The Battle of Iuka: “General Grant was dead drunk and couldn’t bring up his army. I was so mad when I first learned the facts that I could have shot Grant if I would have hung for it the next minute.”

Iuka, MS:  After we left the warm Florida coast and Olustee, Moose and I continued our trip home from visiting my aunt and I made the snap decision to cut west and visit the site of the battle of Iuka, in Iuka, Mississippi.  We found The Victorian Inn online and reserved a room soon after we left Olustee.  The direct route back to Kansas City would have taken me through Atlanta, Nashville and up to St. Louis and over to Kansas City.  There were many sites in Atlanta that would rate a visit, but I feel that we will make the Atlanta area subject of their own feature visit.  Since I was trying to make it home in time to attend a job fair, I wanted to visit a relatively easy to tour site.  I had previously called the Tishomingo History Museum and asked about touring in the area.  The gentleman on the phone was extremely gracious and helpful.  He also gave me a great piece of advice.  He told me “Do not make a special trip to Iuka.”  Now since this a travel magazine, I feel it is important to pass that on to you, the reader.  Do not make a special trip specifically to Iuka!  After the historical narrative, I will tell you the best way to tour Iuka.

I like to open each article with a quote in regards to the military action that occurred there.  Here at the Battle of Iuka, speculation would grow as to Major General Grant’s fitness to lead troops in battle.  Here rumors would spread, perhaps unjustly.  I am not a General Grant detractor and I tend to follow General Eisenhower’s assessment of General Grant.  But the opening quote from Federal Captain William Stewart of the 11th Missouri does lead one to speculate.  I do tend to believe that Grant suffered from migraine headaches and Grant’s reputation as a drunkard was something that was propagated by his pre-war isolation off the frontier Army.    

The Battle of Iuka occurred in September of 1862 and had some significant strategic implications.  If you recall what was happening in the late summer and early autumn of 1862, the Confederate Army was on the offensive.  General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia were on the march in Maryland and General Braxton Bragg was also on the offensive in an attempt to bring Kentucky into the Confederacy’s fold.  There is a significant amount of academic speculation that leads one to believe that a Confederate victory on Northern territory in the late Summer, would have brought Great Britain into the war on the Confederate’s behalf. At the very least, it would have caused the British Navy to lift the Federal blockade of the southern coast.  Previous to the Battle of Iuka, there was concern among Federal command that Confederate Major Generals Sterling Price and Earl Van Dorn had resolved to march north to join Braxton Braggs forces now operating in Kentucky.  With Bragg’s forces, the addition of Price’s and Van Dorn’s forces would have given the Confederates enough to of a punch to defeat Federal forces under Major General Don Carlos Buell’s forces defending Kentucky.  So, with all that in play, Iuka was no longer an obscure and remote battle in a secondary theater, Iuka now took center stage in that horrid opus the American Civil War, and the stakes could not have been higher. 

As stated, Moose and I were on our way home from a family emergency in Florida and a stop in at the Victorian Inn in Iuka, Mississippi brought an end to 13 hours of drive time.  The time had been increased by a stop at the Olustee State Historical site in Florida, and a traffic stop in Georgia, thank you Deputy for not being quick to write a ticket.  All that said, I tend to prefer to travel via automobile instead of flying for a couple of reasons.  The first is that the act of flying will generally burn a day either way.  Between travel time to the airport, your special one-on-one pat down with your favorite TSA agent, waiting in security, picking up luggage and the time and expense of a rental car, you generally have wasted a day.  With the road trip, you have your own vehicle, the cost of travel is dramatically reduced, you can stop along the way and the drive is actually beautiful.  Often when I drive long stretches, regardless of what music is being played on the radio, my mind cuts to that scene from “Forrest Gump” where Forrest “just ran…”,  complete with the song “Running on Empty” playing in my mind.  For me, the road trip is therapy and the ascetics of a drive off the interstate across the deep south in the spring with all the world a bloom is a very beautiful sight to behold.  That stretch of road that leads from western Georgia, across Alabama and into northeastern Mississippi offered a plethora of small rural communities with neatly sculpted and cultivated fields and beautiful southern styled barns that dotted the entire pathway. 

