Vicksburg National Military Park | PARK AT A GLANCE

Graveyard Road at Vicksburg National Military Park

Graveyard Road at Vicksburg National Military Park


Vicksburg National Military Park is located just outside of downtown Vicksburg, Mississippi, on the grounds of the Union attack and siege of the city that ran from May 19 to July 4, 1863. At the time, Vicksburg was one of two remaining strongholds along the Mississippi River that prevented the Union Navy from completely controlling the river (the other was Port Hudson to the south). After initial direct attacks on Confederate fortifications with no success and a huge loss of life, General Grant decided to lay siege to the city. This strategy consisted of completely surrounding the city, cutting off all supplies, and waiting for Confederate morale, ammunition, food, and medicine to run out, all the while constantly bombarding Confederate positions to further hasten the surrender.

A 15-stop Tour Road takes visitors around the battlefield, much of which is unchanged since the fighting. Stops at Union batteries offer excellent views towards the Confederate forts, allowing visitors to see first hand the difficult terrain that had to be crossed in order to assault the fortifications. Later, stops at the Confederate forts look back towards the Union positions. A tour of the battlefield, if done to actually learn about the battle, takes about five hours.

Also along the tour road is the USS Cairo Exhibit and Museum. Although it has nothing to do with the fighting at Vicksburg, it is the most interesting attraction in the park. The Cairo is an ironclad ship that was sunk in December 1862 on the Yazoo River near Vicksburg. It remained at the bottom of the river until being discovered in 1952, though it took over thirty more years for the ship to go on display. It is located next to the Vicksburg National Cemetery, which is a stop on the battlefield tour.

There are additional points of interest outside the battlefield that are also owned by the National Park Service. Confederate General John Pemberton’s downtown headquarters is open to the public on special occasions. Three river forts—two Confederate and one Union—are located south of downtown along Washington Street, while a fourth, the site of the Union’s attempt to dig a canal across De Soto Point so to bypass Vicksburg when traveling on the Mississippi River, is located just over the I-20 bridge in Louisiana.

Before heading out to see the battlefield, be sure to stop at the Visitor Center. Here you will find an information desk staffed by park Rangers, a book and souvenir store, a small museum, and an auditorium where a film about the siege of Vicksburg is shown every half hour.


The Visitor Center at Vicksburg National Military Park is open daily except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. From April through October the hours are 8 AM to 5 PM, and for the rests of the year, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

The Battlefield Road is open daily to vehicles from 8 AM to 5 PM, but hikers and bikers can access the road from sunrise to sunset. However, there is a fee to enter the park, and if you don’t have a yearly pass, you must purchase a daily pass during regular operating hours.

The USS Cairo Exhibit and Museum is open daily from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Times can always change, so for the latest schedule be sure to check the National Park Service’s official Basic Information web page for Vicksburg National Military Park.


There is a fee to enter Vicksburg National Military Park, but none to enter the Visitor Center, which is outside the gates. Yearly passes are available for sale.

Tickets are purchased at the entrance gate when the ticket booth is manned, otherwise you must get your ticket at the Visitor Center.

For the current prices, check out the park’s Fees web page.


Visitor Center
allow up to 1 hour

Touring the Battlefield
allow 5-8 hours

Detached Park Units
allow 2 hours

USS Cairo Museum
allow 1 hour

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Last updated on January 19, 2022
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