National Geographic : 1963 Jul
FOR THIS AUTHORITATIVE centennial article on two of history's great cam paigns, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC invited the participation of noted historians Frederick H. Tilberg and Edwin C. Bearss. Their detailed knowledge of the campaigns of Gettysburg and Vicksburg brought maximum accuracy to the dra matic maps in these pages, to the moving article by Robert Paul Jordan, and to the captions and map notes by Carolyn Ben nett Patterson of the Senior Staff. Dr. Tilberg, Research Historian of the Gettysburg National Military Park, has an intimacy with the combat resulting from 27 years of service at the park. Mr. Bearss, Regional Research Historian of the National Park Service, stationed at Vicksburg, began his Civil War interest with accounts told by his parents in place of bedtime stories. points out in its brochures that Vicksburg is "strategically located in the heart of the vig orous New South." The vigorous New South is, of course, many things. In Vicksburg, it is widely diversified industry; it is agriculture and commerce as well. The city's largest single employer is the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has four agencies here. But the real heart of Vicksburg, or the New South, must be its people. I think of Mrs. Dominick Tuminello, who remembers when Vicksburg was "all dirt streets and plank sidewalks." The fourth Tuminello generation today can be found in the small grocery store established in 1912 by Mama Tuminello and her late husband-and the grocery store has become a restaurant seating up to 300. Nor shall I forget Miss Florence C. Fox, who, in her 81st year, smilingly greets visi tors to the Old Court House Museum. Sher man's "whole army," she told me, camped in her Grandfather Fox's pasture, and one day the general sent for Mr. Fox, who was an Episcopal minister with five sons in the Con federate Army. "My soldiers would like you to preach a sermon," said General Sherman. "All right," said Mr. Fox. "If you give the sermon," the general con- tinued, "you'll have to pray for the Presi dent of the United States." Replied Mr. Fox, "That will be all right, too. I don't know anybody who needs it more." And I remember James R. Prince. We talked at length in the red brick building whose entrance bears the words "Colored Y.M.C.A." "This is the center of activity for Negroes in Vicksburg," the Y's executive secretary told me. "More than 50 different organiza tions meet here." His great-great-grandmother, he said, had been a slave; nobody had wanted the slaves after the Civil War ended, and they didn't know where to turn. "We have come a long way," said James Prince. "It has taken a long time, and we have a long way to go." Way of a United States I ended my visit to Vicksburg as I began it-in the National Military Park. One last time I walked among its 1,600 monuments, markers, and tablets; once more I saw the artillery pieces aiming at one an other, 128 of them pointing as they did 100 years ago from the parallel Confederate and Union siege lines. It was difficult to see the Union lines in many places, for time has brought the trees in thickly. Park Historian Banton had spoken of cutting "windows" in the heavy growth. I went to the Vicksburg National Cemetery at the northwest end of the park, where more than 16,000 Union soldiers lie, two-thirds of them with names known to no man. Some one once estimated an average age among those identified. It was 22. There among the silentones the faintscream of far-off jet aircraft came to me, and down on the canal the hydroplanes snarled. But the hoot of an owl was a stronger, better voice. A bluebird flashed prettily past; a lone quail drummed up from a ditch in great fear. Perhaps, I thought, James Prince had found the words for Vicksburg and for all of us when he said that it has taken a long time and we have a long way to go. But there was the other part of it, too: we had come a long way-the way of a United States-since what happened on Independence Day a century ago at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. THE END Rockets' Red Glare Re-creates Porter's Naval Bombardment of Vicksburg On the night of surrender, Roman candles splashed the sky as Yankees celebrated July 4. Thereafter, as an observer wrote, "Silence and night are once more united." KODACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERJAMES P. BLAIR © N.G.S.