The following day we went to Vicksburg, the scene of a major battle in the American Civil War and a turning point when Vicksburg capitulated to the Union Army.
(May 18 – July 4, 1863) was the final major military action in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. Vicksburg was the last major Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. After holding out for more than forty days, with their reinforcement and supplies nearly gone, the garrison finally surrendered on July 4.
We had no desire to walk the battlefields so we boarded the hop on hop off bus to visit the town. The old town was quite attractive and going through a rejuvenation with apartments being developed in the major street of the central business district.
We strolled down Washington St stopping when we came across Biendenharn Candy Co building. Herman, and Uncle Henry, founded a retail confectionary business known as Biedenharn and Brother. In 1890, Herman’s son Joe and his father built a two-story brick building at 1107 Washington Street which served as Joe’s wholesale candy company on one side and his father’s shoe store on the other. Joe eventually took over the operation of the candy business and it became the Biedenharn Candy Company. It was here that Cocoa Cola was bottled for the first time. Up till then Coke was sold by the glass from soda fountains. Joe bottled the Coke and sent 6 bottles to the manufacturer who then licenced the company to bottle Coke. The Biedenharns bottled Coca-Cola here and in other locations in downtown Vicksburg until 1938 when the new Coca-Cola plant was constructed at 2133 Washington Street. The building was sold out of the family and used for a variety of commercial purposes. In 1979, the family repurchased the building and began a rehabilitation using historic photographs to restore the building’s major spaces and to install exhibits interpreting the Biedenharn’s Coca-Cola heritage. The family then donated the building to the Vicksburg foundation for Historic Preservation.
After enjoying a bottle of Sprite, we crossed the road to Yesterdays Children Doll and Boys Toys Museum over 1,000 dolls dating back to 1843 in an historic setting. We encountered a Popeye doll, every kind of Barbie GI Joe and Cabbage Patch dolls even Laurel and Hardy.
Further down Washington St we found the Museum of the River. The Army Corp of Engineers has been tasked to maintain the waterways of the USA. This is the museum of the engineers achievements and the setback they have overcome. Attached to the building is a retired riverboat designed as the floating HQ for the Corp. The museum described how the Corp has kept the waterway open and managed the disasters created through flooding and most recently improved the river environment. From there we walked down to the river to the old rail station now a storybook for model trains and the civil war naval engagements and the Battle of Vicksburg. One of the tasks for the Corp is too build levees and walls along the river to protect townships from flooding.
Vicksburg has turned their levee walls into a picture book of its history. Here are a few photos of the sights of Vicksburg.