Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This dissertation examines the Confederate occupation of Port Hudson, Louisiana, and the Union efforts to capture the bastion during the period August 1862-July 1863. Though it recounts the garrison life of the soldiers, it emphasizes governments. Throughout the period under consideration, the Confederate government's objective in garrisoning Port Hudson and Vicksburg was to maintain the vital Red River supply-line. That waterway facilitated the east-west flow of manpower, munitions and foodstuffs between the heart of the Confederacy and the Trans-Mississippi. The United States government recognized the importance of this supply-line and made control of the Mississippi River one of its primary goals shortly after the outbreak of hostilities. Furthermore, this study discusses the monumental impact the struggle for Port Hudson, especially the Union assault of May 27, had on the course of the Civil War. Within the framework set forth above, this study explores the events which brought about the Confederate occupation and fortification of Port Hudson; the relationship between the Confederacy's twin bastions of Port Hudson and Vicksburg, Mississippi; the unsuccessful efforts of Union Admiral David G. Farragut and Major General Nathaniel P. Banks to circumvent the importance of the garrison by controlling the mouth of the Red River and thereby to force the Confederates to evacuate the village due to hunger without the necessity of a costly siege; and the consequences wrought by the Confederates surprisingly successful defense of Port Hudson when finally besieged. The evidence for these matters includes judgments expressed by the opposing commanders, their subordinates of every rank, civilians, and both contemporary and modern historians. Primary sources, including military orders and reports, diaries and letters, and newspapers, provided the bulk of the material consulted in my work. I have supplemented these items with memoirs of participants and regimental histories.