Saturday, March 7, 2015

Vicksburg, MS.

Vicksburg, MS, site of the last major Civil War battle to gain control of the Mississippi River, a vital link for the Union Army.

Today we toured the Vicksburg National Military Park which surrounds the city of Vicksburg on the east. We started with a 20 minute movie about the battle and continued with a 16 mile driving tour of the battlefield. There are numerous monuments and signs along the way to explain what elements of each army occupied the site during the battle.

Driving along the Union Road, puts you among all the Union forces while on the Confederate Road puts you in the Confederate trenches.

Entrance arch to the driving tour.

General Grant had his headquarters near the lines but behind a small hill. His opponent, General Pemberton occupied the high ground of Vicksburg.

Statue of Grant near his headquarters.

Grant couldn't defeat Pemberton by an all out attack so began a siege by surrounding the city and cutting off it's supplies. The siege lasted 47 days before Pemberton surrendered.

To understand history, you need to live it. Touring this battlefield comes as close to living it as we can get.

Attached to the park is a National Cemetery which has over 17,000 graves. This is the largest National Cemetery in the U.S.

As part of the park, a museum with the remains of the Ironclad Cairo are displayed. This ship was sunk during the battle and raised 102 years later and restored. It is displayed under a white canvas tent like structure. Visitors can walk aboard and view the partially reconstructed vessel. Nearby in the museum are other artifacts on display which were raised with the ship.

We ate lunch at the one place recommended by everyone in town, Rusty's Bar and Grill. It was worth the 30 minute wait. Brenda had fried green tomatoes with a crab infused hollandaise sauce over them. Clyda had deep fried pickles. Ed had a shrimp Po'boy sandwich while Budd had an oyster Po'boy. All very good. No dinner tonight.

We toured the Coka Cola museum where Coke was first made for sale to soda fountains.

We ended our tour with a stop on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and watched the barges going down river.