The Siege of Port Hudson began in late May 1863 with a series of battles, including one on May 27 that was among the first major engagements that involved African American regiments. After General Franklin Gardner received reports that confirmed the Confederate defeat at Vicksburg, he surrendered his forces to General Nathaniel P. Banks on July 9, 1863. Some estimates put the total number of casualties during the siege at 12,208 (Union 5,000 / CSA 7,208). The National Park Service offers a great lesson plan about Port Hudson through their Teaching with Historic Places program. Teachers will find a short overview of the battle, several accounts from soldiers who participated in the battle, and links to several photographs. Louisiana State University’s Marshall Dunham photograph album also has a number of photographs of Port Hudson. In addition, several battle maps are available from the Library of Congress. Port Hudson may not be that well known, but as General Ulysses S. Grant explained in his Personal Memoirs (1885-1886), the Union’s victory on July 9 was a significant one. “From that day to the close of the rebellion the Mississippi River, from its source to its mouth, remained in the control of the National troops,” as Grant noted. You can also find other documents about this battle in volume 26 of the Official Records. (A list of all the reports starts on page 41).