Cairo talks, tours Saturday and Sunday

Published 10:59 am Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Vicksburg National Military Park will have two full days this weekend for visitors to immerse themselves in the lives of the sailors of the USS Cairo.

Park rangers dressed in-character as sailors and soldiers will lead talks about the Cairo at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

At 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., park staff and volunteers will demonstrate how marines on the Cairo would use their small-arms.

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Saturday night, the park’s staff will lead candlelight tours of the ship at 5:30, 6, 6:30 and 7. The tours are free, but reservations are required. To reserve a spot and for directions, call 601-636-2199.

Park Ranger and USS Cairo Site Supervisor Raymond Hamel is excited about the weekend’s events.

“I’ve been here for four years and they’ve never done a night tour,” Hamel said. “The guides will be dressed up like sailors, talking in first person about what life on the ship is like.”

Hamel urged history lovers to take advantage of the chance to take a night tour of the most extensive remains of a Civil War-era ironclad.

“This is kind of a special occasion,” Hamel said. “It’s a novelty to get people on at night, and, as an interpretative tool, it’s easier to get them to put themselves in that situation.”