Friends of Vicksburg
National Military Park & Campaign
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Champion Hill Battlefield Transfer Announced:
Largest Land Addition to VNMP On Record



On July 2, 2019 the State of Mississippi, the National Park Service, and the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign announced the impending transfer of over 800 acres of the Champion Hill Battlefield from the State of Mississippi to the National Park Service. This will be the largest expansion of Vicksburg National Military Park in its history and will create the first of three a new units of the park.

“This transfer marks the largest expansion in the 120-year history of Vicksburg National Military Park,” said Robert A. Vogel, southeast regional director of the National Park Service. “The park is now better positioned to tell the story of the vital campaign for Vicksburg, how it changed the course of the Civil War and how its legacy continues to shape American culture.  We thank the State of Mississippi, the Mississippi Congressional delegation and the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign for supporting this effort.”

Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, and US Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith were present and offered remarks. The ceremony, hosted by the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign, highlighted the strong need for continued community involvement to help preserve and interpret Mississippi history.

Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign President Brigadier General Robert Crear announced a three million dollar capital campaign to raise funds for visitor use facilities for visitors at Champion Hill, Port Gibson, and Raymond, and to support interpretation at these new units. Crear announced $500,000 in lead gifts for the campaign.  John Nau gave remarks about the importance of enhancing the visitor experience and interpretation in addition to preservation of the important sites.


Champion Hill was the site of the pivotal battle of the Civil War Campaign for Vicksburg. On this battlefield 32,000 Union soldiers under the command of Major General Ulysses S. Grant and 22,000 Confederates under Major General John C. Pemberton fought the largest and bloodiest action of the Vicksburg Campaign. The Union victory at Champion Hill forced General Pemberton to retreat into Vicksburg and helped seal the fate of the river city.

The expansion of Vicksburg National Military Park to include the Champion Hill, Port Gibson and Raymond Battlefields was authorized by Congress in 2014. Limited visitor facilities currently exist at the Champion Hill unit.  Please contact the Vicksburg National Military Park Visitor Center at 601-636-0583 for more information



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Help Repair the Tornado-Damaged Rhode Island Monument





On April 13, Vicksburg, Mississippi experienced two different severe weather events, one storm with three tornadoes tearing through the town. Two of those tornadoes passed through the Vicksburg National Military Park leaving multiple trees and limbs down throughout the park. Despite the widespread affected area, the only monument with significant damage was the Rhode Island Memorial.
The Rhode Island State Memorial, sculpted in bronze by Frank Edwin Elwell, was dedicated on November 11, 1908. The statue depicts the figure of an infantryman who has picked up the fallen colors. The Rhode Island Color Bearer is a favorite of many visitors.
The monument memorializes the 7th Rhode Island Infantry. The unit was attached to Col. Simon G. Griffin's 1st Brigade of Brig. Gen. Robert B. Potter's 2nd Division, Major General John G. Parke's IX Army Corps. Positioned on Major Gen. William T. Sherman's exterior line, the unit was commanded by Col. Zenas R. Bliss. Arriving at Snyder's Bluff on June 3, 1863, they took position from Skillikalia Bayou to Templeton's and fortified that line. On June 29, 1863, by order of Major Gen. William T. Sherman, they moved east and took position from Haynes' Bluff to the railroad crossing of the Big Black River. They fortified this position and remained at that location until the surrender of Vicksburg.
The bronze sculpture was completely separated from the base in the storm, and suffered further damage as it struck the ground. The cost for repairing the monument is $20,000. The work entails repair to the masonry base and sculpture, including cleaning, repairing, and remounting the sculpture to the base. A donor has committed a generous $1 for $1 match to help the Friends raise the vital funds needed to quickly repair this important memorial.
Please act now to save this monument and aid VNMP in the extensive storm recovery efforts. The match doubles every dollar you donate toward this effort until we reach our goal.  As the official non-profit partner of VNMP, all donations are tax-deductible.