Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vicksburg History

The Siege of Vicksburg was the final major military action in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. In a series of maneuvers, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee crossed the Mississippi River and drove the Confederate army of Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton into the defensive lines surrounding the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

When two major assaults (May 19 and May 22, 1863) against the Confederate fortifications were repulsed with heavy casualties, Grant decided to besiege the city beginning on May 25. With no re-enforcement, supplies nearly gone, and after holding out for more than forty days, the garrison finally surrendered on July 4. This action (combined with the capitulation of Port Hudson on July 9) yielded command of the Mississippi River to the Union forces, who would hold it for the rest of the conflict. The Vicksburg Military Park has 1,340 cemetary monuments for primarily Union soldiers.

The Confederate surrender following the siege at Vicksburg is sometimes considered, when combined with Gen. Robert E. Lee's defeat at Gettysburg the previous day, the turning point of the war. It also cut off communication with Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department for the remainder of the war. The city of Vicksburg would not celebrate Independence Day for about eighty years as a result of the siege and surrender. (That’s no celebration of Independence Day until 1943!!!) This hill overlooking the Mississippi River has memorials to Military Units of Confederate soldiers. The previous paragraphs of historical information are from Wikipedia.

Driving around town there are many reminders of the Civil War. Cannons seem to be popular at motel entrances.

These momuments commemorating Union military units are at the entrance of a mall. There are streets with momuments of military leaders along them. It makes Roy and me think it would be hard to put the war to rest and move on with so many reminders of the conflict.

This is the current flag of Mississippi. It was approved in 2001. It incorporates the confederate battle flag. The design seems to me to represent north and south as being together yet still separate. Interesting!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Vicksburg Casinos

Along the Mississippi River in Vicksburg are several casinos. This is the Rainbow Casino.

Nearby is the Riverwalk Casino.

Here is the Ameristar Riverboat Casino.

This is the Horizon Riverboat Casino and hotel complex.

This is Diamond Jacks. We haven't tried our luck, yet.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Here is our hilltop home in a nicely wooded campground just off one of the main boulevards of Vicksburg. We like our big yard, and the cats are once again enjoying birds and squirrels. The campground is called, Battlefield Campground, and the rate is $107 per week. Roy had researched the Vicksburg area prior to our leaving Campbellsville, and had chosen this one. We primarily use rates as our guide, but will look at other considerations, too. The daytime temperatures are from 40-60 degrees with an occasional 70+. Nights are in the 20s to 40s. We're still running our heaters and wearing long sleeves.

We took a walk through the downtown area, and like many downtowns there are as many shops vacant as there are operating. It is very quaint with its brick paved streets and old style street lamps. It has a lot of potential for development.

Some of the buildings have the New Orleans French Quarter appearance.

Balconies are popular.

Here is a cute little one on the side of a building. It appears you climb out the window to enjoy it. I like it!

This is a book I mentioned in an earlier blog. I had hoped to summarize some of the information we learned from it about the Civil War and life in the South today, but it gives such an excellent description that I think it's best that you pick-up a copy to read. I don't think you'll be disappointed. We plan to do some more touring today, so more pictures will be coming!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Headin' South

Amazon started releasing employees as of the 17th rather than the expected 23rd, and Roy was one of the lucky ones to get the early release. The company made the Workkamper experience pleasant, but the physical intensity of the job was tremendous. Roy is happy to be retired again. The first thing he commented on was the joy of not having to live life on a schedule. I agree.

This week I have been researching the San Antonio and Austin area of Texas. The area looks fascinating. There are lots of state and national parks near each other. The landscape is a mix of conifer covered mountains, high desert with Prickly Pear cacti, wildflower meadows, lush fields, sandstone rocks, and lots of water. The picture above is from Blanco State Park. It is my present destination preference. I doubt that it is warm enough there to swim this time of year, but swimming is allowed along this water spillway. There are canoe, tube, and kayak rentals. The park appears to be central to all there is to see in the area. We will be visiting family in Vicksburg, Mississippi for Christmas.

Part of my research into the Texas Hill Country was the possibility of earning our campsite by volunteering with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. I learned that if you go to their website and fill out an application, the volunteer coordinator will send the application to parks you indicate an interest in. Here is a link to the website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/involved/volunteer/spdest/
I'm assuming each state has a similar process.

One of the parks I researched is Pedernales Falls State Park. Isn't this serene. I read on the park's website that if you see the water start to rise you should leave the area immediately. Flash floods are common in Texas!!!

Here is a picture taken less than 5 minutes after the serene photo above!!! I decided we don't need to stay here and be playing in the water with the dogs! I found this photo very disturbing in regards to our lack of knowledge about things unfamiliar to us. It got me thinking about other scary things in the western states that we don't know anything about such as tarantulas, scorpions, and a variety of poisonous snakes. I found a great website that gave me some reassurance as to how to handle bites by any of these creatures. The link is: http://www.surviveoutdoors.com/reference/spiders/tarantula.asp Armed with our new information, we are headin' south Sunday the 18th.
Yee Hah!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cold Snap

December 5th-8th Campbellsville's temperatures have dropped into the teens at night and are only warming into the low 30s during the day. Tomorrow it's back into the 40s and cooling only into the high 20s to low 30s at night. We've gotten a few dustings of snow, but it is gone by early afternoon.

With a predicted low of 15, Roy decided to wrap the water hose with insulation. The water spigot is below ground level, so he stuffed a pillow over the spigot for freeze protection. We've left a small stream of cold water running in the sink. Our water has faired well, until this morning (day 4 of the cold snap). Our cold water was fine, but the hot water pipe froze! The answer to that mystery is that the water in the hot water pipes is only hot when running. I didn't know that. Roy was able to fix it fairly quickly.

We have been staying toasty using just a couple of small ceramic heaters. The ones that have a thermostat are nice for setting a temperature and leaving them to do their job. They are reported to be very safe. These little units are under $20. Having an electric blanket is also great for staying snuggly warm during cold nights.

It's time to get out of here and get further south! We're told that December 23rd, when the Workkamper's Amazon job comes to an end, a phenomenon occurs called, "The Parade of Lights". We're told it's about 5 miles of camper lights heading south!!! We're looking forward to being in the parade!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In The News!

We made the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper along with our fellow Amazonians! Here's a link to the article: http://www.kentucky.com/2010/11/29/1542473/amazon-needs-workers-so-nomads.html

I saw this bumper sticker on one of the motorhomes. Isn't it great!!!