Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 30: The Last Battlefield

August 25, 2011 - Bruce and I have a running joke.  It took us three days to tour Gettysburg and the Battle of Gettysburg took three days.  It took us one day to tour the battlefield at Sharpsburg and the battle lasted one day.  The Siege of Vicksburg took a month and a half.

So where would that leave us if we followed that train of thought?

Although Bruce and I woke up a little late and a very dehydrated, we managed to get a lot of things done today.  Our main accomplishment was that we actually managed to finish the tour of Vicksburg in a day and a couple of hours.  We also managed to include another battlefield museum, a Waffle House, and continued our journey on towards Texas.  Wow, what a day!

Just some trees at Vicksburg Battlefield.

The Vicksburg Battle Museum

I won't bore you with the details of our Waffle House fun. but know that it was delicious as usual.  After our late breakfast we went to the Vicksburg Battle Museum.  The Museum, which isn't a part of the National Parks Service, was shaped like an old ironside gunboat.  Once inside the air conditioned building, we took the opportunity to explore while we waited for another video.  The video this time, however, would focus mainly on the Confederate civilian's point of view.

There were several good things about this museum.  First, it had a wonderful gift shop full of items we didn't find in the one on the actual battlefield.  Additionally, the main feature of this museum was the miniature diorama of the Siege of Vicksburg.

The miniature Shirley House, complete with Union foxholes in the backyard.

The detailed diorama helped to better understand the positions and layout of the battlefield.

The diorama helped to understand the layout of the battlefield.  When we were driving around yesterday, it was hard to understand how the battle was played out simply because it was a very large area.  The diorama at the museum helped to see the hills, troop placements, and significant features that we had seen just the day before.

Additionally, the museum had an extensive collection of model ships, over 200 of them.  The ships range from replicas of the ironsides used during the Civil War to the iconic steamboats.  With an emphasis on military naval history, this was definitely a good place to stop at.

Railroad Redoubt and Hovey's Approach

After spending time in the Vicksburg Battle Museum we made our way towards the part of the Vicksburg Battlefield we didn't get to see yet.  It was here that we saw some more state memorials and some rugged terrain that the Civil War soldiers fought over.

The Texas memorial was unique and inspiring.

The Alabama memorial.

The Georgia memorial was tucked away from the road and not easily accessible.

The Iowa memorial.
The rough terrain was more evident here than some other places of the battlefield.  It is hard to imaging soldiers moving the heavy cannons or running up and down the slopes of the hills to engage in combat.

The Texas memorial can be seen in the distance.

Farewell to Vicksburg

My final thoughts on the Siege of Vicksburg is the one of sadness.  Sadness in part to the lives that were lost in this conflict in our shared history, but more importantly, it would be the last battlefield that Bruce and I would explore on our trip.

While never having much appreciation for American History, thanks to Bruce I do now.  If it wasn't for Bruce's voracious appetite for all things Confederate I probably wouldn't have been interested in visiting old battlefields from the Civil War.  Additionally, having served in the Army for a time, I can doubly appreciate those who fought and died in the battlefields that Bruce and I were able to explore and be a part of.

The road out of Vicksburg National Battlefield.

Onwards To Texas

Crossing over the Mississippi River meant that our tour of the East Coast was finally at an end.  We crossed the river but another bridge was in the way.  Considering that I took a picture of the Mississippi when we first crossed it, I didn't want to miss out and taking another picture of it as we crossed it again...even if another bridge was in the way.

I took a picture of the river, not the bridge.

After crossing the Mississippi River the scenery changed dramatically.  It was all flat and farmlands; a big change from thick forests and rolling hills.  However, it wasn't that bad at all.

Flat...very flat.

We drove all the way through Louisiana and ended up at a truck stop for diner.  As we were entering Texas and into the Southwest I was loosing my opportunity to see an alligator.  Lucky for me, the truck stop had a whole bunch of them...well, the heads at least.  All different sizes.  I got one for a souvenir.

We crossed the border into Texas an stayed at a camper park for the night.  In the morning we would head on over to Wichita Falls, our next scheduled stop.


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