Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site
Fort Buhlow and Fort Randolph
Fort Buhlow and Fort Randolph Historic Marker
After the Battle of Mansfield, halting the Union advance to the West in Spring of 1864, Fort Randolph and Fort Buhlow were constructed on the Red River at Alexandria by Confederates in order to repel future Union attacks through Northwest Louisiana.
Construction was completed by March 1865, under the command of Cpt. Christopher M. Randolph and supervised by a military engineer, Lt. Alphonse Buhlow.
A third and larger fort, planned for the Alexandria side of the river, was never built.
The earthen forts, constructed using local plantation slave labor, were fortified with cannon and over 800 soldiers. In addition to a Confederate troop buildup in the Alexandria area, the Confederate ironclad Missouri was anchored in the river opposite Fort Randolph, but the anticipated attack never came and no fighting over took place. In May of 1865, the Confederates surrendered to Union forces, and the forts where occupied for a short while by the Union before being abandoned at the end of the war.
Forts Randolph & Buhlow State Historic Site also includes the remains of Bailey’s Dam. Bailey’s Dam allowed the Union Fleet, under the command of Admiral David Porter, to escape below the rapids on the Red River at Alexandria during the Union retreat after the battle of Mansfield. It is often called “one of the greatest engineering feats of the Civil War.”
Map of the Forts Buhlow and Fort Randolph State Historic Site (Courtesy of the Louisiana Dept of Culture, Recreation and Tourism)
The Historic Site Today
Today, the Fort Randolph & Fort Buhlow State Historic Site includes a visitor center, interpretive areas and walkways.
The site is today commemorated with interpretive signage and a scenic overlook of the Red River. Located on the Red River in downtown Pineville, the site includes a visitor center with exhibits on the Civil War Red River Campaign, an elevated boardwalk around the fort area, with an overlook near Bailey's Dam site, and an open field for Civil War re-enactments. Forts Randolph & Buhlow were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
Visitor Center at the Forts Buhlow and Fort Randolph State Historic Site (Courtesy of the Louisiana Dept of Culture, Recreation and Tourism)
The historic site is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. A small entrance fee is charged. Seniors over 62 and children 12 and under are admitted free.
Phone 318-484-2390 or 1-877-677-7437. The official address is 135 Riverfront Street, Pineville, LA 71360
More Information about the Historic Site
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One of the boardwalks at the Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site