By MIKE JONES
TANGIPAHOA, La. -- Camp Moore is the site of one of Louisiana's most important historic sites. It was the largest Confederate training camp and the only one still open to the public. It has a historic museum and a well maintained Confederate cemetery with over 600 wartime graves.
Comprised of 450 acres, Camp Moore trained about 25,000 Confederate soldiers. It was well situated north of New Orleans right off a railroad and will an abundant water supply. It opened in May 1861 and was named for Louisiana Gov. Thomas Overton Moore and commanded by Brig. Gen. Elisha L. Tracy.
Gen. Elisha L. Tracy had to transform raw volunteers into soldiers who could master the complex manual of arms, marching steps and tactical formations of the day. Volunteers were organized into companies of about 100 men each and then assigned to regiments of about 1,000 men.
Louisiana was one of the few states that accepted women into military service. These female soldiers were called ''vivandieres,'' a term borrowed from the French Army for female soldiers who mainly functioned as nurses.
Confederate Monument at Camp Moore
Cemetery. (Photo by Mike Jones)
The camp was completely destroyed in November, 1864 by a Union cavalry raid.
In 1902 the State of Louisiana appointed a board of commissioners to oversee and maintain the cemetery. In 1907 a large monument was constructed honoring the Confederate dead.
In 1965 the state built the museum, which resembles a Creole antebellum house. And in 1979 Camp Moore was placed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Camp Moore was closed by the state during budgetary hard times in 1986. But private individuals and organizations wanted to save the site.
They organized the Camp Moore Historical Association Inc. and signed a 97-year lease with the State of Louisiana for the property.
The Camp Moore Museum hours are 10 o'clock in the morning until the last tour at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Tuesday through Saturday. Camp Moore is located on Hwy. 51, just north of Tangipahoa, LA. It is situated approximately seventy-five miles north of New Orleans and 8 miles south of the Louisiana/Mississippi border on Interstate 55. Take the Tangipahoa Exit No. 57 onto Hwy. 440 and follow the signs. For more information, call the museum at (985) 229-2438.