Vicksburg National Military Park

Center for the State of the Parks: Park Assessments

Published October 2008

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Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi, was established in 1899 to commemorate the battle of Vicksburg and protect the ground upon which it was fought. In 1990, Congress expanded the park’s interpretive mandate to include Union occupation of Vicksburg following Confederate surrender on July 4, 1863, as well as the Reconstruction period that lasted through 1877.

Today the park encompasses about 1,728 acres, including five small satellite locations: Louisiana Circle, Navy Circle, South Fort, Pemberton’s Headquarters in downtown Vicksburg, and Grant’s Canal, located across the Mississippi River in Louisiana. The core area of the park runs along the boundaries of the city of Vicksburg and includes the majority of the original battlefield. The Park Service also manages Vicksburg National Cemetery, a 118-acre parcel that is the final resting place for more than 17,000 Union soldiers and sailors, as well as veterans from later wars.

Each year, about 700,000 people visit the park to learn about the site’s history and to enjoy its natural features. The park offers open space, trees that provide shade, and wildlife habitat. These resources are becoming increasingly important to the area as urban development around the park reduces available open space and natural areas.

According to an assessment by NPCA’s Center for State of the Parks, current overall conditions of Vicksburg’s known cultural resources rated a score of 67 out of 100, indicating “fair” conditions.

Current federal funding and staffing levels are insufficient to adequately care for the park’s historic structures, cultural landscapes, archaeology sites, and extensive museum collection. Vicksburg only has two full-time cultural resource staff: a historian and a museum curator. The park has identified three areas in need of additional funding and staff: operation of Pemberton’s Headquarters, protection of historic and cultural resources, and maintenance of the historic battlefield. These three areas need an additional 9.4 full-time employees and roughly $716,000 in funding.

In addition, Vicksburg’s interpretive staff currently consists of two interpreters, two guides, and one supervisory park ranger – meaning there are roughly 140,000 visitors per ranger each year. Additional funding and staff are needed to adequately tell Civil War stories at the park.


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