Further South: The Battle of Vicksburg

by Bonnie Tate

After a few days of rest in Arkansas, we got back in the car (!) yesterday and drove south to our final destination, Florida. Our route took us through the length of Mississippi. We made one special stop at the site of the Battle of Vicksburg.

Vicksburg large monument on hill

A bit of history…

In 1863 Vicksburg was the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. The city was under seige for 46 days, from late May until the Confederate surrender on July 4. This decisive battle split the Confederacy in two and gave the Union control of the river. Coupled with defeat at Gettysburg the next day, the fall of Vicksburg was a devestating blow to the Confederacy.

Vicksburg row of cannons

The battlefield site is 16 miles of beautiful, overgrown grassy hills scattered with cannons, monuments, and plaques…

Vicksburg union trench 

Trenches wind snake-like through the small slopes…

Vicksburg illinois monument

There is a memorial for each state that had soldiers present at the Battle of Vicksburg. Above is the Illinois monument.

Vicksburg cannon and tree

I thought about how soldiers in 1863 would have been fighting through the same suffocating summer heat and humidity we were feeling… 
 Vicksburg shirley house

The Shirley House. The Shirley family lived, unfortunately, right in the middle of the battlefield. They fled and spent the 46 days of fighting in a nearby cave. Their house survived.  
 Vicksburg horse

 Vicksburg tunnell

Union troops dug this tunnel, and then a long trench to approach Confederates on the hill in the photo below.

Vicksburg spur

More land criss-crossed with trenches and kudzu covered trees…

Vicksburg trenches

Vicksburg miss river

A loop in the muddy Mississippi visible from one of the high Condederate positions.

Vicksburg battle field

Vicksburg cemetary 
Over 17,000 Civil War graves, from Vicksburg and other battles.

Vicksburg was yet another place where we would have liked to have lingered for hours…