Thursday, June 20, 2013

Preservation Gains at Vicksburg

Sometimes the improvements in battlefield preservation are small changes to the way the preserved space is taken care of such that we can much better understand what happened there.  Our imaginations don't have to work so hard when the ground is closer to what it was at the time, we appreciate much better what the participants had to overcome, and we are humbled.

Such has been the change at Vicksburg with some very modest removal of trees.  Approximately 90 acres in three key military engagements sites were restored to their battlefield appearance through the funding of the Freinds of the Vicksburg National Military Park.  While there is no desire to take the battlefield back to the blasted and barren landscape at the time of the battle, it makes sense to help visitors come away with an accurate picture of the historical event.

Here is an aerial photo of the impact on one of the key action areas at Vicksburg.  You can see the modest amount of trees removed and the deep gullies that separate the two forces lines.  This is right in front of the Illinois monument along the Old Jackson Road.

Here is the impact - an impossible view before the tree removal.  The Civil War Trust troops move from the Union line on the right and begin the challenging walk to  the top of the Confederate works.  All the markers showing the furthest progress of the Union attackers makes more sense when you can come up to them from the direction of the attack.

Here are views of the Union artillery positions and the change.

Here is the view looking back from the formerly forested area back towards Battery DeGolyer.

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