Restoration of the Mississippi Monument an investment in our history

Published 5:43 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Mississippi Monument is back to her grand ole self.

Monday, during a ceremony marked with guest speakers, a color guard and cannon fire, the monument was rededicated following an extensive restoration project that included repairs to the masonry, testing of the monument’s lightning suppression system and thorough cleaning.

In total, the project to restore the 110-year-old monument cost $75,000 and was funded by the state of Mississippi and championed by the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign.

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The monument was originally dedicated on Nov. 12, 1909. It honors the sacrifice of Mississippi’s 32 infantry units, 17 artillery units and 37 cavalry units which served in the 1863 Vicksburg Campaign of the Civil War.

For anyone who has walked, biked, jogged or driven through the park, passing each of what seems like countless monuments in the Vicksburg National Military Park, there are a few that stand out. The Illinois Monument remains probably the most iconic in the park, but others would be the Navy Memorial monument and the Mississippi Monument.

At 76-feet high, the Mississippi monument — which is located at the 12.3 milepost on the park tour road — cost just $32,000 when originally built. It is made of gorgeous granite from Mount Airy, N.C., and the ornate bronze work at the monument’s base, which depicts Mississippi troops during the Siege of Vicksburg, was handcrafted in Rome, Italy, and shipped to New Orleans in 1912.

This is not the first time the monument has needed some restoration. According to the military park, it was damaged by lightning in 1951 and repaired in 1954.

In a park located in Mississippi, about an iconic and key battle of the Civil War that took place in Mississippi, this monument is a fitting tribute to those who served, struggled and died in the defense of the city. It is both stunning in its appearance and simple in its message.

We are thankful to those who organized the restoration project and to the craftsmen who completed it. We are also thankful to those who advocated for state funds to be spent and state officials who made the investment in our state’s monument.

The Vicksburg National Military Park is home to amazing artwork, stunning statues and awe-inspiring monuments. We are proud one of those monuments represents our state.