Friday, July 5, 2013

Day 47 - New Orleans & Vicksburg

The capitol of Mississippi is Jackson. This is rear side of the state capitol building.

The bow metal work of the second USS Mississippi (c1909) Outside the Jackson, Mississippi State Capitol building 

The State Capitol building in Jackson, Mississippi. View of the front of the structure

A side view of the State Capitol building in Jackson, Mississippi. The golden eagle at the top is very noticeable from all angles

The old State Capitol building in Jackson, Mississippi

In Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi. This is the view of Battery De Golyer and the Illinois Memorial building. The grass land in the front is no-mans land and still pock-marked from canon shells. The Confederate Army were on the other side of this location.

There are hundreds of memorials in the Vicksburg National Military Park this one is the first memorial after entering the park and dedicated to the Union "Michigan" soldiers who had fought on this spot

This is the Union line at Battery De Golyer. Probably one of the most busiest firing line during the Vicksburg campaign

This Civil War cannon is painted "gold". For what reason we don't know. But it is aiming where the Confederate Army were. Located at Battery De Golyer

This is the "Shirley House". It is the only surviving structure in the park. During the siege it served as the HQ for the Union "Illinois" infantry. Apparently soldiers had built hundreds of bombproof shelters to protect against the Confederate shellfire. 

An old photograph of Shirley House after the Vicksburg campaign

The memorial for the Illinois infantry inside the Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi

Another Union Arny memorial inside the Vicksburg National Military Park

There are plenty of these memorials inside the park. This one is dedicated to the Ohio soldiers

This is a good read about a 14 year old boy who was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery. 

This memorial is located on the road where Ulysses Grant had his HQ (the shape is a large artillery shell)

And another Ohio memorial near the entrance to Grant's HQ

This is the memorial tower at Battery Selfridge. Location where naval cannons were used which turned the tide of the Vicksburg campaign

This was the USS Cairo, an ironclad gun boat that was used on the Mississippi River during the Vicksburg siege. It was torpedoed so they say. But many historians would say she struck a sea mine laid by the Confederates which acted like a torpedo - confused??? She was salvaged from the river and now a good example of what a ironclad vessel was like during the Civil War

A brief story and picture of the sinking of the USS Cairo. All crew and Captain survived the sinking

The USS Cairo was steam driven with five boilers and the paddle wheel enclosed for protection. This view is where "stoker's" would feed the wood or coal for the boilers. 

The front or bow of the USS Cairo showing the cannons and the ironclad construction over timber sub-frames.

This is what the Vicksburg battle and siege was all about. Taking control of the Mississippi River to deny Confederate war supplies. Taken from the Confederate line at Vicksburg National Military park, Mississippi

A memorial to the Confederate soldiers located along their front lines inside the Vicksburg National Military Park

In photograph 6 of this post there is a view of the Confederate line from Battery De Golyer. This is the view of the Unions lines directly opposite - no-mans land in the middle

Another Confederate memorial inside the Vicksburg National Military Park

"You goddamn Yankee's" an excellent stature of a Confederate senior officer who had directed the battle at Vicksburg

This is the statue of the President of the Confederate States of America "Jefferson Davies". A short lived president of only four years. Located near the entrance to the Vicksburg National Military Park

In downtown Vicksburg. There are many murals that are painted along the high Mississippi River levee bank. This one is a good example of what it was like before the Vicksburg siege of  1863

Vicksburg is extremely hilly but high enough from Mississippi River floods. This view is on the high side showing the river. During the siege many civilians starved and virtually lived in caves in this location.

It was sad to leave New Orleans after four days and celebrating Anne's birthday yesterday. The city has grown on us and good memories will always be with us regarding New Orleans. The city itself may be not for some who do not like the social freedom it has to offer but if you overlook that it is a fun place to be. Drinking, feasting and music is its main focus. We left New Orleans at 8:30 am and headed north to Mississippi state. We traveled along the main motorway that goes over many miles of bridges over the bayou and Lake Pontchartrain itself. We reached the capitol of Mississippi at Jackson and had lunch on a park bench inside the State Capitol grounds. It's Friday here and should be a working day. However yesterday was Independence Day and many city businesses such as it is in Jackson was closed. Basically Jackson was almost deserted. From Jackson we hit a bad stretch of rain and we had to slowed down from 70 MPH to 45 MPH (many American drivers were still dangerously speeding during this downpour). We reached Vicksburg at 2 pm, checked in to our hotel and headed nearby to the Vicksburg National Military Park. Now... about this critical battle that occurred here in 1863. It has been said and confirmed by many historians that the battle and siege was the turning point for the eventual successful surrender of the Confederate Army. Vicksburg is located on the Mississippi River and the hub for the bulk of Confederate supplies to its Army. The Union desperately needed this staging point and both sides knew that who had control of this would win the war. Well, the Union Army did reached the outskirts of Vicksburg in 1863 and with gunboats had the Confederate Army pinned down. It became a stalemate on both sides just shelling away and trying to overtake each lines with its redoubts and trenches (sort of like what happen in WW1). Anyway Ulysses S grant of the Union Army decided to siege Vicksburg, He blockaded the river with gunboats and virtually after three months starved the Confederate and its civilian population. It was terrible for the women and children who were living in caves. Overall many soldiers were killed and when the Confederates surrendered the Union Army had almost unimpeded pathway to the Confederate heartland (like what happen in Gone with the Wind). Well we spend about three hours driving around 16 miles inside the park and after we drove into Vicksburg itself. It is a small town however it is very hilly above the Mississippi River. Tomorrow we head of to that Bill Clinton city of Little Rock, Arkansas. It should takes us about 4 hours to get there so ta for now.

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