• View from Battery DeGolyer

    Vicksburg

    National Military Park Mississippi

150th Anniversary of the Battles of Champion Hill and Big Black River

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Date: May 2, 2013
Contact: Gary Castellino, 601-636-7395

On May 18, 2013, Vicksburg National Military Park interpretive staff will present a talk and tour highlighting the 150th commemoration of the Battle of Champion Hill and the Big Black River which occurred on May 16 and 17, 1863. The program will take place from 12:30 pm to approximately 3:30 PM and begin at the historic Coker House located in front of the Cal-Maine Foods plant approximately 3 miles east of Edwards on Highway 467.

Situated on the southern portion of Champion Hill battlefield, the Coker House was held by both Union and Confederate forces during the battle and sustained fire from the artillery and infantry of both sides.  It served as a field hospital during and after the battle on May 16, 1863, and although the battle is named for a prominent hill about 2 miles north, the ground around the house represents both the beginning and the end. Rarely visited by enthusiasts, the opening shots of the engagement were fired to the east of the house on what was then known as the Raymond Road (now Highway 467). The Coker house and "Cotton Ridge" to the west highlight "the end" and the grim determination and sacrifice of Confederate soldiers from Mississippi as they attempted to hold off the Union Army of Tennessee in order to clear an avenue of escape for General Pemberton's defeated army as it retreated from Champion Hill toward the Big Black River and ultimately Vicksburg.

The tour will meet at the Coker house, then caravan to sites integral to the battle including Turkey Creek, Jackson Creek, Cotton Ridge where Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman was killed by Union artillery and Big Black River where the Confederates were defeated and subsequently retreated into the Vicksburg defenses.

There is no fee for the program.Visitors should allow approximately 3 hours for the tour and make sure they wear comfortable shoes and carry plenty of water. Please note there are no comfort facilities along the way or at Coker House.

Admission to the Vicksburg National Military Park is $8.00 per personal vehicle, and all applicable Vicksburg and National Park Service annual passes are accepted. The park is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily and information regarding entrance fees or programs can be found on the park's website at www.nps.gov/vickor calling 601-636-0583.

Did You Know?

Old Douglas Headstone, Cedar Hill Cemetery

The 43d Mississippi Infantry's mascot, Douglas the Camel, remained with the regiment until Vicksburg where he was killed by Union sharpshooters. Douglas is honored with his own grave marker in Vicksburg's Cedar Hill Cemetery.