A Visit To Vicksburg Mississippi

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American History and the National Parks.

Most everyone has heard of Gettysburg Pennsylvania, an important Civil War Battle Site, but the perhaps lesser known battle site in Vicksburg Mississippi may be the best to visit with the kids. This small town with a big history had much to offer for families.

As a family we have had the privilege of visiting many Civil War sites along the east coast. These sites help develop a better understanding of this important piece of American History. Our National Park system has done a great job of developing and maintaining many of these sites.

Vicksburg vs. Gettysburg


Both Vicksburg and Gettysburg had a big part in the outcome of the war. The site in Gettysburg has a huge visitors center with a museum, a movie, and a small restaurant. However, it is run not only by the National Park, but also the Gettysburg Foundation. This makes it more commercialized and they charge extra for everything, unlike most National Park sites. The National Cemetery is one of the best parts to see at this site. There are monuments scattered throughout, but little to explain their significance. It is an important part of history though and I would still recommend visiting at least once.

The battle at Vicksburg was a turning point in the war. Here you will find a small visitors center located at the beginning of the driving tour. Here you will get a better understanding of the significance of this battle. There is also a nice movie that you can watch for free. On this driving tour you will see monuments from every state that had soldiers in the battle. Some of these were quite impressive.

Make sure you take the time to get out and look around. The Illinois monument is definitely worth going into. This is one of the most well marked battle sites in the world because many of the soldiers that fought here came back later to help us remember. It also has a Cemetery with head stones for all the soldiers that lost their live during this fight.

USS Cairo, the last Ironclad.

Perhaps the best part about this place is the USS Cairo museum. This Ironclad was torpedoed in the Mississippi River and sunk. After 100 years of lying on the bottom of the river it was rescued, restored, and made into a museum. You can actually step on board of this restored ship, which still has it’s original cannons! The museum has many artifacts as well that were also recovered. Not to mention some really interesting history too.

I highly recommend a visit to this site, especially with kids. There were so many pull outs along the driving tour with some really cool monuments. It is well marked and you can really get an idea of what it was like for those men that fought so bravely. Of course if you go you will also get bragging rights for having been on the last Ironclad!

 

 

 

 

18 Comments

  1. Civil War history is so interesting. I grew up in Franklin, TN so I’ve done my far share of Civil War field trips. I’ve always wanted to go to Gettysburg, I hate to hear it’s so “touristy”. Sounds like Vicksburg might be a great alternative.

    mags
    1. We still enjoyed our visit to Gettysburg, but Vicksburg was just a better site. If you only get to visit one, then Vicksburg would be our recommendation.

      statebystateadventure@gmail.com
  2. I always admire the yeoman service that the National Parks of the US do in many areas, notably the sustainability of the environment and wildlife. I was not aware that they also help in maintaining historical sites. Vicksburg Mississippi seems to be a fascinating place. I loved reading about the USS Cairo, this is something we would love to visit.

    1. The Rangers at the National Parks are awesome! They do a phenomenal job of protecting the environment, educating the visitors and keeping the history alive.

      statebystateadventure@gmail.com
  3. I didn’t realize there were so many Civil War sites nor that the Battle at Vicksburg was a turning point.If I get out to that area, I’ll have to check it out, especially those headstones for the soldiers. It’s always so fascinating reading cemetery headstones.

  4. Gettysburg gets all the attention, but it’s important to remember the other parts of America’s past. I did not know that much about Vicksburg and this has made me want to research more. Your pictures are beautiful. I would love to visit an old Ironclad and go on board! What a cool opportunity to visit a piece of American history, dredged out of a river no less!

    1. Yeah and most people in the area that we talked to didn’t even know the Ironclad was there! Such a hidden gem, but the park service doesn’t advertise and some of these sites don’t have a huge amount of visitors.

      statebystateadventure@gmail.com
  5. I am ignorant of American history but really curious to know more about it. Vicksburg seems like a good destination to get acquainted with the subject. I too love introducing my kids to such historic places. Great pictures.

  6. I am not aware of the battle of Vicksburg but I know that visiting historical sites this is the best way to learn history first hand. When you stand and look at the site, you visualize how things would have been, scales of places are real and probably some energy of the old times remains. It is great that you are taking your children to these kind of places.

    Anuradha Goyal
    1. Vicksburg was perfect for getting the feel of how it felt to be in the Civil War. You could actually stand where the soldiers did and see the opposing soldiers markers. It is a great way to learn history.

      statebystateadventure@gmail.com
  7. You’re right, I’ve heard f Gettysburg, but not Vicksburg – we don’t learn a great deal about American history in depth in school in Australia, but it’s great to know about now – I enjoy digging deeper into international history, and visiting sites like Vicksburg which are less commercial than other more popular tourist sites, but significant none the less. The USS Cairo looks really interesting – I’m always so impressed with the efforts to preserve and restore history like that and love visiting the museums they transform into 🙂

    1. We like to learn the history about the area we are in, so I don’t know much about Australia’s history yet. I say yet because it is somewhere my wife and I have always wanted to visit. When we finally do we will be delving deep into Australian history.

      statebystateadventure@gmail.com
  8. I have actually not had the chance to visit a civil war site in the US. The idea of a ship that had sunk to the bottom of the river but was then restored and displayed at a museum sounds pretty interesting, I would’ve loved to visit and check it out too! A good day out for the family, it sounds like.

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