Featured Book Reviewer
- Feb 23, 2013
- East Texas
Since today marks the anniversary of the Battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, fought April 8, 1864, here's a look at graves of a few of the fallen Confederates from that action which turned back the invasion of the state in Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks' failed Red River Campaign. These rows of graves are in a section of the Mansfield Cemetery, at the end of a street only a few blocks from the small downtown area and parish courthouse.
The marker below reads Sacred to the memory of 86 NOBLE PATRIOTS OF THE C S A Who fell in the Battle of MANSFIELD APR 8, 1864. Only two or three are identified; most have only simple markers which read C S A. According to the park ranger at nearby Mansfield Battlefield State Park this ground originally contained Federal dead from the battle whose remains were exhumed and transferred to Pineville National Cemetery across the Red River from Alexandria, Louisiana, along with other fatalities from the entire Red River Campaign.
Supposedly many of the dead, both Union and Confederate, still lie in unmarked graves on the scattered battle sites in this part of backwoods Louisiana. These eighty-six were moved from a mass grave somewhere on the battlefield after the space had been vacated by the removal of the Federals. I would speculate that since the Confederates remained in control of the battlefield following the Union rout that any Federal dead buried here would likely have succumbed to wounds in the various temporary hospitals created here in town, making it very likely those actually killed on the field were probably given a hasty burial where they may remain today, both Federal and Confederate, save for these.
Near the center of the ranks of Confederate dead stands this monument which reads ERECTED BY THE Mansfield Amateurs (?) in memory of the Confederate Dead killed at the Battle of MANSFIELD, April 8, 1864.
Another much smaller marker at the opposite end of the ranks states, Sacred to the memory of 16 NOBLE PATRIOTS OF THE C.S.A. Who fell at the Battle of MANSFIELD APR 8, 1864. It's not clear if the sixteen are in addition to the aforementioned eighty-six or are an increase to that number.
In this view, looking in the opposite direction from the one second from the top the small marker is at the right almost hidden by the bushes and the Confederate Monument stands at left near the small gazebo. The old C. S. A. markers like the broken one below stand or lie at all sorts of odd angles. This seems to be the sole repository for the remains of the several hundred Confederate dead from the Battle of Mansfield, and nothing even comparable to this exists for the many more from the companion battle at Pleasant Hill fought the following day.