Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park
We pulled into Vicksburg on Sunday the 28th for a three night stay at Ameristar RV Resort.  This is a good place from which to tour the Vicksburg National Military Park.  The RV park has level paved sites with full hookups for $22.00 a night.  It's only a couple of miles to get to the National Military Park, so we were pleased with this campground.

We toured the National Park on Monday. Bob was so excited, since this has been a historical site he's been wanting to see for a long time.  It's a wonderful park, so beautifully maintained.  We took the self guided driving tour, which takes you through the beautiful stretch of hills and deep gullies where the Battle of Vicksburg was fought in 1863. Bob's reading Grant's memoirs right now, and he told me that Grant described the land perfectly.

Sitting on a high bluff overlooking a bend in the Mississippi River, Vicksburg was heavily protected with artillery batteries and forts.  It was vital to the North to capture the city since control of this region would give the North control of the Mississippi supply route, and isolate Texas, Arkansas and most of Louisiana. Lincoln called Vicksburg the "the key" to winning the war, and ordered Ulysses S. Grant to clear the Mississippi of Confederate resistance.  Between May 16th and May 22nd, 1863, Grant battled Pemberton's forces, then finally on May 22nd Grant began a formal siege on the City.  The siege lasted 46 days, and finally on July 4th Vicksburg was surrendered.

The park is full of memorials built by the states that were involved in the battle of Vicksburg.  They're a beautiful tribute to the lives that were lost there, and a sad reminder of a war which tore this country apart.

Illinois Memorial

Ohio Memorial

Arkansas Memorial

Ulysses S Grant

Thayer's Tunnel

Shirley House - served as headquarters for 45th Illinois Infantry

The USS Cairo

The USS Cairo Museum was amazing.  The USS Cairo was one of the Union's seven ironclad gunboats that fought on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.  The Cairo was sunk outside Vicksburg by torpedoes that tore holes into the ship's hull.  It was dredged up from the river in 1965, and restored.

Paddle Wheels of the USS Cairo
Monday night we went to the buffet at the Ameristar Casino, and then did a little gambling.  No winnings, but we had a good time.  The food at the Casino was average at best, so I'd recommend eating elsewhere.

Ameristar Resort - Vicksburg MS
On Tuesday we drove around the old city.  There are a number of old mansions which have been turned into Bed and Breakfasts down by the river.

Annabelle Bed and Breakfast

We drove over the bridge to Louisiana to see Grant's Canal.  Federal troops attempted to cut a canal across the Mississippi into DeSoto Point, but the canal kept filling in with silt, and the project was abandoned.  Many lives were lost due to Malaria and Yellow Fever.

Mississippi River Bridge to Louisiana
Connecticut Memorial at Grants Canal

Grants Canal

Tomorrow we're driving on the Natchez Trace Parkway to Tishomingo State Park where we stay for one night, then on to Chattanooga.

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