''Bailey's Dam''

  • American Civil War
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Bailey's Dam was a construction effort done by The Union Army in Louisiana, during the later stages of The American Civil War (1861-1865). It's goal was (as part of The Red River Campaign of 1864), to move Federal Soldiers into operations around Alexandria, Louisiana and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Although The Confederate City of New Orleans had fallen to Federal Control in 1862 – and the supply Citadel of Vicksburg in 1863, major Confederate Operations were still active. Fear of losing ground led to the rather unusual engineering feat known as ''Bailey's Dam''.


The brain child of Union General and former Engineer Joseph Bailey, His plan to literally raise the height of The Red River (which ran thru Louisiana), some 7-feet. Measuring nearly 1,000-feet, the water plateau was seen as a means of allowing Federal Gunships, supply and Transport Vessels access to the main Red River. Bailey used over 3,000 Soldiers (mostly US Colored Troops), to dig and place a dam to block the confluence. Much of The Dam was constructed from the destroyed remains of The Red River Railroad Systems (wooden ties).


The ''Rock Crib'' (as it was properly known), took a record 1-month to construct, and although under a state of almost constant attack by Rebel Skirmishers and Raiders, Bailey was successful in building His Dam. Hundreds of Federal Warships used ''Bailey's Dam'' to move into The Red River proper. Used for only 1 week, Bailey's Dam fell prey to ever decreasing River tides and eventual undermining. Further support for reinforcing The Dam waned, and – owing to the thousands of additional Troops needed, The Dam was destroyed by Union Forces on May 13, 1864.