Battle of Baton Rouge

John C. Breckinridge fought in the Battle of Baton Rouge.
John C. Breckinridge fought in the Battle of Baton Rouge. Library of Congress LC-DIG-cwpbh-04775

Dates:

August 5, 1862

Other Names:

Magnolia Cemetery

Location:

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Key Individuals Involved in the Battle of Baton Rouge:

Union: Brigadier General Thomas Williams
Confederate: Major General John C. Breckinridge

Outcome:

Union Victory. 849 casualties of which 478 were Confederate soldiers.

Overview of the Battle:

Baton Rouge, Louisiana was abandoned as the state capital in April, 1862 during the American Civil War.

However, to regain control of Lousiana, the Confederate army decided to take back the capital. Major General John Breckinridge decided to organize a joint land and water expedition using his corps and the CSS Ram Arkansas. 

The Confederate land forces were ten miles away from Baton Rouge on August 4th. By early morning, they were on the capital's outskirts, and formed up in two divisions to attack. They were able to drive back every Union unit they met. However, soon after this Union gunboats started shelling the Confederate units. While the plan was for the Arkansas to disable the gunboats, her engines stopped and she was not able to help out during the battle. 

Union forces fell back. Union Brigadier General Thomas Williams was killed and Colonel Thomas W. Cahill took over command. He ordered the Union forces to retreat to a defensive line by the river so that the gunboats could provide protection.

The next day, the Arkansas was able to get its engines restarted, but as she moved close to the Union gunboats it failed again. The Confederate ship blew up and was scuttled. In the end, the Confederates were not able to recapture Baton Rouge. 


Source: CWSAC Battle Summaries