Battle of Yellow Bayou

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Battle of Yellow Bayou
Part of the American Civil War
Date May 18, 1864 (1864-05-18)
Location Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana
Result Union strategic victory
United States United States Confederate States of America Confederate States
Commanders and leaders
Joseph A. Mower Richard Taylor
Units involved
XVI Corps District of Western Louisiana
Casualties and losses
360 500
Map of Yellow Bayou Battlefield core and study areas by the American Battlefield Protection Program.

The Battle of Yellow Bayou took place on May 18, 1864 in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana between Union and Confederate forces. After learning of Confederate forces in Yellow Bayou, Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Mower was ordered to halt their advance. Union forces subsequently attacked the Confederates and drove them back to their main line. The Confederates then counter-attacked, forcing the Union forces to retreat, until they eventually repulsed the Confederate attack. This “see-saw” action lasted a few hours, until the ground cover caught fire and both sides were forced to retreat.


Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks during his retreat in the Red River Campaign, following the Battle of Mansfield and Battle of Pleasant Hill, reached the Atchafalaya River on May 17. Once on the other side of the river, he would be shielded from the continuous Confederate harassment. But, he had to wait to cross the river until the army engineers constructed a bridge.

The battle[edit]

On May 18, Banks learned that Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor’s force was near Yellow Bayou, so he ordered Brig. Gen. A.J. Smith to stop them. Since Smith could not comply himself, he ordered Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Mower to meet Taylor. The Yankees attacked and drove the Rebels to their main line. The Confederates counterattacked, forcing the Federals to give ground. The Union force finally repulsed the Confederates. This see-saw action continued for several hours until the ground cover caught fire forcing both sides to retire.[1]


Yellow Bayou was the last battle of Banks’s ill-fated Red River Expedition, and it ensured that the Federals would escape as an army to fight again.


  1. ^ Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Battle of Yellow Bayou Historical Marker". 

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

Coordinates: 30°59′55″N 91°52′00″W / 30.9985°N 91.8668°W / 30.9985; -91.8668