As the day turned into evening and as we were passing through western Alabama, near the Mississippi state line, I noticed signage that pointed us towards Major General Joseph Wheeler’s home.  Joe Wheeler is one of the best Confederate cavaliers of the Civil War, every bit as good as Stuart, but I can’t say he was as good as Forrest.  That, however, is a conversation for another day.  General Wheeler also has the distinction of being one of two former Confederate Generals to serve as US Army Generals in the Spanish American War, commanding future President of the United States and Medal of Honor Recipient Colonel Theodore Roosevelt.  So being that General Wheeler was just “Bully” of a man, I wanted to visit his home.  But we had passed through the area well after they would have closed for the day and I will have to come back another time. 

A seemingly short time later, we had arrived at our destination for the night.  If you are in the Iuka area, the Victorian Inn is an economical choice for a night’s rest and a shower.  That said, we did not pay a Hilton price and we got what we paid for.  The staff was friendly and helpful and there were two beds in the room and a hot shower.  In the morning, after eating a quick breakfast burrito at the local McDonald’s, we toured the Iuka battlefield, which largely consists of a few acres off of Lee Highway, State Highway 72 and Veteran’s Memorial Drive.  The McDonald’s is strategically placed on the actual battlefield on what must have been Major General Price’s Army of the West’s far right line.  Touring the site took roughly 20 minutes, and I was instantly reminded of the phone conversation I had a few months ago with the Tishomingo History Museum, of not to make a special trip. 

By 9:00 AM I made the call to head the 20 miles west to Corinth, MS from Iuka.  When we passed through in 2017, we only had 20 minutes to explore the interpretive center.  So we went to revisit some of Corinth that we did not get the chance to see before.  The Interpretive Center has changed a bit since 2017.  There were two very high-quality movies and there was a new exhibit hall that featured some Mississippi unit’s regimental flags that I did not recall seeing last time.  After the tour of the Interpretive Center, we went out on the lawn and paid tribute to the valor displayed by the Texas assault on Battery Robinette.  To the State of Texas’ credit, they have as recently as 2010 placed a new monument on the property and it was very well done.  After that, we left the Interpretive Center and went on a driving tour around Corinth.  For me, the big payoff was walking the siege lines of both the Union and Confederate forces in the first Battle of Corinth, or the Battle of Farmington.  Both are the same place and it is one of those Sharpsburg/Antietam deals, where one side called the battle Corinth and the other called it Farmington.  After we finished up the siege lines walk, both Moose and I were covered in ticks, so make sure you bring plenty of bug spray if you are going out tramping the siege lines.  After we finished pulling the ticks off, it was time to get on the road, as I had a phone interview with a prospective client coming up and I wanted to ensure that I was in an area of adequate cellular coverage. 

After some reflection, I have come to the best conclusion I could on how-to best tour Iuka.  There are a couple of ways to efficiently and effectively do it so you can see an incredibly significant battlefield, but avoid a letdown.  If you are passing through the area naturally on your route of travel, Iuka is an easy tour, but I think it would be best to tour Iuka as part of a Shiloh, Corinth Civil War Tour.  I highly recommend touring Corinth in the same trip as Shiloh and with Iuka just a short 20 miles away from Corinth, I feel this is the best course of action to take to visit this field of valor.  But even better would be a four-day weekend of Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka and a short drive east into Alabama to General Wheeler’s home.  The phone interview went well, and the rest of the trip back to Kansas City was uneventful.  The weather had called for rain, but thankfully Mother Nature decided to cut me some slack and thus ended my trip to say “goodbye” to my aunt.  I will see you down the trail.

