The Battle of Vermillion Bayou was fought on April 17, 1863, the third battle in a series of running battles between Union Major General Nathaniel Prentice Banks and Confederate Major General Richard Taylor. The battle was fought after both the Battle of Fort Bisland and the Battle of Irish Bend.
After Nathaniel Prentice Banks had outmaneuvered Richard Taylor’s Army of Western Louisiana out from the Bayou Teche region, he continued his movements towards his main objective of Alexandria, Louisiana. The Confederates were trying to slow him down as much as they could and they once again tried slowing him down right outside of Vermillion Bayou.
As Richard Taylor’s small army was withdrawing up the Teche, they crossed a bridge going over Vermillion Bayou. In order to slow Banks’ army down, Taylor’s men lit the bridge on fire and stopped for a rest. Banks, who was in pursuit of Taylor, split his army into two columns and sent one towards the bridge and the other column around the side.
As soon as the first column came within sight of the bridge, Confederate artillery began shelling the Union soldiers. After a while, Union artillery came up and a series of counter-battery exchanges ensued.
During the night, Taylor, knowing himself to be outnumbered, withdrew his force again.
Though Taylor had not dealt Banks a defeat, he was continually slowing Banks down from reaching Alexandria, Louisiana, and his ultimate objective of Port Hudson, Louisiana.