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Vicksburg Advice

Discussion in 'The Civil War Traveler's Companion' started by Greg Taylor, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. Greg Taylor

    Greg Taylor Sergeant Major

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    I am planning a trip to Vicksburg next month and would appreciate any feedback past visitors to the area might have. My interests are strictly history, scenery and photography. Motel 6 and Denny’s are fine when it comes to food and lodging!

    Here is my tentative itinerary:

    Day 1- Fly Los Angeles to Dallas.

    Day 2- Drive from Dallas to Vicksburg.

    Day 3- Vicksburg National Military Park. (1) Orientation at the Park Visitor Center. (2) Pre-booked NPS recommended guide for 2-3 hours tour of the Park sites. (3) Revisit any sites we want to explore further and other sites not on initial tour.

    Day 4- Vicksburg Battle Theater. Self-guided motor tour of (1) Grand Gulf (2) Port Gibson (3) Raymond Battlefield (4) Champion Hill Battlefield (5) Big Black River Bridge Battlefield (6) Jackson, time permitting.

    Day 5- Drive from Vicksburg to Baton Rouge. (1) Natchez Historic Park: Melrose Mansion, William Johnson House. (2) Port Hudson State Park (3) various places of interest in Baton Rouge (TDB).

    Day 6- Drive from Baton Rouge to Houston. Itinerary TBD

    Day 7- Drive from Houston to Dallas. Itinerary TBD

    Day 8- Dallas. Visit friends. Sightseeing TBD

    Day 9- Fly Dallas to Los Angeles

    Thanks for any advice or suggestion you may have. With this trip I will have seen just about all of the major battlefields of the Civil War and I can’t wait!
     
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  3. bankerpapaw

    bankerpapaw 2nd Lieutenant

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    Sounds like you have it all planned out. Vicksburg was my first visit to a Civil War battlefield. Have a great time.
     
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  4. TinCan

    TinCan Captain Forum Host

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    Sounds like a heck of a trip to me, have fun, and be sure to enjoy lunch at Walnut Hills!
     
  5. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    If it were me, I'd make sure I allotted extra time for the USS Cairo in the Vicksburg NMP. Of course!

    (For that matter, when you're in Houston, why not pop by the battleship Texas and the San Jacinto Monument? :wink: )
     
  6. Greg Taylor

    Greg Taylor Sergeant Major

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    I would expect nothing less from you than the suggestion to see the USS Cairo and the battleship Texas! We will definitely see the Cairo and plan to visit the San Jacinto Monument. We will skip the battleship to concentrate on 19th. century history. In L.A. at San Pedro we have the Battleship Iowa which I have visited (very impressive!)
     
  7. Private Watkins

    Private Watkins 2nd Lieutenant

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    Sounds like a great trip...!
     
  8. DixieRifles

    DixieRifles 1st Lieutenant

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    I rented a tour guide and really enjoyed it. He admitted that I may know more than he did but he could tell me where to go and provide insight that I didn't know.

    You need to try to make it to Museum at the old Vicksburg Court House. I think it is important because it sat there through the entire siege without being destroyed. Not a whole lot of new stuff there except for an original flag or two.

    The Cairo is on the tour. It has its own Gift Shop and Museum.

    As far as food, I didn't have much luck. I stuck with the Cracker Barrel. There is some good eating places in the town which is down the street from the Court House.
     
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  9. chellers

    chellers Brigadier General Moderator Trivia Game Winner

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    If you ever do Houston 20th century, NASA is fascinating and the Battleship Texas within walking distance of San Jacinto Monument.

    Additionally, you could go from Baton Rouge to Houston via Sabine Pass and a very interesting cemetery in Galveston.
    Just ask @AndyHall.
     
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  10. AndyHall

    AndyHall Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    I'd be happy to show anyone from CWT around the cemetery here, if we can make the schedule work.
     
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  11. JeffBrooks

    JeffBrooks Sergeant Major

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    That's quite a bit for a single day. Getting down to Grand Gulf and Port Gibson is apparently not as easy as it looks on the map. And I think most of Champion Hill battlefield is off-limits.
     
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  12. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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  13. Greg Taylor

    Greg Taylor Sergeant Major

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    Thank you for the "Texas Hospitality." I will see if this might fit into my schedule and we can go from there.
     
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  14. Greg Taylor

    Greg Taylor Sergeant Major

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    Thanks. This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for when I made this post. Never having been there I really don't know if visiting GG and PG is worth the effort. If so, we could go there the next day, on the way to Natchez. Since the Champion Hill site is so limited (too bad) maybe that won't take much time. Anyway, with two full days in the Vicksburg area we will be able to take in quite a bit. My travel itineraries tend to be on the ambitious side, but I'd rather overplan that underplan. Either way it is going to be a blast!
     
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  15. Blessmag

    Blessmag Captain

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    There was a Vicksburg guide by the name of Gary, who took me north of the federal park and we drove where the outer perimeter were. Saw Civil War roads, area where the 126th and 106th Ill Inf camped. That was a good trip for me!
     
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  16. chellers

    chellers Brigadier General Moderator Trivia Game Winner

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    From Houston to Dallas you can drop by Huntsville for a visit to Sam Houston's home.
     
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  17. kepi

    kepi First Sergeant

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    I'm not sure how pressed for time you will be, but the Windsor ruins are worth a look.

     
  18. kepi

    kepi First Sergeant

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    While in Jackson, do stop by the Old Capitol Museum
    http://mdah.state.ms.us/oldcap/
     
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  19. alan polk

    alan polk First Sergeant

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    That is, indeed, good advice! Save Port Gibson/Grand Gulf for separate trip. Though Champion Hill is mostly privately owned, there are still a few neat places there to see. The Coker house has signage which explain some of the campaign. You can't go in the house though. However, it is a good view of the terrain. The next hill over is General Tillghman's monument marking the location of his death by Union artillery from Coker house. The crossroads is accessible and has a small marker. The crossroads changed hands 3 times, so it's kind of neat to view it. The owner of Champion Hill gives tours, I think. He might could take you to the hill location.
    Raymond has a park with artillery and signage and is very informative. There are also restaurants in town, so might be a good place to time with lunch/bathroom break.
    As far as Jackson, the only place to suggest is the old court house museum. The battlefield, however, is not properly maintained or interpreted, and, frankly, can be dangerous.
    Big Black battlefield is mostly privately owned. The only signage there has been recently stolen and there is no place to turn into. You have to pull to the side of the road and know what your looking at.
    So, if your staying/lodging in Vicksburg, I think it best you take in Raymond, Champion Hill, Big Black. It's just a big circle, but gives an idea of terrain Grant was contending with. Then save your last day when leaving to take in Port Gibson and Grand Gulf. The state park at Grand Gulf is certainly worth a visit. They have a museum and information center, too.
    Port Gibson battlefield is privately owned and just as wild as it was in 1863, which means you really have to know what to look for, and that can be hard and frustrating. Good luck, and feel free to PM me for any more help, as I live at and near these places.
     
  20. Greg Taylor

    Greg Taylor Sergeant Major

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    Thanks for the good information. I will get back to you when my schedule permits it.
     
  21. mt155

    mt155 First Sergeant Civil War Photo Contest
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    I agree....you'll probably take MS 61 south to Port Hudson. Grand Gulf and Port Gibson are on that road as well and only 40 minutes south of Vicksburg. Gen. Van Dorn is buried in Port Gibson if you like to poke around cemeteries. If you like photography keep in mind that Vicksburg opens after sunrise closes before sunset. So if you want to get good golden and blue hour pics you'll need to park at the VC and walk the roads to where you set up and that could be a long haul.
     

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