Grand Gulf Military Monument
The earthworks of Fort Cobun
are among the miles of
preserved Confederate
defenses that can still be
seen today at Grand Gulf.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Grand Gulf Military Monument, Mississippi
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Grand Gulf Military Monument, Mississippi
Grand Gulf Military Monument
This beautiful park in Mississippi preserves an
important battlefield of the Vicksburg Campaign.
Visitors can see cannon, original fortifications,
historic structures and much more,.
Moonshine Submarine
This homemade submarine
was used by moonshine
runners during the Prohibition
era.
Mississippi River
Grand Gulf takes its name
from a large gulf formed by a
wide bend of the Mississippi
River. A whirlpool was once
caused by the current there.
Fort Wade at Grand Gulf
The Confederate fort took a
heavy pounding during the
Battle of Grand Gulf, but the
defenders held out.
Grand Gulf Military Monument Park - Port Gibson, Mississippi
The Grand Gulf of the Mississippi
Overlooking the Mississippi River south of
Vicksburg, the Grand Gulf Military Monument
preserves the scene of one of the most
intense naval bombardments of the Civil
War. The park is located 7 miles from Port
Gibson off U.S. Highway 61.

Originally settled by the French during the
1700s, Grand Gulf takes its name from a
large whirlpool and bend of the Mississippi
River. The river has since shifted course
slightly. During the 1800s, a significant
community grew at the site during the boom
days of "King Cotton." At one point the town
had over 1,100 residents and was briefly
considered as a potential site for the state
capital.

A series of disasters, however, brought the
promising city to ruin. A yellow fever epidemic
struck the community in 1843, followed ten
years later by a massive tornado. Then
between 1855 and 1860, the Mississippi
eroded away the business district destroying
55 blocks of the original city. By the time of
the Civil War, fewer than 200 people still lived
at Grand Gulf.

In anticipation of Union General U.S. Grant's
attempt to land troops for an attack on
Vicksburg, Confederates under General J.S.
Bowen fortified Grand Gulf. Placing heavy
artillery along the bluffs, Bowen and his men
constructed two primary batteries - Forts
Cobun and Wade - and surrounded the land
approaches with a series of entrenchments
and artillery batteries. The Federals attacked
on April 29, 1863.

The Battle of Grand Gulf was a massive
artillery exchange between Bowen's gunners
and the heavily armed ships of the Union
navy. For hours, the two sides battered each
other. The Southern forts were severely
battered, but Bowen and his men held to
their guns. Finally, Union Admiral David
Porter accepted defeat and withdrew his
ironclads.

The battle was a Southern victory, but for the
Confederates their success was short-lived.
General Grant quickly developed a second
plan and moved his men overland through
Louisiana to a point below Grand Gulf. He
ferried his army across at Bruinsburg,
flanking the powerful forts and soon forcing
the Confederates there to evacuate. The
landing downstream from Grand Gulf gave
the Union general the foothold he needed to
move on Vicksburg.
Grand Gulf today is a well-maintained state
park that preserves the remains of the
Confederate fortifications as well as the
original site of the town of Grand Gulf. In
addition to its Civil War interest, the park also
preserves a large variety of unique artifacts
related to the history of Mississippi. Among
the most unique is a homemade one-man
submarine built by moonshiners during the
Prohibition Era.

The park is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m.
to 5 p.m., excluding major holidays. The
remains of Forts Cobun and Wade can still
be seen, along with numerous other
Confederate fortifications. There is also a
museum, observation tower, picnic areas,
historic structures and a campground.

To begin your exploration of Grand Gulf,
please follow the links below:
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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