Just imagine what those 47 days of siege were like
Like many who grow up in the South or enjoy Southern culture, I have always had an appreciation for Civil War history.
My mother’s stories about our ancestors’ experiences during the war piqued my curiosity. One of my favorite stories concerns my maternal third-great-grandmother and namesake, Mary Smith Garrett, from whom I received my middle name. She rode to Atlanta by herself in a horse-drawn carriage to retrieve her husband, who had been hospitalized after losing an arm fighting in the war.
My interest continued as I learned more about the war in school. My first visit to Vicksburg, the epicenter of Civil War history, was in eighth grade. My class visited the Vicksburg National Military Park, went on a walking ghost tour and had a formal dinner and etiquette class at Walnut Hills.
Since living in Vicksburg, my interest in the Civil War has grown even more. In particular, I wonder what it was like to be in Vicksburg during the Siege.
Monday evening, my husband and I sat on the back porch watching a thunderstorm roll in. We heard the thunder about 10 minutes before the rain hit, and I wondered if those living in Vicksburg at the time of the Siege experienced a similar kind of foreboding, as they waited on Grant’s troops to reach their homes and hiding places.
As I prepared to celebrate the Fourth of July earlier this month, I particularly looked forward to the longest fireworks show in the state of Mississippi. The loud booms followed by starbursts of light erupting in the sky were exhilarating to hear and beautiful to see.
My friend Tom Pharr mentioned that during the annual fireworks show he often reflects on what it might have been like to live through the Siege. I can see why. The fireworks bursting one after another must sound much like the cannon fire those hiding in caves heard..
Of course, 45 minutes is nothing compared to the 47 days that spanned the Siege of Vicksburg.
Thankfully, Vicksburg is home to the Old Courthouse Museum, The Old Depot Museum and many antebellum homes that provide insight into a time that was so important to Vicksburg’s and America’s history. I look forward to taking them in as I spend my days here.
Catherine Boone Hadaway is publisher of The Vicksburg Post. She can be reached at email@example.com.