||Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks during his retreat in the Red River Campaign, following the battles of
Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, reached the Atchafalaya River on May 17. Once on the other side of the river he would
be shielded from the continuous Confederate harassment. But, he had to wait to cross the river until the army
engineers constructed a bridge. On the 18th, Banks learned that Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor’s force was near Yellow
Bayou so he ordered Brig. Gen. A.J. Smith to stop them. Since Smith could not comply himself, he ordered Brig.
Gen. Joseph A. Mower to meet Taylor. The Yankees attacked and drove the Rebels to their main line. The
Confederates counterattacked, forcing the Federals to give ground. The Union force finally repulsed the
Confederates. This see-saw action continued for several hours until the ground cover caught fire forcing both sides
to retire. Yellow Bayou was the last battle of Banks’s ill-fated Red River Expedition, and it insured that the Federals
would escape as an army to fight again.