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Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park - BEST Places to Picnic

3201 Clay Street
Vicksburg, Mississippi 39183

Visitor Information
(601) 636-0583

Explore the Vicksburg National Military Park

The National Military Park commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg. The city�s surrender on July 4, 1863, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, LA, split the South, giving undisputed control of the Mississippi River to the North. Over 1,330 monuments, a restored Union gunboat, and National Cemetery mark the 16-mile tour road.

Places to Picnic

  • U.S.S. Cairo Museum
  • Second Texas Lunette

Things to Do

The VISITOR CENTER offers general and historical information services, orientation film, exhibits on various topics of the Civil War period, bookstore, restroom facilities, and regional (city/county) information.

The USS CAIRO MUSEUM AND GUNBOAT offers general and historical information services, exhibits on naval operations of the Civil War, bookstore, restroom facilities, and picnic area. Artifacts on display are a time capsule of life aboard an ironclad gunboat. Sailors' personal possessions, cookware, medical supplies, and weaponry are featured. A six-minute video explains the sinking, discovery, and salvage operations of the gunboat.

Three DETACHED UNITS include the riverfront batteries at Navy Circle, South Fort, and Louisiana Circle. Across the Mississippi River is the last remaining section of Grant's Canal, where Union forces attempted to bypass Vicksburg by digging a channel through DeSoto Point. Exhibits include an historic state highway marker, bronze tablet and wayside exhibits on Williams Canal, Grant's Canal, and Black Troops at Milliken's Bend, and the Connecticut State Monument, dedicated in 2008.
PEMBERTON'S HEADQUARTERS is located in historic downtown Vicksburg, commemorating the Confederate commander's operations center during the siege of Vicksburg. (This building is not presently open to the public.)

A 16-mile TOUR ROAD parallels Union siege and Confederate defensive lines, with three interconnecting roadways, 15 designated Tour Stops, wayside markers and exhibits, short spur trails to points of interest, and several Boy Scout hiking trails including, a primitive 12-mile compass trail, and 7- and 14-mile treks that follow the park tour road.


Natural Resources at Vicksburg National MILITARY Park? Very much so! In fact, natural resources are intimately linked to the historical events which transpired here. The fact that Vicksburg was considered the "Gibralter of the Confederacy" was due to its location atop the high loess soil bluffs adjacent to the Mississippi River. 

The consistency of the soil itself was crucial in allowing troops to dig trenches and tunnels, as well as providing shelter to the civilian population in the form of artificial caves. The thickly wooded forests growing in the area supplied the material needed for construction of fortifications along the siege lines. 

In short, the natural resources at Vicksburg are an integral component of the park's cultural landscape.

Considered apart from their historical ties, Vicksburg's natural resources have a significance unto themselves as well. The glacially-derived loess soil blufflands are a relatively rare geological landform in their own right. 

Left undisturbed, the ridges and ravines support a dense forest cover, and some of the oldest second-growth trees in the state are found in the park. This quality habitat along the Mississippi migratory flyway has led to Vicksburg being designated an Important Bird Area. 

The park provides a haven for not only threatened and rare bald eagles and warblers, but also reptile and plant species that are of special concern to biologists. Animals of the prehistoric past are present as well, reappearing in fossil-laden limestone layers that have been exposed by the park's many ecologically rich waterways.

Vicksburg National Military Park was set aside in 1899 to preserve and interpret the siege and defense lines of a crucial Civil War battle. When the site was passed from the War Department to the National Park Service in 1933, the Park Service acquired a property containing a vast array of historical and natural resources. 

True to its mission, the National Park Service today is actively managing all of the park's resources, ensuring that the outstanding natural resources present in this military park are not overlooked.

Park History

The national military park was established on February 21, 1899, to commemorate the siege and defense of Vicksburg. The park sprawls over 1,800 acres of land. Over a million visitors visit the park every year. 

The park and cemetery were transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service (NPS) on August 10, 1933. In the late 1950s, a portion of the park was transferred to the city as a local park, in exchange for closing local roads running through the remainder of the park. 

It also allowed for the construction of Interstate 20. The monuments in the transferred land are still maintained by the NPS. As with all historic areas administered by the NPS, the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Of the park's 1,736.47 acres (not including the cemetery), 1,729.63 acres are federally owned.

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