“practically includes the fighting ground” — Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter

Today, the Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter remembers when President McKinley approved the establishment of the park on February 21, 1899.

From Indiana at Vicksburg by the Indiana-Vicksburg Military Park Commission, published in 1910:


The Vicksburg National Military Park.

The Act of Congress authorizing the establishment of the Vicksburg National Military Park was signed by President McKinley February 21, 1899.

In conformity with its provisions, on March 1st of that year the Secretary of War appointed Lieut. Gen. Stephen D. Lee, C. S. Army; Capt. William T. Rigby, veteran of the 24th Iowa Infantry, and Capt. .James G. Everest, veteran of the 13th Illinois Infantry, commissioners, for inaugurating and carrying on the work under his direction.

Past Commander-in-Chief G. A. R. John S. Kountz was elected secretary and historian by the Commission, and the choice was approved by the Secretary of War.

General Lee died May 28, 1908, and Capt. Lewis Guion, veteran of the 26th Louisiana Infantry, was appointed to succeed him.

Secretary and Historian Kountz died June 14, 1909.

The park commemorates the campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg, beginning March 29th and ending July 4, 1863.

It contains 1,288 acres, and practically includes the fighting ground of the siege and defense operations, from May 18th to July 4th.

These consisted of two assaults by the Union army, on May 19th and 22d; the siege operations of that army from May 23d to July 4th, and the heroic defense of the Confederate army under General Pemberton.

The service of the Confederate army assembled after May 14th, with headquarters at Jackson, Mississippi, under General Johnston. and the service of the part of the Union army opposed to Johnston during the latter part of the siege, are included in the park work.

These outside operations and the five battles preceding the investment of Vicksburg are described by historical tablet inscriptions.

The siege and defense operations are commemorated in the same way, and also by position tablets and markers established in the exact places where the operations were carried on.

The nature of the operations commemorated and marked in this way give a distinctive character to the Vicksburg Park.

The main part of the battlefield is bounded on the inside by Confederate avenue, closely following the line of defense, and on the outside by Union avenue, closely following the first parallel (trench) of the Union army.

The park picture, therefore, has definite and exact boundaries.

As the approaches, the second and the third parallels of the Union army were made from its first trench, none of the details of the picture are mixed or confusing.

The student easily follows them from point to point with absorbing interest.

The deployment of the two opposed armies is plainly marked on the respective avenues by tablets and monuments.

The Confederate line of defense is plainly shown by 150 markers; the Union trenches and approaches are traced through their respective lines by 363 markers.

Therefore, a drive in the park of a few hours gives a good idea of the nature and extent of the operations, the way in which they were pushed forward and opposed, and the names of the commands engaged on each side.

The aggregate length of the park roadway is thirty miles, and includes the two principal avenues (Union and Confederate), eleven secondary avenues (Grant, Sherman, Pemberton. Connecting, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky. Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin), thirty short circles (Johnston. Logan. Maloney, Pemberton, Sherman, Navy, Observation, Tilghman, Memorial, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois. Illinois Memorial, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina. Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin), and sections of the public roads of this county.

Five secondary avenues (Grant, Sherman, Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania) and the short circles give individuality and increased appropriateness to the respective sites for memorials. monuments, statues and towers that have been or will be. placed in the park.

Sixteen bridges have been built, twelve on Union avenue, three on Confederate avenue, one at Battery Maloney; six steel and ten reinforced concrete.

There are 896 tablets of all kinds in the park, all by the United States; 568 Union, 328 Confederate; 30 bronze, 866 iron; 162 historical, 197 battery, 227 Union trench markers, 150 Confederate trench markers, 136 Union approach markers, 19 headquarters, 5 mortuary.

The avenues, circles and sections of public roads are marked by 120 guideboards.

The Commission has mounted 127 guns at the old battery sites, like the ones used at each during the siege and defense; 65 Union, 62 Confederate, 114 field, 13 siege.

Congress has appropriated $1,175,000 for the park, including $150,000 for the construction of a memorial at the Battery Selfridge, commemorative of the service of the Union navy, at a cost not to exceed $200,000.

The work has been contracted for and its total cost will be less than $150,000.

Fourteen States have appropriated for the park as follows: Alabama, $25,000; Illinois, $260,000; Indiana, $38,000: Iowa. $150,000: Massachusetts, $5,000; Michigan. $20.000 : Minnesota, $25,500; Mississippi, $50,000; New Hampshire. $5,000; New York, $12,500; Ohio. $56,000; Pennsylvania, $15,000; Rhode Island, $5,000; Wisconsin, $130,000; total, $797,000.

These appropriations provide for twelve state memorials, 159 regimental and battery monuments (for 198 organizations) and about 274 markers.

