Vicksburg, Mississippi, was — as President Abraham Lincoln expressed — the key to the South during the Civil War.
According to the National Park Service, “At the time of the Civil War, the Mississippi River was the single most important economic feature of the continent — the very lifeblood of America. Upon the secession of the southern states, Confederate forces closed the river to navigation, which threatened to strangle northern commercial interests.
“President Abraham Lincoln told his civilian and military leaders, ‘See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket…’”
When travelers leave I-20 to visit Vicksburg, their destination is usually the sprawling Vicksburg National Military Park, but they are missing the other half of this story if they don’t continue on into the heart of the city. Here they will get a better understanding of what the civilians went through during the siege by visiting one of the beautiful antebellum homes including Duff Green Mansion.
Open for tour, and as a bed and breakfast, the mansion is the backdrop for another chapter in American history.
Green, a local cotton broker, built the lavish home for his bride in 1856. When the war arrived on Vicksburg’s door step, Green designated the house as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers saving it from possible destruction.
On a house tour, guests learn of the many incarnations the home went through during its long history including a soldier’s rest home, a boy’s orphanage and finally the Salvation Army Headquarters before being restored to its former glory and ultimately opened for overnight guests and tours.
Guests will also see the ballroom danced in by Jefferson Davis and Ulysses S. Grant, and visit rooms once used as an operating table during the war. Duff Green, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a reflection of the past and a living chapter in American history. It should not be missed.
For more information: (601) 636-6968; http://www.duffgreenmansion.com/.