When you have visited as many battlefield parks as Tim
and I have over the last few months, it just seems natural to compare one with
the other. We did that today at
Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Siege of Vicksburg was a critical turning
point in the Civil War. The South’s loss
here split the Confederacy in two and gave control of the Mississippi River to
the Union. The military park commemorates
this campaign and its role in the Civil War.
Vicksburg was one of the four original military parks
established by Congress at the end of the nineteenth century. Like Gettysburg, Shiloh and Chattanooga and
Chickamauga, it features a driving tour through the park. The drive here is much more peaceful than at the
other parks because no local roads intersect with the park road. Like the other parks, the landscape is dotted
with monuments erected by the states. The
monuments here tend to be much grander in scale, and many of them are distinct
works of art or architecture.
|Memorials Dot the Landscape|
|Memorials to Fallen Soldiers|
We were also able to see a battlefield restoration
project that is currently underway. The removal
of acres of woodland cover is a bit disconcerting now. However, the more open landscape will more accurately
reflect the battlefield’s historic appearance and make the site more visually
|Battlefield Restoration in Progress|
We left Vicksburg and drove toward Port Gibson, a town
that was “too pretty to burn.” Although
the town is indeed lovely, my favorite building is the First Presbyterian Church,
which features a gold hand at the tip of the steeple with a finger pointing to
Heaven. I love it!
|The Church With the Finger|
We made our way to the Windsor Ruins, just outside of
town. Twenty-three columns are all that
remain of the largest antebellum plantation house ever constructed in
Mississippi. It’s an eerie sight and
very powerful. Unlike my last visit when
I was alone and able to lose myself in thought, today we were joined by several
carloads of visitors and about eight Harley motorcycles. Everyone was very friendly, but the site did not
have quite the haunting atmosphere that I remembered.
|Just Columns Remain|
Our touring continued along the Natchez Trace Parkway
where we stopped to see Emerald Mound, the second largest ceremonial mound in
the United States. It is immense at
nearly eight acres and was built from 1200 to 1730 by the Mississippians, the
ancestors of the Natchez Indians. It was
quite an impressive site.
|Emerald Mound Is Huge|
We ended the day in Natchez, the beginning point of the Natchez Trace. Natchez is known for its antebellum architecture, and I thought we should visit at least one of the homes. We chose Melrose, considered to be one of the finest examples of Greek Revival style architecture in the region. Melrose is a part of Natchez National Historical Park and is open for tours by the National Park Service. Melrose is also one of the best preserved estates in Natchez and contains many of the original furnishings and outbuildings from the nineteenth century. We had a great tour, and we were able to get a sense of the immense wealth that once characterized this city.
|Melrose, a Cotton Kingdom Estate|
|Gold Details Proved Their Wealth|
|Pukah Fan Over the Dining Room Table|
It was a full day of touring, much more than we’re used
to, and we finally crossed the Mississippi River and settled into a campground directly
on the riverside overlooking Natchez. What
a nice way to end a long day.
|Kitty Enjoyed Her Day|
|Ending the Day Along the Mississippi River|
And so Caesar has crossed the Rubicon...! ha haReplyDelete
Looks like you had a pretty day for touring. You guys sure know how to pack it in. Hope it's warmed up down there. LV
LV, Ha! You are right. This day was the exception as far as packing so much in. Normally, our pace is much slower. We're going to take a day off just to recover! Yes, it is warming up a bit, and we survived the freezing weekend weather. SarahDelete