"About the middle of the siege, the enemy attempted to make a sneak through our lines in the night. A picked command was formed, possibly a thousand men. They selected the slaughter pen route. This pen stood on a high bluff, deep ravines from the neighborhood running into Sandy Creek. These ravines were filled with the offal of many hundred cattle. The attempt was made in a rainstorm. The men got separated and lost while bogging and floundering in this awful putrid mess. They came straggling through our thin line, and were captured in detail. The greater number scrambled back to their own lines.
—Colonel Isaiah G. W. Steedman, Commander of the Confederate Left Wing
On the night of June 11, Union troops attempted to breech the Confederate lines by way of the garrison's slaughter pen. The slaughterhouse, cattle pen, and dump were located here and in the ravines nearby.
Beef was a mainstay of the Port Hudson garrison's diet. It came from longhorn cattle driven from Texas. Poor in quality, the beef was described by a Port Hudson Confederate: "poor, gristly blue, gummy, it could be boiled for hours and never an eye of grease on the water. Those old steers, I suppose, were the only animals in existence without a single particle of fat in their composition."