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Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks




Born: January 30, 1816

Waltham, Massachusetts

Died: September 1, 1894

Waltham, Massachusetts







May 16th, 1861: Major General of Volunteers

Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks

Courtesy of Battlefield Trust

1850: Massachusetts's Speaker of the House

1852: Sought the Democratic nomination for a seat in Congress. Ended up winning with Free Soil party support.

1853: Presided over the state Constitutional Convention

Voted against the Kansas-Nebraska Act

Supported the Abolitionist cause

1855: Agreed to chair the convention of the new Republican party

Wont the battle for Speaker of the House, was celebrated as the first Republican party. Gave anti-slavery men more important positions and investigated the Kansas Conflict

1858: Governor of Massachusetts

1860: Accepted position as President of Illinois Central Railroad

1861: Pres. Lincoln considered Banks for a cabinet post, but from a negative recommendation form Governor Andrew, did not offer the post

1861: Chosen by Pres. Lincoln as one of the first major generals of volunteers effective May 16th

First command in Eastern Maryland

August 1861: Assigned Western District of Maryland

March 14, 1862: Under Pres. Lincoln's executive order forming troops into Corps, became a Corp commander. Divisions of Gen. Alpheus Williams and Brig. Gen. James Shields were added to Banks command

March 23, 1862: First Battle of Kernstown

May 23, 1862: Battle of Front Royal

May 25, 1862: First Battle of Winchester

Northern Virginia Campaign

August 9, 1862: Battle of Cedar Mountain

August 30, 1862: 2nd Battle of Bull Run - Stationed at Bristoe Station and didn't see action

His corps was integrated into the Army of the Potomac as the XII Corps. Marched north during the Confederate invasion of Maryland

September 12, 1862: Abruptly relieved of command

November 1862: Command of the Army of the Gulf. Was asked by Pres. Lincoln to organize a force of 30,000 new recruits from New York and New England

​Sent forces to occupy Galveston, Texas, but was evicted January 1, 1863

Convinced by Naval Commander David Farragut to make a diversionary land attack on Port Hudson, but was unable to reach the objective due to poor maps

Under political pressure, Banks started an expedition to secure a route which bypassed

Port Hudson viz the Red River in late March. Was able to reach Alexandria, Louisiana but met stiff resistance from General Taylor

May 1863: Laid siege to Port Hudson - First two attempts to attack Port Hudson were failures. They failed due to poor reconnaissance and failed coordination of between units. The two attacks resulted in more than 1,800 casualties.

July 9, 1863: Port Hudson surrendered after receiving word Vicksburg had surrendered. This brought the Mississippi River under Union control.

August 1863: Pres. Lincoln ordered Banks to oversee a new state constitution in Louisiana

September 8, 1863: 2nd Battle of Sabine Pass. A further expedition to Brownsville secured the area near the mouth of the Rio Grande River

March to May 1864: Failed Red River Campaign

April 8, 1864: Battle of Mansfield

April 9, 1864: Battle of Pleasant Hill

Sherman called the Red River Campaign a complete blunder from start to finish. As a result, Grant asked Chief of Staff Halleck for Banks removal

August 1865: Mustered out of the Army

December 1865 - March 1873: US House of Representatives from Massachusetts

March 1875 - March 1879: US House of Representatives from Massachusetts

1879-1888: United States Marshall for Massachusetts

March 1889 - March 1891: US House of Representatives

Boatner, Mark M. III. Civil War Dictionary. New York: David McKay, 1967. p 42

Nathaniel P. Banks. 8 November 2019. web. 24 January 2020.

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue - Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State, 1964. p 17-18

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