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Port Hudson.1

By Charles D. Elliot.
Before relating the incidents and general story of the siege of Port Hudson, I will briefly allude to some of the events of the Civil War preceding it.

At the end of the first year of the war, December 31, 1861, all of the seceding states were practically under full control of the Confederate government; and were cut off from, and outside of, the civil or military jurisdiction of the Federal government.

One hundred and eighty-four battles and engagements were fought in 1861, eighty-two of which were in Missouri, and thirty-four in Virginia, twenty-six in West Virginia, eighteen in Kentucky, six in Maryland, and only eighteen in all other parts of the Union and Confederacy. Thus in the first year it had been entirely a warfare in the border states. Of these battles, only sixteen were fought in the first half of 1861, and one hundred and sixty-eight in its last half. Virginia and Missouri were the cyclone centres of the war in 1861.

Virginia, with difficulty, and by only a small majority of their convention (eighty-eight to fifty-five), had been drawn into the Confederacy, and Missouri, only with great effort, been prevented from seceding. In Virginia the great objects of the Confederate government were the defence of Richmond, its capital, the capture of Washington, and the invasion of the North; which object made Virginia a field of carnage for four years.

In Missouri the secessionists hoped to bring the state, nearly equally divided in sentiment, into the Southern fold, and with it Kentucky, thus assuring the control of the Mississippi River and its great tributaries, the Missouri and the Ohio; thereby menacing Illinois and Indiana, and forcing the war onto Union soil.

1 a paper read before the Somerville Historical Society.

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