September 21, 2021

“Milliken’s Bend: Fighting for Freedom on the Mississippi”

– Linda Barnickel

September 21, 2021

Early on the morning of June 7, 1863 a brigade of Texans under Gen. Henry McCulloch assaulted a Union outpost at Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, just a few miles upstream from Vicksburg, Mississippi. Defending the post was a brigade of newly-emancipated slaves who had joined the Union army, many of them with less than a month of freedom, and even less training. The onslaught they faced would result in some of the greatest losses, proportionally, during the entire war – by some measures even exceeding that of the notably famous 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg. And yet few have heard of Milliken’s Bend. What happened there, why has it been so forgotten, and why is it worth remembering?

Linda Barnickel is an archivist and freelance writer, with master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and The Ohio State University. She is the author of Milliken’s Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and Memory (LSU Press, 2013) which received the Jules and Frances Landry Award from LSU Press for “outstanding contribution to Southern studies,” and the A.M. Pate Jr. Award from the Fort Worth Civil War Round Table for “outstanding original research” on the Trans-Mississippi. In addition, her articles have appeared in North and South Magazine; Civil War News; Tennessee Historical Quarterly; and elsewhere, and she compiled the records of Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery in the book: We Enlisted as Patriots (Heritage Books, 1998). Learn more about her work at: lindabarnickel.com or millikensbend.com.