Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A major Civil War Site

Visited the Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi today.

Vicksburg was the site of an important confrontation in the Civil War. Because of its strategic location on the Mississippi river, it assumed great importance in the Union's war plans. President Abraham Lincoln declared Vicksburg to be 'The Key..... and the War can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket'. The Union army - led by a future President, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant - laid siege to a heavily fortified Vicksburg for a month and a half and forced the Confederate army to surrender, thereby claiming the complete Mississippi river for the Union and weakening the Confederate campaign significantly.

The Military Park has maintained the siege area around a 16 mile round trip loop. There are memorials set up at this site by different States whose people fought in either side during the siege.

The park also has the salvaged remains of the USS Cairo gunboat which was sunk by the Confederates - without any loss of life among the Union navy personnel manning the ship - during 1862 on the Yazoo river close to Vicksburg. Found it interesting that there were no casualties during the 8 minute sinking. Even more interesting was the fact that the US Navy Leadership did not spend any time on investigating the incident, and promptly assigned the captain of the ship to another ship. Given the lack of capable men to man ships during the Civil War, this decision is not really surprising.

The place is a must visit for Civil War enthusiasts.

No comments: