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In early 1864, Union Gen. Nathaniel Banks led a small army up Louisiana's Red River. His objective, in conjunction with an overland campaign through Arkansas, was the Confederate Trans-Mississippi capital at Shreveport. Poor coordination of the two columns enabled the Confederates to concentrate their slender resources against each in turn. Banks was first, and in early April his spearhead was hit near the crossroads of Mansfield. Historically, the Union forces, strung out on the march, were routed piecemeal, but the battle could have gone the other way.
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