April 15, 1864: Futile struggling over the Red River

William Tecumseh Sherman

Apparently Sherman hasn’t yet received the dispatch from Porter saying that A.J.Smith’s troops will be late. He asks Grant to hurry Steele and hurries Steele himself, blaming Steele for the delay — in error, as it turns out. Meanwhile Banks is telling Steele that he can’t move forward, and asking Steele to come to him. That’s not happening either.

Official Records:

NASHVILLE, TENN., April 15, 1864-10 a.m. (Received 3.15 p. m.)
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
Culpeper, Va.:
I have a dispatch from Little Rock of April 10, giving dates from General Steele of April 7, at Camden. He had had considerable skirmishing, in all of which he was successful, and had halted and sent back to Pine Bluff for provisions and ammunition. It seems to me his movement is very slow, and he may be so late in reaching Red River as to keep Generals Banks and A. J. Smith away behind time.


NASHVILLE, TENN., April 15, 1864.
General STEELE,
Via Little Rock:

Dispatch of 7th from Camden is received. I know that General Grant expects Generals Banks and A. J. Smith’s forces to come out of Red River for some other work very soon, and you should push with all possible speed to make a junction on Red River. Banks’ forces should by this time be in Shreveport.


GRAND ECORE, LA., April 15, 1864.
Major General F. STEELE:
* * * *

The enemy is in larger force than was anticipated by the Government, and has manifested his determination to fight for the posses-
sion of Shreveport and the country he now occupies, which was not anticipated by many of our officers. The lines upon which we operate are so far separated from each other that it is impossible for either of us to sustain effectively the forces of the other. If you can join us on this line I am confident we can move to Shreveport without material delay, and that we shall have an opportunity of destroying the only organized rebel army west of the Mississippi.
* * * *

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

This entry was posted in Arkansas, Frederick Steele, Nathaniel P. Banks, Red River Campaign, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman. Bookmark the permalink.

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