Battle of Monett's Ferry

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Battle of Monett's Ferry
Part of the American Civil War
Date April 23, 1864 (1864-04-23)
Location Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
Result Union victory
United States United States Confederate States of America Confederate States
Commanders and leaders
Nathaniel P. Banks Hamilton P. Bee
Units involved
Red River Expeditionary Force Bee's Cavalry Division
Casualties and losses
200 400

The Battle of Monett's Ferry was fought on April 23, 1864, between Union and Confederate forces. The Union Army was led by Nathaniel P. Banks. They crossed a river to attack Confederate forces, and were victorious, having forced the rebels to retreat.


Near the end of the Red River Expedition, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks' army evacuated Grand Ecore in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, and retreated to Alexandria, pursued by Confederate forces.


Map of Monett's Ferry Battlefield core and study areas by the American Battlefield Protection Program.

Banks's advance party, commanded by Brig. Gen. William H. Emory, encountered Brig. Gen. Hamilton P. Bee's cavalry division near Monett's Ferry, or Cane River Crossing, on the morning of April 23. Bee had been ordered to dispute Emory's crossing, and he placed his men so that natural features covered both his flanks. Reluctant to assault the rebels in their strong position, Emory demonstrated in front of the Confederate lines. Among the troops supporting Emory in this effort were members of the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry, the only regiment from the Keystone State to fight in the Union's 1864 Red River Campaign across Louisiana.[1]

Meanwhile, two other Union brigades went in search of another crossing, one of which successfully found a ford, crossed, and attacked the rebels in their flank, forcing Bee to retreat. Banks's men laid pontoon bridges and, by the next day, had all crossed the river.[2]


The Confederates at Monett's Ferry missed an opportunity to destroy or capture Banks's army. According to General Richard Taylor, the errors made by Bee were as follows: Sending Terrell's Brigade back to Beasley to guard a wagon train "For the safety of which I had amply provided for", taking no steps to artificially increase the strength of his position, (Presumably by building earthworks or other fortifications), in massing his troops to the center "Where the enemy were certain not to make any decided effort" instead of concentrating on his flanks, and finally, in retreating his entire force 30 miles to Beasley upon being forced back instead of attacking the disorganized Union column.[3]


  1. ^ Snyder, Laurie. Red River Campaign (Louisiana, March to May 1864), in 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers: One Civil War Regiment's Story, retrieved online March 31, 2017.
  2. ^ John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, pp. 335, 362
  3. ^ United States. War Dept, Henry Martyn Lazelle, Leslie J. Perry 'The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies' pg. 580-581

 This article incorporates public domain material from the National Park Service document "[1]".

Coordinates: 31°29′53″N 92°51′25″W / 31.498°N 92.857°W / 31.498; -92.857