Monday, September 30, 2013

Vicksburg with Amy!

My good friend Amy came to stay with us for the weekend. This was her first time leaving her 4 kids with her husband and traveling somewhere by herself for a 'get-a-way' and she chose to come help me entertain my kids and keep up on my housework.  She's a complete saint. On Saturday, we decided to explore a new part of Mississippi: The Delta. Vicksburg is the town on the southern most tip of the Delta and is straight west of Jackson near the Mississippi and Louisiana state border. We had to drive across the bridge just so we could each experience a first - being in Louisiana. Although, I'm not sure driving for one exit on the freeway really counts. 

We wondered if any ships use the Mississippi these days and while we stopped at a park to eat a late lunch we saw a tug boat pushing an extremely long load of barges. 

Also we visited Vicksburg National Military Park that basically consists of a 16 mile drive through one of the most well-marked battlefields of the Civil War. I didn't know anything about this particular spot in history but because Vicksburg is on a nice hill, the confederates held their ground quite well and the union decided to siege the city in order to take control of the Mississippi. Below is a house one regiment of the Union used as headquarters for a while. Its been maintained in its original state. 
Below is a tunnel that soldiers dug to carry supplies and troops through to avoid getting shot at from enemy fire at the crest of the hill. Obviously, the bricks were added later.

This is Chris and Gwen on the USS Cairo. It was one of the first of its kind, an ironclad gun boat built for the Union. It was also one of the first to be blown up by a naval mine.  Some camouflaged confederates lay in wait and detonated the mine as the ship passed. It sunk in 12 minutes but without any casualties.  It was difficult to explain to our children about war. How both sides had good people and mean people, but that the side that wanted America to be a place without slaves won. They kept wanting to simplify the history we were giving them into terms of Good guys verses the Bad guys. We ended up using "Blue team" verses the "Red team" the most. 

Vicksburg is also home of the largest national cemetery of over 17,000 graves of Civil War Union soldiers and sailors. 13,000 are unknown. 

We wanted to see more of the Delta and so drove home the long way passing through field and after field (mostly already harvested and plowed over). We saw lots of cotton and a few homes. Thanks to our GPS we took a wacky way along small country highways which took us right through some very poor areas. We stopped at a little town and got some dinner at a BBQ shack type place. Amy and I decided to be adventurous and ordered a rib and catfish plate with hushpuppies and okra. It wasn't too bad, everything but the ribs were completely breaded and fried.  Again, like on our drive out to Mississippi, we noticed places alongside the freeway where EVERYTHING was covered in ivy.  It clung to the very tops of trees and made them droopy and creepy looking. Telephone poles, ground, bushes, trees, fences...100% hidden behind ivy.  It was a long, interesting, educational and beautiful day. It was my first chance to explore West and South of our house and as a result I now feel a little isolated here in Starkville. We're smack dab in the middle of a 2-3 hour radius of basically rural Mississippi. 


merilee said...

sounds like a great day trip! so interesting to explore new places.

Amy said...

I had so much fun with you! Thanks for letting me come visit.

kelsey said...

Love hearing you talk about hushpuppies and okra. I've tried to embrace okra--with minimal success. Wonderful news about Chris.