The Union forces were encouraged by the victory and by the number of men in the combined army and navy. Confederate troops were scarce in central Louisiana. Major General Richard Taylor, who was in command there, needed backup. Most of his men had been sent away to Arkansas as reinforcements. He was down to only 6,000 soldiers. The Union, on the other hand, had nearly 30,000 men and 90 armed vessels.
Alexandria soon fell under Union control. Here, Union forces saw that the Red River was going to be trouble. The river dropped so low that the gunboats could not make it upriver over the rapids. The water level rose again, but Porter knew that the low water was not a good sign. Worse, Taylor knew he could defeat the Union army now if he had more soldiers. He anxiously awaited backup from Texas.
Meanwhile, Union reinforcements arrived in Alexandria. Even though Banks and Porter had to leave men and boats behind to secure the city, they had a large force. By the time Union troops set out for their next target, Shreveport, Taylor's extra men also had arrived. Now he had nearly 11,000 soldiers facing Banks' 32,500 men.
(Below) Banks's army, in the advance on Shreveport, crossing Cane River, March 31. From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 7, 1864, p. 108. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-111176.
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