Port Hudson is a Louisiana State Historic Civil War Battle site. Its located just north of Baton Rouge at the confluence of the Red and the Mississippi Rivers. Confederates knew this was an important strategic position to keep supplies flowing to the Confederate Army, so they prepared and literally dug in. Under command of an able West Point educated Major General, Franklin Gardner, with 6,800 troops, they stood the longest, bloodiest siege of the Civil War against an inexperienced appointed Union Major General, Nathaniel P. Banks with 30,000 troops. It was a slaughter of Union troops. Two regiments of Africans were allowed their first chance to fight and proved themselves able soldiers for the Union. Banks, when given leave to bury his dead, refused, and used the stench of rotting bodies as a weapon against the Confederates. Hunger, thirst and weather won after 48 days and a confederate surrender was negotiated.
This battlefield retained cannon balls and musket shot in large quantities. Other artifacts testify to the human casualty of the battle, enough to make you wonder why war is still considered a viable answer to solve problems. I tend to side with the Thai’s who sent King against King into battle instead of the King’s subjects.
These wicker “baskets” were filled with stones and bits of steel to provide protection from gun fire.The interpretive center at Port Hudson does an excellent and thorough job. It has the only known picture of troops surrendering during the Civil War.
There are several cannon around the battlements. Re-enactments are held here yearly as archeologist have traced the area of the battle encampment. Its an interesting, calm terrain with much beauty that hardly gives belief to its bloody history.
This camp stove was invented by a Confederate Soldier and was used throughout the war and afterward. It is an interesting place to visit. My grandmother from Michigan died in 1952 with a Civil War uniform in her attic. No family member remembered, or knew who it belonged to. A computer in the museum allows you to type in your relative’s name and it will print out all men with the same last name who served on both sides in the Port Hudson siege. The 6th Infantry Regiment from Michigan served at Port Hudson and I found six men with the same last name and their fate. Three mustered out, one died in 1865, one man’s identity was unsure, one was unaccounted for but not listed as a deserter. I found this research tool very interesting and intrigues me to search family history more intently and find out who wore that uniform.