Did You Know Shreveport Was Once The Capital Of Louisiana?
With the painful division growing within the confines of our country at present, the mind wanders to other times when our countrymen fought amongst themselves, and our prayers continue that our beloved America would never again see days such as "America's bloodiest conflict."
Obviously, I'm referring to "The War of the States" or "The American Civil War", but only until reading an article published by the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, did I realize the importance Shreveport played in the war and to the State of Louisiana.
Following Confederate losses in New Orleans and Vicksburg in 1862 and 1863, the western portion of the Confederacy, the Trans-Mississippi Department functioned completely separate from it's eastern counterpart.
In May 1863, the Trans-Mississippi, cut off from the Confederacy, moved to Shreveport. It's been said there were over 40,000 Confederate soldiers stationed in Shreveport at one time.
Union Forces Had Already Taken Baton Rouge, But the Port Hudson Loss Was a Devastating Blow
Later that spring, in a timeline recorded by the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, following the Union forces siege of Port Hudson just outside of Baton Rouge which completely divided the Confederacy, the Louisiana State Capital was also moved to Shreveport, where it stayed until the end of the war.
The timeline further shows that on January 25, 1864, Henry Watkins Allen became the Confederate governor of Louisiana and during his tenure in Shreveport he proved to be an incredible asset to Shreveporters as he organized state stores that allowed citizens the opportunity to purchase food and supplies below cost which relieved some of the pressures of the food shortage.
Allen also authorized a state laboratory that produced much needed medical supplies for Confederate soldiers and negotiated contracts for cotton, sent agents to Texas and exchanged that cotton for supplies.
If His Last Name Sounds Familiar, It Should
Allen Parish is named for him, as is Port Allen on the west bank of the Mississippi River across from Baton Rouge. Also, named for him, is the neighborhood in which he lived while here in Shreveport, "Allendale."