Vicksburg Battlefield was not that appealing to me before we got there because I thought it was one big siege...not much to see here. Boy was I wrong.
BOTH Presidents, Lincoln and Jefferson Davis said the same thing: "Vicksburg is the nail head that holds the South's two halves together...Vicksburg is the key"
So, one day, I went off by myself to scope it out by just going to the Visitor's Center and looking around. After a 30 minute discussion with one of the rangers, I was hooked. The next day I grabbed Kim and off we went to tour the battlefield.
As we travelled around we noticed many trees blocking our view of the Confederate positions. Turns out the park has a restoration project underwear to restore the park to it's 1863 appearance.
It took some time to understand the different battle lines because all of the Confederate "forts" and fortifications and the trenches that were dug by the Union forces have been eroded flat.
|Some of the cannons used by both sides. Notice how large they are compared to the vehicles.|
|This is what the trenches looked like in 1863. These had to be dug by the troops.|
The Confederate troops are buried in the local cemetery which we also visited.
Of course there were over 1,300 monuments throughout the park....some small, some very large.
General Grant Monument
|General Grant monument - close up.|
|Monument to the Union Navy who came to land to help man the cannons that shelled the Confederates and the city of Vicksburg.|
|The Missouri monument is unique as the only state memorial on the battlefield dedicated to soldiers of both armies. The height is symbolic of the forty-two Missouri units, 27 Union, 15 Confederate. It stands where two opposing Missouri regiments clashed in battle.|
One thing that has not been mentioned are the trials the citizens of Vicksburg had to endure during the constant bombardment from the Union land troops and the naval vessels off shore on the Mississippi River. They usually lived in caves during the night and tried to go about their lives during the day.
|A life-size model in the Visitor's Center of cave life for the citizens of Vicksburg.|
The siege/Battle of Vicksburg finally ended on July 4th, 1863 when Confederate General Pemberton surrendered to General Grant because Pemberton's troops were either starving or diseased.
When President Lincoln heard of the victory he said, "The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea."
Some great overview of the Vicksburg Campaign, its importance and Vicksburg history can be found here:
This was, as most battlefields are, very humbling. Amazing what both sides went through. Let's hope we never have another Civil War in this country.
A great stop....we recommend it.
Kim and Steve.