For years the Union Army tried numerous ways to gain control of Vicksburg, the last hold out of the Confederacy on the Mississippi River and known as “the Gibraltar of the Confederacy”. Vicksburg had high bluffs and the river as natural defenses. Finally in 1863 with the help of the Union Navy, General Ulysses S. Grant succeeded in surrounding Vicksburg and cutting off all the supply lines. For 47 days the Union forces bombarded and starved the town until Lt. General John C. Pemberton surrendered on July 4. This gave the Union full control of the Mississippi River and pretty much sealed victory for the north.
There were many more monuments throughout the park, including ones representing most of the northeastern states other than Maine.
The USS Cairo was sunk in December of 1862 by a mine. It was one of seven ironclad gunboats named in honor of towns along the upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. In 1964 (corrected from 1864!) the Cairo was raised out of deep silt and sand. It was restored and constitutes an interesting exhibit at Vicksburg because it is so well preserved.
In the journal is the following observation after our days touring Natchez, Vicksburg, and the Vicksburg National Military Park: “The South is still steadfast about its determination to win independence and the exhibits are certainly slanted to the Confederate position.”