VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI

My time at the battlesite of Vicksburg, Mississippi

Guin Rogers, Special Section Editor

This Christmas break, I had the opportunity to travel across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. We stayed the night in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where we walked around the site of the Battle of Vicksburg. I had barely walked half a mile when my heart was crying. I could hear the cries of the men in that once peaceful place; see them as they fell in that beautiful field; feel the devastation of their friends and family when they received the news, and all for what? What was the reason behind thousands of men, thousands of boys ages 16 to 20, people my age dying and crying out for their families? Or seeing all their friends fallen, sleeping eternally on that ground? What was all of this for? I’m sure they didn’t even know themselves what they were dying for, just that their pastor and generals told them it was good. Can you imagine picking up a gun and following a general to who knows where, with nothing on your feet, eating whatever you can find, drinking whatever was left over, seeing things you could never unsee? All for something they barely knew about?

The battle of Vicksburg lasted 47 days, from May 18 to July 4, 1863 when more than 29,000 of the Confederacy’s people surrendered to the Union. It was a battle to capture a key strategic position during the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln wanted this land because it would open the Mississippi river to Northern traffic along its entire length. “Vicksburg is the key, the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket,” Lincoln said.

Our walk on one of the paths of the battle site was about 2 and a half miles, and my feet were aching, but it could not have amounted to the pain felt by the soldiers. We got to see exactly where the different battles were, how both sides progressed, and many monuments from the states that fought. The first picture shown here is of some of the cannons that were used, and the second one of the trenches that stood by it. Over the course of the walk, we saw many different monuments, like the Mississippi monument, and plaques stating things like the number of casualties at certain places, both pictured below. Though it is sad to think about standing right where men fought and died, it is a very good reminder never to go through it again.