24 June 2012


I have not had the opportunity to visit as many of the western battlefields of the Civil War as those in the east.  As I would be driving through Mississippi on my circuitous route home from General Assembly in Baton Rouge, I decided to take the opportunity to visit Vicksburg National Military Park.  It is well worth the trip.

Until one has seen the terrain at the time of year of the siege, the depth and modernity of Grant's plan can escape us.  He adopted maneuver warfare a century before it became popular.  The hills and ravines that make up the eastern side of the battlefield are amazing.  Fort Hill, which was never attacked, is stunning.

Finally, the excavated and partially restored USS Cairo, a gunboat sunk during the campaign and recovered in the 1960's, is alone worth the trip.

The park offers one of the largest collections of military monuments in America.  The Missouri Monument, remembering the Missouri regiments, (US) and (CS), that fought each other at Vicksburg is the story of a civil war writ large in granite.  During the "three hour truce", men from the blue and the grey Missouri regiments mingled to find friends and relatives--and then went back to killing one another.

If you haven't visited Vicksburg, you have missed a really moving experience.

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