As escaped slaves fled to the shelter of the U.S. Army in Louisiana, the Federal government leased plantations on which the freedmen grew cotton and established facilities to raise and train Black troops. These troops could then be assigned to protect the plantations, releasing veteran white troops to fight. In order to recapture some of the freedmen and destroy their crops, Confederate Col. William H. Parsons led a force from Gaines' Landing, AR, to Lake Providence, LA.
Goodrich's Landing, June 29-30, 1863
On June 29, 1863, the Confederates prepared to attack a fortified position that the Federals had constructed on an Indian mound five miles northwest of Goodrich's Landing, LA. The fortification was manned by two companies of the 1st Arkansas (African Descent). Brig. Gen. James C. Tappan's Confederate Brigade arrived in timely fashion to assist Parsons, who rather than attack, demanded an unconditional surrender of the Union force. The white Federal officers agreed to surrender on condition of being afforded their rights as prisoners of war, while the blacks were surrendered unconditionally. After taking the 113 blacks and three white officers prisoner, the Confederates destroyed the surrounding plantations. Parsons then led his command toward Lake Providence where the next day he would fight the 1st Kansas Mounted Infantry three miles south of the abandoned town. At the sight of Union transports and gunboats coming downriver, Parsons broke off the engagement and retired to the southwest. Confederate raids such as this were destructive, but only temporary setbacks to Union control of the region.
Last updated: April 14, 2015