Port Hudson State Historic Site
US Hwy. 61
Zachary, LA 70791
(225) 654-3775 | General Information
(225) 654-3775 | Reservations
(225) 654-4413 | Fax
General Public Hours and Admission Rates: Daily, 9:00am – 5:00pm; $2.00 General Admission, Free Seniors and Children 12 years old and under
School Tour Hours and Admission Rates: Daily, 9:15am – 3:00pm; Free
- Student to Chaperone Ratio Requested: 10:1
- Advance Time Needed to Make Reservations: One week
- Number of Students per Visit: Up to 100
- Suggested Length of Time for Visit: Two hours
- Handicapped Accessible: Yes
- Grade Level Appropriate: 4th – 12th
- Lunch Facilities: There is a picnic area on-site and fast food is nearby in Zachary.
- Gift Shop: No
- Bus parking available
Tell Us About It!
Walking along the six miles of trails at Port Hudson State Historic Site, students will be walking the same grounds that were the site of the longest siege in American military history. When New Orleans fell to Federal troops in 1862, Confederate control of the Mississippi River was in jeopardy. The bluffs near the small town of Port Hudson were a good place to build a fort to protect the river. Confederate soldiers constructed a series of batteries along the bluffs and erected a four-and-a-half mile line of earthworks. For 48-days in 1863, Confederate troops defended this fort on top of the bluffs. Federal Troops including the First and Third Louisiana Native Guards, which were two African-American regiments, attacked the fortified Confederate position. Federal soldiers pummeled the Southerners with cannon shot and rifle fire. Finally, five days after the Confederates were defeated in Vicksburg, Port Hudson surrendered to the Union. With these two victories, the North could finally claim undisputed control of the Mississippi River.
What Can We See and Do There?
The six mile trail system winds through a lush upland hardwood forest that once was the northern section of Port Hudson’s historic Civil War battlefield. Trail signs along the path relate information about the battle. Guided tours and demonstrations are offered by costumed interpreters. Students may witness firearms and period crafts demonstrations. The historic site includes a research library, cannon display, and a picnic area. In the modern Interpretive Center a 15-minute audio/visual presentation tells visitors the story of the siege of Port Hudson and displays letters, diaries, historic photographs, paintings, weapons, and related artifacts about the Civil War. Three viewing towers offer visitors vistas of the battlefields and historic earthworks. Student tours include a walk through the outdoor cannon display.
How Do We Get There?
From I-110 take U.S. Hwy. 61 north for 14 miles towards St. Francisville. The park’s entrance is on the left.
Bad Weather! Now What Do We Do?
During inclement weather, students enjoy an indoor guided tour and demonstrations.
Louisiana State Educational Benchmarks and Standards
- K-4th grades: G-1A-E1-3; G-1B-E1-4; H-1A-E1-3; H-1B-E2; H-1C-E1-4
- 5th-8th grades: G-1A-M1-3; G-1B-M2-4; H-1A-M1-6; H-1B-H1-10-13; H-1DM1-6
- 9th-12th grades: G-1A-H1-2; G-1B-H1-2, 4; H-1A-H1-6; H-1B-H5
What Can We Do In Class Before Our Field Trip?
Check out these two interesting websites: www.cr.nps.gov/twhp and www.crt.state.la.us . Ask students to finger trace the Mississippi River, highlighting the river route through Louisiana. Find Port Hudson on the map. In class read Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage. The book will give students an intimate look at the harsh life of Civil War Soldiers. Teachers can ask the site to send a study guide about the Port Hudson battlefield.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H Out Your Field Trip Benefits
How long is 48 days? Keep a class calendar and mark off each day from the first day to the 48th day after the field trip to Port Hudson. Pitch a tent in the school yard using the dimensions and style demonstrated at Port Hudson. Let the kids do the work before letting them try it out, with two people per turn. Ask students to write a descriptive paragraph about their impressions of Port Hudson. Encourage them to think of the emotions – courage, fear, patriotism, loyalty, etc. – that soldiers must have experienced during the siege at Port Hudson. Teachers can arrange for a park ranger to visit their classrooms to make presentations about the Civil War.
Louisiana history, American history, African American history, geography