Vicksburg is one of the most historically significant cities in the country. The Siege of Vicksburg during the Civil War was essential to the Union winning the ground they needed to force the Confederates to surrender. But it’s not only our Civil War history that makes us a must-see destination. Visit Vicksburg has put together this quick guide to the top 3 early historical figures of the city, so you can discover more about our rich history.
Lt. General John C. Pemberton
Lt. General John C. Pemberton, born a Yankee, was a graduate of West Point Military Academy and a commissioned officer in the Federal army. It is thought that Pemberton resigned his Union commission in 1861 and joined the Confederacy at the behest of his Virginia-born wife and her family. On October 10, 1862, Pemberton was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and sent to defend the fortress of Vicksburg.
Although he was ultimately unsuccessful in stopping the Union’s advance, Pemberton was able to fend them off for 6 weeks, and the home where he set up command during the Siege of Vicksburg is now a museum. This museum is not currently open to the public at the time of this writing (1/16/2020).
Confederate President Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis was an American politician and the first and only President of the Confederate States of America, from 1861 to 1865. He was born in Kentucky but raised in Mississippi, and he graduated from U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1824. In 1845, Mississippi sent him to represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives. His term was brief. In June of 1846, he resigned to serve in the Mexican War. In 1847, he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Vicksburg, MS is where Jefferson Davis began his political career. You can see some of his personal artifacts, along with thousands of other Civil War artifacts at the Old Court House Museum.
If you love Coca-Cola®, you can thank Joseph Biedenharn for helping make the drink a household fixture. In 1890, Joseph Biedenharn and his father Herman built a modest wholesale candy and shoe shop in what is now downtown Vicksburg. Biedenharn was approached by the founder of Coca-Cola®, Asa Griggs Candler, just a few years after he had built his business. Chandler recommended that Biedenharn’s wholesale candy business supply the area with Coca-Cola® syrup. Seeing that the drink was only available at fountains in large cities, Biedenharn decided to bottle the drink. The response was enormous. He sent a bottle to Chandler who gave his blessing to Biedenharn to begin bottling Coca-Cola® for wide-scale distribution.
The building that once housed Biedenharn’s businesses and the Coca-Cola® bottling operation is now the Biedenharn Coca-Cola® Museum. You can tour this historic location and afterward treat yourself to a Coca-Cola® float in what was once the candy shop-portion of Biedenharn’s building.
Come Visit History
Vicksburg, MS is a place where history comes to life. We have dozens of monuments and 5 museums dedicated to the early history of this special city. Contact us to learn more, or request your free visitor guide to make the most of your stay with us.