I visited two places on my journey north out of Florida. The first stop was the mighty U.S.S. Alabama. It was a must see spot as I was driving through Mobile Alabama. It also dominates the skyline as you’re approaching out of the east. The second stop (giving meaning to the Blog title) was the Vicksburg National Military Park where they have a well-preserved U.S.S. Cairo (the first Ironclad warship aka battleship of the Civil War.). Both of these places are amazing to see and spend a half day at. I love learning about the history of this amazing country and I will admit, I wish I knew more about it. Even with all of this technology it seems we are quickly forgetting where we came from. I hope you get a chance to see one if not both of these amazing places!
- Battleship Memorial Park – Home of the U.S.S. Alabama and the U.S.S. Drum
The U.S.S. Alabama is a South Dakota Class Battleship. Commissioned in 1942, this amazing ship served in WWII, The Pacific and Atlantic theatres. I have not seen a ship like this before. This was an absolutely incredible experience. At 35,000 long tons, this ship is huge! It featured oil-fired steam turbines and carried 1793 Officers and men.
U.S.S. Drum is a Gato Class Submarine that featured numerous war patrols during WWII. This submarine was responsible for sinking over 8 boats during the war as it sailed off the coast of Japan and around Pearl Harbor. The Drum is a diesel electric-powered submarine with a displacement of 1,490 long tons when at the surface. The U.S.S. Drum is 311 feet long and carried 83 personnel.
- Vicksburg National Military Park – Mississippi
The U.S.S. Cairo was one of the first American Ironclad warships built during the Civil War. It was also the first Warship in American history to be sunk by torpedo (a mine that was detonated electronically later called torpedoes.). Built in 1861 and launched in 1862 this warship was 512 tons and was paddle-wheel propelled. She carried 251 Officers and men aboard. None of whom perished when the ship was struck by torpedo and sank on December 12 1862. It was later raised from the 36 feet of water it was resting in and put on display at the National Military Park.
The Battle of Vicksburg was a very important one during the Civil War. May of 1863, Major General Ulysses Grant and his army surrounded Vicksburg, trapping the confederate army led by Lt. General John Pemberton within the city. The union army laid siege on the entrenched confederates until their surrender on July 4 of 1863. This would be a major battle of the Civil War. The Confederate army sustained 3,202 losses (soldiers killed, wounded or missing.) The Union army sustained 766 casualties and 3,793 wounded soldiers. The surrender of Vicksburg severely hurt the war effort of the Confederate army. The Union army gained control of the Mississippi River and held it for the remainder of the war.
I salute all of the men and women who currently serve this great country as well as all of the souls that have passed while doing so. I have a tremendous respect for our history and all of those who have helped shape it.