Pemberton purchase money wins Senate panel’s approval

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 5, 2001

Pemberton Headquarters at 1018 Crawford St. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[07/05/01] A congressional committee has approved a bill that would provide money for the U.S. Department of the Interior to purchase the home where the decision was made in 1863 to surrender Vicksburg to Union forces.

The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved $500,000 to buy the home that served as headquarters of Lt. Gen. John Pemberton, commander of the forces in Vicksburg during the 47-day siege of the city. Plans are to make the home built around 1835 a part of the Vicksburg National Military Park.

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“If everything goes well, hopefully it will be (available) some time in September or October,” park superintendent Bill Nichols said.

If the funding is approved by the Senate and House, both of which are expected to act this summer, plans are to make the home at 1018 Crawford St. an interpretive center, Nichols said.

However, he said winning the appropriation for the two-story brick home is only one step in the process of acquiring the home. He said separate legislation must be approved to give the park permission to buy the home.

The next step would be to have the home, which is owned by Andrew Johnson, appraised.

The home that served as Pemberton’s headquarters during the campaign for Vicksburg withstood heavy shelling during the siege. On July 3, 1863, Pemberton met there with his staff to decide on the surrender of the city to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

The city fell into federal hands on July 4.

Pemberton Headquarters is one of three sites in Warren County designated on the National Historic Register. The other two are the Old Court House Museum and Fort St. Pierre near Redwood.

The panel also approved $920,000 to pay for an erosion control project in the park. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is being contracted to stop the waters of Mint Spring from washing away a portion of the national cemetery.

“Right now we’re in danger of losing some of the road and a portion of the cemetery,” Nichols said.

He said that in the 1950s, a portion of the roadway was lost to the creek. The section that was replaced is being threatened again by erosion, Nichols said.

Both allocations for the Vicksburg park are part of the Interior Appropriations bill that includes $32 million for projects in Mississippi.