Friday, September 17, 2010


Vicksburg National Military Park 15

Last weekend Gina and I spent some time in Vicksburg, Mississippi on our way home from the Relay For Life Summit in Jackson, Mississippi. While we were there we visited the Vicksburg National Military Park.

The park commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg. The city's surrender on July 4, 1863 split the South, giving control of the Mississippi River to the Union. There are over 1,340 monuments, a restored Union gunboat, and National Cemetery on the 16-mile tour road.

Cannon 3

There is so much history in the park. The U.S. Government established the battlefield as a National Military Park in 1899.

The battles of the Vicksburg campaign were some of the fiercest and long lasting of the war. General Grant attacked the Confederates on May 19, 1863 and again on May 22. The Confederate positions were too strong, and the Union casualties were high. On May 25 General Grant decided on a siege of the city as he had it surrounded and had naval bombardment from the Mississippi. He stated in his memoirs, "I now determined upon a regular siege—to 'out-camp the enemy,' as it were, and to incur no more losses."

By the end of June, half of the Rebel soldiers were sick or hospitalized. Scurvy, malaria, dysentery, diarrhea, and other diseases cut their ranks. Food was almost non-existent, with soldiers resorting to eating dogs, mules and shoe leather. On July 3 General Pemberton rode out of the city with white flags to meet General Grant to discuss terms of surrender.


The most important thing for the Union army was that they now controlled all of the Mississippi River. The side that controlled that waterway controlled a direct route through the Confederacy and would eventually dominate the war. The full campaign claimed 10,142 Union and 9,091 Confederate killed and wounded.

As we toured the park and looked at all of the monuments it was sobering to think of the loss of life and the hardship that occurred in this beautiful countryside.

Vicksburg National Military Park 9


Vicksburg National Military Park 7

Vicksburg National Military Park 10

Vicksburg National Military Park 6

Vicksburg National Military Park 2


  1. I remember visiting Vicksburg in the early 70's and I was moved, as you were, by all that happened there. Thanks for a great post.

  2. Amazing images. Whenever I visit a Civil War anything, I am relieved the Union won. I am also awed by how hard each side fought. Because all of who and what we are is precious.

  3. Thanks for sharing. The only thing like this abt America I learn from Hollywood. The US of A has come a long way since the siege

  4. So wonderful, Rich!! I have not been to Vicksburg, but would very much like to go!! Thanks for giving me a vicarious tour!!! These photos are fantastic...and your write-up is wonderful as well!! Cheers! Janine

  5. I was there in the 80s. Amazing to walk around and remember what went on there. Great photos.

  6. I love the history of this era. So fascinating.