COLUMBUS, Ky. -- If someone asked where the biggest Civil War fortifications on the Mississippi River were, some might guess the battle site of Vicksburg, Miss., or outside of New Orleans. However, neither of those are correct.
The biggest fortifications on the Mississippi River were at Fort DeRussy, which is now part of Columbus-Belmont State Park, according to park manager Cindy Lynch. The Confederates boasted that DeRussy was "The Gibraltar of the West," she said.
The fortification of Columbus's bluffs began in September 1861 by Confederate General Leonidas Polk and his troops, according to Lynch. Polk chose to fortify Columbus because he could control river traffic using cannons mounted on the bluffs, she explained.
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