Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wednesday: Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi

We got sort of a late start Wednesday morning, because we overslept.  But it didn't matter on this day.  We were flexible with our schedule, and there were some stops that just didn't happen.

One of those was our first one, the Home of Kermit the Frog.
Jim Henson is from Leland, Mississippi.  There we found the small museum devoted to his Muppet creations.  Unfortunately, no one came to open up, so we didn't get to enjoy His Greenness, Kermit the Frog. 
Driving down the delta, we were surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans.  King Cotton is no more.  Now it seems to be exclusively corn and soybeans, just like we saw in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York State in previous trips the last few years.  Huge fields are being worked by huge tractors, equipped with wide spraying arms.  Crop dusters were in the air.  Is it better living through chemicals?  Or not. We feed more people, but how well?  

Our next stop was the Vicksburg National Military Park.  Vicksburg played an essential role in the Civil War.  Whoever controlled Vicksburg controlled the Mississippi River, and the supply line to the interior.  It took over 40 days and a siege for the Union Army to defeat the Confederates.  Battles raged all over the area, including the Union Navy ironclads firing from the river. 
 The park visitor center has great displays illustrating the battles.

Jefferson Davis and General Grant
 Many types of cannons were used.
 Throughout the park, each state has erected monuments to the units who fought here from their respective homelands. 

This is a drive-through park, and it is very beautiful, full of green lawns and lush woodlands.  It looked nothing like this at the time of the Civil War. Trees had all been cut for lumber and ship building and fire wood.  

 Shirley House was used by Union commanders and still stands, the only one of its kind survive here. 
 I loved this Colonel's name - Manning Force.  How fitting. 

Raised from the bottom of the Mississippi, where it was torpedoed and sunk, the remains of one of the Navy's ironclads, the Cairo, is on display in the park. 

 The old wooden remains are held in a new wooden cradle.
 The old paddle wheel frame has been rebuilt. 
 Nearby, within the park, is the National Cemetery where 17,000 Union soldiers are buried.
 13,000 of them are unknowns, marked only by a small plain block. 
 And because we like to "collect capitals", we ended our day in Jackson, where we visited the Capitol building

 And checked out the Governor's mansion, from outside the fence. 
The old capitol is now a history museum.  As the sign says, this was the site of the Secession Convention that led up to the Civil War.  Mississippi is handling their history honestly and openly.  The war brought destruction of property and people and their economic way of life.  It took a long time for them to recover and accept their new way of life without slavery. 

I am learning a lot about history and geography on this trip.  The people we have met so far have been friendly and helpful.  

Traveling is a good thing.  But maybe not in the south in the summer.  Ugh.  It's hot and sticky!


  1. I know very little about the remaining Civil War sites, Linda, so I learned something today. You must have found a place with good wifi, since you graced your post with many fine pictures. :-)

  2. Had Mike and I gotten to take that trip we would have whizzed right by Kermit's place, but all the Civil War sites would have been on the agenda. It was bittersweet to read your blog today--but mostly sweet.

  3. you are visiting places I've never been. Interesting!

  4. Love the history lessons I always get when you folks go traveling. Thanks for sharing your photos of the ironclad ship. I don't think I realized they they were basically floating tanks. Try to stay cool!

  5. The South shows their history well! At least it is not monsoon time of year:)

  6. You certainly are taking us on a great tour. I am enjoying the ride.

  7. Beautiful green everywhere. No see-ems, and humidity too. I found the battlefields fascinating when I lived there, but I prefer the coolness of home here in California.

  8. You're also teaching us a lot about some pretty interesting history and using some excellent photos.

  9. Your trips are so very interesting. For one who rarely goes anywhere, traveling with you and Tom is extra special. I've learned a lot and seen places I had never heard of. Thank you! Hot and sticky is right!!

  10. I'm just loving this! You are seeing so much history! I loved all your photos, but the Frog/Toad sign really gave me a chuckle!

  11. Once a teacher, always a teacher. Thanks for teaching me what you're learning, it's interesting stuff!

  12. I bet it was hot! It is sobering to see all of the Union Army graves. My family is only a few generations removed from the Civil War as my grandmother's uncle was in a POW prison in Texas. He was a Union soldier from Iowa. It seems like history from long ago when we consider the Civil War, but it wasn't really that many generations back for many of us. It is still a hot issue for some.


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