About three weeks back we were traveling across the deep south on our way to New Orleans when we stopped to visit the site of the battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi. For those of you who don’t remember your Civil War (or the war of Northern Aggression as some folks down here in the South term it) history, I will help with a reminder. Vicksburg was the decisive battle in the western theater of the Civil War. In 1863, Union General Ulysses S. Grant managed to capture the city of Vicksburg after besieging it for more than a month. As a result, Grant secured control of the entire Mississippi River, effectively cutting the Confederacy in half.
Seeing the battlefield was interesting since you could drive on a loop that ran first along the Union front lines and then back along the Confederate defensive lines. You could really see what the battlefield looked like and and how the troops had to dig trenches and fortifications as the battle progressed. This effectively resulted in a stalemate until the city ran short of food and supplies and was forced the surrender. The “trench warfare” of the battle was a sorry omen of the future where millions died in the trenches of World War I in Europe.
Here are a couple pictures of “soldiers” from the battle.