LA Mansfield Cemetery, Mansfield, Louisiana

James N.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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bdtex

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Awesome, James!

On my "Bucket List."

Bill
Mine too. I did a daytrip to Mansfield in 2015 but still didn't know much about it at the time. Much more to see than just what is at Mansfield Battlefield State Park.
 

James N.

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... I did a daytrip to Mansfield in 2015 but still didn't know much about it at the time. Much more to see than just what is at Mansfield Battlefield State Park.

I've been there many times over the years, especially for reenactments at both Mansfield and nearby Pleasant Hill, and still have trouble visualizing the course of events. It doesn't help that they were spread over a stretch of twenty miles or so of Louisiana back roads where in places the woods remain as dense as they were in 1864, and in many cases have even overgrown what were then cleared fields. It also doesn't help that the tiny park covers only a small part of the action at a single one of four widely-separated locations. I was sorry to see that even though the park has about doubled in size, only what has always been open and interpreted to the public is available to visitors. There are plenty of roadside historical markers that were placed now many years ago, about the time of the Civil War Centennial in the 1960's, but they're pretty vague and general in information, plus dangerous to try to stop and see, like the one below:

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Even more recent ones at Pleasant Hill are no better:

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Daiyu Hurst

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A cousin of mine (George Lindsey Hurst) died in the Battle of Yellow Bayou. His niece said he was buried in a "Soldier's Cemetery in Mansfield, LA". Does anyone here know if the fallen from that battle might also reside in this cemetery? Or, where else they might be? I don't need photos, I'm just looking for a confirmed burial location, or, as close to confirmed as possible.
 

James N.

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A cousin of mine (George Lindsey Hurst) died in the Battle of Yellow Bayou. His niece said he was buried in a "Soldier's Cemetery in Mansfield, LA". Does anyone here know if the fallen from that battle might also reside in this cemetery? Or, where else they might be? I don't need photos, I'm just looking for a confirmed burial location, or, as close to confirmed as possible.
Hi, Daiyu - welcome to the forums! I suspect that if your cousin is in fact buried in Mansfield, then it's likely he's in this cemetery. As I understand, these deceased are soldiers who died in the various military hospitals established here after the battle, and that those killed in action were buried in now-unknown and unmarked graves still on the battlefield. Yellow Bayou was some time later, during the further retreat of Banks and his army, but it's quite possible that those wounded there might have been brought here to already-established hospital services. If he was killed outright or died soon after being wounded, his body still might've been brought here if he was from nearby or had relatives in or around Mansfield.
 
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This topic reminds me of a pretty good book I read years ago. Journey to Pleasant Hill. It covered some of the actions through the eyes and letters of a Texas captain, who was a member of Walkers Texas Division.

I'm reading, studying actually, the same book of letters home by Captain Elijah Petty of the 17th Texas Infantry in Walker's Division. It is a fascinating collection of thoughts from an intelligent man during a long campaign. His comments on his day-to-day life as a company captain reveal details the historians pass by. One example: When in January 1864, the division is working at constructing breastworks along a long ten-mile front, Petty writes to his wife about how good he is with a spade, clearly stating that he was in the ditch with his men slinging dirt, not standing on top supervising with clean boots. All to say that Captain Petty was an interesting, and in the end, a heroic guy, who was killed in battle leading his company forward at Pleasant Hill, catching a grapeshot round in his chest.
 

James N.

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I'm reading, studying actually, the same book of letters home by Captain Elijah Petty of the 17th Texas Infantry in Walker's Division. It is a fascinating collection of thoughts from an intelligent man during a long campaign. His comments on his day-to-day life as a company captain reveal details the historians pass by. One example: When in January 1864, the division is working at constructing breastworks along a long ten-mile front, Petty writes to his wife about how good he is with a spade, clearly stating that he was in the ditch with his men slinging dirt, not standing on top supervising with clean boots. All to say that Captain Petty was an interesting, and in the end, a heroic guy, who was killed in battle leading his company forward at Pleasant Hill, catching a grapeshot round in his chest.
I'm currently reading a biography of young Ulysses S. Grant who had a similar experience while clearing an oyster bed that was blocking a channel to be used by supply ships at Corpus Christi, Texas while he was a lieutenant in the 4th Infantry stationed there right before the start of the Mexican War. When his men failed to understand what it was he wanted them to do, he jumped into the water and began to demonstrate, to the amusement of other officers standing around like you describe. Fortunately, one of them was commanding General Zachary Taylor, who said loudly that he wished more of his officers were like Lieutenant Grant!
 
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J. D. Stevens

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died in the Battle of Yellow Bayou

Please do not take this comment for gospel, but the only service record of Pvt George Hurst, Co G of the 12th Texas Cavalry states he "Died of wound received in action, May 18, 1864" which indicates he was not killed outright in the Battle of Yellow Bayou. The service record has a note which appears it was written on January 4, 1865. Even though Mansfield is over a 150 from the battle, he may have been moved there over the seven plus months he lived after being wounded. Most of the men killed in the battle were buried in an old church cemetery along Bayou De Glaise. Today there is a small village there named Hamburg, but the cemetery no longer exists. It was covered over by the bayou levee built many years later. If he had been wounded, he was probably originally treated at one of hospitals at Cheneyville, Washington, Alexandria, or other locations much closer. After being disabled for 90 days, wounded soldiers were usually discharged or given a furlough to return home to recuperate. My guess is he was attempting to return to his home in Kaufman County, Texas, but only made it as far as Mansfield before expiring.

My family has a letter written by an 18 year old trooper of Co A of the 12th Texas Cavalry to his mother. In part the letter reads; "There was 11 men killed out of our regiment - there was between 75 & 80 men killed & wounded. Mother it was the bloodiest sight that I ever experienced & I hope I will never experience such another........There is no telling how many men was killed in our army we were halling (sic) in dead men all night we have been burying all day." NOTE: Colonel Parsons reported the 12th Texas had 10 killed, 61 wounded, and 2 missing. General Taylor reported 452 total men killed and wounded in the battle at Yellow Bayou.

Capt Joseph Wier was killed leading the 12th Texas Cavalry in their charge at Yellow Bayou. He was buried in this church cemetery near the bayou. In the spring of 1865, this young trooper and a cousin were given permission to go back to Louisiana and brought the remains of Capt Wier back home in Hill County, Texas for reburial in the family cemetery.
 

bdtex

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Most of the men killed in the battle were buried in an old church cemetery along Bayou De Glaise. Today there is a small village there named Hamburg, but the cemetery no longer exists. It was covered over by the bayou levee built many years later.
Were the men's remains disinterred and reburied elsewhere?
 
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