• Mississippi River from the Bluffs of Natchez

    Natchez

    National Historical Park Mississippi

Nearby Attractions

Natchez Trace Parkway: NPS photograph

The Natchez Trace Parkway covers parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee

NPS photograph

Mississippi is home to a number of areas operated by the National Park Service. Travel the route of the Natchez Trace Parkway and imagine the experiences of those that have traveled before you. The 444-mile Parkway commemorates an ancient trail that connected southern portions of the Mississippi River to salt licks in today’s central Tennessee. Over the centuries, the Choctaw, Chickasaw and other American Indians left their marks on the Trace. The Natchez Trace experienced its heaviest use from 1785 to 1820 by the “Kaintuck” boatmen that floated the Ohio and Miss. rivers to markets in Natchez and New Orleans. They sold their cargo and boats and began the trek back north on foot to Nashville and points beyond. Today, visitors can experience this National Scenic Byway and All-American Road through driving, hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping.

 
Vicksburg National Military Park: NPS photograph

The Illinois monument at the Vicksburg National Military Park honors soldiers from Illinois who served in the Vicksburg campaign

NPS photograph

Vicksburg National Military Park is located approximately 70 miles north of Natchez. The Vicksburg campaign was waged from March 29 to July 4, 1863. It included battles in west-central Mississippi at Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, Big Black River and 47 days of Union siege operations against Confederate forces defending the city of Vicksburg. Located high on the bluffs, Vicksburg was a fortress guarding the Mississippi River. It was known as "The Gibraltar of the Confederacy." Its surrender on July 4, 1863, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, Louisiana, divided the South, and gave the North undisputed control of the Mississippi River.

Today, the battlefield at Vicksburg is in an excellent state of preservation. It includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles of reconstructed trenches and earthworks, a 16 mile tour road, antebellum home, 144 emplaced cannon, restored Union gunboat-USS Cairo, and the Vicksburg National Cemetery.

 
Brices Crossroads National Battlefield Site: NPS photograph

Brices Crossroads National Battlefield Site

NPS Photograph

Located on MS Hwy 370 six miles west of Baldwyn, the one-acre Brices Crossroads National Battlefield Site commemorates a battle which had one objective-- make impossible the threat of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to interfere with General William T. Sherman's railroad supply line from Nashville to Chattanooga during the Atlanta campaign.

Forrest scored a decisive victory over General S.D. Sturgis' Union forces when they met at Brices Cross Roads on June 10, 1864. The Union lost three men to every Southern casualty and General Forrest's troops managed to capture desperately needed supplies, including guns, ammunition, artillery, and wagons.

The battle was considered a major tactical victory for the Confederacy, but did not diminish the effectiveness of Sherman's campaign as supplies continued to flow. The site contains a brochure dispenser, two artillery pieces, a monument to the battle, and an interpretive wayside.

 
Tupelo National Battlefield

Tupelo National Battlefield

NPS Photograph

In the spring of 1864, Major General William Sherman prepared his army to take Atlanta and subsequently "march to the sea." A primary concern of Sherman's was Major General Nathan Forrest's Confederate corp of mounted infantry roving the mid-South. Sherman ordered several advances from Federally controlled Memphis into north Mississippi for the purpose of keeping Forrest occupied in Mississippi and not behind his line in east Tennessee, cutting communication and supply lines. On July 13-15, 1864, the Battle of Tupelo, now commemorated by the Tupelo National Battlefield, was the result of one of those advances by Major General Andrew J. Smith. Although the Federals retreated to Memphis after the battle, it was a Federal victory: Forrest was not able to interfere with Sherman's Georgia campaign.

Did You Know?

American free blacks

During the antebellum period, Natchez Mississippi was the home of over two hundred and fifty free blacks. The largest number of free blacks lived in New Orleans and numbered over two thousand.