Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Warriors of Vicksburg

This past weekend, my wife and I went to Vicksburg and stayed at a bed&breakfast that was part antebellum, part Victorian. The Baer House was a wonderful experience with a host that really went out of his way to make his guests comfortable and welcome. I'd highly recommend this B&B for anyone in the vicinity who wants an exceptional experience.
While there, we went to see the old Court House Museum. Fascinating history. One of the most interesting artifacts (to me) was a copy of a newspaper that was unfinished at the time of the seige. One of the last articles to be set was basically an editorial about how there was no way in hell the Union would ever be able to take Vicksburg. Well, they did and the Union army found the newspaper and finished setting he last column and printed copies of it. In the Union addition to the paper was a counter-editorial that essentially said,' a couple of days make a lot of difference, don't they?" But the most interesting part of the counter-editorial was a comment to the effect that the Mississippians ought to be grateful to the Union because they (the citizens) need not live in caves and eat cats anymore. Apparently, according to the artifacts at Vicksburg, both sides had noble motives. One was fighting for Unity, the other for Homeland. The one side thought that they were the noble defenders against 'Northern Aggression,' while the other side saw themselves as saviors and liberators.

The next day we viewed the Battlefield Memorial Park, a 16-mile long trail winding through the sites of the emplacements of the various Union and Confederate troops during the seige. Now, the trail is populated with massive, impressive memorial structures to the various states and companies and groups that took part in the seige. At the end of the trail (not really the end, but we were exhausted by the time we got there, so the rest of the trail went really fast) is the USS Cairo museum (the first armored steamship to be destroyed by a torpedo (what we would now call a mine).

I'm certainly not a Civil War buff, but this was fascinating military history. It was touching to see the battlefield memorials to the various warriors on both sides that fought this conflict to determine what kind of country this would be. I thought this trip had a good bit to say about the role of the warrior that I've been discussing with Dojo Rat lately.


  1. Great stuff. My son and I recently went to Gettsburg, PA on our way to a camping and amusement park trip for Father's Day. It was a similar experience, knowing that so many men and boys had died on that very spot, and how little those memorials can really do to commemorate lives that had been cut so short. Solemn moments, I think, even for an 11 year-old boy, too.

  2. For years I've been within a couple of hours of Vicksburg and have never had the desire to go see it. We went this weekend as an anniversary outing - not as a civil war history thing. But I sure got an education about something that I've been missing. I want to go back and spend more time.

    I'd love to see Gettysburg, but I expect that it would be overwhelming too.

    Let me tell you about another fantastic trip - more in your neck of the woods, Nathan. Baltimore Maryland's Fort McHenry.

    This place is fascinating, if somewhat smalled-scale than Vicksburg or what I imagine Gettysburg to be.


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