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Port Hudson Campaign, 1862-1863

  • The determination with which the Confederate garrison of Port Hudson, Louisiana, held out - for seven weeks, fewer than five thousand Confederate troops fended off almost thirty thousand Yankees - makes it one of the most interesting campaigns of the Civil War. It was, in fact, the longest siege in United States military history. In The Port Hudson Campaign, 1862-1863, Edward Cunningham tells for the first time the complete story of the Union operation against this Confederate stronghold on the Lower Mississippi. The initial phase was the costly attempt by the Union fleet to run the Port Hudson batteries - the naval engagement in which the historic warship Mississippi was lost. The second phase was the even more costly effort by General Nathaniel P. Banks to take the stronghold from the landward side. The third and final phase, the siege itself, culminated in surrender, less than a week after the capture of Vicksburg. Cunningham has unearthed in his research a greater abundance of sources and more information on the campaign than most historians thought existed. The resulting dramatic story of Port Hudson, told with great clarity and verve, reveals the importance of that campaign to the course of the Civil War.

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