Vicksburg National Military Park receives much needed funds for erosion repairs

Published 8:05 pm Thursday, June 14, 2018

Funding for maintenance improvements will soon be coming to the Vicksburg National Military Park.

As the Vicksburg Post reported in March of this year, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s office announced $5.9 million from the federal Omnibus Budget Bill has been earmarked for erosion repairs within the VNMP at the Railroad Redoubt. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to replace the now retired Cochran, made the announcement official this week.

The erosion problem also affects a bluff adjacent to the Texas State Memorial and Railroad Redoubt earthworks. The repairs involve a type of retaining wall called a soldier pile wall.

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A Confederate earthen fortification, the Railroad Redbout was built to protect the Southern Railroad of Mississippi, which was a vital entrance to the city. The Union assault on the redoubt on May 22, 1863, resulted in some of the fiercest combat of the siege, resulting in heavy casualties.

Maintenance of this vital historic piece of history that tells the story of the Siege of Vicksburg is vital.

“Overdue maintenance should not be allowed to threaten the Vicksburg National Military Park and its historic significance. I’m pleased funding has been appropriated for the National Park Service to address repairs needed to keep the military park safe and open over the long term,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the NPS.

Regarding deferred maintenance at the Vicksburg National Military Park, the FY2018 Interior Appropriations Bill encouraged the NPS “to assess on-the-ground conditions and take all necessary steps to ensure the park is safe for visitors and employees, and is preserved for future generations.”

The VNMP is crucial historically, but also economically to Vicksburg as tourists from all over the world come to the national park and preserving it now and for years to come should and must be a priority.