We are proud to partner with the Civil War Trust, the nation's largest non-profit battlefield organization, to preserve 11 acres of pristine ground along the historic Southern Railroad - the very first acres the Trust has saved of the Vicksburg battlefield. Help us save this hallowed ground from potential development. Read More>>
FRIENDS sponsors Experiential field trips in February
Building on the success of the Sesquicentennial School Tours, every fourth grader in Warren County was again given the chance to jump into their history book and visit VNMP this year. Friends of VNMP worked closely with VNMP staff and the Vicksburg Warren School District to develop and offer this unique tour to the students.
Students learned about soldiers, cannons and artillery, the Cairo gunboat, civilian life and freedmen, monumentation and the terrain and the strategic importance of Vicksburg during the American Civil War.
The VNMP staff and tour guides offered a history experience these children will not likely soon forget. It is our goal to have everyone in Vicksburg understand the history and value this asset in our own back yard,” said Friends Executive Director, Bess Averett. “By inviting them back to VNMP with their children, we hope to reach members of the community that may not have visited before."
Battlefield Restoration Project Complete Thanks to Friends
The battlefield restoration project of the Vicksburg National Military Park (VNMP) is complete. A total of approximately 90 acres in three key military engagement sites were restored through the removal of woodland cover and maintenance of the landscape to create a more open and visually accessible site. The $300,000 project was funded through the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign by Mr. and Mrs. John Nau of Houston, Texas.
John L. Nau, III is President and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products. Nau currently serves as Vice Chairman of the National Park Foundation Board of Directors, Civil War Trust Board of Directors and Chairman Emeritus and Board Member for Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park. He is founder and President of The Nau Foundation. He served as chairman of the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 2001-2010, a position appointed by the President of the United States.
At VNMP, scenic vistas come in two varieties — historically accurate and inaccurate. Some of the beautiful scenery visitors see at the park gives a false impression of what the battlefield terrain was like during the time of the Civil War. Much of the 1800 acre park is a lushly forested landscape. In 1863, when the siege of Vicksburg was taking place, a blasted and barren field of battle would have been seen. While there is no desire to return the entire park to a barren landscape in order to simulate the war-torn days of siege, the NPS is concerned that the pervasive tree cover confuses visitors and contributes to a misinterpretation of historical events.
In 2009, the VNMP completed a process that examined the entire park and determined areas that qualified as potential battlefield restoration zones. The result is the park’s Cultural Landscape Plan and Environmental Assessment, which incorporated public input received over its development and review period. Once environmental factors such as wetlands and habitat for rare species and migratory birds were taken into account, plans were created to reestablish historically clear vistas in spots that had become overgrown.
Sites selected for this project were designated to be areas of key military engagements during the campaign for Vicksburg, allowing for enhanced interpretation of the 1863 siege. These key military engagement sites were identified through careful review of the military terrain that helped define the events of May 19 through July 4, 1863. The project areas include the earthworks and artillery positions associated with the city approaches of Old Jackson Road, Battery DeGolyer and Third Louisiana Redan; Railroad Redoubt and Fort Garrott; and Graveyard Road near its intersection with Union Avenue.
The project goal was to remove the least woodland cover needed to reveal the most important historic landscape relationships. The restoration project included stringent erosion control measures, implementation of Best Management Practices during and after clearing, monitoring of wildlife, plants, water quality, and soundscape in order to detect any definitive changes, and continual landscape assessment.
The project results are expertly restored battlefields with limitless possibilities for additional interpretive exhibits and devices to support visitor understanding of the events of 1863. The restored battlefields give new visitors an appreciation of the events that took place here that shaped our nation and returning visitors a new perspective and new view of an old battlefield.