Signage dedicated to the 11th Ohio Artillery who suffered an 85% casualty rate at the battle speaks to the bravery of both Union and Confederate alike in the savage fighting.
The main marque denoting the Battle of Iuka. The battle site is a very quick tour and is the perfect diversion for a trip.
View of the Federal position atop the hill from the Confederate point of view. Confederate forces from across the west and deep south attempted to assault up the slope.
More positioning of the Federal Line of Battle atop the slope on the highway.
Battleground Drive. Highway 72 is right in the middle of the Iuka battlefield. Here in September of 1862, in the late afternoon, all hell was breaking loose as Rosencrans and Price were playing a deadly game of chess.
Grove Cemetery, just off Battleground Drive, site of where the Confederate dead are laid to rest.
After our short visit to Iuka, we were only 20 miles from Corinth. Though we had already been to Corinth, we did not have time to do Corinth justice.
Shadows from the past greet today’s visitor.
One of the very cool things about the Corinth Interpretive center is the art embedded in the grounds.
More art embedded in the grounds gives the impression of the field of battle being just consecrated. The Corinth Interpretive Center is on the grounds of the fight for Battery Robinette from the second Battle of Corinth.
A beautiful early May morning has the sun coming through the trees on this Mississippi land.
Moose posing with some Mississippi Regimental flags, hung in a place of honor.
Nature blessing the beautiful morning….
The bronze art greeting the visitors as they enter the Interpretive Center.
The Regimental Colors of the 11th Mississippi proudly on display.
Here is Battery Robinette. The site of furious hand to hand combat that almost succeeded in taking Corinth back for the Confederates. Here, Colonel Rogers and the 2nd Texas’ valor would be on display for the world to see. Equally valorous would be that of Colonel Fuller and the Ohio Brigade.
In 2010, the State of Texas had this monument erected. Proving that Texas has not forgotten its sons and still celebrates their service.
A picture of a house worthy of the painter Thomas Kinkade or Norman Rockwell. I spotted this home on the Corinth Driving Tour and had to take a picture. It is a beautiful representation of the homes on the Corinth Battlefield.
In 1862, this still active railroad crossroads was the most hotly contested real estate on the planet. This crossing was the reason for the fights at Shiloh, Iuka and two battles at Corinth. This patch of ground also cost over 10,000 American lives.
Both Confederate and Federal Commanding Generals used this home when they occupied Corinth.
The Confederate Siege Lines are a four-mile walk. It was a pleasant morning for it, but I did not have the time.
The Union Siege Lines and Nature Trail was only a 1.5 mile walk. Make sure you have strong tick spray.
The Union Siege Line Trail for the First Battle of Corinth or the Battle of Farmington.
A humming Bird hut and nature in full bloom. One of the benefits of the National Park Service is the natural beauty that they protect.

Book Review – Grierson’s Raid

Author:          D. Alexander Brown

ISBN:  978-0317527537

Page Count: 242

I was tasked to teach a course on the Vicksburg Campaign to my son’s Boy Scout Troop to support the Troop’s tour of the Vicksburg National Military Park.  I felt it was my honor and privilege to do so and in the run up to teaching the course, I had read a number of books covering all aspects of the campaign.  Now full disclosure, I have spent time in the Army as a 13B, Field Artillery Cannon Crewmember; an 0311, a Marine Corps Combat Rifleman; and a 19D, again in the Army as a Cavalry Scout.  Though I will always be an infantryman at heart, when I look at 19th Century Warfare, I tend to favor the life of a Cavalryman; especially when considering the US Civil War and the Indian Wars.  The book “Grierson’s Raid” was key to me to get an understanding of the strategic situation in Vicksburg and the greater Mississippi theater of operations during the Spring of 1863.  I believe that Brown does an outstanding job of not only giving you the history of the raid, but also the dogged pursuit of the Federal Cavalry by the Confederate defenders.  I believe that D. Alexander Brown did a fantastic job of articulating the strategic value of the raid.  Not only were they able to destroy millions of dollars’ worth of war material, more strategically, the raid succeeded in taking Confederate Lieutenant General Pemberton’s eye off Grant and his upcoming amphibious assault across the Mississippi River.  Pemberton ended up diverting much needed Confederate resources from watching for the crossing to attempting to trying to deal with the Raiders.  I highly recommend “Grierson’s Raid” for anyone interested in the Vicksburg Campaign, Cavalry Warfare and even currently the current military population who would study raids.  Items to discuss that both the US Army and US Marines look at as characteristics of a raid, being speed, surprise and violence of action.  Brown masterfully articulates all three elements. 


