Fort Pike State Commemorative Area In 1861 the silence of Fort Pike was broken. Before the actual start of the Civil War, the Louisiana militia captured the fort. Confederates held it until the Union forces took New Orleans in 1862, whereupon the Southerners evacuated Fort Pike. Federal forces then reoccupied the fort and used it as a base for raids along the Gulf coast and Lake Pontchartrain areas and as a protective outpost for New Orleans. In spite of all this activity, not a single cannon ball was ever fired in battle from Fort Pike.