Fort DeRussy
    Snagged one today guys. In my lust for bloody Civil War
battlegrounds I left at the sleepy hour of 11:00
AM and headed
to Palmetto, La. There I ripped across the swamp through Bayou Rouge and ended up just south of Simmesport where I downed two peanut butter sandwitches and drank a rootbeer.
    Are ya with me? I was headed across that bridge in the picture, the  bridge over the Atchafalaya at Simmesport to the east side. I was going to go back south on the other side, La.417, and search for the road General Green had taken from the river to Sterling's Plantation. But, then I remembered I wanted to see Fort DeRussy. "Wanting" doesn't get it if you don't know where it is. For some reason I'd included my huge
Maps of Louisiana book on the bike. It had Fort DeRussy in the index. Amazing because it isn't a town.
     Having a general idea of where the fort was,  I  motored out of Simmesport on La.1.  Looking at the GPS, I remembered that I wanted to see where Bayou DeGlaises met the Atchafalaya, if it still did. That view was not available in town but my ride back to Simmesport was not for naught. I found where fresh fish are sold there. North of the bridge.
That is where I took the last bridge pictures. Finally back on the road, La. 1 North, I passed the location of the Battle of Yellow Bayou and headed to Marksville. I departed La.1 and went north on La.452. Getting to where the map said it was, I stopped and asked this older gentleman directions to the fort. He said to turn left at the base of the next bridge and after that turn right everytime you get a chance.
      I went right there.
      The gate was locked, no one was around. There were two neighborhood houses across the street. After running up and down the little road several times to see if there was  another way in, I returned, parked, and jumped the fence. Yep, it had that feeling. I could hear the cannons and and feel the action. General Taylor had walked these grounds,  Captain Wallace of the Texas Calvary had, too. A weird stone noted their opposite opinions on the treatment of the slaves at the fort. That was it. There was no explanation of the battle, just those two observations. I went to
A SITE which pictures the cemetery that I missed. I am not the "Steve" on that site. Evidently there is more to the place than my nervous self found. I had seen a bridge going toward the river, perhaps it was there. It would have been a walk out of sight of the bike.
       I left on the dirt road which I saw intersected the highway that ran back into town.
       I failed to mention some facts:
       DeRussey is located between Marksville and the Red River. Its fall to Banks opened the door to Alexandria and Alex... being torched.
Banks then proceeded up the Red and across to Mansfield where Taylor, Mouton, and Green whipped him, eventually causing his removal as a field officer.
        Yellow Bayou and Mansura were attempts by the Rebs to cut off Bank's retreat. Both failing.
      Back to that country road. It went right past this huge sewage plant. There was a high fence so I couldn't get a picture for you.
      Was I on a roll. That levee on the right is the Red River's.
       I went through the historic town of Mansura just to make
the trip complete and shot the marker there, again. Not shown, again..
      Then I enjoyed a great ride down the shute to home.
The Unplanned Ride to Fort DeRussy
    I send out a  preview to people who take the time to acknowledge my offerings. Below is the last one. I can't see writing another report so you'll just have to do with what they got. What you will get is bigger pictures  with descriptions, maybe, if I'm in the mood.
Time line and pictures, and, ok, some descriptions.
12:36, Simmesport is 60 miles from my gas station. Scene is from where I ate. Where La.105 takes
a hard left going into town, take a right over the levee to the unmarked public landing and picnic area.
About 1:02, I left the picnic area and went to Hamburg, La. I'd never taken a
a shot of the old, what I believe to be the old post office. It seemed to be a converted home or store or what is very common, a store/home. The wheelchair accessible ramp tells me it was in use in the late 1970's when the "Rights of the Disabled" law was passed.
Next to the post office I saw it. I get letters everyday asking for pictures of
old Jeeps. This one had found  a home next to the burn pile. There you go, Jeepers.
As I said in my letter, I had to take advantage of being there So back to
Simmesport I rode. As you can see, it was worth it. That is the beautiful Atchafalaya Railroad Bridge. I'm serious, I find these old strutures gorgeous.
Looking the other way from the viewiing area, provided by the city, there's the new La.1 Bridge. Not bad. The river was running.
The Atchafalaya carries one third of the Mississippi's flow, plus all the Red River's. It is a mean, deep river.It produces huge fish. One of the teachers at the highschool caught a 230 pound catfish. Way to go Coach.
Returning to La.1, I headed to Marksville and then onto La.452.
After questioning a resident, I found the fort.
The gate was locked, so I rode up and down the little road looking for another
entrance.  I could see the bridge which is blocked by some orange webbing.
I returned to the big corral gate and jumped it. I left the bike at the gate, it announcing that I was on the other side. If you are going to break the law, don't be sneaky about it. When you are caught, it's worse.
Running is a "no-no", also.
No historic marker was there, no directions or battle layout. This place was "wanting" for attention.
I saw the hill in front of me and assumed it was the fort. After climbing it, I was sure.
It was full of water. Could the Rebels have drowned? There must have been
some drainage system "back then". I saw a large turtle and he saw me.
Panning to the right, the wall above what had been the Red River is shown below.
Our rivers use to change course all the time. They still want to.
This monument I thought was going to be about the men who fought and died here. Instead it is the grave of Lewis DeRussy, obviously the name-E of the fort. You can research him.
    I left the fort feeling nervous, having lost the bravado with whicb I'd jumped the gate.
Future research, from that link I gave you, disclosed I'd missed the cemetery.
      Damn double damn.
This part of Louisiana is just beautiful. How photogenic can an agrarian scene be? Over the hill was the sewage plant. No picture, sorry.
No, actually over that hill was this picture.
This one I took on the way home. It is representative of the common architecture used almost everywhere I've traveled in Louisiana. It is Baptist. Then why did I take its picture? The wooden shutters give away its age.
That is a propane bottle in front. Heat fuel. Where was the chimney if it was so old? I think it was moved here. Care to debate? I didn't think so.
That's bout it.
    The Civil War Sites make great destinations. Learn a little and check them out. On the subject of ghost,  they beat old houses because there are more there, and from what I can tell, they enjoy the attention..
A page on Civil War Markers and the rides that took me to them.
A page on another battlefield.
My watch stopped working. I love it when that happens. Enjoying an "Easy Rider Moment", I threw it away. There are few expressions that are that powerful. Sorry about the time line.
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