Alexandria, a town, capital of the parish of Rapides, La., on the Red river, about 50 m. (direct) from its junction with the Mississippi; pop. in 1870, 1,218, of whom 448 were colored; in 1860, 1,401. It is the shipping point of a rich cotton country. - When the Shreveport expedition of Gen. Banks and Admiral Porter was descending the river in April, 1864, the fleet, owing to low water was unable to pass the falls at Alexandria, and the destruction or capture of all the vessels, valued at nearly $2,-000,000, seemed inevitable. In this emergency Lieut. Col. Joseph Bailey, engineer of the 19th corps, proposed to construct a dam across the channel of the river - here 758 feet wide, 4 to 6 feet deep, and running at the rate of 10 miles an hour - a short distance below the falls. Eight days' work had nearly completed the dam, and the water had risen enough for all except the largest vessels to pass, when a portion of the work gave way. Admiral Porter immediately ordered the four smaller vessels of the fleet to pass through the breach, which, though attended with great danger, was successfully accomplished. Several wing dams directly at the head of the falls were now constructed, raising the water on the rapids more than a foot additional, when the rest of the fleet passed safely down.

The town was nearly destroyed by an accidental fire on the day of its evacuation by the federal troops, May 13 following.