Bastrop, Louisiana

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Bastrop is a city in and the parish seat of Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, United States.[1] The population was 12,988 at the 2000 census. It is the principal city of and is included in the Bastrop, Louisiana Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Monroe-Bastrop, Louisiana Combined Statistical Area.

Contents

History

Bastrop was founded by the Baron de Bastrop (born Felipe Enrique Neri), a Dutch embezzler who falsely claimed to be a nobleman. He had fled to the then Spanish colony of Louisiana to escape prosecution, and became involved in various land deals. He received a large grant of land, provided that he could settle 450 families on it over the next several years. However, he was unable to do this, and so lost the grant. Afterwards, he moved to Texas, where he claimed to oppose the sale of Louisiana to the United States, and became a minor government official. He proved instrumental in Moses Austin's plan (and later, that of his son, Stephen F. Austin) to bring American colonists to what was then northern Mexico.

Bastrop formally incorporated in 1857, and is the commercial and industrial center of Morehouse Parish. In the 19th century, it was notable as the western edge of the great north Louisiana swamp, but more favorable terrain resulted in the antebellum rail line connecting to Monroe, Louisiana, further to the south.

Bastrop was a Confederate stronghold during the American Civil War until January 1865, when three thousand cavalrymen led by Colonel E.D. Osband of the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry, embarked from Memphis, Tennessee, for northeastern Louisiana. Landing first in southeastern Arkansas, Osband and his men began foraging for supplies into Louisiana and established headquarters at Bastrop. They brought in a large number of horses, mules, and Negroes, according to the historian John D. Winters in The Civil War in Louisiana. When Osband learned that Confederate Colonel A.J. McNeill was camped near Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish with eight hundred men, he sent a brigade into the area. The Union troops found fewer than sixty Confederates, most of whom fled into the swamps, leaving behind horses and mules.*[2]

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