Friday, April 25, 2008


Visiting Vicksburg National Military Park  is a stirring experience.  The surrender of Vicksburg by Confederate General John C. Pemberton to Union Major General Ulyssess S. Grant was a major turning point in the Civil War because the North gained control over the Mississippi River, allowing uninterrupted passage of troops and supplies.

We took a 16 mile battlefield tour through the park, climbing in and out of our car at every one of the 15 tour stops, as instructed by our audio assisted tour guide.  The information and details provided (markers in red for confederate and blue for union positions) helped to provide a visual (and scarier) understanding about the 47 day siege.  Many of the cannons, abandoned after the battle where they stood, illustrate how very, very close together the troops were as the  fighting occurred.  The famous words.....don't shoot until you can see the whites of their so descriptive of what it must have been like.

Looking at this defense makes one realize how primitive it was.

The State of Illinois dedicated this impressive memorial.

Inside the ceiling is open to the elements....note it's distinctive shape.

A design triumph.....the opening allows the light to cast a spotlight on the various sections as the day progresses.

'The husband' was in the 131st Infantry of the Illinois National Guard.  His unit was one of the few ever to have been 'called up' for federal duty more than once during peace time.  They served during the riots which occurred when Martin Luther King was killed and the Chicago Democratic Convention craziness!

Both David and I were born and raised in Wisconsin.  I'll always consider myself a Wisconsin gal.  This is their state memorial.  There are hundreds and hundreds of monuments, markers, statues, and other historic artifacts on view throughout the park.

The cemetery, with small square stones for the unknown soldiers and larger rectangular ones with names engraved will down right bring tears to your eyes.  I can not imagine the bravery of these men.  I didn't take photos, frankly, it didn't seem appropriate.

This plaque says it all.  If you ever get the opportunity to visit, you too will be awed by all you learn by this living history of the Civil War.