Nathaniel Prentiss Banks

Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1816–94, American politician and Union general in the Civil War, b. Waltham, Mass. After serving in the Massachusetts legislature (1849–53), Banks entered Congress as a Democrat, was returned in 1855 as a Know-Nothing and became speaker of the House, and was reelected in 1857 as a Republican. He resigned from Congress in Dec., 1857, and served as Republican governor of Massachusetts (1858–60). In the Civil War he was given command in the Dept. of the Shenandoah, where he was defeated by T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson at Front Royal and Winchester and then at Cedar Mt. during the second battle of Bull Run. Late in 1862, Banks replaced B. F. Butler at New Orleans and cooperated with Grant in opening up the Mississippi by capturing Port Hudson in July, 1863, and in participating in the Red River expedition of 1864. After the war he again served as Representative from Massachusetts (1865–73, 1875–79, 1889–91).

See biography by F. H. Harrington (1948); L. H. Johnson, Red River Campaign (1958).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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