Groups to donate 11 acres to VNMP

Published 9:41 am Monday, November 2, 2015

Sarah and Piers Sanders, tourists from London, England, visit the Vicksburg National Military Park. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Sarah and Piers Sanders, tourists from London, England, visit the Vicksburg National Military Park. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

The National Civil War Trust and Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park are expected to announce Thursday the donation of an 11-acre tract of land on North Frontage Road to the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Friends executive director Bess Averett said the property includes four parcels of land bordered by North Frontage Road and Old Highway 27, and is south of the Iowa Monument in the park and near the Railroad Redoubt.

She said two vacant houses on the property were demolished by Fordice Construction Co. with help from the city of Vicksburg, which removed the debris.

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“This is the first land the Civil War Trust has saved associated with the siege of Vicksburg,” said Meg Martin with the Civil War Trust. “However, we have been very active in preserving land associated with the Vicksburg Campaign, including 476 acres at Champion Hill, 623 acres at Port Gibson, and 106 acres at Raymond. Overall, we have saved more than 3,400 acres in Mississippi.

“A core goal of the Trust is to transfer land over to a state or to the National Park Service when appropriate, entities which have the resources to fully interpret and promote the stories of these battles,” she said.

The Trust acquired the property for $720,000, using a combination of $360,000 in private funds and a $360,000 American Battlefield Protection Program Land and Water Protection Fund Grant.

Averett said the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign worked with the Civil War Trust to get private donations and to get the grant. She said Friends expects to have the land ready to be donated to the National Military Park in early 2016.

“The Vicksburg National Military Park brought the potential for this acquisition to our attention,” Averett said. “It was a piece of the battlefield in danger of being lost forever to commercial development and highway expansion. The site witnessed intense action on May 22, 1863, when the Union Army of the Tennessee clashed with Confederate Vicksburg defenses.

“It was also the campsite for the 22nd and 23rd Iowa Infantry, as well as the 42nd Ohio Infantry during Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s 47-day siege, from May 18 to July 4, 1863,” Averett said.

The Railroad Redoubt was a Confederate fortification built to protect the Southern Railroad of Mississippi, which was a vital entrance to Vicksburg at the time.

Union infantry forces attacked the redoubt, a square fortification on May 22, 1863, and fierce fighting ensued with the Union forces withdrawing with heavy loses as darkness fell. The Union’s failure to capture the redoubt and other fortifications along the Confederate line resulted in the siege of Vicksburg.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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