Fort Jesup State Historic Site
32 Geoghagan Rd.
Many, LA 71449
Phone: 318-256-4117 or 888-677-5378 toll free
Explore Fort Jesup
Fort Jesup is a reminder of a young nation's
growing pains and a relic of Louisiana's rich international
heritage. When the Louisiana Purchase Treaty of 1803 failed to
clearly define the western boundary of Louisiana, which was also the
western border of the country at that time, the United States
claimed eastern Texas and Spain claimed western Louisiana.
The ensuing dispute gave rise to the
"Neutral Ground," an area where the laws of neither nation
were enforced. Soldiers and settlers were kept out and rogues of
various stripes ruled the region.
After the territorial boundary was finally
fixed at the Sabine River by the Florida Purchase Treaty of 1819,
the United States built Fort Jesup in 1822. Lieutenant Colonel
Zachary Taylor established and commanded the garrison, which was
originally called Cantonment Jesup in honor of Taylor's good friend
Brigadier General Thomas Sidney Jesup.
Taylor's troops managed to establish law and
order in the Neutral Ground and Fort Jesup remained an important
military post for nearly 25 years.
Soldiers at Fort Jesup performed many duties
which opened the frontier to American settlers: building roads,
surveying the frontier, clearing the Red River and negotiating
treaties. The garrison at Fort Jesup was also called on to control
slave insurrections in Alexandria and to catch criminals trying to
cross the border.
The soldiers of Fort Jesup saw thousands of
settlers move into the province of Texas and then watched Texas
become independent of Mexican authority. In 1845, half of the U.S.
Army traveled through the Fort Jesup area en route to war with
The fort was abandoned in 1846 when it was no
longer needed as a border outpost. One kitchen is the only historic
structure remaining from the large reservation that once spread
across the frontier. The reconstructed officers' quarters houses
visitor information, a gift shop, interpretive exhibits and
This building was reconstructed with the
assistance of historians from the Army Quartermasters General's
Office and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 1961,
Fort Jesup was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S.
Department of the Interior and, as such, joined a select group of
properties which have been recognized for their importance in
The site is located in Sabine Parish, just 30 minutes from
Natchitoches and I-49, and six miles east of Many off LA 6 (formally
the San Antonio Road). Facilities include a museum, restrooms and a
Hours of Operation:
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New
Year's Day. Guided tours are offered daily.
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