President Abraham Lincoln is worried about the presence of a French army in Mexico and eager to satisfy the demands of Texas Unionists and New England textile manufacturers for a loyalist government in Texas. He orders Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks to establish a Federal presence in Texas in the fall of 1863. Banks sends an army of more than 30,000 Federal troops into Louisiana, hoping to strike at either Galveston and Houston by an overland march across southern Louisiana, or at Shreveport and northeast Texas by a penetration up the Red River. Poor communications between Banks and his commander on the scene, the overcautious nature of Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin, a vulnerable supply line, and a sharp reverse at the Battle of Bayou Bourbeau result in the failure of the expedition, and lead to the disastrous Red River Campaign of 1864.
A detailed account of a pivotal event that changed the course of the war, by an acclaimed expert.