|Maj. Gen. Franklin Gardner, CSA|
Major General Franklin Gardner was a New York born graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. He was 17th in the Class of 1843, five places ahead of his classmate Ulysses S. Grant.
Commissioned as a lieutenant in the 7th U.S. Infantry, he was ordered to Pensacola where he served until the outbreak of the Mexican-American War. The Second Seminole War was
|Fort Barrancas at Pensacola Bay|
The 7th Infantry was part of the U.S. Army that battled Santa Anna in Mexico in 1846-1848. Gardner served under both General Zachary Taylor and General Winfield T. Scott and was noted for courage under fire at the Battles of Monterey, Churubusco, Molino del Rey and Vera Cruz. He remained in the army until the Southern states began to secede from the Union in 1860-1861, serving as a captain in the so-called "Utah War."
Married to a girl from Louisiana, Gardner cast his lot with the South and resigned his commission. He led a brigade of cavalry with such distinction at the Battle of Shiloh that he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general effective April 11, 1862. Identified as an officer of great potential by General Braxton Bragg, he went on to fight at Perryville, Kentucky, in October 1862 and was promoted to major general.
|Port Hudson Battlefield|
As General Grant closed in on Vicksburg in May 1862, the Union Army of the Gulf closed in on Port Hudson under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks. Under orders from higher authorities, General Gardner had already sent many of his men upriver to help fight Grant. When Banks and his more than 30,000 men surrounded Port Hudson, Gardner had only around 4,000 men with which to oppose them.
|Museum Display at Port Hudson|
Over the next two months, Gardner and his tiny garrison held off and badly bloodied a Union army seven times the size of their own command while also keeping some of the most powerful warships of the U.S. Navy at bay. From the muddy trenches of Port Hudson, Louisiana, they fought the longest siege of the Civil War.
Read more about Gardner's remarkable fight at Port Hudson by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/porthudson.