Port Hudson
State Commemorative Area
756 West Plains-Port Hudson Road
Zachary, La. 70791
225-654-3775 / 888-677-3400



Visit History and links to more on Port Hudson
History
Museum & Interpretive Center
Interpretive Center in background houses original civil war artifacts and audio-visual program on the siege of Port Hudson and Commemorative Area.
Port Hudson State Commemorative Area encompasses some 899 acres just 10 minutes south of St. Francisville, Louisiana on US Highway 61. The State Commemorative Area consist of the northern portion of the battlefield which features an elevated boardwalk over the breastworks in the Fort Desperate Area. Other facilities include three observation towers, six miles of trails, a museum & interpretive center, a picnic area and restrooms.


Fence on trail
Fence along trail-path.
The Port Hudson battlefield is designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is included in a select group of properties which has been recognized for their importance in American history. Best known as the having the longest siege in American military history, Port Hudson is also renown for it involvement of African-American regiments in battle against the confederacy.

Museum displays.
Museum Display
Native Guards  -  Prior to the initial May 27, 1863 attack, a bold experiment was decided upon. Two African-American regiments were chosen to participate in the fight. The First and Third Louisiana Native Guards proved their worth by pressing an attack against a well-fortified Confederate position. This action was applauded in northern papers and led to the acceptance of African-American troops into the war effort.

After the siege, the garrison at Port Hudson became a recruiting center for African-American troops. The garrison remain there until the summer of 1866.

Bridge on Trail
Bridge along hiking trails.
The 48-Day Siege    The siege of Port Hudson began on May 23, 1863. Roughly 30,000 Union troops, under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, were pitted against 6,800 Confederates, under the command of Major General Franklin Gardner.

Trail to South
Tree-lined walking paths.
On the morning of May 27, and again on June 14, the Union army launched ferocious assaults against the 4 1/2 mile long string of earthworks protecting Port Hudson. these actions constituted some of the bloodiest and most severe fighting in the entire Civil War.

Pond
Pond at Port Hudson
As the siege continued, the Confederates nearly exhausted their ammunition and were reduced to eating mules, horses and rats. When word reached Gardner that Vicksburg had surrendered, he realized that his situation was hopeless and nothing could be gained by the defense of Port Hudson.

Observation Tower
One of three observation towers.
Surrender terms were negotiated, and on July 9, 1863, after 48 days and thousands of casualties, the Union army entered Port Hudson; ending the longest siege in American military history. For more history on Port Hudson click here.

Museums & Interpertive Center
Museum viewed from trailhead.
Living History Programs  Port Hudson State Commemorative Area hosts several living history events. Visitors can watch authentically costumed interpreters demonstrate Civil War weapons and equipment. For more information on programs, contact the Port Hudson State Commemorative Area.

Hiking  is on well marked trails under beautiful canopied trees. Although slightly hilly in places, the six miles of hikes is good for all ages.

 

Other "Trails"

Historic Homes & Plantations
Overnight Accommodations
Historic Churches & Cemeteries
Restaurants
Antiques & Gift Shops
Outdoor Attractions
Area Maps
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Courtesy of the State of Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism and the Office of State Parks brochure:  

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