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In March 1864, the United States initiated a joint Army-Navy expedition up the Red River in Louisiana. The objective was to capture Shreveport, Louisiana, and isolate the western states of Louisiana and Texas from the rest of the Confederacy. The Union forces, commanded by Major General Nathaniel Banks and Rear Admiral David Porter, consisted of about 30,000 army troops and over 80 navy vessels, including ironclads, gunboats, monitors and transports. These forces moved up the Red River to within about 30 miles of Shreveport before they were stopped by Confederate troops under General Richard Taylor at the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill. The Union forces were ultimately driven back down the [Anchor] Red River in what was the last major Confederate victory of the Civil War. Admission is free, but does not include entrance to the Museum's exhibits.
Charles Pearson, a resident of Appomattox, is an archaeologist with Coastal Environments, Inc., of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and an Adjunct Professor of History at Hampden-Sydney College. He has conducted numerous studies of archaeological sites in Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Virginia. Much of this research has involved investigations of historic shipwrecks. In 1995, he directed a study that led to the discovery and excavation of the ironclad gunboat USS Eastport on the Red River in Louisiana. The Eastport was lost during the Red River Campaign of 1864 and was the largest gunboat sunk during the Civil War.