Corinth – “If defeated here, we lose the Mississippi Valley and probably our cause.”

Corinth MS: One concept that a career in the military has taught me, is that all American, and in fact all nationalities of military personnel are largely the same type of people and though we have enough differences to make us unique individuals, as a body we are largely similar.  Now here’s the kicker, the same can be said about soldiers across time.  For those familiar with current military culture, I promise you that there was a “Carl” that served with Washington at Valley Forge, a “Carl” that served in Caesar’s Legions that conquered Gaul and a “Carl” that served in the fury and hell of The Hornet’s Nest at Shiloh.  Another timeless truth of soldierly life is that we understand that the Mission is the reason for our being.  The Mission may be to take a piece of ground, remove a target, or defend with your life if necessary, some nameless point on a map.  That is something that we know and accept and that hasn’t changed since before Alexander the Great pointed his chariots east 2500 years ago.     

In the Spring and Summer of 1862, one of the most hotly contested pieces of real estate on the planet was a small, unassuming railroad crossroad in a place called Corinth, MS. The strategic value of Corinth could not be understated to the Confederate cause.  It was the rail hub that linked the resource rich western Confederacy with the East.  A mere month and a half earlier, a major battle was fought just 20 miles away over the border in Tennessee at a place called Shiloh. The strategic objective of the Union forces at Shiloh was to penetrate south and take the strategic railroad crossroad. Pittsburg Landing offered the best place to land forces for a march south. After a successful siege operation, Union forces under General Grant were able to take Corinth at the end of May, 1862. The Confederates regrouped and in October launched a major offensive to retake the strategically significant crossroads.  It ended in savage hand to hand combat where cold steel ruled the day.

From a touring perspective, I would like to have the opportunity to revisit Corinth, now having a greater understanding of the roll it played in 1862.  Or at the very least, I would have liked to have spent more time there.  We had left Shiloh National Military Park and grabbed some lunch and headed right away to the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center located at 501 W. Linden St, Corinth, MS 38834, which is run by the National Park Service out of Shiloh National Military Park.  We arrived with only an hour left before it closed and decided to make the best of it.  We toured the facility and I really feel that I could have spent two additional hours there.  After the Interpretive Center closed for the evening, we went out and scoured the town and found the famous railroad crossroads.  I would also like to point out that the Interpretive Center is located at Battery Robinett so we did have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the dramatic climax of the 2nd Battle of Corinth where the 2nd Texas Legion was held off by the 11th Missouri (US) and the 27th Ohio.  There is a rather famous picture of Colonel William Rogers of the 2nd Texas Legion leading his men over the parapet and being shot by a Federal Drummer Boy. We stopped at Corinth in the afternoon right after we had left Shiloh National Military Park. They are that close. It still gives me pause to think about the fact that I walked that ground.  After we toured the town to find the railroad crossing, it was time to finish the trip to Gulfport.  If you make it to Shiloh, I highly recommend finishing the story and going the Corinth the next day.  I am told that there is a place nearby where you can take your Jeep or other 4×4 off-roading.  That is something that I could definitely explore after a couple of fun days “battle fielding.”
Battery Robinett. Colonel Rogers may have fallen at the spot where I was standing. Here a desperate charge captured the Battery, but a swift and fierce counter charge proved too much for the hard fighting Texans.
Static display of Springfield 3 Band Rifled Muskets.
An impression of troops marching off to fight greets the traveler as you walk into the Interpretive Center.
157 years ago this was one of the most contested pieces of real estate on the planet. Over 8,000 Americans gave their lives for possession of this railroad crossroads in a small corner of Mississippi. This was also why the Battle of Shiloh was fought just over the Tennessee border. In total, the spot where I took this picture cost over 30,000 Americans their lives. That is a steep butcher’s bill to pay.
What’s in your kit?
Rooster found a friend.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Anyone who had service over in the middle east in the last 18 years will immediately identify these as 1862 style Hesco Barriers. “Ain’t No Party Like a Working Party!”

