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