Dedication of DeRussy Monument
Colonel Lewis G. DeRussy
Monument Dedication

Sunday, September 26, 1999
Marksville, Louisiana

Colonel Lewis G. DeRussy was the oldest West Point graduate to serve in the Confederate Army. He was a veteran of the War of 1812 as well as a veteran of the Mexican War. DeRussy, A prominent engineer in civilian life, was the engineering officer in charge of the construction of the first fortifications at an earthen fort built to defend the Red River from naval invasion during the War Between the States. This fort is located in Avoyelles Parish, about three miles north of Marksville. Named for DeRussy, the fort construction began in November of 1862.

Fort DeRussy was the site of three major War engagements and numerous skirmishes. Control of the fort was exchanged several times between the Confederate and Union forces. The Union forces tried at least twice to destroy the fort, but the Confederates managed to rebuild it and the adjacent water batteries.

After the end of the Red River Campaign, Fort DeRussy was never re-manned, although it was used as a campsite, signal station, and hideout. Although eroded by time, weather and a destructive occupying army, a substantial portion of the earthworks are still in existence and the main redoubt was purchased by La commission des Avoyelles in March of 1996. In 1999, the 70 acre fort was donated to Louisiana and designated as Louisiana's newest State Historic Site.

On a balmy, southern Sunday afternoon, Colonel Lewis G. DeRussy was reinterred in the soil that he had 137 years before shaped into a Confederate fort.

DeRussy had served his homeland well. He had attended West Point, served in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and finally the Confederacy. His original burial site was in the wooded area near Natchitoches, Louisiana. Over the years, in this abandoned place, his stone was eroded and damaged by uncaring individuals. The DeRussy descendants received permission from the Louisiana Office of State Parks to reinterr Colonel DeRussy in the fort named in his honor.

The remains were exhumed by archeologists from Northwestern University and removed to Kramer Funeral Home. The remains were taken to Marksville prior to the service to lie instate so that family and guests could pay their respects. Honored men, representing soldiers of the three wars, stood guard around the casket until time of the service.

honor guard around the casket

Louisiana UDC members at the casket
Louisiana UDC Members Pay Respects

The casket, draped with the flag of the Confederacy, was placed in a horse drawn covered wagon and taken to Fort DeRussy, escorted by color bearers carrying the Confederate colors. Many ladies, dressed in period clothes from the three wars, followed the wagon.

Confederate Color Bearers
Color Guard With the Flags of the Confederacy
Major General Richard Taylor SCV Camp #1308
Shreveport, Louisiana

Casket Bearers
Casket Bearers
Representating The Three Wars
In Which Colonel DeRussy Served

The burial service was conducted by The Reverend Joseph A. Bordelon, Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana. Flags were presented to the family at the conclusion of the service. Only two wreaths were allowed by the family to be from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the other from the Children of the Confederacy.

Past LA Division president Pat Gallagher places wreath
Past Louisiana President Pat Gallagher Places Wreath

LA C of C place wreath
Louisiana Children of the Confederacy Place Wreath

UDC members
UDC Members from Louisiana and Texas

The Daughters of Louisiana are very proud to have been a part of this special ceremony and hope that all traveling through this area will stop at Fort DeRussy Historic Site and touch the monument to this great southern man.

UDC at DeRussy sign

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