Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Siege of Vicksburg 2011

On the 18th day of May, in the year 1863, Vicksburg was being held under siege by Union forces under the leadership of General Ulysses S. Grant. And today, 148 years later, Vicksburg is again being held under siege by forces from the North, but this time it is by the swollen and powerful Mighty Mississippi River, as it barrels downriver, breaching the levees, and flooding thousands of acres of farmlands, small Delta towns, and anything else that happens to be in low-lying areas along the way.

Access to Vicksburg from the north and south has been shut off due to US Highway 61 North and South being flooded, and according to yesterday's Vicksburg Post, 2,095 people have been displaced countywide and 1,181 dwellings evacuated, with 533 of those being primary homes.

The river stood at 57 feet yesterday morning, and is expected to crest at 57.5 feet by Thursday.

You have probably seen pictures of the flooding on TV, but yesterday my husband and I had an opportunity to get out for a while, and I was able to capture a few scenes of Vicksburg myself. It was truly an incredible sight to behold ... and a sad one, too.

My first stop was the old Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot, which is one of the prettiest landmarks in Vicksburg.

The long-vacant, 103-year-old depot was being renovated to house a new transportation museum and office spaces for two tourism-promotion agencies, the Vicksburg Main Street Program and the Vicksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau.

This is the way it looks now ...

Washington Street, the main street downtown, is high and dry, but as you go down the hill leading away from the business district, it comes to an abrupt end ...

As I toured the water front area, I could hear the rumbling and chugging sounds of pumps hard at work trying to pump water that was leaking through the temporary sea walls.

Here are some of the other downtown sights that caught my attention ...

After leaving downtown, we headed toward the twin bridges that span the river between Vicksburg and Louisiana, stopping along the way "to see what we could see."

Flood waters closed Diamond Jacks Casino ...

Only two casinos remain open for business, Ameristar and Riverwalk.

The current was swift and treacherous ...

These turtles were enjoying the sunshine. In the distance, you can see the wide expanse of the river as it makes a bend.

All along the river, tourists and sightseers lined its banks capturing history-in-the-making with their cameras. TV crews were scattered around town, and TV crews were broadcasting live.

I understand that Mississippi's own Shep Smith with Fox News is in town, but I didn't see him, darn it.

This barge looks as if it may have a problem clearing the bridge, but the gauge is showing over 55 feet of clearance between the river and the bottom of the bridge ...

I took these next pictures from the parking lot of Riverwalk Casino, which allowed us the closest access to the river. It was an eerie feeling to be standing just a few feet away from all that water and to see it lapping over the sidewalk (there were barriers to keep people back, but it was still an awesome sight to be that close).

My heart and prayers go out to those who have lost their homes and businesses — and to those who will inevitably lose theirs in the days to come.

The Siege of Vicksburg in 1863 lasted 47 days, but I'm afraid the flood waters of the Mighty Mississippi's Siege of 2011, will leave their mark on our fair city long after they recede.


Loui♥ said...

thanks so much for posting this..
I've had you in my thoughts and prayers..
my heart too,goes out to all who are being affected by this terrible event.
I do agree..the effects will be felt for a long time to come..
warmest sandy hugs..

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Janie,
Thanks for sharing this...been wondering about Vicksburg.

The water looks so high if compared to the bridge!

Glad you and your husband were able to get out and about.

nancygrayce said...

Our prayers are with all those folks too. How awful flooding takes a terrible toll, both on the land and it's people.

Janie said...

The sight of the water is even sadder to those of us in Texas. The national news does not report on the fires unless they get near Dallas or Houston. We have had no rain since September. We are at the highest level of drought D4. Over two million acres of land has burned. Cattle and horses which could not escape the fences have burned on ranches and farms. I do not know how many homes, barnes, businesses and other structures have burned. The National Forest Service has moved many planes here and there have been 4,000 fire fighters from many other states helping. Several fires have burned for three weeks. We are all under burn bans, water rationing, and red flag warnings. I think if we can pipe oil up north, why can we not have pipelines from there to the lakes and reservoirs in Texas? Just a thought as we watch all that water destroy everything in its path to the gulf. How I pray for everyone who is suffering now. Thanks for the update. Hope your daughter and husband are doing well.

racheld said...

I just have no words for this right now, so I'll just send my heart and prayers, as well.

Stay safe, my Sweet Friend.

Anonymous said...

Janie -- Thanks for these pictures. Each photographer seems to show a few different scenes than we have seen before -- Yours are always interesting, and your blog text is informative. We were there in '73 and are sad that the water is so much higher this time.

I haven't had much time on the Internet recently, but have been following your blog on my iPhone. Posting comments isn't always easy that way, but I HAVE been praying for you and all of your family -- and am thankful for God's angels to watch over you.

I hope you are able to post more good news with every blog entry -- and I will continue to keep your family and all your flood-weary neighbors (including many of our personal friends) in my prayers.

Leslie :)

Carolyn said...

I just had a chance to check your blog for an update. I am so glad to hear good news from your family, but the flooding is devistating. Your pictures are heartbreaking. I fear you are right, this will not be quickly overcome.
Stay safe and God Bless,

racheld said...


I just told Marty that you both have been the eyes and lenses of this Second Siege, and have shown this great, awesomely devastating time with your captures, your commentary, and your imaginations.

Stay safe and know my heart is there,


Anonymous said...

Oh Janie what thoughts and prayers are with all down South...

Why hasn't Obama been there or to the fires that are eating up Texas, guess he can't put a smiley face on that huh???

You don't have to post this, I don't want to cause a stir with mentioning the O word...

Just know that your friend up North cares....

All the best,
Kathy :)

Karen said...

Thanks for posting the pictures. I wanted to come that way to see myself, but it is not looking like it will be possible. It is amazing! Our hearts are heavy for those who are affected by the flood waters & storms. Glad to hear an update from your daughter & husband.