Following the Battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, Union Major General Nathaniel P Banks’ retreat reached the Atchafalaya River on May 17th 1864. If he could get across the river his force would be protected from Confederate harassment, but he had to wait for the engineers to build a bridge.
On May 18th 1864 Confederate Major General Richard Taylor neared Yellow Bayou. Banks order Union Brigadier General AJ Smith to meet and stop them, he ordered Brigadier General Joseph A Mower to make the movement. The fight commenced with first one side then the other pushing forward or giving up ground for several hours. Finally the ground over which they were fighting caught fire and both sides were forced to retire.
This battle ended Banks’ Red River Expedition. The Union troops sustained 360 casualties, while the Confederates lost 500.