Battle of Milliken's Bend

Battle of Milliken's Bend
Part of the American Civil War
Battle of Milliken's Bend.jpg
Milliken's Bend Battle from Harper's Weekly
Date June 7, 1863 (1863-06-07)
Location Madison Parish, Louisiana
Result Union victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Hermann Lieb Henry E. McCulloch
Units involved
African Brigade
23rd Iowa Infantry
Walker's Texas Division
Casualties and losses
652 185

The Battle of Milliken's Bend, fought June 7, 1863, was part of the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. Confederate Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton and his army were besieged in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by Union commander Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee.



Confederate President Jefferson Davis was under heavy political pressure to come to the aid of the besieged Pemberton and his 40,000 troops, bottled up in Vicksburg by Grant's 60,000 troops. Under the belief that Grant's supply lines on the west bank of the Mississippi, on the Louisiana side across from Vicksburg, were vulnerable, Davis instructed Trans-Mississippi Department Commander Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith to send troops to break up that supply line. Unknown to either Smith or Davis, Grant had recently shifted his supply lines to the east bank of the Mississippi above Vicksburg.

Smith ordered Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor to mount this attack. He assigned Maj. Gen. John George Walker's Division of Texans, known as Walker's Greyhounds, to Taylor's command for that purpose. Taylor objected, citing the sloppy nature of the terrain and the uncertainty that the supply line still existed. He preferred instead to take Walker's troops south to attack a vulnerable New Orleans, poorly defended with the movement of most of Nathaniel P. Banks' Army of the Gulf to Port Hudson. Smith rejected Taylor's plan, and Taylor reluctantly left with Walker and his men, going down the Red River from Alexandria to the Ouachita River, and from there north toward Richmond, Louisiana.

The battle

Map of the Vicksburg area from Milliken's Bend to Jackson, Mississippi

On the morning of June 6, Union Colonel Hermann Lieb with the African Brigade and two companies of the 10th Illinois Cavalry made a reconnaissance toward Richmond. About three miles from Richmond, Lieb encountered enemy troops at the Tallulah railroad depot and drove them back but then retired, fearing that many more Rebels might be near. While retiring, a squad of Union cavalry appeared, fleeing from a force of Rebels. Lieb got his men into battle line and helped disperse the pursuing enemy. He then retired to Milliken's Bend and informed his superior by courier of his actions. The 23rd Iowa Infantry and two gunboats came to his assistance.

Walker proceeded east from Richmond at 7 p.m. June 6. At midnight, he reached Oaklawn Plantation, which was situated about 7 miles from Milliken's Bend to the north and an equal distance from Young's Point to the south. Here, he split his command. Leaving one brigade in reserve at Oaklawn, he sent one brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. Henry E. McCulloch north to Milliken's Bend, and a second brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. James M. Hawes south to Young's Point.

In an effort to cut Grant's supply line and relieve the city, the Confederates attacked the Union supply area at Milliken's Bend up the Mississippi. Although a relatively small battle, it was distinguished by the prominent role played by black Union soldiers who, despite lacking much military training, fought bravely with inferior weaponry and finally drove off the Confederates with help from gunboats.

The Milliken's Bend area, 15 miles to the northwest of Vicksburg, had until recently served as a staging area for Grant's Vicksburg Campaign. It was a site of supply depots and hospitals, many of which were manned and guarded by black soldiers, some of whom were recently recruited men who were freed slaves.

Around 3:00 a.m. on June 7, Confederates appeared in force and drove in the pickets. They continued their movement towards the Union left flank. The Federal forces fired some volleys that caused the Rebel line to pause momentarily, but the Texans soon pushed on to the levee where they received orders to charge. In spite of receiving more volleys, the Rebels came on, and hand-to-hand combat ensued. In this intense fighting, the Confederates succeeded in flanking the Union force and caused tremendous casualties with enfilade fire. The Union force fell back to the river’s bank. About that time Union gunboats Choctaw and Lexington appeared and fired on the Rebels. The Confederates continued firing and began extending to their right to envelop the Federals but failed in their objective. Fighting continued until noon when the Confederates withdrew. The Union pursued, firing many volleys, and the gunboats pounded the Confederates as they retreated to Walnut Bayou.


The Confederate attempt to help lift the Siege of Vicksburg had failed.

Grant observed that despite their inexperience, the black troops had "behaved well." Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. Dana wrote, "The bravery of the blacks completely revolutionized the sentiment of the army with regard to the employment of negro troops." Having seen how they could fight, many were won over to arming them for the Union.

There were some reports that prior to retreating from Milliken's Bend, Confederates murdered surrendering black troops at Milliken's Bend. Confederate officers in command and soldiers who served there denied these reports of atrocities.

See Also


  • Parrish, Michael T., Richard Taylor:Soldier Prince of Dixie, University of North Carolina Press, 1992.
  • Lowe, Richard G. Walker's Texas Division, LSU Press, 2005.
  • CWSAC Report Update

External links

Coordinates: 32°26′N 91°06′W / 32.44°N 91.10°W / 32.44; -91.10

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Battle of Snyder's Bluff — Part of the American Civil War Date April 29 (1863 04 29) …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Chickasaw Bayou — Part of the American Civil War Date December 26, 1862 (1862 12 26)– December 29, 1862 (1862 12 29) …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Jackson, Mississippi — Not to be confused with Battle of Jackson, Tennessee. Battle of Jackson Part of the American Civil War …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Port Gibson — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Port Gibson caption= partof=the American Civil War date=May 1, 1863 place=Port Gibson, Mississippi result=Union victory combatant1= flagicon|USA|1861 United States (Union) combatant2= flagicon|CSA|1863 …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Young's Point — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Young s Point partof=American Civil War caption= date=June 7, 1863 place=Madison Parish, Louisiana casus= territory= result=Union victory combatant1=United States of America combatant2=Confederate… …   Wikipedia

  • Vicksburg Campaign — Lithograph of the Mississippi River Squadron running the Confederate blockade at Vicksburg on April 16, 1863 …   Wikipedia

  • John George Walker — Infobox Military Person name= John George Walker lived= July 22, 1821 ndash; July 20, 1893 caption= nickname= placeofbirth= Jefferson City, Missouri placeofdeath= Washington, D.C. allegiance= United States of America, Confederate States of… …   Wikipedia

  • Richard Taylor (general) — Infobox Military Person name= Richard Taylor lived= January 27 1826 ndash; April 12 1879 placeofbirth= present day St. Matthews, Kentucky placeofdeath= New York City, New York caption= Richard Taylor photo taken between 1860 and 1870 nickname=… …   Wikipedia

  • USS Lexington (1861) — The third USS Lexington was a timberclad gunboat in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.Purchase and conversion Lexington was built as a sidewheel steamer at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1861 and was purchased by the War… …   Wikipedia

  • List of battles 1801–1900 — List of battles: before 601 601 1400 1401 1800 1801 1900 1901 2000 2001 current See also: Battles of the American Civil War 19th century 1801 to 1825* 1801 ** Battle of Aboukir March 20 British Turkish army under Sir Ralph Abernathy defeats… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.