At a ceremony this morning officially marking the recent 800-acre expansion of the Vicksburg National Military Park, Brig. Gen. Robert Crear, president of Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign, announced a $3 million dollar capital campaign to raise funds for visitor facilities.
The facilities are slated for the Champion Hill, Port Gibson, and Raymond battlefields, and to support historical interpretation at these new units located within the expansion. Champion Hill has limited visitor facilities at this time. Crear said he had received $500,000 in gifts for the campaign.
John L. Nau III, Vice Chairman of the National Park Foundation Board of Directors and on the board of the Civil War Trust, gave remarks about the importance of enhancing the visitor experience and interpretation in addition to the preservation of these important Civil War sites.
“This transfer marks the largest expansion in the 120-year history of the Vicksburg National Military Park,” said Robert A. Vogel, southeast regional director of the National Park Service. “The park is now better positioned to tell the story of the vital campaign for Vicksburg, how it changed the course of the Civil War and how its legacy continues to shape American culture. We thank the state of Mississippi, the Mississippi Congressional delegation and the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign for supporting this effort.”
Champion Hill was the site of the pivotal battle of the Civil War campaign for Vicksburg. On this battlefield, 32,000 Union soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and 22,000 confederates under Maj. Gen. John C Pemberton fought the largest and bloodiest action of the Vicksburg campaign. The Union victories at Champion Hill forced Pemberton to retreat into Vicksburg and helped seal the fate of the river city.
Congress authorized expansion of the Vicksburg National Military Park, including the Champion Hill, Port Gibson and Raymond battlefields, in 2014. Please contact the Vicksburg national military park visitor center that 601-636-0583 for more information