Frequently Asked Questions
Grant and Pemberton
Who won the battle at Vicksburg? General John C. Pemberton and the Confederate Army surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant's Union forces on July 4, 1863.
Where was the USS Cairo Gunboat found?
USS Cairo Salvage Operation
Ken Parks Photo
The USS Cairo
was sunk by a Confederate torpedo (mine) on December 12, 1862, in the Yazoo River, 13 miles north of Vicksburg. It was located and identified in 1956 and raised in on December 12, 1964.
How many monuments are located in the park?
Monuments on Grant Avenue
Over 1700 monuments, plaques, tablets, and markers were originally slated to be placed on park grounds. In addition to those never sited, several hundred tablets and markers have been removed, damaged, or lost over the years. Currently, over 1350 of these commemorative features have been documented as still present within official park boundaries or on former park lands.
How could the soldiers fight with all the trees blocking their views? The terrain at the time of the siege was virtually treeless. Most ridgetops had been cleared for farming and roads prior to the war, and the remaining forests cleared for use in building the defenses around Vicksburg once the conflict started. The trees now present in the park are the result of erosion-prevention measures taken by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s.
Old Jackson Road showing Illinois Monument and Shirley House, ca. 1910
When did Mississippi secede from the Union?
A Divided Nation
Mississippi voted for secession on January 9, 1861.
What is a redoubt, redan, and lunette?
A redoubt is an enclosed square or rectangular earthwork with four fronts and four angles.
A redan is a triangular earthwork used to cover points to the rear such as bridges or river fords, and had two fronts and three angles.
A lunette was employed in much the same fashion as a redan, with two faces forming a salient angle, two flanks adjoining the faces, and the rear open to interior lines.
Redoubt, Redan, Lunette
Why are there no Confederate soldiers buried in the National Cemetery?
CSA Headstone in Vicksburg National Cemetery
When the National Cemetery System was enacted in 1862, only "...the soldiers who shall die in the service of this country..." (
which at the time meant those in the Union Army), were allowed to be buried. In 1873, Congress extended the right of burial in National Cemeteries to all honorably discharged Union Civil War veterans. Confederate veterans became eligible for interment in National Cemeteries only if they later served the United States in the Indian Wars or Spanish-American War. There are some exceptions which include Confederate prisoners interred in Arlington National Cemetery (originally given civilian burials), and three Confederate soldiers known to have been mistakenly buried in Vicksburg National Cemetery in the 1860s.
The USS Cairo was one of seven identical city class ironclads. What happened to the other six?
City Class Ironclads
The USS Cairo
and USS St. Louis
(renamed the USS Baron De Kalb
) were sunk by torpedoes on the Yazoo River (Cairo
in 1862; Baron De Kalb
in 1863). Only the Cairo
was salvaged 102 years later.
The USS Cincinnati
was sunk twice during the war - once at Vicksburg - and raised and re-fitted to survive till the end of the conflict. It was then sold and sank at its moorings on the Cache River in 1866.
The USS Carondelet
and USS Mound City
were sold after the war, and broken up for scrap.
The USS Louisville
and USS Pittsburg
were sold in 1865, with the Pittsburg being abandoned in 1870.