|Port Hudson State Historic Site|
A visit to the Historic Site is a very informative and rewarding experience for anyone with an interest in the Civil War, and the Port Hudson siege in particular. The Site contains a good portion of the battlefield within it's boundaries, with some of the original earthworks still recognizable. It encompasses primarily positions on the Confederate left wing, and includes those known as Fort Desperate, Commissary Hill, Fort Babcock, the positions manned by Mississippi troops who opposed the assault by the black soldiers of the Louisiana Native Guards, and others.
The museum contains displays, pictures and relics which are all very interesting, and the staff is knowledgeable and very willing to answer questions and provide additional information. My visit to the site was several years ago, but when I was there, they invited me to browse through their small library and copy various documents which I found for use on this web site.
Outside, there are various displays, and trails leading to the historic locations. A trail guide map is provided. Of course the landscape is quite different from what it was like during the siege. At that time, most of the timber surrounding the Confederate lines, such as in front of Fort Desperate, had been cut down to provide an obstacle to the Federal advance, but now, much of these areas are in heavy woods. You can also take a driving tour on roads outside the Site which takes you near the locations of other major positions which were prominent during the siege, but are now on private property.
I found it gave me a strange sensation to stand in these locations, peaceful and quiet except for the song of birds, where my great-grandfather and so many others had fought in those terrible battles long ago. I would strongly recommend a visit to this site by anyone with an interest in that great war which tore our country apart.
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