Beauvoir, The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library – “Neither current events nor history show that the majority rule, or ever did rule.”

Biloxi, MS:  Have you ever noticed that Providence tends to push us in a direction?  Sometimes it is a gentle nudge and sometimes Providence is a subtle as a sledgehammer.  I have always had an interest in the US Civil War.  I remember back to when I was in 5th Grade growing up in Hinsdale, New Hampshire and turning in reports on the Civil War for extra credit.  One year when I was really young, I asked my parents for a “Union Suit” for Christmas, because I thought it was a Federal Civil War Uniform.  In all honesty, a great number of times in my life I didn’t go looking for the Civil War, as it came looking for me.  Our visit to Beauvoir, was one of those trips that in retrospect, I can honestly say that Providence was pushing me to become The Civil War Traveler with the subtlety of a tire blowing out on the interstate at 80 m.p.h. 

In March of 2017, after stopping at Shiloh and Corinth for the day, we headed for our vacation destination down on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi for Spring Break. It had been a long and cold winter in Kansas and I was ready for some quality time in the warm, southern sun and also yearned for the feeling of the warm Gulf water.  We rented a house about 200 yards off the beach in Gulfport, MS via While there, unseasonably cold temperatures would force us off the beach and cause a deviation to our plans.  While out driving around and trying to make the best of our time, we were heading down Beach Boulevard/HWY 90, which connects Gulfport and Biloxi when out of the unsuspecting blue I saw a plaque by the side of the road that read, “Jefferson Davis Presidential Library.”  I immediately slammed on the brakes and looked at Household 6 and said, “Oh yes, it is on.” With a groan of pain coming from the Rooster in the back seat of the car, we turned left into the parking lot and began a really pleasant afternoon touring a Presidential Library that was every bit on par with that of any US Presidential Museum that we have visited.  The Sons of Confederate Veterans had converted an Old Soldiers Home located right next to Beauvoir into the Presidential Library with access to the Confederate cemetery behind the Beauvoir’s living quarters.  I can’t over emphasize the job that The Sons of Confederate Veterans have done in creating this venue and the Confederate Cemetery behind the Library is a place of dignity and honor. After touring Beauvoir and seeing the amazing job of restoration done in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as well as viewing the Tomb of the Confederate Unknown, I was personally moved.  Moved to the point where I purchased a memorial brick to be laid in the Confederate Cemetery, to honor the service and sacrifice of the men of the Confederate States Marine Corps.  After doing some family research, I found that I also need to buy two more bricks for family that served in the Confederate States Army when we return. 

