Remembering the Battle of Milliken's Bend
Tadlock, Isaiah J.
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On June 7, 1863 Union and Confederate forces clashed at a Federal encampment on the Mississippi River near the town of Milliken’s Bend. While this engagement was influential for the future of the United States Colored Troops, and thus the outcome of the Civil War, it has been largely overlooked by historians and the public at large. The accounts that do exist tend to be more of an overview of the battle rather than an in-depth look at its events and influence. This thesis will closely examine two regiments which faced each other that day in an attempt to provide a better look at the battle, and explain its loss of place in history. The subjects of these analyses will be the 16th Texas Cavalry, Dismounted, and the 11th Louisiana Infantry, African Descent. The events of the battle itself will be covered, in addition to the lives of the men of each regiment before and after the battle. This will help to establish patterns of behavior and movement in each regiment that will help to explain the lack of memory in regard to the battle. This research is conducted through an analysis of the service records of each regiment, Federal Census records, and County-level data, including death records. Also included are the records of national and State cemeteries where the veterans are buried, newspaper accounts of the battle and the soldiers involved, first-hand accounts from the veterans where available, and records of the Grand Army of the Republic. Repositories include the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History in Austin, Texas, the Indiana Historical Society Library, Indianapolis, Indiana, the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., and the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Other histories concerning Milliken’s Bend include Joseph Blessington’s iv Campaign of Walker’s Texas Division, Benjamin Quarles’ The Negro in the Civil War, John Winters’ The Civil War in Louisiana, Richard Lowe’s Walker’s Texas Division, and Linda Barnickel’s Milliken’s Bend. All of these accounts consider the opposing sides as a whole, whereas the approach of this thesis is microhistorical, and will examine the battle from the viewpoint of two regiments.