Continuing in our week-long series of travels and observations in Vicksburg National Military Park . . .
The vast majority of the people-centered monuments in the Vicksburg National Military Park are simple busts or bas reliefs of various important military leaders. These tend to be sprinkled around lining the park roads roughly around where they and their men served.
First up is General Grant, located appropriately enough on Grant Circle, just off of Union Avenue. Before you reach him though, you see the Pennsylvania Monument, which is very leader-centric. Dedicated in 1906, the monument focus is on bas-relief busts of five unit commanders beneath the words: “Here brothers fought for their principles, here heroes died for their country and a united people will forever cherish the precious legacy of their noble manhood.”
Now here’s where things get awkward. I’m sure back in the days when the park opened, when the denizens of Vicksburg came out in their carriages to drive the park, they must have taken a left at the beginning of Grant Circle, rather than the right path that we have to take today because we drive on the right.
I say this because I don’t get the feeling that General Grant would not have wanted the first sight of visitors to his monument to be, well, his horse’s rear end.
If you were to come around to the left, however, you would see him and his horse from the front, in a much more dignified way.
Moving on down the road a bit, we come upon the U.S. Navy monument, which features four admirals at the base of its tall obelisk.
While other large monuments in the park accommodate the driving aspect of the park, i.e. recognize that no one will really see the back side of the monument and therefore don’t put much of a finish on it (we’ll see this later in the week), the designers of the U.S. Navy monument, Francis E. Elwell and the more famous Henry H. Kitson went ahead and stuck an admiral on all four sides. Maybe the designers, Henry H. Kitson and Francis Edwin Elwell, didn’t much care for Admiral Foote, who is staring off into the trees. Here they are in counter-clockwise order.
Perhaps the most famous “person” monument is the Tilghman Monument, a memorial to Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman, who was killed at the Battle of Champion Hill near Edwards.
Last but not least, near the end of the northern driving loop stands Jefferson Davis. Interestingly, this statue was only put in place in 1927, after the Civil War generation had mostly died off. Jefferson Davis was considered a potent symbol of the Confederacy long after his death, by both North and South, and I remember reading an article in the Vicksburg Post around 1908 to the effect that the U.S. Congress wouldn’t allow Mississippi to place a bust of Davis in one of their two Hall of Fame spots. This monument was also sculpted by our old standby Henry H. Hudson. You can read the dedication booklet on Internet Archive.
This post is part of a five-part series about Vicksburg National Military Park. Want to read more?
- Seeing the 101: Vicksburg National Military Park
- Mississippi’s Monuments
- Small but Interesting Ohio Monuments
- Other Monuments Worth Stopping For
Categories: 101 MissPres Places