U.S.S. Cairo among popular tourist attractions

Published 12:02am Sunday, June 1, 2014

Vicksburg National Military Park’s USS Cairo Museum recently made the list of the most popular tourist attractions. The list is a compilation of sites in each of the fifty states and was released using data from the popular travel website TripAdvisor.com. Parade Magazine cites that the attractions are selected using the Trip Advisory Index that “takes into account the quality, quantity, and recency of reviews. This explains why the big names in your mind like Disney World in Florida lost out to the Stetson Mansion.
The USS Cairo, during The Civil War, was one of seven ships named for towns along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and a part of Northern hopes to greatly weaken the Confederacy. On December 12, 1862 the vessel was on a mission to destroy Confederate batteries and clear the Yazoo channel of torpedoes. It then came under fire and while the thirteen cannons on board were being prepared for battle the Cairo became the first ship in history to be sunk by electrically detonated torpedo. There were no casualties and it was soon forgotten until 1956 when support for finding and resurrecting the ship swept through the state. The well-preserved remains would be split into three parts and then raised in 1964. It was restored and moved to the park in June of 1977.
When contacted for a comment on this honor, VNMP Chief Operations Officer Rick Martin stated that he “wasn’t surprised the Cairo was honored as it is a one of a kind vessel.” Mike Madell, the superintendent of VNMP, said “It is a great honor to be recognized like this, even more so than our 4.9/5.0 rating on Travel Advisor.” He believes wholeheartedly that the Cairo vessel and museum have enhanced the Vicksburg National Military Park experience. He said that even people that come in not knowing what the Cairo is or its significance would ask, “Where’s the boat?” The partially reconstructed Cairo is located near the Vicksburg National Cemetery. The museum is located nearby with a large amount of artifacts found in the ship’s remains. Park rangers provide a unique and accurate interpretation of the vessel and its history along with some special naval programs throughout the year. The museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

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