful.

  • The Confederates closed up, rested for a few hours, and then attacked at 5:00 pm.

  • Taylor planned to send a force to assail the Union front while he rolled up the left flank and moved his cavalry around the right flank to cut the escape route.

  • The attack on the Union left flank, under the command of Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Churchill, succeeded in sending those enemy troops fleeing for safety.

  • Churchill ordered his men ahead, intending to attack the Union center from the rear.

  • Union troops, however, discerned the danger and hit Churchill’s right flank, forcing a retreat. 

  • Pleasant Hill was the last major battle, in terms of numbers of men involved, of the Louisiana phase of the Red River Campaign.

  • Although Banks won this battle, he retreated, wishing to get his army out of west Louisiana before any greater calamity occurred.

  • The battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill jointly (although the former was much more decisive) influenced Banks to forget his objective of capturing Shreveport.

Slide Presentation: None

Classification2: B

Casualties3:

  • Union: 1,100

  • Confederate: 2,000

Results: Union Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Lodging and Restaurants: Louisiana Tourism

Recommended Resources:


1 National 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 09/07/2012