Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions are rampant at the Vicksburg National Military Park rendering our plans to visit as limited.
That’s OK, because we’re enjoying the views of the Mississippi River and ready to head up Highway 61, the Delta Blues Highway.
During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln told his leaders, “See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket…We can take all the northern ports of the Confederacy, and they can defy us from Vicksburg.”
Lincoln assured his listeners that “I am acquainted with that region and know what I am talking about, and as valuable as New Orleans will be to us, Vicksburg will be more so.”
The Mississippi River was the single most important economic feature of the continent — the very lifeblood of America. Upon the secession of the southern states, Confederate forces closed the river to navigation.
In the spring of 1863, Major General Ulysses S. Grant launched his Union Army of the Tennessee on a campaign to pocket Vicksburg and provide Mr. Lincoln with the key to victory.
The Vicksburg Campaign began in 1862 and finished with the Confederate surrender on July 4th, 1863. For over 18 months, various armies would maneuver throughout the western theater, and occassionally face each other on the battlefield.
Both Union and Confederate armies realized the importance of Vicksburg, but it would take over half a year and over 48,000 casualties before the fate of Vicksburg and the Mississippi River would be determined.
The Battle for Vicksburg would be unlike any other in American History, and its outcome would not only determine the fate of the Civil War, but propel a relatively unknown Union general into the national spotlight.
After 47 days of siege, the Confederate Army surrendered to General Grant on July 4, 1863, ending the 18 month campaign for Vicksburg.
If restrictions are lifted, perhaps we’ll attempt to come back this way and try visiting when we can devote a good amount of time to the park.