Part of making any trip positive for the whole family is making sure everybody has fun.  Though my daughter is still in high hchool and is taking college level history courses, history really isn’t her thing.  My son enjoys history, but I would not say it is his passion either.  To plant the seeds of history, I always ensure that they do something appealing to them.  The next day, we left our rental and made it to the beach.  Living in Kansas means that we go to the beach whenever we can.  Unfortunately, the cold snap was still with us but the kids soon found out that the temperature in the warm Gulf Waters was higher than the air temperature and while Household 6 and I froze on the shore, the kids really enjoyed the warm water.  After a couple of hours even Rooster and Moose started getting cold, and we quickly had to adjust our plans.  I’ve always wanted to ride in an air boat, so we decided to drive the 40 miles over to Moss Point, to Gulf Coast Gator Ranch and do our best Bobby Bouche impressions.  Gulf Coast Gator Ranch was a hit with the entire family.  We spent a fun afternoon there and then found our way back to Shaggy’s Restaurant in Biloxi for dinner.  Fresh Gulf Coast seafood was a great way to end the day.  The service was good, and I would like to articulate a theme that runs throughout the entire South.  The people are just great. Having grown up in the Northeast, I had grown accustomed to people being very reserved. Maybe the warmer temperatures of the South makes folks more relaxed, but in Mississippi you can pull up to a gas pump and be engaged in a 20-minute conversation with a complete stranger and leave as friends.  That is the lasting impression I have of our time in coastal Mississippi.  If you are in the coastal Mississippi region and are also a Civil War enthusiast, Beauvoir is a must stop.
Beauvoir was every bit as vibrant and well done as other US Presidential Libraries that we have toured. Maybe because of my passion for the Civil War, I may have enjoyed it a bit more.
Robert E. Lee
A statue of Jefferson Davis
Beauvoir had to be completely remodeled after Hurricane Katrina. The Sons of Confederate Veterans did a masterful job. There was no trace of damage to the property and it was all restored with private funds.
Tomb of the Confederate Unknown. May he rest in eternal peace with his brothers in arms as may all American Service members.
The Confederate Battle Flag flies high over the Confederate Cemetery. The Cemetery is maintained by volunteers and relies on private funding.
The historical marque that greets all visitors.
The functional garden behind Beauvoir. Not only does it provide beauty, it also provides sustenance.
Part of the beauty of the garden.
Household 6 wanted to take home a goat. She still talks about getting one. My standard answer is “No.”
Nothing says “South” in my mind like Spanish Moss. Here the Confederate Cemetery has a tranquil and peaceful feel to it.
Entry into the Confederate Cemetery.
Memorial Bricks that had been purchased to help fund the Cemetery. I was so moved by the experience that I purchased a brick on behalf of the Confederate States Marine Corps.
The entry into the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum. It was a fantastic facility fit for a President.
A golden sunset along the Gulf Coast.
Our vacation rental. In my experience, you can actually come out a head a little when renting a house over a hotel room. The trick is eating in if you can. Two other huge benefits are the access to a washer & dryer and everyone gets their own space.
The beautiful white sandy beach and crystal water don’t articulate how cold it actually was.
Household 6 found a new friend at the Gulf Coast Gator Ranch.
“Momma always said alligators were so ornery because….”
The locals are always friendly on the Gulf Coast
We had a blast cruising around in the Airboat.

Vicksburg – “Vicksburg is Key.”

Vicksburg, MS: This is a repost of The Civil War Traveler’s page on Facebook.  This was our inaugural post from which we launched The Civil War Traveler.  I have decided to edit the original content to make it more robust and actually useful for the reader.  We visited Vicksburg over Spring Break in March of 2018.  I had lead an effort with my son’s Boy Scout Troop, Troop 487 out of Olathe, KS in order to terminate requirements for The American Heritage Merit Badge and some elements of the Eagle required Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge. 

Our trip to Vicksburg had been long in coming.  In January on our way back home from a youth football event for our son in New Orleans, we had driven right by Vicksburg National Military Park.  We even stopped for lunch at China Buffet, located at 4150 S Frontage Rd, Vicksburg, MS 39180 which is a mere 500 yards from the entrance from Vicksburg National Military Park. However, I was threatened by my family under penalty of death that if I delayed our trip home, there would be “the devil to pay” per Household 6.  So I would have to wait until our planned trip with Boy Scout Troop 487 in March.

Having done some research prior to the trip and teaching the participating Scouts a class on the Vicksburg Campaign, and the role played by Kansas troops there, we were able to work with the National Military Park to receive an Educational Waiver to the fee to enter the park.  If anyone out there in Traveler Nation is reading this, please be aware that many, but not all National Military Parks have an educational waiver of fees.  In making plans for the actual visit, having greatly benefited from a guided tour of Gettysburg, I contacted the VNMP and asked about tour guides.  I was referred to the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce at 601-636-3827.  There I was put in contact with Rick Martin, a brother retired Army Officer.  There, Rick let me know that he likes to conduct his tours in the manner of a Military Staff Ride and since we were doing it for the Boy Scouts, he was going to throw in a little something special.  Rick’s idea of “a little something special” was what truly made the trip special for the boys.  Rick taught them about life as a Civil War Infantryman and a Civil War Artilleryman which included bringing uniforms for the boys to wear, along with weapons and equipment to touch and feel.  This really brought the experience I wanted the boys to have to light; that of the American Soldier in the Civil War. 

