Civil War Baton Rouge
Control of the Mississippi River and New Orleans was vital to
the Union war effort. In April 1862, Union gunboats steamed
up the river. The vessels evaded the guns of Confederate-held
forts located below New Orleans, and the city surrendered
without a fight on April 28.
Knowing that Baton Rouge would fall next, Louisiana Gov.
Thomas O. Moore ordered that all cotton stored in the city be
moved or burned. Residents of the capital city fled as barges
of blazing cotton were, set adrift on the river. The Union Army.
captured Baton Rouge on May 7, 1862.
That August, the ironclad gunboat C.S.S. Arkansas and infantry
commanded by Confederate Gen. John C. Breckinridge
attempted to retake the city. On August 5, the Confederates
successfully pushed Union troops to the city's outskirts. When
fighting resumed the next day, the Union held the line and
the Confederates retreated. Baton Rouge remained in federal
control for the rest of the war.National Cemetery
Union soldiers killed in the Battle of Baton Rouge were
the first burials here. Soldiers and sailors who died in city
hospitals followed. The property was designated Baton
Rouge National Cemetery in 1867.
The federal government enlarged the cemetery by purchasing
8 acres. The U.S. Army removed the remains
of soldiers buried in Plaquemine and lberville parishes and
Camden, Arkansas, and reinterred them here.
Improvements in the 1870s included a Second Empire-style
brick superintendent's lodge, flagstaff, and gun monuments
flanking the entry road. The lodge was replaced in 1931.
Section 3 contains several private, pre-Civil War burials from
the old Baton Rouge Army Post Cemetery. In 1882, remains
from that cemetery were exhumed and reinterred here.
Massachusetts funded a monument to honor its Civil War troops—thirteen infantry regiments and seven artillery batteries—who served in the U.S. Army Department of the Gulf. The 40-foot-tall granite obelisk was built by J. N. White and Sons of Quincy, Massachusetts, at a cost of $5,000.
On November 15, 1909, Massachusetts Gov. Ebenezer Draper, with fifty-nine officials and Union veterans, travelled to Baton Rouge to dedicate the monument. Louisiana Gov. Jared Y. Sanders and Baton Rouge Mayor Robert L. Pruyn participated in a ceremony that included music, speeches, a military salute, and the playing of "Taps."