Two Louisiana sites commemorate Union Gen. U.S. Grant’s efforts to get at the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg by digging various canals, trying to manufacture a waterway bypassing the forts there. All these efforts were ultimately failures.
Grant’s Canal Park
600 Lake St, Lake Providence LA 71254
318-559-5125 (Byerley House)
An attempt by Grant to bypass the Mississippi through Lake Providence and northern Louisiana waterways was unsuccessful. A small piece of the canal remains. Historical markers are located in the park. More information is available across the street at the Byerley House, which serves as the visitor center for the area.
Also in Lake Providence, have a look at Arlington (private) on the north shore of the lake. It was headquarters for many Union generals including Grant.
Grant’s Canal site
Vicksburg National Military Park
Located south of I-20 (use exit 186 to U.S. 80) across the river from Vicksburg
NPS OFFERS A GOOD ONLINE MAP
Grant attempted to cut off the large curl in the Mississippi at Vicksburg by digging a canal, in order to avoid the forts on the bluff. Some believed that the river even might change its course into the canal, making the Vicksburg defenses irrelevant.
More than 3,000 Union soldiers eventually augmented by more than 1,000 freed slaves toiled off-and-on from late June 1862 until March 1863 when the idea was abandoned. A surviving remnant of the canal is part of the Vicksburg National Military Park with pathways and interpretive signs.
Winter Quarters State Historic Site
4929 Highway 608, Newellton LA 71357
The only survivor of more than a dozen plantations in the area — Union troops burned the rest during the 1863 Vicksburg campaign. This house was constructed in phases 1805–1830; tours offer glimpses into antebellum plantation life in the area. Open by appointment only; call to schedule. $4/person.
317 E Main St, New Iberia LA 70560
Once prosperous sugar plantation here is truly a “Gone with the Wind,” story as the ravages of war tore apart the area. Great Civil War stories here as the women of the family lived upstairs while Union troops occupied the downstairs and gardens in 1863. Operated by the National Trust. Tours: Monday–Saturday 9 am–4:30 pm. $10/adult.