Military Adventures Beyond the Mississippi

Corps d’Afrique

During this time he had defeated the enemy in a hotly contested battle, taken two thousand prisoners, two transports, and twenty guns, and either destroyed or compelled the destruction of eight transports and three gun-boats. He had effectively protected New Orleans from an attack which the rebels had boastfully threatened, and had obtained possession of one of the richest regions of the entire South. Quantities of stores and provisions had also been captured by him. From Opelousas, too, he sent out expeditions into the surrounding country, and on the 7th of May a part of his forces entered Alexandria, which had already the day before surrendered to Admiral Porter, who, operating from above in connection with General Grant, bad advanced upon it with his fleet by way of Red River. Hundreds of negroes had flocked to the Union standard during this expedition. The plantations were large, and their owners held many slaves. Soon after his occupation of Opelousas, General Banks issued a proclamation providing for the organization of African troops in regiments of five hundred men. He designed eventually an organization of eighteen regiments. It was to be termed the “Corps d’Afrique."

General Banks, after a fortnights rest, marched east, recrossed the Mississippi River, and commenced operations against Port Hudson* The rebels reoccupied Opelousas. The west bank of the Mississippi swarmed with guerrilla parties, who fired on the passing boats. On the 22d of May Brashear City was recaptured with 1200 prisoners, sick an4 well, and a large quantity of stores, by a party of Texans. But the surrender of Vicksburg and Port Hudson left them without the hope of retaining what they had obtained, and by the middle of July the rebels commenced to withdraw again from the Southern Paradise, once more pursued by General Banks's victorious forces. Such, in brief, is the history and result of the Opelousas expedition.

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Last updated 10/11/2009.