Major General Nathanial P. Banks was tasked with destroying the Confederate stronghold at Port Hudson, on the Mississippi River. The Confederates had moved there in early May, to provide support to their army at Vicksburg. By 21 May, Banks’s had joined with further columns, swelling the Union numbers to 30,000 men, compared to the 3,500 men under Major General Franklin Gardner. By late May, Banks’s troops had encircled Port Hudson, which was surrounded by fortifications. The Union army began its assault on 27 May, when Brigadier General Godfrey Weitzel’s two divisions attacked Confederate breastworks. After the Confederates successfully repulsed Weitzel, further Union divisions joined the assault. For the next three weeks, Banks failed to capture Port Hudson. This was despite naval support and the building of a tunnel under the Confederate’s citadel. It was only after the Confederate defeat at Vicksburg that Garner finally surrendered on 9 July.
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