Monday, November 14, 2016

Nov. MCCWRT Meeting-- Part 5: Red River Campaign, CSA-USN and Low Water

Cotton was a major factor in the drive to Shreveport.  The U.S. Navy got to Alexandria, Louisiana, first and immediately set about "procuring" as much cotton as they could get their hands on.  This was cotton money that would go to the Navy, not the Army..

They even went so far as to stamp CSA on the cotton to make it o.k. to take.  The Army had a put-down joke concerning such bales as this that they came across, stamped with both CSA and USN.  The letters, they said, stood for Cotton Stealing Association of the United States Navy.

A major problem, other than the rivalry to get the cotton, but one more of a threat to mission success was the low level of the Red River.  The expedition was planned during the spring to take advantage of high water, but 1864, the spring flooding that might be expected did not come.  There were some major shallows at Alexandria that proved to be time-consuming and hard work to get over.

The largest Union warship, the USS Eastport really got stuck and took an extreme lot of effort to get it refloated and past the shallows.  After more effort, the Navy managed to get 13 gunboats over it.

--Old Secesh



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