The armies that clashed at Pleasant Hill were exhausted from their engagement the previous day at Mansfield followed by a 15-mile (24-km) march. Union General Banks’s stand was a desperate attempt to salvage his Red River campaign, while Confederate General Taylor was determined to maintain his Mansfield momentum. Banks had selected a strong defensive position with his artillery on the mound of Pleasant Hill, and riflemen concealed in a ravine at its foot. Taylor ordered a charge in the late afternoon, and Brigadier General Churchill, commanding his freshest troops, forced back the Union left flank. On the Union right, the concealed riflemen decimated Hamilton Bee’s cavalry charge but, pouring in his last reserves, Taylor finally forced the Union troops to withdraw. At this critical juncture, A.J. Smith’s reserves counterattacked the Confederate right flank. Bloodied, but technically unbeaten, General Banks ordered his troops to withdraw overnight. The Red River campaign was soon abandoned.
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