Role Vicksburg’s landscape played in Siege topic of presentation

Published 3:54 pm Sunday, March 18, 2018

Rolling hills, a winding river and soil perfect for making trenches all played a major role during the Siege of Vicksburg.

Thursday, the role geology and the unique landscape of Vicksburg played in the 47-day siege between Union and Confederate forces will be the topic of discussion during a free presentation at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

The discussion will be lead by Krista Hardin, an AmeriCorps Geoscientist-In- Park intern assigned to Vicksburg National Military Park for the winter. The program will start at 5:30 p.m. in the visitor center auditorium and is expected to last 60 to 90 minutes.

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“We will be talking about the geology and how it impacts the history here in the park,” Hardin said. “When people think about the park, they usually think about the history, but not so much the geology and the landscape underneath. The soil here made it easy to build trenches so both the Union and Confederate troops had really extensive trench systems. The fact that the river made a big loop up by where the battlefield is at the time played a role. The direction of the river changed about 13 years after the war.”

Following a discussion on the role geology played in the siege, Hardin will be talking to those gathered about the challenges geology is still creating in the park including multiple erosion incidents that have caused roads to be closed in recent months.

“When I came down here, I wasn’t expecting there to be so much geologic activity in the park and seeing how it impacted that history,” Hardin said. “I have been here since January and there have been a couple erosion landslide events in the park so it is cool to see that geology playing an active role from day to day in the park.” A section of North Union Avenue within the park was temporally closed in late February due to erosion. Confederate Avenue from Ft. Hill to Graveyard Road has been closed since September after soil erosion caused the road to become unstable and unsafe for visitors.