A Day Out at Vicksburg National Park, Mississippi

‘Despite all my trips to the States, I’d never before visited a Civil War battle site…’

I knew nothing about the war that wasn’t picked up from watching ‘The Red Badge of Gayness (their title, not mine…) from South Park, which I’m almost proud about, but likely shouldn’t be.  I’m not entirely sure how accurate the information was, so I’m going to assume not at all.
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What I DO know is that that war was fought between the North and South and that it killed more Americans than all the other conflicts they’ve been involved in combined.  Given it was a Civil War and they were fightings against each other, it’s probably not too much of a shock.   Still, that doesn’t change the fact that the losses were massive and it’s a very dark episode in the history of the US.  However, it did ensure that the Union remained and, more importantly, signalled the end of slavery.
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Vicksburg’s location on the mighty Mississippi, and the tactics employed by Ulysses S Grant’s Union Army, made the Battle of Vicksburg one of the most remarkable of the war.
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Vicksburg memorials
Vicksburg graves
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Illinois Memorial

The sheer scale of the park is also remarkable and you can buy a ticket at the entrance (you need one for your car as well as each individual if you’re planning to drive round the battlefield) and then head into the visitor centre to get a bit of background and tune in to the movie.  After you’ve done this, you can jump back into your car and head through the Memorial Arch and into the park.  As I said, we’d never been to a battlefield before, so we had no idea just how long it would take to drive round.  The read is really peaceful, and you can hop in and out of the car to take snaps.  The road is so well maintained and there are stones and monuments from practically every states, which commemorate those that lost their lives.

One of the most impressive areas is the space around Pemberton’s Headquarters, where Lieutenant General Permberton guided the Confederate Army operations.  My personal favourite is the Illinois Template Memorial building.  Apart from the fact that it’s absolutely massive; it’s also stunning.

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The beautiful Illinois Memorial interior

If you’re interested in learning about the history of the US, Vicksburg is a great way to build up your knowledge and find out more about the struggles of the Civil War and the tactical victories and fails.  It’s also a great way to spend an afternoon before you head off into the sunset to Memphis…or, you know, wherever you’re going.

Have you visited Vicksburg?

Suzanne x

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