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Spotlight: The Siege of Vicksburg, Vicksburg National Military Park

Spotlight: The Siege of Vicksburg, Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park, USS Cairo USS Cairo, the first ship in history to be sunk by an electrically detonated torpedo.(National Park Service)

"See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket...We can take all the northern ports of the Confederacy, and they can defy us from Vicksburg." ~Abraham Lincoln

What You’ll Find

A region steeped in history and the site of the Vicksburg Campaign, one of the most important series of battles of the American Civil War. Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi preserves the site of this crucial contest to control the Mississippi River, a principal transportation and commerce route for both North and South. This year, you’ll also find a series of events that commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Vicksburg Campaign. Watch re-enactors stationed at siege lines, enjoy performances by the U.S. Navy Band and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, or join special programs like Shadows of the Past, that highlights the lives of veterans buried in the National Cemetery; African-Americans and the Civil War, that explores the roles of freeman, U.S. Colored Troops and enslaved peoples; or Civil War Engineering and Siege Tactics that features military strategies of the era. For a complete list of events, check the Vicksburg National Military Park CW150 Events page.

Getting There

Vicksburg National Military Park is located near Vicksburg, Mississippi. You can reach the park by car, taxi, city bus, charter bus, bicycling or walking using these directions.

Stay Here

Several campgrounds, antebellum homes that are now bed and breakfast inns, hotels, and cabins offer authentic places to stay while in Vicksburg. There are no campground or lodging facilities within the park. Visit the Vicksburg Convention Bureau’s website to find accommodations.

Make Sure You

Visit the USS Cairo and Museum to see the salvaged remains of this ironclad gunboat, the first ship in history to be sunk by an electrically detonated torpedo.

Try This

Walk along the sidewalks of the historic city of Vicksburg and try to imagine what life was like for an ordinary citizen living through the siege, or explore the Southern Treasures of the Lower Mississippi Great River Byway. It departs from Vicksburg and includes the ruins of Windsor Plantation, which was used as an observation post by the Confederate soldiers who sent signals across the Mississippi River to Louisiana. The plantation also served as a Union hospital after the Battle of Port Gibson. Along the way you’ll see Rosemont, once a thriving cotton plantation and home to President Jefferson Davis (CS).

Don’t Forget

Kids—ask a ranger or park volunteer about the U.S. Camel Corps or check out the National Park Service Web Rangers website to explore the Civil War Soldier activity.

Collect a Vicksburg quarter or one of the Vicksburg Civil War trading cards.

Get Started

Get oriented to the park at the Clay Street Visitor Center by watching the 18-minute film Here Brothers Fought; after which you can drive along the historic 16-mile tour through the Union siege and Confederate defensive lines. For more in-depth trip-planning information, history and stories, visit the Vicksburg National Military Park’s website.

Many other special events will also occur in the surrounding area. Visit Mississippi’s Civil War 150 website for activities and events in and around Vicksburg and throughout the state, and locate other Civil War sites throughout the entire United States using our Civil War Go List.