The Siege of Vicksburg battlefield hosted one of the most important clashes of the US Civil War. Serving under General Ulysses S. Grant, the Union army’s victory at Vicksburg split the Confederacy in two and marked a turning point in the war. Today, the battlefield is part of Vicksburg National Military Park, founded in 1899 to preserve the history of the siege.
Vicksburg National Military Park has endeavored to preserve the battlefield as closely as possible, making it a treat for any Civil War buffs in your family. That includes over 20 miles of trenches and earthworks originally dug out by Union and Confederate soldiers during the siege.
The park offers tours led by licensed Battlefield Guides, experts on Civil War-era life and military strategy, although they can be a little costly at $60 per vehicle. There are also two antebellum houses, including the Shirley House, the only surviving structure in the park that dates back to the war itself. The park holds over 100 cannons, including one known to have been used during the battle.
Besides the monuments to the Siege of Vicksburg, Vicksburg National Military Park also offers a chance to see the reconstructed gunship USS Cairo, originally sunk on the Yazoo River in 1862. Nicknamed the “Hardluck Ironclad,” the Cairo was the first American ship to be sunk by an underwater mine after hitting an improvised “torpedo” created by local Confederate sympathizers.
The park is also home to the Vicksburg National Cemetery, the final resting place for over 17,000 Union soldiers – making it the largest Civil War cemetery in the country. At this time, about 75% of the remains buried in the cemetery remain unidentified.
To learn more about the Siege of Vicksburg, we recommend checking out our Vicksburg Battlefield Self-Guided Driving Tour, or you can sign up for Action+ to gain access to over 100 tours for a single yearly price.
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