Civil War Photo Contest
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- Feb 23, 2013
- East Texas
June into early July marks the anniversary of the 1863 Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, setting for this year's fourth annual Civil War Talk Gathering in October. This thread will be another in the same style as others I have posted previously on Gettysburg https://civilwartalk.com/threads/gettysburg-battlefield-in-postcards-from-the-civil-war-centennial-1961-1964.138421/ Antietam https://civilwartalk.com/threads/antietam-battlefield-during-the-civil-war-centennial-1961-1964.138658/ Chickamauga https://civilwartalk.com/threads/chickamauga-battlefield-in-photos-and-postcards-from-the-1960s-1970s.149825/ and Shiloh https://civilwartalk.com/threads/shiloh-battlefield-as-seen-in-centennial-era-postcards-1964-1973.144418/ and will follow the tour route as laid out in the National Park Service brochure at the time of my initial visit in May, 1960. All text reproduced from the backs of the period postcards will be in italics. The cards in my collection all date from 1960 through the decade.
Several things about Vicksburg and the National Military Park there should be pointed out from the map above: Notice there is NO Interstate highway - the main route is U. S. 80 which crosses the Mississippi River on the single combined road/rail bridge, turns left (north) on Washington Street into downtown Vicksburg, then right (east) onto Clay Street before continuing out of town through the NMP and on towards Jackson. At this time several other local streets and roads intersected the park land which completely encircled the city itself. The tour was suggested to begin at the park Administration Office and Museum and from there followed Confederate Avenue north to Fort Hill and the National Cemetery, then east and south along Union Avenue, again crossing U.S. 80 before rejoining Confederate Avenue south back to the Mississippi River; that is roughly the way this virtual "tour" will also proceed. Note also that there are no real tour stops indicated on the map; numbers coincide instead with the various state monuments and observation towers.
This souvenir postcard folder provides some information about Vicksburg and the park:
Part I - Vicksburg National Military Park - Confederate Avenue
ENTRANCE TO VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK This marble archway originally spanned Clay Street/U.S. 80 but was erected in horse-and-buggy or at best Model "T" days and has long since been moved into the park across Union Avenue where it now marks the beginning of the current rerouted auto tour.
Smaller photos like that above are from a tiny souvenir "album" showing scenes in Vicksburg and the park.
ADMINISTRATION BUILDING AND MUSEUM The Vicksburg National Military Park and Cemetery are administered by the National Park Service of the U. S. Department of the Interior. Established in 1899 to preserve the field of the Siege of Vicksburg. This rambling building, located near the intersection of Clay Street with Confederate Avenue, is now but a memory; housed in one wing were the park museum and exhibits, including by 1964 a few relics salvaged from the then-recently-discovered USS Cairo.
… Showing statues of General Ulysses S. Grant, Commander of the Union Forces and General John C. Pemberton, Commander of the Confederate Forces.
Statues such as these are throughout the park; Pemberton's and that of Confederate President and Vicksburg native Jefferson Davis are among the first encountered upon leaving the museum and beginning the auto tour on Confederate Avenue.
GENERAL FORNEY STATUE... This monument of Major General John H. Forney, C.S.A., marks the site of his field headquarters during the Battle and Siege of Vicksburg, June-July, 1863. His division occupied two miles of the defense line, and bore the brunt of the attack of the Union Army.
MISSISSIPPI MEMORIAL The first State monument encountered on the tour was fittingly that of Mississippi, the most imposing of those representing the Confederate States. Below is a Polaroid photo taken by my father:
GENERAL TILGHMAN STATUE... A monument of General Lloyd Tilghman, C.S.A., who was killed at the Battle of Champion's Hill, 18 miles east of Vicksburg, as he manned an artillery piece in an attempt to hold off a Union charge. In the background is the Louisiana Memorial at the Great Redoubt.
LOUISIANA MEMORIAL AND GREAT REDOUBT... marking the site of the largest fort of the Confederate line, extending on both sides of the Louisiana Memorial. A low marble marker on the slope marks the farthest point of the unsuccessful advance of the Union assault of May 22, 1863.
ARKANSAS MONUMENT... Vicksburg National Military Park, an area of 1,323 acres, adjoins Vicksburg on three sides... Mistletoe which is found throughout this area can be seen growing in clusters on tree in back of monument. At the time of this particular visit (1964) the Arkansas State Monument was one of the newest, along with Texas which does not appear here, and so neither are on the 1959 NPS map at the top of the thread, though Arkansas in located appropriately near that of Missouri.
The Missouri Memorial is notable at Vicksburg as being the only State monument dedicated to the men on both sides of the conflict: one panel represents attacking Union Missouri troops, while the other depicts defending Missouri Confederates. It is placed on Confederate Avenue, but where Missouri Unionists made their assault. Below, another Polaroid taken by my father; note the wet roadway!
Next, Part II - Fort Hill, the National Cemetery and Union Avenue