Sunday, May 26, 2013

We left New Orleans knowing that we had not seen everything we wanted to see. However, with Memorial Day creeping up on us we had to have reservations so we headed northward vowing to return soon and finish our tour of this fabulous City. Our next stop was Vicksburg, Mississippi, site of the "Siege at Vicksburg". For those not versed in the Civil War, Vicksburg was the final nail in the coffin of the Confederates. Gettysburg had already fallen and the only thing in the way of the North was Vicksburg. Control of the mighty Mississippi was at stake. Without the means of getting food, supplies and munitions the South was doomed. General Ulysses Grant had planned on an assault on Vicksburg taking but a couple weeks as he descended on the City on May 18, 1863 with some 50,000 Northern Troops.  Instead he found many determined  Confederate soldiers and the siege lasted some 47 days, resulting in heavy casualties for the Federal troops.  Final tally upon surrender on July 4, 1863 were Union forces, 4,835, Confederates, 3,202. Sad pages in our nations' history books, for sure....

The Old Court House, built in 1858, stands today as Vicksburg’s most historic structure and has hosted such guests and speakers as Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Booker T. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and William McKinley.  It's museum contains the original Confederate flag flown over the courthouse during the "Siege".

Downtown Vicksburg consists of several square blocks, housing many churches of various denominations, showing the diversity of this area after the Civil War. 

Surrounding the core of Vicksburg, you'll see many stately mansions, many of which have been restored to their original beauty. Most of these are private residences and may not be toured.

This is the entrance to the  Vicksburg National Military Park. It was established in 1899 in memory of the "Siege at Vicksburg". It consists of trenches and berms built by the two fighting armies in defense of, and assault on, the City. 

There is a sixteen mile driving tour through the battlefield, with a CD available for guidance from the Visitor's Center. Be aware, though, it took us 3 1/2 hours to complete the tour.

Cannons are placed in their approximate locations to give a graphic example of what the troops experienced. Signs signify the North's and South's positions during the conflict.  Each State that had men from either side involved was allowed to erect memorials to these fallen soldiers. The large memorial in the background honors those from the State of Michigan.

While the driving tour is only 16 miles, there is also a walking tour of 12.5 miles, so it would be easy to spend a whole day in the Park. There are 1,325 historical markers, 144 cannons, a ironclad gunboat, and a military cemetery.

This monument was erected in honor of the Black slaves that fought in the war. The slaves were promised freedom in exchange for their service to the Northern army. Many were killed fighting the war. Freedom is a very powerful incentive....then, and today...

At the top of a hill, overlooking the City, sits a monument to Ulysses Grant near where he had his headquarter base during the conflict.

This is what's left of the Ironclad Gunboat of the Northern Army. There were 22 of these gunboats built for the United States to be used against the Confederates during the Civil War. This one, the Cairo, was sunk on the Mississippi River when it ran into a string of homemade mines strung across the Mississippi in 1862. She remained at the bottom of the River until being recovered in 1964. The cannons, boilers, engines and ironclad are original. Much of the wood is deteriorated but discernible.

 Located on a bluff overlooking the River at Vicksburg is the "Widow Blakely". So called, because it is a Blakely rifled 7.44 inch cannon and for the damage it caused to Union troops on the River. Imagine, if you will, yourself on either side of this monster. I believe I'd prefer to be on this side.....

Within the Vicksburg National Military Park is a cemetery. The silent resting place of many Civil War soldiers. There are 18,244 occupied grave sites, of which 12,954 are unidentified. A quiet, somber, memory of a chapter in American History.

Debi loves fresh vegetables and begs to stop at many roadside stands for tomatoes, fruits and whatever other local fare is offered. With that in mind, I pulled into this gem of a place to see what they had to offer.

As many of you know, I've had many hot rods over the years. I'm always looking for that "barn find", you know that old relic in someone's barn waiting to be discovered, restored and sold for millions of dollars. While Debi was searching next door for tomatoes, I wandered over to this abandoned barn for a peek inside.....

 Yep! That's my luck......just an old barn full of junk....not even Junque!!!

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