Thursday, August 28, 2014

Vicksburg, Mississippi

While traveling towards Texas we made sure we stopped in Mississippi and took in a site to visit.  We ended up staying in Vicksburg, Mississippi at the Magnolia RV Park Resort and visiting the Vicksburg National Military Park.  Anytime we can visit a Civil War park, we probably will.

The RV park was clean and had a decent pool which felt great to cool off in.  We would gladly stay there again when passing through Vicksburg.


The Union knew it needed control of the Mississippi River in order to win the war and President Lincoln considered Vicksburg to be the key to ending the war, "The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket." 
Vicksburg National Military Park entrance.
In May 1863 General Grant, after many repulsed assaults against the Confederate Army at Vicksburg, began a formal siege and started to bombard the city from both land and river with artillery.

After forty six days under siege, General Pemberton knew the Confederates could stand no more and surrendered on 4 July, 1863.  I was told by a local that Vicksburg did not celebrate the Forth of July holiday for eighty one years until 1945 and it still is not one of their favorite holidays so they hardly do any celebrating for it.

Looking down one of the Union's cannons at Battery De Golyer.
The Union Army's strategy was to concentrate its artillery while the Confederates spread their guns out and so when a Confederate cannon fired its one shot the Union would retaliate with a barrage of artillery which in most cases knocked the Confederate gun out.
Cannons lined up at Battery De Golyer named so for being manned by Union Captain Sammual De Golyer.
Panoramic shot of the battle field between Battery De Golyer on the left and the Confederate lines on the right.
One of the most interesting things here was the sinking of the USS Cairo an ironclad that was stationed on the Yazoo River.  The ironclad ships were the backbone of the defense for rivers and coastal waters.

The USS Cairo was actually the first ship to be sunken by the use of electronic detonated mines.  During one of its patrols two Confederate soldiers detonated two of the mines which tore gaping holes in its hull.
USS Cairo on display.
Tia, Chloe, Avery, Ian, Ethan, and Courtney in front of the USS Cairo.
Courtney, Tia, Ethan, Avery, Ian, and Chloe standing next to one of the thirteen guns on the USS Cairo.
The iron plates that were used to protect the USS Cairo.
The Mississippi River was very important to get shipments to both armies and whoever controlled it at this point, controlled who got supplies.  The ironclad ships were to keep the rivers open for the Union Army.

The Confederates had oversight of the Mississippi River from the bluffs above Vicksburg and could repeal any attempts the Union made to get up or down the river.

The below view is what the Confederates would have seen except now the waters are from the Yazoo River diversion canal rather than the Mississippi River like it was in 1863.  In 1876 the Mississippi river changed its course and now runs at Vicksburg's southern edge of the city.
The view the Confederates had of the Mississippi River back in 1863.
There is so much more to visit at Vicksburg National Military Park to include a sixteen mile self guided driving tour.  To do this park justice it would take you a couple or more days to read every plaque and see every monument that have been placed in the park over the years.

Another fact that is not well know about Vicksburg is that it was a prisoner-of-war exchange point.  April 24, 1865 over 2300 Union soldiers left Vicksburg on the steamboat Sultana heading upstream for home.  While near Memphis, Tennessee the boat exploded and killed over 1800 of them which is still today, America's worst maritime disaster.

There is a cover charge, but it is not much and well worth it or if you have a National Parks Pass, you are good to go.

It is great to be back traveling America and visiting its wonders.  We are so blessed to have this life that God has provided for us and need to remember to give Him thanks for all things, good and bad.  Easier said than done, sometimes.

God bless you all and may He keep you safe!

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Don, Misty, and Kids...

States we have stayed in so far.

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