The battle of Vicksburg was one of the most important in the US Civil War. When I visited the park it was very foggy and dreary. At first I was disappointed, then I understood how appropriate that was for such a sad and low point in our history. The park is laid out to show where different units were located during the fighting. There are inumerable monuments throughout the park dedicated to specific units and individuals and to the states involved. One of the most impressive monuments, and probably the most photographed, is the Iliinois Monument. Other highlights include the USS Cairo complete with a museum, and the National Cemetery (for more information and pictures, see my page).
The Vicksburg Battlefield Museum has a very large collection of models of ships from the civil war and beyond. It also has a few dioramas about the battle and other artifacts. A visit to the museum will help you develop a fuller understanding of this important battle during the US Civil War. Admission is $5.50 for adults and $3.25 for students. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM daily except Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving & New Years Day.
It is different and the tour given by the owner has a lot of flavor, if she is still there. They were called Bill & Shirley Smollen, and a son also lived there. Get involved and ask about their life to be into this home. The stained glass is on 38 windows and all original. The wood finish is just as spectacular as the glass. The home was built in 1838 by city founder Vick. It is Missionary style architecture.
It is a B&B if you want to stay at cost of $70-185
A fairly run down home, but inside you still get the feel for what it was like in 1800's era. The home is overgrown with trees, but in the back you can still see the remains of barriers. Inside there are the best display of authentic artifacts around the area, or the south for that matter. Many items are for daily use in the period, and others relate to the war, like weapons.
It began in 1831 as a way station in the territory not yet founded. In 1836 it was added on by the sheriff, and in 1849 a Greek revival portion was added. The Murray's were to owners for years, and last occupied in 1960, and been there 80 years. It was bought by Leyland French in 1985 and he lives there yet and is the operator of the building/grounds.
Vicksburg National Military Park is vast and worth a thoughtful trip throughout the site. It is heart gripping in seeing all the monuments for State divisions and the number of people lost. Cost is $5.00 per vehicle.
Another of interest and having many old items of antiquity in the cases is the Old Court House. It has not been touched in close to the 100 years since artifacts were put there. It really depicts the personal impact the war had on lives. Cost is $3.00
Over 900,000 people visit Vicksburg's national military park each year. Many of them also visit the Old Courthouse Musuem. The museum was built by skilled slave labor in 1858. The building and its grounds take up an entire city block bounded by jackson, cherry, monroe, and grove streets. The building is very imposing and columned porticos and all four sides. The admission is only five dollars or 3 for children. They also have a senior rate and group rate. There are nine rooms to tour plus the best gift shop in town. The tour is self-guided, but there is a lot to see. It is very intersting. There is courtroom upstairs with very high ceilings and original details. They have the first teddy bear, valuable civil war period antiques, a clothing room with antebellum clothing, an arts room with some paintings and porcelain, parlor furniture. The entire collection has been given to the museum by Vicksburgers and friends of the museum. It has been in existance since the 1940s. There are many authentic relics for sale in the gift for good prices. You can old bottles, minie balls, shells, confederate money, coins, and much more. Visit oldcourthouse.org
The sign accompanying the cannon says “A detachment of Battery E. 1st Missouri Light Artillery, under Lieut. Joseph B. Atwater and a detail of enlised men of the 34th Iowa Infantry. All under Acting Master J. Frank Reed of the gunboat “Benton”. Served two 42-pounder rifled guns in this position, battery Benton. From the morning of July 1 to the end of the sieg July 4 1863. A shell from the confederate mortar in South Fort exploded in the Battery July 1 killing 2 and badly wounding 4 enlisted men of the 34th Iowa infantry. “
Vicksburg National Military Park -- An incredible several mile long/wide National Park honoring The Civil War as a memorial site where colored Troops of the United States Army were involved in the Vicksburg campaign, a beautiful bronze monument is dedicated to their bravery. Includes the Cairo Museum and Gunboat where four Black Sailors held the rank of Seaman. The Park is located in the northeastern portion of the city of Vicksburg with three detached units south of the city along Washington Street near the Mississippi River bridges and one in Madison Parish, LA.
From the beginning of the Civil War, control of the Mississippi River south of Cairo, Illinois was of vital importance to the Federal Government. Command of this waterway would allow uninterrupted passage of Union troops and supplies into the South and have the desired effect of isolating the States of Texas and Arkansas and most of Louisiana - a region upon which the South depended heavily for supplies and recruits. To protect this vital lifeline, the Confederates erected fortifications at strategic points along the River, one of which was Vicksburg.
One of the most important battles of the Civil War occured in Vicksburg. Once upon a time, the Mississippi River flowed right by the town and its bluffs. Nowadays, the river has changed course, so the battlefield and town is not as close to the river as it once was. The Confederate armies held the town of Vicksburg, therefore they could fire weapons at boats on the river. This made the navigation of the Mississippi to be quite an obstacle. Eventually, Union troops circled the city and began a long siege. After an epic struggle, supplies were running thin in the town, and the Confederates knew that surrender was inevitable. General Ulysses Grant, who would later become president, oversaw the victory at Vicksburg.
The park traces through the seige lines that circled the old town. There is also a national cemetery. The gunboat USS Cairo is also on display at the battlefield. This river vessel is from the time period of the Civil War. Unfortunately it was closed while we were there, so you may want to check it status before visiting.
There are quite a few memorials throughout the battlefield as well as some buildings.
If you're in Vicksburg, you should visit the old courthouse museum. Of course it has plenty of stuff from the Civil War, but it also has a good collection of local pre-Columbian pottery and 20th century memorabilia. You can also go up into the old court. It looks like something straight out of the movies.
This used to be the former Administration building, built in the late 1930s to serve as the National Park Service Visitor Centre. It was designed after an antebellum home in Natchez. Soon after it was opened however, the National Park Service realised that it was not actually placed along the designed tour road and so very few people visited the building. In the early 1980’s the building was vacated and fell into disrepair until the early 1990’s. It is now the office for the Rangers and a training facility and wellness center and storage.
The U.S.S. Cairo was one of seven ironclad gunboats named in honour of towns along the upper Mississippi and Ohio rivers. They were formidable vessels, each mounting thirteen cannons. Everything was pinned on them to regain control of the lower Mississippi River and split the Confederacy.
Temporary Closure (2002): The U.S.S. Cairo Gunboat and museum are temporarily closed due to construction.
This is the tallest monument in the Military Park standing at 202ft heigh. It pays tribute to the offers and sailors of the U.S. Navy who served in the Vicksburg Campagin. There are four statues of the fleet commanders, Admirals Farragut and Porter and Flag Officers Davis and Foote at the base of the monument.
General Lloyd Tilghman Memorial was the Commander of the 1st Brigade of Loring's Division. While he was manning an artillery piece near the close of the Battle of Champions Hill (18 miles east of Vicksburg) he was killed.
This was one of the major Confederate fortifications guarding the Jackson Road approach to Vicksburg.
The Confederates were aware of the union approach trench and mine digging but despite efforts of sharpshooters, were unable to stop the Federals