Panel #19 Mississippi Riverwalk
A) Port Hudson, Louisiana
Mile 256.0 AHP
This settlement began as a trading post and by the time of the U.S. Civil War, it was an important shipping center with both a steamboat landing and a rail line to the east. The Confederates heavily fortified it early in the war and it became one of their mightiest river strongholds. In March 1863, U. S. Admiral Farragut tried to run his fleet past the gun batteries at Port Hudson, while a large Union Infantry Force attacked it on the land side. All but two of the Union boats were disabled and the land attack was repelled. Two months later, Federal Forces cut Port Hudson's supply lines and held the town under siege for 43 days. After the fall of Vicksburg in July 1863, Port Hudson became the last Confederate city on the Mississippi River to surrender. After the war, the town was forced to move east to escape the river's encroachments. Floods, a sagging cotton industry, and the decline of river traffic, eventually put an end to the once thriving town.
B) Fausse River Cutoff
Mile 258.5 AHP
The river was the process of making this cutoff when the first Frenchmen canoed the Lower Mississippi River. In 1699, local Native Americans advised the explorers, Iberville and Bienville, that they could avoid the long river bend to the west by carrying their canoes across the narrow neck of land along the cutoff route. By 1721, an observer noted that the old bed was dry and the cutoff channel was very deep. The French named the abandoned bend "Fausse River" or False River, and its banks became lined with the homes of wealthy sugar planters. False River is now an enclosed crescent-shaped lake of 4,000 acres.