In preparation for our trip as a Boy Scout Troop, I had the boys and some parental volunteers make some hardtack.  Our big meal Saturday night was an “authentic” Civil War meal of hardtack, bacon, baked beans and Johnny cakes.  It was actually quite a fine dinner, all things considered.  We had partnered with a local to the Vicksburg area Boy Scout Troop (Troop 7) to rent their camp for accommodations.  If you are reading this and considering reaching out to rent Camp Wilkerson, I highly recommend it.  It is a fine place for the boys and wants for nothing.  They even have patches that can be earned for touring and hiking the park and Johnny Mo is a real gentleman to work with.  For entertainment, we were joined by a Boy Scout Troop out of Texas. I had brought my laptop, screen and projector.  I had bought the movie “Cannonball Run” thinking that the rating of “PG” would be appropriate for the boys.  Though the movie was extremely entertaining and funny and our Scout Master really enjoyed it, I don’t know if it was right for some of the younger boys.  I reckon movie ratings in the 1970’s meant something different.  On Sunday we awoke and toured the USS Cairo, which will be covered in another feature. 

The tour was really made memorable by Rick’s leadership, knowledge and expertise.  Not only was Rick a retired Colonel in the Mississippi National Guard but he is also a retired Park Ranger and knows VNMP possibly better than the back of his hand.  For me there were two personal tie ins to the Vicksburg tour.  I had a relative who fought with the 3rd Louisiana Infantry Regiment.  I haven’t been able to find out much about my cousin, though the information I did find on him was from Confederate Memorial Hall in New Orleans.  I will write about that in another featured article.  The other personal tie in was from the Federal side.  I am a native New Hampshire man, from Cheshire County.  The 6th New Hampshire was formed in Cheshire County and were part of the IX Corps, which was sent West and took up a defensive position along the Big Black to ensure Confederate General Joe Johnston would not be able to relieve the besieged Confederates under Pemberton.  The 6th New Hampshire and the IX Corps would later prove their metal to the skeptical Western Troops in the Jackson Campaign, but that is a story for another day.
Perhaps the best photo I have taken as “The Civil War Traveler.” The morning mists clings to the Illinois Monument in the background.
The Veteran’s Memorial Arch marking the entry onto the Battlefield it’s self.
Major General US Grant himself, at the spot of his headquarters. Here Grant awoke one evening to the sound of soldiers tearing down his quarters to use the wood to help build breastworks. His only reply when hearing that his subordinate, Major General Sherman had ordered it was “That figures”, as the soldiers went about their business.
The Truce Spot. Here, Major General Grant and Lt. General Pemberton drew terms that put Vicksburg in Federal hands.
Rick teaching Troop 487 Civil War Artillery Drills.
Colonel Rick Martin explaining to the boys the deadly effects of cannister.
Moose as a Federal Infantryman.
Rick preparing Troop 487 for action.
I don’t know if my cousin, Isadore Gimbert fought here, but here I was walking in the footsteps of the 3rd Louisianna.
Monument to the US Colored Troops. Masterfully done and a fitting tribute to these American Soldiers.
The 6th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry at Vicksburg. Note the IX Corps Crest.
Massachussetts at Vicksburg
Monument to Iowa. The Federal War in the West could not have been as successful as it was without the hard fighting men of Iowa. Their mark was made here at Vicksburg and places like Shiloh, Franklin, Atlanta, Westport and every other hot spot in the West. There Iowa stood.
The seal of the Great State of Illinois
The entrance to the Illinois Monument. I tried to capture the grandness of the monument.
A monument to the three Kansas Regiments that fought in the Vicksburg Campaign.
Confederate Breastworks inside the Visitors Center
Lt. General Pemberton. A man without a country. Born a Yankee, never trusted and perhaps never given a job without resources.
Major General US Grant.
Grant’s headquarters tent.