Port Hudson, LA
May 23 - July 9, 1863
May 27. Looking east along Federal gun position at Artillery Ridge. As well as used during the siege of Port Hudson, the guns here supported the May 27 attack. The guns faced south, right, and the land drops off immediately in front of their position. The forest here is as it was during the siege, except that most of the trees between the two forces had been cut down and lay where they dropped.
May 27. Looking south towards Alabama-Arkansas Redoubt from Federal line. Reaching the top of a ravine here, the Federals then attacked over this flat ground towards the Confederate position. Although the ground is flat, it was covered with fallen trees that the men had to climb through.
May 27. Looking east at base of Alabama-Arkansas Redoubt. Upon reaching the fortifications, from the left, the Federals had to cross through this ditch before attempting to climb up the walls of the redoubt, right. Confederate reinforcements arrived to repulse the attack.
May 27. Looking west along ditch fronting Mississippi Redoubt. This was the northwest corner of the Port Hudson defenses. The Federals attacked here, from the right, up a steep slope towards the redoubt positioned at the brow of the ravine. The Confederate defenders shot down at the Federals climbing through the brush.
May 27. Looking north from behind Confederate gun emplacement on Commissary Hill. The defenses here, built atop this hill to protect the commissary compound, at bottom of hill to the rear, supported the defenders at Alabama-Arkansas Redoubt and Fort Desperate. Any trees in this area had been cut down.
May 27. Looking north along bed of Foster Creek, northeast of Alabama-Arkansas Redoubt. As Federal troops reached this point, right bank, on their way to Alabama-Arkansas Redoubt, left rear, crossfire from the Confederate guns at Commissary Hill, south, and Fort Desperate, southeast, halted their movement and pinned them down. They eventually retreated.
May 27 & June 14. Looking northeast from inside Fort Desperate. Confederate defenders along the walls of the fort to the front held off Federal attacks on two separate occasions. Some of the heaviest fighting during the siege took place around these defenses. All trees to the front had been cut down, but the surrounding area was still forested.
May 27 & June 14. Looking west from Federal position at Fort Desperate. The Federals attacked towards the fort by crossing over brush that had been cut down. They then had to traverse the deep ditch and climb the walls of the redoubt to reach the defenders.
June 14. Looking northeast from walls of Confederate Fort Desperate. Prior to the Federal attack, the Federals had dug a trench, right center, up the slope of the hill and into the ditch fronting the fort. During the attack, some of the Federal units used the trench for protection to reach the front of the fort.
Photos and captions by Dave Comeau, October 1997
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