The city is most famous as the "Gibraltar of the Confederacy," as cannons on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River prevented the United States from controlling this vital water route during much of the American Civil War. After lengthy maneuverings to get troops to the city, U.S. Major General Ulysses S. Grant, having failed in a major assualt on May 22, 1863, put the city under seige. The seige lasted until July 4 when C.S. Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton surrendered. Along with the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania the previous day, this marked the turning point of the war.
In addition to the battlefield, the major draw for today's visitors is the collection of "river boat" casinos.
Car: Interstate 20 (E-W) or U.S. Highway 61 (N-S)
Vicksburg National Military Park, 3201 Clay Street. Phone: 601-636-0583. http://www.nps.gov/vick/ Commemorates the 1863 battle and seige of the city. The park includes a visitor center, an impressive collection of monuments along the 16-mile tour route, and the USS Cairo, a Civil War gunboat. Allow at least half day (2-3 hours bare minimum). $8 per vehicle entrance fee, good for one week.
Gold In The Hills at the Parkside Playhouse. Phone: 601-636-0471. http://www.vicksburg.com/~gold/ In its 70th season, it is the longest running melodrama in the world. Spring/summer only. $10 adults and $5 children.
Walnut Hills, 1214 Adams Street. Phone: 601-638-4910. http://www.walnuthillsms.net/ Known for its round table service at lunch time: southern home style food served on a lazy-susan, $11.
Battlefield Inn, 4137 I-20 N. Frontage Road. Phone: 1-800-359-9363 or 601-638-5811. http://www.battlefieldinn.org/ Modest rooms, pool, complementary evening cocktails and breakfast buffet.