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Encyclopedia > Siege of Port Hudson
Siege of Port Hudson
Part of American Civil War

Birds-eye view of the Great River battery, three hundred yards from the Rebel citadel.
Hamilton, J. R., artist.
Date May 21July 9, 1863
Location East Baton Rouge Parish and East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana
Result Union victory
Combatants
United States of America Confederate States of America
Commanders
Nathaniel P. Banks Franklin Gardner
Strength
XIX Army Corps, Army of the Gulf Confederate forces, 3rd District, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, Port Hudson
Casualties
5,000 7,208
Siege of Port Hudson
Plains StorePort Hudson

The Siege of Port Hudson occurred in the summer of 1863 when 30,000 Union Army troops surrounded the Mississippi River town of Port Hudson, Louisiana. This attack, in cooperation with the attack on Vicksburg, was intended to take the Mississippi River away from the Confederates. The 6,500 Confederate Army soldiers defending the town were able to hold off the Union offensive for 48 days. The Confederate troops surrendered once Vicksburg had fallen. Some 5,000 Union men and 700 Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded during the siege. Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert Edward Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... Image File history File links Siege_of_Port_Hudson. ... May 21 is the 141st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (142nd in leap years). ... July 9 is the 190th day of the year (191st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 175 days remaining. ... 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar). ... East Baton Rouge Parish is a parish located in the state of Louisiana. ... East Feliciana Parish is a parish located in the state of Louisiana. ... This Article does not cite its references or sources. ... Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... Motto: Deo Vindice (Latin: With God As Our Vindicator) Anthem: God Save the South (unofficial) Dixie (popular) The Bonnie Blue Flag (popular) Capital Montgomery, Alabama (February 4, 1861–May 29, 1861) Richmond, Virginia (May 29, 1861–April 2, 1865) Danville, Virginia (April 3–April 10, 1865) Largest city New Orleans... Nathaniel Prentice Banks [sometimes spelled incorrectly Prentiss] (January 30, 1816–September 1, 1894), American politician and soldier, was born at Waltham, Massachusetts. ... Confederate Major General Franklin Gardner Franklin Gardner (January 29, 1823 – April 29, 1873) was a Confederate general in the American Civil War, best noted for his service at the Siege of Port Hudson. ... The Army of the Gulf was a Union army that served in the general area of the gulf states controlled by Union forces. ... The Battle of Plains Store or the Battle of Springfield Road was fought May 21, 1863 in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, during the campaign to capture Port Hudson in the American Civil War. ... The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... The Mississippi River, derived from the old Ojibwe word misi-ziibi meaning great river (gichi-ziibi big river at its headwaters), is the longest river in the United States; the second-longest is the Missouri River, which flows into the Mississippi. ... Port Hudson, is a small town in Louisiana located about 20 mile northeast of Baton Rouge. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Ulysses S. Grant John C. Pemberton Strength Army of the Tennessee Army of Vicksburg Casualties 10,142 9,091 (30,000 paroled) The Battle of Vicksburg or Siege of Vicksburg was the final significant battle in the Vicksburg Campaign of... This article is in need of attention. ... A siege is a military blockade and assault of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by force or attrition. ...

Contents

Background

From the time the American Civil War started in April 1861, both the North and South made controlling the Mississippi River a major part of their strategy. The Confederacy wanted to keep using the river to transport needed supplies; the Union wanted to stop this supply route and drive a wedge that would divide Confederate states and territories. Particularly important to the South was the stretch of the Mississippi that included the mouth of the Red River. The Red was the Confederacy's primary route for moving vital supplies between east and west: salt, cattle, and horses traveled downstream from the Trans-Mississippi West; in the opposite direction flowed men and munitions from the east. Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert Edward Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... Southern United States The states shown in dark red are usually included in the South, while all or portions of the striped states may or may not be considered part of the Southern United States. ... The Red River is one of several rivers with that name, and of two rivers with that name in the United States. ... The Trans-Mississippi was a name applied to a region of the United States in the 19th century. ...


