July 8, 2012
Jackson, MS, through Louisiana to Marshall, TX
This morning we left the motel at 7:00, meaning that I had to wake up at 5:30, have breakfast at 6:00, complete my packing at 6:30 and load the bike before 7:00. However, the good news was that it was OVERCAST!! Cloudy, even – with a forecast of possible rain. I am NOT being sarcastic! After the heat of yesterday, ANYTHING that made it cooler was welcome! So we set off, cool and in good spirits.
It took us a little less than an hour to get to the city of Vicksburg, MS. We arrived at the Vicksburg National Military Park
) around 8:30 a.m.
This Civil War battlefield is MUCH larger than the one we visited yesterday – there are 16 miles of roads over which one can drive to see the entire site.
Consequently, because everything was so spread out, it was difficult to take a lot of pictures while walking, and impossible (for me) to take pictures while riding.
Similar to yesterday, we started off by watching a video presentation about the battle. Once again, the incredible loss of life was simply unimaginable. It was somewhat comforting to see the cemeteries (again) … carefully maintained and treated with respect and reverence.
There were several styles of headstones. Some rose well over a foot from the ground, others were little square markers on the ground. The bigger ones had names on them, the smaller had only numbers.
The Park Rangers had recruited Junior High and High School students to help during the summer. These young people dressed in period-correct clothing and sat outside of (presumably) period-correct structures.
There was also a demonstration of firing a musket.
This proved to be a complicated process, and the time it took from start to finish was well over 30 seconds. A soldier was lucky if he could get off two shots a minute!
We also visited the USS Cairo Museum.
The USS Cairo was a Union ship that sailed on the Mississippi.