Natchez Trace Parkway, Vicksburg National Military Park and Vicksburg National Cemetery

4/9/13 Tuesday at Natchez, MS (Natchez State Park)

Laundry, then out by 9 am to the Trace. One of the unique and beautiful features of the Trace (444 miles long, from Natchez,MS to Nashville,TN) is that there is no sign of civilization outside of a stray car or two. No commercial vehicles are allowed, as they are on a freeway, and that is a big plus. All you see is the 2 lane road, grass and trees. There are no stop signs or stop lights, as on a freeway. Another difference, the speed limit is 50 mph and strictly enforced. You could get a National Park Ranger speeding ticket for going 51 mpg and we heard you have to pay it in New Orleans. The downside of no civilization is that there are no gas stations, grocery stores, those normal amenities you expect along the road. You can turn off onto intersecting roads to get those needs met.

Note: Mississippi and the Trace have no shoulders for their roads. Maybe to save costs?

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At Port Gibson they have Church Street that’s lined with churches. The First Presbyterian Church has a golden hand at its top.


It is said that US Grant felt that Port Gibson was “too beautiful to burn.” This house is an example of Stick Style: tall proportions, irregular silhouette, projecting eaves and exposed framing in the gables.

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The Sunken Trace – a place where you can see how sunken the Old Trace became from all those footsteps.

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Owens Creek Waterfall – only visible right after a big rain storm. We were lucky today!

Rocky Springs campground is for dry camping, no reservations. There were a couple big rigs there, but not many such spaces so we wouldn’t feel it a good option if you have a big rig like ours.

IMG_8400 Vicksburg Military Park

We took Hwy 27 from the Trace to Vicksburg to see the National Military Park and Cairo Museum.

IMG_8402This large area is filled with monuments to commanders and battalions from the various states. It’s very well marked (blue for Union, red for Confederate) with spots where the soldiers stood their ground. This port was vital to securing the Mississippi, and almost impenetrable. It’s on a bluff overlooking the river. After several failed attempts Grant took some big risks. He sent his army south of Vicksburg, in enemy territory, to approach from the south. There were supply ships sent down the river as well, many, including the Cairo (they pronounce it KAY-row), which were hit by underwater bombs.

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Illinois monument. Inside the dome above is open to the weather. The walls inside reflect the names of those who fought, highlighting commanders as well as Lincoln and Grant.

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A monument to the African American soldiers who served as well.


US Grant sculpture.


Cairo – an Ironclad boat, one of 7 built in 100 days. It was the first armed vessel to be sunk in warfare by a mine (called torpedo then), detonated from the shore by volunteers. It went down in 12 minutes, but not a soul was lost (the water wasn’t very deep).


Cairo’s paddles – note they are inside the ship to avoid enemy fire.


Nearby Vicksburg National Cemetery. Of the 17,000 Union soldiers buried there about 13,000 are unknown. Mostly Union soldiers were buried there. Also soldiers from the Spanish/American, WWI, WWII wars and the Korean Conflict.

IMG_8445 Vicksburg Bluff View

A view from the bluff of Vicksburg, MS

It was 87 degrees for a high today (89 degrees was the record high for this date) with 58% humidity. Wind up to 30 mph. Thank heavens for air conditioning which helped us as we took the driving tour around Vicksburg National Military Park.

We took Hwy 61 home (faster than the Trace), arriving in time for relaxing in our recliners outside before supper.

Along the course of today we found out that mom’s condo sale was recorded. Now we get to wait for her furniture to sell at auction.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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