In the spring of 1862, the Union took control of New Orleans and Memphis. To make sure it could continue to use the middle section of the river, the South fortified positions at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Port Hudson, Louisiana. New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... Flag Seal Nickname: The River City, The Bluff City, M-Town Location Location in Shelby County and the state of Tennessee Coordinates , Government Country State Counties United States Tennessee Shelby County Mayor W. W. Herenton (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 294. ... Vicksburg is a city located in Warren County, Mississippi, 234 miles (377 km) north by west of New Orleans on the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. ... Port Hudson, is a small town in Louisiana located about 20 mile northeast of Baton Rouge. ...


In May 1863, Union land and naval forces began a campaign they hoped would give them control of the full length of the Mississippi River. One army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant commenced operations against the Confederacy's fortified position at Vicksburg at the northern end of the stretch of the river still in Southern hands. At about the same time, another army under Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks moved against Port Hudson, which stood at the southern end. Banks' lead division encountered Confederates on May 21 at the Battle of Plains Store. By May 23, Banks' forces, which numbered between 30,000 and 40,000 men at their strongest, had surrounded the Port Hudson defenses. Banks hoped to overrun the entrenchments quickly, then take his army northward to assist Grant at Vicksburg. Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant, April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American general and politician who was elected the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877). ... Nathaniel Prentiss Banks (January 30, 1816–September 1, 1894), American politician and soldier, was born at Waltham, Massachusetts. ... The Battle of Plains Store or the Battle of Springfield Road was fought May 21, 1863 in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, during the campaign to capture Port Hudson in the American Civil War. ...

Sailors aboard the USS Richmond shell Confederate forces at Port Hudson.
Sailors aboard the USS Richmond shell Confederate forces at Port Hudson.

Within the Confederate fortifications at Port Hudson were approximately 6,800 men. Their commander was Maj. Gen. Franklin Gardner, a New Yorker by birth. His goals were to have his men defend their positions as long as possible in order to prevent Banks' troops from joining Grant, and to keep Confederate control of this part of the Mississippi. Image File history File links Port_hudson_naval_guns. ... Image File history File links Port_hudson_naval_guns. ... The second USS Richmond was a wooden steam sloop in the United States Navy during the American Civil War. ... Port Hudson, is a small town in Louisiana located about 20 mile northeast of Baton Rouge. ... Confederate Major General Franklin Gardner Franklin Gardner (January 29, 1823 – April 29, 1873) was a Confederate general in the American Civil War, best noted for his service at the Siege of Port Hudson. ... Official language(s) English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ...


The fighting and siege

On the morning of May 27, 1863, under Maj. Gen. Banks, the Union army launched ferocious assaults against the lengthy Confederate fortifications. Among the attackers were two regiments of African-American soldiers, the 1st and 3rd Louisiana Native Guards. They were the first black soldiers committed to combat in the Civil War. The attacks were uncoordinated, and the defenders easily turned them back causing heavy Northern casualties. Andre Cailloux, a free man of color from New Orleans and the Captain of the 1st Louisian Native Guard Company E died heroically in this first assault. His death became a rallying cry for the recruitment of African-American soldiers. May 27 is the 147th day (148th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 218 days remaining. ... 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar). ... The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... An African American (also Afro-American, Black American) is a member of an ethnic group in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Africa. ... Funeral of Andre Cailloux in New Orleans, July 29, 1863 from the August 29, 1863 edition of Harpers Weekly Andre Cailloux (1825 – May 27, 1863) was one of the first black officers in the Union Army to be killed in combat during the American Civil War. ...


Banks' troops made a second, similarly haphazard assault on June 14. Again they were repulsed, suffering even more dead and wounded soldiers.


These actions constituted some of the bloodiest fighting of the Civil War. The Confederates began building their defenses in 1862, and by now had an elaborate series of earthworks. One of their officers provided the following description of the line of these barriers, which, as their name suggested, were made mainly from hard-packed dirt: In civil engineering, earthworks are engineering works created through the moving of massive quantities of soil or unformed stone. ...

