Portico of the Courthouse
The Old Courthouse in
Vicksburg in one of the most
significant historic structures
in the South. Jefferson Davis
began his career here.
The Courthouse Cannon
Original Civil War rifled guns
flank the entrance to the Old
Courthouse Museum in
Vicksburg. The guns are of
Union design.
Old Courthouse Museum - Vicksburg, Mississippi
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi
Civil War Landmark in Vicksburg
Built atop one of the highest hills of the old
city, Vicksburg's historic Old Courthouse was
a key landmark of the Civil War siege and

Union troops could see the clock tower atop
the courthouse throughout the Battle of
Vicksburg, yet despite its symbolic defiance
to their efforts to conquer the city, the
massive structure survived the numerous

When Vicksburg fell on July 4, 1863, the
courthouse became the scene of confusion
and celebration as General Ulysses S. Grant
marched his men into the city and the United
States flag was raised once again from the
top of the building.

Built in 1858, this magnificent structure is a
Southern architectural treasure, but its history
actually predates the building itself.  Future
Confederate President Jefferson Davis
began his political career with a speech on
the grounds. The site is denoted by a marker

The historic Old Courthouse is rich in history
and its upstairs courtroom has been
preserved and restored. Early cases and
lawsuits were argued here and visitors
experience a sensation of stepping back in
time as they step through the courtroom

The Old Courthouse became a museum and
memorial in 1948 and now houses a
stunning collection of artifacts of significance
to Vicksburg, Mississippi and U.S. history.

Many of the exhibits, of course, detail the
terrible ordeal suffered by the citizens of
Vicksburg during the 1863 battle and siege.
Original Civil War flags adorn the walls and
display cases overflow with shells and
bullets collected from the Vicksburg

Exhibits also detail what life was like for the
civilians of Vicksburg during the history-
changing battle. Many were forced to dig
tunnels beneath their homes where they
sheltered themselves from the falling Union
cannonballs. The siege of Vicksburg was as
much a siege of the city's people as it was a
siege of Pemberton's Confederate army.

Despite the war taking place around them,
the people of Vicksburg tried to maintain
some since of normalcy despite the falling
bombs. The museum preserves rare
samples of newspapers printed even as the
city was surrounded by Union troops. Since
paper was in short supply, the shorted
editions went out on sheets of wallpaper.

Other displays highlight the Native American
history of Mississippi and the Choctaw Trail
of Tears. A set of trophy antlers won by the
famed riverboat
Robert E. Lee hang on a
hallway wall and there are other riverboat
displays as well.
The Old Courthouse at Vicksburg
The historic Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg is
a "must see" for any visitor to the historic city. The
structure was a landmark during the battle.
Even the museum gift shop is unique. While
many such shops sell reproduction items
and novelties, visitors to the Old Courthouse
Museum in Vicksburg can buy actual pieces
of history. Artillery shell fragments and lead
bullets from the Battle of Vicksburg are
offered for sale, along with historic coins and
a wide variety of other items.

The shop also offers, of course, a wide
variety of material on the history of Vicksburg
and the 1863 battle.

The Old Courthouse is one of a number of
pre-Civil War structures that still survive in
Vicksburg. Considering the severity of the
bombardments unleashed on the city, the
fact that any still exist. Other points of interest
can be viewed along the driving and walking
tours and include homes, structures, battery
sites and more. The home that served as
General Pemberton's headquarters is
located not far from the courthouse and is
now a property of the National Park Service.

Located in the heart of downtown Vicksburg
(just look for the clock tower or follow the tour
signs), the Old Court House Museum is
open Monday through Saturday from 8:30
until 4:30 (until 5:00 during Daylight Savings
Time), and on Sundays from 1:30 until 4:30.
There is a small admission fee.

You can learn more about the Old
Courthouse Museum by visiting their official
website at
Antlers of the Robert E. Lee
The interior of the Old
Courthouse has been
converted into a fascinating
museum with a stunning
variety of artifacts. These
antlers, for example, once
adorned the famed river
Robert E. Lee.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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