Baton Rouge, Port Hudson and Area
Baton Rouge was abandoned by Confederate forces without a fight in May 1862 after New Orleans fell. A Southern try to retake the city in August failed when a combined land-water assault fizzled.
City of Baton Rouge
Old State Capitol
100 North Blvd, Baton Rouge LA 70801
Civil War material is included in exhibits in this beautiful 1849 building with the interior restored to 1882. Union soldiers accidentally burned the original interior in 1862. The state Confederate government moved to Opelousas to avoid capture before Union occupation in May 1862. Open Tuesday–Saturday 9 am–4 pm.
Louisiana State Museum
660 Fourth St, Baton Rouge LA 70802
One of the highlights of this new 69,000-foot museum is a Civil War era submarine recovered from Lake Pontchartrain in the 1870s. After years of neglect at various locations the submarine was recently moved here. Long believed to be the Confederate-made “Pioneer” evidence now shows that this is a different vessel but it may have been made about the same time by the same New Orleans manufacturer. Open Tuesday–Friday 10 am–5 pm, Saturday 9 am–5 pm. Free.
Historic Magnolia Cemetery
422 N 19th St, Baton Rouge LA 70802
Site of some of the heaviest fighting during the Battle of Baton Rouge Aug. 5, 1862. Confederates under Gen. John Breckinridge attempted to take the Louisiana capital back, but were ultimately defeated after a tough fight. Tradition holds that the Confederates killed in the battle are buried in a mass grave here. A brochure is available at the office.
Old Arsenal Museum
Located on the Louisiana State Capitol grounds
State militia seized this building Jan. 26, 1861, before Louisiana voted to secede. The 1838 building reverted to Federal control when the city was taken in May 1862. Today, the interesting building is the star of this show with exhibits detailing the state’s military history, including the Civil War period. Open Tuesday–Saturday 9 am–4 pm.
State Capitol Drive at River Road, Baton Rouge LA 70802
Many famous soldiers and public figures including Robert E. Lee. Jefferson Davis, Abraham Lincoln and George Custer either served or visited here over the years. There has been a military post at this location since 1779. The Barracks was seized by the state in 1861 and turned over to the Confederacy. Union troops reclaimed it in 1862. Call for hours.
Near Baton Rouge
Port Hudson State Historic Site
236 Highway 61, Jackson LA 70748
888-677-3400 or 225-654-3775
Confederates fortified this bluff above the Mississippi River after the fall of New Orleans in April 1862. After long portions of the river fell under Union control in 1862 and early 1863, Port Hudson controlled one of the last stretches of the Mississippi still under Confederate control. It was one of the last links between the eastern and far western Confederacy. By summer 1863 only this spot and Vicksburg remained guarding the important links to the trans-Mississippi Confederacy. While Union Gen. U.S. Grant moved against Vicksburg, Federal forces under Gen. Nathaniel Banks approached Port Hudson on May 23, 1863 and began a siege.
Several battles during the siege represented some of the bloodiest fighting of the war. A Union attack May 27 was spearheaded by black troops who proved their worth in defeat against the strong Confederate lines. On July 9, 1863 (five days after Vicksburg fell), the starving Confederates surrendered.
A visitor center and 6 miles of interpreted trails tell the story. Guided tours are offered. Open Wednesday–Saturday 9 am–5 pm. $4/person.
Centenary State Historic Site, 3522 College St, Jackson LA 70748 – School buildings here were used by soldiers on both sides and as hospitals during the Port Hudson siege.
Clinton – Connected by rail from Port Hudson and the Mississippi River, this small town became a staging area for the forts there and the siege. Southern defenders of the fort are buried in the Clinton Confederate Cemetery. Antebellum home tour.
Camp Moore Confederate Cemetery and Museum
70640 Camp Moore Road, Tangipahoa LA 70465
Located on Route 51 north of Tangipahoa
From I-55, take exit 57 to Route 440 and follow signs.
This was the site of the largest Confederate training camp in Louisiana, established in May 1861. In addition to the recruits, most of the troops in the New Orleans area were ordered to Camp Moore after the city’s fall in 1862. Gen. John Breckinridge organized his ill-fated campaign to regain Baton Rouge from here. The camp was maintained until most of the troops left to defend Port Hudson. A 6.5-acre piece of the camp has been preserved as is a cemetery on the site. The museum holds artifacts and exhibits relating to the camp. Museum open Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–3 pm (last tour). $2/adult. No charge for cemetery or grounds.
Links to the websites of these places: Louisiana Links