"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

exploring Vicksburg

Friday we headed out shortly after breakfast. Our destination was the Vicksburg National Military Park. We paid the $8.00 per vehicle entrance fee and headed to the visitors center. They have the usual gift shop along with some displays/ We watched a short film explaining the siege of the city by the Northern Army led by Gen. U.S. Grant during the civil war.
We purchased a CD driving tour at the gift shop and headed into the park. The tour starts in the parking lot of the visitors center and the narrator on the CD explains the area you are driving through as well as some stories about the battle and those that fought there.
We made several stops along the way visiting points of interest. There are a lot of monuments along the route placed there by individual states to commemorate the fighting units and are placed in the area of the battlefield where they were positioned. Plaques, red for Confederate, blue for U.S. were also positioned explaining what you were looking at as well as a lot of canons.
The tour route includes the U.S.S. Cairo museum. The Cairo was an "ironclad" military gunship that was sunk nearby in the Yazoo River in 1862. The wreckage was located and raised in 1964 and, in my opinion, was the highlight of the tour. The museum itself is designed to resemble the shape of the ship and inside there are display cases holding a large amount of artifacts found in and around the ship including personal items from the crew. The ship was the first ship sunk with an electronic activated torpedo (mine) set off by Confederate soldiers on the banks of the river. The ship sank in 12 minutes and all the crew survived. The ship itself is on display in front of the museum under a large tent like structure.
Our tour of the National Park took a little over three hours including our picnic lunch. Back at the 5th wheel we caught the shuttle over to the casino for some gambling fun and dinner. The casino sits right on the Mississippi River and we were able to snag a table overlooking the water where we could watch the barges pass by while eating our meal :-). To top off the evening I even came out a little ahead at the slot machines.
Saturday morning I woke up and the trailer was shaking! Then I realized it was because I was shaking! Brrrrr, it's cold in here! I jumped up and turned the furnace on and ran back into bed under the covers. We did have our little ceramic heaters on but they were set pretty low and could not keep up. Oh well, the furnace heated things up pretty quick and I was able to poke my nose back out from under the blankets :-).
Today we decided to drive into downtown Vicksburg and visit the Old Courthouse Museum housed, where else but in the old county courthouse. The building itself is impressive and was one of several buildings in this area that was here during the siege. This is also the location where the Confederate Flag was lowered and the U.S. "stars and stripes" was raised after the city surrendered to General Grant. Just imagine if the walls of this courthouse could talk!
Inside they have displays of artifacts in several rooms on the ground floor, most dedicated to war artifacts from the civil war but also from WWI and WWII. Upstairs there are displays of clothing and house hold articles and furniture. The main courtroom was impressive and is the location where former Confederate President Jefferson Davis attended a trial where he was suing the government to reclaim his land and property after they were seized in the war.
We have enjoyed our short visit to Vicksburg and our stay here at Ameristar Casino RV park.
Tomorrow will be a short travel day for us of only about 120 miles. We are looking to land at Turkey Creek Water Park near Decatur, Mississippi for a few days to relax and enjoy some nature. I'll keep you posted.

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