Day 8, Ridgewood, MS to Port Gibson, MS

We ended up in Ridgewood, MS, a suburb of Jackson, last night.


BillyB was nice enough to cash in some of his frequent flyer mile so we were able to upgrade our Quality Inn stay over at at the Hilton. Thank you Marci!!!!

We headed out to Drago’s, the 6th rated Tripp Advisor, in Jackson . . . know for seafood.


Our waiter Chad was a great guy and put up with all of  our antics, with a smile . . .


. . . yummy vittles all around . . . .


. . . including the Boudin and Spicy sausage with maque choux. Big Hit!! Good night sleep for all.

We woke to another cloudy day today. So what’s new. No chance of rain just humid and cloudy. We would take a detour off the Trace today and in the morning drive into Vicksburg to tour the US Battlefield Park. By 9:00am we ere at the battlefield. It is highly recommended to ride bikes through the 11 mile battlefield instead of by car. One gets a more solemn feel due to the quiet and serenity of the hollowed ground. All we had to do was decided Yeas or No. We decided yes, and it was the right decision.


They had a wide a variety of cannons laid out at the entrance In the Visitor Center were great displays regarding life for the soldier during the war. The exhibit showing the type of exploding projectiles that came out of these cannons clearly demonstrated the rounds were meant to kill or maim many soldiers in one shot . . .


Each state that fought in the war has been allowed to construct monuments around the area showing where their regiment’s and units fought, made advances and suffer  losses. One of the first monument we saw, right in the parking lot was this one for Wisconsin designated a ravine they slept in one night, right across from the Quality Inn . . . must not have been any vacancies!!!!


It was a gruesome battle with troops from both sides dug in for the 47+ day battle. Here is what it looked like from the aggressor’s side . . .


. . .and here is what it looked like fro the receiver’s side.


For those who were hit and wounded, here was an example of the emergency medical kit a surgeon would use to do the repairs. The  most common procedure was an amputation of limbs. A skilled surgeon using the saw in the foreground could do an amputation in 5 minutes!!! Interestingly, most of the soldiers survived the amputation but many died from the subsequent infections. War zones are not the most sanitary conditions.


Before we could get riding, the G had  to deal with a getting his chain ‘unstuck’ from his chain catcher. A device that works pretty well from keeping one’s chain from dropping off . . . that is until it doesn’t work then one needs a big screwdriver to do some prying!!!  Not pretty words to hear for a fancy bike!!!


Finally the mbbt group moves out . . .  and enters the park.


One of the first battle memorials we saw was from the State of Iowa.


Followed shortly by one from Wisconsin . . .


. . . . but at this point, both states were outdone by Minnesota’s large obelisk.


But Illinois top them all with his large monument built in 1906.


Which had a VERY large grand opening in the Fall of 1906.


On we pedaled through the silence of the battlefield (except for about an hour when we seemed to be constantly run into a USPS tractor that had a HUGE leaf blower mounted on the back and was blowing leaves off the road. They are tidy here! The battlefield has hundreds of monument depicting where each states regiments made stands in the Battle of Vicksburg. It would have been nice to have taken the guide two hour tour that would have put all the pieces together for us. But, one did get a sense of how many charges, assaults AND retreats there were during the siege.


And here was the Union General who won the battle and maybe the War for  the north, Ulysses Grant. His troops surrounded the city of Vicksburg and basically waiting out the Confederate troops until they ran out of food, got dysentery from bad water and suffered from morale problems. President Lincoln had said at the time that Vicksburg, because of its control of the Mississippi River was the ‘key’ to winning the war and the north would not prevail until they had that ‘key’ in their pocket.


Soon we rounded a bend and here was Wisconsin’s ‘big’ memorial. Very nicely done . . .


TommyH and I stopped by to pay our respects .  . .



Shortly down the road was Surrender Pont where Grand and the Union General Penteble met to discuss the terms of surrender . . .


. . . must have been an interesting discussion between the two as they sat in the vast countryside opening. Grant didn’t want to take on and feed 30,000 Confederate soldiers so they agreed the Confederates would hand over their weapons, go home and not fight again. It seemed to work . . . the Union own the War .


The Union needed to control the Mississippi water way during the war thus the development of the ‘Ironside” brown boat, referred that way because they only really operated inland, along riverways. They were iron clad behemoths that weighed in at 880 tons.


The Cairo was sunk right out side of Vicksburg and remained in the mud on the bottom of the river until 1965 when she was raised, reconstructed and moved to her final resting spot, this great display area.


Lincoln order 7 of this ships to be constructed by a company in Illinois who produced the 7 ships in 100 days!!! A manufacturing marvel. Cost, about $190,000/each. The ‘military industrial complex’ started way before the Eisenhower era.


Scale model of the ships  . . .


Only known remaining photo of the Cairo . . .


. . . whose crew numbered 185 enlisted men . . . plus officers and the captain. Not sure where they all slept!


To see one of these sliding along the river at dawn must have been a terrifying site for the enemy.


The pilot house was the armored  turret on the top o the main deck . . . we spent a good hour at this display. Really well done.


Eventually we rode away to the rest of our tout. We haven’t seen the sun since the second day of our trip and it made a BRIEF appearance today. I was so stunned I had to take a photo of it. By the time I put the camera away . . .the sun was gone. Maybe tomorrow again!!!


Adjacent the Cairo display area was the Vicksburg National commentary. Many many headstones for the unknown soldier. If they had not sacrificed their lives we might not be what we are today.


After a whole morning, and most of the afternoon touring, we were hungry, so loaded up the bikes and headed to the waterfront in Vicksburg for a little lunch. TommyH had the ‘Blue Plate Special’ . . . fried chicken!


Across the street was a GREAT looking old railroad depot, nicely preserved. Really a beautiful building. Welcome to Vicksburg!


By the time we left Vicksburg it was 3:00pm so our idea of returning to the Trace today and biking 25 miles to Port Gibson, our home for the night was not going to happened. We stopped at Sonic for a treat and headed, by car,  to Port Gibson . . . where we would be staying at the Isabella B&B.


We ended up with two single rooms and a double. A flip of the coins resulted in the G having this room . . .


. . . yours truly in this room . . .


. . .and BillyB and TommyH sharing  this suite. TommyH got the twin on the right. Coffee starting at 6:30am!!!