When I recently visited Vicksburg, I stayed at The Duff Green Mansion. The historic home is a lavish bed and breakfast filled with antiques and ghosts; each telling a little bit of the homes 150-year history.
Every morning at 9, a costumed docent takes bed and breakfast guests and other tourists on a grand tour of the opulent home. She explains it was built in 1856 by a local cotton broker Duff Green for his bride Mary Lake Green. The home was built as a place for celebrations and elaborate balls. Both Jefferson Davis and Ulysses S. Grant danced in the ballroom.
When the Civil War arrived in Mississippi in 1863, Duff Green was able to save his home by allowing the mansion to be used as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers. Green is also credited with saving his entire neighbor-hood including adjoining Christ Episcopal Church because the hospital would not be fired upon.
The home was also used as a soldier’s rest home, then a home again from Reconstruction to the Depression, a boy’s orphanage and finally the Salvation Army Headquarters for more than 50 years. The mansion was finally returned to its glory by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Sharp in the mid-1980s.
Our docent took us from room to room as she told the small group the history of the home before, during and after the war; the parlors, living room, up the stair to the many bedrooms and out on the balcony for a view of the surrounding gardens.
The docent brings to life the Greens and the Civil War as she recounts the history in the mansion. The tour is complimentary with a night's stay. The public is invited at a cost of $15 per person.