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Contact: Tim Kavanaugh, (601) 636-0583
Contact: Visitor Desk, 601-636-0583
Contact: Terrence Winschel, (601) 619-2908
Vicksburg National Military Park has installed a new fiber optic map and exhibit panels to highlight the complex military operations that focused on the city of Vicksburg which, during the Civil War, was known as the "Gibraltar of America." President Abraham Lincoln referred to Vicksburg as the "key," and said "The war can never be brought to a close until the key is in our pocket." The campaign for Vicksburg was one of the largest and most decisive of the Civil War and resulted in surrender of the city to Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on July 4, 1863. Union victory at Vicksburg gave the North control of the Mississippi River, split the Confederacy in two, severed major Southern supply and communications lines, achieved a major objective of the Anaconda Plan, and effectively sealed the doom of Richmond--the Confederate capital.
The campaign for Vicksburg encompassed several hundreds of square miles and witnessed several battles leading up to the siege of the fortress city. Although the National Park Service is charged with interpreting this complex and extensive campaign, except for the siege and defense lines immediately around the city, most of the land encompassed by this campaign remains in private hands. To more effectively address its interpretive mandate, the park has developed a fiber optic map that features the geographic area encompassed by the campaign on which visitors can follow through the flow of red and blue lights the movements of the movements of the Union and Confederate armies and naval forces as they battled for control of the Mississippi River. The six-minute presentation condenses 110 days of history into a audio/visual display that will enhance visitor understanding of the Vicksburg campaign. "We finally have a visual representation of the entire campaign as it unfolded which is going to allow our visitors to better understand and better appreciate the Vicksburg campaign," said Park Historian Terry Winschel. "It's something we've been needing for a long time and are delighted to finally have it in place."
In addition to the map, three new exhibit panels were also installed. The illustrated panels address the unique role of slavery as it related to the outbreak of war, the early military operations for Vicksburg, as well as the history of Vicksburg under Union occupation during the war through the era of Reconstruction.