A remarkable blend of tradition and progress has established Vicksburg as a modern city, yet one which retains the charm and elegance of the South. The splendor of its setting and the hospitality of its people have combined perfectly for Vicksburg to merit the title of “The Red Carpet City of the South”.
Vicksburg has an interesting and diverse history. First claimed by the French in 1680, along with every foot of land drained by the Mississippi River, the area was later transferred to Spain by King Louis XV. Spain in turn sold the land to the United States in 1795.
Georgia was organized the County of Bourbon in southwest Mississippi and in 1795 sold huge tracts of land to syndicates for speculation. In 1798, Congress bought the Georgia claims and created the territory of Mississippi. Warren County was organized in 1809. Vicksburg, “America’s River port City, ” was founded in 1819 on the plantation of William Vick and John lane, and by 1825, was a thriving frontier settlement. From this time until the Civil War, the community continued to grow and by 1861, was a well ordered and prosperous city.
Vicksburg’s role during the days when civil strife scarred the nation is historic. Modern writers have called Vicksburg “The Gibraltar of the Confederacy, ” for whichever force held her bluffs controlled the vital Mississippi River and the country to the west. The Confederates, surrounded, with few supplies, little ammunition, and no prospects of reinforcement, we finally starved out and forced to surrender the city to Union General U.S. Grant on July 4, 1863. Read the diary of a Confederate soldier who fought near Vicksburg in an article from the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.
In 1899, by act of Congress, the Vicksburg National Military Park was created. This park, now a part of the National Park Service, was established to preserve the field of battle and the scenic and historic heritage of Vicksburg. It is considered by many as one of the county’s most beautiful national memorials.
Reconstruction was a trying period for the city, as it was for the entire South. Civic progress was slow. Only because this was the era of the packet boat, coupled with Vicksburg’s location, which made her a center for steamboat trade, was it possible for the community to prosper.
However, on April 27, 1876, the Mississippi River cut itself off from Vicksburg on its ever- changing course, leaving the city’s wharf high and dry. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began work in 1892 to divert the Yazoo River into the old Mississippi River bed, thus restoring a harbor on the river. Work on the new canal was completed in January 1903.
Now a city with a sound basic economy and considerable possibilities, Vicksburg can look to the future with faith that her strategic location will lead to a commercial prominence in Mississippi.
You can learn more about Vicksburg’s history and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the following links……..