Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/87

This page needs to be proofread.

Confederate Cavalry Around Port Hudson, 83

From the New Orleans, La., Picayune, July 30, 1905.


A Thrilling Story of Southern Dash and Valor Told by an Orleanian who was One of the Heroic Horsemen.

At the request of same of my army comrades, I with hesitancy attempt to give to the public a brief history of the operations of the Confederate cavalry under the the command of Colonel Frank Powers, Chief Cavalry under General Frank Gardner, who com- manded in Port Hudson, during that memorable siege.

It is impossible for me to write about the cavalry outside of Port Hudson without paying due regard to General Frank Gardner and the brave men under his command, who for sixty days and nights stood in the trenches suffering from hunger and thirst, with a semi- tropic sun beating down upon them, with sickness decimating their ranks, exposed both night and day to a terrific fire from the Federal fleet stationed in the Mississippi river above and below the fort, repelling assault after assault from the land forces of General Banks and Augur, fighting only as Confederate soldiers could fight, and holding out even after Vicksburg had surrendered to General Grant. If ever there be a future historian who is truthful and un- prejudiced, it is to be hoped that General Frank Gardner, the brave defender of Port Hudson, and the gallent men under him will re- ceive their word of praise for their devotion to the Confederate cause.

Port Hudson is located on a bend in the Mississippi river, about 150 miles above New Orleans, and twenty-five miles from Baton Rouge, at the terminus of the Clinton and Port Hudson railroad.

Shortly after the fall of New Orleans, the Confederate Govern- ment, realizing the importance of Port Hudson as a strategic point, commenced fortifying and erecting batteries there, and by January i, 1863, these works were completed, and General Frank Gardner was placed in command. At the date of the siege he had less than 6,000 available men, infantry and artillery. In March General Banks, who had been placed in command of the Department of the Gulf, left Baton Rouge with an army of 25,000 men, and made a