Terry and I both came down with a case of the crud Tuesday night and didn’t get much sleep. We had planned to get up and out early to play tourist here in Vicksburg, but that wasn’t happening. When the alarm went off we both decided we weren’t ready to face the day yet.
Finally, sometime in the early afternoon, we decided to head out and see what we could see. And there sure was a lot to choose from! You could spend a week here and never get to see and do everything there is in Vicksburg.
On Washington Street in the historic downtown area we visited Yesterday’s Children, a fascinating doll and toy museum, which has a fascinating collection of over 1,000 dolls dating back to the 1800s. What a place! And we’re not talking just Barbie and Raggedy Ann either. Some of the dolls on display are valued at $20,000 to $30,000 each!
We enjoyed touring the small museum and visiting with curator Carolyn Bakarich, and learning about her life as the wife of a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army.
Across the street is the Biedenharn Coca Cola Museum, housed in the old Biedenharn Candy Company building. Back in 1894, Joseph A. Biedenharn had the bright idea of bottling a popular fountain beverage named Coca Cola and created the soft drink industry we know today.
The museum has an impressive display of Coca Cola memorabilia, bottling equipment, and advertising items. It made me thirsty just looking at everything.
Vicksburg is best known for the brutal 47-day siege by the Union Army under General Ulysses S. Grant during the summer of 1863, a bloody affair that helped change the course of the Civil War. Unable to capture the impregnable city, Grant literally starved the Confederate Army and the citizens of Vicksburg into submission. It has been said that by the time Confederate General John C. Pemberton finally agreed to surrender, there was not a dog, cat, or rat to be found in the city, and some people were reduced to eating shoe leather to survive.
The story of the battle and siege are told at Vicksburg National Military Park, which has a Visitor Center, a National Cemetery, and 1,325 historic monuments and markers honoring the men who fought and died at Vicksburg along a sixteen mile long Tour Route. Some of the monuments are simple tablets, others are towering ellipses.
And then there is the beautiful and impressive Illinois Memorial.
And of course, cannons. Lots of cannons.
The park is also home to the USS Cairo, a Civil War ironclad gunboat that sunk in the Yazoo River in December, 1862, after hitting a mine. Salvaged in 1964, the remains of the Cairo and a museum showing a large collection of artifacts recovered from the wreck, always draw a lot of visitors.
Throw in several other museums we didn’t get to, some beautiful historic homes that are open to tours, three or four casinos, and some beautiful views of the Mississippi River from the bluffs Vicksburg is built on, and you can see why this is a wonderful town that would take a week or more to explore.
Thought For The Day – Just be yourself, because everyone else is taken.