Walter Day on “The Red River Fiasco”
In March of 1864, Adm. David Dixon Porter started up the Red River with an overpowering naval force. Two months later, the Union Admiral was lucky to emerge with any of his most prized warships.
On April 27, 1864, the combat core of Porter’s powerful Mississippi Squadron idled helplessly on the wrong side of shallow water near Alexandria, Louisiana. The army he counted on for mutual support was defeated, in retreat and verging on panic. Confederate forces, once so easily cowed, now swarmed the riverbanks eager for payback. A river that should have been rising was instead falling. Porter faced one of two impossible choices: surrender his fleet or destroy it.
Hanging in the balance was Federal control of the Mississippi River and the career of one of the Navy’s most storied admirals.
Walter Day is a retired Microwave Electronics Engineer with 53 years of experience in the field. He is a great-grandson of a Confederate Infantryman. He has been interested in Civil War history for decades and a member of PCWRT for the last decade. Walter has served as President and is currently the Program Chairman.