Chickasaw Bayou Tour with Terry Winschel
"The campaign of Vicksburg was suggested and developed by circumstances," wrote Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. "The elections of 1862 had gone against the prosecution of the war: voluntary enlistments had nearly ceased, and the draft had been restored to; this was resisted, and a defeat, or backward movement would have made its execution impossible." To a man of Grant's character there was only one course of action: "A forward movement to a decisive victory." In the fall of 1862, Grant would launch that forward movement. With a portion of his army, Grant would push south into Mississippi and draw Confederate forces responsible for the defense of the Vicksburg/Jackson enclave into the northern portion of the state. There he would keep them pinned, while the other portion of his army under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, moved down the Mississippi River from Memphis and seized what would hopefully be a lightly defended city of Vicksburg. The campaign ended disastrously for the Federals as Sherman's force was quickly, easily, and bloodily repulsed along Chickasaw Bayou, north of Vicksburg, on December 29.
Although adjacent to Vicksburg National Military Park, the battlefield at Chickasaw Bayou has no protection other than that provided by nature, and only one historical marker for interpretation. Few, even among the most-serious students of the Civil War, have ever toured the battlefield. This tour will take you through the streets of Vicksburg and out to the Union landing sites along the Yazoo River. From there you will follow the same dirt road over which the Federals advanced to the site where the action took place that cold winter day in 1862. Numerous stops will be made along the route, including one at the USS Cairo display, with walking limited to just a few yards at each stop.
Raymond Archaeology Tour with Parker Hills
The Battle of Raymond was fought on May 12, 1863, as Maj. Gen. Ulysses Grant's Army of the Tennessee swung toward the Southern Railroad of Mississippi to cut off Confederate General John Pemberton's Army of Vicksburg from reinforcing troops. For 137 years after the battle, the farmlands of the battlefield remained largely undisturbed, with the only battlefield interpretation being a weathered 7-line roadside state historical marker. Then, in 1998, the citizens of Raymond formed Friends of Raymond to preserve and interpret the history of the Raymond area. With the help of the Civil War Trust, 40 acres were purchased, and now 136 acres have been permanently protected. Still, there remains the task of interpretation of the battlefield actions. Unlike most of the national military parks which were established at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, in modern times there remain no veterans to provide eyewitness accounts. Friends of Raymond had only the written reports, which, while detailed enough to interpret the general actions, fell far short of describing anything but approximate locations on the ground. So, where to place the cannons and the interpretive markers? The answer was in the axiom, "history turns the pages and archaeology turns the ground." The ground, complemented by the records and documents, had a historical archaeology story to tell. This tour will read the story through a moderate amount of walking on the battlefield, and will include a visit to the new Raymond artifact collection.