Port Hudson State Historic Site, Louisiana

Port Hudson was a crucial site in the struggle for control of the Mississippi River during the Civil War. After New Orleans fell to the Federals in late April 1862, the Confederate army needed river batteries below the mouth of the Red River to supplement its fortifications on the river bluffs at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The bluffs near the small town of Port Hudson were the perfect site for the river batteries. Batteries were constructed along the bluffs in 1862, along with a 4 and 1/2 mile line of earthworks to protect the approaches by land. Taking the Port Hudson batteries, of course, soon became a key Union military objective in the West. The Union siege of Port Hudson began on May 23, 1863 with about 30,000 Union troops under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, against 6,800 Confederates under the command of Major General Franklin Gardner. Port Hudson surrendered on July 9, 1863, after 48 days of siege and thousands of casualties. The state historic site at Port Hudson now includes the northern portion of the battlefield and features an elevated boardwalk over the breastworks. The park also has three observation towers, six miles of trails, and a museum.

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Links: Port Hudson State Historic Site

 

Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, Louisiana

Rosedown Plantation is in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, north of the town of St. Francisville. West Feliciana has historically been a largely agrarian region where the proximity of the Mississippi River, which forms its western boundary, has created deep soil deposits in relatively flat valleys. These rich soils became extremely productive and valuable during the cotton boom of the nineteenth century. Rosedown Plantation was one of the largest and richest of the plantations that developed out of the cotton boom. At its height, Rosedown Plantation comprised approximately 3,455 acres, the majority planted in cotton and worked by as many as 450 slaves. The main house at Rosedown was constructed in 1834 in the Carolina Tidewater style with a neoclassical columned facade and double front galleries. The home was furnished with the finest pieces the family could obtain, many of which are still on display at Rosedown today. Formal gardens covered approximately 28 acres around the house. The plantation declined after the Civil War because of the loss of slave labor. Today, the main house, historic gardens, thirteen historic buildings, and 371 acres of Rosedown Plantation are preserved as an historic site by the state of Louisiana.

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Links: Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, Louisiana