Vicksburg Stories and Tips

Discovering the Old South in Vicksburg

Unlike Jackson, many of Vicksburg’s antebellum structures survived the War Between the States. Despite being shelled for 47 days by Union gunboats in the Mississippi, the city has maintained much of its historic character. During the first weeks of April and October, the city holds what are respectively known as its Spring and Fall Pilgrimages. During these times, buildings not normally available to the public are opened for tours. The Vicksburg CVB offers maps and brochures detailing walking tours of the downtown area, which includes many of the structures mentioned here.

Cedar Grove

Discussed in a separate listing, this 1840 plantation house now operates as a bed-and-breakfast inn.

Duff Green Mansion

This three-story Palladian mansion was constructed by African slaves in 1856. The home of wealthy merchant Duff Green, it was used as both a Confederate and Union hospital during the war. One interesting story relayed on the tour is about how Green’s wife gave birth to a son in a nearby shelter during one of many attacks on the house. He was appropriately named Siege. The mansion now operates as a bed-and-breakfast. Just as it did in the 1850s, the large ballroom still hosts many large parties and receptions. Thirty-minute guided tours are given daily from 10am to 5pm. Admission is $5. For more information, call 800/992-0037.

Anchuca

Built in 1830, this Greek-Revival mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was used as a hospital during the Siege of Vicksburg and was also the setting for one of Jefferson Davis’ last public addresses. The interior is furnished with period antiques and the grounds feature landscaped gardens and courtyards, as well as outbuildings which once served as slave quarters. Thirty-minute tours are given on Saturdays from 4 to 6pm. For more information, please visit www.anchucamansion.com.

Balfour House

Visitors to this 1835 Greek-Revival mansion will learn the story of a Christmas party interrupted by uninvited guests: Union troops. You will also learn about the hardships endured by Vicksburg residents during the Siege, based on the diaries of Emma Balfour. The three-story staircase is indescribable – you have to see it for yourself. Admission is $6/adult. Tours are available Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. For more information, call 800/294-7113.

Martha Vick House

Built for the daughter of the town’s founder in 1830, this small brick mansion is filled with period antiques and artwork. Thirty-minute tours are given Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm and Sundays from 1 to 5pm. Admission is $5. For more information, call 601/638-7036.

Christ Episcopal Church

Located at 1119 Main St., this is the oldest church in Vicksburg. Constructed in 1839, its cornerstone was laid by Bishop Leonidas Polk, who later became a Confederate General. During the Siege, daily services were held here despite the shelling from the Union gunboats. The rectory, located next door, is also a pre-Civil War structure and still used as the rector’s home. It is open Monday through Thursday from 8am to 6pm. Admission is free, but donations are recommended.

Pemberton’s Headquarters

General John C. Pemberton, Confederate commander of Vicksburg, used this 1835 mansion as his command post during the Siege. Pemberton, a West Point graduate and transplanted Yankee (born in Pennsylvania), made the decision to surrender from the parlor of this house. This decision ended weeks of starvation and suffering for the residents of Vicksburg. However, they would live under the watchful eye of Federal troops for the remainder of the war. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and on Sundays from 1 to 5pm. Admission is $5. For more information, call 601/636-9581.

McRaven

This unique historic home was built during three different periods. First constructed in 1797 as a brick structure, two other sections were added in 1836 and 1849. A portion of the fighting during the Siege took place all around the house. Cannon damages and bullet holes can still be seen. Many artifacts from battle have been found on the property and are on display. Tours last 1.5 hours and are given Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and on Sundays from 10am to 5pm. Admission is $5. For more information, visit www.mcraven.com.

The Old Court House

Constructed by slaves in 1858, this historic building has been visited by several US Presidents. The architecture is very impressive. Each side of the building features six 30-inch columns. A bell tower on top is housed inside a cupola. When Union troops captured the building in 1863, they promptly lowered the Confederate flag and replaced it with the American flag. It now houses a museum with Civil War artifacts and exhibits about life in the "Old South." Tours are self-guided. It is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30m to 4:30pm and Sundays from 1:30am to 4:30pm. Admission is $3. For more information, please call 601/636-0741.

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