Battle of Lake Providence, June 9, 1863
In conjunction with the attacks on Milliken's Bend and Young's Point launched on June 7, Confederate General Richard Taylor ordered a strike against the Federal enclave at Lake Providence, LA. Col. Frank Bartlett, commanding a force of 900 cavalrymen, crossed Bayou Macon on June 9 and pushed on toward Lake Providence 48 hours behind schedule. Reaching the banks of Lake Providence six miles west of their objective, the Confederate cavalrymen encountered two companies of the 1st Kansas Mounted Infantry at Bayou Baxter. The Federals withdrew toward the town of Lake Providence, crossing the bridge over Tensas Bayou, then destroying the span. The Kansans took position along the streambank where they were reinforced by the 16th Wisconsin and the Black troops under Brig. Gen. Hugh T. Reid. In spite of a strong Federal presence, Bartlett formed line of battle and advanced toward the bayou while a 6-pdr gun was moved into position near the present-day Club House of the Lake Providence Country Club. Confederate Pioneers boldly attempted to rebuild the bridge. Union sharpshooters, however, forced the cannoneers in gray to withdraw, and after a brisk exchange of musketry in which few troops on either side were injured, Bartlett ordered his men to retire. The Confederates lost two killed and five wounded in this brief affair while the Federals reported only one man wounded.
Did You Know?
President Abraham Lincoln, in speaking of Vicksburg's importance, is reputed to have stated early during the Civil War, "See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key, the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket."