The Seal of the State of Louisiana

Louisiana's Military Heritage:

     Forts, Camps, and Bases

The Louisiana state flag














Native American, Colonial & Antebellum Forts:


BATON ROUGE ARSENAL Built as part of the Baton Rouge Barracks (the Pentagon Barracks) installation in 1819, the Arsenal featured an ordnance storehouse and a powder magazine.  The storehouse was demolished in 1828.  In time, the Arsenal would become the largest ordnance depot in the South prior to the Civil War.


Following the presidential election of 1860, the secession crisis peaked and local volunteer military companies from the surrounding areas demanded the surrender of the barracks and the arsenal.  Major Joseph A. Haskin, USA, commanding officer of the barracks, refused.  The Arsenal was manned by 20 men of the ordnance corps under the command of Lieutenant J. W. Todd, USA.  Faced with superior numbers, Major Haskin surrendered the installation at 5:00 p.m. on January 10.  As a result, the state gained "50,000 stands of small arms, four howitzers, 20 pieces of heavy ordnance, one battery of 6-pounders, one battery of 12-pounders, 300 barrels of powder, and a quantity of ammunition."


The Old Arsenal Powder Magazine as viewed from atop the Louisiana State Capitol building.

The Old Arsenal Powder Magazine—part of the old

Baton Rouge Arsenal—as viewed from atop the

Louisiana State Capitol building.



Confederate forces would eventually occupy the installation but would abandon it in May of 1862 when Union forces returned to Baton Rouge and took the Arsenal without contest.  Following the 2nd Battle of Baton Rouge on August 05, 1862, the barracks were again abandoned until December 17 of that year.  Earthworks were dug to surround the barracks, the arsenal, and the surrounding grounds but no further actions occurred in the vicinity.


The Arsenal remained in service throughout the Reconstruction period and was decommissioned in 1885.  From 1886 to 1925, the buildings and the grounds were the home of Louisiana State University.  One brick magazine built in 1835 was renovated in 1962 and survives to this day as a museum.  A second magazine built in 1850 was demolished in 1931 during the construction of the current State Capitol building.



The Pentagon Barracks were designed to house 1,000 U.S. Army troops.

The Baton Rouge Barracks—now known as the

Pentagon Barracks—were designed to house

1,000 U.S. Army troops.

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Office of Tourism.



The Pentagon Barracks as viewed from the top of the Louisiana State Capitol building.

The Pentagon Barracks as viewed from the top of

the Louisiana State Capitol building. After the Civil

War, the barracks served as dormatories for LSU

and now house offices for the Lieutenant Governor.



BATON ROUGE BARRACKS (PENTAGON BARRACKS) Constructed between 1819 and 1822 to house 1,000 troops, this garrison—like Fort Jesup near Many, LA—was one of the southwestern-most fortifications of the United States in the early 1800s.  It consisted of four barracks and a commissary storehouse built in the form of a pentagon on the banks of the Mississippi River just north of old Fort San Carlos.  The storehouse was demolished in 1821 and never rebuilt.  The installation served as a major staging area for U.S. troops during the Mexican War.


On January 09, 1861, volunteer military companies from the surrounding areas—under orders from Governor Thomas Overton Moore—demanded the surrender of the barracks and the arsenal. Major Joseph A. Haskin, USA, commanding officer of the barracks, refused.  Faced with superior numbers reinforced with units from New Orleans, Major Haskin and the 60 men under his command surrendered the barracks at 5:00 p.m. on January 10.  Eleven days later, Louisiana seceded from the Union.  Confederate troops eventually came to occupy the installation.  In May of 1862, Union forces returned under the command of General Thomas Williams and occupied the barracks without contest.  Following the 2nd Battle of Baton Rouge on August 05, 1862, the barracks were again abandoned until December 17 of that year.  Earthworks were dug to surround the barracks, the arsenal, and the surrounding grounds but no further actions occurred in the vicinity.


The barracks remained in service throughout the Reconstruction period before being decommissioned in 1877.  From 1886 to 1925, the buildings and grounds were the home of Louisiana State University.  Renovated in 1966, the Pentagon Barracks now houses the offices of the Lieutenant Governor.  At one time, a museum tracing the barracks' history was located on the 1st floor of the northeast building.




CAMP RIPLEY Established on the eastern bank of the Sabine River in August of 1819, the existence of Camp Ripley was in direct violation of an agreement in 1806 between Spanish officials and General James Wilkinson, commanding general of the U.S. Army.  This agreement created the Neutral Ground between Louisiana and Spanish Texas until the disputed border could be negotiated and settled.  Fearing that the Spanish would excite Indian tribes in the area into harassing American citizens in the vicinity of Natchitoches, Brigadier General E. W. Ripley, USA, established the post and maintained it until 1821.  The camp amounted to nothing more than huts used to house less than one hundred men.  In 1820, General Andrew Jackson ordered a confidential officer to be selected to explore the area to select a site for a permanent fort on or near the Sabine River.  This resulted in the establishment of Fort Jesup and the discontinuation of Camp Ripley.  The exact location of Camp Ripley is no longer known.


FORT AT BALIZE (BALISE)Built by the French between 1724 and 1734, the Fort at Balize was constructed on a mud lump island located at mouth of the Southeast Pass of the Mississippi River across from the island of Balize.  The fort was irregular in form with a battery of cannon in a semi-circular earthen redoubt.  Two barracks, a cistern, a prison-guard house, and a brick powder magazine all rested on either wooden piles or brick pillars driven deep in the soft mud.  The soft delta soil and constant buffeting by hurricanes necessitated extensive repairs for the fort in 1741-42.


When Louisiana was ceded to the Spanish in 1763, Governor Antonio de Ulloa abandoned Balize and moved the principal entrance post for the Mississippi to a mud lump island on the Northeast Pass and built Fort Real Católica in 1767.  Governor Alejandro O'Reilly, his successor, moved the post back to Balize in 1770 and repaired the fort.  A hurricane destroyed many of the buildings in October of 1778.  The main checkpoint for northern-bound vessels was moved to Fort St. Philip in 1792, but a blockhouse was maintained near the old Balize fort for the security of river pilots from privateers.  The blockhouse was captured briefly by a French corsair, the schooner PARISCENSE, in October of 1795.


Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, American forces maintained only a small garrison at the blockhouse at Balize.  During the War of 1812, the British frigate NORTHUMBERLAND blockaded the mouth of the Mississippi River and raided the installation in August of 1812, capturing several pilots.  The Americans refortified with six 24-pounders, four 9-pounders, four 6-pounders, and fifty soldiers.  By early 1813, construction was beginning on dirt embankments but lack of funding and manpower caused Balize to be abandoned with all armament moved upriver to Fort St. Philip.  The British navy took possession of Balize in December of 1814 during their invasion of Louisiana.  By the time of the Civil War, most of the structures at Balize were in ruins or had been reclaimed by the swamp.  What remained was destroyed by a hurricane in 1865.


FORT OF THE BAYOGOULAS — A log palisade fort surrounding the village of the Bayogoula Indians, located some distance into the woods from Fort de la Boulaye on the east side of the Mississippi River below New Orleans.  Most descriptions by the French of these fortified villages describe them as being circular in form with one spot having upright logs overlapped to form a narrow entrance.  This village was visited by Father Paul Du Ru in February of 1700.


FORT BUTEA small British outpost built near Bayou Manchac along the frontier between Spanish Louisiana and British West Florida.  Governor Bernardo de Gálvez attacked this installation on September 07, 1779, upon learning that Spain had joined the war against Britain through her alliance with France (who had allied with the thirteen American colonies).  The Spanish took the fort by surprise and suffered no losses.


FORT DE LA BOULAYE A French fort built on the eastern shore of the Mississippi River approximately fifty miles from the river's mouth.  It was named after the Inspector General of Colonies.  The installation was built immediately following an encounter between Bienville and an English ship on the river in 1699 in which Bienville threatened to call up non-existent French reinforcements.  The English captain fell for the bluff and sailed away, resulting in that area's present-day name:  English Turn.  Fort de la Boulaye was the first European establishment within the present-day State of Louisiana.


FORT DE LA POINT COUPEE — The beginnings of the French fort at Point Coupee are shrouded in mystery, with some sources varying as to its construction sometime between 1722 and 1732 and its location somewhere between the upper and lower ends of the oxbow lake known as False River, west of the Mississippi River.  It is possible that it was one of eight stockade forts built for the protection of settlers following the massacre at Fort Rosalie in Natchez.


The Spanish took over Fort de la Pointe Coupee in 1763 following the French & Indian War, renaming it Punta Cortada and using it as an outpost to keep watch on British West Florida.  It was from here that troops and militia attacked a British outpost at Thompson's Creek north of Baton Rouge in September of 1779.  At the conclusion of the American War for Independence in 1783, the fort was no longer needed as a border outpost and thus began to be neglected though civil and military duties kept the post alive.


After the United States purchased Louisiana in 1803, a detachment of troops was sent to Point Coupee at the request of slave owners fearing an uprising.  As of 1806, the fort consisted of a magazine, guard house, and several other buildings.  In the wake of the West Florida Rebellion of 1810 against Spanish rule, the United States took possession of all of Louisiana north of the lakes.  Thus, the need for a border fort at Point Coupee disappeared and its use was discontinued.


FORT FERDINAND — A stockade fort erected in October of 1810 by settlers of the village of Springfield, located on the west bank of the Natalbany River.  Named after the king of Spain, it was built by loyalists for the purpose of opposing the revolt of the West Florida Convention, which had taken Fort San Carlos at Baton Rouge one month earlier.  After a conference with General Philemon Thomas, commander of the West Florida troops, the loyalists abandoned the fort and joined the revolution.


FORT JESUPLocated near Many, Louisiana, in the western part of the state, this fort was established in 1822 and commanded by Lt. Col. Zachary Taylor.  The fort was vital to establishing law and order in the region after a treaty settled the boundary between Louisiana and Texas in 1819, abolishing the no-man's land of the Neutral Ground between the two territories.  Fort Jesup served as a staging area for U.S. troops during the Mexican War.  Nearly half of the U.S. Army traveled through here in 1845 en route to Mexico during that war.  The fort was abandoned in 1846, no longer needed as a border outpost.  It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and is now open to the public.


FORT PIKE — Located on the shores of the Rigolets, Fort Pike was the successor to Fort Petit Coquilles and was built as part of an extensive coastal defense system ordered by President James Monroe in the wake of the War of 1812.  It was one of six new masonry forts built in coastal Louisiana at this time.  Construction began in 1819 and was completed in 1827.  Named after explorer and soldier General Zebulon Montgomery Pike (of Pike's Peak fame), the fortification was designed to withstand attack by land or sea.  Pointed bastions flanked the land side with a curved wall facing the water.  Two protective moats surrounded the main structure.  A one-story citadel within the fort


Fort Pike guarded the Gulf approach to Lake Pontchartrain on the shores of the Rigolets.

Fort Pike guarded the Gulf approach to Lake Pontchartrain

on the shores of the Rigolets.

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Office of Tourism.


was designed as a stronghold in the event that the walls were stormed.  The original armament consisted of 32-pounder and 24-pounder cannons though the exact number of each type is not known.  A wartime garrison numbered approximately 400 men; in peacetime it housed between one and 80 soldiers.


Fort Pike served as a staging area during the Seminole Wars and the Mexican War.  In 1861, the Louisiana militia captured the fort and held it until they evacuated after the fall of New Orleans.  Union forces reoccupied it and used it as a base of operations for raids along the Gulf Coast and a training center for the USCT (United States Colored Troops).  The fort was abandoned in 1890 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.  Not a single shot was ever fired in battle from Fort Pike.  The installation received considerable damage as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  It is now open for public viewing.


FORT PROCTORLocated on the shores of Lake Borgne just north of the mouth of Bayou Yscolskey, Fort Proctor was one of six new masonry forts built in coastal Louisiana following the War of 1812.  Construction began in the 1850s under the supervision of Captain P.G.T. Beauregard (of later Confederate fame) and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph G. Totten, one of the chief architects of the Third System coastal defense fortifications.  At the time of construction, the installation was situated near a railroad terminus known as Proctorville.  Hurricane damage and the outbreak of the Civil War caused construction to cease and, as a result, Fort Proctor was never garrisoned.  It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.  Completely cut off from all land access, Fort Proctor can now be reached only by boat.


Over the years, Fort Proctor has become completely cut off from land by the waters of Lake Borgne.

Over the years, Fort Proctor has become completely

cut off from land by the waters of Lake Borgne.  It is also

known by the nickname "Beauregard's Castle."

Photo courtesy of Staff Sergeant Mike Lester,

Louisiana National Guard.



FORT REAL CATÓLICALocated on an island at Balize, construction of this fortification was begun by the Spanish under Governor Antonio de Ulloa.  Approximately 25,000 pesos were expended on its construction.  Upon taking over as governor of Louisiana, Governor Alejandro O'Reilly conducted a survey of the colony's defenses.  His captain of engineers and a junta in New Orleans determined  that the fort was exposed to the elements, costly to maintain, and strategically useless.  As such, Fort Real Católica was evacuated and abandoned around 1769.


FORT ST. CHARLESIn 1760, following French defeats in Canada and the Ohio River Valley, Governor Louis Billouart de Kerlérec of Louisiana ordered the construction of a moat and fortified embankment to completely surround the city of New Orleans (the area known today as "the French Quarter").  Nine bastions were located along the ramparts, one of which was known as Charles' Bastion, located at  modern-day Esplanade and North Peters Avenues.


By the time of Louisiana's transfer to Spanish control in 1763, the French fortifications had deteriorated to uselessness.  Governor Francisco Luis Hector de Carondelet, fearing a French attack in the early 1790s, ordered construction of new defenses.  The largest of these was Fort St. Charles, located at the site of the old Charles' Bastion.  It was pentagon-shaped  with a parapet eighteen feet thick and lined with brick.  Surrounded by a ditch that was twenty feet wide and eight feet in depth, it had sixteen embrasures with an armament of twelve 12-pounder and 18-pounder cannons.  A barracks for 150 men and a powder magazine were located inside.


By the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the city had grown out to surround Fort St. Charles and the other forts in the city.  The Americans began to slowly improve the city's defenses and, by 1811, Fort St. Charles was described as an enclosed redoubt of five sides of masonry and earth, mounting nineteen guns, with a magazine and a barracks for thirty men.  By 1813, the growth of the city and the establishment of fortifications downriver had caused the old Spanish defenses to be abandoned with the exception of Fort St. Charles, which continued to be used as quarters for troops and an ordnance depot.  A leaky powder magazine across the river caused the fort to be used as a powder magazine from 1817 until 1821 when the Baton Rouge Arsenal was completed.  At that time, Fort St. Charles was demolished.  The U.S. Mint in New Orleans was later built on this site and remains to this day as a part of the Louisiana State Museum.


FORT ST. JEAN BAPTISTEFounded by the French in 1714 in present-day Natchitoches, Louisiana, this outpost was established to defend the Louisiana colony against Spanish encroachment from Texas.  Menaced by the Natchez Indian tribe in 1731, it was repaired and modified in 1732, featuring redoubled walls of wooden stakes on the fort's perimeter.  In 1763, Louisiana transferred from French to Spanish control and the fort's purpose as a border outpost vanished.  It fell into disarray and by the time of the Louisiana purchase in 1803, it was beyond use by its new American owners who built Fort Claiborne nearby.  A full-scale replica of Fort St. Jean Baptiste was built near the original site in 1979 and is now open to the public.


FORT SAN GABRIELA Spanish fort built on the south shore of Bayou Manchac to counter the British presence at Fort Bute across the frontier border between Spanish Louisiana and British West Florida.


FORT SELDEN This fortification was established in 1816 or early 1817 near the confluence of Bayou Pierre and the Red River, just north of Grand Ecore, Louisiana.  Never intended as a permanent military post, Fort Selden was named for Colonel Joseph Selden, a Virginia native and veteran of the American Revolution and the War of 1812, who was stationed at nearby Fort Claiborne.  Troops were stationed here as late as March of 1822 before the fort was abandoned in favor of nearby Fort Jesup.


NEW ORLEANS ARSENAL — A powder magazine was built by the French on the eastern side of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, just above Fort St. Louis.  It was destroyed by a fire in 1794.  The arsenal was replaced by the Spanish with a new magazine built across the river on the western shore.  Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the U.S. Army likely established their arsenal in one of the warehouses and yards that were located at the foot of Dumaine Street, which also included the Navy arsenal, Navy yard, and Marine barracks.  This facility was completely replaced by the Baton Rouge Arsenal at some point in the 1820s.


NEW ORLEANS BARRACKS — Three sets of barracks were constructed in New Orleans while Louisiana existed under French rule.  The first were built by the Company of the Indies and were located on the lake side of Royal Street between Toulouse and Canal Streets.  The second set of barracks were built between 1734 and 1739 on the upper and lower sides of the Place d'Armes (known today as Jackson Square).  Due to faulty construction, though, they were torn down before 1759.  The third set of barracks began construction around 1758 and saw completion in the early 1760s.  They were located in the area defined by Decatur (Old Levee), Barracks, Royal, and Ursulines Streets.  A brick wall surrounded the barracks with a parade ground in the interior large enough for 600 men.  The facility also included a military hospital, a powder magazine, and a gun house.  The barracks were capable of housing 1,200 to 1,500 soldiers.


The Spanish took possession of the barracks in 1763 when Louisiana transferred to their control.  When France took possession of the colony again for a short time in 1803, Spanish troops remained in the barracks.  Even after the transfer to American control, French troops continued to be quartered there with soldiers from both nations sharing the same roof.  American commanders favored moving the barracks out of the city so that their men would not succumb to temptation but the onset of the War of 1812 delayed any such move.  Finally, the decision to move the barracks and the arsenal to Baton Rouge was approved in 1817.  The transfer began in 1819 and the property was sold by 1828.  Disturbances in New Orleans over the next few years required troops to be quartered temporarily in the old barracks buildings (through a rental agreement).  The cost of renting facilities spurred the decision to build a new set of barracks in 1834-35 (See Jackson Barracks).  The old barracks buildings used by French, Spanish, and American forces were demolished in 1838.


PHILIPPON TOWER — See Tower Dupre.


PRESIDIO DE NUESTRA SENORA DEL PILAR DE LOS ADAES A Spanish fort built near present-day Robeline, Louisiana, which served as the capital of the Spanish province of Tejas (Texas) from 1722 until its abandonment in 1773.  Established to block French expansion beyond Natchitoches, Los Adaes was completed as a hexagonal fort with each side measuring about one hundred feet in length.  The ramparts were made of dirt and some adobe with large pointed stakes extended four feet above them.  Two small brass cannons were located in the north, southwest, and southeast bastions.  Nine or ten adobe buildings with shingle roofs were located inside the fort for quarters, barracks, storehouses, magazines, and a chapel.


In 1763, Louisiana transferred from French to Spanish control and the fort's purpose as a border outpost vanished, so it was later abandoned in 1773.  When the United States purchased Louisiana in 1803, Spanish forces were sent to garrison Los Adaes once more but an American force from Fort Claiborne at Natchitoches forced their withdrawal beyond the Sabine River in 1806.  Later that year, an unoccupied Neutral Ground was established between Louisiana and Texas until the border was permanently established in 1821.  Today, Los Adaes—now known as Los Adais—is a State Commemorative area and is now open to the public for touring.


PUNTA CORTADA — See Fort de la Pointe Coupee.




TOWER DUPRE Located approximately eight miles east of Chalmette on the shores of Lake Borgne near the mouth of Bayou Dupre, Tower Dupre was built in 1827.  It was completed in 1830, but suffered severe hurricane damage in 1831 and was rebuilt the following year.  Subsequent repairs followed in 1848, 1852, and 1855.  Though occupied briefly by Confederate forces during the Civil War, the installation never saw action.  A Martello-type design, the tower was a two-story structure with five guns.  It was sold into private ownership in 1883.  By the 1960s, the fortification was surrounded by water due to hurricane erosion and the construction of canals, capable of being reached only by boat.  Tower Dupre was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005.


Tower Dupre as seen prior to its destruction in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina.

Sometimes known as Philippon Tower and Castle Martello,

Tower Dupre was a Martello-type design fortification.

Photo copyright Matthew White.  Used by permission.




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Civil War Forts & Training Camps:


BERWICK CITY BATTERYA fortified bridgehead located on the west side of Berwick Bay, opposite of Brashear City (modern-day Morgan City).  Built in 1863 by Federal troops under Brigadier General Godfrey Weitzel, the fortification had its flanks on the river and surrounded a mound that was twenty feet in height upon which a pivot gun was mounted.  The city fell to Confederate forces under Major General Richard Taylor, CSA, on June 23, 1863.  The Confederates pulled out of Brashear City after the fall of Port Hudson freed up Union troops from the siege there.  Union forces under General Weitzel returned on July 25, 1863, and stayed there throughout the remainder of the war.


CAMP BENJAMIN  An early Confederate training camp established in 1861 on the Gentilly Road near New Orleans; a two-and-a-half hour march from Camp Chalmette.  The camp was named in for Judah P. Benjamin, former U.S. Senator from Louisiana and Confederate Secretary of War.  Also known as Camp Jerusalem, Camp Benjamin—like Camp Walker—was known for its deplorable conditions.


CAMP BOGGS  A Confederate military camp located 1½ miles south of Shreveport in 1864 and 1865.  It was named for Brigadier General William Robertson Boggs, CSA.  The camp also garrisoned a Prisoner-of-War (P.O.W.) camp located in its vicinity.




CAMP DeSOTO — A Confederate camp of instruction that was established in Rapides Parish in April of 1863.  It was located about 2½ miles northeast of Pineville on the west side of Bayou Marais on both sides of Holloway Prairie Road. It was first commanded by Captain E. Soniat, CSA.


CAMP HUNTER — A Confederate camp of instruction located on the Sorrell plantation in St. Mary Parish near the junction of the Indian Bend Road and the Franklin-Jeanerette Road on the banks of Bayou Teche.  The camp may have been named for Lieutenant Colonel S. E. Hunter of the 4th Louisiana Regiment.


CAMP JERUSALEM — See Camp Benjamin.


CAMP METAIRIE — See Camp Walker.


CAMP MOOREThe successor to Camp Walker in Metairie, Camp Moore was located north of Lake Pontchartrain on roughly 450 acres of land near the village of Tangipahoa.   Situated on the New Orleans—Jackson—Great Northern Railroad line, it was established in May of 1861 and served as the major assembly point and training area for Confederate forces in Louisiana.  Approximately 25,000 Louisiana soldiers passed through here before entering combat for the Confederacy.  The camp was named for Louisiana Governor Thomas O. Moore and commanded by Brigadier General Elisha L. Tracy, CSA, formerly commanding officer of Camp Walker.  Confederate General John C. Breckinridge used Camp Moore as a staging area for his attempt to retake Baton Rouge from Union hands in August of 1862 and it also served briefly as a prisoner-of-war camp.  The camp was raided twice in April of 1863 and October of 1864.  The camp was burned to the ground by Union forces in November of 1864.  Camp Moore is now open for visitation by the public.


CAMP PARAPET — See Parapet Line.


CAMP PRATT  A Confederate training camp established on Spanish Lake outside of present-day New Iberia in 1862.


CAMP ROMAN  Also known as Camp Carrollton, this Civil War training camp was established in 1861 in the village of Carrollton, at that time located just outside of New Orleans.  It also served to guard the upper river approach to New Orleans with an earthworks and gun emplacements.  It was named for Mr. V. Roman on whose plantation it was built.  The camp was abandoned with the arrival of Admiral David G. Farragut's Union fleet in April of 1862.


CAMP SMITH — See Camp Walker.


CAMP WALKER An early Confederate training camp set up on the grounds of Metairie Race Track in 1861.  It quickly proved unsatisfactory due to the lack of easy access to clean drinking water, the proliferation of disease-carrying mosquitoes from nearby swamps, and its soft, marshy soil.  The facility was commanded by Brigadier General Elisha L. Tracy, CSA.  Camp Walker was replaced by Camp Moore near Tangipahoa, Louisiana.


CONFEDERATE NAVAL STATION (SHREVEPORT) — Established in the fall of 1862 following the loss of New Orleans to Union forces, this naval station was engaged in the construction and repair of gunboats for the protection of the Red River.  The shipyard was located on the southern shore at the confluence of Cross Bayou and the Red River.  The ironclad CSS MISSOURI was launched here in April of 1863 and it is now known that the design team of the submersible CSS HUNLEY worked here after that vessel's mysterious loss on February 17, 1864.  Five submersibles were built at the Shreveport yards; one was shipped to Houston, Texas, with the other four remaining in Shreveport.  It is believed that they were scuttled prior to war's end.  It was also here that the steamer CSS WEBB was converted to an ocean-going ram in March of 1865 prior to her mad dash for freedom downriver to the Gulf of Mexico the following month.  The shipyards were surrendered by their commander, Lieutenant Jonathan H. Carter, CSN, to Commander W. E. Fitzhugh, USN, on June 03, 1865.


FORT BANKS — An enclosed Confederate earthen field work located above New Orleans on the west bank of the Mississippi River in the vicinity of LaBranche's Canal and above Camp Parapet (or the Parapet Line) of the eastern bank.  Erected late in 1861 or early 1862 by order of Major General Mansfield Lovell, CSA, it was intended to guard the upper river approach to New Orleans.  Plans called for it to house six 32-pounder cannons and ninety men.  The works were abandoned by the Confederates and the guns spiked with the arrival of Admiral David G. Farragut's Union fleet in April of 1862.  The Union forces occupied the fort, rechristening it Fort Banks in honor of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, USA.  The armament was replaced and the installation became part of the Union defenses surrounding New Orleans.


FORT BARROW — See Fort Butler.


FORT BEAUREGARD  A casemated earthen redoubt built by Confederate forces on the heights overlooking the Ouachita River near the town of Harrisonburg.  The fort was bombarded by gunboats under the command of Commander S. E. Woodworth, USN, for two days in May of 1863 with little damage resulting.  In September of that year, commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel George W. Logan, CSA, ordered the fort abandoned upon learning of a strong Union expedition headed in his direction commanded by Brigadier General M. M. Crocker, USA.  This was done in spite of 1,100 men under Colonel Horace Randal, CSA, then en route to reinforce the fort.  Fort Beauregard was abandoned at 1:00 a.m. on September 04, 1863, leaving behind eight (8) guns that were hastily rendered useless.  Upon occupying the fort, General Crocker salvaged two guns and further demolished the remaining weaponry before departing the town.


FORT BRASHEAR — A four-sided bastioned work that guarded Brashear City (modern-day Morgan City).  Located south of the railroad line, it consisted of a parapet, scarp, and counter scarp and its armament included of five 32-pounder guns, one 42-pounder, three 24-pounder, and two 12-pounder howitzers.  The fort was enlarged to accommodate a garrison of 800 men and a bomb-proof magazine.  By January of 1865, the fort's armament included one 48-pounder, three 32-pounders, three 24-pounders, and two 12-pounder howitzers.  Fort Brashear and other fortifications in the area were likely built by Federal troops under Brigadier General Godfrey Weitzel, USA, sometime after November of 1862.  No fortified points at Brashear City appear in earlier Confederate records.  The forts and the city fell to Confederate forces under Major General Richard Taylor, CSA, on June 23, 1863.  The Confederates pulled out of Brashear City after the fall of Port Hudson freed up Union troops from the siege there.  Union forces under General Weitzel returned on July 25, 1863, and stayed there throughout the remainder of the war.  Fort Brashear is also sometimes known as Fort Star, a name bestowed upon it in the post-war era.


FORT BUHLOW — A Confederate earthworks built on the eastern bank of the Red River in 1864 in anticipation of another Union campaign up the Red River which ultimately never materialized.  Located just north of present-day U.S. Highway 71 and Buhlow Lake in Pineville, the site overlooks a former series of rapids which hindered and trapped Union gunboats in 1864 and the site of Bailey's Dam which saved those same gunboats.  The fort was named for Lieutenant A. Buhlow, CSA, one of the officers in charge of its construction and that of Fort Buhlow.  Both forts were surrendered peacefully to Union forces on June 03, 1865.  Efforts are currently underway to restore Fort Buhlow.


FORT BURTON  A Confederate fort featuring two (2) guns located on Cow Island in the Atchafalaya River at Butte à la Rose.  Built in 1861, the fort was captured by Union forces on April 19, 1863, thus securing the Atchafalaya River under Union control.  Also known as Fort Butte à la Rose, it was later destroyed by Union forces.


FORT BUTLER — Built at the confluence of Bayou Lafourche and the Mississippi River near the town of Donaldsonville, Fort Butler was the site of an Alamo-like last stand by Union forces on June 28, 1863 who eventually withstood and overcame the Confederate attack.  Named in honor of General Benjamin F. Butler, USA, who ordered its construction, it was dedicated on February 09, 1863.  The installation was star-shaped, constructed of masonry, and surrounded by a deep, brick-lined moat 16 feet wide and 12 feet deep.  The sides flanking the river and the bayou received the additional protection of two strong log stockade-type wings that extended from the levee to the water.  It was armed with six 24-pounder siege cannons.  The remains of Fort Butler were destroyed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1900 when Bayou Lafourche was permanently dammed at the Mississippi River to prevent flooding.


FORT BUTTE À LA ROSE — See Fort Burton.


FORT DeRUSSYA 100-square yard earthen redoubt with ironclad casemates built by Confederate forces on the western bank of the Red River just outside of Marksville.  It was evacuated and stripped by the Confederates in May of 1863 and subsequently occupied by the U.S. Navy.  Abandoned by the Federals, it was rebuilt by the Confederates in the winter of 1864.  Federal troops under the command of General A. J. Smith recaptured the fort from the Confederates as part of the Red River campaign in March of 1864.  Smith's men destroyed as much of the earthworks as possible to prevent its future use, including blowing up the fort's magazine.  After the defeat of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks in the Battle of Mansfield just south of Shreveport, Union forces began to withdraw from the Red River area.  The Confederates occupied the remnants of Fort DeRussy again from the summer of 1864 until the end of the war in 1865 and used it as a picket station.  The fort was named in honor of its designer, Lewis Gustave DeRussy, a West Point graduate with a twenty-nine year career in the U.S. Army, a fifteen-year career in the Louisiana state militia, and service in both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War prior to his joining the Confederate Army in 1861.


Efforts are currently underway to restore Fort DeRussy at Marksville, Louisiana.


FORT HARRISONBURG — See Fort Beauregard.


FORT JOHN MORGAN — See Parapet Line.


FORT RANDOLPH A Confederate earthworks built on the eastern bank of the Red River in 1864 in anticipation of another Union campaign up the Red River which ultimately never materialized.  Located just south of present-day U.S. Highway 71 on the grounds of Central State Hospital,  the site overlooks a former series of rapids which hindered and trapped Union gunboats in 1864 and the site of Bailey's Dam which saved those same gunboats.  The fort was named for Captain Christopher Meyer Randolph, CSA, who was the senior officer directly in charge of its construction and that of Fort Buhlow.  Both forts were surrendered peacefully to Union forces on June 03, 1865.  Efforts are currently underway to restore Fort Randolph.


FORT STAR — See Fort Brashear.


FORT TURNBULL — One of four earthen forts built in 1864 as part of a defensive system of entrenchments and batteries to protect Shreveport from invasion by Union forces.  It was located at the junction of Bayou Pierre and the Red River on the bayou's western bank.  Some of the fort's guns were actually wooden dummies placed by the Confederates to give the illusion of greater strength and to draw fire and disguise the location of the real batteries.  For this reason, Fort Turnbull was dubbed "Fort Humbug" by some of the troops.  A National Guard armory was built on the site of Fort Turnbull prior to World War II and, in 1947-48, a 12-story Veterans Administration Hospital was constructed there.


McGEHEE (McGEE) LINE — A continuous, fortified line of earthworks erected by the Confederates on the west side of the Mississippi River on the McGehee (or McGee) Plantation across the river from the Chalmette Battlefield of 1815.  A similar line of fortifications was erected on the Chalmette side of the river opposite the McGehee Line and both lines served to guard the lower river and overland approaches to New Orleans.  The embankments stretched for 3/4 of a mile from the river to a nearby swamp.  Its full armament of guns had not yet been placed when Admiral David G. Farragut's Union fleet arrived in April of 1862.  A short engagement erupted in which the Union vessels raked the line with gunfire, forcing the Confederate troops there under the command of Brigadier General M. L. Smith to retire.  Remnants of the McGehee Line can still be seen into the 21st century.


PARAPET LINE — A continuous, fortified line of breastworks erected on the east side of the Mississippi River about 1½ miles above Carrolton (along present-day Causeway Blvd.) that served to guard the upper river and overland approach to New Orleans.  The line began at the riverbank with a strong main redoubt and extended almost due north for 1½ miles before ending in a swamp.  Construction began on August 22, 1861, under the supervision of Major M. L. Smith, CSA.  The fortifications were described in September of 1861 as having a parapet nine feet in height with a moat thirty feet wide and six feet deep in its front.  With the arrival of Admiral David G. Farragut's Union fleet in April of 1862, the Confederates abandoned the works and spiked the guns, throwing some of the weapons into the river to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.  Federal troops occupied the line and began improving it extensively.  The parapet was built as an indented (or zigzag) line.  Under the Federals, it was expanded to a width of thirty feet at its base, ten or fifteen feet at its top, and a height of about eight feet.  The upper side had a steep slope.  The ditch remained about thirty feet in width and was nearly full of water.  The interior side had a level shelf four or five feet from the top for infantrymen to stand to fire over the parapet.  Stakes about eighteen inches apart lined the entire length through which willow branches were interwoven.


The Parapet Line was manned by Federal troops through 1866, beyond the start of the demobilization of the Union army.  Remnants of it can still be seen into the 21st century.  The fortifications were also known as the Victor Smith Line and Fort John Morgan under the Confederates and Camp Parapet by the Union army.


VICTOR SMITH LINE — See Parapet Line.



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Louisiana National Guard Bases:


ARMORIES — As of 1980, the Louisiana National Guard maintained armories in the following locations throughout the state:  Abbeville, Alexandria, Amite, Baker, Bastrop, Baton Rouge, Bogalusa, Bossier City, Breaux Bridge, Bunkie, Colfax, Coushatta, Covington, Crowley, Delhi, DeQuincy, DeRidder, Donaldsonville, Eunice, Farmerville, Ferriday, Franklin, Franklinton, Gonzales, Hammond, Homer, Houma, Jeanerette, Jena, Jennings, Jonesboro, Jonesville, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Leesville, Lutcher, Mansfield, Many, Marksville, Minden, Monroe, Natchitoches, New Iberia, New Orleans, New Orleans Lakefront Airport, New Roads, Oakdale, Oak Grove, Opelousas, Pineville, Plaquemine, Roseland, Ruston, St. Martinville, Shreveport, Slidell, Sulphur, Thibodaux, Vidalia, Ville Platte, Vivian, West Monroe, Winnfield, and Winnsboro.


CAMP STAFFORD — A Louisiana Army National Guard training base located on the grounds of the Louisiana State Seminary & Military Academy (the forerunner of Louisiana State University) in Pineville, Louisiana.  Established in 1905 by Major General David Theophilius Stafford, Adjutant General of Louisiana, it served as a training camp until 1917.  A base hospital was located here for nearby Camp Beauregard between 1917 and 1919, followed by the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital from 1919 to 1920.  Since 1920, the grounds have been home to the Veterans Administration Hospital.



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U.S. Army Air Corps — U.S. Air Force Bases:


ALEXANDRIA AIR FORCE BASE — See England Air Force Base.


ALEXANDRIA ARMY AIR BASE — See England Air Force Base.


BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE — Named in honor of Mississippi native Lieutenant Eugene Hoy Barksdale who was killed at age 29 during flight testing of an observation plane in 1926, Barksdale Army Air Field started construction in 1931.  It was the largest air field at that time:  22,000 acres.  Located just outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, the base was officially dedicated on February 02, 1933, and was home to the 20th Pursuit Group.  Throughout the 1930s, Barksdale was used as a training center for the 3rd Attack Wing which flew the P-12, P-26, A-8 Shrike, and B-18 Bolo.


With the United States' entry into World War II in 1941, Barksdale began training bomber crews instead of pursuit and fighter craft.  Crews piloted the B-26 Marauder, B-17 Flying Fortress, and B-29 Superfortress.  Among the crew trained at the base were the 17th Bomb Group which conducted the daring Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942.  Barksdale Field also held German and Italian prisoners-of-war (P.O.W.s) at the end of World War II.  Free French and Nationalist Chinese air crews were also trained here during the 1940s.


With war's end, Barksdale became the headquarters for Air Training Command from 1945 to 1949.  With the creation of the U.S. Air Force as an independent branch of the Armed Forces, the base was renamed on January 13, 1948, as Barksdale Air Force Base.  In 1949, the base became the headquarters of the 2nd Air Force, placing it into the Strategic Air Command.  In the 1950s, RB-45 Tornado and B-47 Stratojet bombers and KC-97 Stratofreighter tankers staged from Barksdale as part of the 301st and 376th Bomb Wings.  These two wings departed in 1957 and 1958 and were replaced by the 438th Strategic Wing, flying B-52 Stratofortress bombers and KC-135 Stratotankers.  The 2nd Bomb Wing replaced the 438th in 1963, flying the same aircraft types, and routinely deployed aircraft and personnel to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.


The 2nd Air Force headquarters was inactivated in 1975 and the headquarters for the 8th Air Force was transferred from Guam to Barksdale that same year.  The B-52 Stratofortress continued to fly out of Barksdale, but the KC-135 was gradually phased out between 1981 and 1994 with the introduction of the KC-10A Extender tanker.


Barksdale aircraft and personnel were involved in Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989 and again in Operations Desert Shield (1990) and Desert Storm (1991) in Iraq.  The first combat sortie of Desert Storm was launched from Barksdale with seven B-52G bombers flying a 35-hour mission to fire air-launched cruise missiles against targets in Iraq.  At that time, it was the longest combat sortie in history.  Barksdale aircraft also participated in Operations Desert Strike (1996) and Desert Fox (1998) against Iraqi forces, in Operation Allied Force (1999) against Yugoslav forces in Kosovo, in Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-present) against Taliban and al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011) in the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.


BARKSDALE ARMY AIR FIELD — See Barksdale Air Force Base.




CHENNAULT AIR FORCE BASE — Located on the eastern outskirts of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Chennault AFB began as a small parish-operated airport (not to be confused with Gerstner Field) leased to the federal government in June of 1941 by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.  It was first known as the Lake Charles Army Flying School, an advanced flying school for single-engine fighter pilots.  The school would be moved to Victoria, Texas, not long afterward, but the airport was redesignated as Lake Charles Army Air Base.  It was used to train bomber crews for B-26 Marauders starting in June of 1943.  With the conclusion of World War II, the Army deactivated the base in October of 1946.


With the outbreak of the Korean War, the base was reactivated as Lake Charles Air Force Base in 1951 and designated a Strategic Air Command base.  In July of that year, the newly reformed 44th Bombardment Wing moved to Lake Charles AFB, followed by the 68th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing / Bombardment Wing (Medium) in October of 1951.  Both wings flew the B-29 Superfortress and later the B-47 Stratojet.  The 806th Air Division & Combat Support Group also flew out of the base, using KC-97 Stratofreighter tankers for refueling operations.


Local military and civilian leaders petitioned to rename the base after Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault but the Air Force declined as tradition dictated that bases were not named for living persons.  Following the General's death in 1958, the Air Force granted the request and the base was rededicated as Chennault Air Force Base on November 14, 1958.  In June of 1960, the 44th and the 806th were deactivated and the 68th moved operations to Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina on April 15, 1963.  Chennault AFB was closed and control of the facility reverted to the City of Lake Charles.  The base serves today as Chennault International Airport.


DeRIDDER ARMY AIR FIELD  Begun as a WPA project in 1934, DeRidder Army Air Field was first known as Beauregard Field, a regional civilian airport located three miles west of DeRidder, Louisiana, that featured two earthen runways on 160 acres of land.  The field was used extensively during the Louisiana Military Maneuvers in 1940.  The field was purchased by the Beauregard Parish Police Jury along with an additional 280 acres of land, which was later expanded by a additional 200 acres.  In early 1941, the federal government leased the field from the Police Jury and the City of DeRidder and it became DeRidder Army Air Field on July 21, 1941.


Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Army acquired over 4,200 additional acres of surrounding property and built additional runways.  Over 5,000 personnel were assigned to the base.  Among the units assigned to DeRidder were the 423th and 424th Reconnaissance Groups and the 409th and 417th Bombardment Groups.  A bombing range was located at nearby Merryville, Louisiana, for practice bombing.  Inactivated and declared surplus on October 02, 1946, the field reverted back to the custody of the Beauregard Parish Police Jury in 1947.  It is today known as Beauregard Parish Airport and several World War II era structures remain in use.


ENGLAND AIR FORCE BASE — Located on the western outskirts of Alexandria, Louisiana, England AFB saw a humble beginning back in 1939 when it served as an emergency landing strip for Esler Field in nearby Pineville.  With the advent of World War II, however, the Army Air Corps leased the facility from the city of Alexandria and it became Alexandria Army Air Base.  The facility was used as a training center for B-17 Fortress combat crews with an average of 45 crews graduating from there per month until 1945.  With Germany's surrender, the base began training B-29 Superfortress crews for duty in the Pacific theater.  In early 1946, the base was placed on stand-by status and turned over to the city.


With the outbreak of the Korean War, the base was reactivated as Alexandria Air Force Base in 1950 and assigned to Tactical Command.  It was renamed in June, 1955, as England Air Force Base in honor of Lt. Col. John B. England, who had commanded the 389th Bomber Squadron there.



An overhead view of Flying Tiger Heritage Air Park on the grounds of England Air Force Base.

Home to the 23rd Fighter Wing (aka The "Flying Tigers"), England AFB built

the Flying Tiger Heritage Air Park in 1989 which contains one of every

aircraft flown by the squadron up to that point:  (clockwise) the F-86 Sabre,

A-7D Corsair II, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-105 Thunderchief, and P-40 Warhawk.

Photo courtesy of England Industrial Airpark.


In July of 1972, the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing moved to England AFB, flying the Vought A-7D Corsair II aircraft.  In December of 1980, the 23rd TFW traded out its Corsairs for Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II ground support "tank-buster" aircraft.  The squadron used part of the old artillery range of nearby Camp Claiborne (closed in 1945) as a bombing and gunnery range.  Immediately following Operation Desert Storm, the U.S. Air Force closed England AFB in December of 1992 and control of the facility reverted to the City of Alexandria.


ESLER ARMY AIR FIELD — Originally known as the Artillery Range Airport Camp, this air field was part of the grounds of Camp Beauregard and served as an Army Air Corps training facility during World War II.  It was renamed Esler Field on June 19, 1941, in honor of Lieutenant Wilmer Esler, the pilot of an O-47 monoplane who died in a crash on the airfield on April 11 of that year.  The 107th Observation Squadron was stationed here and was tasked with artillery spotting and observation of troop movements. The field is located in Pineville, Louisiana, and today exists as Esler Field Regional Airport.  


GERSTNER ARMY AIR FIELD — Located near Lakes Charles, Louisiana, in the village of Holmwood, Gerstner Field was a large World War I aviation training camp that existed between 1917 and 1921.  It was the first military airfield to be located in not only Lake Charles, but in the State of Louisiana as well.  During its short history, a total of 499 fighter pilots and aviation instructors graduated from Gerstner.  The base was named for Lieutenant Frederick J. Gerstner, USA, a Michigan native who was killed at the age of twenty-three on December 21, 1914, during the test flight of a scout plane over the Pacific near Oceanside, California.


HARDING ARMY AIR FIELD —  Located north of Baton Rouge, Harding Field started operations as a training facility on September 28, 1941.  It was named on January 23, 1942, in honor of Lieutenant William Wadley Harding, a distinguished pilot from Shreveport, Louisiana, who was killed in a plane crash during war games in August of 1936.  The facility conducted fighter-bomber training for numerous aircraft, notably the P-39 Air Cobra, P-40 Tomahawk, P-47 Thunderbolt, and A-36A Mustang dive bomber.  With bombing missions held at the nearby Hammond Bombing & Gunnery Range and aerial combat training occurring over Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf of Mexico, the base also operated the 922nd Boat Company which served as a rescue fleet, operating out of Madisonville on the lake and Grand Isle on the Gulf.  Inactivated on March 01, 1945, the field serves today as the Baton Rouge Municipal Airport.


LAKE CHARLES ARMY AIR BASE — See Chennault Air Force Base.


LAKE CHARLES AIR FORCE BASE — See Chennault Air Force Base.


POLLOCK ARMY AIR FIELD —  A satellite air field for Alexandria Army Air Base located in Pollock, Louisiana.  It featured three paved runways forming a triangle.  It was relinquished to civilian control at some point between 1945 and 1949 and renamed Pollock Municipal Airport.


SELMAN ARMY AIR FIELD — Located in Monroe, Louisiana, Selman Field was activated on June 15, 1942, and named for Lieutenant Augustus J. Selman, USN, who died on November 28, 1921, of injuries received in an airplane crash.  The field was fully operational just three months later.  A motor convoy from Turner Field in Albany, Georgia, brought the first squadron of personnel to Selman on August 11.  On August 15, the Army Air Force Pre-Flight School (Bomber-Navigation) transferred to Selman from Maxwell Field in Alabama.  The remaining elements of the Advanced Navigation School arrived from Turner Field on September 14.  Selman Field was commanded by Colonel Norris B. Harbold and later by Colonel Earl L. Naiden until its closing in 1946.  Selman Field was the largest navigation school in the United States in its time and the nation's only complete navigation course—from start to finish—during World War II.


TALLULAH ARMY AIR FIELD — A satellite air field for Barksdale Army Air Field, Selman Army Air Field, and/or Columbus Army Air Field (at Columbus, MS) located on Scott Air Field in Tallulah, Louisiana.  Scott Field (its civilian name prior to and after World War II) consisted of two turf runways approximately 2,800 feet in length.  At one point during the war, the 20th Pursuit Group and 71st Service Squadron moved from Barksdale Army Air Field to Tallulah, using it to practice flying missions and servicing aircraft in field conditions.  Between 1942 and 1945, the U.S. Marine Corps used the Tallulah field as a training base for its aviators.  Tallulah was also listed as a military branch camp for Prisoners-of-War during World War II.  The field reverted back to civilian control following World War II and is today known as Scott Airport.



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U.S. Army Bases:


CAMP BEAUREGARD Established around the time of World War I, Camp Beauregard is located in Pineville, Louisiana, and is named for Confederate general and Louisiana native Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.  It served as a training facility for soldiers who were sent to France from 1917 to 1918 and was closed in 1919 and turned over to the State of Louisiana which used the grounds periodically for National Guard training.  It was reactivated as a federal facility in 1940 and served as the hub of the Louisiana Maneuvers in 1940, 1941, and 1942.  The camp grounds also included nearby Esler Field.  Following World War II, Camp Beauregard reverted back to state control and was used as a training area for two years before again being deactivated.  It was revived in 1973 and currently serves as a logistical and training base for engineer and aviation units of the Louisiana National Guard.


CAMP CLAIBORNE Originally named Camp Evangeline when first established on June 10, 1930, just north of present day Forest Hill, Louisiana (south of Alexandria), this Army training facility was later renamed in honor of the Territorial Governor and first State Governor of Louisiana, William C.C. Claiborne.  Between 1939 and 1946, over 500,000 men passed through Camp Claiborne for basic training and artillery practice.  Engineering unit and special service forces training also took place here and railroad construction battalions trained on and maintained the Claiborne-Polk rail line that ran between Camp Claiborne and Camp Polk near Leesville, Louisiana.  The Army's first airborne units were created here.


In 1940-41, Camp Claiborne served as one of several bases of operation for the Louisiana Maneuvers:  a 400,000 man exercise in which two armies—Blue and Red—faced off against each other throughout central Louisiana and eastern Texas.  Near the end of World War II, German prisoners-of-war (POWs) were held here.


Camp Claiborne was closed in late 1945.  The Winn District—Kisatchie Precision Bombing Range, part of the camp's old artillery range, was used into the early 1990s as a bombing range for A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack fighters from nearby England Air Force Base until that facility's closing.  The camp today is idle and is again part of the Kisatchie National Forest, managed by the National Forest Service.


CAMP EVANGELINE — See Camp Claiborne.


CAMP HARAHAN — See Camp Plauche.


CAMP LIVINGSTON First known as Camp Tioga, this was one of several U.S. Army camps opened during World War II.  It was renamed Camp Livingston in honor of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston who negotiated the Louisiana Purchase.  Established in 1940, it served as an infantry replacement training center.  Over 500,000 troops trained on the 47,000 acre base during World War II and the facility also housed German and Italian prisoners-of-war (POWs).  Camp Livingston was deactivated in late 1945 and is now part of the Kisatchie National Forest, managed by the National Forest Service.


CAMP MARTIN — Located on what is now the New Orleans Fair Grounds, Camp Martin was set up as a communications training school for soldiers during World War II.


CAMP PLAUCHE — Located on the western outskirts of New Orleans, Camp Plauche was originally known as Camp Harahan.  It was renamed in honor of Major Jean Baptise Plauche who served with Major General Andrew Jackson during the Battle of New Orleans in 1814-15.  The camp served as a staging area for troops passing through the New Orleans Port of Embarkation.  Its mission changed to that of a training base in 1942.  It was used to hold German and Italian prisoners-of-war (POWs) once training needs had diminished.


CAMP POLK — See Fort Polk.


CAMP TIOGA — See Camp Livingston.


CAMP VILLERE — A Louisiana Army / Air National Guard camp located near Slidell, Louisiana.  It was originally established in 1942 as a small arms range for soldiers training at Camp Plauche in New Orleans.  It was named in honor of Major General Jacques Phillippe Villeré, commander of the 1st Division of the Louisiana Militia, who served with Major General Andrew Jackson during the Battle of New Orleans in 1814-15.  Villeré was later elected as the second governor of the State of Louisiana.


FORT POLK — Originally known as Camp Polk, this facility covers more than 198 acres and is located seven miles southeast of Leesville, Louisiana.  It was named in honor of the Right Reverand Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana, known as the "Fighting Bishop" for his role in the Confederate Army.  It was established in 1941 to support the Louisiana Maneuvers and served as an armor, infantry, and airborne training center during World War II.  It also housed German and Italian prisoners-of-war (POWs).  The camp was inactivated following the war with the Louisiana National Guard using it for training during the summers of 1948 and 1949.  The camp was reactivated for the Korean War in September of 1950 before being closed once again in June of 1954 with war's end.


Fort Polk was reopened in 1955 for training maneuvers and closed again in June of 1959.  National Guard training occurred each summer until September of 1961 when the post was again reactivated for the Berlin Crisis.  In June of 1962, the facility was designated as an Infantry Training Center and selected in 1965 to conduct Vietnam-oriented advanced training.  Established as a permanent installation in October of 1968, Fort Polk was designated as the U.S. Army's prime infantry training center in July of 1973.  From 1973 to 1976 when the training center retired its colors, over one million soldiers received basic training there.  In March of 1993, the facility became the permanent home of the Joint Readiness Training Center.  Fort Polk is today the largest military installation in Louisiana.



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U.S. Coast Guard Stations:


BARATARIA BAY STATION # 214 See Coast Guard Station # 79 (Grand Isle).


COAST GUARD AID TO NAVIGATION TEAM (ANT) NEW ORLEANS — Located on the grounds of NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans on the Intercoastal Canal and the Mississippi River, ANT—New Orleans maintains navigational along the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, Lake Borgne, the Intercoastal Waterway, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, and various smaller lakes, bayous, canals, and rivers.  ANT—New Orleans also conducts "brushing" in the summer months in which tree and brush growth is removed to maintain line-of-sight between ships transitting the Mississippi River and aids on the river banks.  Other responsibilities include Search-and-Rescue, Homeland Security details, and providing logistical support for other agencies.


COAST GUARD AIR STATION NEW ORLEANS — Located on the grounds of Naval Air StationJoint Reserve Base New Orleans at Belle Chasse, Louisiana, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans has an area of responsibility that extends east to west from Apalachicola, Florida, to White Lake, Louisiana, and north to south from Memphis, Tennessee, to 150 nautical miles offshore.  The station utilizes five American Eurocopter HH-65A Dolphin helicopters.


Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans was first commissioned in July of 1955 and located at the old Naval Air Station on Lake Pontchartrain (aka Camp Leroy Johnson).  In December of 1957, it moved along with the Navy to the new facility at Alvin Callender Field.


COAST GUARD LORAN-C STATION GRANGEVILLE — Part of the Southeast United States LORAN-C Chain, this station provides a long-range navigation point for marine vessels and aircraft.  Located at Grangeville, Louisiana, northeast of Baton Rouge in St. Helena Parish, it uses a transmission power of 800kw and broadcasts from a tall mast radiator tower that is 700 ft. in height.


COAST GUARD MARINE SAFETY UNIT (MSU) BATON ROUGE — Originally established late in 1966 as a Marine Inspection Detachment, MSU Baton Rouge's area of responsibility includes over 340 miles of the Mississippi River from the Sunshine Bridge (located approximately halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans) to the Arkansas-Louisiana border.  It also includes the Red River from the Texas-Louisiana border southward to its confluence with the Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers.  Parts of the Intracoastal Waterway, the Atchafalaya River, the Ouachita River, and the Yazoo River also fall under the oversight of MSU Baton Rouge.  The unit conducts vessel inspections, facility inspections, and pollution investigation and response, as well as overseeing waterway management and safety.  The unit was upgraded to a Marine Safety Detachment (MSD) in the early 1980s before finally becoming a Marine Safety Unit (MSU) in February of 2001.


COAST GUARD MARINE SAFETY UNIT (MSU) HOUMA — Originally established on October 10, 1974, as a Marine Inspection Detachment, MSU Houma's area of responsibility covers all of Terrebonne Parish, Lafourche Parish, and the lower part of Jefferson Parish in the vicinity of Grand Isle.  The unit conducts vessel inspections, facility inspections, and pollution investigation and response, as well as overseeing waterway management and safety.  The unit was upgraded to a Marine Safety Detachment (MSD) in October of 1987 before being made a Marine Safety Unit (MSU) in the fall of 2000.


COAST GUARD STATION # 79 (GRAND ISLE) — Originally established in 1919 as Barataria Bay Station # 214, Coast Guard Station Grand Isle is located on the eastern end of barrier island Grand Isle, midway between Caminada Pass and Barataria Pass, about 3¾ miles southwest of Barataria Bay Light.  The current incarnation of the station was commissioned on November 01, 1968, to include a LORAN "A" station and a Rescue Small Boat station.  The LORAN station was closed in 1980.  At present, the 87-ft. cutter USCGC STURGEON (WPB-87336) is homeported at Station Grand Isle, along with one 47-ft. Motor Life Boat (MLB), one 41-ft. Utility Boat (UTB), one 23-ft. SAFE boat, and one 18-ft. Majek flat boat.


COAST GUARD STATION NEW ORLEANS — Located at the New Canal Lighthouse on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Coast Guard Station New Orleans has been in operation since 1901 and was originally known as New Canal Light Station.  It is listed in the National Register of Historic Buildings.  Its area of responsibility extends from the Pearl River west to Des Allemands, as well as the Mississippi River Gulf outlet.  As of 2001, the station operated two 41-foot utility boats, a 27-ft. medium utility boat, a 21-ft. Rigid Hull Inflatable (RHI), a 19-ft. RHI, and an 18-ft. Kann boat.


Coast Guard Station New Orleans is located at the New Canal Lighthouse on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain.

Coast Guard Station New Orleans is located at the

New Canal Lighthouse on the shores of Lake

Pontchartrain.  Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard.



VESSEL TRAFFIC SERVICE (VTS) UNIT BERWICK BAY — Located in Morgan City, Louisiana, VTS Berwick Bay commenced operations in 1975 in response to concern for maritime safety and the high number of collisions with area bridges.  Its area of responsibility encompasses the navigable waters found at the confluence of the Atchafalaya River, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from Harvey, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from Port Allen, Bayou Teche, Bayou Boeuf, and Bayou Shaffer.  The high traffic volume combined with strong currents and a series of bridges makes this one of the most hazardous waterways in the United States.  VTS Berwick Bay maintains direct control of all vessels in transit through this area via radio, organizing traffic and coordinating the raising and lowering of the Morgan City Railroad Lift Bridge.



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U.S. Marine Corps Bases:




MARINE BARRACKS — Located near the intersection of Levee and Dumaine Streets in New Orleans, Louisiana, the U.S. Marine Corps Barracks housed the contingent of Marines assigned to the U.S. Naval Station.  Both installations were established soon after the Louisiana Purchase.  The Marines were initially quartered in the old French-Spanish Barracks when they arrived in 1804 before moving to their own barracks on the grounds of the Navy yard.  The Marine Barracks burned in November of 1821.


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U.S. Naval Bases:


ALVIN CALLENDER FIELD — See New Orleans Naval Air Station.


BURWOOD NAVAL SECTION BASE — Located on the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, Burwood Naval Section Base was established during World War II to watch for enemy ships and submarines in the Gulf of Mexico and to monitor traffic entering the mouth of the river.  Construction of the base began in 1941 and the base was placed into commission on December 15, 1941, with Lieutenant Commander N. J. Ashley in command.  The Army Corps of Engineers constructed a water tower approximately 120 ft. in height with a platform atop the tank which supported another smaller tower 75 ft. high.  The smaller tower supported a yardarm (crossbeam) similar to that of a ship from which signal lights and signal flags could be hoisted to communicate with approaching ships (thereby maintaining radio silence).  Inbound vessels were inspected prior to proceeding upriver to New Orleans and Baton Rouge.


In 1942, the U.S. Army set up heavy artillery pieces (mobile howitzers) on either side of the river at Burwood.  The guns had a range of approximately nine miles.  The Army also set up a second watch tower on the South Pass near Port Eads.  The base's heavy duty docks were capable of supporting not only pilot boats and civilian tugs and dredges, but also patrol craft, sub chasers, minesweepers, PT boats, and vessels as large as destroyers.  Vessels staging out of Burwood participated in almost every rescue operation along the central Gulf Coast during the height of the U-boat threat in 1942.


CAMP LEROY JOHNSON — See New Orleans Naval Air Station.


HOUMA NAVAL AIR STATION — This installation saw its origins in July of 1942 when the U.S. Coast Guard stationed a detachment of J4F Widgeon aircraft here to help patrol the Gulf coast against the threat of German U-boats.  The U.S. Navy later purchased 1,743 acres of land from Terrebonne Parish and the City of Houma, the South Coast Corporation, R.R. Barrow, Inc., and several small land owners for the establishment of a naval air station.  Included in this land purchase was the 613-acre Houma Airport.  Construction was begun on August 06, 1942, of an air station that would house an LTA (Lighter Than Air) squadron of blimps.


K-class blimps like the one seen above flew out of Houma, Louisiana, on anti-submarine patrol during World War II.

K-class blimps like the one seen above flew out of Houma, Louisiana, on anti-submarine patrol during World War II.

Photo courtesy of the Naval Airship Association.



The 1,000-foot wooden blimp hangars at NAS Houma were unique.  Other such hangars had sliding, sectional doors that were moved on overhead tracks in the hangar's doorsills.  Due to the soft, shifting soil of south Louisiana, the hangar doors at NAS Houma were built in a clamshell design that moved on tracks and rolled outward away from the entrances.  A landing mat 2,000 feet in diameter accommodated the blimps while two (2) concrete runways and several hangars were used by the HTA (Heavier Than Air) aircraft of the Navy, Coast Guard, and the Texas Company (now known as Texaco).  NAS Houma was commissioned into service on May 01, 1943, under the command of Commander Bernard F. Jenkins, USN.


LTA Squadron ZP-22 was commissioned into service at NAS Houma on May 15, 1943, and began conducting anti-submarine patrols of the Gulf coast.  Operations continued until the unit was decommissioned on September 12, 1944.  The base ceased to be an LTA facility on September 21, 1944, and began serving as an HTA training facility with Coast Guard air/sea rescue flight operations continuing.  In 1945, NAS Houma was redesignated as a Naval Air Facility (NAF).  Following the cessation of hostilities, the base served as an aircraft storage facility until October of 1947 when the facility reverted to the control of the City of Houma.  The field serves today as the Houma-Terrebonne Regional Airport.


NEW IBERIA NAVAL AIR STATION — Commissioned in 1960, NAS New Iberia was located on Highway 90 just outside of New Iberia and covered an area of 4,347 acres of land.  Approximately 1,000 military personnel and 100 civilian workers were stationed here in 1964, including the 27th Training Squadron.  NAS New Iberia was closed in January of 1965.


NEW ORLEANS NAVAL AIR STATION — First established in July of 1941 as a Naval Air Reserve Air Base, NAS New Orleans was first located on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain on the grounds that are today occupied by the University of New Orleans.  Redesignated as a Naval Air Station in November of 1942, the facility served as a training base during World War II for Signal and Quartermaster units.  It also housed a Transportation Corps Officer Candidate School and a Replacement Training Center.  The facility was later transferred to Air Service Command and became part of the New Orleans Port of Embarkation.


With war's end, the station returned to the training of selected naval air reservists.  In 1947, it was renamed Camp Leroy Johnson in honor of Medal of Honor recipient and Louisiana native Leroy Johnson, a sergeant in the U.S. Army who died on Leyte during World War II.


With the advent of the jet age, the facility's runaways proved too short and the station was moved to its current location at nearby Belle Chasse, Louisiana.  The new facility was dedicated in April of 1958 as a Joint Reserve Air Training Center and named Alvin Callender Field after Alvin Andrew Callender, a native of New Orleans who was killed in World War I while flying with the Royal Flying Corps.  In 1994, the facility was redesignated a Joint Reserve Base (JRB).


The base is shared by Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard units.  War games between units of the three branches occur over the Gulf of Mexico and provide vital training in the form of dissimilar air combat tactics.  Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans is also located on the grounds of NAS JRB New Orleans.


NEW ORLEANS NAVAL ARSENAL — Located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Station at the foot of Dumaine Street in New Orleans, the arsenal was established shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and remained in use as late as the British invasion of Louisiana in 1814-15 during the War of 1812.  It may have been consumed in a fire that broke out on the night of May 14, 1820, and consumed a portion of the Navy Yard.


