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Vicksburg National Military Park teaches site’s Civil War significance


Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi, preserves the site of the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg and commemorates the Vicksburg Campaign, a series of battles in the Western Theater. At the park, students learn about the site’s role in the campaign, the Siege of Vicksburg, the Civil War overall and the National Park Service. Vicksburg was a fortress that dominated the last Confederate-controlled section of the Mississippi River. 

Visiting students are offered school programs, guided tours, Junior Ranger activities, printed materials and audio/visual media. While on-site, groups can see the Shirley House; 20 miles of historic trenches and earthworks; and a Visitor Center that displays exhibits and a 20-minute orientation film. 

U.S.S. Cairo at Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Miss.

Photo: NPSPhoto U.S.S. Cairo, Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Miss.

The park also includes Pemberton’s Headquarters. Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton selected the mansion to house his operations for defending Confederate forces. Last year, work began on the structure to prevent further deterioration of the historic building. 

The front porch will receive structural shoring for support and to prevent the collapse of the second-story porch. The current slate roof will be removed and stored while temporary waterproofing material is applied. The park will, at a later date, restore the porch and slate roof along with other exterior and interior preservation treatments. 

“This is one of the most important sites in the Vicksburg Campaign,” said Scott Babinowich, chief of interpretation. “These repairs are not permanent fixes, but they will give us the opportunity to open the building again to visitors.” 

This stabilization project is planned to last over 10 years — until additional planning and funding can result in a full restoration. Once the house is stabilized, the National Park Service hopes to reopen the building to students on a limited basis.

Aside from the park’s historic buildings, students can visit the U.S.S. Cairo Gunboat and Museum, allowing rangers to also tell the story of Union sailors. The 175-foot-long ironclad was sunk in 1862 by underwater Confederate mines and raised in 1964.

“Vicksburg National Military Park is one of just a couple of National Park Service sites that can interpret both the Union and Confederacy,” said Will Wilson, park ranger. “One thing we always strive to do is connect visitors to this place.”

Motorcoach parking is available on-site. 

Vicksburg National Military Park


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