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This exhibit highlights one of the Civil War’s pivotal struggles, the battle for control of the Mississippi. It features life in Vicksburg, Mississippi during the devastating 47-day siege of 1863. It depicts hardships of civilians and soldiers in a besieged city.

The exhibit gives richly illustrated insights into life aboard the U.S.S. Cairo,
a Union ironclad gunboat in the "Brown Water" navy. On December 12, 1862, in the Yazoo River north of Vicksburg, Cairo struck two underwater torpedoes and sank in 12 minutes, with no loss of life.

Preserved by mud and silt, the Cairo sat on the bottom of the river for 102 years. She was raised in 1964 and was later restored along with many of the objects that were found aboard. The recovered objects give a unique window into daily life and leisure time of Union officers and sailors during the Civil War.

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Vicksburg Siege Siege Significance Command and Control River Warfare Life Aboard All Image Gallery