The city itself is fairly run down. We took the Scenic Route around the town and ran into a few seedy neighborhoods, some right next to the upscale B&B's. Can you see the cannon on the lawn in the picture to the left? The town is nestled among many rolling hills and ravines which made it nearly impossible to conquer. Grant finally won the battle after many unsuccessful attempts by locking the city down in a seige.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The main reason to head further south on our voyage west was to visit the Civil War Battlefield at Vicksburg. We have hit some of the key battlefields in the east but this was the first time we stopped this far west.
The battle of Vicksburg was key to the North because whoever controlled Vicksburg controlled the Mississippi. Lincoln wanted it taken as the highest priority. The Confederate general, Pemberton, surrendered on July 4th 1863, the same day as Confederate defeat at Gettysburg. It wasn't until fairly recently that the folks in Vicksburg actually celebrated Independance Day.
We toured the national park using a cd we bought for our self-guided tour. Unlike some other battle fields that have been cleared of trees to replicate their original state at the time of the battle, Vicksburg is heavily populated with trees that were planted in the 1930's before it was a national park. This makes it a bit difficult to visualize some of the individual battles that took place. But, it was still worth the detour and it was easy to imagine what it took to bring about a northern victory.
A very interesting display was the Union gunboat, Cairo, which was sunk by a mine before the battle started. It was lost in the Mississippi mud until the 60's when it was raised to the surface and reconstructed.