Port Hudson State Historic Site is adding a 1:32 scale model of the Union gunboat USS Essex that served during the Civil War to its exhibits collection.

The model was created and donated by Robert Seal, of American Battlesite Productions, and Baton Rouge-area artist Bill Toups and is on display in the site’s museum.

The model operates using two radio controlled motors.

The ship’s inaugural sail will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, during a program, “The Waterfront: Vicksburg, Port Hudson and The Fight for the Mississippi.” The program will be preceded by an official presentation of the model to Louisiana State Parks representatives.

Historically, the USS Essex served on the lower Mississippi and protected Union troops during the Battle of Baton Rouge.

The ship was then stationed south of Port Hudson supporting U.S. naval operations prior to and during the Siege of Port Hudson in 1863.

Seal has volunteered at Port Hudson State Historic Site for more than 12 years, maintaining the site’s historic ship models and assisting with programs and the site’s annual re-enactment. Seal and Toups began developing and engineering the model in June 2014 using existing records and historic photographs.

Port Hudson State Historic Site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974 and is on U.S. 61 near Zachary, about 15 minutes north of Baton Rouge. Admission to the site and the event is $4 per person and free for children 12 and under and those 62 and older. For more information, call (888) 677-3400 toll free or (225) 654-3775.