For about three-quarters of a mile from the river the line crossed a broken series of ridges, plateaus and ravines, taking advantage of high ground in some places and in others extending down a steep declivity; for the next mile and a quarter it traversed Gibbon's and Slaughter's fields where a wide level plain seemed formed on purpose for a battlefield; another quarter of a mile carried it through deep and irregular gullies, and for three-quarters of a mile more it led through fields and over hills to a deep gorge, in the bosom of which lay Sandy creek.¹
Capt. Edmund C. Bainbridge's Battery A, 1st U.S. Artillery, at the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, 1863.
Capt. Edmund C. Bainbridge's Battery A, 1st U.S. Artillery, at the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, 1863.

The elaborate defenses they built and difficult terrain in the area assisted the Confederates in keeping this part of the Mississippi under their control. The Federals had no choice but to besiege Port Hudson to obtain access to the full length of the Mississippi. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1400x1095, 376 KB)Capt. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1400x1095, 376 KB)Capt. ...


The fighting at Port Hudson illustrated how artillery affected the conduct of a siege. The Union Army combined artillery fire with sharpshooting riflemen as it attempted to keep the defenders from getting supplies of food or other necessities; the Union Navy added their big guns to the bombardment. The Confederates responded by firing their rifles and artillery at the Union forces. Recognizing how dangerous this type of fighting could be, each side also built elaborate earthworks to protect themselves. Historically, artillery (from French artillerie) refers to any engine used for the discharge of projectiles during war. ... A siege is a military blockade and assault of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by force or attrition. ... A marksman (also designated marksman) is a profession which is mostly to be found in military context. ...


The siege created hardships and deprivations for both the North and South, but by early July the Confederates were in much worse shape. They had exhausted practically all of their food supplies and ammunition, and fighting and disease had greatly reduced the number of men able to defend the trenches. When Maj. Gen. Gardner learned that Vicksburg had surrendered, he realized that his situation was hopeless and that nothing could be gained by continuing. The terms of surrender were negotiated, and on July 9, 1863, the Confederates lay down their weapons, ending 48 days of continuous fighting. Captain Thornton A. Jenkins accepted the Confederate surrender, as Admiral Farragut was in New Orleans. July 9 is the 190th day of the year (191st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 175 days remaining. ... 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar). ... Thornton Jenkins Rear Admiral Thornton A. Jenkins (11 December 1811 - 9 August 1893) was an officer in the United States Navy, who served during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. ... Admiral David Glasgow Farragut David Glasgow Farragut (July 5, 1801 - August 14, 1870) was an admiral of the United States Navy during the American Civil War. ...


Impact

The siege of Port Hudson affected the Civil War and the men who fought there in a number of ways. The surrender gave the Union control of the Mississippi River, cutting off important states such as Arkansas and Texas. Both sides suffered heavy casualties: about 5,000 Union men were killed or wounded, and an additional 4,000 fell prey to disease or sunstroke; Gardner's forces suffered around 700 casualties, several hundred of whom died of disease. And on both sides, even many of those who survived found their view of war permanently changed.


After the war, a small number of former soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions at Port Hudson, including George Mason Lovering of the 4th Massachusetts. This article is about the U.S. military award. ... George Mason Lovering (January 10, 1832 – April 2, 1919) was a Union Army soldier who was awarded the Medal of Honor for meritorious service during the American Civil War. ...


External links

References

  • This text is based upon The Siege of Port Hudson, written by Gregg Potts and Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr. for the National Parks Service's American Battlefield Protection Program available at [1]. This is a work of the US Government and is in the public domain.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Siege of Port Hudson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1051 words)
The Siege of Port Hudson occurred in the summer of 1863 when 30,000 Union Army troops surrounded the Mississippi River town of Port Hudson, Louisiana.
Sailors aboard the USS Richmond shell Confederate forces at Port Hudson.
After the war, a small number of former soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions at Port Hudson, including George Mason Lovering of the 4th Massachusetts.
Port Hudson (1098 words)
The village of Port Hudson, located on a bend of the Mississippi river, 25 miles above Baton Rouge and about 15O miles from New Orleans, was fortified by the Confederates in the summer and fall of 1862.
The reduction of Port Hudson was necessary for the opening of the Mississippi river, and when Gen. Grant began the siege of Vicksburg Gen. Banks, commanding the Department of the Gulf, concentrated his army against Port.
Siege guns were brought up and placed in position, and on June 13 Banks made a demand for the surrender of the garrison.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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