Vicksburg National Military Park Invites You To Meet "People From The Past" During April 12 Evening Walk

Evening shadows begin to fall around the Illinois Memorial at Vicksburg National Military Park. NPS photo.

Every Civil War battlefield has plenty of stories to tell, and on the evening of April 12, 2014, Vicksburg National Military Park will give visitors a chance to "meet some of the historical personalities that shaped the story of the struggle for Vicksburg." The special walking tour, "Shadows of the Past," is free, but reservations are required.

The Presidents of both the Union and the Confederacy recognized the strategic importance of Vicksburg with the statements, "Vicksburg is the nail head that holds the South's two halves together...Vicksburg is the key. "

President Davis knew was it vital to hold this city along the Mississippi River if the Confederacy was to survive, while President Lincoln wanted to gain control of the river and divide the South. Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates this campaign and its significance as a critical turning point of the Civil War.

If you're looking for human interest angles and a source of stories about an important battle, this is a good candidate. Vicksburg National Cemetery is the largest internment of Civil War dead in the nation, and is the burial place for nearly 17,000 Union soldiers who fell at Vicksburg and other battles in the South.

Nearly two months of costly fighting and a subsequent siege of the town ended with a Confederate surrender on July 4, 1863. Vicksburg National Military Park is also one of the most heavily monumented parks in the world with over 1330 monuments, markers, tablets, and plaques.

Which of the thousands who had a role in this battle will be featured during this special activity on April 12? Mum's the word, so if you'd like to find out, be sure to reserve a spot as soon as possible. The guided walks will cover about a mile of the park tour road and will take about an hour. For reservations and directions, call (601) 636-0583. There is no charge for the program.

Tours will begin at 7:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 9:00 p.m. Each group will be limited to 30 people, and participants are urged to wear comfortable walking shoes, bring flashlights, and dress appropriately for weather.

You'll find additional information about Vicksburg National Military Park and Vicksburg National Cemetery on the park website.