Vicksburg

Our final stop before home was the Military Park at Vicksburg. We  had only visited once before, but it has always stayed high on our list of favorite places. The detail and description of the fighting that took place in that area is unlike anything I have ever seen. There is just so much available on exactly where lines charged, generals stood, and formations were broken. Not only is the information spectacular, but the park is stunning. With so many beautiful monuments and scenery, it’s really difficult to imagine a terrible and bloody battle raged there for months.

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Like in the mountains, it was difficult to imagine how soldiers could work their way through the dense foliage and the steep terrain while bullets were flying at them.

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I don’t want to go up that thing.  We did explore one of the tunnels that the Union forces used to take shelter and get across the Confederate-occupied road (it obviously was not all bricked in during the battle).

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That’s definitely where I would have been during the entire thing. Actually, I never would have survived the march to get there. And most of the battle was during the summer. The last time we visited was in May, and just being outside of the car for more than a few minutes was almost too much to bear. God bless the people who have the physical and mental fortitude to make it in the military, because I would fail on all counts.

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Halfway through, we stopped at our favorite part of the park. They have one of the only four Civil War-era ironclad ships in existence today, the USS Cairo.

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The gunboat was built in 1861 and sunk when it ran over a torpedo in 1862. The boat remained buried below the silt of the Mississippi River until it was discovered in 1956 and salvaged in 1964.  It was opened to the public in the early 1980s.

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For some perspective, those wheels looked like this when they were recovered:

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Not pretty.

After visiting the Cairo, we stopped at the Texas memorial.

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You see those abs? Texans don’t need tops for war. We are too sexy for shirts. I tried to be a ab-liscious Texan, but as usual, I failed.

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My modeling skills could use some work.

After Vicksburg, we bid farewell to the east side of the Mississippi and headed home.

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The Ol’ Natchez Trace

After leaving Georgia, we spent the night in Jackson, Mississippi. The next morning, we decided to go down a bit of the Natchez Trace Parkway. I would love to explore the entire thing one day, but considering my dad was ready to get home four days ago, we were pleased with the short visit. The Old Natchez Trace was a trail that was used by American Indians, settlers, travelers, slavers and their slaves, and basically any human traveling the 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.

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Two of the above pictures are from sections of the trail that still remain today. I would love to go back in the spring or fall because it must be gorgeous. It was really interesting and I hope to explore the entire thing one day.

Because we were short on time, we only made it to Port Gibson which is the town that Grant allegedly said was “too beautiful to burn.” Unlike that pyromaniac Sherman, he appreciated spectacular Southern architecture.

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As do I. Columns are my favorite. We managed to convince my dad to take a short detour to the historic Wintergreen Cemetery.

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It was really beautiful with the large tries covered in Spanish moss and the old tombstones. I definitely would not want to be in there at night. That Spanish moss really takes things to a whole new level of creeperville.

The spot I most desperately wanted to visit was Windsor ruins, about 20 miles outside of town. The home was completed in 1861 for what in today’s money would be over $4.5 million. Not cheap. Unfortunately, the owner only got to enjoy his fancy palace for a few weeks before his sudden and untimely death. The mansion survived the war, and even Mark Twain spent the night there. Tragically, some idiot left a lit cigar on a balcony (or dropped it in some unfortunate spot), and the entire thing burned to the ground in 1890. All that remains are the 23 columns. Sad times for them, but really beautiful for us to see.

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