Monday, April 7, 2014


[Excerpted from Destruction and Reconstruction by Richard Taylor, pages 160-161]
From the Official Records of the War of
the Rebellion.
      On the morning of the 7th of April, [Brig. Gen. James] Major, from Pleasant Hill, reported the enemy advancing in force; whereupon [Brig. Gen. Tom] Green went to the front. Later in the day the southerly wind brought such distinct sounds of firing to Mansfield as to induce me to join Green. Riding hard, I suddenly met some fifty men from the front, and reined up to speak to them; but, before I could open my mouth, received the following rebuke from one of the party for a bad habit: "General! if you won't curse us, we will go back with you." I bowed to the implied homily, rode on, followed by the men, and found Green fighting a superior force of horse. Putting in my little reënforcement, I joined him, and enjoyed his method of managing his wild horsemen; and he certainly accomplished more with them than any one else could have done. After some severe work, the enemy's progress was arrested, and it became evident that Green could camp that night at a mill stream seven miles from Pleasant Hill, a matter of importance.
Pvt. William P Barns
13th Texas Cavalry
(9th  Plate Ambrotype, M.D.
Jones Collection)
The roads in this region follow the high ridge dividing the drainage of Red River from that of the Sabine, and water is very scarce. Between Pleasant Hill and Mansfield but two streams are found, the one above mentioned, and a smaller, seven miles nearer to the latter place. For twenty miles from Pleasant Hill toward Natchitoches there was little or no water; and at Pleasant Hill itself we had exhausted the wells and reduced the store in cisterns during our stay. This, as it affected movements and positions of troops, should be borne in mind.

           Leaving Green, I returned to Mansfield, stopping on the road to select my ground for the morrow. This was in the edge of a wood, fronting an open field eight hundred yards in width by twelve hundred in length, through the center of which the road to Pleasant Hill passed. On the opposite side of the field was a fence separating it from the pine forest, which, open on the higher ground and filled with underwood on the lower, spread over the country. The position was three miles in front of Mansfield, and covered a cross-road leading to the Sabine. On either side of the main Mansfield-Pleasant Hill road, at two miles' distance, was a road parallel to it and connected by this Sabine cross-road.
Report of Col. George W. Baylor, Second Arizona Cavalry, commanding Major’s cavalry brigade, of operations April 7-18.
Headquarters Major’s Brigade,
In the Field, Louisiana, April 18, 1864.
      CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on the 7th instant Colonel Madison’s regiment began skirmishing with the enemy’s advance, falling back slowly. Colonel Lane formed our brigade to receive the enemy. My regiment was placed on the left wing, and was strongly posted on the crest of a hill, being dismounted. Colonel Madison having fallen back, was ordered to support me, and took position on my right (left center), Lane’s regiment on the right center, and Chisum’s on the right wing. The enemy charged boldly up to within 50 yards of our position, but the men stood their ground firmly, loading and firing with great coolness. This close work soon became too hot for the enemy, and when we charged them with a yell they broke in confusion. Here Lieut. F.B. Chilton, commanding Company B, wounded severely, both of Baylor’s regiment. We drove them back nearly a mile, when we found them in greatly superior force, and were obliged in turn to fall back to prevent being flanked. Our ammunition being nearly exhausted, Colonel Lane ordered us to fall back until we could get a fresh supply. We took position in rear of the mill, but our artillery and other cavalry continued to fight until nightfall, when the enemy withdrew. We slept on our arms all night.

[Official Records, War of the Rebellion, Vol 34, Part I, pages 616-617]

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