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Port Hudson, Louisiana
Settlement
State Louisiana
Parish may 22 1863 East Baton Rouge
Elevation 98 ft (30 m)
Coordinates 30°40′41″N 91°16′8″W / 30.67806°N 91.26889°W / 30.67806; -91.26889
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 225

Port Hudson is a small unincorporated community in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States. Located about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Baton Rouge, it is known primarily as the location of an American Civil War battle, the Siege of Port Hudson in 1863.

Geography

Port Hudson is located at 30.678056 North and 91.268889 West, and is along the east bank of the Mississippi River.

History

Port Hudson and Vicinity 1864
Port Hudson & Vicinity, 1864.

In 1833, one of the first railroads in the United States was built from Port Hudson to Clinton. Clinton was the entrepôt for the produce of much of the region, which, sent by rail, was transferred to steamboats at Port Hudson. Old Port Hudson was incorporated as a town in 1838.

During the American Civil War, the area was the scene of bitter fighting as the Confederacy and Union struggled over control of the Mississippi River. Location of the tracks and the old town can be seen at the bend of the Mississippi River (view 1864 map). The rails and crossties of the track were removed before 1920.

What were then called the 1st and 3rd Regiments of the Louisiana Native Guards (later re-formed as regiments of the United States Colored Troops) proved themselves in battle on the Union side; they were the first black troops to have some black officers. A minority of men in the regiments were free men of color, who had been educated before the war; most of the soldiers were African-American slaves who had escaped to Union lines to gain freedom and support the war.

Port Hudson National Cemetery was established in the area, first as a place of burial of Union dead.

Landmarks

  • A portion of the battlefield site is maintained by the state as a park and museum, called the Port Hudson State Historic Site (in adjacent East Feliciana Parish).
  • In 1930 the Louisiana Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected the Confederate Soldiers monument at the site; it is an 11,000-pound obelisk, dedicated to the defenders' memory. In 2007 the monument was moved to the yard of one of Port Hudson’s few surviving buildings from the time of the siege.
  • In 1974 the Port Hudson National Cemetery was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior; it is administered by the National Park Service.
  • In 2009, it was designated among the first 26 featured sites of the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

Representation in culture

  • “The Black Brigade at Port Hudson,” poem by John A. Dorgan, anthologized in The Rebellion Record: a Diary of American Events: Poetry and Incidents, Volume 7, ed. Frank Moore.

The latter poem was translated into German and published as a broadside, a copy of which has been preserved in the Black Soldiers Collection of the Historic New Orleans Collection at the Williams Research Center in New Orleans.

Events

Port Hudson 2008
Civil War reenactment at Port Hudson

A Civil War reenactment is held annually at the Port Hudson State Historic Site.

  • Photographs of Louisiana during the Civil War. Compiled by Sgt. Marshall Dunham of the 159th New York Regiment. Select Search items in this Collection and enter Port Hudson in the exact phrase option: photograph collection, Louisiana Digital Library

Gallery

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