M42-APRIL 1864

Nathaniel P. Banks’s Federals were confronted by Richard Taylor’s Confederates in Louisiana. Ulysses S. Grant finalized his overall Federal strategy, and the Lincoln administration continued reconstructing the conquered southern states. A controversial engagement took place in western Tennessee, and Jefferson Davis endured a personal tragedy.

Battle of Pleasant Hill | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Grant Suspends Prisoner Exchange

1 Apr – Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant issued “most emphatic” orders to take no action on agreeing to exchange prisoners of war without further notification. This initiated a grim new war policy.

Red River: Federals Advance from Natchitoches

2 Apr – Federal forces at Natchitoches, Louisiana, looked to continue further up the Red River on the way to their ultimate goal of Shreveport and eastern Texas beyond.

Arkansas: The Elkins’ Ferry Engagement

4 Apr – Major General Frederick Steele’s Federal Army of Arkansas encountered resistance while trying to cross the Little Missouri River en route to their rendezvous point at Shreveport, Louisiana.

Confederates Prepare in Northern Virginia

5 Apr – General Robert E. Lee issued orders preparing his Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to meet the Federal army as soon as it crossed the Rapidan River to attack.

Red River: Federals Detour Toward Mansfield

7 Apr – Major General Nathaniel P. Banks’s Federal Army of the Gulf veered away from the Red River, moving inadvertently toward Confederate forces led by Major General Richard Taylor.

The Battle of Mansfield

8 Apr – Major General Nathaniel P. Banks’s Federals unexpectedly ran into Confederates under Major General Richard Taylor blocking their path to Shreveport.

The Battle of Pleasant Hill

9 Apr – Major General Nathaniel P. Banks’s Federals made a stand after the previous day’s defeat as Confederates under Major General Richard Taylor sought to drive them out of western Louisiana.

Arkansas: The Prairie d’Ane Engagement

10 Apr – Major General Frederick Steele’s Federal Army of Arkansas clashed with Confederates while trying to move south and join forces with the Federals at Shreveport.

Red River: Porter Struggles to Withdraw

11 Apr – The lowering water level on the Red River became a serious concern for Rear Admiral David D. Porter because it threatened to trap his massive naval squadron in hostile territory.

The Fort Pillow Controversy

12 Apr – Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate cavalry attacked the Federal garrison at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, and a controversy ensued over whether black troops were killed after surrendering.

Red River: Banks Misses His Deadline

15 Apr – The deadline arrived for Major General Nathaniel P. Banks to return Major General William T. Sherman’s Federal troops, even though Banks had failed to capture Shreveport and the Red River was falling dangerously low.

Red River: The Poison Spring Engagement

17 Apr – Major General Frederick Steele’s Federal Army of Arkansas ran into trouble trying to collect supplies outside Camden, Arkansas.

North Carolina: Confederates Target Plymouth

19 Apr – Confederates prepared to attack an important Federal post on the North Carolina coast, with help from a new ironclad.

North Carolina: Confederates Reclaim Plymouth

20 Apr – Confederate army and navy forces regained a town that enabled them to open the vital Roanoke River to commerce on the North Carolina coast.

Red River: Banks Tries Returning to Alexandria

21 Apr – Major General Nathaniel P. Banks’s Federals moved out of Grand Ecore, Louisiana, while struggling to salvage one of their best gunboats.

The Impending Georgia Campaign

24 Apr – Major General William T. Sherman worked to coordinate the efforts of three Federal armies in a drive on General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate Army of Tennessee at Dalton, Georgia.

Arkansas: The Marks’ Mill Engagement

25 Apr – Confederates tried to intercept a force searching for supplies to feed the hungry Federal troops isolated at Camden.

Northern Virginia: The Army of the Potomac is Ready

26 Apr – Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant confidently reported to Washington from his headquarters at Culpeper Court House, “The Army of the Potomac is in splendid condition and evidently feels like whipping somebody. I feel much better with this command than I did before seeing it.”

Red River: Porter in Grave Danger

27 Apr – Rear Admiral David D. Porter’s Federal naval flotilla reached Alexandria, Louisiana, but it was still faced potential destruction as the Red River continued falling.

The Virginia Peninsula: The Army of the James

28 Apr – Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant ordered Major General Benjamin F. Butler and his new Federal army to begin moving up the Virginia Peninsula from Fort Monroe by May 5.

The Grand Federal Offensive Begins

29 Apr – One part of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant’s overall offensive began as Federals advanced in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Arkansas: The Jenkins’ Ferry Engagement

30 Apr – Confederates attacked Major General Frederick Steele’s Federal Army of Arkansas as it tried crossing the Saline River to get back to the safety of Little Rock.

Joe Davis Dies

30 Apr – President Jefferson Davis’s five-year-old son Joseph fell off the second-floor rear balcony of the Confederate Executive Mansion.

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Last Updated: 5/5/2019

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