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Help me decide--Trans-Mississippi or Vicksburg

Discussion in 'The Civil War Traveler's Companion' started by tonijustine, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. tonijustine

    tonijustine Corporal

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    I am not usually this indecisive when it comes to my Civil War travel. And it is all I can think about while the weather is going haywire in Indiana and I am cooped up inside.

    I have a 4 day weekend from work over the Independence Day holiday. I am going to take one more day off for travel. I had kind of had it in my head that my next Civil War trip would be Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove. I've been thinking about it since last June...well before I knew how my 2017 schedule would shake out. Now that I am going to take my trip over Independence Day, I can't get it out of my head that I should head to Vicksburg. I doubt I will have such a great opportunity to visit Vicksburg on an anniversary again.

    But I've already bought my background reading for a Trans-Mississippi trip and I am woefully uninformed about that theater.

    Sadly, I can't combine trips and leave my husband and son longer than 5 days, so the easiest solution is also not going to work.

    Hemming....hawing.

    So, for those of you have been to the aforementioned battlefields, what would you do?

    Has anyone been to an anniversary at Vicksburg (not one of the big anniversaries, just a run of the mill one)? What kind of programming does the park have?

    Thanks!
     

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  3. TinCan

    TinCan Captain Forum Host

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    I have always found Vicksburg to be a great place to visit, but then I'm a tad bit biased.
     
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  4. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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    Never been to either but the Trans-Mississippi and Vicksburg are both on my list. Had to postpone a planned trip to Vicksburg in October. Looking to reschedule that one and have a time frame in February in mind if the weather is cooperative. I tend to try to schedule my trips for time frames when my destination is less likely to be crowded. That would certainly not be the case for Vicksburg on 7/4.
     
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  5. tonijustine

    tonijustine Corporal

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    I do appreciate peace and quiet on the battlefield most of the time (my favorite battlefields are Antietam, Spotsylvania and Shiloh for that very reason), but since no one in my personal life shares the same passion for the Civil War as I have, being with a whole bunch of like-minded people every once in a while is pretty energizing. And hotel rooms are still reasonably priced, so maybe it won't be *too* crowded ( I say delusionally).

    This could all be an excuse for buying more books (I like to read ahead). But also, if I am going to be toughing it out on a battlefield in the lower Midwest or South in the July sun, I'd rather it be because of an anniversary.
     
  6. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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    Yeah. There is that too. If not for my membership in the Houston Civil War Round Table and Hood's Texas Brigade Association Re-Activated,I'd pretty much be a loner Civil War buff.
     
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  7. Malingerer

    Malingerer Sergeant Major

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    Vicksburg - do the Grant's Campaign route taking in Port Gibson, Grand Gulf, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, Big Black River, and Chickasaw Bluffs. Back issues of Blue and Gray Magazine are a huge help with plotting your route and stops. Best of luck with your trip.
     
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  8. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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    Been going through that for a month. Been trying to schedule a roadtrip to somewhere close but the weather has been uncooperative. This week a window in the weather appeared and I'm heading out on an impromptu trip in about an hour. Up to last night the only question was where. Port Hudson is the winner. :D
     
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  9. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose Sergeant

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    I just visited Vicksburg for the first time this past April and it was an amazing experience. It might be crowded around the July 4th holiday, but prices for hotels, etc. should be terrific. Port Gibson is definitely a must-see along with Natchez if you have interest beyond the actual battlefield. If you decide to go in this direction I would love to share some tips from my trip with you. By the way, I think it's great that you are able to pursue your passion even though your family doesn't share your interest in the Civil War.
     
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  10. tonijustine

    tonijustine Corporal

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    Thanks all.

    No disrespect meant to the oft overlooked Trans-Mississippi, but the anniversary and reasonable hotel rooms in Vicksburg have sealed my decision. It's been 17 years since my last visit there, and then it was an impromptu day trip over from a work assignment in Monroe, LA.

    Now that my decision is made, I feel comfortable with it (I mean as comfortable as I can feel about Vicksburg in July).

    Thanks again!
     
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  11. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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    The good thing about that decision is that there were no bad choices.
     
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  12. tonijustine

    tonijustine Corporal

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    The worst day on a battlefield is still better than the best day at work.
     
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  13. Jamieva

    Jamieva 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    I don't live near either but I would be more tempted to hit Vicksburg because its at the anniversary.
     
  14. mt155

    mt155 First Sergeant Civil War Photo Contest
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    I stayed in Vicksburg during the 4th of July in 2010. Great time. There were living historians at various stops in the park, they even fired cannons from Battery DeGoyler. Don't miss the fireworks over the river on the 4th and make sure to see the Courthouse Museum.
     
  15. 7th Mississippi Infantry

    7th Mississippi Infantry Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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  16. alan polk

    alan polk First Sergeant

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    Ditto to 7th above. Check those sites he posted.

    I will also suggest that you go to YouTube and look up "Vicksburg Campaign." There is a series of videos posted by someone who went on a tour lead by Terry Winschel. I think there are about 9 videos - 9 hours or so of video. I think you may have time to watch them before your trip in July.

    I suggest this because you might want to go to places like Port Gibson (the battlefield, not just the town), Grand Gulf, Raymond, etc. The videos will give you a great overview. Places like Port Gibson are difficult to navigate from a car, and if you go there, watching the video beforehand will help.

    It pains me to have to say this: please don't try to investigate the Jackson, MS battlefield!

    It looks like you will have 4 days of touring (excluding your one day of travel). I think you can take in Grand Gulf, Port Gibson and Raymond and parts of Champion Hill in a day. Raymond has restaurants and thus bathrooms and provides a decent place to eat lunch, etc. between sites.

    Please feel free to PM me, and I will put you in contact with my wife (via her telephone or however so that you and she can talk directly). She's not a big Civil War fan, but can be a source for anything else you might need. She will be glad to help you or give you advice from a woman's perspective about things you may or may not be concerned.

    I want your experience in Mississippi to be a decent one! Anything we can do, we will!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  17. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose Sergeant

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    What a wonderful offer! I think tonijustine is very blessed to have folks like you who are willing to assist.
     
  18. tonijustine

    tonijustine Corporal

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    Thank you so much Alan. That is a very kind and generous offer. I am pretty low-key but would love to hear her shopping and dining suggestions.

    I ordered 5 books today and will definitely take a look at the links and videos in this thread.

    Thank you all!
     
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  19. DixieRifles

    DixieRifles 1st Lieutenant

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    I visited Vicksburg on the 150th Anniversary of the Surrender. It wasn't that hot --- to me. Just want to make you aware that during the 150th, the main event was in May---not in July. So you may not see the reenactments and tours, etc. but then there will be smaller crowds. I did hire a tour guide thru the NPS which was really great. I told him what I was interested in and I drove to my favorite places while he gave accounts of the battle. But you may have help from some of the forum members.
     
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  20. bankerpapaw

    bankerpapaw 2nd Lieutenant

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    Take in Jenkins' Ferry if you get a chance.
     
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  21. novushomus

    novushomus Corporal

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    Vicksburg on the Fourth will promise more activities and more people, but the Trans-Mississippi battlefields happen to be some of the most pristine battlefield untouched by modern development (excepting Helena and the Confederate fortifications around Little Rock unfortunately). Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove are two of the most beautiful battlefields you can visit and if you want you can swing both in about a day. I would also second other Arkansas and Missouri fields like Jenkins' Ferry (though a lot of the battlefield proper is under Saline river swamps).
     

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