I recently headed north of Baton Rouge with two new pals I met through this blog to see some Civil War sites and other nearby points of interest.
With battlefield exploration, you have to fill in a lot of blanks with your imagination. My own brain supplied vague jumbles of mustachioed men in double-breasted coats fighting each other with bayonet guns and cannons. I'm not going to front--I have not retained a lot of information about the Civil War from high school history class, not that much of it ever sunk in. For me, any battle descriptions go in one ear and out the other, unless it's told with some compelling human element or perhaps if it is acted out in a movie starring Patrick Swayze.
But for those interested and knowledgeable on such matters, I can tell you that we visited the site of the Siege of Port Hudson. Back then, it looked like this:
See those mounds in the illustration? If my sources are correct (and I have no reason to believe they're not), I'll show you what some of those mounds look like now.
They look like mounds. That's them at the tree line in the next two photos.
Another battlefield remnant is this citadel, which I believe is also referred to in battle descriptions as the Rebel Citadel.
And for good measure, various abandoned houses [below and the second photo in the post].
Here we have a Civil War monument on someone's quaint fenced property (with cute goats in assorted colors next door). I've never encountered a picket fence like this that looks like it was made from scratch.
Next, we stopped at an abandoned church located on the far edge of an expansive field.
As we approached, we saw four to five large vultures roosting atop the belfry. They didn't seem to appreciate our presence and flew off as we arrived.
Not much going on inside the church. But hey: abandoned church in the middle of nowhere!
Next, we stopped over the border of Mississippi at the Pond Store, which has been open since 1881.
We found warm company on that cold day with the chatty shopkeeper and a wood-burning stove, where two cats and a dog soaked up the heat.
The Pond Store still has lots of period details, like the original cash register and the wood box it came in (which miraculously was never tossed into the stove), display cases, and this olden scale (for weighing your pickled eggs?).
On the way back, we passed more of the area's extremely active vulture community. It was not the cheeriest of days, but one not lacking in points of interest.