Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vicksburg National Military Park

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Last month my wife and I went on a vacation to Disney World in Florida with our daughter and her family.  On our way home we spent a couple of hours at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

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 longest 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.

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  1. Yes it makes you feel sad to see and read this history.
    I am still in awe when I read the history of Fort Montgomery in Vermont in the Richelieu River.

    I makes you go way back and you can picture the Iroquois the French and the English and the Americans battling it out there.
    Seeing history is better than reading about it.

  2. I love this beautiful park, great photos!

  3. Yup. And Gettysburg (around the same time) will be "celebrating" the anniversary too.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  4. This park looks real wonderful place with lot of memories to share.

  5. Thank you for this history, - it is indeed sad to sit in places that have seen such terrible carnage and unhappiness. Charles and I visited his brothers' graves in Holland and France in World War 2 cemeteries, and it broke my heart to see the beauty and hear the birds singing and all those young men buried beneath the gravestones.

  6. Amazing loss of life for our freedoms.
    We need to be grateful for the sacrifice.

  7. Great post. I've never been to Vicksburg although I've read a lot about the battle. Now it is definitely up there on my list of "To Do's." Have a great week.

  8. War is hell! The greatest victims are the women and children, the old and sick people, all those peple who don't fight.
    Thank you for this piece of history and the photos to accompany it.
    Have a great week.
    Wil, ABCW Team

  9. Quite a history! Although war is awful and I wish the entire world could live in peace, I have to admit I'm fascinated with the history of war, especially the World Wars I & II.

    abcw team

  10. An interesting and poignant journey through history. The words " reunited at the altar of faith" on the monument are profoundly moving.

  11. Vicksburg is a great place to visit!

  12. Great shots and an interesting place to visit. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

  13. A real peace belying its history. I always think of Vicksburg from a Lucinda Williams song.

  14. Your post is great, but you have the BEST "about me" write up ever! LOL!

  15. Vicksburg has been on my list of places to see for awhile. Its about time I did something about it. Thanks for the reminder!
    Lea's Menagerie

  16. History has always been my fav but nothing lie seeing it in pictures.. Very nice post indeed

    PhenoMenon, ABCW Team

  17. I thought I posted a comment on your blog. Anyway thank you for taking us back in a history that had shaped your country and also the rest of the world. We are all affected by what happened at the time. Maybe a Victory is here appropriate followed by peace everlasting!
    Wil, ABCW Team.

  18. That looks like a wonderful monumental site to visit. I've read so much about Vicksburg. The soldiers certainly endured such horrible illnesses.

  19. that's a wonderful park, with so much history. i was chuckling over your about me page, too. genius!

  20. Mrs. RWP and I have stayed overnight in Vicksburg several times on trips between Atlanta (where we live) and Dallas (where what's left of my family lives), but we have never toured the battlefield. Thank you for such a wonderful mini-tour of it. General Sherman said "War is hell" and he was right.