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Vicksburg National Military Park

Capital Region, Mississippi

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Vicksburg National Military Park

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  • Vicksburg National Military Park is a historical site featuring the Civil War battle and siege of Vicksburg.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Various types of cannons are displayed in strategic locations within the park.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • During the siege of Vicksburg, citizens sought shelter in man-made caves. The visitor center showcases an original Civil War era rocking chair used in one of the caves.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • The grand entrance into the park.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • The Illinois State Memorial is one of hundreds of markers, plaques and memorials within the park.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Featured inside the Illinois State Memorial is this intricate mosaic of the state's seal.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Pennsylvania's memorial is engraved with the words, "Here brothers fought for their principles. Here heroes died for their country..."- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • The artistic details in the monuments are filled with symbolism.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • The park has red signs indicating important locations of Confederate forces.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • The large blue signs indicate Union positions.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • From this park overlook, visitors can see the Mississippi River and learn how it played an important role in the Battle of Vicksburg.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Union soldiers dug a trench to approach a hilltop Confederate fort.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • A must-see, the USS Cairo Museum details the crucial role the Navy played during the siege of Vicksburg. The Navy memorial is in the background. Under the tent is the ironclad boat, Cairo.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • The Cairo was sunk in the Yazoo River in 1862.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • The Cairo was found in 1956.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • The ironclad gunboat, Cairo, was raised, restored and moved to Vicksburg National Military Park.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Visitors can climb aboard the iconic vessel, Cairo, for a close-up view.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • The ornate gateway entrance to the U.S. National Cemetery located in Vicksburg National Military Park.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Rows and rows of small stone markers in this Civil War graveyard are identified only with a number.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • A visitor reflects upon the sacrifices of both Union and Confederate soldiers.- Vicksburg National Military Park
  • More than 150 years after the Civil War, someone has lovingly visited this grave.- Vicksburg National Military Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Extraordinary historical site. Able to board the Civil War ironclad USS Cairo. Informative visitor center and museum.
Cons: 
Traffic. Crowds.
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Region:
Capital Region, MS
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
National or state forest pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

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“Vicksburg is the key,” said President Abraham Lincoln about the southern town situated along the Mississippi River. Recognizing Vicksburg’s strategic location, he added, “The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.

In the Civil War saga about two opposing forces, Union and Confederate, each side had victories and failures as they struggled for control of Vicksburg. Union naval forces bombarded Vicksburg and Union soldiers attempted to excavate a canal to change the course of the river, yet both efforts were withdrawn. The Union returned with a two-prong attack, but the Confederate cavalry destroyed the Union’s base of supplies and Confederates “bloodily repulsed” Union troops north of Vicksburg. Yet, through persistence and ingenuity, the Union had the final victory at Vicksburg.

Visitors to this historic national military park will find a plethora of markers, memorials and signs explaining how this Union victory was accomplished through a siege of Vicksburg affecting Confederate forces and civilians alike and why it was a critical turning point in the American Civil War.

The park’s visitor center and the U.S.S. Cairo Museum, located separately within the park, are filled with informative displays and artifacts that are well-worth a stop. The Cairo was an ironclad gunboat. Sunk in 1862, the Cairo was discovered in 1956, raised, restored and is the only remaining ironclad of its type. Visitors can board this amazing vessel at the museum.

A driving route through the park offers stops with short walks to notable sites. Hikers and bikers will pass the park’s most important sites when they use the same 7-mile or 14-mile paved tour roads. The more adventurous can try the Al Scheller Hiking Trail. Originally designed as a compass course, this primitive 12.5-mile foot path brings hikers to the most rugged areas of the park. Be sure to check with park staff before attempting this trail. Cautions include avoiding this trail during high heat and humidity, steep and slippery surfaces, stream crossings and streams at the bottom of ravines that are prone to flash flooding.

A visit to Vicksburg National Military Park wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the U.S. National Cemetery, one of the oldest national cemeteries in America. Rows and rows of small square blocks, engraved with only a number, mark the burial sites of almost 13,000 unknown soldiers and sailors. Out of respect, take time and reflect upon the sacrifices of all those who now rest here in peace.

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