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Vicksburg Battlefield
Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi

The siege and capture of Vicksburg was one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War. After retreating from superior Union forces the Confederate army dug in along a high ridgetop north and east of the town, a naturally strong position. At stake was the ability of the winning side to command the Misissippi River.

The Union forces under General Grant bombarded Vicksburg, city and military positions alike, for forty seven days, using field artillery and gunboats on the river below. The townspeople lived underground in tunnels carved in the soft loess. Eventually the Confederate forces, near starvation and suffering from scurvy and malaria, surrendered.

The most striking thing about the Vicksburg battlefield is the incredible number of memorials, 1325 of them, ranging from bronze plaques and simple gravestone-like markers to elaborate statuary groups, obelisks, and a classical rotunda. Every state, military unit, general, and even skirmish seems to be memorialized somehow.

The park service has added informative displays to the nineteenth century monuments. The park road circles through the area in a sixteen mile loop, starting with the Union positions at the bottom and winding upwards to the Confederate lines.

Wikipedia: Vicksburg National Military Park on Wikipedia.

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Battery de Golyer

Battery de Golyer

Stop 1 on the battlefield tour, this line of cannons at Battery de Golyer kept up a constant bombardment of the Great Redoubt on the hilltop opposite.

Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Date photographed: April 8, 2015
See location in Google Maps

Illinois Memorial and the Shirley House

Illinois Memorial and the Shirley House

The Illinois Memorial is modeled on the Pantheon in Rome and the entry has a step for each day of the 47 days of Vicksburg siege. The Shirley House is the only one to survive from Civil War times.

Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Date photographed: April 8, 2015
See location in Google Maps

Inside the Illinois Memorial at Vicksburg

Inside the Illinois Memorial at Vicksburg

Sixty bronze tablets in the Illinois Memorial list the names of all 36,325 soldiers from Illinois who fought at Vicksburg.

Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Date photographed: April 8, 2015
See location in Google Maps

Union cannons on a ridgetop at Vicksburg Battlefield

Union cannons on a ridgetop at Vicksburg Battlefield

One of many small monuments at Vicksburg: a cannon, a map, and a plaque detailing the military units and officers who fought there. At the time of the battle there were no trees, they were planted by the CCC in the 1930's to combat erosion.

Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Date photographed: April 8, 2015
See location in Google Maps

The Naval Monument at Vicksburg Battlefield

The Naval Monument at Vicksburg Battlefield

Despite its inland location, the Battle of Vicksburg saw important contributions by the US Navy. The Naval Monument obelisk is 202 feet high, tallest in the park.

Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Date photographed: April 8, 2015
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Battery Selfridge above the USS Cairo Museum

Battery Selfridge above the USS Cairo Museum

The ironclad riverboat USS Cairo is under the tent structure.

Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Date photographed: April 8, 2015
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Fort Hill and the distant Mississippi River

Fort Hill and the distant Mississippi River

Fort Hill was considered impregnable and never assaulted. Confederate forces here fired at Union riverboats and, despite the distance, managed to sink one.

Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Date photographed: April 8, 2015
See location in Google Maps

The Missouri Memorial at Vicksburg

The Missouri Memorial at Vicksburg

Missouri had regiments fighting on both sides, 27 Union and 15 Confederate, and this memorial honors both. It is erected near Stockade Redan where two Missouri regiments fought each other.

Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Date photographed: April 8, 2015
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The Louisiana Memorial at Vicksburg Battlefield

The Louisiana Memorial at Vicksburg Battlefield

The Lousiana state memorial stands on the Great Redoubt, at 397 feet the highest point on the Vicksburg Battlefield. In 1990 the 81 foot tall column was struck by lightning and knocked crooked. It was taken down and rebuilt.

Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Date photographed: April 8, 2015
See location in Google Maps

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