A Day Out at Vicksburg National Park, Mississippi

‘Despite all my trips to the States, I’d never visited a Civil War battle site, so I keen to see what Vicksburg was all about…’

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. I’m almost proud of that, but likely shouldn’t be.  I’m not entirely sure how accurate the information was, so I’m going to assume not at all.  It was armed with this information that I made the drive across state lines and into Vicksburg.

What I DO know about the Civil War is that that war was fought between the North and South. I also know it killed more Americans than all other conflicts combined.  Given it was a Civil War and they were fighting against each other, it’s not too much of a shock.  Still, that doesn’t change the fact that the losses were massive and it’s a rather dark episode in their history.  However, it ensured the Union remained and, more importantly, signalled the end of slavery.

Vicksburg’s location is on the mighty Mississippi River. The tactics employed by the Union Army, made the Battle of Vicksburg one of the most remarkable of the war.

Vicksburg memorials
Vicksburg graves
Illinois Memorial

The sheer scale of the park is also remarkable and you can buy a ticket at the entrance. You will also need one for your car if you’re planning to drive the battlefield. Once you get your tickets, head into the visitor centre to get some background and tune in to the movie.  After you’ve done this, you can jump back in the 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 road 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 state, which commemorate those the lives lost.

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.

The beautiful Illinois Memorial interior

If you’re interested in learning about the history of the US, Vicksburg is a great place to start.  I was pretty amazed to learn the tactical victories and complete 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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