You want history? Look no further than the Mississippi delta (not to be confused with the Mississippi river delta!) and one of the towns it meanders past.
200 miles in length and up to 87 miles wide, the first known inhabitants of the delta were the Native Americans, dating back to around 1000 BC. Centuries later, between 1820 and 1832, Indian treaties opened up the land to wealthy white farmers whose slave labour worked fields of cotton. Then in 1863, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s army converged on Vicksburg via the Mississippi River, overtaking the city and trapping Lt. Gen. John Pemberton's Confederate army.
According to Battlefields.org: In the few days it took for Grant’s message announcing the capture of Vicksburg to reach Abraham Lincoln, the President had also received word that Port Hudson, the only other Confederate stronghold left on the Mississippi, had also fallen. “The Father of Waters once again goes unvexed to the sea,” he proclaimed.
With no length of the Mississippi River now safe from Union power, the Confederacy was unable to send supplies or communications across its breadth. Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas were cut off from the rest of the rebellious nation.
The war ended in 1865. Slavery was abolished. Four million black slaves were freed.
|The Old Courthouse Museum|
We had planned on two days touring Vicksburg, but tornado warnings made our decision to pack up and head east easy. But we did get to tour a pretty remarkable museum ... The Old Courthouse Museum ... including Ash, the cat.
This museum is famous for many things, including the fact that Confederate President Jefferson Davis began his political career here. Completed in 1860 and built by slaves, it has been named “one of the 20 most Outstanding Courthouses in America” by the American Institute of Architects.
After a hard day wandering through the museum and the small downtown core, we headed to a rooftop restaurant for some cajun food and a nice cold beer. Perfect end to a perfectly educational day!