1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alexandria (Louisiana)

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ALEXANDRIA, a city of Louisiana, U.S.A., capital of Rapides Parish, on the S. bank of the Red river in almost the exact geographical centre of the state. Pop. (1890) 2861; (1900) 5648 (3142 negroes); (1910) 11,213. The city is served by the Louisiana Railway & Navigation Company, the St Louis, Watkins & Gulf, the Texas & Pacific, the Louisiana & Arkansas, the Southern Pacific, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, and the Missouri Pacific railways. The Red river is navigable to Alexandria during the entire year. Alexandria is on a level plain in the centre of the Louisiana long-leaf pine forests, in which pine is interspersed with various hardwoods. The forests stretch on all sides within a radius of 75 m. In the immediate vicinity of the city, on the Red river, cotton, sugar, alfalfa and garden vegetables are cultivated; south of the Red river is a peculiarly rich farming country watered by Bayou Rapides and Bayou Bœuf. Near the city is the Louisiana Asylum for the Insane. The principal industries are cotton-pressing and the manufacture of lumber and of cotton-seed products; sugar and molasses, artificial ice, mineral waters and brick are other manufactures. The city owns and operates the water-works and electric-lighting plant; the water-supply is derived from artesian wells. Alexandria was named in honour of Alexander Fulton, on whose grant from Spain the first settlement was made in 1785; it was first incorporated as a town in 1818 and received a city charter in 1882. In the spring of 1863 a Union fleet under Admiral David D. Porter, operating on the Red river, co-operated with land forces under General N. P. Banks in pushing the Confederates westward. Alexandria was occupied on the 7th of May 1863, but the troops were soon withdrawn for the Port Hudson attack. On the 19th of March 1864 it was again occupied by the Union forces, who made it the point of concentration for another land and naval expedition against E. Kirby Smith and Shreveport. After the check of this expedition and its abandonment, Alexandria as again vacated on the 12th-13th of May, when the city was almost entirely burned. The Union gunboats, which had passed up the river toward Shreveport at high water, were caught in its decline above the falls at Alexandria, but they were saved by a splendid piece of engineering (a dam at the falls), constructed by Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Bailey (1826-1867), who for this service received the thanks of Congress and the brevet of brigadier-general of volunteers.