Downtown Vicksburg monument honors the lives lost by Louisiana soilders

Published 6:22 pm Friday, April 3, 2020

In 1877, Vicksburg’s residents and a large contingent of residents and Civil War Confederate veterans from Louisiana and Mississippi gathered at a site at the intersection of Monroe, Crawford and South streets to dedicate a monument honoring the Louisiana soldiers who died during the Siege of Vicksburg.

Built in 1870, the Louisiana monument, according to an article in the June 12, 1877 edition of The Vicksburg Evening Post, is built of Tennessee marble “and is very handsome in shape and design.

“It is in the form of a truncated pyramid, about twelve feet in height and stands on a grassy mound about four feet in height.”

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The face of the monument, according to the article, is inscribed, “Dedicated June 11, 1877,” and displays the Louisiana coat of arms. One side of the monument says it is dedicated “To the Louisianians who died in defense of Vicksburg, 1862-1863. The other side includes the inscription, “By their surviving comrades.”

The monument was the idea of a veterans group called The Association of Louisiana Veterans that sought plans and specifications for a monument to their dead comrades.

The site for the monument was donated by the city, and the location, according to The Evening Post, “Is just one square from the Catholic, Baptist, Episcopal and Methodist churches, two squares from business centre, and closely surrounded by pleasant residences.”

The dedication ceremonies, according to The Post, were attended by a large crowd and featured bands and mounted groups.

“The streets were fairly swarmed yesterday with strangers and citizens and Vicksburg showed more life on the occasion of the dedication of the Louisiana monument than even the most sanguine of the (event) arrangement committee expected,” it said.

The paper’s article on the dedication also printed the remarks of the speakers and listed the Louisiana units that served in the defense of the city during the siege.

The article cited another newspaper article quoting Confederate Gen. Allen Thomas that the regiments serving during the defense of Vicksburg totaled “about 9,000 men, of whom fully one-half died in service” at some point during the Civil War.

In the summer of 1863, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee surrounded Vicksburg and the Confederate Army under Lt. John Pemberton. After two major assaults on the Confederate defenses failed, Grant decided on May 35 to lay siege to the city, which surrendered July 4, 1863.

According to the American Battlefield Trust, 110,000 men were engaged in the battle, which caused an estimated 37,273 total casualties — killed, wounded, missing in action, or captured.

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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