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Vicksburg National Military Park
Location Vicksburg, Mississippi & Delta, Louisiana, USA
Coordinates 32°20′39″N 90°51′06″W / 32.34417°N 90.85167°W / 32.34417; -90.85167Coordinates: 32°20′39″N 90°51′06″W / 32.34417°N 90.85167°W / 32.34417; -90.85167
Area 1,852.75 acres (7.4978 km2)
Established February 21, 1899
Visitors 703,484 (in 2005)
Governing body National Park Service

Vicksburg National Military Park preserves the site of the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, waged from May 18 to July 4, 1863. The park, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Delta, Louisiana, also commemorates the greater Vicksburg Campaign, which preceded the battle. Reconstructed forts and trenches evoke memories of the 47-day siege that ended in the surrender of the city. Victory here and at Port Hudson gave the United States control of the Mississippi River.

Contents

Funding

A little known fact about the Vicksburg National Military Park is that, because it was paid for by the Federal Government, all of the Union Monuments were paid for by the US Government. The Confederate states however, were not Federally funded and their representation in the park is the direct result of years of fund raising and multiple benefits. Though the park is located in the South, the Federal Government did not give equal monetary donations to the Union and Confederacy, thus leaving the South to their own devices as far as money was concerned.

Battlefield

Illinois Memorial, dedicated in 1906.

The park includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles (32 km) of historic trenches and earthworks, a 16-mile (26 km) tour road, a 12.5-mile (20.1 km) walking trail, two antebellum homes, 144 emplaced cannons, restored gunboat USS Cairo (sunk on December 12, 1862, on the Yazoo River, recovered successfully in 1964), and the Grant's Canal site, where the Union army attempted to build a canal to let their ships bypass Confederate artillery fire. The Cairo, also known as the "Hardluck Ironclad," was the first U.S. ship in history to be sunk by a torpedo/mine. It was raised in 1964. The Illinois State Memorial has 47 steps, one for every day Vicksburg was besieged.

Campaign against Vicksburg

Cemetery

The 116.28-acre (0.4706 km2) Vicksburg National Cemetery, is within the park. It has 18,244 interments (12,954 unidentified); grave space is not available. Date of Civil War interments: 1866-1874.

Grant's Canal

Statues of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis at the Kentucky Memorial.

The remnants of Grant's Canal, a detached section of the military park, are located across from Vicksburg near Delta, Louisiana. Union Army Major General Ulysses S. Grant ordered the project, started on June 27, 1862, as part of his Vicksburg Campaign, with two goals in mind. The first was to alter the course of the Mississippi River in order to bypass the Confederate guns at Vicksburg. For various technical reasons the project failed to meet this goal. The river did change course by itself on April 26, 1876. The project met its second goal, keeping troops occupied during the laborious maneuvering required to begin the Battle of Vicksburg.

Administrative history

Monument to U.S. Colored Troops at the park

The national military park was established on February 21, 1899, to commemorate the siege and defense of Vicksburg. The park sprawls over 1,800 acres (7.3 km2) of land. The park and cemetery were transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service (NPS) on August 10, 1933. Of the park's 1,736.47 acres (not including the cemetery), 1,729.63 acres (6.9996 km2) are federally owned.

In the late 1950s, a portion of the park was transferred to the city as a local park in exchange for closing local roads running through the remainder of the park. It also allowed for the construction of Interstate 20. The monuments in land transferred to the city are still maintained by the NPS. As with all historic areas administered by the NPS, the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Over a million visitors visit the park every year.

References

USS Cairo

External links

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