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.

Location and Directions

Links: Port Hudson State Historic Site


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