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Vicksburg proudly displays its history in a series of murals along the city’s burgeoning riverfront. Founded in 1811, well before the Civil War, the town was the crossroads of the Mississippi River and the Vicksburg and Clinton Railways, which were established to transport goods from the fields to the river port. It seems that the river has always drawn people to Vicksburg, not least of which were 70,000 Union troops during the Civil War. Union generals were so taken with the “Gibraltar of the Confederacy,” that in 1863 they laid siege to Vicksburg, but never completely destroyed it.

Vicksburg National Military ParkThe siege line is preserved at the Vicksburg National Military Park and the peaceful grounds of the Vicksburg National Cemetery serve as the final resting place for 17,000 Union soldiers. More than 5,000 Confederates lie along the front line in the nearby city cemetery.

Even though the city was the site of a major Civil War battle that ultimately turned the tables of the war, a collection of beautiful antebellum mansions still sit proudly along the river banks. The 1822 George Washington Ball House was owned by a distant cousin of the first US President, while the 1856 Duff Green Mansion, a lovely three-story home constructed with slave labor, served as a hospital for both Confederate and Union soldiers. Linden Plantation, another sight well worth visiting, dates from the 1820s and is furnished with original antiques and family heirlooms.

To get the most out of Vicksburg, take the entire 16-mile tour through the Vicksburg National Military Park, which illustrates the full story of the battles.

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