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General Nathaniel P. Banks assumed command of the Department of the Gulf for the United States on November 8, 1862. IN assuming his office Banks received orders from General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck conveying President Lincoln's concern that no time be lost in opening the Mississippi River for military and naval operations. As soon as this was accomplished, Banks was to consider other operations, such as an expedition up the Red River to liberate the cotton and sugar in Northern Louisiana and Southern Arkansas. He was also to establish a base of operation for the invasion of Texas. This decision was the genesis of the Camden Expedition through Southern Arkansas, in the Spring of 1864. The campaign was the culmination of a series of events which led to the eventual failure of the entire Red River Expedition, of which the Camden Expedition was but one phase.



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