Mary Jackson, Historian General of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, has written an article about the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana in the August 2013 issue of the United Daughters of the Confederacy magazine, titled Pleasant Hill, The Victory Was Theirs. The small town of Pleasant Hill is located inside the southeast corner of DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, and on April 9, 1864 the Union forces were on the march. The battle of Mansfield, LA had just ended the day before in a victory for the Confederates.
Terror soon arrived in the small town of Pleasant Hill as the women were told to gather their children and valuables and flee because the Yankees were coming. The battle took place between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. and Ms. Jackson describes the aftermath as follows: “The injured and dead on both sides were numerous. That evening when the battle ended, Union troops hurriedly left, leaving their dead and wounded on the battlefield…It was not until the next day on April 10 that a small contingent of Union soldiers returned to bury their dead and doctors were also sent to care for their injured.”
Ms. Jackson said that the battle was a result of Union forces trying to gain control of the Red River area of Northwest, Louisiana, and the Confederates seeking to keep them from it. After the Battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hills, the Federals retreated, ending its march through that part of LA. She writes, “Truly the Confederates held their ground, and in the end ‘Victory was theirs’!”
When I read this I was ashamed that I had never heard of either of these battles, where many lives were lost on both sides, as well as much suffering and deprivation for the women and children of the area. Sadly, I imagine there are many such battles that we have never heard of.
Confederate troops fighting at Pleasant Hill were mainly from Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas. The Union side mostly had men from Illinois, Indiana, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Iowa. The first weekend in April people from all over gather for the Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Pleasant Hill.