Vicksburg National Military Park | TOURING THE BATTLEFIELD

Vicksburg Battlefield Tour Map

Vicksburg Battlefield Tour Map (click to enlarge)

Links to a virtual tour of the Vicksburg National Military Park battlefield are at the bottom of this page.

A tour road through Vicksburg National Military Park takes visitors to Confederate defenses and the Union lines that were set up during the siege of Vicksburg (May 26 through July 3, 1863). Stops along the road explain the events of the siege, and many offer excellent opportunities to see the terrain firsthand, allowing you to get a better understanding of what the Union Army was up against in attempting to take control of Vicksburg and why Union commanders eventually opted to starve the Confederates into surrender. The tour map is on the park brochure that you can pick up at the Visitor Center for free.

As you drive through the battlefield, you will see a number of monuments ranging from enormous memorials erected by states to smaller monuments commemorating individual military units. You will also find monuments to individual soldiers—mainly officers—featuring sculptures or reliefs of the person. The large state monuments have pullout parking near them, while the minor markers and memorials do not. You can slow your car to see them, but once you realize there over 1,300 monuments in the park, you tend to burn out quickly and pass right on by them.

Bust of Confederate Brigadier General George B. Cosby, Vicksburg National Military Park

Bust of Confederate Brigadier General George B. Cosby, Vicksburg National Military Park

You will also see what are known as tablets: large metal information panels detailing troop placement and movement during the battle. These appeal to true Civil War buffs and military historians. You may find some of interest, but after reading a few you will soon pass them by as you will the minor monuments. There are also markers with less information that simply mark the position of Confederate or Union lines. You will find both of these types of markers all over the battlefield, many of which you must hike to in order to read.

Tablets give detailed information about troop location and movement during the siege

Tablets give detailed information about troop location and movement during the siege

There are a number of ways for you to enjoy a battlefield tour of Vicksburg National Military Park from your vehicle. The tour road is 16 miles long and has 15 stops, plus there is a stop at the USS Cairo Exhibit and Museum. Biking the tour road is possible, but it would be difficult to get it done in a day. Doing the Battlefield Tour on foot, at least in one day, is pretty much out of the question. While you will see people walking the tour road, most of these are locals out for exercise, most likely walking only short segments of the road.

The following methods can be used to gain information about the battlefield while on your Battlefield Tour:


Most visitors to Vicksburg National Military Park do a self-guided tour of the battlefield using the free park brochure, the information panels at the tour stops, and the free Cell Phone Tour (this is what I did). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of a Cell Phone Tour, when you get to a tour stop, dial a phone number and when prompted, enter the stop number. You will hear a narration about the events that took place at the stop. In most parks a placard with the phone and stop number are at the tour stops, but not at Vicksburg. To get the phone number be sure to ask for a brochure at the Visitor Center. For the tour at Vicksburg, the Cell Phone Tour stop number is the same as the Battlefield Tour stop number.

The National Park Service and affiliated partners have also created battlefield apps for your smart phone.  See the Vicksburg Battle App web page and the National Park Service’s NPS App web page for details.


For more information during your self-guided tour, purchase the Vicksburg Expedition Guide and Audio CD at the Visitor Center bookstore ($30 at the time of this writing). Play this in your car or in a portable CD player if biking or walking. When you get to a stop, play the corresponding section of the CD. Pause when directed, and when you get to the next stop, start the CD. When I visited, the CD was out of stock. However, I used a CD Tours at other National Battlefields and I can say without hesitation that the CD is the best source of information for those doing a self-guided tour.


Professional guides are available for hire at Vicksburg National Military Park. The tour is done in your car, and the guide rides along with you. Booking is done through the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau by calling (601) 636-3827. The tours last about two hours, though you do have the option for a longer tour by paying an additional hourly fee. I spent an entire day touring the battlefield, so I’m not sure what can be accomplished in two hours. For more information and rates, see the National Park Service’s Licensed Tour Guides web page for the park.

If you want to really learn about the Seige of Vicksburg, plan to spend at least 5 hours for the tour, and possibly up to 8 hours. Short of simply driving around the tour road without stopping, I can’t imagine a proper tour taking less time. Driving the 16 miles will take close to an hour alone, and if you stop for just 10 minutes at each stop, that’s another 2 hours. A visit to the USS Cairo and its museum could take up to an hour. It’s not an official stop on the tour, but it is along the tour road—and it is the most interesting attraction in the park. Walking the short loop around the Vicksburg National Cemetery could take another hour. If the Shirley House is open (weekends in the summer), you may spend even more time there. That adds up to about 5 hours, but if you are into photography and want to find the best shots, which may require walking around, plan on another 1-2 hours just for that. Not to mention that you may spend an hour at the Visitor Center. Thus, it is possible that you won’t be able to fit everything into one day, especially if you are a true Civil War buff.

Regardless of whether you drive, bike, or walk, below are links to information and photos about each tour stop. You will be able to navigate from stop to stop by links at the bottom of each page. Plan to spend no more than 10 minutes at each stop unless otherwise noted in the tour stop review.

Northern Loop

Union Lines

Stop 1: Battery De Golyer

Stop 2: Shirley House

Stop 3: Third Louisiana Redan

Stop 4: Ransom’s Gun Path

Stop 5: Stockade Redan Attack

Stop 6: Thayer’s Approach

Stop 7: Battery Selffridge

Stop 8: Vicksburg National Cemetery

Confederate Lines

Stop 9: Fort Hill

Stop 10: Stockade Redan

Stop 11: Great Redoubt

Stop 12: Second Texas Lunette

Southern Loop

Confederate Lines

Stop 13: Railroad Redoubt

Stop 14: Fort Garrott

Union Lines

Stop 15: Hovey’s Approach

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Last updated on January 19, 2022
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