Additional to these, Louisiana has given the park twelve monuments (for twenty-seven organizations), costing $1,801.80; Missouri, three monuments (two Union each for one organization, one Confederate for fifteen organizations) and three markers (two Union, one Confederate), costing $1,230.70; Tennessee, one monument for six organizations, costing $171; and Virginia, one monument for the Botetourt Artillery Company, costing $690; total $3,89:150.

In most cases these gifts were made in anticipation of and to encourage liberal appropriations by the respective legislatures for state memorials in the Vicksburg Park; in the case of Louisiana, by parish police jury, city of New Orleans and individual contributions; in all other cases, solely by individual contributions.

There are 444 memorials, monuments and markers in the park or under construction, by States and as gifts; 404 Union, 40 Confederate.

About 100 more can be reasonably expected, from the other States that had organizations (number stated in each case) engaged in the operations commemorated by the park, namely: Arkansas. 15; Florida, 3; Georgia, 21; Kansas, 1; Kentucky, 12; Louisiana, 41: Missouri, 42; Maryland, 1; North Carolina, 3; South Carolina, 12; Tennessee, 29; Texas, 15; West Virginia, 1.

Kentucky and Missouri had troops engaged in both armies; each, doubtless, will give the park a fine joint memorial, Union-Confederate.

Two portrait bronze statues are in place, both Confederate; Lieut. Gen. Stephen D. Lee, full length figure, given by his son and friends in twenty-seven States, and Brig. Gen. Isham W. Garrott. bust, given by his sons. S. B. and John F.

Five more are assured for the park (Union: Col. William F. Vilas, full length figure, given by Mrs. William F. Vilas and their daughter, Mrs. Mary Vilas Hanks; Capt. Andrew Hickenlcoper, full length figure, given by his family. Confederate: Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, equestrian, given by his sons. Sidell and Frederick B.; Lieut. Gen. John C. Pemberton. equestrian, given by his son. Frank R.; Col. James II. Jones, bust, given by his family and friends).

Eight portrait tablets are assured (Union: Col. Joseph J. Woods, given by his family; Col. James R. Slack, given by Sculptor Adolph A. Weinman.

Confederate, given by Louisiana parish police juries; Gens. Louis Hebert and Francis A. Shoup; Cols. Edward Higgins. Leon D. Marks. Robert Richardson and Allen Thomas).

Portrait statues or tablets of Indiana field officers are desired as follows:

Of division commanders, Brig. Gen. A. P. Hovey, Brig. Gen. N. Kimball. Brig. Gen. J. C. Sullivan (3); of brigade commanders. Brig. Gen. G. F. McGinnis, Brig. .Gen. W. P. Benton, Col. H. D. Washburn. Col. D. Shunk, Col. J. R. Slack (portrait tablet secured). Col. J. Keigwin. Col W. T. Spicely, Col. J. I. Alexander (8); of field officers. Lieut. Col. W. Swaim, 24th. mortally wounded May 16th; Maj. J. C. Jenks, 18th. mortally wounded May 22d; Maj. J. H. Finley. 69th, mortally wounded May 22d (3); total for Indi ana, 14.

It is reasonable to expect, in the near future, and as gifts by relatives and friends, statues of Generals Grant, Logan, Osterhaus. Buckland (Union) and Forney (Confederate).

The Commission is in correspondence with the friends of many other officers, Union and Confederate, engaged in the operations commemorated by the park, and is very hopeful of favorable responses in some eases.

It is expected that the Minnesota legislature will appropriate for a statue of General Baldwin; the Nebraska legislature for a statue of General Thayer; the New York legislature for a statue of General Potter; the Pennsylvania legislature for a statue of General Parks, and that other state legislatures will make like appropriations.

The attention of wealthy Americans is being invited to the creditable opportunity offered by this feature of the park work for patriotic donations.

In these several ways the Commission hopes to secure the statue (equestrian, standing or bust), or the portrait tablet, of each general officer, Union and Confederate, engaged in this campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg in 1863.

Each will be placed at an appropriate site in relation to the line of the command during the siege and defense, of the officer it portrays.

When these hopes have been realized, even partially, the park will present a most attractive, inspiring and realistic battlefield picture.

When the Union Navy Memorial is finished, with the approval of the Secretary of War, the Commission will ask the Congress to the park bounded by the Louisiana circle and the Warrenton road, commemorative of the service of the Confederate Navy on the Mississippi River and its tributaries during the Civil War, at a cost not to exceed $125,000.

William T. Rigby, Chairman.
Vicksburg, Mississippi, June 1, 1910.


The Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter Coin shows with an image of the landscape, circa early 1900s.Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter Coin