Home » Travel » Following the path of the Mississippi River

Published on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

With much of the world’s focus on the United States of America and its new president, it is nice to reflect on some of its history, its fight for civil rights and what many call the ‘war of northern aggression’, aka the American Civil War.

There can be few better places to study these subjects first hand than to follow the route of the Mississippi River in the state of the same name.

Vicksburg, as a centre of commerce for some 200 years and a stronghold of the South during the war, encapsulates most of what one would be looking for.

It was described by Abraham Lincoln as the key to the outcome of the civil war and as such victory would not be obtained until that key was in his pocket. As a consequence the city had to endure a 47-day siege that ended on July 4, 1863, when Vicksburg was forced to surrender to the Union under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant.

Most of that history, much of the evidence of shelling and the hardships endured, is extremely well recorded given the relatively recent nature of the conflict. One good example is the accommodation that I stayed in Duff Green Mansion . An Antebellum (pre-civil war) house that had been used by the confederacy as a hospital prior to the surrender and used to treat both military and civilian casualties of the war it remained in medical hands once the north had taken control.

My room, which was fabulously furnished with period furniture, had had its bathroom used as a morgue throughout the conflict. I slept uneasily as its website divulges ‘a visit to the Duff Green Mansion reveals bloodstained floors’.

National Military Park

Close to downtown, which by the way has a fabulous rooftop restaurant called 10 South offering views across the river, is the Vicksburg National Military Park that stands as a commemoration to those that fought and died. Many of the monuments represent a state of the Union whose soldiers perished and has been…

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