A Union force escorted 240 wagons from Camden to Pine Bluff to pick up supplies and transport them back to Maj. Gen. Fred Steele's army. At first the Union escort rebuffed Rebel attempts to halt them. Then the Confederates moved in on the Union rear and front, causing a rout. The Rebels captured most of the men and all of the supply wagons. Thus, Steele gave up all thoughts of uniting with Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks on the Red River and realized that he had to save his army.