During World War II, a similar installation—known as the U.S. Naval Munitions Magazine—was located on 5,000 acres of land below New Orleans on the west side of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish.  The naval station had by that time been moved to Algiers, on the west bank, as well.  The magazine had a large number of ammunition bunkers measuring 30 feet by 80 feet each. 


NEW ORLEANS NAVAL STATION — Established shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the U.S. Naval Station was apparently located in one of the warehouses and yards that were located at the foot of Dumaine Street.  It housed not only a yard for vessels, but also an arsenal and the Marine barracks.  In 1848, the Louisiana legislature requested the state's Congressional delegation to petition to have the naval station moved across the Mississippi River to Algiers on the west bank.  Land was acquired in 1849, but if the station opened at that time, it was closed prior to the Civil War.  Additional purchases of land for establishing a station were made in 1894 and 1904, giving the station 215 acres bounded by the Mississippi River on the north, by Merrill Avenue on the east, by General Meyer and Opelousas Avenues on the south, and by Behrman and Hendee Avenues on the west.  Shortly after 1903, the Eighth Naval District was moved to Algiers.


The New Orleans Naval Station at Algiers was closed between 1911 and 1915.  It was once again in operation between 1916 and 1933 before closing once more.  The station reopened in 1940 with the military build-up that preceded the United States entering World War II and was once again made the headquarters for the Eighth Naval District.  Its yards serviced naval ships and the installation served as a training station for personnel.  With war's end, over 20,000 servicemen were station there in addition to U.S. Coast Guard personnel.


The reduction in post-war activities led to a downsizing of the station in August of 1966 with seventy-eight acres being donated or sold to private and public use.  The 250-bed F. Edward Hebert Hospital was built there in the 1970s and, in the 1980s, the facility was redesignated as a Naval Support Activity center.  A Base Realignment and Closure committee in the late 1990s recommended the Algiers installation for closure..


NEW ORLEANS NAVY YARD — See New Orleans Naval Station.


TCHEFUNCTA NAVY YARD — The U.S. Navy established a shipyard on the Tchefuncta River in the vicinity of Madisonville on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain sometime prior to 1813.  In late 1813 or early 1814, construction was begun on the USS TCHIFONTA, a flat-bottomed block ship capable of cruising and controlling the shallow waters of Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain.  Work on the vessel was suspended in spring or early summer of 1814 and thus she was not ready to oppose the British amphibious landings on Lake Borgne in December of that year.  Several U.S. Army and Louisiana militia units camped in the vicinity of the navy yard in the months leading up to the British invasion and the USS ETNA guarded the yard for a time.  The yard was commanded by Captain W. B. Carroll in late 1814.  Work on the TCHIFONTA was suspended after war's end and she remained unfinished until sold on the stocks late 1820 or 1821.  The yard was apparently abandoned sometime between 1821 and 1826.



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World War II Prisoner of War Camps:


BARKSDALE ARMY AIR FIELD P.O.W. CAMP  — See Barksdale Air Force Base.


BASTROP P.O.W. CAMP — A total of 210 German prisoners of war were incarcerated at Bastrop, Louisiana, between the camp's opening on October 02, 1944, and its closing on December 08, 1945.  Bastrop was one of approximately 40 satellite work camps set up throughout Louisiana during World War II which drew work forces from Camps Ruston, Claiborne, Livingston, Polk, and Plauche to serve as labor on local farms.  (See "Confronting The Enemy First Hand — In Bastrop" by Barbara Sharik)


CAMP CLAIBORNE P.O.W. CAMP  — See Camp Claiborne.


CAMP LIVINGSTON P.O.W. CAMP  — See Camp Livingston.


CAMP PLAUCHE P.O.W. CAMP  — See Camp Plauche.


CAMP POLK P.O.W. CAMP  — See Fort Polk.


CAMP RUSTON — One of the largest prisoner-of-war (POW) camps in the United States, at its peak in October of 1943, Camp Ruston held 4,315 prisoners.  It was built on 770 acres about seven miles northwest of Ruston, Louisiana, in 1942.  From June of 1943 to June of 1946, the camp served as one of more than 500 prisoner-of-war camps across the country.  Its first 300 residents, from Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's elite Afrika Korps, arrived in August of 1943.  Other "celebrities" among the camp's residents included the crew members of captured German submarine U-505, who were kept in isolation from their fellow prisoners to prevent the International Red Cross from reporting their capture to the German government (as per Geneva Convention regulations) and thus revealing that the German military's secret Enigma codes had fallen into Allied hands.


During 1944, the make-up of Camp Ruston's prisoners included those of Vichy French, Austrian, Italian, Czech, Polish, Yugoslav, Romanian, and Russian soldiers.  Enlisted personnel


Camp Ruston was one of the largest POW camps in the United States.

Camp Ruston was one of the largest P.O.W.

camps in the United States.

Photo courtesy of

Louisiana Tech University Digital Library.


among the prisoners were required to work at the camp and for local farms and businesses.  Tasks included picking cotton, felling timber, building roads, etc.  This helped alleviate the domestic labor shortage caused by the war.  Prisoners were paid for their labor in script that could be used at the camp canteen.


DONALDSONVILLE P.O.W. CAMP — Located at Donaldsonville, Louisiana, in Ascension Parish, this was one of approximately 40 satellite work camps set up throughout Louisiana during World War II which drew work forces from Camps Ruston, Claiborne, Livingston, Polk, and Plauche to serve as labor on local farms.  There were approximately 400 prisoners housed at Donaldsonville and most of them worked in harvesting sugar cane.


HOUMA P.O.W. CAMP — The prisoner-of-war (POW) camps at Houma, Louisiana, were two of approximately 40 such satellite work camps set up throughout Louisiana during World War II which drew work forces from Camps Ruston, Claiborne, Livingston, Polk, and Plauche to serve as labor on local farms.  The Houma camps provided a combined total of 444 German prisoners who harvested sugar cane in the local fields.  These prisoners were also involved in beautification work at Naval Air Station Houma, planting trees and shrubbery (the articles of the Geneva Convention prohibited prisoners-of-war from performing tasks which would enhance the "host" country's ability to conduct warfare).


JEANERETTE P.O.W. CAMP — Located at Jeanerette, Louisiana, this was one of approximately 40 satellite work camps set up throughout Louisiana during World War II which drew work forces from Camps Ruston, Claiborne, Livingston, Polk, and Plauche to serve as labor on local farms.  There were approximately 500 prisoners housed at the Jeanerette camp.


PORT ALLEN P.O.W. CAMP — Approximately 500 German prisoners of war were housed in a tent camp at the fair grounds in the back of the Port Allen courthouse.  The prisoners worked on local sugar cane plantations, particularly on Poplar Grove Plantation where the prisoners painted and restored the plantation home.  Port Allen was one of approximately 40 satellite work camps set up throughout Louisiana during World War II which drew work forces from Camps Ruston, Claiborne, Livingston, Polk, and Plauche to serve as labor on local farms.


TALLULAH P.O.W. CAMP See Tallulah Army Air Field.



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Sources used in the compilation of this article:

"A History of Ag Aviation in Madison Parish" by John Earl Martin (October, 2004).

American Civil War Fortifications (1)—Coastal Brick and Stone Forts, by A. Konstam.  Osprey Publishing (2003).
The American Forts Network.

Aviation in the U.S. Army, 1919-1939, by Maurer Maurer.  Office of Air Force History (1987).

Beauregard Parish Library.

Bernardo de Galvez in Louisiana:  1776-1783, by John Walton Caughey.  Pelican Publishing Co. (1972).

Chennault International Airport.

City of Lake Charles website.

The Civil War in Louisiana, by John D. Winters.  Louisiana State University Press (1963).

Earthen Walls, Iron Men:  Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, and the Defense of Red River, by Steven M. Mayeux.  The

          Univeristy of Tennesse Press / Knoxville (2007).

Encyclopedia of Forts, Posts, Named Camps, and Other Military Installations in Louisiana, 1700-1981, by

          Powell A. Casey.  Claitor's Publishing Division (1983).

England Industrial Airpark & Community.

Fort Butler, by William A. Spedale.  (1997).

Global website.

Heroes of Harding Field, by William A. Spedale.  (2000).
History of the Nineteenth Army Corps, by Richard B. Irwin.  Elliot's Book Shop Press (1985).
Louisiana:  A History, edited by Bennett H. Wall.  The Forum Press (1984).

McNeese State University.
New Orleans—1815, by Tim Pickles.  Osprey Publishing (1993).
Selman Field.  Turner Publishing (1998).
Ships To Forts:  The American Civil War at Sea (1861-1865), by Lawrence T. Russell.  The Russell Group.

The State of LouisianaDepartment of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism.

The United States Air Force.

The United States Coast Guard.

The United States Navy.

World War II in the Gulf of Mexico, by C. J. Christ.  (2005).

"World War II Prisoner-of-War Camps on Department of Defense Installations" by John Listman, Christopher

          Baker, and Susan Goodfellow.  U.S. Department of Defense (2007).


**Copyright 1997-2013 by Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission**