1. admin

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    I am a photographer and writer for National Park Planner and I visited Vicksburg National Military Park in November 2014. The park is located just outside of downtown Vicksburg, Mississippi, on the grounds of the Union attacks and siege of the city that ran from May 19 to July 4, 1863. At the time, Vicksburg was one of two remaining strongholds along the Mississippi River that prevented the Union Navy from completely controlling the river (the other was Port Hudson to the south). After initial direct attacks on Confederate fortifications with no success and a huge loss of life, General Grant decided to lay siege to the city. This strategy consisted of completely surrounding the city, cutting off all supplies, and waiting for Confederate morale, ammunition, food, and medicine to run out, all the while constantly bombarding Confederate positions to further hasten the surrender.A 15-stop Tour Road takes visitors around the battlefield, much of which is unchanged since the fighting. Stops at Union batteries offer excellent views towards the Confederate forts, allowing visitors to see the difficult terrain that had to be crossed in order to assault the fortifications. Later, stops at the Confederate forts look back towards the Union positions. A tour of the battlefield, if done to actually learn about the battle, will take about five hours.Also along the tour road is the USS Cairo Exhibit and Museum. Although it has nothing to do with the fighting at Vicksburg, it is the most interesting attraction in the park. The Cairo is an ironclad ship that was sunk in December of 1862 on the Yazoo River near Vicksburg. It remained at the bottom of the river until being discovered in 1952, though it took over thirty more years for the ship to go on display. It is located next to the Vicksburg National Cemetery, which is a stop on the battlefield tour.There are additional points of interest outside the battlefield that are also owned by the National Park Service. Confederate General John Pemberton’s downtown headquarters is open to the public on special occasions. Three river forts, two Confederate and one Union, are located south of downtown along Washington Street, while a fourth, the site of the Union’s attempt to dig a canal across De Soto Point so to bypass Vicksburg, is located just over the I-20 bridge in Louisiana.Before heading out to see the battlefield, be sure to stop at the Visitor Center. Here you will find an information desk staffed by park Rangers, a book and souvenir store, a small museum, and an auditorium where a film about the siege of Vicksburg is shown every half hour.For complete information and plenty of quality photos of the park, visit National Park Planner (npplan)

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    I visited in September 2014, although it doesn’t look like much from outside, it is much bigger once you drive inside. I was approached by a nps ranger because my truck was sticking out a little. The ranger forgot about the infraction and took the opportunity to educate me about what happened there. She explained the battle in detail and answered all my questions. It made the site come alive for me. You can’t get this kind of experience watching it on tv. I walked away with a newfound respect for the nps and the dedication of their rangers. She explained that it was expensive to maintain the Vicksburg battleground….but totally worth it. I had to agree that the amazing things the nps does & its dedicated rangers are indeed …money well spent.

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    Very educational and interesting. Can have a self tour or guided with smartphone app, cd, or tour guide. Would have appreciated more restrooms amd water fountains, but still enjoyed our visit very much!

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    An excellent educational experience. Well designed and maintained. One of the best Civil War battle site I have visited.

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    We loved the park. Standing on the USS Cairo was a real trip. What history!