April 15, 1864
Major General Frederick Steele led the occupation of the Ouachita River town of Camden (Ouachita County), only recently abandoned by Confederates. He had attempted to destroy the remaining Confederate forces in southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana by moving a Union army southwest from Little Rock (Pulaski County) toward Shreveport, Louisiana, to meet another Union army moving north from New Orleans. This ambitious endeavor turned to disaster when the Louisiana wing of the operation was defeated at Mansfield, Louisiana, and forced to retreat. Dwindling supplies and growing resistance forced him to turn east and occupy Camden.