About Port Hudson
In 1863, the town of Port Hudson in Louisiana, United States was the site of a 48-day siege by the Unionist Army against the Confederates during the American Civil War.
The Confederates viewed Port Hudson as a strategic position from which to defend the Mississippi, particularly as it was located in an acute bend in the river. Thus, they established batteries there to repel the Union army.
Today, Port Hudson is a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can tour the site, including via guided tours or a 6-mile hiking trail as well as viewing ‘living history’ demonstrations.
Port Hudson history
Beginning on 23 May 1863, the Union commenced a siege against the Confederates – the Siege of Port Hudson. While General Ulysses Grant besieged the Confederates at Vicksburg upriver, General Nathaniel Banks was ordered to capture the lower Mississippi Confederate base at Port Hudson.
The initial attack failed, and so Banks and his men settled into a 48-day siege – the longest in military history at the time. It was only following the Union victory at Vicksburg, the Confederates realised that their actions were now largely futile and surrendered Port Hudson on 9 July 1863. The Union forces gained control of the river reaching from the Gulf of Mexico through the southern states, cutting off Confederate supplies.
In 1930, the Louisiana United Daughters of the Confederacy erected a massive obelisk monument to the Confederate soldiers who died at Port Hudson, and the battlefield was made a historic landmark in 1974.
Port Hudson today
Located 20 miles north of Baton Rouge, today the National Historic Landmark of Port Hudson Battlefield includes a museum, artillery displays and interpretive boards guiding visitors around the site. Follow the easily walked trails around the historic battefield, dotted with lots of places to take a picnic.
Each year you can also catch a re-enactment of the battle. For those wanting a full trip to the former Civil War battle site, Port Hudson National Cemetery is only 6 miles to the south
Getting to Port Hudson
Port Hudson is easily found just off the 61 North near Jackson, Louisiana, and only a 22 minute drive from Baton Rouge. There is parking on site.