Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Battle of Baton Rouge

Hoping to take control of the state again, the Confederates tried to re-take the capital at Baton Rouge Louisiana on August 5th 1862. The plan was for a combined force on land and water between the CSS Arkansas and Major General John C Breckinridge’s corps, of 5000 men. Breckinridge’s troops reached the outskirts of Baton Rouge early on the morning of August 5th. The Confederates formed two divisions and pushed back some of the Union troops they encountered.

Union gunboats located in the river started shelling Breckinridge’s men. The CSS Arkansas, which had had success against the Union fleet earlier at Vicksburg, didn’t make it to the battle. After a trip of 200 miles her engines failed, and she was scuttled by the crew. Union commander Brigadier General Thomas Williams had advanced notice of the Confederate attack, and had his men fall back to a line they could defend. Soon after this move Williams was killed, and he was replaced by Colonel Thomas W Cahill. Cahill ordered a counterattack forcing the Breckinridge’s Rebels to retreat..

The Confederates were unable to retake Baton Rouge. The battle was over by ten in the morning. There were heavy causalities on both sides. The Confederates lost about 456 dead, wounded or missing, the Union side saw losses of 383. Union forces remained under threat at Baton Rouge and on August 20th 1862 General Benjamin Butler order the Union troops pulled back to New Orleans.

No comments: