Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Vicksburg is so interesting I’ve chosen to divide it’s two prominent elements, The City and The Vicksburg National Military Park into two posts. This one concerns The City.
Vicksburg (49,000 souls) sits on a bluff overlooking the confluence of the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers. As you can imagine, this place has a ton of history. It is a great town to visit not only for all the beautiful old buildings downtown but the most comprehensive National Military Park in the country.
A little history is in order. Natchez Native Americans lived here for a very long time but other indigenous cultures had occupied this strategic are for thousands of years. The French were the first European settlers. They built a fort in 1719 to protect their fur trade and plantations. The Natchez didn’t like the French and attacked in 1729 killing several hundred settlers and took a number of women and children as captives, adopting them into their families. The colonists never recovered from that disaster but did get even. Aided by the Choctaw the French defeated and scattered the Natchez and their allies, the Yazoo.
In 1790 the Spanish founded a military outpost on the site, Fort Nogales (Walnut Trees). The Americans took possession in 1798 after the Revolutionary War and a treaty with Spain and renamed it Walnut Hills. The village was incorporated in 1825 as Vicksburg, named after Newitt Vick, a Methodist Minister.
Vicksburg became an important port on the Mississippi. It built an extensive trade from the prodigious steamboat traffic. It shipped out cotton and in turn became a major trading city.
During the Civil War it was determined that Vicksburg was too important to remain in the South’s hands. The Union made extensive plans to take the well fortified city.
The Union Army attacked many times only to be repulsed and suffering high casualty rates. General Ulysses S. Grant finally decided to lay siege to the city, cutting off it’s supply lines by land and by river. The siege lasted 47 days. The surrender of Vicksburg by Confederate General Pemberton on July 4, 1863, together with the defeat of General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg the day before, has historically marked the turning point in the Civil War.
Some accounts state that this city occupied by the Union Army is said to have not celebrated the 4th of July until 1945. Truth is a large Independence Day celebration were being held by 1907.
Today Vicksburg is a vibrant city. It seems like the city’s residents want to keep downtown and it’s extensive history intact. Instead of tearing down old buildings it has built all the modern amenities on its perimeter near the interstate. Big box everything is out there as well as quite a few of the chain eateries. It’s a good mix.
With that, I’ll rest. Hope you enjoy the photos of Vicksburg!