Tour Vicksburg in Three Days | American Battlefield Trust
Vicksburg Itinerary
Civil War
Itinerary

Tour Vicksburg in Three Days

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Vicksburg was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the Western Theater and of the entire war. Grant’s successful siege, leading to the city’s surrender by Confederate commander Pemberton, effectively split the Confederacy in two – and also boosted Grant’s profile in Washington.

Total Stops: 12
Total Time: 3 days
Area of Operations: 75 miles

Before You Go:

Stop #1: Vicksburg National Military Park

Time: 3-6 Hours (more if you like to hike!)

Details: https://www.nps.gov/vick/index.htm

Surrounding Vicksburg, the current military park is where Grant laid the majority of his siege and defense lines after two assaults failed to take the city. The landscape is dotted by memorials, and visitors have a chance to experience history through the many museums there, or nature through the park’s extensive hiking trails.

What to do:

  • Tour the Battlefield through the Self-Guided Driving Tour, the Cell Phone Driving Tour, a touring CD from the bookstore, Vicksburg Battle App, or hire a Licensed Battlefield Guide to accompany you.
  • Visit the park’s many museums such as the USS Cairo, Vicksburg National Cemetery, The Shirley House, and Stockade Redan.
  • Stop by key battlefield sites like:
    • Surrender Site – Under a shaded oak tree between the opposing armies, Pemberton and Grant met to discuss the Confederate terms of surrender on July 3, 1863.
    • Railroad Redoubt – Union forces attacked this Confederate fortification on May 22 and were able to exploit a break in the defenses, but were beaten back by Texas reinforcements.
    • Texas Memorial – This impressive memorial located at the Railroad Redan was dedicated in 1961.
    • Illinois Memorial – Located near the Shirley House, this domed memorial has 47 steps, one for each day of the siege.
    • Grant’s Canal – Constructed as a possible means of bypassing the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg, the canal was eventually abandoned in favor of other strategic operations.

If You Have Time:

  • Visit the Pemberton House, which served as headquarters for the Confederate general during the siege.
  • Choose either the 7-mile or 14-mile option for a battlefield hike.
  • Do what strikes your fancy. Vicksburg is a battlefield on which you could spend hundreds or hours and never do the same thing twice. Explore what interests you!

Stop #2: Old Courthouse

Time: 30 minutes

Details: http://www.battlefields.org/visit/heritage-sites/old-court-house-museum-and-eva-w-davis-memorial

Jefferson Davis launched his political career here, and Ulysses S. Grant conducted a victorious review of his army from this site after Vicksburg’s surrender.

What To Do:

  • View the thousands of Civil War artifacts on display

Stop #3: Pemberton’s Headquarters

Time: 30 minutes

Details: http://www.nps.gov/vick/historyculture/pembertons-headquarters.htm

Confederate General John C. Pemberton used this mansion as his headquarters during the Siege of Vicksburg.

What To Do:

  • Tour the house

Stop #4: Chickasaw Bayou Battle Marker

Time: 30 minutes

Details: The marker is located just north of the Vicksburg Battlefield at the following coordinates: 32°24'19.0"N 90°50'51.0"W.

The opening engagement of the Vicksburg Campaign in December 1862, this battle was an unsuccessful attempt by Grant and Sherman to take Vicksburg by a direct assault. A lone sign on US Highway 61 Business is the only marker on the battlefield.

What To Do:

  • Read the marker and try to envision the battle fought on this spot.

Stop #5: Raymond Battlefield

Time: 1 Hour

Details: http://www.battlefields.org/visit/heritage-sites/raymond-battlefield

This May 12, 1863, battle was a pivotal moment in the Vicksburg Campaign, as Grant boldly maneuvered to capture the city of Jackson.

What To Do:

  • Walk the battlefield and envision the action that occurred here along Fourteen Mile Creek.

Stop #6: Driving Tour of Historic Raymond

Time: 1 Hour

Details: http://www.battlefields.org/visit/heritage-sites/driving-tour-of-historic-raymond

The Raymond Driving Tour features three structures that stand as a reminder of the Battle of Raymond, including a courthouse used as a field hospital, the Waverley Mansion used as headquarters by McPherson and Grant, and a Confederate cemetery.

What To Do:

  • Take the driving tour.

Stop #7: Battle of Champion Hill

Time: 1 Hour

Details: http://www.battlefields.org/learn/civil-war/battles/champion-hill

This May 16, 1863, battle was the largest, bloodiest, and most significant action of the Vicksburg Campaign. Union forces ultimately won the field and forced the Confederates to retreat to Vicksburg.

What to do:

  • Read the interpretive signs and walk the battlefield.

Stop #8: Port Gibson Battle

Time: 30 minutes

Details: https://www.battlefields.org/visit/heritage-sites/port-gibson-battlefield

This Union victory on May 1, 1863, cleared the way for an open march on Vicksburg.

What To Do:

  • Visit the A.K. Shaifer house and the site of the Old Magnolia Church, two significant sites of the battle.

Stop #9: Grand Gulf Military State Park

Time: 1.5 Hours

Details: http://www.battlefields.org/visit/heritage-sites/grand-gulf-military-monument-park

Grant attempted an attack on the Confederate batteries at Grand Gulf (south of Vicksburg) in April 1863 but was unable to land infantry at the site.

What To Do:

  • Tour the Civil War artifacts at the museum and explore the historic town. Visit the earthworks at Fort Corbun, only a mile west of Grand Gulf.

Stop #10: Windsor Ruins

Time: 30 minutes

Details: http://www.battlefields.org/visit/heritage-sites/windsor-ruins

Supporting columns are all that remains of a mansion that was used as a field hospital for Union troops. Grant’s forces also camped on the plantation’s grounds after crossing the Mississippi to begin the March to Vicksburg.

What To Do:

  • Walk the ruins of the mansion

Stop #11: Natchez National Cemetery

Time: 30 minutes

Details: http://www.battlefields.org/visit/heritage-sites/natchez-national-cemetery

Created in 1866, this cemetery is the final resting place for Union soldiers who died at a nearby field hospital, as well as in Louisiana and Mississippi.

What To Do:

  • Walk the cemetery grounds

Stop #12: Natchez National Historic Park

Time: 1 Hour

Details: http://www.nps.gov/natc/planyourvisit/index.htm

Visit an antebellum cotton plantation, the Melrose, and the William Johnson House, home of a free African-American barber.

What To Do:

  • Tour the respective houses.
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